Drug War Chronicle #507 - October 26, 2007

1. Editorial: Enough Already -- Stop Funding the Taliban Through Opium Prohibition

Whatever direction the drug war compass points, one way or its opposite, it never points anywhere good.

2. Feature: Bush Reveals Plan Mexico, Proposes $1.4 Billion Anti-Drug Aid Package

The Bush administration Tuesday officially asked Congress to fund a $1.4 billion anti-drug package for Mexico and Central America, but there are lots of questions and criticisms emerging.

3. Feature: San Francisco Ponders a Safe Injection Site, Would Be the Nation's First

Last week, San Francisco took the first tentative steps toward creating a safe injection site for drug users. It would be the first in the United States, but don't hold your breath -- there's a long way to go and many obstacles to overcome.

4. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"DEA Director Resigns, Says She Had an Awesome Time," "Drug Czar Opposes Effort to Reduce Drug Overdoses," "This Man Receives 300 Marijuana Joints a Month from the Federal Government."

5. Students: Intern at DRCNet and Help Stop the Drug War!

Apply for an internship at DRCNet for this fall (or spring), and you could spend the semester fighting the good fight!

6. Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

This week, we have our mandatory greedy jail guards, and another case that's a little stickier. Are the people in our first story corrupt cops or desperate pain patients or junkies or pill peddlers or some combination of the above? You be the judge.

7. Sentencing: Ohio Senate Passes Bill to Equalize Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity By Raising Sentences

Marching boldly backward, the Ohio State Senate has voted to reduce the disparity in sentencing for powder and crack cocaine offenses by raising those penalties for powder -- not reducing those for crack.

8. Marijuana: Florida Bill Would Toughen Penalties for Growing

Faced with a wave of indoor marijuana growing operations, Florida drug warrior Attorney General Bill McCullom and his law enforcement and legislative allies are fighting back with a bill proposing tougher penalties and new criminal offenses.

9. Law Enforcement: Karen Tandy Resigns As DEA Chief

Karen Tandy's four-year tenure as head of the DEA is coming to an end. She announced Monday she would resign to take a position with Motorola.

10. Death Penalty: Iran Executes Five More Drug Traders, Australian Faces Ultimate Sanction Over Half Ounce of Hash in Bali

The world's drug laws continue to create new victims for the executioner. In Iran, five more are hanged, while in Indonesia, prosecutors ask for the death penalty for an Australian over a few grams of hash and weed.

11. Southwest Asia: Opium Accounts for Maybe Half of Taliban Funding, US Commander Says

Drug prohibition is proving to be a bonanza for the Taliban, according to the top US military commander in Afghanistan.

12. Latin America: Ecuador President Jerks Washington's Chain Over Manta Air Base

The lease on the US anti-drug air base at Manta, Ecuador, runs out in 2009. Ecuador's President Correa says no way he will renew it -- unless Washington lets him put a base in Miami.

13. Web Scan

Marc Emery, student drug testings, economics of cocaine, GAO, DrugTruth, more...

14. Weekly: This Week in History

Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

15. Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle?

Do you read Drug War Chronicle? If so, we need your feedback to evaluate our work and make the case for Drug War Chronicle to funders. We need donations too.

16. Jobs in Harm Reduction: Harm Reduction Coalition and PreventionWorks!

HRC is hiring a CBA Specialist for its African American Capacity Building Initiative, and Prevention Works is hiring an executive director.

17. Webmasters: Help the Movement by Running DRCNet Syndication Feeds on Your Web Site!

Support the cause by featuring automatically-updating Drug War Chronicle and other DRCNet content links on your web site!

18. Resource: DRCNet Web Site Offers Wide Array of RSS Feeds for Your Reader

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19. Resource: Reformer's Calendar Accessible Through DRCNet Web Site

Visit our new web site each day to see a running countdown to the events coming up the soonest, and more.

1. Editorial: Enough Already -- Stop Funding the Taliban Through Opium Prohibition

David Borden, Executive Director

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David Borden
The drug war is in part a human rights issue. With half a million people in prison for nonviolent drug offenses, with medical marijuana providers being hounded by the authorities, with needle exchange programs that are needed to save lives getting blocked, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy itself opposing San Francisco's proposed safe injection site (when did it become wrong to save lives?), with countries pressured by us to spray their lands with harmful chemicals to attack unstoppable drug crops, the United States through its drug policy has become a major human rights violator. It is a sad chapter.

We at DRCNet partly see drug reform as a human rights movement, and so ten years ago when very few Americans had heard of the Taliban, but the UN and the Clinton administration intended to fund them to do opium eradication, we condemned the Taliban in this newsletter and criticized the proposal. The fear of human rights advocates was that the brutal regime would be able to use the money to further establish its hold on power. Anyone who watched the footage of Taliban atrocities airing on US news stations after 9/11 can understand why that's a bad thing. Other reasons for opposing the Taliban are quite well known now.

Today we continue to fund the Taliban -- we don't say we do, we claim to be fighting them, we even send our soldiers to fight them in person -- but we are funding them. We are funding them by prohibiting drugs. Because drugs are illegal, they cannot be regulated, and so their source plants are grown wherever and by whomever is willing and able to gain a foothold in the market. For a large share of the global opium supply, at the moment that means Afghanistan. And the Taliban are cashing in on that.

And how. Just this week, a NATO commander said opium may provide as much as 40% of the Taliban's revenues, hundreds of millions of dollars -- some experts say it's more like 60%, he added. If opium-derived drugs were legal and regulated, that wouldn't happen. And governments are therefore at fault for creating a funding source for a movement that is destabilizing Afghanistan, that is abusing the rights of its people, and that may still be helping Al-Qaeda, all of this five years after we thought we had gotten rid of them for good.

US officials continue to press for more opium eradication, but experts agree that eradication helps the Taliban too, by driving the farmers into their arms -- of course while failing to reduce the opium crop, instead only moving it from place to place. And while Afghanistan's government has not unleashed all the eradication the US government wants, it has done enough to hurt. A hundred thousand Afghans are employed in the opium trade and don't have another way to make a living. We can't just tell them they can't grow opium anymore, and expect them to comply or that serious damage to the nation-building and counter-insurgency programs won't result.

Ten years ago, the west helped the Taliban for the sake of fighting the drug war. Today, the Taliban is an enemy, and we fight the drug war supposedly to fight them, but in the process instead help them -- see how no matter what direction the drug war compass points, one way or its opposite, it never points to anywhere good. That is why I say, enough already, stop funding the Taliban and other dangerous people through drug prohibition, legalize drugs to make this world a safer place.

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2. Feature: Bush Reveals Plan Mexico, Proposes $1.4 Billion Anti-Drug Aid Package

President Bush Tuesday formally requested $550 million from Congress for anti-drug assistance to Mexico and Central America next year. The funding request is only the first installment in a two- or three-year aid package that is expected to total some $1.4 billion. The funding was included in the president's latest supplemental funding bill for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, this one's overall tag set at $46 billion.

"It delivers vital assistance for our partners in Mexico and Central America who are working to break up drug cartels, and fight organized crime, and stop human trafficking," Bush said at the White House, shortly after calling Mexican President Felipe Calderón.

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Bush and Calderón
But while the proposal is supported by both administrations, it is likely to attract close scrutiny in the Democratically-controlled Congress. It is also being criticized or approached cautiously by congressmen in both countries, as well as Mexico-watchers and drug policy analysts.

"While I look forward to reviewing the counter-narcotics plan for Mexico and Central America, Congress was not consulted as the plan was developed. This is not a good way to kick off such an important effort to fight the increase in narco-trafficking and violence in the region," said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, which held a hearing on the proposal Thursday. "I hope that the administration will be more forthcoming with members of Congress now that they have announced the plan," he added tartly.

The anti-drug package faces the additional burden of being part of the appropriation for the highly unpopular war in Iraq. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has signaled that the entire appropriations bill could have a tough time getting past the House. But then again, the House Democratic leadership has said that before, and the war continues to be funded.

Mexico is the leading producer of marijuana and methamphetamines imported into the US to feed insatiable North American markets. Along with Colombia, it produces most of the heroin consumed in the US. And it is the primary conduit for South American cocaine destined for the US.

Mexico is also the scene of a long-running, seemingly ever-escalating state of war among competing drug trafficking organizations -- the so-called cartels -- over control of the lucrative, multi-billion dollar a year business, as well as between the cartels and the Mexican state. More than 2,100 people, including around 200 law enforcement and military personnel, have died in Mexico's drug war so far this year, making 2007 on pace to be the bloodiest year yet.

Mexican President Felipe Calderón has won praise from US drug fighters for acting aggressively against the cartels since he took power in December. Since then, he has sent some 25,000 army troops into cities like Tijuana, Mazatlán, and Acapulco, as well as key drug-growing states. While the government claims mounting arrests and seizures, the drugs continue to flow and so does the blood. Calderon's government has announced it is preparing to spend $7 billion to prosecute the drug war in addition to the US offer of assistance.

In Central America, the problems are similar, although of smaller scale. While Mexico is plagued by the hyper-macho violence of groups like the Zetas, a unit of former elite anti-drug fighters who went over to the other side and who have engaged in spectacular, horrific exemplary killings, Central America faces the gangs, groups such as Mara Salvatrucha, originally composed of the children of Salvadoran refugees in the US who learned gangster ways up north before returning to their homelands to apply their newfound skills.

Mexico will get 90% of the US package, some $500 million, while $50 million will go to Central American countries. The Mexico aid package, which has been under negotiation between US and Mexican officials for months, will include funds for Mexican military helicopters, ships, surveillance aircraft, drug-sniffing dogs, and telecommunications equipment. It would also pay for training Mexican police and troops involved in intercepting drug shipments en route to the United States. But unlike Plan Colombia, the multi-year, multi-billion anti-drug cum counterinsurgency program to which it is often compared, the package does not call for additional US military personnel or contractors to work in Mexico.

Reaction from Latin America and drug policy analysts in Washington ranged from the critical to the concerned. "At first glance, a lot of this just looks like a waste of money," said Adam Isaacson, program director at the Center for International Policy. "There's about $200 million for boats and helicopters for interdiction. That's better than spending money on spraying crops, but it's really just a cat and mouse game. What we really need is demand reduction."

"The US has a moral obligation to help Mexico deal with drug violence because of US drug policies and use," said Maureen Meyer, Associate for Mexico and Central America for the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA). "But we need to be clear that while this package may have a positive short-term impact on drug trafficking and violence in Mexico, there should be no expectations that it will stem the flow of drugs into the United States."

"This cooperation package reflects the Bush Administration's growing recognition of the United States' shared responsibility for drug trafficking and drug-related violence in Mexico," said WOLA's executive director, Joy Olson. "Addressing this problem is not something that it should face alone. But cooperation is a two-way street," Olson pointed out. "Although the package mentions an unspecified amount of money to reduce drug consumption in Mexico, it has not been accompanied by any new major federal initiative to cut drug demand in the United States."

"One of the reasons we're in this mess is because our politicians thought it was a great idea to help foreign governments to fight the drug war alongside us, so they trained elite Mexican units in counter-narcotics two decades ago," cautioned Sanho Tree, director of the Drug Policy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

"The problem is they had no way of guaranteeing the loyalty of the troops they trained and they forgot that drug prohibition is an equal opportunity corruptor," Tree continued. "An elite US-trained unit called the Zetas eventually switched sides and became enforcers for the Gulf Cartel. When you hear of machine gun and bazooka battles in Nuevo Laredo, that's our Frankestein coming back to haunt us. Now the Bush Administration -- never one to learn from history -- wants to repeat the calamity."

"President Bush's proposed 'surge' in the war on drugs will cost taxpayer's too much, won't work, and may increase violence in both Mexico and the United States," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "Supply-side strategies have failed for cocaine, heroin, marijuana and virtually every drug to which they have been applied (including alcohol during Prohibition). Fundamental economic principles demonstrate why: as long as a strong demand for drugs exists, there will be a supply to meet it. Even if successful, Bush's Mexico plan would merely succeed in making cocaine more valuable, boosting profits for major drug cartels and encouraging more criminal elements to enter the lucrative cocaine market."

Such concerns and critiques were echoed south of the border. "More helicopters won't make a difference because you are only dealing with the armed side of the cartels. You've got to go after their finances and find out where their banks accounts are. That is the way to weaken them," said Ernesto Mendieta, a security advisor and former Mexican anti-drugs prosecutor. "Tracking that money is time consuming and doesn't make headline news, but it has to be done," Mendieta told Reuters.

"The US-Mexican drug plan is not the magic solution. It will help, but you need intelligence, people on the inside, and money alone can't buy that," Jorge Chabat at Mexico's CIDE think-tank, told the same agency.

But that kind of talk make's CIP's Isaacson a bit nervous. "We're worried about the intelligence and surveillance aspects of this," he said. "Who will be getting this? How are they trained? How infiltrated by the traffickers are these agencies? What are their human rights records? We have a lot of concerns about this aspect of the package," he said.

WOLA, too, had concerns, especially about the lack of details on some aspects of the plan. The organization wants to ensure that the aid package not end up subverting democracy in the region. "If funds are sent directly to the receiving countries' military forces, the plan could undermine civilian control of the armed forces and weaken efforts to strengthen civilian public security institutions," the group noted.

Now, the measure goes to Congress, where the first hearings have already gotten underway. At least one observer, CIP's Isaacson, thinks it will make it through the process. "This Plan Mexico stuff is going to get very carefully scrutinized," he said. "It will pass, although it may be radically altered in the process," he said.

But it won't make much difference, he suggested. "Overlying all of this is the fact that there is a whole lot of money to be made, and it's the demand from our drug-using population that makes this an attractive career path for people in Mexico."

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3. Feature: San Francisco Ponders a Safe Injection Site, Would Be the Nation's First

San Francisco city officials last Thursday took a tentative first step toward opening the nation's first safe injection site for drug users. In an effort to reduce the city's high number of fatal drug overdoses, as well as slow the spread of blood-borne infectious diseases, such as HIV and Hepatitis C, the city's public health department teamed up with a coalition of health and social service nonprofit groups to present a daylong forum on safe injection sites, how they work, and how they can be established.

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O'Farrell St., Tenderloin district, SF (courtesy Wikimedia)
San Francisco's needle-using population is estimated at between 11,000 and 15,000, with many of them being homeless men. While injection-related HIV rates are relatively low, Hepatitis C is spreading quickly among drug users. About 40 San Franciscans die from drug overdoses each year.

Injection drug use is also a quality of life issue for businesses and residents in areas of the city like the Tenderloin, where public injecting is not rare and dirty needles can be found on the streets. The neighborhood, a center of services for down and out residents, is often mentioned as a potential location for a safe injection site.

Safe injection sites are up and running in some 27 cities in eight European countries, as well as Australia and Canada. They have been shown to reduce overdoses, needle-sharing, and the spread of disease, as well as entice some users into drug treatment -- all without causing increased drug use, crime or other social disorder.

The symposium was cosponsored by the Harm Reduction Coalition, the Drug Policy Alliance, and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and was organized by a local consortium of community-based groups known as the Alliance for Saving Lives. That broad-based umbrella group includes public health officials, service providers, legal experts, injection drug users, and researchers.

"Having the conversation today will help us figure out whether this is a way to reduce the harms and improve the health of our community," said Grant Colfax, director of HIV prevention for the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Vancouver's Insite safe injection site, the only one in North America, was held up as a model for a potential similar program in San Francisco. Both Dr. Thomas Kerr of the British Columbia Center on Excellence in AIDS, who has evaluated InSite, and the facility's program manager, Sarah Evans, addressed the forum about their experiences.

Evans described the Downtown Eastside Vancouver facility as a bland place where drug users can come in and inject in a safe, sterile environment under medical supervision, then relax in a "chill out" room where they are observed. "It looks kind of like a hair salon," Evans said of the bustling space. "If we were a restaurant, we would be making a profit."

While InSite has seen some 800 drug overdoses, said Kerr, none of them had been fatal because of the medical supervision available at the site. His research has found increases in addicts seeking treatment and decreases in abandoned syringes, needle-sharing, drug-related crime and other problems since the clinic opened three years ago, he said. Those findings suggest it is worth doing elsewhere, despite the criticism it will attract, Kerr said.

But while the science appears to be on the side of such facilities, political reality is a different matter. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome's office has said that he does not support safe injection sites, and by this week, even public health department spokesmen were keeping mum. "We're not talking to the media at all any more," Colfax said on Tuesday in response to inquiries about what comes next.

While there has been community concern, the only vocal reaction has been coming from Washington, DC, where one senator, Republican James DeMint (SC), has introduced an amendment that would cut off federal health funds for any locality that starts a safe injection site, and where the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has attacked the idea via the press and its Pushing Back blog.

Bertha Madras, ONDCP deputy director of demand reduction, told the Associated Press the fact that the idea was even being discussed was "disconcerting" and "poor public policy." According to Madras, "The underlying philosophy is 'We accept drug addiction, we accept the state of affairs as acceptable.' This is a form of giving up."

But Hilary McQuie, Western Director for the Harm Reduction Coalition, and one of the guiding forces behind the push for a safe injection site in San Francisco, pronounced herself unworried about either DC opponent. "DeMint's measure is a rash overreaction that won't go anywhere," she predicted, "and as for ONDCP, well, I won't even debate them. It's none of their business; this is a local issue, not a national one."

It's a local issue that McQuie and others have been working patiently on for some time now. "We initiated the Alliance for Saving Lives about a year ago," she explained. "It's mostly agencies that work with drug users, and we've been meeting monthly. We've had some quiet conversations with the health department, and we decided it was time to take the next step."

Now it's time for advocates to build more community support for a safe injection site, including bringing the mayor and the Board of Supervisors on board. Even with science on their side, they have some work ahead of them.

"We know the issues and the science," said Randy Shaw, a long-time community activist working on homeless issues in the Tenderloin, "but no one here wants more of these kinds of facilities." "Why should the poor people of the Tenderloin have to live with all these problems? There are junkies in Golden Gate Park, there are junkies in SOMA, there's more drug traffic at the 16th Street BART station than anywhere in the Tenderloin," he said. "If some neighborhood wants to accept it, that's fine, we just don't want it in the Tenderloin."

City officials have made the neighborhood "a containment zone," Shaw complained. "We already have methadone clinics, needle exchanges, food programs, shelters, drug treatment programs. Now they don't even think about putting things in other neighborhoods." Some activists want to turn the Tenderloin into Hamsterdam, the industrial neighborhood turned into a drug trafficking free zone in the HBO show The Wire, Shaw said. "But we're a residential neighborhood."

"It's controversial," conceded Tenderloin Economic Development Project executive director Julian Davis, a supporter of the idea. "Some folks think the Tenderloin already has too high a concentration of these kinds of services, while others think like this sort of facility would enable drug users as opposed to ending drug addiction in the Tenderloin."

But Davis has a different perspective. "I look at the Tenderloin and I see that our city, our society is already enabling open drug use and drug dealing," he argued. "The idea behind the site is to get some of these users off the street and inside, where they can get access to services, and also to stop the needle-sharing and the spreading of HIV and Hep C. I see quite a few potential benefits from this."

And so the public discussion begins in San Francisco. It will be a long and twisting path between here and an actually existing safe injection site, with much work to be done at the neighborhood, municipal, state, and federal levels. It could take years, but advocates are confident its day will come.

"I think we will have a safe injection site eventually," McQuie predicted, "but how long that will take depends on how well we organize, who's in power, and how much pressure those in power locally feel from the feds."

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4. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

Along with our weekly in-depth Chronicle reporting, DRCNet has since late summer also been providing daily content in the way of blogging in the Stop the Drug War Speakeasy -- huge numbers of people have been reading it recently -- as well as Latest News links (upper right-hand corner of most web pages), event listings (lower right-hand corner) and other info. Check out DRCNet every day to stay on top of the drug reform game!

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prohibition-era beer raid, Washington, DC (Library of Congress)

Since last issue:

Scott Morgan got TWO big Digg hits this week -- "This Man Receives 300 Marijuana Joints a Month From the Federal Government" and "DEA Director Resigns, Says She Had an Awesome Time," and wrote "Drug Czar Opposes Effort to Reduce Drug Overdoses."

David Guard posts numerous press releases, action alerts and other organizational announcements in the In the Trenches blog. And please join us in the Reader Blogs too.

Thanks for reading, and writing...

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5. Students: Intern at DRCNet and Help Stop the Drug War!

Want to help end the "war on drugs," while earning college credit too? Apply for a DRCNet internship for this fall semester (or spring) and you could come join the team and help us fight the fight!

DRCNet (also known as "Stop the Drug War") has a strong record of providing substantive work experience to our interns -- you won't spend the summer doing filing or running errands, you will play an integral role in one or more of our exciting programs. Options for work you can do with us include coalition outreach as part of the campaign to repeal the drug provision of the Higher Education Act, and to expand that effort to encompass other bad drug laws like the similar provisions in welfare and public housing law; blogosphere/web outreach; media research and outreach; web site work (research, writing, technical); possibly other areas. If you are chosen for an internship, we will strive to match your interests and abilities to whichever area is the best fit for you.

While our internships are unpaid, we will reimburse you for metro fare, and DRCNet is a fun and rewarding place to work. To apply, please send your resume to David Guard at [email protected], and feel free to contact us at (202) 293-8340. We hope to hear from you! Check out our web site at http://stopthedrugwar.org to learn more about our organization.

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6. Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

This week, we have our mandatory greedy jail guards, and another case that's a little stickier. Are the people in our first story corrupt cops or desperate pain patients or addicts or pill peddlers or some combination of the above? You be the judge. Let's get to it:

In Dickson City, Pennsylvania, a former borough police officer who allegedly stole 6,000 prescription painkillers in June was rearrested Monday for filing a false police report to obtain more of the drugs. Angela Novack, 23, first ran into trouble earlier this year when she was charged with theft, possession of a controlled substance, and other counts for stealing pills from the Olyphant Pharmacy. She was arrested along with her boyfriend, Robert Santarelli, another former cop, who was charged with obtaining drugs through fraud, forgery or deception for allegedly visiting nine different emergency room doctors to have prescriptions filled for oxycodone and fentanyl patches. He then took those prescriptions to five different area pharmacies, according to the attorney general's office. Santarelli had already pleaded guilty in April to stealing a rifle, marijuana and hypodermic needles from the Jessup Police Department's evidence room. He was suspended in February 2006, then fired in May. Novack had been a part-time officer at the Dickson City Police Department until she resigned by mutual agreement for unspecified reasons.

In Belen, New Mexico, a jail guard was arrested Tuesday afternoon as he met with a man he thought was delivering him heroin to be passed on to an inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center, where he was employed. He agreed to do the deed for $1,000. The courier turned out to be an undercover cop, and guard Jeremy Redbear, 22, is now charged with drug trafficking. He was last reported to be behind bars at the Valencia County Jail nearby.

In Lisbon, Ohio, a former jail guard was sentenced last Friday to 18 months in prison for smuggling marijuana onto the grounds of the Columbiana County Jail. Former guard Gary Ludt, 37, was busted last September as he brought marijuana and tobacco into the jail to sell to inmates. He pleaded guilty in August to one third-degree felony count of attempted illegal conveyance of prohibited items onto the grounds of a detention facility and a fourth-degree felony count of illegal conveyance of prohibited items onto the grounds of a detention facility.

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7. Sentencing: Ohio Senate Passes Bill to Equalize Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity By Raising Sentences

The Ohio Senate marched resolutely backward Tuesday as it passed a measure, Senate Bill 73 that would eliminate the disparity in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine -- by raising sentences for powder cocaine to make them as harsh as those for crack. The measure now heads for the Ohio House.

In a reflection of federal laws that treat crack cocaine much more harshly than powder cocaine, Ohio state law makes possession of only 25 grams of crack a first-degree felony, while it takes 500 grams -- or 20 times as much -- powder cocaine to trigger the same charge. Ohio law makes any cocaine sales offense an offense "for which there is a presumption of a prison term" and calls for mandatory minimum prison sentences for any cocaine sale of five grams or more of crack or 10 grams of powder cocaine.

While black lawmakers in the Buckeye State have been calling for years for a measure to redress the disparity in sentencing, this is probably not what they had in mind. But the sponsor of the bill, State Sen. Ray Miller (D-Columbus), said upping the penalties for powder offenses was key to winning passage.

"We've got a growing problem in our rural areas of the state, and many of these members are well aware of the problem," Miller told the Cleveland Plain Dealer after the vote. That "broader understanding" that Ohio drug problems were not limited to inner city street corners swayed legislators, he said. "Fundamentally, equalizing the penalties at a higher level as opposed to bringing them down was key to passage," Miller said.

Some legislators who supported the bill did so despite concerns it could cost money. According to a nonpartisan fiscal analysis of the measure, it will cost $25 million a year or more in increased prison costs.

"That's real money," said State Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), who voted for the bill anyway. "And that's what happens when we equalize penalties at a higher rate."

Miller retorted that the cost argument "doesn't hold much water" because ending the distinction will cause judges to opt for treatment over prison for cocaine offenders. "In the long term, I think it will help to reduce the prison population because there is a race factor involved, there is an economic factor involved. Now some of the judges are going to have to look at things a little differently," Miller said.

But Miller's retort doesn't hold much water given that the law mandates prison sentences for most cocaine sales offenses.

The Ohio Senate's move to stiffen powder cocaine penalties comes as the US Sentencing Commission, the US Supreme Court, and the Congress are all contemplating ways to undo the federal powder-crack cocaine sentencing disparity. None of those institutions are contemplating doing so by raising the penalties for powder cocaine offenses to the level of crack cocaine.

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8. Marijuana: Florida Bill Would Toughen Penalties for Growing

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum (R), an inveterate drug warrior dating back to his days in the US Congress, and two hard-line state legislators have unveiled a bill for the 2008 state session that attempts to crack down on the Sunshine State's flourishing indoor marijuana growing industry. The bill, which is not yet available on the Florida legislature's web site, would dramatically decrease the number of growing plants needed to prosecute someone as a drug trafficker, a first-degree felony with a mandatory minimum three-year prison sentence.

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McCollum press conference
Under current Florida law, growers can be charged as traffickers only if they grow more than 300 plants. Federal marijuana laws require 100 plants to trigger the equivalent offense. But under the "Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act," it would take only 25 plants to trigger a trafficking charge.

But there is more nastiness embedded in the measure. It would also create new penalties for those who own a house for the purpose of growing marijuana and those who live in the house or take care of the grow op. It would also ratchet up penalties for people who have both kids and a grow op, and ratchet them up even higher if the kids are three or under.

The bill is a response to an apparent explosion in marijuana grows in Florida. According to McCollum's press release announcing the measure, indoor grow ops were detected in 41 of Florida's 67 counties. The number of indoor grows busted in Florida ranks it second only to California, the release said.

The bill will not be heard until next spring's legislative session, but that didn't stop McCollum and his legislative and law enforcement allies from getting the ball rolling earlier this month. "As Florida's Attorney General, my priority is protecting our children and our communities from the devastation of illegal drugs," said McCollum. "This legislation targets those who grow marijuana for profit."

"Every time law enforcement can detect a grow house and arrest those involved with it, less crime will be on our streets," said cosponsor Senator Steve Oelrich (R-Gainesville), adding that the main purpose of this legislation is eliminating the spread of illegal drugs in Florida. "This legislation will provide law enforcement with critical tools to get these narcotics out of our kids' hands and put drug traffickers behind bars."

"In Florida, those who use grow houses to traffic drugs belong in prison," added Representative Nick Thompson (R-Fort Myers). "Under this legislation we are clearly telling drug dealers, 'if you grow, you go!'"

"Whether grown outdoors or in a garage, marijuana today is extremely potent and dangerous and the cultivation of this illicit drug will not be tolerated by DEA," chimed in Mark Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Miami Field Division.

With some months until the bill is actually considered, saner heads will have time to craft a response. It remains to be seen if they will emerge to do so.

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9. Law Enforcement: Karen Tandy Resigns As DEA Chief

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) head Karen Tandy is resigning, an agency spokesman announced Monday. Tandy, who was the first woman to hold the top job in federal drug law enforcement, served four years as director. She will leave to take a position as a senior vice president with Motorola.

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Karen Tandy
"It just doesn't get any better than this -- leading 11,000 extraordinarily gifted people in DEA around the world who sacrifice everything to live our dangerous mission 24-7, every day of the year, in order to protect America's children and communities," Tandy said in a statement announcing her resignation. "I will forever remain grateful to President Bush for this opportunity."

During Tandy's tenure, the DEA took credit for combating the growth of clandestine methamphetamine labs, which have declined by nearly two-thirds in four years. But the primary reason for the decline in home-cooked meth is the result of laws restricting easy access to precursor materials, both at the state and federal level. The decline in home meth labs has also resulted in meth of higher quality produced in Mexican super lab being imported into the US in greater quantities.

Tandy also expanded the DEA's presence in Afghanistan, now home to 93% of the world's opium supply. While the agency claims successes, including "historic extraditions of Taliban-connected drug lords," the poppy crop this year is 34% larger than last year, and the trade continues unabated.

But Tandy's most lasting legacy will probably be her leadership of the DEA as the agency cranked up its futile war against medical marijuana patients, producers, and dispensaries in California. Under Tandy's tenure, the DEA has conducted dozens of raids against operations legal under California law, in spite of the expressed opposition of state and local officials in many cases. The operations have been so unpopular in California that DEA raiders routinely have to call on local law enforcement to provide protection against outraged citizens protesting their raids.

Tandy, a former associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department, will serve as Motorola's top spokesperson for public policy, focusing mostly on global telecom policy, trade and regulation.

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10. Death Penalty: Iran Executes Five More Drug Traders, Australian Faces Ultimate Sanction Over Half Ounce of Hash in Bali

Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries continue to set the pace when it comes to executing drug offenders. Iran appears to be on an especially torrid pace, but this week Indonesian prosecutors were the most outrageous.

In Bali, 50-year-old Australian businessman Barry Hess could face the death penalty after prosecutors there decided to charge him with drug trafficking upon his being caught with 14 grams of hashish and 2.7 grams of marijuana in his home. It is only one of the offenses prosecutors have charged him with; the most lenient, being an unregistered drug addict, carries a six-month jail sentence. Prosecutors will present their case, then tell judges what charge and penalty they think is most appropriate. The judges, however, are not bound by those recommendations.

Meanwhile, the international death penalty abolitionist group Hands Off Cain reported that authorities in Birjand in northeast Iran had tried and executed five men for trafficking in opium and opiates. They had been caught traveling from Zahedan with nearly 3,000 pounds of opium, 120 pounds of morphine, and 16 pounds of heroin. The men were put to death after "official formalities," the correspondent noted.

The International Coalition Against the Death Penalty reports that Iran has executed 265 people so far this year, well ahead of the 140 executed all of last year. It is unknown how many of them were drug law offenders.

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11. Southwest Asia: Opium Accounts for Maybe Half of Taliban Funding, US Commander Says

Black market opium production under the global drug prohibition regime is pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the coffers of the Taliban, the top US commander in Afghanistan said last week. The opium trade accounts for as much as 40% of Taliban revenues, and that could be a conservative estimate, said Gen. Dan McNeill, commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

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incised papaver specimens (opium poppies)
"It is my best subjective estimate that the insurgency enjoys fiscal resources from the cultivation of poppy probably to the level of 20% to 40% of its total fiscal resources," the general told journalists at a Kabul press conference. But he added that international experts had told him his figure was low-ball, and that opium could account for up to 60% of Taliban funds.

The Taliban, which has emerged revivified in the past two years, is widely believed to make money off the opium economy by taxing farmers and traders. This year, it has had the strongest presence in Afghanistan's southeast, which is also the area of the country where opium production is most prevalent.

According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime 2007 World Drug Report, the Afghan opium crop is valued at $3 billion this year, about $1 billion of which is paid to farmers. Despite increased eradication efforts this year, production increased 34% over last year. It is unclear how much opium income makes its way into the purses of the Taliban.

Afghanistan is currently producing 93% of the world's poppy crop, and that is undermining everything the Afghan government and its US and NATO allies is trying to accomplish there, said McNeill. Besides funding the insurgency and corrupting government officials, opium profits pull people away from developing the country. "People are distracted from the value of the reconstruction because of poppy cultivation and the money inherent within," he said.

Still, he said, ISAF is not eager to get more deeply involved in fighting the drug war in Afghanistan, and if it does, its role should be limited. "ISAF is neither manned, trained or equipped to be an eradication force but there are other ways... that we might be able to help," he said.

That's not what the US wants to hear, though. Washington is gearing up for heightened involvement in drug fighting, and it is pressing, so far unsuccessfully, for aerial chemical eradication of the poppy crop -- a crop which according to the UN provides a living for 14% of the Afghan population.

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12. Latin America: Ecuador President Jerks Washington's Chain Over Manta Air Base

If the US wants to keep using a drug war air base in Ecuador, it must let Ecuador open a military base in Miami, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa told Reuters in an interview in Italy Monday. Correa, a popular leftist leader, promised during the 2006 election campaign that he would never renew the 10-year lease for the air base at Manta, in northern Ecuador.

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President Correa
"We'll renew the base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami -- an Ecuadorian base," Correa said in Italy. "If there's no problem having foreign soldiers on a country's soil, surely they'll let us have an Ecuadorian base in the United States."

US officials consider Manta critical to anti-drug surveillance on Pacific drug-smuggling routes. The lease on the base, negotiated with a previous government, is set to run out in 2009. Correa said earlier that he would chop his arm off before he renewed the lease.

According to a US embassy in Quito fact sheet, over 60% of illegal drug seizures in the eastern Pacific in recent years resulted from intelligence gathered thanks to the air base. The fact sheet said that 15 permanent and up to 150 rotating US military personnel involved in anti-drug activities are stationed at the base at any given time.

The fact sheet sought to portray the base in the best possible light, even resorting to noting that the base's "full-time Ecuadorian employees include persons with physical challenges whom the [base] is helping to integrate into the workforce through an innovative program" and that the base "provides financial support to multiple local charities in an effort to be good citizens and guests in Manta. US personnel help tutor English in a local community center and support charities including orphanages and a school for children with disabilities."

But embassy PR wheedling notwithstanding, Correa is tapping into broad public resentment of the base, much of which is rooted in dislike for Plan Colombia and suspicion about what other uses the US could put the base to. Correa campaigned strongly against Plan Colombia in the 2006 election, as tensions between the neighbors heightened over US-backed aerial fumigation of Colombian coca groups and its impact on adjacent Ecuadorian territory.

"The nationwide position not to involve Ecuador in Plan Colombia is the first reason why Ecuadorians do not want the US military to remain in Manta," Fredy Rivera, professor and researcher with the Ecuadorian branch of the Latin American University for Social Sciences, told ISN Security Watch during a recent interview. A second reason for Ecuadorian opposition to the base was suspicion over US plans, he said. "The surveillance equipment can be used to watch activity in Colombia, Peru, parts of Venezuela and Bolivia, and of course Ecuador," Rivera said, adding, "this is official discourse."

But even though Correa is refusing to renew the base's lease and has publicly called President Bush a "dimwit," he rejected the idea that rejecting the base should hurt US-Ecuadorian relations. "This is the only North American military base in South America," he said. "So, then the other South American countries don't have good relations with the United States because they don't have military bases? That doesn't make any sense."

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13. Web Scan

Transform Drug Policy Foundation submission to UK government drugs strategy consultation

The Inhumane Drug War: Top 10 Reasons for Optimism, Tony Newman, Huffington Post

Marc Emery Live Chat archive (Globe and Mail) and "Prince of Pot" video

full text of Student Athlete Testing Using Random Notification (SATURN) study, and Science Daily summary (preview: it doesn't work)

Getting Real About the Economics of Cocaine, Bill Piper on Alternet

GAO report on US-Mexico drug war, and summary

DrugTruth update:
Cultural Baggage for 10/24/07: Marc Emery, publisher Cannabis Culture Magazine and star of new movie: Prince of Pot -- US vs. Marc Emery (MP3)
Century of Lies for 10/23/07: Tommy Chong @ NORML Conference + Drug War Facts & Poppygate (MP3)

"King Hemp," Rand Clifford in countercurrents.org

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14. Weekly: This Week in History

November 1, 1968: The UK's Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence releases the Wootton Report, recommending that marijuana possession not be a criminal offense.

October 27, 1969: Anthropologist Margaret Mead provides testimony to Congress: "It is my considered opinion at present that marihuana is not harmful unless it is taken in enormous and excessive amounts. I believe that we are damaging this country, damaging our law enforcement situation, damaging the trust between older people and younger people by its prohibition, and this is far more serious than any damage that might be done to a few over-users."

October 27, 1970: Congress passes the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. It strengthens law enforcement by allowing police to conduct "no-knock" searches and includes the Controlled Substances Act, which establishes five categories ("schedules") for regulating drugs based on their medicinal value and potential for addiction.

October 28, 1972: In a reelection campaign statement about crime and drug abuse, President Richard Nixon says: "As a result of our total war on drug abuse, the rate of growth in new heroin addiction has declined dramatically since 1969. By next June, we will have created the capacity to treat up to 250,000 heroin addicts annually -- a thirty-fold increase over the amount of federally funded drug treatment which existed when I took office... My goal for the next 4 years is for every American city to begin realizing the kind of victories in the war on crime which we have already achieved in the Nation's Capital -- where the crime rate has been cut in half since my Administration took office, and where heroin overdose deaths have almost disappeared... This kind of progress can and must be made all across America. By winning the war on crime and drugs, we can restore the social climate of order and justice which will assure our society of the freedom it must have to build and grow."

October 27, 1986: President Reagan signs The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, an enormous omnibus drug bill which appropriates $1.7 billion to "fight the drug crisis." The bill's most consequential action is the creation of mandatory minimum penalties for drug offenses.

October 26, 1993: Reuters reports that the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) joined scores of Boy Scout troops, Elks Clubs, and other community groups in a program in which participants clean up sections of Ohio's highway system. The Ohio Department of Transportation had denied NORML's application twice previously, arguing it would be helping to advertise a "controversial activist" group. The American Civil Liberties Union stepped in, and Ohio's attorney general forced transportation officials to relent.

October 29, 1993: The administrator for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Robert C. Bonner, resigns after three years in office to enter private law practice in Los Angeles. He disagreed with the Clinton administration's increased emphasis on drug treatment, saying it amounted to a decrease in emphasis on law enforcement and the pursuit of cooperation from foreign governments. "Drug treatment, particularly in this town, is the real feel good (method) for how you deal with the drug problem. It doesn't deal with any enforcement of the laws. It makes everybody feel all warm and fuzzy... I think treatment is being oversold," says Bonner.

October 30, 1995: President Bill Clinton signs legislation passed by Congress rejecting a US Sentencing Commission move to reduce penalties for crack cocaine offenses to bring them equal with powder cocaine.

October 26, 1997: The Los Angeles Times reports that twelve years after a US drug agent was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in Mexico, evidence has emerged that federal prosecutors relied on perjured testimony and false information, casting a cloud over the convictions of three men now serving life sentences in the case.

October 27, 1997: After a four-year investigation and a five-month trial, a federal jury returns a not guilty verdict on one racketeering charge against two former US prosecutors who became lawyers for a drug cartel, but fails to reach verdicts on drug trafficking and other charges against the two lawyers.

October 26, 2001: DEA agents descend on the LA Cannabis Resource Center, seizing all of the center's computers, files, bank account, plants, and medicine. The DEA cites a recent Supreme Court decision as justification for their action. The patient cannabis garden at the West Hollywood site is seized by DEA agents despite the loud protestations of the West Hollywood Mayor and many local officials and residents.

October 27, 2001: The Guardian (UK) reports that a majority of Britons believe cannabis should be legalized and sold under license in a similar way to alcohol. Some 65 percent of those questioned in a poll agree it should be legalized and 91 percent said it should be available on prescription for sufferers of diseases like multiple sclerosis.

October 28, 2002: The New York Post reports that a Time/CNN poll reveals that 72 percent of Americans now feel that people arrested with small amounts of marijuana should not do any jail time, while just 19 percent favored sending pot smokers to jail. Nearly 60 percent of Americans still want marijuana possession to be considered a criminal offense -- but 34 percent now favor complete legalization. The new poll also offers good news to activists and lawmakers who are calling for the legalization of medical marijuana: 80 percent of those surveyed said they favored dispensing pot for medicinal purposes.

October 31, 2002 -- The Washington Post publishes a story about a rare interview with Benjamín Arellano Félix, the man accused of running Mexico's most ruthless drug cartel, from the La Palma maximum security federal prison in Almoloya de Juárez, Mexico. Arellano said the United States has already lost its war on drugs and that violent trafficking gangs will thrive as long as Americans keep buying marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

November 1, 2002: Every prosecutor in the United States is sent a letter from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), urging them to make prosecution of cannabis crimes a high priority and to fight efforts to ease drug laws.

October 27, 2004: In an op-ed piece in the Paris newspaper Le Monde, Raymond Kendall, the chief of the international law enforcement agency Interpol from 1985 to 2000, calls drug prohibition "obsolete and dangerous" and says its continuation represents a missed opportunity for reform. He says prohibition has failed to protect the world from drugs and Europe must take the lead in reforming the drug laws, particularly at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on drugs in Vienna in 2008.

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15. Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle?

Do you read Drug War Chronicle? If so, we'd like to hear from you. DRCNet needs two things:

  1. We are in between newsletter grants, and that makes our need for donations more pressing. Drug War Chronicle is free to read but not to produce! Click here to make a donation by credit card or PayPal, or to print out a form to send in by mail.

  2. Please send quotes and reports on how you put our flow of information to work, for use in upcoming grant proposals and letters to funders or potential funders. Do you use DRCNet as a source for public speaking? For letters to the editor? Helping you talk to friends or associates about the issue? Research? For your own edification? Have you changed your mind about any aspects of drug policy since subscribing, or inspired you to get involved in the cause? Do you reprint or repost portions of our bulletins on other lists or in other newsletters? Do you have any criticisms or complaints, or suggestions? We want to hear those too. Please send your response -- one or two sentences would be fine; more is great, too -- email [email protected] or reply to a Chronicle email or use our online comment form. Please let us know if we may reprint your comments, and if so, if we may include your name or if you wish to remain anonymous. IMPORTANT: Even if you have given us this kind of feedback before, we could use your updated feedback now too -- we need to hear from you!

Again, please help us keep Drug War Chronicle alive at this important time! Click here to make a donation online, or send your check or money order to: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036. Make your check payable to DRCNet Foundation to make a tax-deductible donation for Drug War Chronicle -- remember if you select one of our member premium gifts that will reduce the portion of your donation that is tax-deductible -- or make a non-deductible donation for our lobbying work -- online or check payable to Drug Reform Coordination Network, same address. We can also accept contributions of stock -- email [email protected] for the necessary info.

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16. Jobs in Harm Reduction: Harm Reduction Coalition and PreventionWorks!

Capacity Building Assistance Specialist, Harm Reduction Coalition

The Harm Reduction Coalition is seeking a CBA Specialist for its CDC-funded Capacity Building Assistance (CBA) program. Duties for the African American Capacity Building Initiative (AACBI) include processing all incoming inquires for training and technical assistance and providing skills-building training and technical consultation to community-based organizations and health departments. A candidate must have a Master's Degree in Social Work, Public Health or relevant field or equivalent experience; be detail-oriented; possess knowledge about current trends in HIV prevention; and have excellent written/verbal communication skills and knowledge/experience in needs assessments, curriculum design and delivery. As well, a candidate is required to have at least two years of experience in the field of HIV/AIDS as it relates to substance use, training methods and health promotion. We are particularly interested in a candidate who has knowledge of and experience working with African American MSM communities.

The salary range is mid to high $40s, and the position starts immediately. To apply, please fax your resume and cover letter to "Hiring Committee" at (212) 213-6582 or e-mail [email protected]. No phone calls please.

HRC is an equal opportunity employer. People of color, women and people living with HIV are encouraged to apply.

Executive Director, PreventionWorks!

PreventionWorks! is seeking an experienced manager with a passion for the public health harm reduction approach to serve as its executive director. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to build on PreventionWorks! history of providing needle exchange to disenfranchised residents of Washington, DC including transgendered persons, sex workers, i.v. drug users, the formerly incarcerated, persons who are HIV positive, and persons living with AIDS.

Reporting to the board of directors the executive director provides leadership to the organization and manages its day-to-day affairs while strategically positioning PreventionWorks! for future growth. The executive director is responsible for the achievement of the goals and objectives of Prevention Works through the effective and efficient management of staff, volunteers and other resources, and programs.

Key responsibilities include providing leadership to the organization's resource development and fundraising needs; ensuring that PreventionWorks! clients receive the highest quality of services through effective and efficient program management and staff development; working with the board to develop and implement long-range strategies including new initiatives; providing leadership and proactive outreach to ensure that PreventionWorks! enjoys a visible profile in the District of Columbia; and overseeing all systems including human resources, finances and grants management.

Priorities for the next 12 to 18 months include maintaining high quality services; expanding the organization's resource base through government grants and fundraising from private sources; strategically expanding harm reduction services; recruiting, retaining and developing staff; and advocating on behalf of PreventionWorks! clients.

Ideal candidates for this position will bring a variety of experience and attributes to PreventionWorks!, including significant management experience; a proven track record in fundraising; an understanding of the political environment in the District of Columbia regarding PreventionWorks! clients; strong written and verbal communication skill; a commitment to the public health harm reduction approach; financial literacy and grants management experience; and tolerance, tenacity, vision, organizational skills, cultural competence and sensitivity, and effectiveness.

To apply send resume, cover letter and salary requirements to: [email protected] (Email applications are preferred).

Or mail to: PreventionWorks! Search Committee, c/o Transition Guides, 1751 Elton Road, Suite 204, Silver Spring, MD 20903.

Or fax to: 301-439-6638.

PreventionWorks! is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Resume reviews begin immediately for a start date of March 1, 2008.

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17. Webmasters: Help the Movement by Running DRCNet Syndication Feeds on Your Web Site!

Are you a fan of DRCNet, and do you have a web site you'd like to use to spread the word more forcefully than a single link to our site can achieve? We are pleased to announce that DRCNet content syndication feeds are now available. Whether your readers' interest is in-depth reporting as in Drug War Chronicle, the ongoing commentary in our blogs, or info on specific drug war subtopics, we are now able to provide customizable code for you to paste into appropriate spots on your blog or web site to run automatically updating links to DRCNet educational content.

For example, if you're a big fan of Drug War Chronicle and you think your readers would benefit from it, you can have the latest issue's headlines, or a portion of them, automatically show up and refresh when each new issue comes out.

If your site is devoted to marijuana policy, you can run our topical archive, featuring links to every item we post to our site about marijuana -- Chronicle articles, blog posts, event listings, outside news links, more. The same for harm reduction, asset forfeiture, drug trade violence, needle exchange programs, Canada, ballot initiatives, roughly a hundred different topics we are now tracking on an ongoing basis. (Visit the Chronicle main page, right-hand column, to see the complete current list.)

If you're especially into our new Speakeasy blog section, new content coming out every day dealing with all the issues, you can run links to those posts or to subsections of the Speakeasy.

Click here to view a sample of what is available -- please note that the length, the look and other details of how it will appear on your site can be customized to match your needs and preferences.

Please also note that we will be happy to make additional permutations of our content available to you upon request (though we cannot promise immediate fulfillment of such requests as the timing will in many cases depend on the availability of our web site designer). Visit our Site Map page to see what is currently available -- any RSS feed made available there is also available as a javascript feed for your web site (along with the Chronicle feed which is not showing up yet but which you can find on the feeds page linked above). Feel free to try out our automatic feed generator, online here.

Contact us for assistance or to let us know what you are running and where. And thank you in advance for your support.

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18. Resource: DRCNet Web Site Offers Wide Array of RSS Feeds for Your Reader

RSS feeds are the wave of the future -- and DRCNet now offers them! The latest Drug War Chronicle issue is now available using RSS at http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/feed online.

We have many other RSS feeds available as well, following about a hundred different drug policy subtopics that we began tracking since the relaunch of our web site this summer -- indexing not only Drug War Chronicle articles but also Speakeasy blog posts, event listings, outside news links and more -- and for our daily blog postings and the different subtracks of them. Visit our Site Map page to peruse the full set.

Thank you for tuning in to DRCNet and drug policy reform!

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19. Resource: Reformer's Calendar Accessible Through DRCNet Web Site

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DRCNet's Reformer's Calendar is a tool you can use to let the world know about your events, and find out what is going on in your area in the issue. This resource used to run in our newsletter each week, but now is available from the right hand column of most of the pages on our web site.

The Reformer's Calendar publishes events large and small of interest to drug policy reformers around the world. Whether it's a major international conference, a demonstration bringing together people from around the region or a forum at the local college, we want to know so we can let others know, too.

But we need your help to keep the calendar current, so please make sure to contact us and don't assume that we already know about the event or that we'll hear about it from someone else, because that doesn't always happen.

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Permission to Reprint: This issue of Drug War Chronicle is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School