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Drug War Chronicle #511 - November 23, 2007

1. Feature: On the Anniversary of Kathryn Johnston's Death, Poll Finds Most Americans Oppose Use of SWAT-Style Tactics in Routine Drug Raids

A Zogby poll commissioned by (DRCNet) has found that nearly two-thirds of likely voters oppose SWAT-style raids to deal with routine drug offenders. The results are released as we mark the one-year anniversary of the death of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston, the Atlanta woman gunned down by rogue police conducting a forced entry drug raid.

2. Feature: Higher Education Act Drug Conviction Penalty Repeal Stymied As Democrats Choke -- Again

The movement to repeal the Higher Education Act's drug provision hit a major roadblock last week when House Democrats reneged on pushing an amendment to undo it. But the provision's author, Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), keeps scaling it back in self-defense.

3. Sentencing: US Prison Population Could Be Cut in Half With Four Humane Reforms, Including Drug Decriminalization, Report Says

A smarter and more humane approach to crime and imprisonment, including drug decriminalization, could save billions of dollars and greatly reduce the need to put millions of people behind bars, a new report says.

4. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

Mitt Romney says lie to the kids about drugs, Mark Souder cries "legalizer!" again, drug warrior Howard losing Australian election, anniversary of Kathryn Johnson tragedy and related poll finding, "People Are Licking Toads Again," marijuana compound might cure breast cancer.

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

Two Atlanta cops are headed to prison in the Kathryn Johnston killing, an NYPD narc goes down for drug running, and a strung-out Pennsylvania cop heads to jail for peddling pills.

7. Medical Marijuana: Michigan Initiative Organizers Hand in Half a Million Signatures

It looks like medical marijuana will be on the 2008 ballot in Michigan. Organizers of a signature-gathering campaign for an initiative turned in nearly 500,000 signatures this week, almost 200,000 more than needed.

8. Canada: Federal Government Introduces Anti-Drug Legislation

Canada's Conservative government this week unveiled its repressive new approach to drugs. It wants mandatory minimum sentences for some drug offenses, including marijuana growing, and it wants to double the maximum sentence for pot growing. Look for a battle royal in the West's most pot-friendly country.

9. Southeast Asia: Reports Coming on Thailand's 2003 Drug War Killings

Four and a half years ago, then Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra vowed to wipe out drug use in Thailand. Within three months, 2,500 people were dead. Now, a new government is about to release a series of reports on the killings.

10. Europe: British Heroin Maintenance Trials a Success, Researchers Say

A pilot heroin maintenance program in three British locations has been successful in cutting crime and street drug use, according to preliminary results.

11. Australia: In Desperate Pre-Election Move, Prime Minister Howard Says He Will Take Control of Drug Users' Welfare Payments

With elections looming on Saturday and his party trailing, Australian Prime Minister has announced a "zero tolerance" plan to take control of welfare payments for drug offenders.

12. Europe: Irish Labor Party Debates Cannabis Legalization, Defers Decision

The Irish Labor Party debated whether to make cannabis legalization or decrim part of the party platform at its annual conference last Friday, but deferred a decision on whether to do so.

13. Web Scan

Balko-Paey interview, Europe drug report, NORML podcast of Kucinich interview, One Hitters parodied (!), DrugTruth network.

14. Weekly: This Week in History

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

15. Job Opportunity: Outreach Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy

SSDP is hiring an Outreach Director. The position is staffed from the organization's Washington, DC office.

16. Job Opportunities: Two Openings at PreventionWorks, Washington, DC

PreventionWorks is hiring a SEP Arranged Delivery Coordinator and a Community Liaison.

17. 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.

18. 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!

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

A new way for you to receive DRCNet articles -- Drug War Chronicle and more -- is now available.

20. 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.

Feature: On the Anniversary of Kathryn Johnston's Death, Poll Finds Most Americans Oppose Use of SWAT-Style Tactics in Routine Drug Raids

A year ago this week, 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston was gunned down by Atlanta narcotics officers when she opened fire on them as they kicked down her door in a "no-knock" drug raid. The killing has had immense reverberations in the Atlanta area, especially since it opened a window on corrupt and questionable police practices in the drug squad.

Kathryn Johnston
While the Johnston killing rocked the Atlanta area, it also brought the issue of aggressive drug war police tactics to the forefront. Each year, SWAT teams across the country conduct some 40,000 raids, according to estimates, many of them directed at drug offenders. The tactic, where heavily armed police in military-style attire break down doors, toss flash-bang grenades, and generally behave as if they are searching for insurgents in Baghdad, has become routine, and is the stuff of various TV reality shows.

But if the raids are popular with the viewers of the likes of DALLAS SWAT, they are not necessarily as popular with the American public. According to a poll of 1,028 likely voters commissioned by (DRCNet) and conducted by Zogby International in October, a solid majority of respondents said such tactics were not justified for routine drug raids.

Here is the exact question asked: "Last year 92-year old Kathryn Johnston was killed by Atlanta police serving a drug search warrant at an incorrect address supplied by an informant. Reports show that police use SWAT teams to conduct raids as often as 40,000 times per year, often for low-level drug enforcement. Do you agree or disagree that police doing routine drug investigations in non-emergency situations should make use of aggressive entry tactics such as battering down doors, setting off flash-bang grenades, or conducting searches in the middle of the night?"

Nearly two-thirds -- 65.8% -- said police should not routinely use such tactics. With minor variations, that sentiment held across geographic, demographic, religious, ideological, and partisan lines.

Opposition to the routine use of SWAT tactics for drug law enforcement ranged from 70.7% in the West to 60.5% in the East. Residents of large cities (60.7%), small cities (71.2%), the suburbs (66.7%), and rural areas (65.0%), all opposed the routine use of SWAT tactics.

Among Democrats, 75.1% opposed the raids; among independents the figure was 65.5%. Even in the Republican ranks, a majority -- 56% -- opposed the raids. Across ideological lines, 85.3% of self-identified progressives opposed the raids, as did 80.8% of liberals, 62.9% of moderates, and 68.9% of libertarians. Even people describing themselves as conservative or very conservative narrowly opposed the routine use of SWAT tactics, with 51.5% of the former and 52.5% of the latter saying no. Among African Americans, 83% oppose the practice.

SWAT raid in Texas
"These findings don't surprise me," said University of Nebraska-Omaha criminologist Samuel Walker, a leading policing expert. "When you ask global questions about crime, people say one thing, but when the question is framed so as to clarify the practice, as this one was, people have a sense of what sort of emergency situations might call for special methods and what sort of situations are routine and could be handled without SWAT-style tactics. I find it hopeful that people seem to have such a clear sense of what is and is not appropriate," he said.

"We're pleased but also not surprised to get such a good response on this," said DRCNet executive director David Borden, who authored the question. "It's just not a hard sell to say that people shouldn't get shot, burned or traumatized in their homes when there's any other viable way of handling a situation." The organization is planning to do more, he says, and has posted an information page on the issue at

"If you believe that the criminal justice system is 100% perfect, you tend to support the system, but with these drug raids, there have been just too many mistakes made, too many wrong doors kicked in, too many innocent people killed," said Peter Christ, a former New York police captain who spent 20 years in policing before retiring and becoming a founding member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). "People understand that, and they realize that grandma down in Atlanta could have been them."

The real question, Walker said, was how to translate public opinion into policy changes. "I only wish this could be translated into the political realm," he said.

For Christ, changing police practices and drug policies is a slow, even generational process of education. The movement to reform the drug laws, he said, is akin to the movement for women's rights. "None of the people who started that movement in the 1830s lived to cast a vote," he said, "but in the end, they triumphed."

In Atlanta, the outrageous conduct of the narcotics officers involved in the Johnston case has led to changes, at least for now. They told a judge they had an informant who had bought crack cocaine at Johnston's home. That was a lie. They shot at the elderly woman protecting her home 39 times after she managed to squeeze off one shot from an old pistol. They handcuffed her as she lay dying. They planted marijuana in her basement after the fact. They tried, also after the fact, to get one of their informants to say he had supplied the information, but that informant instead went to the FBI.

2005 rave raid in Utah (courtesy Portland IndyMedia)
Two of the officers involved in the killing were ordered to prison this week pending sentencing on involuntary manslaughter and civil rights violations. A third has an April trial date.

The Johnston killing has also rocked the Atlanta Police Department. The police chief disbanded the entire drug squad for months, tightened up the rules for seeking search warrants, especially "no-knock" warrants, and instituted new policies forcing narcotics officers to rotate out on a regular basis. A year-long FBI investigation into the department continues.

But across the country, the Johnston case was little more than a blip on the radar, and the SWAT-style raids continue. "I haven't noticed any real change anywhere outside of Atlanta," said Radley Balko, an editor at Reason magazine and a policy analyst specializing in civil liberties issues who authored the definitive report on the rise of the contemporary SWAT phenomenon, Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Policing in America. "The pace of these raids has been about the same this year as last."

And, as Balko noted in a commentary this week, not only the raids, but the mistakes, some of them fatal, continue:

In February of this year, 16-year-old Daniel Castillo, Jr. was killed in a police raid on his family's home in Texas. Castillo had no criminal record. A SWAT officer broke open the door to the bedroom as Castillo, his sister, and her infant son were sleeping. When Castillo rose from the bed after being awoken to his sister's screams, the SWAT officer shot him in the face.

In March, police in Spring Lake, Minn., acting on an informant's tip, raided the home of Brad and Nicole Thompson. The couple was forced on the ground at gun point and warned by an officer, "If you move, I'll shoot you in the f___ing head." Police had the wrong house.

In June, a 72-year-old woman on oxygen was thrown to the ground at gunpoint in a mistaken drug raid near Durango, Colo.

Balko also pointed to errant drug raids on innocent people in Temecula, CA.; Annapolis, MD.; several incidents in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City; Galliano, LA.; Hendersonville, NC.; Ponderay, ID; Stockton, CA.; Pullman, WA.; Baltimore; Wilmington, DE.; Jacksonville, FL; Alton, KS; Merced County, CA; and Atlanta, GA. And that's just this year.

Turning the juggernaut around is a daunting task. It would require changes to the policies and practices of hundreds of separate law enforcement agencies around the country, and that is going to require work at the state and local level.

But there are some limited prospects for change at the federal level. In June, the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security held hearings on police militarization, and, thanks in part to Balko's testimony, this year's crime bill currently contains some language reflecting reforms recommended in Overkill that would limit the circumstances in which high levels of force can be used. Still, Balko said, it is unclear if that language will make it into the final bill.

At the least, Balko was able to inform committee Chair Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) that some of the money allocated for Bill Clinton's community policing COPS program had gone to establish SWAT teams. When a woman in the gallery asked for renewed funding for COPS, Balko pointed out that fact.

"Are you telling me that the COPs grants we handed out in the 90s were actually used to start SWAT teams?" Scott asked in surprise.

Balko confirmed that was indeed the case.

"Well that's certainly not what we had in mind," Scott replied.

According to Balko, at least 40 innocent people have been killed in forced entry drug raids in recent years. No one knows how many more innocents have been injured by testosterone-crazed police or had their property wantonly destroyed in such raids. And no one is even counting how many people -- innocent, guilty, family members -- have been needlessly traumatized by the jackboot kicking the door in at 4:00am and all that follows. And most of the "guilty" parties are mere low-level offenders, and by law presumed innocent until proven guilty.

If the politicians and law enforcement listen to the public, such tactics will become a thing of the past.

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Feature: Higher Education Act Drug Conviction Penalty Repeal Stymied As Democrats Choke -- Again

A step toward victory turned to ashes for the broad coalition pushing for repeal of the Higher Education Act's (HEA) drug provision (also known as the "Aid Elimination Penalty") last week as, for the second time this year, key Democratic politicians refused to push it ahead. Now, the only chance to achieve repeal this session will come in conference committee, thanks to a possible tactical error by the bill's author.

Bobby Scott offers his short-lived HEA amendment this month
Earlier this year, language that would have removed the drug question from the federal financial aid form, but without repealing the underlying law, made it as far as the Senate floor as part of language approved by the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee for the years-delayed HEA reauthorization bill. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), however, offered a successful amendment to strip the language, which HELP Chairman Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) as floor manager allowed to go through without a fight. Last week, House Democrats led by Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chair of the House Committee on Education & Labor and a supporter of repeal, declined to hear an amendment to their HEA bill that would have enacted repeal.

The Aid Elimination Penalty bars students with drug convictions from receiving federal financial aid for specified periods of time from their conviction dates. As originally written by Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), it punished students for any infraction in their past. But last year, under pressure from a broad range of educational, religious, civil rights, and other groups organized into the Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform (CHEAR), Souder amended his own law so that it now applies only to offenses committed while a student is in school and receiving aid.

Under the provision, more than 200,000 students have been denied financial aid. An unknown number have been deterred from even applying because they believed -- rightly or often wrongly -- that their drug convictions would bar them from receiving aid.

Instead of going for repeal, as key Democrats had promised, the committee heard and adopted two amendments to the provision by its author, Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), which are actually seen by advocates as likely to be positive steps. One would require schools to inform enrolling students in writing about the existence of the penalty. Another would loosen a clause in the law that currently allows students to regain their eligibility for financial aid by completing a drug treatment program, by allowing them to just pass two randomly-scheduled drug tests administered by a treatment program.

The dispute over the Aid Elimination Penalty wasn't limited to Capitol Hill committee hearings. In a move to the blunt the efforts of the penalty's foes, Souder sent out a Dear Colleague letter where he accused the 500 groups that belong to CHEAR of being "drug legalizers," an attack that did not go unnoticed.

"I wanted to make you aware of an important provision in the current law that is facing assault by a small but determined coalition of drug-legalization groups," Souder wrote in the November 1 letter. "Before you are bombarded by the talking points of such groups, I wanted to make sure everyone has the facts straight," he wrote.

Taking umbrage at Souder's characterization of their organizations, 16 groups responded with their own letter to Souder, asking him to retract his statement and requesting a meeting with him to explain directly why they oppose his law. "We, the undersigned organizations, would like to assure you that the coalition supporting repeal of the Aid Elimination Penalty ranges far beyond 'drug-legalization groups,' said the letter. "Last week, over 160 organizations signed a letter to Education & Labor Committee Chairman George Miller and Ranking Member Buck McKeon calling for full repeal, bringing the total number of groups in opposition to the penalty to more than 500. These organizations represent a broad range of interests, including the areas of addiction treatment and recovery, civil rights, college administration and admissions, criminal justice, legal reform and faith leaders. The overwhelming majority of signatories of the letter to Chairman Miller and Ranking Member McKeon do not endorse drug legalization. As just a small sampling of such organizations, we, the undersigned, want to make clear that opposition to the [anti-drug provision] is not in any way dependent on support for broad drug legalization."

The signatories to the letter were the American Federation of Teachers, the American Friends Service Committee, the Coalition of Essential Schools, College Parents of America, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Friends Committee on National Legislation, International Nurses Society on Addictions, the National Association of Social Workers, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, National Education Association, National Women's Health Network, National Youth Rights Association, Therapeutic Communities of America, the Union for Reform Judaism, the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, the United Methodist Church-General Board of Church and Society, and the United States Student Association."

Souder didn't respond to that letter, but he did lash out again, this time at the Capitol Hill newspaper The Politico, whose Ryan Grim had been writing about the conflict. In a letter published in the The Politico complaining about the coverage of him calling people drug legalizers, Souder resorted to the very same tactic. "Your readers ought to know that Grim was previously employed by the Marijuana Policy Project, a drug legalization group," Souder wrote. "Grim is hardly an objective reporter." However, he did not contest any of the facts Grim reported. Grim's biography, including his past employment, is available at The Politico's web site.

Souder has clearly shown himself to be a dogged defender of his creation. If only the Democrats had shown the same fortitude in fighting to repeal it, advocates complained. "It's disheartening that a huge chorus of experts in substance abuse and education, as well as tens of thousands of students are calling for repeal, and Congress still hasn't listened," said Tom Angell, director of government relations for Students for Sensible Drug Policy, one of the point groups in the campaign.

Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, was less diplomatic. "By not changing this counterproductive policy, Democrats are saying that tens of thousands of students should be kicked out of college and denied an education," he said. "The American people have moved beyond the drug war hysteria of the 1980s, but many Democrats still don't realize this," said Piper. "They're afraid reforming draconian drug laws will make them look soft on crime, even though polling shows that voters are tired of punitive policies and want change." Democrats had "chickened out," he said.

In the House committee last week, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) spoke eloquently about the injustice of the HEA drug provision, but then withdrew his amendment to kill it, noting that the Chair was not prepared to hear amendments that would have financial implications.

"Denying students aid for drug-related charges is simply bad policy," said Scott. "It increases long-term costs to society. It unfairly targets poor and minority students -- minority students because they are traditionally profiled for drug offenses, and poor students because those are the ones that need financial aid to attend school. It only does drug offenses. It doesn't do anything against armed robbery, rape or arson. And so it's somewhat bizarre in its application and it creates a double jeopardy for students who have already paid their debt to society."

Scott then asked that a list of the more than 500 organizations supporting repeal be entered into the congressional record, and then he withdrew his motion. "Unfortunately, Mr. Chairman, as you've indicated, you're not considering amendments that would have to be scored financially and because of that, Mr. Chairman, I will withdraw this amendment at the end of the debate, because we do not have an offset."

Then, after Chairman Miller -- to advocates' consternation -- congratulated Souder for his persistence in scaling back the law, Souder introduced the pair of amendments mentioned above. "Without objection, both of these amendments will be accepted," Miller said, accepting them without having written copies before the members. "It's just a testimony to the extent to which we trust Mr. Souder's word here."

While activists are disheartened -- to put it mildly -- by the performance of the Democrats, they still see some faint hope for action later this session, and it could come because Souder, by introducing his amendments, will open the bill to discussion in conference committee. "Souder may have screwed up here," said SSDP's Angell. "Because the House version now has language modifying the penalty, that automatically makes it a topic for the conference committee."

While activists want outright repeal, they are pleased with this year's Souder amendments. "If Congressman Souder keeps working year after year to keep chipping away at his aid elimination penalty, he will end up doing our work for us," said Angell. "We encourage Souder in his continuing effort to scale back his own creation."

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Sentencing: US Prison Population Could Be Cut in Half With Four Humane Reforms, Including Drug Decriminalization, Report Says

The United States, home of the world's largest prison population, both per capita and in real terms, could save $20 billion a year and cut that population in half by adopting a handful of systemic reforms, including decriminalizing drug possession, said a prestigious group of social scientists in a report released Monday. Noting that the US prison population had grown eightfold since 1970, steadily increasing whether crimes rates were going up or down, the report called US prisons a "self-fueling system."

The report, Unlocking America was released by the JFA Institute, a Washington, DC, research organization that studies issues related to corrections and penal populations. It was authored by eight prominent criminologists and James Austin, president of JFA.

The massive increase in imprisonment in the past four decades has had little impact on crime, but has imposed substantial costs on society -- and on offenders and their families, the report found. "Our contemporary laws and justice system practices exacerbate the crime problem, unnecessarily damage the lives of millions of people (and) waste tens of billions of dollars each year," it said.

Referring to President Bush's pardon of disgraced former White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the report noted: "President Bush was right. A prison sentence for Lewis "Scooter" Libby was excessive -- so too was the long three year probation term. But while he was at it, President Bush should have commuted the sentences of hundreds of thousands of Americans who each year have also received prison sentences for crimes that pose little if any danger or harm to our society."

Those people are the victims of what the authors described as "three key myths" that drive criminal justice policy: That there are "career criminals" who can be identified and imprisoned to reduce crime, that tougher penalties are needed to protect the public from "dangerous criminals," and that tougher penalties will deter criminals. The authors devote extensive space to debunking those policy-driving misconceptions.

"The system is almost feeding on itself now. It takes years and years and years to get out of this system and we do not see any positive impact on the crime rates," Austin, a coauthor of the report, told a news conference.

A more humane, less expensive, and greatly reduced prison system could be achieved by enacting four fundamental reforms, the report concluded. They are:

  • Reduce time served in prison.

  • Eliminate the use of prison for parole or probation technical violators.
  • Reduce the length of parole and probation supervision periods.
  • Decriminalize "victimless" crimes, particularly those related to drug use and abuse.

Regarding decriminalizing drug offenses, the report noted: "In recent years, behaviors have been criminalized that are not dangerous and pose little if any threat to others. A large group of people are currently serving time for behaviors that have been criminalized to protect people from themselves. Their offenses involved the consent of all immediate parties to the transaction. Common examples in American history have included abortion, gambling, illicit sexual conduct that does not involve coercion (e.g., prostitution and, until recently, homosexual activity), and the sale and possession of recreational drugs. According to the US Department of Justice, approximately 30-40% of all current prison admissions involve crimes that have no direct or obvious victim other than the perpetrator. The drug category constitutes the largest offense category, with 31% of all prison admissions resulting from such crimes."

The drug war is futile and has nasty collateral consequences, the report concluded. "Every time a dealer is taken out of circulation by a prison sentence, a new dealer is drawn in by the lure of large profits. The prosecution and imprisonment of low-level traffickers has increased racial disparities, and is the largest factor contributing to the rapid rise in imprisonment rates for women. Dealers' use of violence to eliminate competition helps to sustain the myth linking drug use to violence. Notwithstanding our extraordinary effort to discourage the use and sale of illegal drugs, they remain widely available and widely used."

Better than a prison-filling policy of prohibition, would be a regulatory approach to drugs, the report said. "Regulatory approaches, such as are now used for drugs that are not illegal should be given serious consideration. The success of recent referenda in several states allowing medical use of marijuana suggests that the public opinion may be changing."

Public opinion would change even faster if more people read this report. It is a scathing indictment of a failed and inhumane set of criminal justice and drug policies. $20 billion a year in savings from adopting the suggested reforms is easily quantifiable; the reduction in human suffering by reducing the prison population in half, while equally significant, is not so easily measured.

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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!

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

Since last issue:

Scott Morgan bring us "Mitt Romney Recommends Lying to the Kids About Drugs," "Mark Souder Can't Stop Accusing People of Being Drug Legalizers," "Awesome: Marijuana Compound Might Cure Breast Cancer" and "People are Licking Toads Again."

Phil Smith previews the stories "Goodbye To a Drug Warrior; Australian Prime Minister John Howard Set to Lose Power in Saturday's Elections" and "As We Mark the Anniversary of the Killing of Kathryn Johnston, Poll Commissioned by DRCNet ( Finds Little Support for SWAT-Style Drug Raids in Most Cases."

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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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 to learn more about our organization.

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Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Two Atlanta cops are headed to prison in the Kathryn Johnston killing, an NYPD narc goes down for drug running, and a strung-out Pennsylvania cop heads to jail for peddling pills. Let's get to it:

In Atlanta, two Atlanta police officers were ordered Monday to report to prison to begin serving their sentences for their roles of the killing of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in a drug raid gone bad a year ago this week. In that incident, the officers involved lied to a judge to obtain a search warrant for Johnston's home, shot at her 39 times after she shot once at them as they broke her door down, planted marijuana in her basement, and tried to get an informant to say he had provided the information for the warrant. No drugs other than the planted pot were found at her home. Officers Jason Smith and Gregg Junnier pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and other state charges and to federal allegations of conspiracy to violate a person's civil rights ending in death. They have been cooperating with federal authorities in an ongoing investigation into the incident and broader issues of misconduct in the Atlanta narcotics squad, but now a federal judge has ordered them to report to prison by December 3. They have not yet been sentenced, but in their plea bargain agreements, the deal was that Smith would get no more than 12 years and Junnier no more than 10, with possible sentence cuts depending on their degree of cooperation. A third officer involved in the incident, Arthur Tesler, faces state charges. His trial will probably begin in April.

In New York City, an NYPD narcotics officer was arrested last Friday on charges he used inside knowledge to run drugs for a Bronx-based cocaine and heroin trafficking ring. Detective James Calderon, a 13-year veteran of the force, was arraigned on drug possession and conspiracy charges. Prosecutors allege that Calderon smuggled a total of eight kilos of cocaine from New York City to Virginia on two trips in 2004 and 2005. Calderon went down after attempting to get an impounded minivan released from police custody. NYPD officers at the 44th Precinct refused to release the vehicle to Calderon, then searched it and found a kilo of heroin inside.

In Scranton, Pennsylvania, a former Scranton police officer was sentenced Tuesday on Oxycontin delivery charges. Then Scranton Police Officer Mark Conway was arrested in March after an informant told police he had bought drugs from Conway on more than one occasion. He pleaded guilty in August and resigned from the force. Now, he will do one month in prison on a three-to-18 month sentence, and then he will be placed on work release. Conway's defense attorney said he wasn't a "drug pusher," but a drug user who occasionally sold drugs to others.

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Medical Marijuana: Michigan Initiative Organizers Hand in Half a Million Signatures

Backers of a proposed 2008 medical marijuana initiative in Michigan delivered some 496,000 signatures of registered voters to state election officials Tuesday, far in excess of the 304,000 required by Michigan law to put the issue to a vote. Provided that signature-gatherers have in fact come up with enough valid signatures -- anywhere over 450,000 would normally be considered a comfortable margin -- the issue will then go before the legislature. If the legislature fails to act, the issue would go to the voters in the November 2008 election.

Organized by the Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care, with the backing of the Marijuana Policy Project, the initiative would set up a system of patient and caregiver registries that would allow qualifying patients or caregivers to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and 12 plants. Caregivers could possess those amounts for each patient with whom they are listed on the state registry. Medical marijuana would be approved for "chronic debilitating disease or medical conditions" including cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's agitation, wasting, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, or "any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the department."

While under Michigan law, the legislature will get first crack at approving the initiative, that appears unlikely. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) told the Detroit Free Press the legislature could have taken up the issue at any time. That it has not suggests "there may not be much interest in it," the spokesman said. A spokesman for House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford Township) had no comment.

But the lackadaisical legislature notwithstanding, Michigan has already proven friendly ground for medical marijuana, with voters in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Ferndale, Traverse City, and Flint all passing local initiatives since 2004. An August 2003 poll found 59% for medical marijuana statewide.

Twelve states currently have viable medical marijuana laws, mainly in the West and the Northeast. No state in the Midwest has yet embraced medical marijuana, although legislative efforts are underway in several, including Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

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Canada: Federal Government Introduces Anti-Drug Legislation

Canada's Conservative federal government Tuesday introduced legislation that would create mandatory prison sentences for drug trafficking and drug producing offenses, including marijuana cultivation. The move marks a firm embrace of US-style drug war policies by the government of Prime Minister Steven Harper and comes as part of a larger "tough on crime" legislative package.

"Drug producers and dealers who threaten the safety of our communities must face tougher penalties," said Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson in a statement announcing the legislation. "This is why our government is moving to impose mandatory jail time for serious drug offenses that involve organized crime, violence or youth."

According to the justice minister, the legislation will amend Canada's drug law, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, to include the following mandatory minimum sentences and other enhanced penalties:

  • A one-year mandatory prison sentence will be imposed for dealing drugs such as marijuana when carried out for organized crime purposes, or when a weapon or violence is involved;

  • A two-year mandatory prison sentence will be imposed for dealing drugs such as cocaine, heroin or methamphetamines to youth, or for dealing those drugs near a school or an area normally frequented by youth;
  • A two-year mandatory prison sentence will be imposed for the offense of running a large marijuana grow operation of at least 500 plants;
  • The maximum penalty for cannabis production would increase from 7 to 14 years imprisonment; and
  • Tougher penalties will be introduced for trafficking GHB and flunitrazepam (most commonly known as date-rape drugs).

"Drugs are dangerous and destructive, yet we see Canadian youth being exposed to and taking drugs at such young ages, and grow-ops and drug labs appearing in our residential areas," said Minister Nicholson. "By introducing these changes, our message is clear: if you sell or produce drugs -- you'll pay with jail time."

According to a justice ministry backgrounder on the legislation, marijuana trafficking offenses involving at least three kilograms of weed would be subject to one- or two-year mandatory minimum sentences if "aggravating factors" are present. To earn a one-year mandatory minimum sentence, the offense would have to be "for the benefit of organized crime," involve the use or threat of force or violence, or be committed by someone convicted of a similar offense within the past 10 years. Aggravating factors that can garner a two-year mandatory minimum include trafficking in a prison, in or near a school or "near an area normally frequented by youth," in concert to a youth, or selling to a youth.

The proposed legislation also includes mandatory minimum sentences for any marijuana cultivation offense -- if "the offense is committed for the purpose of trafficking." For up to 200 plants, it's six months mandatory jail time; for 201-500 plants, it's one year in jail; and for more than 500 plants, it's a two-year mandatory minimum. The penalties increase to nine months, 18 months, and 36 months, respectively, if "health and safety factors" are involved. Those factors include using someone else's property to commit the offense, creating a potential health or safety hazard to children, creating a potential public safety hazard in residential areas, or setting traps.

The proposed legislation also doubles the maximum sentences for marijuana growing or trafficking offenses from seven to 14 years.

The Harper government's legislation is a direct attack on Canada's cannabis culture, the most-friendly in the West, according to United Nations usage statistics. Look for a battle royal over this proposed step backward, and look for a Drug War Chronicle feature article on the coming battle next week.

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Southeast Asia: Reports Coming on Thailand's 2003 Drug War Killings

Six subcommittees investigating the killings of an estimated 2,500 drug users or traffickers during a 2003 effort to wipe out drug use in Thailand under the government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will issue a first report on December 1, the Bangkok Post reported Tuesday. The subcommittees are part of the Independent Commission for Study and Analysis of the Formation and Implementation of Drug Suppression Policy (ICID) set up by the interim government of Surayud Chulanont to investigate the killings.

2003 protest at Thai embassy, DRCNet's David Guard in foreground
According to ICID Secretary Chanchao Chaiyanukij, the six subcommittees will present a combined report. Chanchao said a subcommittee uncovering the paper trail of official orders had made the most progress. That panel has gathered evidence documenting orders and policies promulgated by the Thaksin government and videos of meeting where Thaksin "gave instructions and sent signals that led to the extra-judicial killings." The panel also has accumulated evidence of the making of a blacklist of those involved in drug trafficking and the transmission of orders to kill them, Chanchao said. Ministers involved in giving orders to shorten the blacklist by killing those on it could face criminal charges, he said.

Chanchao said the reports would give the ICID a clear picture of human rights violations in the course of Thaksin's anti-drug campaign. They will also describe how innocent people were framed for drug offenses they did not commit, he said.

Another subcommittee has concluded that the families of four victims killed in Thaksin's drug war should receive compensation. One was Nong Fluke, a nine-year-old boy shot dead in his father's car during a police sting operation. His mother was seized by police in that incident and has not been seen since. That panel will also present an analysis of what impact Thaksin's war on drugs had on drug use and drug sales in the country.

The other four panels will make their findings known in a second report to the ICID later this month. The ICID will submit the findings of the subcommittees to the Surayud government by year's end for evaluation.

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Europe: British Heroin Maintenance Trials a Success, Researchers Say

Initial results from a pilot heroin maintenance program in London, Brighton, and Darlington suggest it has reduced drug use and crime, researchers said over the weekend. In the program, which is funded by the Home Office and the Department of Health, some 150 hard-core heroin users are given either oral methadone, injected methadone, or injected heroin.

According to trial leader Professor John Strang of the National Addiction Center, about 40% of participants had left the street drug scene behind. "Of those who have continued, which obviously is a disappointment, it goes down from every day to about four days per month," he told the BBC.
"Their crimes, for example, have gone from 40 a month to perhaps four crimes per month.
"The reduction in crime is not perfect but is a great deal better for them and crucially a great deal better for society."

While the findings are preliminary -- final results are not expected for another year -- they are in line with similar findings from heroin maintenance programs in Holland and Switzerland. In both countries, researchers have reported a reduction in criminality by program participants.

In the British program, hardened addicts were reported to be leading more normal lives and enjoying better family relationships because they were no longer going in and out of prison. The annual cost per patients is about $18,000 to $30,000, about three times the cost of methadone maintenance, but presumably much cheaper than having users acquire their drugs on the black market, along with the criminality associated with black market drug use.

"With this treatment we're looking at having a very secure way of providing the treatment which enables the patient to break out of their addiction and is also very safe to the community," said Strang. "What we're looking at doing is enabling people both to quit their involvement with crime and to quit their involvement with street heroin use."

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Australia: In Desperate Pre-Election Move, Prime Minister Howard Says He Will Take Control of Drug Users' Welfare Payments

As his party appears headed for certain defeat in Saturday's national elections, Australian Prime Minister John Howard is once again playing the drug card. Howard announced late last week a plan to quarantine welfare payments to people convicted of drug crimes, but he isn't finding much support, even from the federal government's drug advisory body.

good riddance (we hope) to the John Howard administration
Under Howard's "zero tolerance" drug policy, people convicted of drug offenses involving heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines would have 100% of their payments quarantined in a bid to prevent public funds from being spent for drugs. Some 6,000 drug offenders could be affected. Their welfare payments would be managed by nonprofit groups for a minimum of a year to ensure the money is spent on rent, food, and clothing.

"We take the view that it's not right that people should have control of taxpayer money when they have been convicted of such offenses," Howard said. "We are the zero-tolerance coalition when it comes to drugs," he added.

The Australian Medical Association, however, did not think seizing welfare payments from drug offenders was a good idea. "I haven't seen the details of this initiative but certainly punitive measures for drug addicts are not really the answer," said Dr. Rosanna Capolingua, president of the association. "People who have drug addictions actually need help, support and assistance," she told the Australia News.

The federal drug agency, the Australian National Council on Drugs, also expressed skepticism. The group's executive director, Gino Vumbaca, said the proposed policy created a risk that drug users would resort to crime to pay for their habits, and that what is really needed is more funding for treatment and rehabilitation.

"What we have to be careful of here is often there are good intentions for policy, but you have to look at potential or unintended consequences," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "What we don't want to do is make a policy change where we end up placing children or families at more risk or the community at more risk from levels of crime," he said. "Australia needs to dramatically introduce its access to treatment so that people with substance abuse can seek assistance."

Greens leader Bob Brown was harshly critical of the proposal, saying it targeted drug users, not traffickers. "This seems to be [going to] cut them off, leave them isolated, leave them more desperate," he said.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd, who appears well-placed to be the new prime minister, was more equivocal. He said he had not ruled out such a policy, but he questioned Howard's timing on the move. "I'll have a look at it. I always think these things should be treated on their merit," he said. "But I go back to the core proposition: if you're serious about a plan for the nation's future, then if you've been in office for 11 years, what is it that causes Mr. Howard to conclude that these plans could be taken seriously, when they're suddenly put out there, with only a few days to go?"

Prime Minister Howard has been a staunch drug warrior throughout his tenure. Even a mealy-mouthed Laborite like Rudd will doubtless be a great improvement.

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Europe: Irish Labor Party Debates Cannabis Legalization, Defers Decision

The Irish Labor Party discussed whether to decriminalize or legalize cannabis at its annual convention last Friday, but deferred the matter to its National Executive for further discussion. Putting cannabis on the party agenda was the handiwork of party whip Emmet Stagg, who has long been a proponent of legalization.

Emmet Stagg
Ireland has some of the highest cannabis use rates in Europe, Stagg noted. He does not wish to encourage cannabis use, he said; only to regularize a drug that is readily available across the country. Leaving the weed illegal creates criminality and drives young people into the hands of drug dealers, he said.

"I'm advocating its control, standardization, legitimization and taxation. I am recognizing the fact it is freely available," Stagg said. "Everywhere you go it is available from criminals," he said.

But after contentious debate, the party voted to defer a decision on adopting legalization or decriminalization as part of the platform. By a narrow margin, and following the lead of former party leader Pat Rabbitte, delegates voted to refer the matter to the National Executive for further discussion. While Rabbitte urged caution at the conference, he did say that policymakers need to be thinking outside the box when it comes to cannabis.

Labor is the third largest political party in Ireland. It is currently in the opposition.

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Web Scan

pain patient and former prisoner Richard Paey Speaks, interview with Radley Balko on Reason

Bonds, Baseball and the Drug War, Anthony Papa in the Huffington Post

EMCDDA annual report (Europe drug situation)

NORML podcast of interview with Rep. Dennis Kucinich as well as audio of Sen. John McCain, both about the drug war

parody of the One Hitters drug policy staffer softball team, on SuperDeluxe comedy web site

DrugTruth network:
Cultural Baggage for 11/21/07: Dr. David Bearman speaks to Wisconsin Medical School + Bill Piper of DPA & Poppygate
Century of Lies for 11/20/07: Medical Marijuana to Senior Citizens, "Flushing Kids Down the Toilet" + Drug War Facts

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Weekly: This Week in History

November 23, 1919: Mescaline is first isolated and identified by Dr. Arthur Heffter.

November 24, 1976: Federal Judge James Washington rules that Robert Randall's use of marijuana constitutes a "medical necessity."

November 28, 1993: Reuters reports that Colombia's prosecutor general Gustavo de Greiff said the war on drugs has failed and Colombia should legalize cocaine and marijuana trafficking because the United States and Europe are decriminalizing consumption.

November 27, 2001: Dr. Francisco Moreno of the University of Arizona at Tucson begins dosing subjects who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder with psilocybin, the active ingredient in mushrooms. The government-approved research is funded by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies and the Heffter Research Institute.

November 26, 2002: The Winston-Salem Journal (NC) reports that more than 30 drug defendants in Davidson County have had charges dismissed or convictions overturned since the officers investigating their cases were charged with distributing drugs and planting evidence.

November 29, 2004: In the US Supreme Court, oral arguments are heard in the Gonzales v. Raich medical marijuana case.

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Job Opportunity: Outreach Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy

The responsibility of the Outreach Director is to expand SSDP's base by providing support to students starting chapters, as well as to promote SSDP on high school and college campuses in an attempt to recruit students to join the organization. Additionally, the Outreach Director must work with the Field Director to track and maintain information on all of the organization's chapters. The salary is $28,000-$32,000, commensurate with experience. Benefits include health care. The application deadline is December 14, 2007.

Responsibilities include:

1) Assisting students who wish to start an SSDP chapter on their campuses: As the primary contact person for students who are interested in starting SSDP chapters, the Outreach Director first works to solidify students' commitment to starting a chapter, and then walks them through the process of forming an organization on campus. The Outreach Director maintains constant communication with new chapters through phone, instant messenger, Facebook, and e-mail, and strives to be as accessible as possible. He/she is responsible for the development of trainings, materials, literature, and other resources that will benefit students working to start new chapters. The Outreach Director tracks and maintains accurate and current information on the status of student attempts to start chapters, as well as on the status of newly formed chapters, including information on chapter programs and goals, membership, leadership, contact information, etc.

2) Proactive recruitment: The Outreach Director not only responds to students who request to start chapters, but proactively inspires students to get involved in the organization as well. Accordingly, he/she must develop strategies and tactics that are forward-thinking and innovative in inspiring students to start new chapters, especially students at schools in districts and states important to SSDP's legislative campaigns, as well as legislative campaigns of allied drug policy reform organizations. The Outreach Director assists SSDP's Field Director in executing grassroots campaigns and actions. The Field Director will take the lead on creating grassroots campaigns and actions, while the Outreach Director will work with new and inexperienced chapters on implementation.

3) Compiling stories for the SSDP newsletter: The Outreach Director is responsible for identifying chapter projects that are worthy of inclusion in the quarterly SSDP newsletter, summarizing these projects, and drafting articles for the newsletter.

A qualified applicant will have succinct, persuasive, inspiring writing, plus a close attention to detail. The applicant will communicate orally with comfort and conviction, and exceptional interpersonal skills are essential. An applicant must be extremely comfortable with phone communication, as the Outreach Director will be required to spend a great deal of time on the phone communicating with potential chapter leaders. A working understanding of Facebook is strongly preferred. An ability to be assertive and inspiring is required, as is comfort with working with people of all ages.

A qualified candidate will be a self-starter who is creative in developing outreach strategies and tactics. A demonstrated dedication to drug law reform is valuable, but not necessary. SSDP places a premium on experience working with and managing volunteers, especially in the context of student organizing and activism. The Outreach Director is supervised by the Field Director, and reports directly to the Executive Director.

Interested applicants should email a one-page cover letter and one-to-two page resume to Executive Director Kris Krane at [email protected]. In your cover letter, please indicate (1) how you learned about SSDP's job opening, (2) why you are interested in working with SSDP, (3) why you are interested in this particular position, and (4) whether you have any experience in drug policy. Feel free to include any additional information you deem relevant, not to exceed one page.

Please do not call the SSDP office about the status of your application at this time.

If you submit a cover letter and resume, SSDP will respond to you within two weeks with either a notice of rejection, a request for additional documentation, or notification that your application is being considered.

Please visit for information on SSDP's mission and campaigns.

Note: Students for Sensible Drug Policy is an equal opportunity employer. SSDP has a strong commitment to diversity, and as such, women, people of color, LGBT individuals, and individuals with prior drug convictions are encouraged to apply. Our office is located in Washington, DC near Dupont Circle.

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Job Opportunities: Two Openings at PreventionWorks, Washington, DC

PreventionWorks!, a syringe exchange and harm reduction program located in the nation's capital, has two openings:

SEP Arranged Delivery Coordinator

The SEP Arranged Delivery Coordinator develops, implements, and coordinates the expansion of syringe exchange and other harm reduction services to IDUs most impacted by HIV and hepatitis C through alternative delivery strategies. Some evening and/or weekend work will be required. The position is part-time (30 hours per week) and the salary is $28,000 to $30,000 per year.

Responsibilities include overseeing all aspects of the PW Delivers Arranged Delivery Project; designing palm cards, post-cards, and other marketing materials; developing and maintaining the delivery schedule for low use mobile RV sites; conducting community outreach to service providers who work with IDUs to promote arranged delivery service; developing and maintaining a system for IDUs to access arranged delivery service; working with evaluators to implement data collection tools/strategies to measure client-level outcomes; developing a Arranged Delivery Project protocols and procedures manual and updating it as needed; driving the Arranged Delivery vehicle and ensuring proper maintenance and upkeep regularly; supervising and evaluating a SEP Arranged Delivery Outreach Worker; participating in supervision and agency staff meetings on a regular basis [to be determined by supervisor]; maintaining harm reduction supplies and tracking monthly and annual distribution of supplies; preparing monthly reports and completing documentation as needed for planning; attending relevant trainings and performing their duties as assigned.

Qualifications include a Bachelors degree in public health, social sciences, or equivalent experience in related field (required); demonstrated ability and/or commitment to working effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds; excellent attention to detail, self-motivation, ability to work independently, as well as part of a team and strong organizational skills; experience and/or ability to work with community agencies, particularly those providing HIV and HCV services; and a valid DL and clean driving record (required).

To apply, please e-mail a cover letter, resume, and 3 work references with subject line "SEP ADC" to [email protected]. Job applications are available at 1816 14th St., NW, Washington, DC, 20009 [Rear Entrance]. Resumes will be accepted until the position is filled.

Community Liaison

The Community Liaison works with the Executive Director and other key staff to increase awareness of, and support for, syringe access and other harm reduction services for out-of-treatment injection/non-injection drug users living with or at greatest risk for HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Some evening and/or weekend work will be required. The position is full-time and the salary is $34,000 to $36,000 per year.

Responsibilities include networking with local elected leaders, community members, neighborhood groups, services providers, and government agencies; developing, coordinating, and maintaining an agency consumer advisory panel; coordinating and helping to administer the Partners for Change in Drug Treatment [P4C] advocacy group; expanding and strengthening relationships with key service providers to promote agency activities; collaborating with the Harm Reduction Services Manager to assess potential new service sites; attending and reporting back on meetings, health fairs, and community events; attending trainings to maintain information updates on relevant issues; preparing monthly reports and completing documentation as needed for planning; participating in supervision and staff meetings on a regular basis; and performing other duties as assigned.

Qualifications include a Bachelors degree in communications, public relations, public health, or a related field (required); strong communication skills and the ability to work independently or as part of a team; demonstrated ability in working effectively with people from diverse backgrounds (strongly desired); excellent attention to detail, self-motivation, and strong organizational skills. The ideal candidate will have local DL and a vehicle.

To apply, please e-mail a cover letter, resume, and 3 work references with subject line "Community Liaison" to [email protected]. Job applications are available at 1816 14th St., NW, Washington, DC, 20009 [Rear Entrance]. Resumes will be accepted until the position is filled.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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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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 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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Resource: Reformer's Calendar Accessible Through DRCNet Web Site

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.

  • Visit each day and you'll see a listing of upcoming events in the page's right-hand column with the number of days remaining until the next several events coming up and a link to more.

  • Check our new online calendar section at to view all of them by month, week or a range of different views.
  • We request and invite you to submit your event listings directly on our web site. Note that our new system allows you to post not only a short description as we currently do, but also the entire text of your announcement.

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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