Drug War Chronicle #517 - January 4, 2008

1. Feature: What We Will Be Watching at Drug War Chronicle in 2008

It's a new year, but there are lots of ongoing issues for the Chronicle to cover. Here's a look at what we think we'll be writing about in 2008.

2. Editorial: The Drug War Has Many Constants, But is No Constant

Some of the drug war's issues are bitter constants. But when the time is ripe, the changes we are working for will come to be.

3. Appeal: DRCNet Made Amazing Progress in 2007 and We Need Your Help for 2008

An outline of DRCNet's plans and recent accomplishments and an appeal for your support to make it all happen.

4. 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!

5. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Traffickers Are Hiring Flat-chested Women to Smuggle Drugs in Their Bras, "Texas Cop Says 'Put Addicts in Jail Where They Belong,'" "New Deputy Drug Czar: 'We Have One Year Left,'" "FOX News Bars Drug Policy Discussion From the Republican Debates by Excluding Ron Paul," "You Can't Protect the Children's Futures by Putting Them in Jail for Marijuana."

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

A crooked Florida cop seeks a sentence cut, and two more jail guards get in trouble.

7. Pain Medicine: Emergency Room Doctors More Likely to Prescribe Opioids to Whites Than Minorities

If you're in pain at a hospital emergency room, you're more likely to get the medication you need if you're white, a new study has found.

8. Marijuana: Despite Law Allowing Ticketing for Pot Possession, Most Texas Counties Still Arrest

The Texas legislature last year gave local law enforcement the option of ticketing misdemeanor marijuana offenders instead of arresting them, but only Travis County has gone for it.

9. Harm Reduction: DC Quick to Move After Congress Lifts Needle Exchange Funding Ban

Less than two weeks after Congress finally removed a decade-old ban on the District of Columbia using its own money to fund needle exchanges, District officials announced they would spend $650,000 to expand existing program and start new ones.

10. Europe: British Police Chief Stirs Controversy With Claims That Drugs Will Be Legal in Ten Years, Ecstasy Is Safer Than Aspirin

North Wales Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom is at it again. The veteran critic of drug prohibition has stirred up a hornet's nest with his latest comments, including one that ecstasy is "safer than aspirin."

11. Death Penalty: Iran, Vietnam Ring In New Year With More Executions, Death Sentences

Iran rang in the new year by hanging three drug offenders, and Vietnam sentenced eight more to die.

12. Weekly: This Week in History

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

13. 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.

14. 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!

15. 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.

16. 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. Feature: What We Will Be Watching at Drug War Chronicle in 2008

Phillip S. Smith, Writer Editor

Phil Smith
Last week Drug War Chronicle wrapped up the year with a summary of the top ten drug war stories of 2007. Now it's a new year, and a time to look ahead. When it comes to drug policy reform, there is not that much new on the horizon, but there is a whole lot of unfinished business and lots of longstanding issues to be resolved. Much of what we will be covering will be about these all-too-familiar issues, but not all of it. While, like other media, much of our coverage is driven by what comes in over the newswire, we will also be undertaking some special reporting. And, of course, this being an election year means there will be lots of politics to cover as well. Here are 10 major issues/events/countries we will be paying special attention to in 2008:

The Election Campaign

The national elections will be a major story all year long. Democrats appear poised to take back the White House and strengthen their majorities in the House and Senate. But what would that mean for drug policy reform and how much of a role -- if any -- will it play in the primary and general election campaigns? We will be watching and reporting on drug policy in the national election campaign throughout the year -- whether it is Democratic primary contenders lining up on medical marijuana or Republicans trying to out-tough each other on meth; whether it's Mike Huckabee talking about redemption or Hillary Clinton talking about why crack sentencing retroactivity isn't a good thing; whether it's Ron Paul saying "legalize it" or John Edwards declining to. Will the Republicans attempt to attack the Democrats as "soft on drugs"? Will the Democrats scuttle away from drug reform if they do? Stay tuned. What about House and Senate races? We'll be watching those, too.

Ballot Initiatives

It won't be just candidates running in November. Michigan is poised to become the first medical marijuana state in the Midwest, and a signature-gathering campaign for an Arizona medical marijuana initiative effort is about to get underway. We will be reporting on these campaigns during 2008, as well whatever (if any) medical marijuana-related initiatives activists in Oregon decide to put on the ballot and, on the other side of the issue, the effort to gut the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act in a possible initiative organized by self-styled Oregon crime fighters. Meanwhile, a marijuana decriminalization initiative will be on the ballot in Massachusetts, and we'll be reporting on that and any other initiatives that pop up as well.

Drug Reform in Congress

With the Democrats in control of Congress for a second year, will drug policy reform fare any better than it did during the first year? There was some movement last year, but not much, and the Democrats barely have a majority in this election year. We will be tracking the progress (or not) of congressional issues such as the Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment, the bills to reduce the crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity, and funding for foreign anti-drug adventures, among others. But, as we saw this year, Democratic control on Capitol Hill also means hearings, a key prerequisite to action. We will also be keeping an eye on who is pushing for hearings, and who isn't, and on which issues.

Medical Marijuana

The one drug policy reform effort that seems to have developed real traction is medical marijuana. Last year, bills were introduced in some 20 states, but only made it all the way through the process in New Mexico and Rhode Island, where an existing medical marijuana law was made permanent. We expect renewed efforts to win passage of medical marijuana bills in most of the states that saw action last year, as well as some others that didn't. This year, we should pick up at least a couple more states and perhaps as many as a half-dozen. We'll be following the statehouse action on all these bills.

California: The Special Case

California is a world apart. It has the broadest medical marijuana law, it has hundreds of dispensaries, it has DEA raids and federal prosecutions, it has local jurisdictions grappling with medical marijuana issues, and it has one-tenth of the whole country's population. Is California the wave of the future? Is it sliding into de facto personal legalization as a result of the medical marijuana law, and if so, is that a bad thing? Is it move over, Amsterdam; move over, Vancouver; here comes the San Fernando Valley? The situation in the Golden State is complex and rapidly evolving in directions no one can easily predict. Certainly, events there will make the news here this year.

Who Profits from Prohibition?

Drug prohibition has palpably failed on its own terms. Despite decades of drug war and hundreds of billions of dollars, a substantial portion of the population continues to use drugs and will do so into the foreseeable future. Drug prohibition has also brought all sorts of unintended consequences, from funding political violence to street-corner shootouts among competing dealers to stuffing our prisons way past full and on and on. Yet prohibition not only remains, but remains nearly unchallenged. Why? Clearly, there are lots of people deeply concerned about drug use, but just as clearly, there have emerged institutional interests, both public and private, that benefit from the drug policy status quo. In what will be a continuing series throughout the year, we will be looking at those interests, how they benefit, and how they influence policy. Among them: The drug testing industry, the drug treatment industry, the drug dog industry, law enforcement, and prison designers, builders, and contractors. Do you have suggestions for others? Send me an email.

Drug Policy and the Undertreatment of Pain

For several years now, the Chronicle has episodically covered the plight of pain patients and doctors, as well as the broader issues surrounding the treatment of pain in a drug prohibition regime. This year, we will be digging deeper into the issue, not only here in the US, but also abroad, particularly in the poorer countries of the third world, where the use of opioid pain relievers is at dramatically lower levels than in the wealthy developed nations. We'll be looking at the role of the global drug prohibition regime and opiophobia, as well as examining other factors, such as poverty or the structural effects of global drug regulation, that could also factor in to perpetuating this state of affairs. What about those proposals to divert Afghan poppy crops to the legitimate medicinal market? Could they help? Look for Chronicle reports on these issues this year.

Afghanistan: War and Poppies

And speaking of Afghanistan, this is a story that is not going away this year, or anytime in the foreseeable future. Last year was the bloodiest since the US invasion six years ago as more US and NATO troops were killed than ever, along with thousands of Taliban insurgents and Afghan civilians. It was also the largest poppy crop ever, with Afghanistan now having a virtual choke-hold on the global opium market. The top US general there this week predicted this year's poppy crop will be even larger. The US government is tying itself in knots trying to figure out how to respond, and meanwhile, the Taliban, corrupt Afghan government functionaries, and drug traders are all growing fat off the profits. Drugs, counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, and nation-building are all at play in Afghanistan, and there is a lot at stake. Stay tuned.

Mexico: Drug War to the South

Drug prohibition-related violence in Mexico has been spinning out of control, with the death toll mounting year after year. Last year, incoming President Felipe Calderon called out the Mexican army, and now, 2,500 deaths, thousands of arrests, and hundreds of seizures later, the drug trade appears unaffected. Still, Washington is happy with Calderon's aggressive approach and appears set to approve a $1.4 billion, multi-year anti-drug aid package known pejoratively as Plan Mexico. Meanwhile, drug use levels are rising in Mexico, drug crop production continues unabated, and that Colombian cocaine keeps on coming through on its way to the insatiable markets north of the Rio Grande. Just a few weeks from now, Drug War Chronicle will do an extended tour of Mexico, most likely starting on the border in the Rio Grande Valley, then down to Mexico City, on to the drug-producing states of Guerrero and Sinaloa, and up the Pacific Coast, ending up on the border in Tijuana. Look for blogging and in-depth reports during that trip, as well as more coverage throughout the year.

The International Scene: Drug Policy on the Agenda

Drug policy will be on the agenda at both the United Nations and the European Union this year. The UN will meet in a General Assembly Special Session in Vienna to discuss the success of the previous 10-year anti-drug strategy and work on the next, while the EU will be attempting to come up with a second five-year plan as part of its 2005-2012 EU Drug Strategy. The first five-year plan ends this year. Also, long-term drug strategies will be on the plates of policymakers in Britain and Canada. We will be watching and reporting on all of this.

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2. Editorial: The Drug War Has Many Constants, But is No Constant

David Borden, Executive Director

David Borden
Phil gave us a preview this week of what he guesses are likely to be Drug War Chronicle's top stories of 2008. As he also pointed out, though, some issues are constant.

One such issue, simultaneously mundane (due to its omnipresence) and spectacular (also due to omnipresence) is that of police corruption driven by the profits and other incentives created by drug prohibition. Out of the 50 issues we published last year, 46 of them include "this week's corrupt cops stories" reports, and three of the four off weeks were when Phil was traveling in Peru and Bolivia. Expect prohibition to corrupt our nation's institutions, as well as those of other countries and global institutions, non-stop until drugs are legalized.

Another issue is that of street prices for purchasing illegal drugs, a barometer albeit flawed of the impact of the drug war. The theory is that by attacking the source of drugs, by doing interdiction and by arresting dealers, the supply of drugs will be reduced and their price will increase, in turn reducing demand. The issue came up last year when the drug czar's office had the chutzpah to brag about an "unprecedented" increase in cocaine prices in 2007 compared to 2006. As analysts pointed out in response, it's not unprecedented -- it's not unprecedented at all, that was literally an outright lie -- and most importantly such increases have been utterly overwhelmed by the price decreases that occurred during most years. As I pointed out in an editorial last fall, in real terms the average street price of cocaine in the US has fallen by a whopping factor of five since the early 1980s when the price-tracking program was established. Expect the drug war to continue to fail to achieve its promised results -- even when measured on its own terms -- until the drug war is ended.

Speaking of the drug czar's office -- formally known as the Office of National Drug Control Policy, or ONDCP, a branch of the White House -- 2007 saw the publication of a revealing book detailing a stunning array of misrepresentations of facts and stats by ONDCP in its annual reports over the past several years. Thankfully -- and uncharacteristically -- mainstream media outlets including NPR and the Washington Post called ONDCP on their coke scam. Sadly, it was only one of the propaganda ploys ONDCP has pulled since the exposé book hit the shelves last March. As the agency's new deputy director pointed out this week, the current administration's team has "one more year" to go on the job. I doubt the next administration's team will be much better, regardless of who wins the election, but you never know. If Bill Clinton's longest-serving drug czar is an indicator, they won't be.

The drug war's most constant circumstances are also its most tragic: the prisoner's dreary day in and day out behind bars; the patient's pain, day in and day out, from denial of medicine; the despair of the child growing up in a poverty-blighted neighborhood plagued by drug trade violence. Our duty is to remember the quiet victims of prohibition, every day; to tell their stories to any and all who will hear them; to match the drug war's cruelty with constant work and constant compassion and constant hope.

When the time is ripe, the changes we are working for will come to be. And that will really be the top story of the year.

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3. Appeal: DRCNet Made Amazing Progress in 2007 and We Need Your Help for 2008

Dear DRCNet reader:

StoptheDrugWar.org (DRCNet) is at a very interesting and promising point, and I am writing to seek your support for our organization at this time. In brief, first, and then in more depth:

  1. We have enormously increased our web site visitation, with most of the increase being new people who don't read about drug policy or legalization on a regular basis. We have achieved this by capturing an audience share on the popular "Web 2.0" sites like Digg.com where readers nominate and vote on which articles should go to "the top," the only drug reform group to achieve this success on an ongoing basis.
  2. We have taken concrete steps to expand the range of issues in which we actively do advocacy including: the explosive issue of the overuse of SWAT raids in drug cases with the sometimes deadly consequences (visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/policeraids for further information); the penalties for drug offenders and their families in welfare and public housing law, expanding the major coalition we've already built on the similar college aid law; and continued work on the college aid law. Initial steps have been taken to engage the Afghanistan opium issue as well.
  3. We have expanded our public education efforts on the drug prohibition/legalization question itself, with more on the way (http://stopthedrugwar.org/legalization).
  4. We have continued the most important aspects of our program from before, including the Drug War Chronicle newsletter, and our leveraging of our programs to benefit the work of other groups.
  5. Further site work in the short- and medium- term pipeline should have additional major effects.


As you may know from emails I've sent to the list, our web site underwent a major redesign during the summer of 2006, plus an expansion of our publishing (adding the daily content model – blogging, latest news links, daily posting of announcements and releases and so forth from other organizations) commenced in Sept. '06. The immediate result was a substantial increase in our site traffic, with a gradual increase in traffic continuing most of the time for the next several months.

Around August last year, things started "going wild," with high profile links to DRCNet beginning to appear on major web sites, and more and more often ever since. We literally have had to have our server upgraded twice in order to handle the traffic, and are now negotiating a third upgrade. The chart appearing to the right, unique hosts by month on StoptheDrugWar.org (an estimate for the number of people), illustrates the trend.

I hope you'll agree that we are in a seriously different place now than before. To provide a flavor for how (in part) this has been accomplished, we here list "big hits" that StoptheDrugWar.org has had since fall 2006 – "big hits" defined as articles getting 4,000 "reads" or more. (These numbers were last updated on Nov. 26, so there have been new "big hits," as well as increases in the totals for the articles listed, especially the most recent.) The key point is not just how many times our stories have gone "big," but how much more often it is happening now compared with a year or more ago. Here they are:

9/29/2006 Feature: Colorado Marijuana Legalization Initiative Trails, But the Fight Is On (7,013 reads) 9/29/2006 Feature: Nevada Marijuana Initiative Organizers See Tight But Winnable Race Going Into Final Stretch (5,155 reads) 12/15/2006 Feature: Clamor Grows for Freedom for Texas Marijuana Prisoner Tyrone Brown (20,190 reads) 2/5/2007 Feature: The Conviction That Keeps On Hurting -- Drug Offenders and Federal Benefits (4,570 reads) 2/16/2007 The Anti-Dobbs: Winning the War Within Through Drug Legalization (5,781 reads) 2/23/2007 Drug War Chronicle Book Review: "Lies, Damned Lies, and Drug War Statistics: A Critical Analysis of Claims Made by the Office of National Drug Control Policy," by Matthew Robinson and Renee Scherlen (13,143 reads between two copies) 3/23/2007 Feature: "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" Free Speech Case Goes to the Supreme Court (4,354 reads) 4/13/2007 Feature: The War on Salvia Divinorum Heats Up (15,180 reads) 4/25/2007 ONDCP Admits Exaggerating Marijuana Potency (10,589 reads) 5/25/2007 Middle East: Opium Poppies Flower Again in Iraq (5,356 reads) 5/25/2007 Feature: Border Blues -- Canada, US Both Bar People Who Used Drugs -- Ever (4,046 reads) 6/1/2007 Medical Marijuana: Rhode Island Bill Passes With Veto-Proof Majorities (11,959 reads) 6/8/2007 Feature: Canadian Mom Searching for Missing Daughter Denied Entry to US Over 21-Year-Old Drug Conviction (8,754 reads) 6/25/2007 Justices Stevens, Souter, & Ginsburg: Drug Policy Reform Sympathizers? (8,050 reads) 6/28/2007 Editorial: Two Good Reasons to Want to Legalize Drugs (6,185 reads) 7/10/2007 Rudy Giuliani Hates Medical Marijuana, But He Loves OxyContin (15,090 reads) 7/26/2007 Analysis: Who Voted for Medical Marijuana This Time? Breakdown by Vote, Party, and Changes from '06 (7,227 reads between two copies) 7/30/2007 San Francisco Orders Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to Sell Fatter Bags (7,438 reads) 8/2/2007 New Study: Marijuana Does Not Cause Psychosis, Lung Damage, or Skin Cancer (49,721 reads) 8/6/2007 Press Release: Marijuana Dealers Offer Schwarzenegger One Billion Dollars (72,302 reads) 8/6/2007 Marijuana Dealers Offer Schwarzenegger One Billion Dollars (48,654 reads) 8/14/2007 Police Often Lack Basic Knowledge About Marijuana (21,612 reads) 8/15/2007 Who's Planting All That Pot in the Woods? (6,694 reads) 8/23/2007 Drug War Prisoners: 86-Year-Old Alva Mae Groves Dies Behind Bars (6,821 reads) 8/30/2007 Drug Testing Encourages Cocaine, Heroin, and Meth Use (20,291 reads) 9/26/2007 Why Do Police Really Oppose Marijuana Legalization? (20,994 reads) 10/5/2007 McCain and Giuliani Say Terrible Things to a Medical Marijuana Patient (39,636 reads) 10/10/2007 The Truth About Why Republican Candidates Oppose Medical Marijuana (4,801 reads) 10/16/2007 Digg & Reddit Users Want to Legalize Marijuana (16,576 reads) 10/22/2007 DEA Director Resigns, Says She Had an Awesome Time (11,182 reads) 10/24/2007 This Man Receives 300 Marijuana Joints a Month From the Federal Government (40,075 reads) 10/31/2007 Cowards: Democratic Front-Runners Reject Marijuana Law Reform (6,608 reads) 11/2/2007 Feature: Can Medical Marijuana Cost You Your Kid? In California, It Can (15,105 reads) 11/5/2007 Drug Scare: Kids in Florida are Getting High by Sniffing Feces (7,797 reads) 11/13/2007 Marijuana Evolves Faster Than Human Beings (27,144 reads) 11/23/2007 John McCain's Awful Response to a Cop Who Wants to End the Drug War (34,950 reads) 11/23/2007 Feature: On the Anniversary of Kathryn Johnston's Death, Poll Finds Most Americans Oppose Use of SWAT-Style Tactics in Routine Drug Raids (7,183 reads)


As mentioned briefly above, we have begun our first foray into the explosive issue of the overuse of SWAT teams in low-level drug enforcement, the kind of practice that led to the killing of 93-year-old Kathryn Johnston in Atlanta last year. In October we commissioned a set of polling questions (our first) in a likely voter poll conducted by the Zogby firm. One of them asked if police should use aggressive entry tactics in non-emergency situations. (The text of the question, which recounted the Johnston tragedy and listed a few specific tactics, along with other info about the issue including extensive recommendations of how policy should change appears on our web site at http://stopthedrugwar.org/policeraids, and our Chronicle article about it appears at http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/511/two_thirds_oppose_SWAT_raids_kat... – it has continued to get traffic since the data compilation listed above, and now has almost 10,000 reads.) We got 66% of respondents on our side, including a majority of conservative and very conservative voters, politically a strong result.

There's a lot more to say about our issue expansion and our activist plans in the raids issue -- please email David Borden at [email protected] for further info.


Another question included in the aforementioned Zogby poll asked, "If hard drugs like heroin or cocaine were legalized, would you be likely to use them?" A mere 0.6% of respondents answered yes. While the poll should be thought of as more qualitative as quantitative -- people don't always predict their future behavior accurately -- the results clearly show that almost all Americans have strong reasons for not wanting to use these drugs that are not limited to the laws against them. Therefore the prohibitionists' specter of massive increases in addiction and social implosion following legalization isn't a sound assumption to make.

The web page http://stopthedrugwar.org/legalization presents this result, as well as links to our many "consequences of prohibition" news category feeds. We have also had video footage from our 2003 Latin American legalization conference formatted for the popular YouTube web site, so that people can run the videos from their own web sites. Videos available so far are linked from the same legalization main page. A major component of our strategy is the idea of promoting the voices of respected leaders who are pro-legalization, in order to use the persuasiveness of their reputations to shift public opinion. With the web site successes of the past several months, and certain technical issues being addressed by a web site designer over the next couple of months, we will also soon be launching our VIP blogger series, also fitting into this strategy. Other publishing is on the way too.


One of the particularly gratifying aspects of our web site success is that at times we have been able to bring other groups along with us. By this I refer primarily to the use of YouTube video – as mentioned above, a way that different web sites can easily present the same video clips without having to host copies of the footage on their own servers. Among our "big hits" articles are blog posts running video footage from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (one of their speakers posing a tough question to John McCain that he answers in an unbelievable way), the DrugTruth Network (an interview conducted during the NORML conference with federally legal medical marijuana patient Irv Rosenfeld), and MPP's "Granite Staters" New Hampshire presidential candidates and medical marijuana campaign. YouTube's stats indicate that roughly a third of the people visiting our web pages running these videos actually click to watch the videos (though after a certain amount of time the YouTube stats start omitting older data).

The stats also indicate that our relative effectiveness for getting out the drug reform message in terms of number of people can actually be greater than the most widely visited web sites that cover lots of different issues. For example, of the 36,000+ readers we had on the aforementioned John McCain story, nearly 13,000 clicked to watch the video itself, accounting for more than half of the total views the video has gotten. An article about the encounter on the widely-read Huffington Post blog, by contrast, garnered not quite 1,400 views for the video. Our post with the Irv Rosenfeld video on DrugTruth, and our post featuring outrageous McCain and Giuliani footage responding to a medical marijuana patient with Granite Staters, both have garnered over 40,000 reads. Hence, our cooperative approach of promoting the work of other organizations has extended to the new web site format, and we are thereby in some cases getting them a lot of exposure.

Here are a few of the testimonials we've received recently for how readers put the Chronicle to use:

I read Drug War Chronicle assiduously to be up to date on the failing drug war.
- Gustavo de Greiff, former attorney general of Colombia, chair of Latin American drug reform network REFORMA

As LEAP [Law Enforcement Against Prohibition]'s representative in Washington, DC I read without fail the weekly Drug War Chronicle and have for years. This allows me to quickly and without wasted time know what events and people are shaping policy. To date I have met with staffers from half of the 535 offices on Capitol Hill. Years of reading the Chronicle have made me informed and able to speak knowledgeably on all facets of the New Prohibition. It is an invaluable tool I use constantly.
- Officer Howard J. Wooldridge (Retired)

The Drug War Chronicle is the first place I send people who want to know more about what is going on in drug policy today.
- Tyler Smith, Associate Director, Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative

I'm an award-winning investigative journalist. I've heard about things on DRCNet that I then turned into articles for the likes of Rolling Stone and Wired magazines.
- Vince Beiser

Drug War Chronicle is useful for me and my staff to keep us up to date on issues around drug policy and practice. We hear from hundreds of DC prisoners caught up in this nightmare and have little time to keep current on the issues you report on.
- Philip Fornaci, Director, D.C. Prisoners' Project, Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

I find Drug War Chronicle very helpful in doing grassroots activism. I serve on my county's Substance Abuse Advisory Board and Substance Abuse Prevention Association and as the community co-chair for the Washington State HIV Prevention Planning Group. I have used information from Drug War Chronicle to bring others in my community to recognize the need for drug policy reform. As a member of the Substance Abuse Advisory Board I have been able to circulate materials to all members of county government.
- Monte Levine

I host a weekly radio program where we discuss issues related to the failed war on drugs and the prison industrial complex. We use the DRCNet as a resource every week. DRCNet makes this activism work so much easier, by providing a resource that is accessible, not only as a tool for research, but as an interpreter in this political world. Occasionally, a guest will need to cancel at the last minute. This hazard is part of live radio, and our way of being prepared is to have the DRCNet information in hand, ready to share with listeners.
- Sharon North, Shattered Lives Radio, KZFR, 90.1 FM, Chico, CA.

Here in the Netherlands we use a lot of your paper to write our own monthly "war in drugs journal" made by the Legalize! Foundation.
- Has Cornelissen, Stichting Legalize!

I use stories from Drug War Chronicle to lead high school juniors and seniors in an on-going inquiry into the Drug War as a model of failed public policy. DWC enables me to track current issues, update my materials, and stay connected to the drug policy reform community so I can continue my work of developing in young people a deep and critical understanding of the world in which they are coming of age.
- Jeanne Polk Barr, Chair, History Dept., Francis W. Parker School, Chicago

I am editor of The Liberator Online, a libertarian email newsletter. With almost 70,000 readers, it is as far as we know the largest-circulation libertarian publication of any kind. It is published by the Advocates for Self-Government, a non-profit non-partisan libertarian educational organization. I use Drug War Chronicle and DRCNet as a source for information on Drug War-related issues of interest to our readers. In fact, we have a story based on a DWC item (Sen. Mike Gravel's support for drug law reform) in our current issue.

I used information in an article to help form a scholarship for those convicted of a drug crime who have lost federal funding for school. Now, we are aiming to expand the scholarship to other universities and community colleges. Thanks for your help!


Plans in the works for StoptheDrugWar.org have the potential to achieve as much for the site's reach and impact as the work already done has achieved. Along with some needed improvements and fixes to our logon, commenting, and list subscription frameworks, we will be executing major improvements to how we promote our material to the aforementioned "Web 2.0" sites that have driven so much traffic to our site already. Right now, we are only doing a good job of promoting our material to the site Digg, and only for our blog posts. Our minor redesign will make the Digg links on our pages more prominent, will add them to our Drug War Chronicle pages and elsewhere, and will add links to promote articles to other important sites where we've had some success already, like Stumbleupon, Reddit and Netscape. This is a logical extension of a strategy that has already been very successful.

Plans are also underway to dramatically expand the background information we have available on all the different drug policy issues, using the technology available through our web site system to present it in some pretty powerful ways. (Here again, more later.)

I hope you can tell from the foregoing how excited we are about the state of DRCNet's work at this juncture, and how important we feel it is to continue to push forward at full strength. With your continued support, we will build on our successes reaching wider online audiences. We will take on the explosive issue of reckless police raids. We will expand the coalition opposing the college aid drug conviction penalty to include the similar laws in welfare and public housing. We will get the message out about the urgent need for legalization and the impressive people who support that viewpoint. We will continue to publish Drug War Chronicle to empower activists throughout the drug policy reform movement, and to educate the media, policymakers and the general public. And we will put in place new, important sections of our web site to increase the reach and impact of our educational work even further. Thank you for your support and for being part of the cause.


David Borden, Executive Director

P.S. Contributions of $50 or more can be credited toward our first (not-yet-selected) book premiums of 2008. (You'll need to remind us after we send out the upcoming premium announcements.) Remember that tax-deductible donations should be made payable to DRCNet Foundation. (The amount that is deductible will be reduced by the retail price of any gift(s) you select.) Non-deductible donations for our lobbying work should be made payable to Drug Reform Coordination Network.

P.P.S. In case you would like to donate at this time, I am providing the information here for your convenience: DRCNet Foundation (for tax-deductible donations supporting our educational work) or Drug Reform Coordination Network (for non-deductible donations supporting our lobbying work), P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, or http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate online. (Contact us if you'd like information on donating stock.)

P.P.P.S. Please feel free to call us at (202) 293-8340 if you'd like to discuss any of our programs or have other questions or concerns.

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4. 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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5. 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 brings us: "Traffickers Are Hiring Flat-chested Women to Smuggle Drugs in Their Bras", "Texas Cop Says 'Put Addicts in Jail Where They Belong,'" "New Deputy Drug Czar: 'We Have One Year Left,'" "FOX News Bars Drug Policy Discussion From the Republican Debates by Excluding Ron Paul" and "You Can't Protect the Children's Futures by Putting Them in Jail for Marijuana."

David Guard posts numerous press releases, action alerts and other organizational announcements in the In the Trenches blog.

Please join us in the Reader Blogs too.

Thanks for reading, and writing...

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

A crooked Florida cop seeks a sentence cut, and two more jail guards get in trouble. Let's get to it:

In Miami, a former Hollywood police sergeant convicted in a drug sting is seeking a sentence cut. Former officer Jeff Courtney, one of four Hollywood officers convicted in an operation where FBI agents posed as heroin dealers, is seeking a three-year reduction in his nine-year sentence. US attorneys agreed, saying he offered "substantial assistance" to prosecutors and should be rewarded. Courtney and fellow officers Sgt. Kevin Companion, Detective Thomas Simcox and Officer Stephen Harrison were arrested in February after admitting they helped protect a 10-kilogram shipment of heroin for the FBI agents, who were posing as mobsters. All four pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to possess and distribute more than a kilogram of heroin and all are doing between nine and 14 years.

In Florence, Arizona, a Pinal County Sheriff's Office jail guard was indicted December 27 for conspiracy to take contraband into a correctional facility and conspiracy to transport and/or sell marijuana. Jose Dolores Felix, 45, has been transferred to the Maricopa County Jail and placed on unpaid administrative leave.

In Reed City, Michigan, an Osceola County special prosecutor is pondering charges against a jail guard after he admitted stealing and using prescription drugs intended for inmates. The officer, whose name has been withheld pending formal charges, was arrested December 27 after confessing to the misdeed to investigators from the Michigan Sheriffs' Association. The Osceola County Sheriff's Department contacted the state organization to investigate after it noticed pills were missing. [Ed: Another case where the question needs to be asked, corruption or desperation? More facts than were reported are needed to know for sure.]

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7. Pain Medicine: Emergency Room Doctors More Likely to Prescribe Opioids to Whites Than Minorities

A new study has found that while emergency room prescribing of opioid pain medications for ER patients complaining of pain has increased in recent years, doctors are less likely to prescribe them for minority patients than white ones. Even in cases where patients complain of severe pain, such as kidney stones, the difference holds.

The study, "Trends in Opioid Prescribing by Race/Ethnicity for Patients Seeking Care in US Emergency Departments," was published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It analyzed more than 150,000 ER visits between 1993 and 2005 and found racial differences in prescribing in all US regions, in both urban and rural hospitals, and for all types of pain.

The study found that the prescribing of drugs for pain in the ER rose during the period in question, from 23% of those complaining of pain in 1993 to 37% in 2005. That increase reflects increased understanding of the necessity of pain management by physicians. Now, doctors in accredited hospitals must ask patients about pain, just as they monitor vital signs. But while prescribing is on the increase, the racial divide remains.

According to the study, 31% of white patients in pain were prescribed opioids, compared to 28% of Asians, 24% of Hispanics, and 23% of blacks. When it comes to the severe pain related to kidney stones, whites got opioids 72% of the time, compared to 68% for Hispanics, 67% for Asians, and only 56% for blacks.

"The gaps between whites and nonwhites have not appeared to close at all," said study coauthor Dr. Mark Pletcher of the University of California, San Francisco.

Researchers are looking for reasons for the discrepancy. Pletcher suggested to the Associated Press that minority patients "may be less likely to keep complaining about their pain or feel they deserve good pain control."

Linda Simoni-Wastila of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Pharmacy told the AP the findings could reveal some doctors' suspicions that minority patients could be drug abusers lying about pain to get narcotics. She said that according to her own research, blacks are the least likely group to abuse prescription drugs.

The study's authors suggested that the finding could indicate either that doctors are less likely to see signs of pain reliever abuse in white patients or that they are underrating pain in minority patients. Whatever the reason, it seems that the racial injustice associated with drug prohibition reaches even into the emergency room.

"It's time to move past describing disparities and work on narrowing them," Dr. Thomas Fisher, an emergency room doctor at the University of Chicago Medical Center who was not involved in the study, told the AP. Fisher, who is black, said that even he needed to be careful not to let subconscious assumptions inappropriately influence his prescribing decisions. "If anybody argues they have no social biases that sway clinical practice, they have not been thoughtful about the issue or they're not being honest with themselves," he said.

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8. Marijuana: Despite Law Allowing Ticketing for Pot Possession, Most Texas Counties Still Arrest

Thanks to a new state law that went into effect on September 1, law enforcement agencies in Texas now have the option of simply ticketing misdemeanor marijuana possession offenders instead of arresting them. The law, which also applies to a handful of other misdemeanor offenses, was designed to alleviate chronic overcrowding in Texas jails and make better use of police resources. However, almost no one in Texas is taking advantage of it.

According to a report this week in the Dallas Morning News, only the Travis County (Austin) Sheriff's Department is ticketing instead of arresting misdemeanor marijuana offenders. Officials in Dallas, Tarrant (Fort Worth), and Collin (suburban Dallas) counties gave varying reasons for failing to implement the cost-saving measure, ranging from "system inadequacies" to the belief it will "send the wrong message" about marijuana use.

"It may... lead some people to believe that drug use is no more serious than double parking," Collin County prosecutor Greg Davis told the Morning News.

"I think the legislature was very sensitive to the fact that there are so many jails that are overcrowded," said Terri Moore, Dallas County's first assistant district attorney. "This was a great idea, but it raises a lot more questions that we are not ready to answer."

"These are not just tickets. These are crimes that need to be appropriately dealt with," said Ron Stretcher, Dallas County's director of criminal justice. "We want to make sure we get them back to court to stand trial. It's not about emptying the jail. It's about making sure that we have room in the jail for the people who need to be there," he said.

But the Travis County Sheriff's Department said merely ticketing marijuana offenders was smart policy. "There are folks that think we are being soft on crime because we are just giving tickets. We are still hard on crime," said spokesman Roger Wade. "We believe if we can save resources and have the same effect on crime, then we should take advantage of this."

Prosecutors in north Texas counties also cited the lack of a system for dealing with misdemeanor tickets. But that seems pretty feeble.

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9. Harm Reduction: DC Quick to Move After Congress Lifts Needle Exchange Funding Ban

Officials from the District of Columbia announced Wednesday that the District government will invest $650,000 in needle exchange programs. The move comes less than two weeks after Congress passed an appropriations bill relaxing a decade-old ban on the District using even its money to fund such programs.

PreventionWorks at work (screen shot from recent nytimes.com '''slide show,'' June '07)
Mayor Adrian Fenty and several city council members made the announcement at a press conference at the headquarters of PreventionWorks!, a DC needle exchange program that had heretofore existed on only private funding. Now, it will get $300,000 in city funds. Public funding for needle exchange would help reduce the number of new HIV infections in the city, they said.

"This program goes to best practices to combat one of our greatest health problems," Fenty said at the news conference. Given the high prevalence of HIV in the District, "everyone should be concerned," he said. "HIV and AIDS are such well-known public health problems in the District of Columbia that people understand we have to have programs and services in the neighborhoods," the mayor said.

The rest of the $650,000 will go to fund additional needle exchange programs throughout the city, he said.

It is money well spent, said DC Councilmember David Catania (I-At Large), chairman of the Committee on Health. "The cost of infection is immeasurably higher in terms of dollars and lives," he said.

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10. Europe: British Police Chief Stirs Controversy With Claims That Drugs Will Be Legal in Ten Years, Ecstasy Is Safer Than Aspirin

Richard Brunstrom, the Chief Constable of North Wales, has created a firestorm with comments made to the BBC that drug legalization is both desirable and inevitable and that ecstasy is "safer than aspirin." In response, anti-drug campaigners, politicians, and elements of the British tabloid press are calling for his head.

Richard Brunstrom
"I think that the legalization and subsequent regulation of proscribed drugs is now inevitable, and I think it's ten years away, not ten months away," Brunstrom told BBC's Today program. "It has already happened in for instance Portugal, a full member of the European Union, which decriminalized under the existing international treaties. The same sort of thing is being talked about across the world."

Drug prohibition had proven its futility, Brunstrom argued. "We're still causing something like £20bn worth of damage to our society every year," he said. "More than half of all recorded crime is caused by people feeding a drugs habit. The government wants evidence-based policy; the evidence is very clear that prohibition doesn't work, it can't work, an enforcement-led strategy is making things worse, not better."

His was a minority opinion, Brunstrom acknowledged, but that could swiftly change, he said. "I'm certainly out of step with the majority of senior police officers, but not all of them," he said. "But in terms of society, public attitudes change quite rapidly and you need look no further than drinking and driving: in the space of my lifetime drinking and driving has gone from being socially acceptable, almost the norm, to being socially unacceptable."

It's not like Brunstrom came out of nowhere. As early as February 2004, Brunstrom was irking fellow cops by telling interviewers drug prohibition "does more harm than good," and he was back at it just a few weeks ago when he issued a report calling for legalization in response to the government's ongoing drug strategy consultation.

But this time he really seems to have hit a nerve. Perhaps it was because he went beyond merely calling for legalization to make claims about the lack of harmfulness of ecstasy that went beyond the pale in the eyes of some. The remarks came as Brunstrom complained of "scaremongering" about drugs, and he pointed to ecstasy as a case in point.

knee jerk tabloid foolishness
"Ecstasy is a remarkably safe substance -- it's far safer than aspirin," he said. "If you look at the government's own research into deaths you'll find that ecstasy, by comparison to many other substances -- legal and illegal -- it is comparably a safe substance."

"Mr. Brunstrom should resign. His comments are increasingly incompatible with his position," Peter Stoker of the National Drugs Prevention Alliance told the UK Press. "The danger from illegal drugs isn't just a question of how poisonous it is in the short-term -- although any dose of ecstasy can kill -- it includes the damaging behaviour which people are sucked into and the harm it does to those around them, particularly their families."

Nor was Brunstrom winning support from his Member of Parliament. Rhondda MP Chris Bryant said Brunstrom had "extraordinary" opinions and an "obsession" with publicity. "I think these are very dangerous views," he told the BBC. "Ecstasy is not a safe drug and the people who sell ecstasy to youngsters in the Rhondda also sell heroin and the whole shooting range of drugs. Drugs have been one of the major challenges that the Rhondda has had to face since the mines closed." Bryant added that he believed "all drugs are dangerous."

The tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail, meanwhile, was busily fanning the flames of hysteria by featuring Brunstrom's photo on its front page and calling him "the most idiotic police chief in Britain." Given the source, perhaps he should be honored.

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11. Death Penalty: Iran, Vietnam Ring In New Year With More Executions, Death Sentences

Both Iran and Vietnam greeted the new year by resorting -- yet again -- to the ultimate sanction for drug trafficking offenders. In Vietnam, eight convicted heroin traffickers were sentenced to death this week, while in Iran, five drug traffickers were among 13 people executed Wednesday.

International Anti-Drugs Day drug burn, Tehran
The Vietnam death sentences bring to at least 43 the number handed down for drug trafficking since the end of November. In the latest verdict, eight members of a gang that trafficked heroin from northwestern Son La province near the Laotian border to Hanoi, Haiphong, and Ho Chi Minh City got the death sentence. The court sentenced 29 others to lengthy jail terms, including 18 sentenced to life in prison.

While opium use has a centuries-old tradition in Vietnam, the Communist government has wiped out most large-scale poppy production. But trafficking from other Southeast Asian nations has been on the rise, drug use has increased sharply since the 1990s, and "heroin continues to be the preferred drug among younger drug abusers," according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Iran, facing a flood of Afghan opium and heroin, has embraced a similarly final response. The three drug traffickers hanged Wednesday in Qom and the two hanged the same day in Zahedan were only the latest in the Islamic Republic's ongoing battle against trafficking. Last year, Iran carried out 297 executions, with an unknown but sizeable number of them for drug trafficking.

Under Iranian law, anyone found trafficking more than 30 grams (slightly more than an ounce) of heroin or five kilograms of opium is eligible for the death penalty.

That's the way it should be, said a judicial official in Qom. "By implementing God's law, we are increasing security in society and we are sending a message that Qom is not a safe haven for those who break the law," said local judiciary official Hoda Torshizi. But the drugs continue to flow unabated, proving that even state killings en masse can't compete with supply and demand.

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12. Weekly: This Week in History

January 9, 1923: US Labor Secretary Davis endorses the idea of a national campaign against the peril of habit-forming drugs.

January 5, 1985: Colombia extradites four drug traffickers to Miami. Within days, the US becomes aware of the Medellin cartel's "hit list" which includes embassy members, their families, US businessmen and journalists.

January 4, 1986: Ronald Reagan in a radio address to the nation on relations with Mexico and Canada calls for efforts to be redoubled "to bring this illegal trade, this trafficking and the warping and destruction of human life, to the end."

January 8, 1990: General Manuel Noriega is convicted on eight counts of drug trafficking, money laundering, and racketeering, and sentenced to 40 years in Federal prison.

January 9, 1996: DEA agents in Miami arrest Jorge Luis Cabrera, a 1995 $20,000 donor to the Democratic Party who was invited to a Christmas party that year by Hillary Rodham Clinton. He is busted along with four partners in possession of 6,000 pounds of cocaine.

January 7, 1997: The US House of Representatives votes 226-202 in favor of 25 changes to internal House rules, including requiring House members and their staffs to be tested for illegal drug use.

January 5, 1998: In a speech given to his constituents, House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia) calls on his fellow politicians to dramatically increase federal anti-drug efforts. "Just say, now, what does it take to seal off the border?" Gingrich asks. "What does it take to go after drug dealers? What does it take, frankly, to raise the cost for drug users?" Gingrich urges Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey to map a "World War II-style battle plan," to end drug use in America.

January 8, 1998: Rep. Bobby Moak's (R-Lincoln County) Mississippi House Bill 196 proposes "The removal of a body part in lieu of other sentences imposed by the court for violations of the Controlled Substances Law." Moak tells reporters that he introduced the legislation because he felt the state wasn't doing enough to combat drug use. Provisions in the bill mandate that the convicted person and the court "must agree on which body part shall be removed."

January 6, 1999: A lawsuit is filed in Paris accusing Fidel Castro of international drug trafficking.

January 6, 2001: General Barry McCaffrey steps down from his post as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

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13. 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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  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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14. 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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15. 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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16. 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.

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