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Drug War Chronicle #542 - July 11, 2008

1. Editorial: Do Drug Laws Affect Drug Use Rates? Evidently Not

Another major study has shown that drug policy doesn't affect drug use rates, and we already know the drug war doesn't affect sales. But we know the harm that prohibition does. So what's the point?

2. Feature: Vested Interests of Prohibition I: The Police

Who profits from drug prohibition? With this article we begin our occasional series on Vested Interests of Prohibition, and we begin with a law enforcement establishment grown fat off drug war bounty.

3. Feature: Despite Harsh Drug Policies, US Leads in Cannabis, Cocaine Use, Global Survey Finds

An international survey covering 54,000 people in 17 countries representing all regions of the globe has found that the US leads the world in cannabis and cocaine use rate despite decades of harsh policies aimed at users. That strongly suggests harsh drug policies don't necessarily result in lower use rates, the researchers said.

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. Help Needed: Drug War Chronicle Seeking Cases of Informant Abuse

Drug War Chronicle is seeking information on serious police misconduct or misjudgments in the treatment of informants. Confidentiality will be protected.

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

Cops in LA and New York get caught lying about drug busts, a couple of Indiana cops get in trouble, an Alabama cop is headed for prison, and, of course, more jail guards get caught.

7. Marijuana: Massachusetts Decrim Initiative Approved for November Ballot

The Massachusetts State Secretary has certified for the November ballot an initiative that would decriminalize marijuana possession in the Bay State.

8. Marijuana: Oregon Initiative For Regulated Sales Starts Gathering Signatures

Oregon already has decriminalization and medical marijuana. Now, some state activists have launched an initiative campaign to allow for taxed and regulated sales to adults. If they can get the required signatures, the measure will be on the 2010 ballot.

9. Pain Medicine: Pain Relief Network Sues State of Washington Over Narcotic Prescribing Guidelines

A pain patients' and doctors' advocacy group has filed a lawsuit challenging opioid prescribing guidelines promulgated by the state of Washington.

10. Marijuana: Georgia Grand Jury Foreman Says Legalize It

Grand juries are usually noted for their compliance with prosecutorial desires, but at the end of their terms, they get to issue reports on what they experienced and recommendations for improvements. A Georgia grand jury foreman has used that opportunity to call for marijuana legalization.

11. Drug Prohibition: No Clue in the Texas Legislature

Over the years, the Texas legislature has developed a reputation for producing some less than bright ideas, among other unsavory qualities. This week, one Texas legislator seemed determined to win this year's crown.

12. Latin America: Ecuador Assembly Pardons Hundreds of Drug Mules

Last year, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, whose father had done time in US jails as a drug courier, vowed to release hundreds of low-level drug mules serving long sentences. Now, the country's legislative organ has turned that vow into reality.

13. Middle East: Iraq Becomes Key Conduit in Global Drug Trade

Instability fostered by the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 has led to the embattled country becoming a key conduit for Afghan opium to Europe and the Middle East. Drug use rates are rising, too.

14. Weekly: This Week in History

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

15. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"If Police Don't Find Anything During a Drug Raid, Should They Have To Fix the Damage?," "'Clearly there's no LSD, and how long does it take to test a chocolate-chip cookie for marijuana?'," "Do Pharmaceutical Companies Support Marijuana Prohibition?," "Police Refuse to Take Responsibility For Botched Drug Raid," "Police Discover World's Most Expensive Marijuana," "Congressional Black Caucus Members Try to Ban Menthol Cigarettes," "Almost Any Drug Offense Can Keep You from Becoming a Citizen or Getting a Green Card."

16. Job Opportunity: Harm Reduction Counselor/Driver, FROST'D @ Harlem United, New York City

The Foundation for Research on Sexually Transmitted Diseases, a harm reduction agency in New York City, is hiring.

17. Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle?

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

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

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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.

Editorial: Do Drug Laws Affect Drug Use Rates? Evidently Not

David Borden, Executive Director

David Borden
Do drug laws affect drug use rates?

It's a core prohibitionist assumption that they do. Pass "tough" drug laws -- harsher penalties, drug testing, more arrests -- and use will decline. Liberalize drug laws -- decrim, medical marijuana, harm reduction -- and drug use will undoubtedly skyrocket, society will implode, etc. It'll be the '70s all over again -- maybe even the '60s.

As it turns out, however, that's simply not true. Study after study has failed to find any increase in marijuana use following the passage of decriminalization laws in many US states, for example. People are more complex than the simplistic boxes that drug warriors try to put them in.

Add one more study to the pile -- an important one. This study, carried out in conjunction with the most recent World Health Organization "Mental Health Surveys," boasts nineteen authors -- yes, nineteen -- from eighteen different countries on every continent. They examined data on drug use from seventeen countries.

This diverse, respectable group of academics from around the world determined that "[d]rug use does not appear to be related to drug policy, as countries with more stringent policies (e.g., the US) did not have lower levels of illegal drug use than countries with more liberal policies (e.g., The Netherlands)."

In other words, the drug war is all for nothing. So what's the point of it? We've proven that we can invent more and more ways of ruining or interfering with people's lives. But ruining lives isn't a policy goal worth our dollars, or that our consciences should tolerate. If harsh policies don't stop sellers, as we discussed last week -- and if they don't deter users, as this week's major report has shown -- then what's left? Nothing worthwhile.

Sticklers will say that liberalizing drug laws under prohibition, as the WHO group studied, is not the same as actual legalization, in which drug sales will be conducted openly, prices will drop, ads may even run. And on that level they are right -- drug decriminalization is not the same thing as drug legalization, to be sure.

But they're also wrong. It's true that no country today provides a demonstration of outright legalization, not even the Netherlands. But the experience of users of marijuana in the Netherlands is one that approximates legalization, because the consequences of keeping the trade illegal are only felt at multiple stages back in the supply chain. The experience of entering an Amsterdam or Maastricht "coffee shop" is not a criminal underground experience, even though they have to go to the underground to get the stuff to sell, and that is what is relevant to marijuana use and the impact that the policy has on users.

Yet as the WHO data shows, marijuana use in the Netherlands does not stand out from other countries in the neighborhood, and is a fraction of the amount of it we have here in the United states despite more than 700,000 arrests for the substance each year and a wide range of collateral sanctions that can dog people for life. But we know the harm that prohibition does.

So how about we just stop the whole thing, end the drug war and legalize drugs? Who else thinks we should do that?

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Feature: Vested Interests of Prohibition I: The Police

Drug prohibition has been a fact of life in the United States for roughly a century now. While it was ostensibly designed to protect American citizens from the dangers of drug use, it now has a momentum of its own, independent of that original goal, at which it has failed spectacularly. As the prohibitionist response to drug use and sales deepened over the decades, then intensified even more with the bipartisan drug war of the Reagan era, prohibition and its enforcement have created a constellation of groups, industries, and professions that have grown wealthy and powerful feeding at the drug war trough.

By virtue of their dependence on the continuation of drug prohibition, such groups -- whether law enforcement, the prison-industrial complex, the drug treatment industry, the drug testing industry, the drug testing-evading industry, the legal profession, among others -- can be fairly said to have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. While the fact that such groups are, in one way or another, profiting from prohibition, does necessarily negate the sincerity of their positions, it does serve to call into question whether some among them continue to adhere to drug prohibition because they really believe in it, or merely because they gain from it.

In what will be an occasional series of reports on "The Vested Interests of Prohibition," we will be examining just who profits, how, by how much, and how much influence they have on the political decision-making process. This week we begin with a group so obvious it sometimes vanishes into the background, as if it were just part of the way things are in this world. That is the American law enforcement establishment.

That's right, the cops, the PO-lice. The Man makes a pretty penny off the drug war. How much? In an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times earlier this month, long-time drug war critic Orange County (California) Superior Court Judge James Gray put the figure at $69 billion a year worldwide for the past 40 years, for a total of $2.5 trillion spent on drug prohibition. In written testimony presented before a hearing of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee last month, University of Maryland drug policy analyst Peter Reuter, more conservatively put combined current state, federal, and local drug policy spending at $40 billion a year, with roughly 70-75% going for law enforcement.

In either case, it's a whole lot of taxpayer money. And for what? Despite years of harsher and harsher drug law enforcement, despite drug arrests per year approaching the two million mark, despite imprisoning half a million Americans who didn't do anything to anybody, despite all the billions of dollars spent ostensibly to stop drug use, the US continues to be the world's leading junkie. That point was hit home yet again earlier this month when researchers examining World Health Organization data found the US had the planet's highest cannabis use rates (more than twice those of cannabis-friendly Holland) and the world's highest cocaine use rates. (See related feature story this issue.)

By just about any measure, drug prohibition and drug law enforcement have failed at their stated goal: reducing drug use in America. Yet in general, American law enforcement has never met a drug law reform it liked, and never met a harsh new law it didn't. The current, almost hysterical, campaign around restoring the Justice Action Grants (JAG or Byrne grant) program cuts imposed by the Bush administration in a rare fit of fiscal responsibility is a case in point.

The Byrne grant program, which primarily funds those scandal-plagued multi-jurisdictional anti-drug law enforcement task forces, has been criticized by everyone from the ACLU to the GAO as wasteful, ineffective, and ridden with abuses, yet the law enforcement community has mobilized a powerful lobbying offensive to restore those funds. Now, after yet another year where congressional Democrats, fearful of being seen as "soft on crime," scurried to smooth law enforcement's ruffled feathers, the Byrne grant program is set to receive $550 million next year, a huge $350 million increase over this year's reduced -- but not zeroed out -- levels.

"The law enforcement lobby is enormously powerful," said Eric Sterling, former counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, who now heads the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. "Law enforcement unions are extremely important in endorsements for state and local elections, especially in primary elections."

When it comes to Washington, rank-and-file organizations like the Fraternal Order of Police are joined by a whole slew of national management organizations, such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriff's Association, the National District Attorneys Association, and the National Narcotics Officers Associations Coalition. On occasion, as is the case with the campaign to restore the Byrne grants, groups like the National Association of County Officials (which includes sheriffs) lead the charge for law enforcement.

"All of these groups are very powerful, and members of Congress are loath to be criticized by them or vote against them," said Sterling.

"Without a doubt, the war on drugs creates a lot of jobs for law enforcement and various aspects of the war on drugs create huge profits for law enforcement," said Bill Piper, national affairs director and Capitol Hill lobbyist for the Drug Policy Alliance. "With those revenues, they can employ more police and continue to expand their turf. The law enforcement lobby is very strong and effective," said Piper. "No one wants to deny them what they want. The Democrats are terrified of them, and most Republicans, too. Everyone just wants to go back to their district and say they're tough on drugs. The law enforcement drug war lobby is a train that is very, very difficult to stop."

Faced with those solemn line-ups of men in blue, American flags fluttering behind them, most politicians would rather comply with the demands of law enforcement than not, whether at the state, local, or federal level. And that's fine with police, who have become habituated to a steady infusion of drug war money.

"Law enforcement at all levels of government has become dependent on the drug war, which in turn is predicated on drug prohibition," said former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, who joined the anti-prohibitionist group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) shortly after his retirement. "They are addicted to the revenue streams that have become predictable and necessary for the day-to-day operations of departments all across the country," he continued.

"State and local governments get anti-crime funding from the federal government, and there are line-items dedicated to things like those regional narcotics task forces," Stamper said. "It wasn't a whole lot of money at first, but over the years we are now talking billions of dollars."

It isn't just departments that benefit from prosecuting the drug war, individual police officers can and do, too. "Both police departments and individual officers have a strong vested interest in maintaining prohibition," said Sterling as he related the story of his ride-along with Montgomery County, Maryland, police a few years ago. After cruising suburban malls and byways for a few hours one cold December night, Sterling and the officer he accompanied got a call that an officer needed back-up.

The officer needing back-up was accompanied by Sterling's then assistant, Tyler Smith, who, when Sterling's car arrived, told him that his (Smith's) cop had pulled over nine cars and convinced four of their drivers to consent to drug searches. In the present case, the officer had scored. The three young men in the car he had pulled over consented to a search, and he found a pipe in the car and a few specks of marijuana in one young man's pocket. By now four different police cars were on the scene.

"Now, all four officers are witnesses," Sterling noted. "That means every time there's a court proceeding, they go down to the courthouse and collect three hours overtime pay. They're almost always immediately excused, but they still get the pay. That's four cops getting paid for one cop's bust, so they have an enormous personal stake in backing up the one gung-ho cop who's out there trolling for busts. Collars for dollars is what they call it," Sterling related.

"I think we need to take into account the fact that individual officers at all levels are character challenged and profit personally from prohibition," said Stamper.

"It's also generally easy police work," Sterling noted. "You start in a position of strength and assertion, you're not arriving at a scene of conflict, you're not stopping a robbery or responding to a gun call; it's a relatively safe form of police activity. You get to notch an arrest, and that makes it look like you're being productive."

And despite repeated police protestations to the contrary, enforcing the drug laws is just not that dangerous. Every year, the National Police Officers Memorial puts out a list of the officers who died in the line of duty. Every year, out of the one or two or three hundred killed, barely a handful died enforcing the drug laws. And those dead officers are all too often used by their peers as poster-children for increased drug law enforcement.

But if law enforcement profits handsomely with taxpayer dollars at the state or federal level as it pursues the chimera of drug war success, it has another important prohibition-related revenue stream to tap into: asset forfeitures. Every Monday, the Wall Street Journal publishes official DEA legal notices of seizures as required by law. On the Monday of June 30, the legal notice consisted of 3 1/4 pages of tiny four-point type representing hundreds of seizures for that week alone.

According to the US Justice Department, federal law enforcement agencies alone seized $1.6 billion -- mainly in cash -- last year alone. That's up three-fold from the $567 million seized in 2003. But that figure doesn't include hundreds of millions of dollars more the feds got as their share of seizures by states, nor does it include the unknown hundreds of millions of dollars more seized by state and local agencies and handled under state asset forfeiture laws. Last year, Texas agencies alone seized more than $125 million.

"Revenue from forfeited assets represents a particularly unconscionable source of funds, particularly when police agencies set out to make busts to create additional funding for themselves," Stamper said. "Even if the money is going to agencies and not into the pockets of individual cops, you still develop that mentality that we're enforcing the law in order to make money. That's not how it's supposed to be," he said.

"Unfortunately, there are many departments that see this as a useful way to deter drug use, even though there is no evidence to support that," said Sterling. "Still, they can justify taking private property as serving an important law enforcement purpose, but there are many accounts of departments that are almost entirely self-funded by the proceeds," he said.

"If Byrne is cut back or zeroed out, and the police agency is fortunate enough to have an interstate highway to patrol, they are in a position to target vehicles and go fishing for dollars," he noted.

"These revenue streams, whether it's Byrne grants or seized cash, create dependency in the departments that rely on them," said Stamper, "and that makes it less and less likely that the police in your community are going to be critical and analytical in questioning their ways of doing business. Does prohibition work, does it produce positive results? The answer is no and no. We have a situation where we are actually doing harm in the name of law enforcement, and it's deep harm, this notion that prohibition is workable. Drug law enforcement is funded at obscene levels, and this is money that could be used for things that do work, like drug abuse prevention and treatment," the ex-chief continued. "It's safe to say that American law enforcement has developed an addiction to the monies it gets from drug prohibition."

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Feature: Despite Harsh Drug Policies, US Leads in Cannabis, Cocaine Use, Global Survey Finds

Despite decades of harshly punitive policies aimed at reducing illicit drug use, the US has the world's highest rates of drug use, according to a study using World Health Organization (WHO) data that compared global drug use rates. Harsh drug laws do not correlate "simply" with drug use rates, the study found -- a finding critics of drug prohibition were quick to jump on.

World Health Organization logo
The study, Toward a Global View of Alcohol, Tobacco, Cannabis, and Cocaine Use: Findings from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys, examined a cohort of some 54,000 people in 17 countries who had undergone WHO's Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and looked at their use of four drugs: alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, and tobacco.

Not all countries in the world were included, rates of participation varied from country to country, and researchers acknowledged uncertainty about the reliability of people reporting their own drug use. "Nevertheless, the findings present comprehensive data on the patterns of drug use from national samples representing all regions of the world," said the report's editors.

The study found that 16.2% of Americans had tried cocaine at least once, more than three times the number in any other country surveyed. In four countries (Colombia, Mexico, Spain, and New Zealand), use rates were between 4% and 5%, while in five others (Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands), use rates were between 1% and 2%. In the remaining countries in the survey (Israel, Ukraine, Lebanon, Nigeria, South Africa, Japan, China), use rates were under 1%.

Americans led in cannabis consumption as well, with 42.4% of adults reporting having tried the drug at least once, although New Zealand, with 41.9%, was only a few tenths of a percentage point behind. The cannabis-friendly Netherlands was a distant third at 19.8%, followed by France (19.0%), Germany (17.5%), and Spain (15.0%). Use rates for Asian and African countries were significantly lower.

A vast majority of survey participants from the United States, Europe, Japan and New Zealand had consumed alcohol, compared to smaller percentages from the Middle East, Africa and China. The data also revealed socioeconomic patterns in drug use. Single young adult men with high income had the greatest tendency to regularly use drugs, although researchers reported women were rapidly closing the existing gender gap in drug use.

"Globally, drug use is not distributed evenly and is not simply related to drug policy, since countries with stringent user-level illegal drug policies did not have lower levels of use than countries with liberal ones," the researchers concluded, citing in particular the difference in cannabis use rates in the punitive US (42%) versus those in the land of Dutch cannabis coffee shops (20%).

The point that drug policy seems to have little impact on drug use rates is not new -- researchers such as NYU's Harry Levine and now-retired Dutch academic Peter Cohen have been trumpeting similar findings for years -- but it is worth repeating, again in the researcher's own words: "The US, which has been driving much of the world's drug research and drug policy agenda, stands out with higher levels of use of alcohol, cocaine, and cannabis, despite punitive illegal drug policies... The Netherlands, with a less criminally punitive approach to cannabis use than the US, has experienced lower levels of use, particularly among younger adults. Clearly, by itself, a punitive policy towards possession and use accounts for limited variation in nation level rates of illegal drug use."

Surprisingly, the Office of National Drug Control policy seemed to agree, with its spokesman, Tom Riley, telling Bloomberg News Service in response to the study that trying to find a link between drug policy and drug use doesn't make sense. "The US has high crime rates but we spend a lot on law enforcement and prison,'' Riley said. "Should we spend less? We're just a different kind of country. We have higher drug use rates, a higher crime rate, many things that go with a highly free and mobile society."

That's not a line the drug czar's office commonly takes. Instead, it more typically rails against reforms "sending the wrong message," but Riley was singing a different tune when confronted with the research findings.

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) agrees. In an op-ed submission by MPP communications director Bruce Mirken, the group called US drug policies "a crashing failure" and hailed the study. "This study is important because it's the first time a respected international group has surveyed drug use around the world, using the same questions and procedure everywhere," Mirken wrote. "While many countries have their own drug use surveys, the questions and methodology vary, and comparisons between countries are difficult. This new study eliminates that problem."

And Mirken found himself in the unusual position of agreeing with Riley. "In fact, ONCDP's latest excuse for the failure of US drug policies -- that enforcement and penalties don't really have much effect on rates of use -- is probably just about right. But it also dynamites any justification for our current marijuana laws."

It also begs the question of why, in the face of evidence that treating drug use harshly and inhumanely doesn't work, we continue to resort to it.

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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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Help Needed: Drug War Chronicle Seeking Cases of Informant Abuse

Many of our readers know about the tragic case of Rachel Hoffman, a 23-year-old in Tallahassee, Florida, who was killed by drug dealers after police coerced her into acting as an informant without having access to an attorney. Drug War Chronicle is currently looking for cases, reported or unreported, in which police appear to have committed misconduct or made serious misjudgments in their treatment of informants.

If you can help us find such cases, please email David Borden at [email protected]. We will keep your name and personal information confidential unless you tell us otherwise. If you are uncomfortable sending this information by email, feel free to contact us by phone instead; our office number is (202) 293-8340, and you can speak or leave a message with David Borden or David Guard. Thank you in advance for your help.

Further information on the informant issue, including the Rachel Hoffman case, can be found in our category archive here.

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Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Cops in LA and New York get caught lying about drug busts, a couple of Indiana cops get in trouble, an Alabama cop is headed for prison, and, of course, more jail guards get caught. Let's get to it:

In New York City, a bar owner whose surveillance video exposed bogus drug arrests by NYPD officers is now complaining that he is being harassed by the NYPD. Eduardo Espinoza, 36, of Elmhurst, complained that police from the 110th Precinct have been regularly entering, searching, and "inspecting" his bar, and hitting him with violations such as failure to have liquid soap in his bar bathroom. The harassment came after a video Espinoza made available to lawyers for four people arrested for allegedly dealing $100 worth of cocaine showed officers had lied when they said they made contact with the four while in the bar. Queens prosecutors dropped the charges against the four last week, and NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the arresting officers.

In Los Angeles, three LAPD officers have been reassigned as the department investigates allegations they lied under oath in a recently dismissed drug possession case. In that case, LAPD Officer Richard Amio and Chino Officer Evan Samuel testified that they chased a young man into a Hollywood apartment building, saw him toss a black object, and found $260 worth of cocaine in it. But a surveillance videotape from the apartment building showed that police did not find anything for at least 20 minutes, after additional officers arrived at the scene. One of the new arrivals was credited for the "find," and on the videotape, another officer talking about the arrest report, was heard to say "Be creative in your writing." After this evidence was presented in court last week, the judge dismissed the cocaine case. The now-cleared arrestee's defense attorney said the officers should be investigated for perjury and planting evidence. That investigation is now under way.

In East Chicago, Indiana, an East Chicago police officer was arrested July 3 after a DEA source recorded him on videotape trying to buy three kilos of cocaine. Veteran officer Xavier Herrera was jailed pending a Wednesday bail hearing. According to the DEA affidavit filed against Herrera, he was acting as the middleman in a cocaine transaction that involved a DEA informant. The DEA got interested in Herrera after a man arrested on meth charges in March told police he had delivered 20 kilos of cocaine to the home of an East Chicago police officer. The suspect then placed a recorded call to Herrera in which the officer agreed to discuss another cocaine sale. The suspect then vanished, becoming a fugitive from justice, and the DEA replaced him with an informant who told Herrera he was an associate of the missing man. Herrera went down after agreeing to do another coke deal with the informant.

In Indianapolis, an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police narc was arrested June 27 for selling a weapon to a snitch with a felony record after that snitch snitched him out. Officer Jason Barber, 32, an eight-year veteran, became the fourth Indy police officer to be arrested last month -- three others were busted June 16 for ripping off pot and cash from dealers. Barber went down after the Indiana State Police turned his snitch and sent him in with a wire and $110 in marked cash to buy a .25 caliber handgun. Barber sold it to him despite knowing of his felonious record, and it was at least the third handgun Barber sold him, prosecutors said. They charged him with selling a handgun to a felon and official misconduct. The handgun charge is a Class C felony that carries a maximum sentence of eight years in prison. Official misconduct is a Class D felony that carries a maximum of three years in prison.

In New York City, two Rikers Island prison guards were fired late last month for smuggling marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco into the prison for an accused cop-killer. Correction officers August Durand, 31, and Michael Santiago, 24, were fired for supplying the contraband to inmate Lee Woods as he awaited trial for gunning down NYPD officer Russel Timoshenko. They are not accused of large-scale smuggling. The case has been referred to the Bronx District Attorneys Office and the Department of Investigation.

In Lexington, Kentucky, a Fayette County Detention Center jail guard was resigned June 23 after being charged with promotion of contraband. Corrections officer Daniel Houlihan is accused of smuggling illegal drugs into the jail. The detention center is the subject of a federal investigation that has so far led to five other jail guards being charged with beating inmates and covering it up. But Houlihan's arrest wasn't related to that investigation, authorities said.

In Shreveport, Louisiana, a former Shreveport police sergeant was convicted June 28 on drug delivery charges that could net him up to 30 years in prison. A jury took less than two hours to convict former Sgt. Rickey Moore, 52, of providing cocaine and prescription pain pills to a dancer at a local strip club. The dancer turned police informant, and conversations and voicemails she recorded with Moore helped convict him. So did surveillance video from the club that showed him giving drugs to the stripper turned snitch. Moore was a patrol sergeant and 17-year veteran of the department.

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Marijuana: Massachusetts Decrim Initiative Approved for November Ballot

Massachusetts voters will have the opportunity to approve marijuana decriminalization in November. State Secretary William Galvin last week announced that a decriminalization initiative sponsored by the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy (CSMP) had successfully overcome the second signature-gathering hurdle facing initiatives in the Bay State.

Earlier this year, backers of the initiative had to turn in at least 66,000 valid signatures. CSMP easily met that challenge, and it met the challenge of gathering an additional 11,099 signatures in the second phase of the process. CSMP actually turned in 13,581 signatures in phase two. The deadline for challenging the signatures passed Wednesday.

Under current Massachusetts law, simple possession of marijuana can get you six months in jail and a $500 fine. A marijuana arrest also results in the creation of a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) report. Advocates argue that CORI reports jeopardize a person's ability to obtain jobs, housing, and college loans, among other collateral damage.

The initiative would remedy the situation by:

  • Amending the current criminal statutes so that adults possessing an ounce or less of marijuana for personal use would be charged with a civil infraction and fined.

  • Removing the threat of a CORI report for minor marijuana possession charges.
  • Maintaining current penalties for selling, growing, and trafficking marijuana, as well as the prohibition against driving under the influence of marijuana.

In addition to creating a more sensible and humane response to marijuana use and possession, passage of the measure would save taxpayers about $29.5 million a year in law enforcement resources currently consumed by low-level marijuana arrests, advocates said.

The initiative is already noteworthy for prompting Boston Herald columnist and curmudgeon Howie Carr to pen what is probably the snarkiest, and smarmiest anti-marijuana column to appear in a major American newspaper in years, Sensible Pot a Half-Baked Policy, Dudes. Howe claims "marijuana makes you stupid." What's his excuse?

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Marijuana: Oregon Initiative For Regulated Sales Starts Gathering Signatures

Oregon has already decriminalized marijuana possession and enacted the second-largest state medical marijuana program in the country, and now some Oregon activists are ready to move to the next level. This week, signature gathering began for the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA), which would provide for marijuana to be sold in retail stores, among other things.

According to initiative sponsors, the act would provide for "regulating and taxing adult sales; licensing the cultivation of the drug for sale in state-run package stores and adults-only businesses; allowing adults to grow their own and farmers to grow industrial hemp without license; and letting doctors prescribe untaxed cannabis to patients suffering from a variety of illnesses and injuries."

The initiative effort is being led by D. Paul Stanford of the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) and Madeline Martinez, head of Oregon NORML. Whether other elements of the state's sometimes fractious marijuana community will come on board remains to be seen.

Parts of the community had been in the defensive mode as they prepared to fend off an attack on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) by conservative crime-fighting initiative specialist Kevin Mannix. But Mannix recently took the assault on OMMA off the table, at least for now, and Stanford and Martinez are ready to sail through the breach.

Organizers need 80,000 signatures to put the measure before voters in the November 2010 election. They say the measure will generate millions of dollars a year for the state's general fund through sales to adults. Additional revenues from pot taxes would go to drug treatment programs.

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Pain Medicine: Pain Relief Network Sues State of Washington Over Narcotic Prescribing Guidelines

The Pain Relief Network (PRN), a nonprofit organization waging a lonely battle to protect the rights of doctors who prescribe opioid pain relievers and patients who receive them, has filed a lawsuit against the state of Washington over prescribing guidelines promulgated in March 2007 by the state Department of Health.

The guidelines are designed to guide physicians through the minefields of narcotic prescribing in a time where they face a rising clamor for the relief of pain at the same time they face the threat of arrest and prosecution by federal or state agents intent on stopping narcotic drug abuse. But PRN alleges that Washington's guidelines deter doctors from prescribing opiates and have had an undue negative influence on prescribing practices across the country.

The guidelines, which only apply to the treatment of chronic pain -- not cancer pain, acute pain or hospice care -- recommend that daily opioid doses not exceed 120 milligrams of morphine or the equivalent if both pain and physical function are not improving. PRN argues that the guidelines are inflexible and fail to account for the needs of real patients.

According to the complaint filed late last month on behalf of a Washington state doctor and a group of Washington state pain patients, plaintiffs seek an injunction blocking the guidelines from being used. The complaint argues that the Washington guidelines violate both state laws and federal civil rights laws.

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Marijuana: Georgia Grand Jury Foreman Says Legalize It

Grand juries are charged with evaluating potential crimes presented to them by prosecutors and deciding whether indictments are merited. The grand jury empanelled in March in Chatham County, Georgia, did just that, delivering numerous indictments for drugs and other criminal offenses.

But grand juries and their foreman also have the opportunity to speak their minds about what they have observed while serving. The Chatham County grand jury did so in its final report to Superior Court Judge Perry Brannen.

Its observations and recommendations were not surprising. "A high percentage of our cases were drug-related and a high percentage were repeat offenders," the grand jury noted. Authorities should "institute more effective methods of drug treatment and rehabilitation aimed at minimizing repeat offenders" and "as far as possible, use stricter or more effective methods of punishment," the jurors recommended.

While the grand jury's recommendations were pretty standard stuff, grand jury foreman Gordon Varnadoe used the opportunity to call for the legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana sales in his personal recommendations. Varnadoe also called for the legalization of prostitution.

"It is my considered and strong opinion that marijuana should be legal, controlled, and taxed," Varnadoe wrote. "There is no evidence that it is a 'gateway drug' that leads to other drugs. It is not found to be present in cases of domestic violence, highway fatalities, or death caused by consumption. This can be completely turned around to change from a tax burden and expense to a source of great revenue."

The grand jury reports are not binding, and a grand jury or foreman using them as a platform to call for drug law reform is rare. But it has happened before.

As Eric Sterling of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation reminds, drug policy reform has also been on the mind of grand juries in at least one large American city, Baltimore. In 1995, a city of Baltimore grand jury issued a report that studied drug law enforcement during its September 1994 term. While that grand jury said "legalization is not an acceptable solution" to the larger drug problem, it also recommended that "consideration be given to decriminalizing marijuana" and "medicalization may be the best solution for managing addiction and drug proliferation."

By the summer of 2003, another Baltimore grand jury was ready to go further. In its report, that grand jury called for the "regulated distribution" of now illegal drugs -- not just marijuana. That grand jury report helped lay the groundwork for hearings in the Maryland Senate in 2003 where drug reformers got an opportunity to lay out the rationale for reform.

While usually considered the domain of prosecutors -- "a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich if a prosecutor told it to," goes the old saw -- grand juries have a chance to speak their minds in their reports, and perhaps lead the way to a reconsideration of current policies. There is as yet no sign that the Chatham County grand jury foreman's recommendations will lead to similar reflection, but it is a start. As drug policy reform makes its long march through the institutions of society, the grand jury should not be forgotten.

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Drug Prohibition: No Clue in the Texas Legislature

If drug reform is making any headway in the Lone Star State (and it is), there was little sign of it Wednesday at an Austin hearing of the state Senate Criminal Justice Committee. The committee is charged with examining current drug laws to see which are working and which are not and trying to come up with more effective drug policies.

With Mexican drug trafficking organizations sending billions of dollars worth of drugs across the border each year, much of it through Texas, state and local law enforcement agencies have been cooperating with federal agents to try to crack down on the trade. But it hasn't seemed to have had any impact, and that was a frustration for Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston).

"It don't affect the price of it at all, which means it ain't made a dent. Still huge amounts are getting through," he said in remarks reported by Austin TV station KVUE. "If you know where it's coming from, why can't you do more about it?" he asked plaintively.

Whitmire's ignorance of the laws of supply and demand when it comes to drug prohibition is apparently equaled only by his ignorance of the US Constitution, and particularly the Fourth Amendment. At least, that's what his next comment suggested.

"If in fact so much of the narcotics is just coming up and down our highways and the main roads out of Mexico, why don't we just pull over more trucks?" Whitmire said. "It would be fun to try. I like that, zero tolerance."

Of course, every vehicle entering the US from Mexico must go through US Customs at the border. And then there's the Border Patrol checkpoints on highways leading north from the border. And then there's the saturation level patrols of those highways (although, to be fair, Texas cops are as interested in cars heading south as those heading north, because while the latter may contain drugs, the former may contain cash). But none of that is enough for Whitmire. Nor does it cause him to question his premises.

It looks like it will be business as usual in the drug war in Texas.

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Latin America: Ecuador Assembly Pardons Hundreds of Drug Mules

Ecuador's constitutional assembly last Friday pardoned hundreds of small-time drug couriers currently sitting in Ecuadorian prisons. Last year, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa proposed the pardons and other drug sentencing reforms, saying it was absurd to sentence low-level couriers to more than a decade in prison for as little as 3.5 ounces of cocaine.

Rafael Correa
The constitutional assembly took over legislative power in the country after suspending the nation's Congress last year. Under the assembly's action, prisoners who had been convicted of carrying 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms) of drugs or less, had served at least 10% of their sentences or one year in prison, and were not repeat offenders were pardoned.

Ernesto Pazmino, director of Ecuador's public defender's office, told the Associated Press the application process was to begin this week, and the government has 30 days to release eligible prisoners.

"The president has come through with his promise, and we appreciate him and the assembly members," Carlo Aragundi, head of a prisoners' organization at a jail in Quito, told the AP. Aragundi estimated that as many as 1,200 prisoners may be eligible.

Although Ecuador produces almost no coca, it is sandwiched between Colombia and Peru, the world's number one and two coca and cocaine producers, and is frequently used as a transit country for cocaine headed to North America. President Correa acknowledged last year that his own father had spent three years in a US prison on drug charges.

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Middle East: Iraq Becomes Key Conduit in Global Drug Trade

America's two-front "war on terror" in Afghanistan and Iraq is resulting in a one-two punch to US efforts to strangle the global drug trade. Afghan opium production has famously shot through the roof in the years since US forces invaded and overthrew the Taliban, and now, Iraq is emerging as a key player in the global drug trade, according to Iraqi and UN officials consulted by Agence France-Presse.

Afghan opium
Many of the drugs being smuggled into and through Iraq to European and Middle Eastern markets are coming from Afghanistan via Iran, where the Islamic Republic is hard-pressed to patrol remote trafficking routes along its border with Afghanistan, officials said.

While hard numbers are hard to come by, Iraqi officials said the trade in illegal opiates, cannabis, and pills has risen steadily since the US invasion in 2003. They point to numerous drug trafficking arrests at border crossings with Iran, as well as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

"A large number of smugglers are being arrested," Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Abdul Karim Khalaf told AFP, adding that many were being detained in the southern Iraqi provinces of Basra and Maysan, both of which border Iran.

"The smugglers transfer hashish and opium across at Al-Shalamja at the Iranian border and Safwan near the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border," an anti-narcotics agent in Basra said on condition of anonymity. "Some of them are arrested from time to time, including Iranians and even Syrians," he said, adding that the smugglers used mainly trucks to haul their cargo into the Gulf region.

"The drugs come from Iran, then they are sold at the Saudi border," said a local police officer in Samawa in Muthanna province who did not want to be named. "Smugglers are young and they use motorcycles or animals to cross the desert late at night."

Iranian authorities say they seized about 900 tons of an estimated 2,500 tons of drugs that entered the country from Afghanistan last year. While Iran has arguably the world's highest opiate addiction rate, Iranian officials estimated that more than 1,000 tons of drugs, mostly opium, heroin, and cannabis, transited the country on its way elsewhere last year.

The International Narcotics Control Board is also raising alarm bells. "Illicit drug trafficking and the risk of illicit cultivation of opium poppy have been increasing in some areas with grave security problems," it said, referring to Iraq in a report published last year.

"Drugs follow the paths of least resistance, and parts of Iraq certainly fit that description," an official of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime told AFP.

Not all the drugs are just passing through embattled Iraq. "Though official data are lacking, it appears that drug abuse in Iraq has increased dramatically, including among children from relatively affluent families," the INCB said in its report.

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Weekly: This Week in History

July 13, 1931: The "International Convention for Limiting the Manufacture and Regulating the Distribution of Narcotic Drugs" is convened in Geneva.

July 14, 1969: President Richard Nixon sends a message to Congress entitled "Special Message to the Congress on Control of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs." The message asks Congress to enact legislation to combat rising levels of drug use.

July 11, 1979: A deadly shootout between Colombian traffickers in broad daylight at Miami's Dadeland Mall brings the savagery of the Colombian cocaine lords to the attention of US law enforcement.

July 17, 1980: Financed by wealthy ranchers and drug lords under Roberto Suarez Gomez, the "Cocaine Generals" of the Bolivian "cocaine coup" seize power. Within months it is learned that Pierluigi Pagliai and Stefano Delle Chiaie were right-wing Propaganda Due (P-2) terrorists with suspected kills on three continents and Klaus Altmann was none other than fugitive Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyons. Barbie, who had sent hundreds of Jews to their deaths, had avoided prosecution when Americans in occupied Germany recruited him as an informer in 1947 and engineered his escape.

July 17, 1984: The Drug War and Cold War collide when the Washington Times runs a story detailing DEA informant Barry Seal's successful infiltration of the Medellin cartel's operations in Panama. The story was leaked by Oliver North and purported to show the Nicaraguan Sandanistas' involvement in the drug trade. Ten days later, Carlos Lehder, Pablo Escobar, Jorge Ochoa, and José Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha are indicted by a Miami Federal grand jury based on evidence obtained by Seal. In February 1986, Seal is assassinated in Baton Rouge, LA, by gunmen hired by the cartel.

July 13, 1995: The New York Times reports the FDA has concluded for the first time that nicotine is an addictive drug that should be regulated.

July 13, 1998: The Associated Press reports that US drug czar Barry McCaffrey has created a controversy in The Netherlands over his erroneous claim that "The murder rate in Holland is double that in the United States," which he explained by saying "that's drugs." In actuality the Dutch homicide rate is less than one fourth the US rate. The Dutch ambassador responds, "I must say that I find the timing of your remarks -- six days before your planned visit to the Netherlands with a view to gaining first-hand knowledge about Dutch drugs policy and its results, rather astonishing."

July 15, 1998: ONDCP Director Barry McCaffrey visits Switzerland to meet with officials responsible for drug policy and to see the heroin distribution program firsthand. Drug Czar McCaffrey makes clear the administration's concern about this program, noting that while such policies may bring short-term benefits, the US thinks they will in the long run prove detrimental to the well-being of Swiss society.

July 17, 2001: Madison, Wisconsin's Mayor Sue Bauman speaks out about the drug war in her State of the City address. She says: "As a city and as a society, we need to put more monies into prevention programs and thus fewer into policing and the criminal justice system... It is time that the nation, the state, the county and the City view drug and alcohol abuse as a public health problem. Unfortunately, the emphasis for years has been on a war on drugs -- an attempt to end drug usage and alcohol abuse by punishing the users/abusers. This is a failed strategy."

July 12, 2002: The Wall Street Journal reports that former president Bill Clinton acknowledged, "I was wrong" to not lift the ban on federal funding of needle-exchange programs.

July 16, 2003: Philippine President Gloria Arroyo orders weekly public burnings of illegal drugs seized by the police, as well as the publication of mug shots of arrested drug dealers. "Let us put a face and identity to these people and get the public involved in hunting them down," says Arroyo.

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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! Check out the Speakeasy main page at

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

Since last issue:

Scott Morgan brings us:

"If Police Don't Find Anything During a Drug Raid, Should They Have To Fix the Damage?," "'Clearly there's no LSD, and how long does it take to test a chocolate-chip cookie for marijuana?'," "Do Pharmaceutical Companies Support Marijuana Prohibition?," "Police Refuse to Take Responsibility For Botched Drug Raid," "Police Discover World's Most Expensive Marijuana," "Congressional Black Caucus Members Try to Ban Menthol Cigarettes."

David Borden authors: "Almost Any Drug Offense Can Keep You from Becoming a Citizen or Getting a Green Card".

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.

Again, is the online place to stay in the loop for the fight to stop the war on drugs. Thanks for reading, and writing...

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Job Opportunity: Harm Reduction Counselor/Driver, FROST'D @ Harlem United, New York City

This position provides an opportunity to work with a mobile outreach program that offers an array of harm reduction interventions, rapid HIV testing, substance use and sexually transmitted disease screenings and assessments, and assessment and referral services to people living with and at risk for HIV/AIDS. The Program is geared toward lessening the incidence of HIV and other blood borne diseases among hard to engage individuals, assertively assisting referral and maintenance in health care and other services, and documenting access and maintenance in care. This position is responsible for delivering individual and group level AOD and low threshold AOD interventions to HIV-positive, or those at risk for HIV, substance users. Specific target populations include people of color, sex workers, gay/bi/gay-for-pay men, and injection drug users. Services also include providing rapid HIV testing, and providing substance use and sexually transmitted infection screenings, assessments, and referrals. This position also requires the candidate to serve as a back-up driver for H4RP.

Mandatory requirements of the job include conducting 20 individual alcohol and other drug interventions (AOD) per month and two group level interventions per month (these are client-centered HIV substance use/harm and risk reduction interventions to help clients initiate and maintain behavior change to prevent the transmission of HIV, and to empower clients with the information necessary to take control of their lives and their health); conducting 20 individual low threshold harm reduction-based interventions per month and 2 group level interventions per month (interventions are geared toward clients’ stabilization and/or reduction in drug use, decreased risk in drug use, and decreased risk in sexual practices -- this work may include assisting clients in disclosing personal HIV serostatus); providing eight HIV rapid tests per month, including pre-and post-test counseling, and making referrals to appropriate follow up care as needed; conducting eight screenings and assessments for substance use per month with HIV-positive clients, and making referrals to treatment as needed; conducting eight screenings and assessments for sexually transmitted infections per month with HIV-positive clients, and making referrals to treatment as needed; conducting eight overdose prevention trainings per month (these trainings help clients recognize, prevent, and treat an opiate overdose); conducting 15 intakes and assessments per month and developing service plans in collaboration with the client, providing reassessment, reengagement, screener updates, case conferencing, service plan updates, and case closure as needed; making referrals as needed to HIV primary care, mental health services, case management, housing services, and benefits; providing crisis intervention as needed; providing street-based outreach in an effort to engage clients in service (this includes conducting outreach in locations where our populations are visible and in need of services, assessing new outreach venues, distribution of materials and information about services); maintaining a strong knowledge of HIV/AIDS, substance use, harm reduction, and population specific trends, including treatment information and developments that affect clients’ access to care; and preparing progress notes, conducting referrals, and following up as needed.

Essential driving functions include being responsible for serving as a back-up driver for the program mobile unit (an R/V) and other vehicles as needed; assisting with general vehicle maintenance and upkeep, including timely reporting to supervisor of any problems with the vehicle (i.e. leaks, oil, break flasher); completing weekly checklists; returning vehicles with a full tank of gas; conducting a general weekly inspection to ensure lights, appliances, etc. are fully functioning; scheduling weekly/monthly flushing; ensuring vehicle is routinely clean and presentable for H4RP and other programs; and assisting with loading up the R/V, including, but not limited to, food pantries and snacks.

Other responsibilities include attending data driven, continuous quality improvement, and clinical supervision, as well as departmental, divisional and staff meetings; and ensuring paperwork is submitted in a timely manner and that files are up to date and accurate.

This position requires a high school diploma, college degree preferred, and no less than two years experience in HIV prevention counseling, specifically with injection and other drug users, people of color, sex workers, the LGBT community, and clients with multiple issues including mental health issues, poverty, and homelessness. Education can be substituted for work experience. Candidate should have experience facilitating support and risk reduction counseling groups. Candidate must be able to demonstrate an ability to drive a large vehicle safely to and from outreach locations, have a clean driving record, and possess NY state driver’s license.

In addition to the above-listed job responsibilities and educational requirements, the ideal candidate for this position possesses a basic to broad knowledge base about work with active injection and other drug users and other multiple-problem clients; substance use knowledge and knowledge of and respect for the harm reduction model and its principals; strong interpersonal skills and an ability to work well with others; counseling Skills, both individual and group; multiple-language skills; and knowledge of health disparities and social factors that lead to increased HIV/AIDS risk and exposure among target populations, specifically drug users.

Cover letters and resumes should be sent to Stephen Crowe, Harm Reduction Coordinator, FROST’D @ Harlem United, 224 West 30th St, Suite 901, New York, NY 10001, [email protected]. No calls please. This position is open until it is filled, but FROST'D is looking to hire as soon as possible.

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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.

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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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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