Drug War Chronicle #598 - August 21, 2009

1. Feature: Heroin More Effective Than Methadone for Some Addicts, NAOMI Study Reports

A research report from the North American Opiate Maintenance Initiative (NAOMI) published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that heroin is more effective than methadone for some hard-core addicts, but also that Dilaudid may work just as well. The report should only add to rising pressure to expand opiate maintenance programs in the US.

2. Drug War Chronicle Book Review: "Marijuana is Safer -- So Why Are Driving People to Drink?" by Paul Armentano, Steve Fox, and Mason Tvert (2009, Chelsea Green Publishers, 209 pp., $14.95 PB)

Three prominent marijuana reform activists have penned a very valuable new book, "Marijuana Is Safer -- So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?" They make a compelling argument, and they do it very nicely.

3. Feature: Seattle Hempfest Bigger Than Ever in 2009, But Gaining Critics

Last weekend's Seattle Hempfest is likely to have been the biggest one yet, as multitudes swarmed the waterfront for the two-day bash. But there are critics aiming at it, including a leading drug reformer and a former Hempfest organizer.

4. Announcement: The 2009 International Drug Policy Reform Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico, November 12-14

Every two years drug policy reformers from across the United States and around the world come to the International Drug Policy Reform Conference to listen, learn, network and strategize together for change. This year the conference is in Albuquerque, in November, and StoptheDrugWar.org is a partner.

5. Book Offer: This is Your Country on Drugs

As part of our summer fundraising drive, DRCNet is pleased to offer Ryan Grim's exciting new book, "This Is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America," as our latest membership premium. Things are happening, and the importance of your support at this time could not be greater.

6. Latin America: Mexican Decriminalization Bill Now Law of the Land

A bill that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of drug for personal use is now the law of the land in Mexico. Although there was some doubt President Calderon would approve it, it appeared in the official gazette Thursday. It also includes provisions to allow the state and localities to go after small-time drug dealers, a power previously reserved to the federal government.

7. Latin America: Mexican Drug War Update

There seems to be no end in sight to prohibition-related violence in Mexico. In fact, it just keeps getting worse.

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

A quiet week on the corrupt cops front, but the two stories we do have share a common theme: problems with snitches.

9. Federal Budget: Safe and Drug-Free Schools Funds Still Targeted for Zeroing Out

The Obama administration wants to eliminate the Safe and Drug-Free Schools competitive grants program because it is ineffective. So does the House of Representatives. But can proponents revive it in the Senate or conference committee?

10. Medical Marijuana: Iowa Public Hearings Get Underway

Largely impelled by tireless medical marijuana advocate Carl Olsen, the Iowa Pharmacy Board Wednesday held the first in a series of public hearings about possibly rescheduling marijuana so it could be used as a medicine under state law.

11. East Asia: Japanese Marijuana Arrests at Record Levels

Despite tough pot laws and harsh public condemnations of marijuana use in the media, Japan continues to see increasing numbers of marijuana arrests.

12. Southeast Asia: Malaysia Court Sentences Woman to Death for Two Pounds of Marijuana

The death penalty for a couple pounds of pot?!?! It happened in Malaysia this week, and it's not the first time, either.

13. Weekly: This Week in History

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

14. 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.

15. Students: Intern at StoptheDrugWar.org (DRCNet) and Help Stop the Drug War!

Apply for an internship at DRCNet and you could spend a semester fighting the good fight!
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.

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