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Opinion: A better bargain

Localização: 
MD
United States
Publication/Source: 
Baltimore Sun
URL: 
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bal-ed.drugs14may14,0,7788528.story?coll=bal-opinion-headlines

it isn't balance when opinion runs as fact

Localização: 
Vancouver, BC
Canada
Publication/Source: 
The Vancouver Sun (Canada)
URL: 
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/columnists/story.html?id=fad6bd9a-7c00-47aa-a549-e4e0376603c7

Supreme Court of New Mexico Strikes Down State’s Attempt to Convict Woman Struggling with Addiction During Pregnancy

For Immediate Release: May 11, 2007 CONTACT: Reena Szczepanski (DPA): 505-983-3277 or Nancy Goldstein (NAPW): 347-563-1647 Supreme Court of New Mexico Strikes Down State’s Attempt to Convict Woman Struggling with Addiction During Pregnancy Leading Physicians, Scientific Researchers, and Medical, Public Health, and Child Welfare Organizations Applaud Court’s Order On May 11, the Supreme Court of the State of New Mexico turned back the state's attempt to expand the criminal child abuse laws to apply to pregnant women and fetuses. In 2003, Ms. Cynthia Martinez was charged with felony child abuse “for permitting a child under 18 years of age to be placed in a situation that may endanger the child's life or health. . .” In bringing this prosecution, the state argued that a pregnant woman who cannot overcome a drug addiction before she gives birth should be sent to jail as a felony child abuser. Today the Supreme Court summarily affirmed the Court of Appeals decision, which overturned Ms. Martinez’s conviction. New Mexico joins more than 20 other states that have ruled on this issue and that have refused to judicially expand state criminal child abuse and related laws to reach the issues of pregnancy and addiction. The Drug Policy Alliance (“DPA”) and the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (“NAPW”) filed a friend-of-the-court brief http://www.drugpolicy.org/docUploads/NMvMartinezAmicusBrief.pdf on behalf of the New Mexico Public Health Association, the New Mexico Nurses Association, and nearly three dozen other leading medical and public health organizations, physicians, and scientific researchers. During oral argument, the Justices referenced the amicus brief filed by these organizations and expressed grave concerns about the deterrent effect such prosecutions would have on women seeking prenatal care. Tiloma Jayasinghe, NAPW staff attorney, explained, “Making child abuse laws applicable to pregnant women and fetuses would, by definition, make every woman who is low-income, uninsured, has health problems, and/or is battered who becomes pregnant a felony child abuser. In oral argument, the state’s attorney conceded that the law could potentially be applied to pregnant women who smoked.” Reena Szczepanski, Director of Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico, said, “I hope that this case serves as a reminder that pregnant women who are struggling with drug use should be offered prenatal care and drug treatment, not prosecution. There are better ways to protect our children in New Mexico, and ensure that future generations will be safe and healthy.” A complete list of the Amici appears below: New Mexico Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists New Mexico Public Health Association New Mexico Nurses Association American College of Physicians, New Mexico National Association of Social Workers National Association of Social Workers, New Mexico National Coalition for Child Protection Reform Child Welfare Organizing Project American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry The Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse American Public Health Association Citizens for Midwifery Doctors of the World-USA Family Justice The Hygeia Foundation, Inc. National Perinatal Association National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health National Women's Health Network Our Bodies Ourselves Pegasus Legal Services for Children Physicians and Lawyers for National Drug Policy Center for Gender and Justice Yolanda Briscoe, M.D. Bette Fleishman Norton Kalishman, M.D. Eve Espey, M.D. Gavriela DeBoer Dona Upson, M.D., M.A. Elizabeth M. Armstrong, Ph.D. Wendy Chavkin, M.D., M.P.H. Ellen Wright Clayton, M.D., J.D. Nancy Day, M.P.H. Leslie Hartley Gise, M.D. Stephanie S. Covington, Ph.D., L.C.S.W. Ms. Martinez was represented by Jane Wishner of the outhwest Women's Law Center and Joseph Goldberg of the law firm of Freedman Boyd Daniels Hollander Goldberg & Ives, P.A.
Localização: 
NM
United States

Ahead of Monday Budget Release, Advocates Urge Gov. to Increase Drug Treatment Funding

For Immediate Release: May 10, 2007 Contact: Margaret Dooley, tel: (858) 336-3685 or Dave Fratello, tel: (310) 394-2952 Ahead of Monday Budget Release, Advocates Urge Gov. to Increase Drug Treatment Funding In Time of Prison Crisis, Proponents Point to Prop. 36 as Solution Program Needs $228.6 Million to Provide Adequate Services and Increase Taxpayer Savings, Says State-Commissioned UCLA Report SACRAMENTO, May 10 – On Monday (May 14), Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will release his revised budget proposal for Proposition 36, California’s voter-enacted, treatment-instead-of-incarceration program. Advocates are calling on the governor to heed the advice of a recent state-funded report by increasing funding for the program to $228.6 million. Margaret Dooley, Prop. 36 coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, said, “Even before UCLA recommended $230 million as the minimum annual funding level, there was consensus among doctors, treatment providers and advocates, and county governments that Prop. 36 needs more funding, not less. Only a substantial funding increase can provide adequate treatment and continue to expand this program’s documented cost savings. We hope the governor’s May revise will reflect this broad consensus.” The Governor’s January budget proposed slashing Prop. 36 funding from $145 million to $120 million, while diverting half of those funds into an “Offender Treatment Program” (OTP) requiring a 1-9 county match. At legislative budget hearings, treatment providers and local governments have vocally expressed their displeasure. The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) noted in February that a reduction in Prop. 36 funding would increase prison costs. The LAO also pointed to some prospective legal concerns regarding the shifting of funds from the Prop. 36 trust fund into OTP. Several major California newspapers also have criticized the Governor’s plan. The Los Angeles Times editorial page said: “The UCLA study flagged [shortcomings] in Proposition 36, most of which point to a need for longer, more intensive treatment. That means more funding, not less.” The Orange County Register and San Diego’s North County Times also weighed in against the governor’s plan and in support of cost-effective, community-based treatment. Dave Fratello, co-author of Prop. 36, said, “The state budget may be tight, but California can’t afford to reduce its commitment to Prop. 36. UCLA has shown again and again that Prop. 36 generates huge cost savings, improves thousands of lives each year and has significantly reduces the burden on our prisons. We can show now with data that drug addiction is most expensive when it is not treated.” Nearly six years into Prop. 36, the number of people incarcerated for drug possession has fallen by 32 percent (5,000 people). By diverting so many into treatment, Prop. 36 rendered unnecessary the construction of a new men’s prison (saving an addition $500 million) and also resulted in the shuttering of a women’s prison, bringing total savings to $1.7 billion. UCLA Finds Big Savings, Recommends Big Funding Increase Prior UCLA analyses of Prop. 36, required under law, established that every $1 invested results in $2.50 of savings to state and local government coffers, with most of those savings accrued by the state. UCLA researchers used a stringent, rigorous “taxpayers’ perspective” model only considered these direct savings. UCLA’s most recent analysis, released last month, found that the program requires at least $228.6 million to provide minimal, adequate treatment and to help generate even greater cost savings. The researchers found that average stays in treatment are shorter in Prop. 36 than in similar systems because the program is under-funded. Also, many people receive incorrect, less expensive treatment placements and have little probation supervision during their stays. UCLA researchers arrived at their recommended funding level by analyzing the costs of a series of improvements, including: More appropriate treatment placement (e.g., residential placement for those severely addicted, $18.9 million); Providing a “minimum dose,” or 90 days, of treatment ($31.3 million); Expanding access to narcotic replacement therapies, such as methadone and buprenorphine ($3.7 million); and Enhancing probation supervision ($25 million). # # #
Localização: 
Sacramento, CA
United States

Congressional Staff Briefing: Can Probation and Parole Supervision Reduce Recidivism?

The International Community Corrections Association (ICCA), The Sentencing Project, and the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office and National Prison Project, in collaboration with the Justice Roundtable Reentry Coalition invite you to a Congressional Staff Briefing: "Can Probation and Parole Supervision Reduce Recidivism?" hosted by Representative Bobby Scott, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Speakers include: Stefan LoBuglio -- Chief, Pre-Release and Reentry, Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilition Pre-Release Center Cedric Hendricks, Esq. -- Associate Director, Office of Legislative, Intergovernmental and Public Affairs, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia (CSOSA) Phil Fornaci -- Director, D.C. Prisoners' Project, Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs Speakers will discuss how well-structured probation and parole supervision programs, coupled with pre-release planning, can address the challenges and barriers to reentry faced by previously incarcerated persons. Each year 650,000 people leave prison and return to communities, many in need of comprehensive mental health care, drug treatment, welfare benefits, public housing, employment and educational training. Programs that prepare people for their life after prison and link aftercare programs and supervision can ease the reentry process and lead to reduced rates of recidivism. Programs across the country can serve as models for federal policymakers. For more information, contact Ms. Abeo F. Anderson at [email protected].
Data: 
Wed, 05/16/2007 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Localização: 
Room 2226
Washington, DC
United States

Politicians not helping the drug crisis

Localização: 
Australia
Publication/Source: 
Village Voice (Australia)
URL: 
http://www.villagevoice.com.au/article/20070502/NWS14/705020332/-1/nws/Politicians+not+helping+the+drug+crisis

Drug Policy Forum of Kansas: Action Alert April 25, 2007

Take Action! - Help Repeal Higher Education Act Drug Provision Take Action! - Ask Congress to Allow Medical Marijuana Research Take Action! - Support Second Chance Act for Drug Offenders ACLU Forum: Wakarusa '07 - Privacy Rights in Public Places Today, April 25, 2007, at the Lawrence Public Library, 7pm. Panelist include, DPFKS Executive Director Laura Green, Charles Branson, DG County DA, Skip Griffey, DG County Bar Association, and Lt. Kari Wempe, DG County Sheriff's Office. Wakarusa Music Festival Volunteer Sign-up DPFKS members interested in volunteering to work a few hours a day at the Wakarusa Music Festival should send go to the web site and click on Frequently Asked Questions for more information. The festival takes place June 7-10 at Clinton State Park outside of Lawrence. Next Volunteer Meeting April 28, 1 p.m. at the DPFKS offices, 941 Kentucky Street, Lawrence, first floor. We will discuss plans for the booths at Wakarusa Music Festival. Tell Senator Pat Roberts to REPEAL THE HEA DRUG PROVISION! The Higher Education Act Reauthorization bill being considered by the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee of which Kansas Senator Pat Roberts is a member. Repealing the Aid Elimination Penalty, also known as the "Drug Provision" would reinstate aid to aspiring students by removing the confusing drug conviction question from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, as recommended by Congress's own Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. Read our policy paper for more information on the HEA drug provision. In a letter to committee chair Senator Kennedy, the Drug Policy Forum of Kansas, along with more than 335 organizations around the country have called for a full repeal of the provision. Read the text of the letter on the Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform (CHEAR) website. What you can do: Call Senator Roberts and tell him: The Higher Education Act Drug Provision harms otherwise well performing students in Kansas and should be repealed by his committee. Senator Robert's office number is 202-224-4774. Alternatively, you can send a form letter to Senator Roberts from the CHEAR website. DEA Resisting Own Recommendation to Allow Medical Marijuana Research! The DEA's own administrative law judge ruled last month that marijuana could be grown at the University of Massachusetts so it could be provided for legitimate medical research. (For more information on the ruling, go to the web site, http://www.maps.org/) So far DEA Chief, Karen Tandy, has not allowed the recommendation to go forward. A sign-on letter is being distributed to members of Congress urging Administrator Tandy to allow the marijuana to be grown and distributed to licensed researchers, so the confusion surrounding marijuana's benefits as a medicine can finally be settled. What you can do: Call your Representive and tell them: Please sign on to the letter Sponsored by Rep. John Olver (pron. Ol-ver) urging the DEA to allow marijuana to be grown for medical research! Rep. Boyda: 202-225-6601 Rep. Moore: 202-225-2865 Rep. Moran: 202-225-2715 Rep. Tiahrt: 202-225-6216 Don't know who your Representative is? http://www.house.gov/writerep/ Give Formerly Incarcerated Drug Offenders a Chance! From Kansas Families Against Mandatory Minimums: The Second Chance Act of 2007 has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and is moving quickly through the legislative process. Show your support for formerly incarcerated people by supporting these bills! Among other things, the Second Chance Act would provide reentry funding on the state and local level to support the needs of formerly incarcerated people for housing, mental health and substance abuse treatment, education, employment and rebuilding family and community ties. Every year, approximately 650,000 people leave prison unprepared for the transition into society. It is no surprise that nearly two-thirds of them will be rearrested within three years. They deserve a better second chance, and H.R. 1593 and S. 1060 will help give them that. Next Volunteer Meeting Saturday, April 28, 1 p.m. at the DPFKS offices at 941 Kentucky Street, Lawrence, KS 785-841-8278 for more information. Won't you help us research and promote cost effective drug policies in Kansas by sending your tax-deductible donation today? Become a member. Add yourself to our mailing list by going to our web site www.dpfks.org.
Localização: 
United States

Hundreds of Prop. 36 Grads Rally in Sacramento to Celebrate Program's Success!

MEDIA ADVISORY: April 17, 2007 Contact: Margaret Dooley (858) 336-3685 Hundreds of Prop. 36 Grads Rally at Capitol to Celebrate Program’s Success Treatment-Not-Incarceration Program Has Graduated Over 70,000 Californians and Saved Taxpayers Over $1.5 Billion in Six Years SACRAMENTO, April 17 – On Wednesday (April 18), hundreds of graduates and supporters of California’s six-year-old, treatment-instead-of-incarceration program, will gather on the West Steps of the Capitol Building in Sacramento for the second annual “Prop. 36 Works!” rally to celebrate the program’s success and advocate for greater access to treatment for all Californians suffering from addiction. ********************************************************************* WHAT: “Prop. 36 Works!” Rally, 700+ to Attend WHO: Prop. 36 graduates (w/ success stories), treatment providers, faith leaders WHERE: West Steps, Capitol Building in Sacramento, CA WHEN: Wednesday, April 18, at 10:30am-12pm rally; 2pm march ********************************************************************* The rally comes just days after researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles released their latest analysis of Prop. 36, which finds that the program needs at least $228.6 million to provide adequate services, improve treatment outcomes and increase taxpayer savings. UCLA’s figure is $80 million higher than the state spent on Prop. 36 in 2005-06, and $109 million higher than the governor has proposed spending in 2007-08. According to UCLA, every Prop. 36 graduate saves $4 for every $1 invested. The Legislative Analyst’s Office has estimated that the program generated net savings of $205 million in 2002-03 and $297 million in 2004-05. Conservatively estimating savings of $200 million per year, total program savings in six years surpass $1.2 billion. Nearly six years into Prop. 36, the number of people incarcerated for drug possession has fallen by 32% (5,000 people). By diverting so many into treatment, Prop. 36 rendered unnecessary the construction of a new men’s prison (saving an addition $500m) and also resulted in the shuttering of a women’s prison, bringing total savings to $1.7 billion. The UCLA report: http://www.adp.ca.gov/pdf/SACPAEvaluationReport.pdf For more on the rally, visit www.prop36.org # # # http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2007/04/13/state/n184353D91... UCLA study: More money needed for drug treatment program By DON THOMPSON, Associated Press Writer Friday, April 13, 2007 (04-13) 18:43 PDT SACRAMENTO, (AP) -- California should devote more money to drug treatment if it wants to see a voter-approved diversion program improve, according to a fourth and final UCLA review of the 6-year-old initiative that was released Friday. Fewer than a third of drug offenders complete treatment programs required by Proposition 36, the study found. The measure, approved in 2000, requires treatment instead of jail for nonviolent first- and second-time drug offenders. The 32 percent completion rate in the third year of the program was a decline from the more than 34 percent who completed treatment in the first two years, the researchers found. Renee Zito, who was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in February to head the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, said the state-sponsored study supports the governor's view that changes to the program are needed. Schwarzenegger last year signed a Senate bill that permits jail stints of up to five days to force offenders to continue treatment, or if they test positive for drug use. A judge blocked the law after the Drug Policy Alliance sued, saying the jail terms violated voters' intent when they passed the measure with a 61 percent majority. "The latest report shows that changes are necessary to improve the rate — the rehabilitation rate," Zito said in a telephone interview. Alliance spokeswoman Margaret Dooley countered that the UCLA study shows the state should be spending $228 million on drug treatment programs, "which means the governor's budget is $109 million short." An estimated $149 million was spent last year on Proposition 36 programs. The University of California at Los Angeles study suggests drug rehabilitation programs that would cost an additional $79 million. But the governor's budget includes just $120 million for next year. More money should go to intensive treatment and supervision programs, including residential programs and programs providing at least 90 days of treatment, the report suggests. In addition, the report advocates allowing the use of methadone, a narcotics replacement drug, which some professionals oppose. "The governor will look at all options," Zito said. However, she said many of the report's recommendations do not require significantly more money. The money is well-spent if offenders complete the program, the report found. The researchers estimated the state saves $4 for every $1 it spends on treatment if the offenders stay off drugs, get jobs and stop committing crimes.
Localização: 
Sacramento, CA
United States

Feature: In Britain, Labor's Decade-Long Drug War a Failure, New Report Finds

With Britain's 10-year UK Drug Strategy up for renewal or replacement next year, a series of reports detailing its flaws have appeared in recent months. Now, we can add one more to the list. This week, a new independent panel on drug policy issued a report saying that a decade of Labor's drug war had failed to curb the social problems and criminality related to drug abuse under prohibition.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/ukparliament.jpg
UK government: failing at drug policy
The report, An Analysis of UK Drug Policy was authored by University of Maryland drug policy analyst Peter Reuter and Alex Stevens of the University of Kent, for the UK Drug Policy Commission. Headed by long-time drug reform proponent Dame Ruth Runciman, the commission describes its mission as "to provide independent and objective analysis of drug policy and find ways to help the public and policy makers better understand the implications and options for future policy."

If the commission's report is any indicator, policy makers can use the help. Labor's strategy of education campaigns, forced drug treatment, some harm reduction measures, and harsher prison sentences has not made an appreciable dent in drug use. Britain has the highest level of dependent drug users in Europe, the report found, and heroin use has skyrocketed from 5,000 people in 1975 to an estimated 280,000 now.

The report estimated the size of the British drug market at more than $10 billion a year and the cost of drug-related crime at more than $25 billion a year. It also found that Britain's drug use rates were among the highest in Europe.

While Reuters and Stevens were highly skeptical of the ability of drug policy to influence drug use, they praised harm reduction measures. "Government policies have only limited impact on rates of drug use itself," they wrote. "However, the UK has introduced evidence-based measures, notably the expansion of treatment and harm reduction, that have reduced the harms that would otherwise have occurred. On the other hand it operates measures, such as classifying drugs to deter use and increasing use of imprisonment, that have little or no support from available research."

The number of people in drug treatment had increased from 85,000 to 181,000 between 1998 and 2005, much of that increase driven by the criminal justice system, the authors noted. But the number of drug war prisoners has also increased by 111% in the past decade, and sentences are nearly a third longer than when Tony Blair took office.

The report's executive analysis section on policy implications is worth quoting at length:

There is little evidence from the UK, or any other country, that drug policy influences either the number of drug users or the share of users who are dependent. There are numerous other cultural and social factors that appear to be more important. It is notable that two European countries that are often used as contrasting examples of tough or liberal drug policies, Sweden and the Netherlands, both have lower rates of overall and problematic drug use than the UK.

Given the international evidence as to the limited ability of drug policy to influence national trends in drug use and drug dependence, it is unreasonable to judge the performance of a country's drug policy by the levels of drug use in that country. Yet that is the indictor to which the media and public instinctively turn. However, this is not to say that drug policy is irrelevant.

The arena where government drug policy needs to focus further effort and where it can make an impact is in reducing the levels of drug-related harms (crime, death and disease and other associated problems) through the expansion of and innovation in treatment and harm reduction services.

We know very little about the effectiveness and impact of most enforcement efforts, whether they are directed at reducing the availability of drugs or at enforcing the law over possession and supply. Imprisoning drug offenders for relatively substantial periods does not appear to represent a cost effective response.

Transparency in resource allocations is urgently needed if the overall and relative balance of supply and demand reduction interventions is to be considered.

The UK invests remarkably little in independent evaluation of the impact of drug policies, especially enforcement. This needs redressing if policy makers are to be able to identify and introduce effective measures in the future.

Unsurprisingly, the Blair government rejected the report's findings. "The British Crime Survey shows that drug use has fallen by 16% since 1998 and drug use among adults has fallen by 21%," a Home Office statement said. "We are determined to build on this progress by continuing to take more drugs off our streets, put more dealers behind bars and make sure young people are informed about the harms drugs cause," he said.

Equally unsurprisingly, the opposition Tories called the report "a shocking indictment" of Blair's drug policy. "After ten years in power this is a shocking indictment of the government's failure and shows that Tony Blair has utterly failed in his pledge to get tough on the 'causes' of crime," said Tory Shadow Home Secretary David Davis in a press release. "The consequences of this failure are not just that hundreds of thousands of young lives are being ruined -- drugs also fuel much of the gun and knife related violence on our streets today, thus destroying communities."

But the Tories would only offer more of the same, the press release indicated. "Conservatives would take real action to combat this scourge on society. Not only would we increase the amount of residential drug rehab beds and increase the prison capacity so that offenders can settle and complete their drug rehab courses, we would also establish a dedicated UK border police to stop drugs simply flowing in through our porous borders. This force would also act to detect and prosecute those who smuggle drugs into our country."

Danny Kushlick, director of Transform Drug Policy Foundation, which advocates legalization, had a different solution. "We know from evidence that misuse of drugs is related significantly to social ill-being and social deprivation," he told the Guardian. "You cannot deal with that stuff with education and prevention or through teaching younger and younger children. You deal with it by redistributing wealth and improving wellbeing."

Britain has seen report after report detailing the failures of prohibitionist drug policy in the last two years. Next year, it will have the opportunity to put the lessons learned into practice. When was the last time we had such an overview of drug policy in the United States?

Advocates say Rockefeller drug laws remain too harsh

Localização: 
Albany, NY
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Ithaca Journal (NY)
URL: 
http://www.theithacajournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070419/NEWS01/704190373/1002

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