Intersecting Issues

RSS Feed for this category

Drug Czar: Meth Battles Needs Tighter Border Control, Treatment

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Associated Press
URL: 
http://www.charlotte.com/mld/observer/news/local/15172904.htm

Wild Weed Whacked

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Norman Transcript
URL: 
http://www.normantranscript.com/localnews/local_story_213003124?keyword=topstory

Announcement: IJPD Seeks Article Submissions on Women and Harm Reduction

The International Journal of Drug Policy has released a call for papers, for a special issue: "Women and Harm Reduction: Spanning the Globe," guest editors Susan Sherman, Adeeba bte Kamarulzaman and Patti Spittal.

The issue aims to examine: the unique factors (e.g. cultural, relational, legal or economic) that contribute to women's use of psychoactive drugs (licit and illicit); the stigma associated with women's drug use; proximal and distal effects of drug use on the lives of women drug users as well as drug users’ female sexual partners; examine patterns of use and consequences of different types of drugs (e.g. ATS, alcohol, opiates); to explore the effects of different types of drugs; to examine gender-related policies regarding harm reduction services and treatment; and to examine innovative programs targeting women drug users.

The issue aims to include work representing a range of geographic regions (e.g. former Soviet Union, Middle East, South Asia,Southeast Asia, Europe/North America). Papers must be relevant to harm reduction and policy.

Several types of contributions are invited: Scientific review papers (max 8,000 words) ; Original research papers (3,000 – 7,000 words); Short research reports (up to 1500 words); Descriptions of interesting (positive or negative) programmes or policies (2,000 – 5,000 words); Descriptions of problems (e.g. structural barriers) in gaining access to needed services or programmes (2,000 – 5,000 words); Policies and/or historical analyses (3,000 – 7,000 words); Commentaries (max 4,000 words); Editorials (1,500 - 2,500 words).

The deadline for outline abstracts or other short descriptions (not exceeding 400 words) is September 23, 2006; they should be sent to [email protected]. If selected for submission, the deadline for completion of draft contributions will be in December, 2006. Submissions will be made on the Elsevier on-line electronic submission system and will be subject to peer-review.

Khat: Feds Arrest 62 in Crackdown on Mild East African Stimulant Herb

Khat, a shrub that grows in East Africa, has been used for centuries as a mild stimulant in the region, with a high similar to that obtained by drinking a lot of tea or coffee. Khat is legal thoughout Africa and most European countries, but US federal authorities consider it a dangerous drug. They struck Wednesday, arresting 62 East African immigrants on charges they smuggled more than 25 tons of the stuff into the United States.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/khatinvietnam.jpg
family khat use scene, Vietnam
Federal officials told reporters Wednesday they are investigating reports the khat smugglers may be linked to "war lords" in Somalia and Ethiopia, but they have not produced any proof of that, nor do any of the indictments allege any links to terrorist activities in the region, where Islamic extremism is on the march. Muslim fundamentalists linked to Al-Qaida are battling Western-backed "war lords" for control of Somalia.

"It is suspected that there are ties to some type of terrorist organizations," a federal agent demanding anonymity told the McClatchy Newspaper chain. While the indictments do not allege terror links, they do charge the group laundered money through hawalas, an informal network of remittances widely used in South Asia and the Middle East. Some of the money ended up in the Middle East financial capital Dubai, the indictments allege.

FBI Assistant Director Mark Mershon told a New York news conference Wednesday that the agency continues to seek "the ultimate destiny of the funds." According to Mershon, intelligence suggests the money was headed for "countries in East Africa which are a hotbed for Sunni extremism and a wellspring for terrorists associated with Al-Qaida."

Hmmm…They are also the countries from which those arrested hail and where khat is widely grown. Meanwhile, the man charged as ringleader for the group faces up to life in prison and the others face up to 20 years for using and dealing in an herb with which they grew up.

Feature: Methamphetamine as Child Abuse Laws Gain Ground, But Do They Help or Hurt?

When Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) signed a package of anti-methamphetamine measures into law last Thursday, Michigan became at least the sixth state to define either the use or the production of meth where children are present as child abuse. The trend is part of an all-out offensive against methamphetamine use and manufacture by law enforcement and child welfare agencies, but child protection critics and maternal rights advocates say it is a destructive and unnecessary response.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, at least 21 states and the District of Columbia define some drug use, distribution, or sales as child abuse or neglect. Among the various laws:

  • Manufacture of a controlled substance in the presence of child or on the premises occupied by a child (Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia).
  • Allowing a child to be present where the chemicals or equipment for the manufacture of controlled substances are used or stored (Arizona and New Mexico).
  • Selling, distributing, or giving drugs or alcohol to a child (Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, and Texas).
  • Use of a controlled substance by a caregiver that impairs the caregiver's ability to adequately care for the child (Kentucky, New York, Rhode Island, and Texas).
  • Exposure of the child to drug paraphernalia, the criminal sale or distribution of drugs, or drug-related activity (North Dakota, Montana and Virginia, and the District of Columbia, respectively).

When it comes to methamphetamine in particular, Michigan joins Iowa and South Dakota as singling out that drug and its users for special opprobrium in their child abuse statutes. Meanwhile, in Georgia, Idaho, and Ohio, the manufacture or possession of methamphetamine in the presence of a child is a felony, and Washington state provides for enhanced penalties for any conviction for the manufacture of methamphetamine when a child was present.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/methcooking.jpg
controversial school meth cooking demo, Grays Harbor County, Washington, May 2005
Gov. Granholm sang a familiar tune as she announced the signing of the anti-meth package last week. "For the first time, we can now charge those who expose children to the dangers of methamphetamine production with child abuse – because that's what it is," Granholm said. "I'm proud to sign legislation that will help our law enforcement officers better protect children and give our communities additional tools to deal with the environmental damage caused by the production of this illegal drug."

But how big is the problem of meth-exposed children in Michigan? "I can't give you a specific answer as to numbers," said Michigan Department of Human Services Child Protection Services media relations specialist Maureen Sorbet. "We don't track that. We track child abuse cases by the type of abuse and the perpetrators," she told DRCNet.

The Michigan State Police were a bit more informed on the topic. Last year, 116 children were found in meth-related incidents, said Inspector Karen Halliday, who chaired a state meth task force subcommittee charged with dealing with children in homes with drugs present that drafted the meth child abuse law. "If you find one child in an environment like a meth home," that's a problem, she told DRCNet.

But even if every one of those 116 children were the subject of substantiated child abuse complaints, they would constitute less than one-tenth of one percent of substantiated child abuse complaints in the state. According to Child Protection Services, last year more than 128,000 child abuse or neglect complaints were filed last year in Michigan, more than 72,000 were investigated, and more than 18,000 substantiated.

Nationwide, similar results obtain. According to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, child protective services agencies removed 1.19 million children from their parents between 2000 and 2003. During that same period, some 10,580 children were found to be "affected" by meth manufacture, with 2,881 placed in foster care. As the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform notes, "In other words, of all the entries into foster care from 2000 to 2003, at least 99.1% of them had nothing to do with meth labs."

"If the idea is to help children, these kinds of laws are extremely ineffective," said Richard Wexler, head of the coalition and a harsh critic of the nation's child protection services. "If the idea is to drive women underground and leave the children far worse off, it's extremely effective. These laws hurt the children they are allegedly intended to help. Listen, you can't be a meth addict and be a good parent, but further criminalizing them doesn't help anything. The key is to offer treatment. If you simply confiscate the kids, then they wind up in America's dreadful foster care system, bounced from home to home, unable to form lasting bonds with anyone," he told DRCNet.

National Advocates for Pregnant Women generally concentrates on the distinct -- but closely related -- issue of the plight of drug using expectant mothers (12 states and DC charge drug using mothers as child abusers, and 12 more have specific reporting procedures for infants who test positive at birth), but the group is also concerned about the meth as child abuse laws. "This completely misses the boat if we're talking about the public health angle," said Wyndi Anderson, national educator for the group. "We try really hard to get a lot of women access to a whole range of public health services. They need addiction treatment. Automatically labeling them child abusers doesn't help them at all, it only helps get them into prison and their children into foster care," she told DRCNet.

"These laws are an exercise in showboating," said Wexler. "The legislators want to look like they're cracking down on drugs and child abuse, but since it is already child abuse to commit an act that actually harms a child, these laws are redundant. All they do is frighten people away and take away one way to reach out to addicted parents and get the help that will help -- not hurt -- their children."

"When you equate meth use with child abuse, you create the possibility of a witch hunt," Anderson warned. "We want to keep communities healthy and families intact, and these kinds of laws will just bust up both. If you believe in family values, I don't see how you could be for something like this. Is this what conservatives mean when they're talking about compassion, forgiveness, and helping the downtrodden?"

Anderson did not minimize the problem of methamphetamine abuse, but argued that the answer is not more laws but more treatment. "What we should be doing is figuring out what treatment works, what family interventions work, what prevention efforts work. We are willing to spend big money on the criminal justice side, and if we really care about people's and families' health, we should be willing to spend on the public health side. But instead we've been spending on guns and prisons."

But it's more than just a "drug problem," said Anderson. "This is all much more complicated than just drugs or treatment," she said. "We need a comprehensive approach. People need jobs to go to when they get out. It is the community's responsibility to meet these people halfway."

New Jersey Racial Profiling Archive

This section presents the racial profiling documents released by the New Jersey Attorney General's office on Monday, November 27, 2000, amid controversy and acrimony.

At least 21 states include drug offenses in their definitions of child abuse

Michigan is the latest, with Gov. Granholm signing a bill on Thursday that will make some meth offenses per se evidence of child abuse. I have a problem with these laws. I think child abuse is already well defined and people who fit the criteria should be punished for it. But saying that using or even cooking speed equals child abuse is just absurd on the face of it. I'll be talking to people through the week as I write a story on this to see if I'm wrong.
Location: 
United States

Book Offer: Burning Rainbow Farm: How a Stoner Utopia Went up in Smoke

Many DRCNet readers remember the heartbreaking tragedy of Rainbow Farm, the alternative campground and concert site outside Vandalia, Michigan, where marijuana activists Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm, driven to desperation by a relentless prosecutor, were killed by FBI and state police in fall 2001. Killed for no good reason -- as a local sympathizer expressed it to Drug War Chronicle's Phil Smith at the funeral, "[Prosecutor] Scott Teter said this was their choice, but it was his choice to hound them and try to take their land and their son. He's the one who chose to shoot and kill." Rohm and Crosslin before the end burned down their beloved buildings to keep the government from getting them.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/rainbowfarmbook.jpg
Journalist Dean Kuipers of the Los Angeles CityBeat has now written "Burning Rainbow Farm: How a Stoner Utopia Went up in Smoke," a 304-page book being released by Bloomsbury USA this June 13. DRCNet is offering "Burning Rainbow Farm" as our latest membership premium -- donate $35 or more to DRCNet, and we will send you a copy -- donate $45 or more and we will send you one signed by the author. Your donations will help our work to end drug prohibition, while raising awareness of the recklessness and excesses of drug enforcers like prosecutor Teter -- click here to donate and order your copy.

Publishers Weekly writes of Kuipers' book, "Drawing on extensive interviews, government documents and news coverage, the author [who grew up 20 miles from the shootings] verges on portraying the prosecutor as evil incarnate. But Kuipers doesn't cross the line from sound journalism into advocacy, while letting the story unfold through superbly detailed characterizations and skillful pacing."

We also continue to offer the DVD video Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and the 5th edition of Drug War Facts. Add $5 to the minimum donation to add either of these to your request, or $10 to add both of them. Again, you can make your donation and place your order online, or send a check or money order to: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036. (Note that contributions to Drug Reform Coordination Network, which support our lobbying work, are not tax-deductible. Deductible contributions can be made to DRCNet Foundation, same address.) Lastly, please contact us for instructions if you wish to make a donation of stock. (Also note that copies of Rainbow Farm will be mailed out from DRCNet during the third week of June.)

Thank you for your support. If you want to read more about Rainbow Farm in the meanwhile, please see Phil's articles in the Drug War Chronicle archive: Michigan Drug Warriors Drive Marijuana Activists to the Brink, Then Gun Them Down on 9/7/01; Rainbow Farm Marijuana Activists Laid to Rest, Friends Not Resting on 9/21; and Phil's book review last week.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School