psmith

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Law Enforcement: FBI Lowers Bar on Past Marijuana Use by Would-Be Agents

Looking to be an FBI agent? The rules on disqualifying applicants based on past drug use, especially marijuana use, just got a little more lax.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

This week we have a pair from the US-Mexico border, where temptation is always close at hand, and a pair from Florida, where corruption seems to thrive in the steamy atmosphere.

Taking it to the Drug Warriors--Is It Time for Direct Action?

You know, a guy gets tired fighting for decades for the right to do something which should be our right anyway.

My Representative Explains Why She Voted Against Hinchey-Rohrabacher

Although I'm sitting in British Columbia this month and will be in Northern California next month, I am registered to vote in South Dakota.

Europe: Dutch Police Grumble About Home Grows

There is grumbling from Dutch police that policies toward marijuana growers -- both small-time and commercial -- are too lax.

Australia: National Green Party Abandons Drug Legalization Position

Nervous about upcoming national elections, the Australian Greens have retreated from their earlier stance in favor of regulated marijuana, and possibly, ecstasy sales. Now their drug policy platform leads off with a plank saying they oppose legalization.

Southeast Asia: Singapore Gives Treatment Option to Marijuana, Cocaine Users

If you get caught smoking marijuana or snorting cocaine in Singapore, be prepared for forced drug treatment and a long prison term. Authorities there announced this week they will begin applying the sanctions used against hard drug addicts to pot smokers and coke heads as of August 1.

Europe: British Cabinet Full of Former Marijuana Users

Last week, the British government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced it would revisit the issue of rescheduling marijuana back to a more serious drug schedule. Since then, a total of nine of Brown's cabinet members have admitted to smoking the weed.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Michigan narc is accused of making off with a whole bunch of blow, an Alabama juvenile probation officer is accused of snitching for the bad guys, a Massachusetts trooper takes a plea in pain pill ring, and a Missouri cop goes to prison for ripping off drug couriers.

First Amendment: Freaked Out Feds Indict Pair for Posting Flyers Naming Snitch

Do snitches have the right not to be named? A Philadelphia grand jury has indicted two people on witness intimidation charges for posting flyers outing an informant.

Memorial: San Francisco Drug War Activist Virginia Resner

Long-time San Francisco drug policy, medical marijuana, and human rights activist Virginia Resner died in her home town last week. She will be missed.

Criminal Justice: Green Party Leaders Call For Radical Reforms

While Republicans happily pursue their "tough on crime" politics of fear and Democrats can barely be bothered to vote to protect medical marijuana providers, the US Green Party is calling for radical reforms of the criminal justice system and "cancellation" of the drug war.

Feature: Minor Gains in Bid to Get Congress to Block Federal Raids on Medical Marijuana Patients, Providers

The House of Representatives Wednesday defeated the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, which would have barred the use of federal funds to arrest and prosecute medical marijuana patients and providers in states where it is legal. Supporters gained only two votes over last year, sparking discussion about what comes next.

Feature: DEA Raids Ten Los Angeles Dispensaries Same Day City Council Asks It To Butt Out

DEA agents raided 10 Los Angeles-area medical marijuana dispensaries Wednesday, the same day the LA City Council sent it a letter asking it to butt out. The raids were met by angry protests and civil disobedience.

Medical Marijuana: DEA, ONDCP Take Flak on Dispensary Raids, Research Obstacles in House Committee Hearing

DEA and ONDCP functionaries got a grilling on medical marijuana issues at a House subcommittee hearing last week.

Feature: In Spreading Scandal Over White House Political Operations, House Panel Head Accuses Drug Czar's Office of Electioneering

Citing smoking-gun memos between White House political staffers and the drug czar's office, the head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Tuesday accused the Bush administration of politicizing the Office of National Drug Control Policy. And they're deposing witnesses.

Feature: Pain Doctor and Patient Advocates Get a Congressional Hearing… Finally

For the first time in more than a decade, the DEA came under congressional scrutiny last week for its interference in the practice of medicine. Pain patient and doctor advocates got a chance to tell a congressional committee about the crisis in chronic pain and how the DEA gets in the way.

Europe: Britain to Review Marijuana's Classification, Could Be Moved Back to Tougher Drug Schedule

New British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Tuesday that his government will seek a review of marijuana's status as a Class C drug -- with an eye toward moving it back to the more serious Class B.

Harm Reduction: Jersey City Signs Up for Needle Exchange

The Jersey City City Council voted Wednesday for an ordinance allowing the city to participate in a pilot needle exchange program. It's the fifth Garden State city to do so since Gov. Corzine signed a needle exchange bill in December.

Drug Use: One in 12 US Workers Uses Drugs, SAMHSA Says

One out of 12 full-time workers in the US reported using drugs within the past month, according to survey data released by SAMHSA.

Medical Marijuana: ONDCP Claims Steve Kubby Has Changed His Mind, Kubby Says No Way!

The drug czar's office told Congress that California medical marijuana activist Steve Kubby had changed his tune. Kubby begs to differ.

Marijuana: Drug Czar Calls Pot Growers Dangerous Terrorists

Drug czar John Walters suffered a severe bout of rhetorical excess last Thursday at a press conference in Northern California, claiming that marijuana growers are violent criminal terrorists who would not hesitate to help foreign terrorists enter the country and inflict mass casualties.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A New York City cop helps drug dealers rip off other drug dealers, a North Carolina cop builds a really impressive bad cop resume, a former North Carolina sheriff can't account for much of his evidence, and an Indiana cop gets a slap on the wrist for stealing from a drug suspect.

Southwest Asia: Afghan Poppy Crop Sets New Record, US Ambassador Says

The 2007 Afghan opium poppy crop has set another record, the US ambassador conceded this week. All the more reason to embark on forced eradication, he said.

When Oversight Means Oversight: Waxman Goes After Walters for Politicizing His Office

"Oversight" is a funny word. It has two meanings, one the opposite of the other. "Oversight" can mean watching over, supervising, or reviewing an action, a policy, or a process.

Criticism of Fumigation Grows in Colombia as Cocaine Trade Is Undiminished

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Virginia Pain Doctor [Bill Hurwitz] Gets Nearly Five-Year Term

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Judge Rules Canada's Pot Possession Laws Unconstitutional

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Rudy Hates Pot Smokers (Especially Black and Brown Ones) More Than He Likes Effective Policing

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has gotten a lot of criticism this week for his comments rejecting medical marijuana and suggesting that its advocates are actually stalking horses for marijua

Drug Testing: Tennessee Supreme Court Holds Off-Duty Marijuana Use No Reason to Deny Workman's Comp Claim

The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that merely because a worker admitted to smoking marijuana the night before he suffered a workplace injury was no reason to deny him workman's compensation.

Marijuana: California Superior Court Upholds Santa Barbara's "Lowest Enforcement Priority" Law

A California Superior Court judge has thrown out an effort by the city of Santa Barbara to undo the city's voter-mandated policy making adult marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority.

The Drug Debate: American Mayors Urge "A New Bottom Line" and a Public Health Approach for Drug Policy

The US Conference of Mayors last month adopted a resolution calling the war on drugs a failure and urging "a new bottom line" on drug policy.

Medical Marijuana: Rudy Giuliani Just Says No

Republican presidential nomination contender Rudy Giuliani has rejected medical marijuana, claiming it is a a stalking horse for legalization.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

The allure of Oxycontin (and its profits) snags two cops, a deputy can't keep his paws off the meth, and a South Carolina cop gets charged with drug dealing. Just another week in the drug war.

Drug War Chronicle Book Review: "High Society: How Substance Abuse Ravages America and What to Do About It," by Joseph Califano (2007, Public Affairs Press, 270 pp., $26.95 HB)

Joe Califano's "High Society" is a strange brew of legitimate concerns, hype, distortions, and what look to us to be misguided policy pronouncements. We review it this issue.

Feature: Medical Marijuana -- A Progress Report

Eleven years ago, no Americans had the protection of a state medical marijuana law. Now, some 50 million do, but that means some 250 million don't. While progress has been made, it has been slow, and there is plenty more to do.

Legalizing Pot Makes Sense

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Home State Blues, or What's an Itinerant Activist To Do?

Your itinerant Drug War Chronicle has been bouncing around North America for the last few years, spending significant amounts of time in Washington state, British Columbia, Mexico, Northern California

Feature: Supreme Court Uses "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" Case to Limit Students' Speech Rights

In the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case, the Supreme Court has upheld the right of schools to prohibit speech advocating illegal drug use, but has also held the schools may not bar speech advocating political positions.

Feature: UN Releases Annual Drug Report, Countries Mark International Day Against Drugs With Bonfires, Propaganda Exercises, Death Sentences

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Tuesday released its annual world drug report and marked the International Day Against Drugs and Illicit Trafficking. Both actions are drawing criticism.

Marijuana: No More Automatic Arrest for Possession in Texas

As of September 1, police in Texas will have the option of simply issuing a summons instead of arresting people caught with up to a quarter-pound of marijuana. Texas marijuana laws remain unchanged, but at least you might not go to jail.

Latin America: House Votes to Shift Andean Initiative Anti-Drug Funding to Development

The US House of Representatives last Friday voted to cut military anti-drug aid to Colombia and subject aerial spraying of coca crops to more restrictions. Now the measure heads for the Senate.

Incarceration: Jail and Prison Population at All-Time High (Again) -- Last Year Saw Biggest Increase Since 2000

The number of people behind bars reached another all-time high last year and it increased at the fastest rate since 2000. Drug prohibition contributes mightily.

Europe: Scottish Police Chief Says Time to Consider Prescribing Hard Drugs

A leading Scottish police chief says it is time to consider prescribing hard drugs to users in a bid to get a grip on acquisitive crime. Perhaps the Scottish new prime minister of Britain will lend an ear to the idea.

Let's Celebrate UN Anti-Drug Day...By Killing People

Yesterday was the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) annual International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

Latin America: Mexico Purges Federal Police Chiefs in Drug Corruption Review

Mexico has purged its federal police chiefs in all 31 states and the Federal District to ensure police are fighting the drug traffic, not abetting it.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Busy, busy. A Virginia police chief gets caught selling speed, a New Jersey State Trooper gets arrested for stealing and re-selling seized drugs, a New Jersey prison guard gets nailed trying to smuggle prescription drugs into the prison, a former Schenectady narc pleads guilty to ripping off cocaine from the evidence locker, a former Border Patrol agent is going to prison for stealing a bale of pot he was supposed to be guarding, and a corrupt Milwaukee cop wants back pay.

The Latest Imprisonment Numbers Are Out; No Surprises

The Bureau of Justice Statistics will tomorrow officially release its latest annual report on the number of prisoners in America.

High Court Bolsters Sentencing Guidelines

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Plane Crash, Missing Person Search Hinder Pot Crop

Marijuana growing must be ubiquitous these days.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Puerto Rican narc gets caught robbing an armored car, a Mississippi cop gets nailed for selling and using speed, and a Toledo cop who liked to party too much cops a plea.

Search and Seizure: Supreme Court Rules Passengers Can Challenge Police Stops

Passengers in vehicles stopped by police are effectively "seized" and may challenge the constitutionality of that seizure, the Supreme Court ruled in an unanimous opinion Monday.

Middle East: Iran Hangs Four for Drug Trafficking

Iran executed four convicted drug traffickers on Saturday. That makes at least 102 executions in Iran so far this year.

Middle East: Dubai Sentences Two More Westerners To Prison Over Infinitesimal Amounts of Drugs

The Dubai courts continue their harsh treatment of people possessing even tiny amounts of illicit drugs. This week, they sent a Canadian working for an Afghan anti-drug program to prison for four years for traces of hashish that he may have picked up in the course of his work.

Medical Marijuana: Rhode Island Legislature Overrides Veto to Make Law Permanent

Rhode Island's medical marijuana law is here to stay. The legislature this week voted decisively to override a gubernatorial veto of a bill that would make it permanent.

Medical Marijuana: Connecticut Governor Vetoes Bill

A medical marijuana bill passes both houses of the Connecticut legislature, but Gov. Jodi Rell has now vetoed it.

Methamphetamine: With Meth Labs Plunging to Near Zero, Nevada Moves to Track Cold Remedies

Nevada's governor has signed an anti-meth lab bill that further restricts the purchase of over-the-counter cold and allergy remedies. Problem is, nobody is cooking meth in Nevada anymore.

Feature: North Dakota Farmers Sue DEA Over Hemp Growing Ban

A pair of North Dakota farmers have been granted state permits to grow hemp, but the DEA has refused to act on their federal license applications. Now the farmers are going to federal court to ask that the agency be told to butt out.

Feature: Move to Undo Higher Education Act Drug Provision Passes Senate Committee

A key Senate committee voted Wednesday to remove the infamous "drug question" from the federal financial aid form. With a measure calling for outright repeal expected to pass the House, it could be the beginning of the end for Souder's Folly.

Feature: ONDCP Kicks Off Annual Summer Marijuana Scare Campaign With Report Linking Drugs to Gangs, Violence

With the summer season now underway, the drug czar's office has released a scary new report linking youth marijuana and other drug use to gang membership and violence. Critics say there is less there than meets the eye.

North Dakota Farmers File Lawsuit Against DEA Over Hemp Ban

This afternoon, I particpated in a tele-news conference held in Bismarck, North Dakota, to announce the filing of a federal lawsuit by two North Dakota farmers (including a Republican state representa

Advanced Drug Testing: Creepy Science, Creepy Scientists

A German electronic newsletter about scientific innovations advises that a Russian

Doctor or Drug Pusher?

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Middle East: Dubai Customs Busts Canadian UN Afghan Drug Worker

Strict drug law enforcement at the Dubai airport has snagged yet another Westerner -- this time, a Canadian working for the UN anti-drug agency in Afghanistan.

South Pacific: Northern Mariana Islands in Tizzy Over Marijuana Decriminalization Proposal

Trouble in paradise? The hint of a proposal for marijuana decriminalization from the top law enforcement official of the Northern Mariana Islands has blown up a typhoon of criticism.

Chronicle Book Review: "Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom," by Andy Letcher (2007, Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers, 360 pp, $25.95 HB.)

With "Shrooms," British historian (and psychedelic folk band member) Andy Letcher has written a fine revisionist history of the magic mushroom. Modern myco-cultists will be disappointed with his findings, but the ride is entirely enjoyable.

Good-Bye: One Woman Drug War Victim Dies, Another is About To

We say good-bye this week to two women victims of the drug war, Veronica Flournoy, who went from drug war prisoner to reformer, and Crystal Ferguson, whose arrest for testing positive for cocaine at childbirth led eventually to a victory at the Supreme Court

Sentencing: Supreme Court to Decide Crack Sentencing Case

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of a Virginia man sentenced under the harsh federal crack cocaine laws. This is the third case having to do with federal sentencing the court has taken in recent months.

Law Enforcement: Almost No Drug Warrants in Atlanta Since Police Gunned Down Old Woman in Botched Drug Raid

Atlanta police have virtually stopped seeking drug search warrants in the six months since narcs executing a fraudulent "no-knock" warrant shot and killed a 92-year-old woman.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Yet another prison guard goes down, and a Georgia narc gets caught sleeping with his snitches.

Feature: Is Mexico's Drug War "Calderón's Iraq"?

Shortly after taking office late last year, Mexican President Felipe Calderón called on the army to take on the drug traffickers. Six months in, the death toll is mounting on all sides, but the drugs just keep coming.

Medical Marijuana: New York Bill Passes General Assembly, But Now Senate Balks

A medical marijuana bill has passed the New York General Assembly and the governor has indicated he would sign it, but now, the Republican-dominated state Senate is balking.

Bush Seeks to Re-Impose Mandatory Minimums

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Latest Entry in the Annals of Excess Department

This is not directly drug war related, but this is such an asinine abuse of both police and prosecutorial power that I thought I needed to share it.

Mexico is Bleeding

I can't avoid writing about Mexico again this week.

Why do we let cops be our "drug experts"?

We see this at all levels, from the local DARE officer misinforming the kids to national law enforcement associations lobbying for more funding to top cops explaining why marijuana is not a medicine.

Death Penalty: Two More Drug Offenders Sentenced in Vietnam, One Executed in Saudi Arabia

The nations of Southeast Asia and the Middle East continue to inflict the death penalty on drug offenders. This week, two Vietnamese peasants got the ultimate sanction and a Saudi got beheaded.

Marijuana: Mendocino County Supervisors Say Legalize It

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has sent a letter to lawmakers urging the legalization of marijuana. It was a belated response to a ballot measure passed by local voters six years ago.

Medical Marijuana: Rhode Island Governor Vetoes Bill, Override Expected

Gov. Donald Carcieri has vetoed a bill that would make Rhode Island's medical marijuana law permanent, but legislative leaders are vowing to override it -- as they did the last time.

Middle East: Don't Take Your Doobies to Dubai

Travelers beware! Having even the smallest detectable amount of hash or marijuana on you when traveling to Dubai can mean you'll be spending years in prison.

Latin America: Colombia Coca Production Up Again Despite Massive Eradication Efforts

The US government reported Monday that coca cultivation had increased in Colombia again last year -- despite a massive aerial herbicide spraying campaign and $700 million in US aid. The announcement comes as congressional Democrats attempt to cut anti-drug aid to Colombia.

Racial Profiling: It's Getting Worse in Missouri

Driving While Black continues to be problematic in Missouri -- and it's getting worse.

Elected Officials: Baltimore Councilman Calls for Drug Legalization

Frustrated by endless drug war and associated crime and violence, a Baltimore city council member says it's time to talk about drug legalization.

Medical Marijuana: Connecticut Bill Passes Legislature

The Connecticut legislature has passed a medical marijuana bill. Now it's up to Gov. Jodi Rell (R) to sign it, veto it, or just get out of the way. If she does nothing, the bill becomes law.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Well, thank goodness for crooked prison guards! If it wasn't for them, all we would have is blank space here this week.

Feature: Fireworks at Book Forum in Washington as "Lies, Damn Lies, and Drug War Statistics" Authors Confront ONDCP Official

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) came under withering criticism at an event hosted by the Cato Institute last Thursday -- and hit back. Here's a taste.

Feature: Canadian Mom Searching for Missing Daughter Denied Entry to US Over 21-Year-Old Drug Conviction

Canadian Glendene Grant's daughter went missing in Las Vegas last year. Now, US officials won't let her entry the country to look for her because she has a two-decades old drug conviction.

Feature: Congress Moves to End Ban on DC Needle Exchange Funding

In 1998, ideologically driven congressional Republicans barred the District of Colombia from using even its own money to fund needle exchange programs. Now, congressional Democrats are moving to end that ban.

More Border Blues--Canadian Mom Searching for Missing Daughter Denied Entry

Just two weeks ago, in an article titled Border Blues, we wrote about how both the Canadian and the US

Everyone Profits at Helmand's Drug Bazaar--The poppy harvest is in and everyone from the Taliban to local government officials is cooperating to get the opium crop to market.

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Mexico's President is Half Right

Mexican President Felipe Calderon told Deutsche Press-Agentur this weekend that America's drug habit is the cause of Mexico's drug prohibition-related violence.

Mexican President Blames US for Drug War

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Northern Province Says No to Opium

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Feature: Battle Royal Looms as Canadian Government Set to Unveil Tough Anti-Drug Strategy

The Harper government in Canada is about to unveil its new national drug strategy -- it's bad -- and opponents are gathering forces.

Feature: Ed Rosenthal Convicted Again in Pyrrhic Victory for Feds

Federal prosecutors managed to win another conviction against Ed Rosenthal after he was prevented from mounting a medical marijuana defense, but he won't do another day in jail, and his continuing persecution has sparked a novel form of civil disobedience in the courtroom.

Search and Seizure: California Federal Court Throws Out Warrantless Cell Phone Searches

Police need a search warrant to peruse the contents of a cell phone, even if its owner has been arrested or is being booked, a federal court in San Francisco held.

Law Enforcement: US Senate Passes Bill to Restore Drug Task Force Grants

Even the Bush administration wanted to get rid of the federal grant program that funds multi-agency drug task forces at the state and local level. But spurred by powerful law enforcement interests, the Senate has voted to restore funding.

Europe: New Restrictions on Some Dutch Cannabis Coffee Shops

The screws are tightening on Holland's famous cannabis coffee shops. Rotterdam is cutting their number by nearly half, while Maastricht coffee shop owners are instituting a fingerprinting and ID scan scheme to try to avoid the heat.

Medical Marijuana: Rhode Island Bill Passes With Veto-Proof Majorities

A bill making Rhode Island's medical marijuana law permanent has passed both houses of the legislature with veto-proof majorities. Although Gov. Donald Carcieri is threatening a veto, it doesn't appear he will be able to stop it.

A New Activist's Tactic Emerges in the Rosenthal Trial

One of the feature stories I'm working on this week is the Ed Rosenthal re-trial on federal marijuana production and distribution charges, which ended yesterday with a split verdict.

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