Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Press Release: NAACP and LEAP Team Up for Marijuana Legalization

Excitingly, the California State Conference of the NAACP is announcing their support for marijuana legalization today and they've invited LEAP's executive director, Neill Franklin, to speak at their press conference.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 28, 2010

Contact: Joy Atkinson, NAACP - 323.954.3777 or 213.840.4173
Tom Angell, LEAP - 202.557.4979 or media//at//leap//dot//cc

THE CALIFORNIA STATE CONFERENCE OF THE NAACP VOICES STRONG SUPPORT FOR THE CONTROL & TAX CANNABIS INITIATIVE 2010

Pro-Legalization Cop Helps Release New Study on Racial Disparity In Marijuana Arrests

SACRAMENTO – The California State Conference of the NAACP will be holding a press conference tomorrow, Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 10:00 a.m., at its office, 1215 K Street, in the 16th Floor Conference Room, to announce their unconditional support for the Control & Tax Cannabis Initiative 2010 which will be on the November ballot.

Alice Huffman, President of the California State Conference of the NAACP stated, “We are joining a growing number of medical professionals, labor organizations, law enforcement authorities, local municipalities, and approximately 56% of the public, in saying that it is time to decriminalize the use of marijuana. There is a strong racial component that must be considered when we investigate how the marijuana laws are applied to people of color. The burden has fallen disproportionately on people of color and on young black men in particular. According to the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, half of California's marijuana possession arrestees were nonwhite in 1990 and 28% were under age 20. Last year, 62% were nonwhite and 42% were under age 20. Marijuana possession arrests of youth of color rose from about 3,100 in 1990 to about 16,300 in 2008 -- an arrest surge 300% greater than the rate of population growth in that group.”

The NAACP contends that the War on Drugs has been a failure. The war has not been on drug lords but a war against young men and women of color with an overwhelming emphasis on arresting low-level drug offenders. Joining the NAACP at their upcoming press conference will be Stephen Gutwillig, California Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. The organization has released a racial arrest disparity study, “Targeting Blacks for Marijuana” that emphasizes the points that the NAACP has made. Mr. Gutwillig stated, “The findings in this report are a chilling reminder of the day-to-day realities of marijuana prohibition and the large-scale racist enforcement at its core. Racial justice demands ending this policy disaster and replacing it with a sensible regulatory system that redirects law enforcement to matters of genuine public safety.”

Huffman further stated, “We have empirical proof that the application of the marijuana laws has been unfairly applied to our young people of color. Justice is the quality of being just and fair and these laws have been neither just nor fair. “

Coming across country to join the California NAACP will be Neill Franklin, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. A long time advocate for speaking out for sensible drug laws, Franklin stated, “When I was a cop in Baltimore, and even before that when I was growing up there, I saw with my own eyes the devastating impact these misguided marijuana laws have on our communities and neighborhoods, and it's not just in Baltimore, or in Los Angeles; prohibition takes a toll on people of color across the country. This November, with NAACP's help, Californians finally have an opportunity to do something about it by approving the initiative to control and tax cannabis."

Huffman stated, “We, at the California NAACP advocate that what’s just is justice for us. Under the prophetic words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ It is our mission to eradicate injustice and continue the fight for civil rights and social justice wherever and whenever we can.”

# # #

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Happy Meals" and Drug Dealers, what is the connection?

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the UK is recommending that the government force food producers to work with their new guidelines to produce healthier foods. According to their press release, this will save lives:
Cut salt and saturated fat levels in processed food to save thousands of lives, says NICE: "Tens of thousands of lives could be saved, and millions of people spared the suffering of living with the effects of heart disease and stroke, simply by producing healthier food says new NICE guidance today (Tuesday 22 June). The guidance calls for the food industry to further reduce the salt and saturated fats in the food it produces, building on the good work already started."
When I was a prosecutor in Baltimore, near the end of my service I was trying to work out some sort of case where the defendant was accused of selling marijuna. It must have been consolidated with my more serious felony case as I was not a felony drug prosecutor. When we approached the judge to discuss a possible plea, the defense attorney said that the young man had turned his life around and was now working at McDonalds. Having sworn off everything with a drive-through at that time, I wryly commented to the judge and his attorney, "he's killing more people now than he ever did selling marijuana." We all had a good laugh, but it was true.

I don't think we should shut down fast food operations or even force them to serve healthier foods, despite the fact that this would save many lives. But I don't have a problem with using persuasion and other non-violent tactics to encourage restaurants to serve healthier products. I feel the same way about drugs. Let's encourage other people not to use them. Let's not encourage their sale. I don't have a problem with going after those who target children. "Happy meals" should be banned and the people who sell them aren't much better than drug dealers who target kids, in my humble opinion. But at the end of the day, adults have the responsibility to inform themselves about what they put into their bodies and have the right to make their own decisions about what foods and drugs they might want to consume.

48 more dead

The mayor of the town of Guadalupe Distrito Bravos, Chihuahua was murdered in his home yesterday. Jesús Manuel Lara had been receiving threats over the last few months because of his outspoken stance against organized crime in his town. He had recently moved to Juárez for his safety but gunmen had hunted him down in his new residence. In the city of Chihuahua 3 members of a family, including an 8 year old child, were beaten to death and their bodies stuffed in the trunk of a car. There was another confrontation between narcos and the military with 3 soldiers and 8 gunmen dead in Tamaulipas and another person was killed by soldiers in Reynosa. Morelos had 6 killed, 5 in Sinaloa, one in Torreón, Coahuila, one in Querétaro and 2 others in the wealthy enclave of San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León.

With the 48 added to the toll the total for the year now stands at 5326 (8762). 

Cigarette Tax Will Mean $10 Packs

Cigarette Tax Will Mean $10 Packs

Has anyone in New York State government considered that this might cause an increase in the black market trade in cigarettes?
Do they care? Worse case scenario it would just result in the need to hire more police officers, prosecutors, prison guards, and probation agents. They don't mind. But the rest of us should be concerned.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Portugal Experiment

In 2001 Portugal decriminalized the possession of illegal drugs.
Did the world come to an end?
The BBC reports on the modest success story.



Perhaps this brave country will step up again, defy the United States and international treaties, and just legalize all drugs.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Recap of a murderous week

June 14 saw 2 firefights between a gang of narcos and the army in Los Aldama, Nuevo León, leaving 7 of the narcos dead and the liberation of a kidnap victim. Colima had 2 more killings and gunmen in the community of Carrizalillo, Guerrero, fired into a group of party-goers, killing one and wounding 3 others. In the municipality of Goméz Palació, Durango the municipal police fought with a gang who had kidnapped a police officer, leaving on police officer dead, José Luis Hernández. Chihuahua had another 10 executions including municipal police officer Jorge Alejandro Ortiz Rascón who was ambushed by gunmen.

June 15 was the recording breaking day for the War on Drugs in Mexico with 96 dead as compiled by one of Mexico's national newspapers, El Universal (www.eluniversal.com). To begin with, 29 prisoners were either beaten to death or shot in the Sinaloa State Penitentary in Mazatlán (Centro de Ejecuciones de las Cosecuencias Jurídicas del Delito de Mazatlán), with the majority of the victims believed to be part of the Zetas cartel. An unknown number of gunmen broke into the prison and hunted down those that they intended to kill, wounded 2 guards in the process as well as several other prisoners. Corruption, bribery, and lack of staff are all seen as contributing to this massacre. Gunmen assassinated the president of the Sinaloa Farmer's union, Enrique Mendívil Flores in Culiacán, as he was traveling in an armored SUV with 2 bodyguards.

The highest number of Federal Police were killed on this day as well, 15 dead including 12 who were ambushed in Zitácuaro, Michoacán by the La Familia cartel (as well as another 15 officers wounded). Chihuahua was where another 3 officers were ambushed and killed this day, this in addition to another 14 murders in Chihuahua as well as 17 in Nayarit and 5 others in Michoacán, 5 in the State of Mexico and 4 in Baja California.

June 16 had a gunfight between the military and a gang working for Édgar Valdéz Villarreal (La Barbie) in Taxco, Guerrero, leaving 15 gunmen dead. In Iguala, Guerrero 2 bullet-ridden bodies were discovered while Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas had a gunfight that left 5 gangsters dead as well as a soldier. Guillermo Vargas, a Federal Police officer and former coordinator for the State Police of Morelos was executed along with his son as was David Maldonado a police officer in Querétaro.

June 17 Juárez saw another attack on a drug addiction center, this time killing 6 recovering addicts (there was an attack September 2, 2009 which resulted in 17 murdered and June 10, 2010 with 19 murdered). In Apodaca, a municipality near Monterrey Nuevo León, 4 municipal police officers and one ex-police officer were kidnapped, tortured and executed by the Zetas, leaving the bodies in the street, one of which was decapitated. Two other police officers, in the municipality of Santiago, Nuevo León, were gunned down as they were patrolling in their police car. There were 7 other executions in Nuevo León on this deadly day as well as the head of Public Security of the municipality of Guadalupe Victoria, Durango, Isidro Aguilar Estrada, who was assassinated in his house. There were 2 more killings in Sonora, 3 in Sinaloa, another in Michoacán, one in Morelos and 2 more in the state of Mexico.

And, finally, to no great surprise, the National Commission for Human Rights (La Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos) stated that over 100 penitentiaries in Mexico are under the control of criminal gangs. This might explain the 8 different massacres that have occurred in the penitentiaries over the last 2 years that has left at least 162 dead and 123 wounded (as well as innumerable escapes one of which, in one instance, saw guards assisting 53 prisoners walk free).

June 18 saw another gunfight between the military and the cartels in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, that left one gangster dead. There were 8 dead reported in Durango, 4 in Sinaloa, 5 in Chihuahua, 2 each in Michoacán, Guerrero and Jalisco.

June 19 was another day of gunbattles between the military and narcos, near Tepic, the capital city of Nayarit, leaving one soldier dead and 4 narcos.

The count now is at 5234 for the year of 2010.


For a map of the killings: click: Narco-killings

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More Government Drug Testing, Where is the Money Going to Come From?

Now the government is talking about drug tests to get unemployment benefits. I have a problem with this, whats next, they spend unemployment money on alcohol, so test for it. Most of the people who use drugs, use marijuana, not crack or heroine. So if someone smoked a joint a month ago, they may test positive for marijuana, and be denied benefits.

When my doctor does his drug tests to make sure I’m using my pain medications properly, it costs around $1000.00, my co-pay alone is $180.00. So multiply the number of people on unemployment by $1000.00, and see how much money were going to waste doing these drug tests.

According to this article http://www.blurtit.com/q247323.html there are 12.5 million unemployed people. Even if it’s less than half that 5,000,000 would cost $500,000,000 to drug test. So were going to save money with these drug tests how?

Government agencies including law enforcement, and industries like drug testing, drug counseling, and the private for-profit prison we have here in Mohave County are as addicted to drug money as the drug users.

The government already penalizes anyone with a drug conviction by denying food stamps, housing, higher education, and other government benefits. When someone does get out of jail from a drug charge, if we refuse to assist these people to get back on their feet and become productive citizens, what option do they have. go back to drugs. Now we want to push people on unemployment benefits into drug dealing.

Links http://www.blurtit.com/q247323.html

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tonight John Stossel it's Time to Stop Fighting the Drug War‎

Tonight at 8PM Eastern time on the Fox Business channel John Stossel will have a segment called it's Time to Stop Fighting the Drug War‎. It's about time main stream news is talking about the failure of our nations drug war.

Stossel will compare alcohol prohibition to drug prohibition. If we fail to learn the lessons of nations history, we are doomed to repeat them.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Record week for killings

The national newspaper, El Universal, recorded 353 narco related murders for the last 7 days (which included the record breaking 89 in a single day last Friday and then, the new record breaking 90 Monday). This is an average of more than 50 killings a day for the week and includes several ambushes on police, one of which left 12 officers dead and 15 more wounded. In a nation-wide address yesterday, President Calderón, rather than questioning his own tactics (of using brute force to engage a multitude of social problems), continued to blame the high consumption of drugs in the US as the problem. Not surprisingly, no one from the US government had any comments on these predictable results of waging a war on drugs (although the rhetoric has changed, the tactics have not).

And, for an article of interest... an argument that the war on drugs has now changed to a civil war http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2010/06/civil-war-in-mexico.html#more


For a map of the killings: click: Narco-killings

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Worst day ever in a string of bad days

There was a lot of media concern and US governmental promises when the 3 US citizens were killed a few months ago (and this is still an unsolved crime) but not much noise over the fact that Mexico had 89 deaths last Friday, and another 90 killings yesterday, including 15 Federal Police, 12 of whom were ambushed as they were driving in a convey in Zitácuaro, Michoacán. The Federal Police were traveling in a convey when gunmen blocked the road with a semi-truck and opened fire killing the 12 and wounded another 15. This was the same tactic used against the Secretary for Public Security for Michoacán, Minerva Bautista Gómez, April 24, which resulted in the death of both of her bodyguards and 2 other innocent people. Aside from the 12 police officers, there was an additional 56 other people assassinated just in the 3 states of Michoacán, Sinaloa and Nayarit as well.

For the city of Chihuahua there were 3 more Federal Police officers gunned down while seven people were killed in Juárez (the brings the the total for the number of people killed for June, just in the city of Juárez, to 104... for the year, 1192).

For a map of the killings: click: Narco-killings

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Lets talk about drug reform and medical marijuana in Arizona

This post, authored by LEAP speaker Jay Fleming, is cross-posted from his blog at The Daily Miner.

As a cop I spent 12 years as a narcotics investigator and three years working uniform patrol. I worked a year on an advanced life support ambulance, and trained as a mobile intensive care unit paramedic in LA during the 1984 Olympics.

Today I speak out against our nation's failed drug policy for LEAP, or Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. LEAP gives a voice to current and former law enforcement and criminal justice professionals who disagree with our nation's current drug policy.

In November, Arizona voters will have the chance to correct our state's medical marijuana law. It's time Arizona stops arresting people with a serious medical condition for using medical marijuana.

Several times Arizona voters have tried to allow sick people access to medical marijuana, but the Legislature has fought its citizens at every turn.

In 1996, Arizona voters approved Proposition 200, the Drug Medicalization, Prevention and Control Act of 1996.

The Arizona Supreme Court found that Proposition 200 in its first year saved Arizona taxpayers $2.56 million. Over three-fourths of the offenders tested drug-free after completing the program. A follow-up Supreme Court study in 2001 found that Proposition 200 saved taxpayers over $6 million in prison costs in its second year.

Despite that two out of three Arizona voters voted for Proposition 200, the Arizona Legislature gutted the legislation, overturning most of the initiative. In 1998, voters approved an initiative making it more difficult for legislators to tamper with voter-approved initiatives in the future.

It's time we tell the Legislature again that the seriously ill have access to medical marijuana.

I hope to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of medical marijuana.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Kingman Daily Miner Reader Poll 72% in Favor

My local newspaper the Kingman Daily Miner did a reader poll after I started a drug reform and medical marijuana blog to educate people about the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Initiative. The poll is running 72% in favor of medical marijuana. See the lower right hand corner of the page http://kdminer.com

Donald MacPherson's new blog

Donald MacPherson's has launched a new blog. I've added it to our blog roll on the right hand side of this page. For those who aren't aware of his work, Donald was the Drug Policy Coordinator for the City of Vancouver for twelve years. He is the author of the "Four Pillars Strategy," an approach that emphasizes prevention, treatment, enforcement and harm reduction. This was groundbreaking back in 2001.

It looks like he'll be posting sporadically, mostly on Canadian topics, although there are tidbits that will appeal to drug policy reformers around the world. I particularly like this quotation he posted on April 24th:“
Every truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” Arthur Schopenhauer, German Philosopher, 1788-1860

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cops say legalize road hockey!

Canada, if you haven't noticed, loves hockey. The game is so addictive that many Canadians will play road hockey whether it is legal or not. Prohibiting this activity only drives it underground and makes young people afraid of the law enforcement officers who patrol their neighbourhoods.

No one is saying that road hockey should be legal on a major highway. However, surely the game could be played safely on small roads and streets in communities across Canada? We need to legalize, regulate and control this activity in order to minimize the potential harms for everyone involved.

:-) :-)

Just routine killing yesterday


After the bloodbath Friday, the narcos took a break and just killed each other yesterday, according to the Calderón government, with “only” 19 deaths. The government further stated that it will continue to adhere to its currently failing strategy of using brute force to combat this social phenomenon (my paraphrasing).

However, the following incidents seem to put a lie to this (unless the government is admitting that the police are narcos as well). A shoot out between 2 rival gangs and police in a Tepic, Nayarit shopping plaza left 9 dead and 3 injured, one of the dead was a police officer while another was wounded. Tepic saw 3 other shoot-outs that day as well, leaving 3 dead, one an innocent bystander, and another wounded. In the city of Gómez Palacio, Durango, 2 bodies were discovered and 3 more in Pueblo Nuevo while in Juárez 2 more bodies were found. Two deaths were reported in Tepalcatepc, Michoacan as a result of a gunfight between two gangs. Approximately 40 SUV's filled with gunmen as well more arriving from Coalcoman and the area of Guadalajara, arrived to shoot it out in the municipal Tepalcatepec.



The count for the year is now at 4968 (8420)



For a map of the killings: click: Narco-killings



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Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Record 85 killed yesterday

Since the beginning of Calderón's war 3 years ago, with over 27,000 killed, yesterday marked a new level of violence with at least 85 people killed in narco-related violence (the state of Chihuahua has seen 38 executions in last 38 hours, 1 per hour since Calderón has been in South Africa to watch the World Cup). These killings included 2 students in San Luis Potosí and 6 police officers (3 each in Chihuahua and Durango)...For those keeping track, other record days of slaughter were: November 3 2008 with 58 and August 17 2009 with 57.

Once again, a drug addiction rehabilitation centre "Fe y Vida" in the city of Chihuahua was targeted as at least 20 gunmen ordered the patients outside, lined them up against the wall and executed 19 of them and wounded 4 others. Juárez, for its part, had another 19 killings as well, including a police captain and 2 other police officers of the municipal police. In Durango 3 police officers were gunned down as they ate breakfast in the city of Gómez Palacio. In Ciudad Valles, San Luis Potosí a group of students traveling in a car were caught in the cross fire of 2 gangs leaving 2 girls dead. The state of Guerrero had 5 executions in the municipalities of Teconapa, Iguala, Tlapa, and Pilcaya. There were 2 executions in Guadalajara, Jalisco and a woman's body wrapped in a blanket was discovered in Tlaquepaque with signs of torture. In Emiliano Zapata, Morelos, a 69 year old man was killed in his home by unknown assailants, he was beaten and cut with machetes and then set on fire. Two men were gunned down in the state of Mexico, one in Coacalco as well in Chicolapan and another in Tijuana. In Huimilpan, Querétaro a burned body was discovered in a car and a body was discovered in Tlapan, Mexico City.

The violence continues in Monterrey, Nuevo León as a group of gunmen attacked a local hotel, "Plaza del Arco" on Francisco Madera avenue, where Federal Police were lodged. High calibre weapons as well as grenades were used in the attack that occurred 24 hours after the arrest of the head of the Zetas in Monterrey, Héctor Raúl Luna Luna.


For a map of the killings: click: Narco-killings

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Friday, June 11, 2010

913 youths killed in Calderón's War

913 youths killed in Calderón's War
In the last 5 years over 900 children 17 years old and younger have been killed in narco-related violence, this according to Juan Martín Pérez García, the director of the Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico (Red por los Derechos de la Infancia en México). Further, without a hint of rhetoric, he states that there is an epidemic of violence against the children who live in the northern states of Mexico.

Speaking of unrelenting violence related to the United States of America's War on Drugs, the killings continue, unabated. On June 07 one of the 6 bodies discovered in a grave last Sunday (4 men and 2 women) was that of the chief of police of Playa de Carmen, Jesús Valenzuela Ruíz, who had been reported missing earlier. The next day the a commander for the Quintana Roo State Ministerial Police was found executed and another officer wounded in a shoot-out with gangsters in down-town Cancún. Meanwhile 3 dismembered bodies were discovered in Cuernavaca, with a note from the South Pacific Cartel, another 3 men, traveling in a Ford Mustang were attacked by gunmen, leaving one of the men dead (apparently Cuernavaca is not the paradise that it is advertised to be as this brings the toll to 81 killed this year in this city from narco-related violence).

June 07 also saw 7 more bodies in the city of Gómez Palacio, Durango as well as 4 others in Durango. In the State of Mexico, the head of the Support Group for the Ministerial Police, David Martínez Trujillo, was executed in the city of Nextlalpan while Michoacán had two more killings, one body of which was hung from a local bridge with a note attached. The state of Chihuahua had another 14 murders while Sinaloa had 3 as did Jalisco.

For June 08 there were 6 prisoners in the Sinaloa State Prison located in Culiacán (Centro de Ejecución de las Consequencias Jurídicas) killed by having their throats slashed. The Subsecretary of Public Security for the State of Sinaloa, Fortino Borquez Velásquez, stated that the deaths is most likely related to 15 other assassinations that have occurred in this facility since the beginning of this year. Another police commander was murdered, this time in Quechultenenango, Guerrero. Pedro Ahuelicán Rodríguez, a comisario for the community of Colotlipa was executed while 2 other bodies were discovered in Guerrero as well, in the communities of Tlapehuala and Arcelia. Juárez, Chihuahua added another 8 bodies to the count and the State of Mexico 2.

June 09 had another 39 killed throughout the land including the sub-director of the state of Nayarit Prison (el Centro de Rehabilitación Social "Cereso") in Tepic, Nayarit, José Manuel Rodríguez Hernández, who was executed along with his wife and his bodyguard as they were dropping their kids off at school. In addition to this, the capital city of Nayarit had a further 3 other killings. In the city of Colima, Colima, a 2 hour gun-battle between narcos and the Mexican Marines left 8 gangsters dead and 5 soldiers wounded, one seriously. Sinaloa had another 8 killings including municipal police officer Ricardo Alberto Cervantes from the city of Los Mochis, while the state of Mexico had 3 killings which also included a municipal police officer. The never-ending bloodletting in Juarez added another 9 dead, Guanajuato one and another in Morelos. In the town of Banderilla, Veracruz and well-known businessman, Fouad Hakim Santiesteban, and his wife, Irene Méndez Hernández Palacios, were kidnapped and subsequently killed. Hakim was the son of businessman Alfredo Hakim Aburto who is a close friend of the governor of Veracruz, Fidel Herrera.

This brings the total to 4,833 (8344) for the year

And, lastly, the leader of the Zetas cell in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Héctor Luna Luna (El Tori), was captured yesterday which caused reprisals from his gang. Over 28 different parts of the city of Monterrey was blockaded by the gangsters as a response to Luna's capture. Vehicles were commandeered and parked to block streets and in other parts of the city gunmen fired shots to scare drivers from their cars, causing more traffic jams and blockaded streets that lasted for a few hours.


For a map of the killings: click: Narco-killings

WITO

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Trapped in Arizona

Drug reform take many forms, prescription drug abuse, the under-treatment of pain, medical marijuana, and patients rights are but a few.

Under-treatment of Pain
It's no secret pain is under treated in America. We have 65,000,000 Americans suffering chronic pain, and only 6000 pain specialists. Family practitioners should be the ones who treat pain, but because of fear of regulatory agencies and the DEA, most simply refuse to treat their patients in pain.

The problem is the few doctors who are willing to treat pain end up with hundreds of pain patients. If a pain patients is caught selling prescription drugs, many times this starts an investigation into the doctor. I don't understand this, because the doctor has no control over what a patient does once they leave the doctors office. Many times a doctor who is accused of over prescribing or other violations, is later cleared of some or all of the charges.

This is what happened to my first pain doctor, Dr William Hurwitz, any doctor considering the treatment of pain should read this, www.druglibrary.org/Schaffer/asap/policestate.htm Dr Hurwitz practiced medicine in good faith, a doctor is not a mind reader, and is not responsible for the actions of their patients. Yet the federal prosecutor called him a drug kingpin.

Trapped in Arizona
Mohave County has high rate of drug use, we all know that. Being a former drug cop I understand why pain specialists require patients to sign pain contracts. Pain contracts are designed to protect the doctor by setting rules the patient must abide by or be dropped as a patient. The standard pain contract says the patient will only get pain medication from one doctor, only use one pharmacy, take random drug tests, can have their pills counted at any time to make sure they are taking the prescribed medication and not selling it on the street.

Today pain contracts necessary to protect the doctor, or in this case the physicians assistant from DEA and other regulatory agencies. The problem with pain contracts is that they protect the doctor, but apparently not the patient.

I’ve had a year long relationship with my pain doctor, have always done the required tests and kept my appointments. So when told the physicians assistant I was going to visit grand kids in Oregon and Montana this summer, and I needed him to write 90 days of pain medication rather than the normal 30 days.

The physicians assistant went into the office to talk to someone, then returned and told me that I was free to try to find other doctors as I traveled, and that I wouldn't be dropped as a patient for violation the pain contract I signed.

I was baffled that they were unwilling to follow the 2007 DEA rule change allowing physicians to write three separate prescriptions with staggered fill dates to give patients the equivalent of a 90-day prescription for schedule II controlled substances.

I ask the physicians assistant to talk to the doctor and see if we can work something out. If not, I've already spoke to my state representative and she is willing to look into the problem.

This policy reversal by the DEA eliminated the burden previously imposed on patients with cancer or chronic pain who were forced to visit their physician every month for new pain medicine prescriptions when there was no medical necessity to do so.Prior to this rule change pain patients were literally trapped by only 30 days of medication.

All legitimate patients with pain should continue to work for a pain patients bill of rights, and debate our states policies on the crises of prescription drug abuse and under-treated pain. Our state medical board should be committed to safe and effective treatment of pain, the rights of pain patients, and an effective policy on prescription drug abuse.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Attack of the spammers

Spammers have invaded the blog, so I've turned anonymous comments off (for now).

A big thank you to Walter McKay, William Cooke and Jay Fleming for all of their wonderful posts. I'm juggling a bunch of issues right now, in addition to my work with LEAP, and I appreciate their help with the blog.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Arizona to Vote on Medical Marijuana in November 2010

Arizona to Vote on Medical Marijuana in November 2010

In 1996 Arizona became the first state to implement sweeping drug reform when we passed Proposition 200, the Drug Medicalization, Prevention and Control Act of 1996.

It allowed physicians to prescribe any Schedule I drug, including marijuana. Proposition 200 required the patient to be seriously ill and have a recommendation from a second physician. Because the FDA regulates prescription drugs, doctors cannot prescribe Schedule I drugs.

The Arizona Supreme Court found that Proposition 200 diverted 2,600 non-violent offenders into drug treatment in its first year; it saved Arizona taxpayers $2.56 million. Over 3/4th of the offenders tested drug-free after completion of the program. A follow-up study in 2001 found that Proposition 200 saved taxpayers over $6 million in prisons costs in its second year.

Despite the fact that two out of three Arizona voters voted for Proposition 200, the Arizona legislature passed legislation overturning much of the initiative. In 1998, voters supported referendums and defeated the changes; voters also approved an initiative that made it more difficult for our Arizona legislators to tamper with voter-approved initiatives.

On November 2nd 2010 voters here in Arizona will have a chance to make thing right, and allow patients with serious medical conditions to use medical marijuana.

I’m going to start talking about the Arizona medical marijuana initiative and some of my pet peeves with the medical marijuana laws from other states.

I hope I give my Arizona legislators and other government officials some things to think about.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

High value targets

In the past 3 days 120 people have been murdered, a number of them police officers, politicians and other high value targets, a deliberate strategy of war against the state by the narcos.

On Thursday, a gun-battle between police officers and gangsters left one police officer and one narco dead with 9 other narcos captured in the municipality of Rincón de Romos, Zacatecas. The fallen police officer, Víctor Vásquez González, was a specialist in investigating kidnappings for the state police. Monterrey saw 5 police officers assassinated, 2 of whom were Federal Police (and one seriously wounded while the other 3 were municipal police officers. The Federal Police had stopped a truck to issue traffic tickets when they were attacked by gunmen as they drove by in an SUV. Two hours later, after this attack, gunmen attack a group of municipal police officers in a public parking lot, killing the 3 officers, Eduardo Leal Campos, José Ángel Rodríguez and Sergio Pérez Beltrán.

On Friday 4 more youths were gunned down by gangsters as they played sports while another 3 youths, (all students aged 13, 15, and 17) were killed by soldiers as they traveled in a Dodge Ram pick-up on the Reynosa-Nuevo Laredo highway in Tamaulipas. Another prison riot in Chihuahua left 2 more dead while 4 bodies were discovered in Hacienda del Lago, Jalisco wrapped in blankets that were bound with tape, 2 of the bodies were decapitated. A total of 17 people were executed overall in Chihuahua with 7 of those in Juárez. In Culiacán, Sinaloa, the head of security for the Governor's palace was gravely wounded as he was heading to work while 4 others were executed in other parts of Sinaloa while 2 graves were discovered in Uruapan, Michoacán with 3 mummified corpses with their hands bound.

The estimates of the number of bodies in the mass grave in Taxco keeps rising, with officials now indicating that the number could be more than 100 (this is up from the 40 count the other day) as they have already recovered nearly 40 already, the majority of them with their hands and feet bound.

On Saturday, the Secretary for Public Security for the state of Durango, Valentín Romano López, was attacked by approximately 20 gunmen in various vehicles. Although Romano escaped injury, four of his bodyguards did not. During the attack, the gunmen threw hand grenades at arriving police, wounding 2 of them. In the city of Navolato, Sinaloa, the brother of a mayoral candidate, Evelio Plata Inzunza and 3 police officers were killed, including the police chief of Mazatlán, in separate attacks. Four other family members of Inzunza were also attacked with 3 of them dead and the other wounded.

For a map of the killings: click: Narco-killings

WITO

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C-SPAN Video Library

The C-SPAN Video Library is an amazing site and well worth your time. They are putting up their whole archive online.

Here is Congressman Ron Paul from 1998, way ahead of his time on the drug war.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Press Release: Cops Say Cut Crime By Prescribing Heroin to Addicts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 2, 2010
CONTACT: Tom Angell - (202) 557-4979

Cops Say Cut Crime By Prescribing Heroin to Addicts

New Lancet Study Shows Prescription Heroin More Effective Than Methadone

WASHINGTON, DC -- A group of police, prosecutors and judges who are campaigning to end the "war on drugs" cheered the results of a new study in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet showing that in the UK, prescribing heroin to people addicted to opiates reduced their use of street heroin more than giving them methadone did. The police group, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), is pushing to bring such heroin prescription programs to the U.S.

"As a former cop, I know that bringing this program to America would not only cut down on illegal drug abuse, but it would also reduce the amount of money being pumped into the violent criminal organizations that currently supply 100 percent of the heroin being used in this country," said Neill Franklin, LEAP's executive director and a former Maryland State Police and Baltimore Police Department narcotics cop. "The science is in, and now it's time for the Obama administration to uphold its pledge to set drug policies based on facts and not ideology."

The Lancet study followed 127 people who previously failed to overcome their addictions, and who were given either injectable heroin or methadone. After six months, those receiving prescription heroin were much less likely to purchase it illegally on the streets than those who received methadone.

Recent votes in Germany and Switzerland have approved heroin prescription programs, but the Obama administration has not yet expressed support.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is an international organization representing police, prosecutors, judges, FBI/DEA agents, US marshals and others from around the world who want to legalize and regulate all drugs after fighting on the front lines of the "war on drugs" and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. More info available at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Authorities raise estimate from 25 to at least 40 bodies in Taxco grave

The deeper that they explore the abandoned mine shaft the higher the count for bodies discovered in this mass grave in Taxco with the local authorities now raising their count to at least 40.

Meanwhile the kidnappings are now becoming more high profile as the cartels continue to flex their power in defiance of Calderón's rhetoric as 2 high level police commanders in Monterrey were kidnapped. The director of the Transit Police of Monterrey, Reynaldo Ramos, was abducted by armed men early Sunday morning from his house. Several vehicles blocked off his street before the operation took place. This happened just 24 hours after the high-profile abduction of the Secretary of Security for Monterrey, Juan Enrique Barrios Rodríguez in a similar manner (which, naturally, makes the mine-shaft story (above) even more ominous). For those who are not aware, Monterrey is the industrial heart of Mexico, one of the main engines of growth and income and home to a large number of the elite. This indicates that the stakes in the war have now been raised considerably, especially in light of the abduction of Diego Fernández de Cevallos earlier this month.

In Durango, a Director of a school was gunned down as the school was starting. Rafael Perea Morales was gunned downed in of his students as a man approached, offering to shake his hand.

In the city of Chihuahua a gun-battle occurred near a school, leaving two gunmen dead while 6 gangsters died in a battle between two rival gangs in Guerrero. The police discovered the bodies of 2 women and a man near 4 abandoned luxury SUVs near the town of Tlanipatán and another 2 bodies a half a mile away in a Nissan and the sixth a further 8 miles in a Chevy. Meanwhile Baja California reported another 8 executions, Sinaloa 3, Michoacán 3, Chihuahua 3, Mexico State 3, Veracruz 2, Nuevo León 1 and Durango 1.

All told there were 41 killings throughout Mexico, bringing the yearly total to 4563 (8002)


For a map of the killings: click: Narco-killings

WITO

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