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Heroin

US NY: Editorial: Finding New Weapons In War On Heroin

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 04/13/2014 - 07:00
The Observer-Dispatch, 13 Apr 2014 - Anyone who has seen the ravages of addiction knows how devastating it can be. Programs that can help combat that need our full support because in one way or another, addiction takes a toll on us all. The latest epidemic is the opioid heroin. Opioid overdoses, including those from heroin, killed more than 2,000 New Yorkers in 2011 - double the number that died in 2004, according to the state attorney general's office. A main reason for its resurgence: Heroin is cheaper than the prescription drugs it often replaces. And plentiful.
Categories: Heroin

US NV: Modern Addiction: Our Heroin Epidemic

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 04/13/2014 - 07:00
Las Vegas Sun, 13 Apr 2014 - How Your Medicine Cabinet Can Lead You To A Back Alley Drug Not even the funeral of his beloved older brother, dead from a lethal injection of their shared drug of choice, could put the brakes on Dylan Engle's downward spiral.
Categories: Heroin

US: Heroin Addicts Face Barriers To Treatment

Heroin (MAP) - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 07:00
The News-Item, 07 Apr 2014 - Packed Facilities, Expensive Treatment and Insurance Non-Coverage Are Blamed NEW YORK (AP) - As the ranks of heroin users rise, increasing numbers of addicts are looking for help but are failing to find it-because there are no beds in packed facilities, treatment is hugely expensive and insurance companies won't pay for inpatient rehab.
Categories: Heroin

US IL: Series: At 21, Recovering Heroin Addict Makes A New

Heroin (MAP) - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 07:00
Cumberland Times-News, 07 Apr 2014 - [Cumberland] EDITOR'S NOTE - The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman underscored a troubling development: Heroin, long a scourge of the back alleys of American life, has spread across the country. Last of a three-part series. AURORA, Ill. - Just out of Cook County Jail after being arrested with 15 bags of heroin, Cody Lewis had all of $11 in his pocket. But not for long.
Categories: Heroin

US OH: 'Killer Heroin' Earns Its Name In Butler County

Heroin (MAP) - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 07:00
Business Courier, 07 Apr 2014 - HAMILTON -A deadly combination of heroin and a potent analgesic is becoming more evident in the region as fatal overdoses rise. Investigators say that some heroin sold on the streets is laced with the narcotic fentanyl to make a dangerous cocktail known in other parts of the nation as "killer heroin."
Categories: Heroin

US: Heroin Surging North Out Of Mexico Spreads In U.S.

Heroin (MAP) - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 07:00
Washington Post, 07 Apr 2014 - As Changing State Laws Cut Pot Prices, Cartels Turn to Opium Poppies TEPACA DE BADIRAGUATO, MEXICO - The surge of cheap heroin spreading in $4 hits across rural America can be traced back to the remote valleys of the northern Sierra Madre.
Categories: Heroin

US NY: Series: Heroin Addicts Face Barriers To Treatment (part

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 04/06/2014 - 07:00
Cumberland Times-News, 06 Apr 2014 - In Many Cases, Insurance Won't Cover Rehab Costs [Cumberland] EDITOR'S NOTE - The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman underscored a troubling development: Heroin, long a scourge of the back alleys of American life, has spread across the country. Second of a three-part series.
Categories: Heroin

US MI: Heroin Use, Deaths On The Rise

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 04/06/2014 - 07:00
Morning Sun, 06 Apr 2014 - (AP) - Some states, including Michigan, are reporting a rise in heroin use as many addicts shift from more costly and harder-toget prescription opiates to this cheaper alternative. A look at what's happening in Michigan: The problem
Categories: Heroin

US: Heroin Spreads Misery

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 04/06/2014 - 07:00
The News-Item, 06 Apr 2014 - 'We're All Paying' For This Scourge On a beautiful Sunday last October, Detective Dan Douglas stood in a suburban Minnesota home and looked downat a lifeless 20-year-old - a needle mark in his arm, a syringe in his pocket. It didn't take long for Douglas to realize that the man, fresh out of treatment, was his second heroin overdose that day.
Categories: Heroin

US NC: Heroin Use, And Deaths, On The Rise In North Carolina

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 04/06/2014 - 07:00
News & Observer, 06 Apr 2014 - DURHAM -- Long before the overdose death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman thrust heroin back into the headlines this winter, the return of the potent narcotic was already known to police and public health officials in North Carolina. Heroin, which emerged in popular culture in the 1940s as an exotic product associated with jazz musicians and later became known as the dead-end drug of junkies in movies and songs, had never gone away. A few dozen people died of heroin overdoses in North Carolina each year since 2000, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. But in 2012, heroin deaths nearly doubled statewide, to 148, while overall deaths from all narcotics and hallucinogenic drugs ticked up only slightly. WakeMed hospitals throughout Wake County admitted 50 people for heroin overdoses in 2013, more than twice the annual average of the previous five years, said spokeswoman Kristin Kelly.
Categories: Heroin

US NC: In Durham, One Woman's Struggle With Heroin Addiction

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 04/06/2014 - 07:00
News & Observer, 06 Apr 2014 - DURHAM - Heroin may be a new drug for some who are switching from prescription painkillers. It is not new to April Elizabeth. Elizabeth, 32, is a heroin addict. She grew up in East Durham in a family ravaged by drugs a father she described as a raging alcoholic, a mother hooked on prescription pills and an older brother whose addiction to crack keeps him in and out of prison. At her request, The News & Observer agreed not to use her full name.
Categories: Heroin

US ND: Heroin Use On The Rise In North Dakota

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 04/06/2014 - 07:00
Bismarck Tribune, 06 Apr 2014 - BISMARCK, N.D. - Once thought by North Dakotans to be only a big city drug, heroin sales and use are increasing in the state, authorities say. U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon called the spike in heroin use in North Dakota "new and disturbing." He said it's the result of the abuse of prescription painkillers, a growing population and drug trafficking operations that are primarily targeting the state's rich oil patch region. "When you have an increased population with a lot of money, it's a more desirable market for drug dealers to move into," Purdon said. "They follow the money."
Categories: Heroin

US: Series: 'We're All Paying:' Heroin Spreads Misery In U.S

Heroin (MAP) - Sat, 04/05/2014 - 07:00
Cumberland Times-News, 05 Apr 2014 - Between 2006 And 2010, Overdose Deaths Rose 45 Percent On a beautiful Sunday last October, Detective Dan Douglas stood in a suburban Minnesota home and looked down at a lifeless 20-year-old - a needle mark in his arm, a syringe in his pocket. It didn't take long for Douglas to realize that the man, fresh out of treatment, was his second heroin overdose that day.
Categories: Heroin

US WV: Heroin Deaths In W.Va. Doubled Since 2010, Number

Heroin (MAP) - Sat, 04/05/2014 - 07:00
Daily Reporter, 05 Apr 2014 - CHARLESTON, West Virginia - Some states, including West Virginia, are reporting a rise in heroin use as many addicts shift from more costly and harder-to-get prescription opiates to this cheaper alternative. A look at what's happening in West Virginia: THE PROBLEM:
Categories: Heroin

US MI: Heroin Use, Deaths In Michigan Are On The Rise

Heroin (MAP) - Sat, 04/05/2014 - 07:00
Detroit Free Press, 05 Apr 2014 - Some states, including Michigan, are reporting a rise in heroin use as many addicts shift from more costly and harder-to-get prescription opiates to this cheaper alternative. A look at what's happening in Michigan:
Categories: Heroin

Chronicle AM -- April 3, 2014

Heroin (STDW) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 19:31

British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson is banned from the US for admitting using coke, decrim dies for the year in Maryland, CBD medical marijuana bills continue to move, the resort to the overdose drug naloxone is spreading rapidly, Guatemala's president wants to legalize marijuana and license poppies for the medical market, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Maryland Decriminalization Bill Killed; Task Force Will Study It Instead. Marijuana decriminalization is dead for the year in Maryland after a bill to do just that -- House Bill 879 -- died without a vote in the House Judiciary Committee. Instead, the committee, led by reform foe Rep. Joe Vallario Jr. (D-Prince Georges), chose to form a task force to study the issue.

Washington State Will Issue First Marijuana Store Licenses by July, Impose Lottery System. Colorado is the only state where you can walk into a store and legally purchase marijuana, but not for long. Washington state regulators announced Wednesday that the first retail marijuana licenses will be issued "no later than the first week of July." The state has already issued licenses to eight growers. After eliminating retail license applications that did not return required documents or were incomplete, the state still has more than a thousand applications for the 334 stores it will allow to open, so it is imposing a lottery system to determine who gets those licenses.

Northern Mariana Islands Senate Ponders Legalization. The Senate of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a US protectorate, discussed the possibility of legalizing marijuana Wednesday. The Fiscal Affairs Committee touched on legalization when discussing a decriminalization bill, and committee member Sen. Pete Reyes (IN-Saipan) said members had asked the Senate legal counsel to research Colorado's legalization model. "Yes, the committee is tinkering with the idea, whether it's a good idea to legalize it or not. But nothing is final. Nothing is decided," Reyes told The Saipan Tribune.

Medical Marijuana

New Jersey Patient Sues NJ Transit for Denying Him a Job. A former New Jersey Transit worker and medical marijuana patient who was denied a new position with the agency after testing positive for marijuana is suing in hopes of seeing marijuana recognized as a legitimate medication. Charlie Davis, 57, said he was denied both safety sensitive and non-safety sensitive positions with the agency. Courts in other medical marijuana states have generally upheld the rights of employers to fire workers who use medical marijuana even if it is legal.

Illinois Senate Passes CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. A bill that would allow children to use high-CBD cannabis oil to treat epilepsy passed the Senate Wednesday. Filed by Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), Senate Bill 2636 now heads for the House.

Minnesota TV Ad Attacks Gov. Dayton for Opposing Medical Marijuana. Patients and medical marijuana advocates have unleashed an aggressive TV ad targeting Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL) for standing in the way of medical marijuana legislation. The ad features a St. Paul mother and her seizure-ridden child, whom Gov. Dayton told to just find medical marijuana on the street!

South Carolina House Passes CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. The House Wednesday passed a bill allowing people suffering from severe epilepsy to legally use CBD cannabis oil to control their seizures. House Bill 4803 is less restrictive than a Senate measure passed last week. It's unclear what happens next.

Harm Reduction

Louisiana House Committee Passes Bill to Allow Overdose Reversal Drug. The House Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday passed a bill that would allow first responders to provide the overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan). House Bill 754 now heads for a House floor vote.

Every Cop in New York Will Carry Overdose Reversal Drug. Under a new initiative announced today by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D), every state and local law enforcement officer in the state will be able to carry with them the overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan). The Community Overdose Prevention program will provide police with kits containing two syringes filled with naloxone, two inhalers of the drug, sterile gloves and a booklet on using them. The cost of the kit is roughly $60. Each has a shelf life of about two years.

Some New Jersey Cops to Carry Overdose Reversal Drug. Police throughout Ocean and Monmouth Counties soon will be armed with a drug that can save heroin users from fatal overdose, launching a program officials hope will be adopted statewide in New Jersey. All 32 Ocean County police departments are participating in a pilot program backed by Gov. Christie, who said Wednesday that equipping police with the drug, naloxone (Narcan), would help save lives.

Sentencing

Louisiana House Passes Harsh Heroin Sentencing Bill. The House voted 96-0 Wednesday in favor of a bill that imposes mandatory minimum prison sentence for heroin possession and increases sentences for heroin dealers. But first, it amended House Bill 332 so that, in addition to prison time, heroin users would also have to undergo court-approved drug treatment. Under the bill, heroin possessors would have to do at least two years in prison, while dealers would see their mandatory minimum sentence doubled from five years to 10. The bill now goes to the Senate.

International

Mexican Drug War Victims Criticize Lack of Progress on Tens of Thousands of Cases. Families of drug war victims who were hoping to see concrete policy shifts with the change of administrations a year and a half ago are growing impatient with the lack of progress on tens of thousands of cases of murders and disappearances. An estimated 100,000 Mexicans have been killed since former President Felipe Calderon turned drug prohibition policies into a militarized offensive. The whereabouts of another 26,000 are unknown. They are Mexico's "disappeared". Some are believed to have been kidnapped by criminals, others have vanished after being taken into police custody. Click on the link for the full report.

Guatemalan President Will Present Plan to Legalize Marijuana and License Opium Production. Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said Wednesday his country could present a plan before year's end to legalize the production of marijuana and opium poppies. See our news brief today for more detail.

Albanian Cops Try Persuasion in Marijuana-Growing Village. Albanian Police peacefully visited the village of Lazarati this week in a bid to get school children to persuade their parents not to grow marijuana there. Lazarati is described as "a paradise for cannabis growers and criminals," and has been a no-go zone for police for nearly two decades. Villagers in the past have created armed groups to fend off eradication efforts, and even the kids didn't seem too keen on giving up the trade. "If you tell us to convince our parents not to grow cannabis, do you guarantee us that you will provide jobs for them? This is our way of life," one student replied.

British Celebrity Chef Nigella Lawson Denied Entry to US Over Cocaine Use Admission. Nigella Lawson was stopped from boarding a flight from London to the US because of her courtroom confession that she used cocaine. Lawson was never charged with a criminal offense over her confession, but the US can deny travel to foreigners who have committed offenses without being charged.

Categories: Heroin

US NY: Seized Crime Money To Fund Heroin Antidote Program

Heroin (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
The Boston Globe Magazine, 03 Apr 2014 - ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - As deaths from heroin and other opiate drugs rise throughout New York, state officials are planning to equip police with an antidote to reverse the effects of overdoses. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the Community Overdose Prevention program on Thursday, saying it will let every state and local law enforcement officer carry naloxone.
Categories: Heroin

Pew Poll Reveals Seismic Shift in Drug Policy Attitudes [FEATURE]

Heroin (STDW) - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 21:49

A new national survey released today by the Pew Research Center provides strong evidence that Americans are undergoing a tectonic shift in their views on drug policy. Not only are Americans convinced that marijuana legalization is coming; a majority supports it, and even larger majorities support a fundamental realignment of our drug policies away from the criminal justice system and toward treatment instead of punishment for hard drug users.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Among the key findings of the report was that more than six in ten Americans (63%) say that state governments moving away from mandatory prison terms for drug law violations is a good thing, while just 32% say these policy changes are a bad thing. This is a substantial shift from 2001 when the public was evenly divided (47% good thing vs. 45% bad thing). The majority of all demographic groups, including Republicans and Americans over 65 years old, support this shift.

Similarly, two-thirds (67%) say the government should focus more on providing treatment for people who use drugs like cocaine and heroin. Just 26% think the focus should be more on prosecuting people who use such drugs. The poll did not ask if hard drug users should just be left alone barring harm to others.

"Given that the vast majority of Americans don't think people should be prosecuted for drug possession, it's time to ask the question: Why are we still arresting people for nothing more than drug possession?" asked Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

More than 1.5 million people are arrested in the U.S. every year for a drug law violation. The vast majority -- more than 80% -- are arrested for possession only. Roughly 500,000 Americans are behind bars on any given night for a drug law violation, including more than 55,000 people in state prisons for simple drug possession.

"There's a new consensus that mandatory minimums are no longer appropriate for drug and other nonviolent offenders," said Nadelmann. "This is reflected and confirmed by the growing bipartisan support for rolling back and ending such laws."

The passage of the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010, which reduced, but did not eliminate, sentencing disparities between federal crack and powder cocaine offenders is one example of the emerging reformist consensus. Sentencing reform measures passed by around half the states in the past decade, which have resulted in an absolute decline in state prison populations, have also proven popular with a citizenry increasingly tired of drug war without end.

And President Obama and Attorney General Holder have continued to make a series of moves over the past year indicating that they are serious about reducing mass incarceration and fixing the criminal justice system, including a call from Holder to federal prosecutors to not use mandatory minimum charges if they don't have to.

Likewise, in an otherwise-bitterly-divided Congress, legislators from both sides of the aisle are pushing to reform mandatory minimum drug laws. The reforms are supported by a group of Senators who can only be described as strange bedfellows: Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island).

At the same time, the Pew poll illuminates what has been a major shift in attitudes on whether the use of marijuana should be legal. As recently as four years ago, about half (52%) said they thought the use of marijuana should not be legal; 41% said marijuana use should be legal. Today those numbers are roughly reversed -- 54% favor marijuana legalization while 42% are opposed. Just 16% say it should not be legal for either medical or recreational use.

And no matter respondents' personal feelings for or against marijuana legalization, 75% of them think it is inevitable.

Also, more than two-thirds (69%) said that alcohol was more harmful than marijuana for individuals. And nearly the same number (63%) said alcohol was more harmful to society.

"Leadership is needed to overcome the institutional lethargy and vested interest that have stymied meaningful police and sentencing reform," said David Borden, executive director of StoptheDrugWar.org (publisher of this newsletter). "The policies are counterproductive, and too many otherwise law-abiding people are getting caught up in the justice system because of them."

[image:3 align:left]"It is good to know that despite the DEA's best efforts the American people are getting scientifically accurate information about marijuana, and the fact that it is objectively less harmful than alcohol to both individual health and society at large. The increase in support since last year's poll shows that more and more Americans understand it's simply bad public policy to steer adults toward alcohol by punishing those who prefer marijuana as a less harmful alternative," said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project.

"Now that three-quarters of Americans understand taxing and regulating marijuana is inevitable, the writing is on the wall. Congress needs to read it and move forward with legislation allowing states to choose more effective policies without federal interference," Riffle added.

While Nadelmann also greeted the poll results, he warned that it should not be used as fuel for even more, if softer, expansion of the criminal justice system.

"It's good to see yet another poll confirm the results of other state and national polls showing majority support for legalizing marijuana," he said. "And it's nice to see that Americans overwhelmingly support treatment-instead-of-incarceration. But it's important to recognize that there has been overwhelming support for treatment-instead-of-incarceration for well over a decade now -- and that we've reached the point where the public needs to be better educated about the benefits of providing treatment outside the criminal justice system rather than within and through it. It would be a shame if this latest poll result were used to promote drug courts and other coercive, abstinence-only programs rather than meaningful treatment in the community."

Categories: Heroin

US NY: Accused Holtsville Heroin Dealers Held On Bail

Heroin (MAP) - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 07:00
Newsday, 02 Apr 2014 - A Holtsville couple ran a heroin enterprise for at least a year out of the home they shared with up to 10 children until it was broken last month, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said Wednesday. [name redacted], 27, and her husband, [name redacted], 57, ran the drug ring from their Holtsville home, which served as the "main distribution point" for pickups by dealers from Holbrook and at least six other Suffolk communities, authorities said.
Categories: Heroin

Chronicle AM -- March 31, 2014

Heroin (STDW) - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 19:30

Garden State municipal prosecutors say legalize it, an Arizona sheriff has to give back medical marijuana seized rom a patient, Colorado wants to crack down on high plant-count patients, Louisiana takes a resolutely last century approach to heroin, Uruguay is going to seriously track its legal weed, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

New Jersey Prosecutors Say Legalize It. The New Jersey State Municipal Prosecutors Association has come out in favor of legalizing marijuana possession. The support of the prosecutors association comes as two bills were introduced this month in the legislature. The board of trustees of the municipal prosecutors association on February 21 voted to endorse legalization, said its president, Jon-Henry Barr, who is municipal prosecutor in Kenilworth and Clark.

Poll Shows Virginians Split on Legalization, Strongly Favor Medical Marijuana. A new Quinnipiac poll has Virginians narrowly opposed to legalization, with 46% in favor and 48% opposed. Medical marijuana fares much better, with support at 84%.

Wisconsin Decriminalization Bill Filed. Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) and 10 Democratic cosponsors have introduced a decriminalization bill, Assembly Bill 891. It has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice, but is not expected to go anywhere.

Wisconsin's Dane County (Madison) Votes Tomorrow on Legalization Advisory Referendum. Voters in Dane County, Wisconsin, will vote tomorrow on whether to approve an advisory referendum calling for marijuana legalization. The question was put on the ballot by County Board member Leland Pan.

Vermont Legislature Legalization Debate Killed. An effort to debate a proposal to study the impact of legalization on state revenues died in the state House. The effort came in an amendment to a miscellaneous tax bill from Rep. Kristina Michelsen (D-Hardwick), but was blocked when Rep. Thomas Koch (R-Barre Town) asked House Speaker Shap Smith to rule on whether it was germane. He ruled it wasn't.

Hundreds Rally for Marijuana Reform in Harrisburg. Supporters of medical marijuana, hemp, and decriminalization rallied by the hundreds at the Pennsylvania state capitol in Harrisburg Monday. They called it the Keystone Cannabis Reform Rally.

Medical Marijuana

US Supreme Court Denies Arizona County's Appeal; Sheriff Must Give Back Seized Medical Marijuana. The Supreme Court has refused to overturn Arizona court rulings ordering the Yuma County sheriff to return marijuana that was seized from a woman with a California medical marijuana authorization honored by Arizona.

Oregon Has Now Approved 22 Dispensaries. The Oregon Health Authority reported 14 more dispensaries had been approved by late Friday, on top of the eight approved the previous week.The agency has processed 102 of 301 applications submitted since March 3. A total of 41 applicants have been granted provisional licenses until their security systems are in place, and 39 applications have been denied. Reasons for denial include incomplete information or locations within 1,000 feet of a school or another dispensary.

Nevada Dispensary Rules Finalized. The Legislative Commission approved rules for growing, processing, and selling medical marijuana Friday. Nevada voters approved medical marijuana in 2000 but patients have had no legal way to acquire it other than to grow it. A law approved by the 2013 legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval set up a taxing and distribution system to make it accessible to patients. It could be late this year or early 2015 before medical pot is available for purchase.

California Federal Court Judge to Hear Motion on Declaring Unconstitutional Marijuana's Schedule I Classification. For the first time, a federal judge has granted a hearing on a motion to declare unconstitutional the continued classification of marijuana in Schedule I. The evidentiary hearing is currently set for June 2 before Federal District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller in Sacramento.

Colorado Health Officials Warn of Crackdown on High Plant-Count Patients. Beginning today, the state Health Department will send out letters to doctors who recommended that patients be allowed to grow elevated plant counts and the patients who benefit, requiring them to provide more documentation on the need for the extra plants. The department also unveiled a proposed bill that would strictly limit medical-marijuana caregivers -- people who grow cannabis for patients who can't grow for themselves -- to serving only five patients and growing no more than six plants per patient. Caregivers can currently apply for a waiver to serve more than five patients. The proposals did not go over well with medical marijuana supporters, with Health Department spokesmen being cursed at and called "fascists" in response.

Massachusetts Municipal Association Releases Report on State Medical Marijuana Law. The Massachusetts Municipal Association has released a report on the state's medical marijuana law, offering several suggestions for local officials trying to navigate it. The report, written by MMA legislative analyst J. Catherine Rollins, touches on the legal right cities and towns have to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries and grow centers. Municipalities, Rollins said, have the power to create zoning bylaws, ordinances, special permits or host community agreements.

Drug Testing

West Virginia Governor Signs Mining Industry Drug Test Reporting Bill. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) has approved a bill requiring employers in West Virginia's mining industry to report all positive drug and alcohol tests to the Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training. Prior to this law, which takes effect immediately, mine industry employers were only required to submit test results to the state if a miner was fired. Employers must notify the administration within seven days if an employee tests positive, refuses a urine sample, or has submitted an adulterated sample. Suspect employees will be suspended from work until they appear before a board of appeals. New hires must submit to a pre-employment urine test.

Alabama's Jefferson County (Birmingham) Suspends Employee Drug Testing Program. Mandatory, suspicionless drug testing of all new hires in Jefferson County has been suspended pending an inquiry into whether the program is unconstitutional. Ronald Sims, the court appointed receiver in charge of the county's Human Resources Department, this month halted across-the-board drug tests and medical examinations for new county workers because, Sims said, the drug tests "likely violate individuals' rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

Law Enforcement

Friends, Family of Unarmed Man Killed in Drug Raid Rally in Tulsa. Deandre Starks was shot and killed last week by Tulsa police serving a drug search warrant. On Friday, friends and family members rallied at city hall demanding answers. Starks' mother said she believed her son was murdered. Police said they fired at him after he made a threatening movement, but Vanesta Starks wasn't buying that. "But to know that my son was shot when his hands was up in the air, surrendered. He tripped over a rail and that was the body movement. I know the story. I just want to know if somebody will come tell me why," she said.

Lawsuit Charges "License Plate Profiling" by Idaho Troopers. A 70-year-old Washington man who was arrested and his car searched by an Idaho Highway Patrol trooper solely because he had Colorado plates has filed a federal lawsuit charging "license plate profiling." Both Colorado and Washington are legal marijuana states, while Idaho is one of the most reactionary on marijuana policy. Click on the link for all the tawdry details.

Sentencing

Louisiana Bill Would Jack Up Sentences for Heroin Possession, Sales. A bill moving in the legislature in Baton Rouge would drastically increase prison time for heroin users and dealers, including a mandatory minimum two-year sentence for simple possession. House Bill 332 easily passed out of the House Criminal Justice Committee last week and is attracting bipartisan support, even among lawmakers otherwise skeptical of the "tough-on-crime" policies that have been blamed for Louisiana's nation-leading incarceration rate. The bill would also double the mandatory minimum sentence for heroin distribution from five years to ten.

International

Colombia's FARC Calls for "Humanized" Approach to Drug Policy. Colombia's counterdrug policies must have "a humanized approach in the context of integral agrarian reform" negotiators for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) said in Havana Friday. Forced crop eradication and aerial fumigation are repressive and ineffective, the guerrillas said during ongoing peace talks with the Colombian government. The FARC supports crop substation programs as long as they are "participatory, concerted, gradual, [and] environmentally sustainable."

Uruguay to Track Marijuana from Seed to Stash With Genetic Markers, RTF Tags. Uruguay's drug czar says every legal marijuana plant in Uruguay will be registered and tracked using radio frequency tags, and that state-grown marijuana will be cloned to include genetic markers, making sure that what's grown there stays there. That's a much tougher tracking system than those imposed in Colorado and Washington, which recently legalized marijuana use. Unlike those US states, Uruguay wants authorities to be able to test the pot in any drug user's possession to determine if it came from a registered, legal source.

Jamaican Marijuana Growers Call on Government to Halt Crop Destruction. At a preparatory meeting of the Ganja Future Growers and Producers Association (GFGPA) in Kingston this weekend, some participants called for an immediate end to the destruction of marijuana crops. "Please, Mr. Government, ask you police and the army to stop digging down the world number one brand ganja," Ras Arthur Newland shouted out emphatically. "We believe the persecution and the lock-up for ganja must stop immediately." That's not the official position of the GFGPA, which said it is going to concentrate on winning decriminalization first.

Categories: Heroin
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