Archive for the ‘Drug news’ Category

Hepatitis Risk from Sharing Crack Pipes

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Canadian researchers say that drug users face the risk of contracting the Hepatitis C virus if they share crack pipes with other users, Psysorg.com reported Dec. 12.

Researchers studied 51 crack users in Toronto, collecting crack pipes shortly after use and testing both the users and pipes for Hepatitis C. Twenty-two users tested positive for the disease, and one of the crack pipes tested positive for Hepatitis C (HCV) antibodies.

“This study provides a potentially important piece of evidence towards explaining whether oral crack users can pass on HCV by way of risky crack-use methods,” said study leader Benedikt Fischer, director of the Illicit Drugs, Public (more…)

Rehab Programs for Doctors Face Scrutiny

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Recent publicity has led to increased scrutiny of confidential, state-run rehabilitation programs for physicians, the Associated Press reported Dec. 19.

An estimated 8,000 doctors with addiction problems are enrolled in treatment programs; most states have them, and California’s medical board made headlines last year when it voted to abolish its physician-assistance program after a review found that it didn’t help doctors recover and could put patients at risk.

“Patients have no way to protect themselves from these doctors,” said Julie Fellmeth, head of the University of San Diego’s Center for Public Interest Law and an opponent of the California program.

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Snitching Foe Indicted on Drug Charges

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

A West Baltimore, Md., man who filmed an infamous DVD warning against cooperating with police in criminal cases has been indicted on felony drug charges, the Baltimore Sun reported Dec. 13.

Akiba M. Matthews, 35, a cameraman who filmed the Stop Snitching DVD, was charged with heroin distribution and possession, firearms possession in connection with a drug crime, and gun possession by a convicted felon. He could face life in prison if convicted of all charges.

Matthews was acquitted by a jury in 2005 after police said they found 198 bags of raw heroin in his apartment, but has served time in prison five times on felony drug and gun charges.

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N.J. Police Criticize Plan to Scale Back Drug-Free Zones

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

A plan to cut back on the broad swaths of some cities covered by Drug-Free School Zones in New Jersey is meeting some resistance from police, the Home News Tribune reported Dec. 17.

Currently, the law calls for harsher penalties for drug offenses that take place within 1,000 feet of a school or 500 feet of a park. But in some urban areas, overlapping zones effectively mean that offenders face increased punishment no matter where in town their offenses occur.

A panel commissioned by Gov. Jon S. Corzine  proposed trimming the zones to 200 feet and increasing the penalties for drug sales in the smaller zones; the recommendation was backed by all 21 county prosecutors in the state. But Rahway Police Chief John Rodger supports a bill by a pair of state lawmakers that would keep the current zone size and increase penalties. “Leave it at 1,000 feet, and increase the penalty in the 200-foot zone,” said Rodger.

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Court Overturns Ban on Alcohol Use by Probationers

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Probationers cannot be banned from alcohol use if their criminal offenses had nothing to do with drinking, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California has ruled.

The Los Angeles based Metropolitan News-Enterprise reported Dec. 17 that the appeals court ruled that U.S. District Judge David O. Carter abused his judicial discretion when he ordered probationer Marcus Brandon Betts not to drink as a condition of his supervised release from prison.

“Moderate consumption of alcohol does not rise to the dignity of our sacred liberties, such as freedom of speech, but the freedom to drink a beer while sitting in a recliner and watching a football game is nevertheless a liberty people have, and it is probably exercised by more people than the liberty to publish a political opinion,” wrote appeals court judge Andrew J. Kleinfeld.

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CALPIRG Statement on Assembly Passage of ABX1-1

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Statement by Mike Russo, Men’s health Care Advocate and Staff Attorney for CALPIRG:

In California, Medical Marijuana Landlords Targeted

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Landlords who rent to medical-marijuana dispensaries in California are being warned by the federal government that they could lose their property or be sent to prison, the Sacramento Bee reported Dec. 15.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Sacramento and San Francisco offices recently sent warning letters to landlords, following in the footsteps of the agency’s Los Angeles office, which issued about 300 such warnings over the summer. Nathan Sands of the Sacramento-based Compassionate Coalition said the letters have “definitely caused a panic,” although he predicted that the tactic would cause a backlash against the DEA.

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Experts See Growing Illegal Market for Buprenorphine

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Buprenorphine (Suboxone) was developed as an alternative to methadone that would be equally effective in treating opiate addiction but less likely to be abused. But Baltimore officials say that a black market for the drug has developed, leading to “bupe” abuse and some deaths, the Baltimore Sun reported Dec. 16.

Unlike methadone, buprenorphine can be prescribed by individual doctors or group practices, not just distributed at treatment clinics. The drug’s formula is designed to minimize its abuse potential — it contains naloxone, which makes users sick if they ingest it — but some users are crushing the pills and snorting or injecting the drug to get high, either filtering out the naloxone or putting up with its ill effects.

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Youth Drug Use Not an Issue, Obama Says

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Barack Obama said that his admitted use of marijuana and cocaine as a young man should not have any bearing on his fitness to lead the country as a middle-aged adult, the Des Moines Register reported Dec. 15.

“I can’t say how Americans think generally about it. I do think that the average American believes that what somebody does when they were a teenager 30 years ago is probably not relevant to how they are going to be performing as commander in chief and president of the United States,” Obama said. “I think people have pretty good judgment about that.”

Obama was responding to reporters’ questions about remarks by a prominent supporter of rival Sen. Hillary Clinton, William Shaheen, who said that Republicans would make Obama’s drug use a campaign issue if he won the Democratic nomination.

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Mexican Prisons, Already Crowded, Could Get Worse

Monday, December 17th, 2007

A proposed U.S.-funded antidrug plan for Mexico could exacerbate an already dire prison overcrowding problem south of the border, USA Today reported Dec. 6.

Currently, Mexico’s prisons hold about 217,000 inmates in facilities designed for no more than 164,000. But beefing up Mexico’s justice system and sending more drug offenders to prison is a big part of the $1.4-billion Merida Initiative, a pending proposal for greater U.S.-Mexico cooperation in fighting drug trafficking.

Little of the money would go toward building new Mexican prisons, where activists say overcrowding has contributed to rampant corruption, drug dealing, and violence. Already, an antidrug crackdown by the Mexican government has resulted in a surge of convictions

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