US Marijuana Party

Monday, February 28, 2005

National Narcotics Officers' Associations' Coalition

National Narcotics Officers' Associations' Coalition
Spring Newsletter 2005
is available on their page in PDF.

This is their response to Bush's proposed budget cuts. See how they put on. (link now fixed)

Marijuana Party founder joins Liberals

CBC News

MONTREAL - The leader of the Marijuana Party, who ran against Prime Minister Paul Martin in the 2004 general election, has quit and joined the Liberals.

Marc-Boris St-Maurice, who won 221 votes in the riding of LaSalle-Émard in last year's election, announced Monday that he had resigned in December to join Martin's party. St-Maurice has led the Marijuana Party since it started in 2000.

N.C. pays women's prison inmates for strip search 'game'

The Associated Press
February 27, 2005

The state Correction Department has paid $43,500 to four inmates at the N.C. Correctional Institution for Women who said they were strip searched and assaulted by other inmates and to a fifth who was beaten when she refused to participate.

Warden Annie Harvey described the strip searches as "a game" that involved one group of inmates probing the private areas of four other inmates with latex gloves, as if the searchers were looking for contraband.

But the inmates said they were coerced. They said the probing was painful; medical records show it caused tears, bruising and infection. The inmates say the officer in charge of the unit, Kathy Hatley, supplied the latex gloves and walked away after seeing the naked inmates.

Stand up for your rights

Sun Staff Reporter

Approximately 100 people attended a screeing of the film, "Busted: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" in the Cline Library auditorium on the campus of Northern Arizona University Wednesday night.

The screening was followed by short presentation and question-and-answer session by Flagstaff defense attorney Lee Phillips.

The film was created by a Washington, D.C.-based public education organization known as Flex Your Rights.

According to the group's Web site, the movie "realistically depicts the pressure and confusion of common police encounters ... (and) illustrates the right and wrong ways to handle different police encounters and pays special attention to demonstrating how you, the viewer, can courteously and confidently refuse police searches."

The presentation was hosted by NAU Students for Sensible Drug Policy. SSDP has more than 100 chapters in colleges and high schools nationwide.

A New Kind of Drug War

By Christopher Farrell

"The conventional one has been highly costly, with little return. Making narcotics legal -- and very expensive -- can reduce addiction and crime"

Our current National Drug Control Strategy already involves keeping drug prices artificially high (through enforcement). Why suggest a legalization scheme which includes the same failed policy?

Ways to Get Busted

Tornado Uncovers Marijuana Plants In Home

House Fire Leads to Marijuana Bust

Broken water main leads to pot arrests

Student Arrested For Terroristic Threatening

LEX 18

A George Rogers Clark High School junior arrested Tuesday for making terrorist threats told LEX 18 News Thursday that the "writings" that got him arrested are being taken out of context.

Winchester police say William Poole, 18, was taken into custody Tuesday morning. Investigators say they discovered materials at Poole's home that outline possible acts of violence aimed at students, teachers, and police.

Poole told LEX 18 that the whole incident is a big misunderstanding. He claims that what his grandparents found in his journal and turned into police was a short story he wrote for English class.

"My story is based on fiction," said Poole, who faces a second-degree felony terrorist threatening charge. "It's a fake story. I made it up. I've been working on one of my short stories, (and) the short story they found was about zombies. Yes, it did say a high school. It was about a high school over ran by zombies."

Even so, police say the nature of the story makes it a felony. "Anytime you make any threat or possess matter involving a school or function it's a felony in the state of Kentucky," said Winchester Police detective Steven Caudill.

Poole disputes that he was threatening anyone.

"It didn't mention nobody who lives in Clark County, didn't mention (George Rogers Clark High School), didn't mention no principal or cops, nothing,"
said Poole. "Half the people at high school know me. They know I'm not that stupid, that crazy."

On Thursday, a judge raised Poole's bond from one to five thousand dollars after prosecutors requested it, citing the seriousness of the charge.

Poole is being held at the Clark County Detention Center.

Medical Marijuana in Alabama?

Dear Friends,

In a few short days, a bill will be introduced which, if passed, will decriminalize marijuana for medicinal purposes in the state of Alabama. The bill is along the same general lines as what has been successfully passed in other states. However, we have to sell the political message differently in Alabama than in a state like California. Toward this end, we call it the Compassionate Use Act locally and have just founded a state organization called AlaCare to assist in the passing of this legislation. Please visit our website ALACARE and vote in our online poll.
If you know people here in Alabama that would be interested in helping lobby, spread the word or testify before the Legislature about medical marijuana please direct them to the website.

Our mission statement reads:

“AlaCare is an informal network of people working together to enable treatment of the chronically ill and injured in Alabama by allowing them legal access to marijuana for medical treatment, as prescribed by a licensed physician.

A list of conditions from which such patients might receive benefit are: cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, chronic pain, persistent muscle spasms, migraine, AIDS/HIV, anorexia, seizures and seizure disorders, severe nausea, and any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that may cause serious harm to the patient's safety or physical or mental health.

AlaCare is committed to the enactment of compassionate use reform legislation or referenda in Alabama. We hold that state government is more responsive than the federal government in meeting the healthcare needs of its citizens - and that patient care is best served by more of a local approach.”

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Alabama Debates Gay Marriage Ban

Alabama's Gay Marriage Ban Debate Posted by Hello

A few nights ago I happened to catch For The Record on Alabama Public Television and that night featured an in-depth look at the issue of a gay marriage ban. Half of the show is a debate between

Representative Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery) Posted by Hello


Representative Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) Posted by Hello

I have not seen anything this fantastically entertaining in a very long time. Representative Holmes is a RIOT and he nails Representative Allen to the wall.
Authentic, Colorful, Alabama Politics at their FINEST!!

(windows media file)


The New York Times's yearlong examination of Prison Health Services, the biggest commercial provider of medical care to inmates, found instances of disturbing deaths and other troubling treatment.

DAY 1: Dying Behind Bars

DAY 2: Lost Files, Lost Lives

DAY 3: Mistreating Tiffany

New York Times. Published: February 27, 2005

Private Health Care in Jails Can Be a Death Sentence

Published: February 27, 2005

Brian Tetrault was 44 when he was led into a dim county jail cell in upstate New York in 2001, charged with taking some skis and other items from his ex-wife's home. A former nuclear scientist who had struggled with Parkinson's disease, he began to die almost immediately, and state investigators would later discover why: The jail's medical director had cut off all but a few of the 32 pills he needed each day to quell his tremors.

Over the next 10 days, Mr. Tetrault slid into a stupor, soaked in his own sweat and urine. But he never saw the jail doctor again, and the nurses dismissed him as a faker. After his heart finally stopped, investigators said, correction officers at the Schenectady jail doctored records to make it appear he had been released before he died.

Two months later, Victoria Williams Smith, the mother of a teenage boy, was booked into another upstate jail, in Dutchess County, charged with smuggling drugs to her husband in prison. She, too, had only 10 days to live after she began complaining of chest pains. She phoned friends in desperation: The medical director would not prescribe anything more potent than Bengay or the arthritis medicine she had brought with her, investigators said. A nurse scorned her pleas to be hospitalized as a ploy to get drugs. When at last an ambulance was called, Ms. Smith was on the floor of her cell, shaking from a heart attack that would kill her within the hour. She was 35.

In these two harrowing deaths, state investigators concluded, the culprit was a for-profit corporation, Prison Health Services, that had moved aggressively into New York State in the last decade, winning jail contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars with an enticing sales pitch: Take the messy and expensive job of providing medical care from overmatched government officials, and give it to an experienced nationwide outfit that could recruit doctors, battle lawsuits and keep costs down.

A yearlong examination of Prison Health by The New York Times reveals repeated instances of medical care that has been flawed and sometimes lethal. The company's performance around the nation has provoked criticism from judges and sheriffs, lawsuits from inmates' families and whistle-blowers, and condemnations by federal, state and local authorities. The company has paid millions of dollars in fines and settlements.

In the two deaths, and eight others across upstate New York, state investigators say they kept discovering the same failings: medical staffs trimmed to the bone, doctors underqualified or out of reach, nurses doing tasks beyond their training, prescription drugs withheld, patient records unread and employee misconduct unpunished.

Not surprisingly, Prison Health, which is based outside Nashville, is no longer working in most of those upstate jails. But it is hardly out of work. Despite a tarnished record, Prison Health has sold its promise of lower costs and better care, and become the biggest for-profit company providing medical care in jails and prisons. It has amassed 86 contracts in 28 states, and now cares for 237,000 inmates, or about one in every 10 people behind bars.

Prison Health Services says that any lapses that have occurred are far outnumbered by its successes, and that many cities and states have been pleased with its work. Company executives dispute the state's findings in the upstate deaths, saying their policy is never to deny necessary medical care.

And they say that many complaints - from litigious inmates, disgruntled employees and overzealous investigators - simply come with the hugely challenging work they have taken on.

"What we do," said Michael Catalano, the company chairman, "is provide a public health service that many others are unable or unwilling to do."

The examination of Prison Health also reveals a company that is very much a creature of a growing phenomenon: the privatization of jail and prison health care. As governments try to shed the burden of soaring medical costs - driven by the exploding problems of AIDS and mental illness among inmates - this field has become a $2 billion-a-year industry.

It is an intensely competitive world populated by a handful of companies, each striving to find enough doctors and nurses for a demanding and sometimes dangerous job. The companies, overseen by local governments with limited choices and money, regularly move from jail to jail, and scandal to scandal - often disliked but always needed.

Perhaps the most striking example of Prison Health's ability to prosper amid its set of troubles unfolded in New York State. Despite disappointed customers and official investigations in Florida and Pennsylvania, the company still managed to win its largest contract ever in 2000, when New York City agreed to pay it $254 million over three years to provide care at the correctional labyrinth on Rikers Island.

The city, in fact, just renewed that deal in January for another three years - despite the deaths upstate, and a chorus of criticism over Prison Health's work at Rikers, where employees and government monitors have complained of staff shortages and delays in drugs and treatments for H.I.V. and mental illnesses. A rash of suicides in 2003 prompted a scramble by officials to fill serious gaps in care and oversight.

Along the way, though, Prison Health has acquired at least one tenacious adversary. The State Commission of Correction, appointed by the governor to investigate every death in jail, has moved over the last several years from polite recommendations to bitter denunciations, frustrated by what it says is the company's refusal to admit and address deadly mistakes.

The commission has faulted company policies, or mistakes and misconduct by its employees, in 23 deaths of inmates in the city and six upstate counties. Fifteen times in the last four years, it has recommended that the state discipline Prison Health doctors and nurses.

And since 2001, the commission, along with the State Education Department, which regulates the practice of medicine, has urged Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to halt the company's operations in New York, saying that Prison Health lacks any legal authority to practice medicine because business executives are in charge. New York, like many other states, requires that for-profit corporations providing medical services be owned and controlled by doctors, to keep business calculations from driving medical decisions.

Prison Health says its work in New York is legal because it has set up two corporations headed by doctors to run medical care. But state investigators have called those corporations shams.

Elsewhere, Prison Health did not go that far, until questioned by The Times. Now it says it is creating doctor-run corporations in 11 other states with similar laws, including New Jersey and California.

"Had we realized this would be a question, we would have addressed it earlier," said Mr. Catalano, the company's chairman. "We have nothing to hide here."

But in one report after another, the state commission has exposed what it says is the dangerous way Prison Health has operated.

One investigation found that the doctor overseeing care in several upstate jails in 2001 - continually overruling the doctors there, and refusing drugs and treatments - was not even licensed to practice in New York State. He did the job, the commission found, by telephone - from Washington.

The commission's gravest findings have involved deaths on the company's watch, mostly of people who had not been convicted of anything.

Candy Brown, a 46-year-old Rochester woman jailed in 2000 on a parole violation, died when her withdrawal from heroin went untreated for two days as she lay in her own vomit and excrement in the Monroe County Jail, moaning and crying for help. But nurses did not call a doctor or even clean her off, investigators said. Her fellow inmates took pity and washed her face; some guards took it on themselves to ease her into a shower and a final change of clothes.

Scott Mayo Jr. was only a few minutes old in 2001 when guards fished him out of a toilet in the maternity unit of Albany County Jail. It was the guards, investigators said, who found a faint pulse in the premature baby and worked fiercely to keep his heart beating as a nurse stood by, offering little help.

"We're a jail," the nurse told state officials after the infant died. "There's no equipment for a fetus. Or a newborn."

In at least one death report, the commission took the opportunity to voice a broad indictment of the company. Frederick C. Lamy, chairman of the commission's medical review board, denounced Prison Health, or P.H.S. as it widely known, as "reckless and unprincipled in its corporate pursuits, irrespective of patient care."

"The lack of credentials, lack of training, shocking incompetence and outright misconduct" of the doctors and nurses in the case was "emblematic of P.H.S. Inc.'s conduct as a business corporation, holding itself out as a medical care provider while seemingly bereft of any quality control."

In its review of Prison Health's work, The Times interviewed government regulators, law enforcement officials and legal and medical specialists, including current and former company employees. The review included thousands of pages of public and internal company documents, state and city records, and every New York State report on deaths under the company's care.

The examination shows that in many parts of the country, including counties in New Jersey and Florida, Prison Health has become a mainstay, satisfying officials by paring expenses and marshaling medical staffs without the rules and union issues that constrain government efforts.

But elsewhere, it has hopscotched from place to place, largely unscathed by accusations that in cutting costs, it has cut corners.

Georgia, which hired Prison Health in 1995, replaced the company two years later, complaining that it had understaffed prison clinics. Similar complaints led Maine to end its contract in 2003. In Alabama, one prison has only two doctors for more than 2,200 prisoners; one AIDS specialist, before she left this month, called staffing "skeletal" and said she sometimes lacked even soap to wash her hands between treating patients.

In Philadelphia's jails, state and federal court monitors in the late 1990's told of potentially dangerous delays and gaps in treatment and medication for inmates under Prison Health, which nonetheless went on in 2000 to win a contract not far away in the Baltimore City Detention Center. There, two years later, the federal Department of Justice reported that better care might have prevented four inmate deaths. One guard, it said, complained that she had to fight nurses to get sick inmates examined.

Such stories can be heard around the country. In Las Vegas, after an H.I.V.-positive inmate died in 2002, nurses and public defenders said the county jail's medical director had refused medications for AIDS and mental illness, calling inmates junkies.

In Indiana, Barbara Logan, a former Prison Health administrator who filed a whistleblower suit last year, said in an interview that the pharmacy at her state prison was so poorly stocked that nurses often had to run out to CVS to refill routine prescriptions for diabetes and high blood pressure.

Before Prison Health even started in Georgia, there had been several inmate deaths in neighboring Florida that cost the company three county contracts, millions of dollars in settlements - and an apology for its part in the 1994 death of 46-year-old Diane Nelson. Jailed in Pinellas County on charges that she had slapped her teenage daughter, Ms. Nelson suffered a heart attack after nurses failed for two days to order the heart medication her private doctor had prescribed. As she collapsed, a nurse told her, "Stop the theatrics."

The same nurse, in a deposition, also admitted that she had joked to the jail staff, "We save money because we skip the ambulance and bring them right to the morgue."

A Tough Business

Taking On Headaches,

And Creating Some, Too

Few jobs are harder to get right than tending to the health of inmates, who are sicker and more dependent on alcohol and drugs than people outside. AIDS and hepatitis have torn through cellblocks, and mental illness is a mushrooming problem. In the last decade, state and local government spending for inmate health care has tripled nationwide, to roughly $5 billion a year.

Qualified doctors and nurses are difficult to find, as jails are hardly the most prestigious or best-paying places to work. The potential costs of failure, though, are high - because most inmates will eventually be let out, along with any disease or mental illness that went untreated.

For decades the task fell to state and local governments that typically lacked resources or expertise, acting in sometimes conflicting roles as punisher and medical protector. Often, the results were tragic.

Three skeletons dug up at an Arkansas penal farm in 1968 led to the uncovering of a monstrous system in which a prison hospital served as torture chamber and a doctor as chief tormentor. The 1971 uprising at Attica state prison in upstate New York, which was sparked in part by complaints about health care, left 43 inmates and guards dead. The debacle unleashed a flood of prisoner lawsuits that culminated in a 1976 United States Supreme Court decision declaring that governments must provide adequate medical care in jails and prisons.

But where governments saw a burden, others spotted an opportunity. Two years after the ruling, a Delaware nurse named Doyle Moore founded Prison Health, pioneering a for-profit medical-care industry that offered local officials a grand solution: hand off the headache.

About 40 percent of all inmate medical care in America is now contracted to for-profit companies, led by Prison Health, its closest rival, Correctional Medical Services, and four or five others. Though the remaining 60 percent of inmate care is still supplied by governments, most often by their Health Departments, that number has been shrinking as medical expenses soar.

A few big-city hospitals and other nonprofit enterprises have stepped into the fray, and while not perfect themselves, have performed the best by many accounts, bringing a sense of mission to the work. But that care usually costs more than governments want to spend, and most hospitals are neither equipped nor motivated to enter a jail or prison, where profit margins linger in the single digits.

In this world, where governments are limited in their choices, a half-dozen for-profit companies jockey to underbid each other and promise the biggest savings.

"It's almost like a game of attrition, where the companies will take bids for amounts that you just can't do it," said Dr. Michael Puisis, a national expert and editor of "Clinical Practice in Correctional Medicine," an anthology of articles by doctors. "They figure out how to make money after they get the contract."

Businesses with the most dubious track records can survive, and thrive. When cost-trimming cuts into the quality of care, harming inmates and prompting lawsuits and investigations, governments often see no alternatives but to keep the company, or hire another, then another when that one fails - a revolving-door process that sometimes ends with governments rehiring the company they fired years earlier.

Prison Health has mastered the game. When its mistakes have become public, the company has quietly settled lawsuits and nimbly brokered its exits by quickly resigning, thus preserving its marketable claim that it has never been let go for cause.

Even dissatisfied government clients can be reluctant to discuss their complaints openly, or share them with other counties or states. Some fear being exposed to lawsuits and criticism; others worry that the company dropped this year may return next year as the only bidder for the job. Or, as some former Prison Health customers discovered to their dismay, the new company they hire may be bought by the company they fired.

"You've got the professionals dealing with amateurs," said Dr. Ronald Shansky, a former medical director for the Illinois prison system. He said most sheriffs and jailers were not sophisticated enough about medicine to know what to demand for their money until things go wrong. Local laws requiring that contracts be regularly put out for bid - and go to the lowest bidder - can force officials to switch providers constantly, disrupting care and demoralizing staffs.

Yet once they turn jail medicine over to an outside enterprise, governments rarely go back to providing it themselves. "It's like an article of faith that private is better," Dr. Shansky said, even though a 1997 study comparing government and for-profit prison care, commissioned by the Michigan Department of Corrections, found little difference in cost or quality.

On this playing field, Prison Health has prevailed by thinking big, buying up competitors and creating a nationwide pharmacy to supply its operations. Its revenues have risen in the last decade to an estimated $690 million last year from $110 million in 1994, and its stock has leapt to $27.46 a share - its closing price on Friday - from a split-adjusted price of $3.33.

But day by day, Prison Health - like all of its competitors - faces the most basic challenge: finding people to do the job. For openings in Philadelphia last year, it advertised on a Web page called the Job Resource. "Psychiatrists - Feel shackled to an unsatisfying job? Discover correctional medicine!" said one ad. A Las Vegas posting urged, "Come do some time with us!"

Those who Prison Health hires wind up responsible for the legion of people locked up every day. When the doors shut behind them, the care those prisoners get is shuttered from public view. Deaths behind bars provoke scant outcry.

But if the public has little information about inmates, and not much inclination to care, it may have even less sympathy for the notion that they should die for want of medical attention.

Cutting a Lifeline

For Parkinson's Patient,

A Countdown to Death

Four days into his stay at the Schenectady County Jail, it all began to come apart for Brian Richard Tetrault. He could no longer walk the four steps from his bunk to the door of Cell 22, in A-block, where a nurse was waiting with his small ration of pills.

Since his arrest, the state commission said, he had been denied most of the medication he had used for a decade to control his Parkinson's disease and psychological problems. The medical staff knew about his ailments from the day he arrived, soft-spoken and clutching a plastic pill organizer; they even phoned his doctor for his charts.

But the jail's medical director took him off all but two of his seven medications, and nurses concluded that the new inmate was more uncooperative than ill, state investigators said. Mr. Tetrault, a former nuclear scientist at the nearby Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, had only seven days left before an agonizing death that investigators would label "physician induced."

He had grown up in the Albany suburbs, a hunter and amateur mechanic with a gift for mathematics. He joined the Navy, and spent a year on classified missions in a nuclear submarine. By 1990, he had a wife and two sons, a house on a lake and his pick of good-paying jobs in nuclear engineering.

But try as he did to ignore its slow trespass, Parkinson's ruined everything. His sister Barbara first noticed how his hand shook during a game of pinochle. By 1995, Mr. Tetrault was popping prescription Sinemet tablets every two hours to counter the loss of dopamine, a brain chemical vital to muscle function. Every day became a battle with dyskinesia, the drug-induced tremors common to Parkinson's patients.

"He'd call it 'disky,' " said Larry Broderick, a high school friend. "He'd say, 'I'm getting disky.' "

By 2001, the disease had destroyed Mr. Tetrault's marriage and estranged his two teenage sons. His ex-wife, Eileen, had obtained an order of protection as he grew increasingly depressed and angry. That Nov. 10, he stormed into her home while she was away and snatched some items - skis and a push broom - before the police arrived and charged him with burglary and harassment.

His mistreatment began that day, according to the state commission. Without seeing Mr. Tetrault, the jail's medical director, Dr. W. J. Duke Dufresne, prescribed Sinemet and an anti-ulcer drug, but none of the other five medications for his Parkinson's, pain and psychiatric troubles.

On his second day in jail, Mr. Tetrault saw Dr. Dufresne, the only physician for the jail's 300 or so inmates. In a brief visit, the commission said, the doctor reduced even the Sinemet. As for the mental health drugs, Dr. Dufresne later told investigators that only a psychiatrist should prescribe them.

But no one ever arranged for Mr. Tetrault to see the jail psychiatrist, the commission said. And never again did he see Dr. Dufresne, who told investigators he had believed that Mr. Tetrault was merely feeling the typical ups and downs of Parkinson's; he had planned to check on him in three months.

Mr. Tetrault had only days. On his fourth day in jail, medical records show, he grew increasingly "disky" and belligerent, as his body withdrew from the medications that had sustained him for years. On the sixth day, he lay in his bunk, steeped in his own urine and unable to move. "Continues to be manipulative," a nurse wrote.

On the seventh day, the commission said, nurses continued to look in on him, chronicle his deterioration and do little about it. "Inmate remains very stiff," one wrote. "Head arched back, sweating profusely," another noted. A third nurse forced him to walk to the jail clinic, though he could barely move.

On the eighth day, alerted by a nurse's phone call, Dr. Dufresne ordered Mr. Tetrault hospitalized. At Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, emergency-room doctors diagnosed the ravages of his untreated Parkinson's. "I suspect, in the prison setting, he was not getting his full dose of medication as needed," wrote Dr. Richard B. Brooks.

There was not much the hospital could do. On the 10th day, Mr. Tetrault went into septic shock. On the 11th, he died.

The state commission ultimately referred Dr. Dufresne to the State Board for Professional Medical Conduct for what it alleged was "grossly inadequate" care, urged Prison Health to fire him and asked the county to fire Prison Health.

The commission found that Dr. Dufresne had never given Mr. Tetrault a physical examination; and nurses had transcribed the doctor's orders incorrectly, reducing even the Sinemet.

The medical conduct board has taken no action against Dr. Dufresne. The company, in its lawyer's response to the commission, disputed virtually all of the commission's findings, saying that Mr. Tetrault sometimes resisted taking his medication, and that he was well able to move when he wanted. The company's internal one-page review of Mr. Tetrault's care passed no judgment on the doctor or the nurses. But it did recommend six minor changes, like keeping medical records in chronological order. Dr. Dufresne, who is now the company's regional medical director for upstate jails, did not return calls seeking comment.

Richard D. Wright, the president and chief executive of Prison Health, would not discuss details of the case, citing a lawsuit by Mr. Tetrault's son Zachary. He said that over all, Schenectady County "was extremely pleased with the work of the company."

But the county moved to fire Prison Health the day after the commission's report was made public last June. "We were going to terminate them for cause," said Chris Gardner, the county attorney. "But they approached us and we mutually agreed to terminate the relationship."

The humiliation of Mr. Tetrault did not end with his passing, or with Prison Health, the commission said. On the day he died, Nov. 20, 2001, sheriff's officials altered records to change the time of his release from custody, in the early evening, to 2:45 p.m. - 10 minutes before he was pronounced dead, the commission said. The Sheriff's Department denied the charge, and said it had done nothing untoward in trying to formally release Mr. Tetrault.

But the commission said the time change allowed the department to avoid an investigation, at least for a while. Commissioners learned of Mr. Tetrault's death by reading a newspaper article about Zachary's lawsuit, 20 months later.

The Revolving Door

After Trouble in Florida,

Moving On, and Up

If Schenectady County was learning hard lessons about Prison Health, it was old news in South Florida, where several counties had tangled, and re-tangled, with the company years earlier.

By the time Pinellas County hired Prison Health in 1992, the company was hitting its stride. Fourteen years after its founding, it had established a wide beachhead in the state, and had just begun a nationwide push that by the end of the decade would put it in the three biggest cities of the Northeast and the prison systems of entire states. A year earlier, the company began selling stock under the name of a holding company, America Service Group.

But for Pinellas, halfway down Florida's Gulf Coast, things were headed downhill.

Everett S. Rice, who was sheriff then, said that Prison Health understaffed the county jail in Clearwater. The company seemed reluctant, he said, to send seriously ill inmates to hospitals, which could cost it thousands of dollars a day. Inmates were regularly showing up in court incompetent to stand trial, said Bob Dillinger, the county public defender, because they were not getting their psychiatric medicines.

The sheriff's office learned that even the most basic care had to be spelled out in the contract. When one inmate died after a delay in calling for help, Mr. Rice said, the agreement was rewritten to require that Prison Health call 911 at a specific time after the start of a medical emergency.

Then, in March 1994, came the death of Diane Nelson, who collapsed of a heart attack in front of the nurse whose words would echo in news reports: "We save money because we skip the ambulance."

Saving money was the reason the county had hired Prison Health. Pinellas was actually on its second round with the company, having first enlisted it in 1986 because of worries about the ballooning costs of the county's own jail health care. When the contract went back out for bid three years later, Pinellas switched to a cheaper competitor; three years after that, Prison Health bid the lowest and retook the job.

But Mr. Rice said the bidding process never turned up a whisper of criticism about Prison Health, or any of its competitors. "Every time we'd be up for renewal, we'd talk to the other counties and institutions, and surprisingly, most of them had glowing reports," he said.

In the end, the deal with Prison Health "probably saved a little money," Mr. Rice said, but the human and political costs were too high. "I thought if I'm going to get the blame for this, I'm going to bring it back inside," he said.

The county did that in April 1995, going back into the business of jail medical care. Three months later, an hour's drive to the east, rural Polk County - which had hired Prison Health the same year as Pinellas - broke off with the company after three inmate deaths that cost Polk taxpayers thousands of dollars in settlements.

"There were instances where we would actually send somebody to the hospital by ambulance because P.H.S. wouldn't do so," said David Bergdoll, counsel to the Polk County Sheriff's office.

Since 1992, at least 15 inmates have died in 11 Florida jails in cases where Prison Health appears to have provided inadequate care, according to documents and interviews with state and county officials.

As it grew, Prison Health proved adept at ingratiating itself with local politicians, hiring lobbyists and contributing to campaigns for sheriff. Under a promise of immunity from prosecution, the nurse who founded the company, Mr. Moore, testified at a 1993 Florida corruption trial that he had paid the Broward County Republican chairman $5,000 a month - "basically extortion," he said - to keep the contract there and in neighboring Palm Beach County.

Some counties say Prison Health has done good work and saved taxpayers money. In Tampa, the medical bill at the Hillsborough County Jail fell to $1.2 million, from $1.8 million in 1982, the year Prison Health replaced the county's medical operation, said Col. David M. Parrish, who runs the jail.

There have been other costs. Last year, the company dismissed a nurse and reprimanded two others after an inmate's baby died; the mother, Kimberly Grey, said in a federal lawsuit that although she had been leaking amniotic fluid for five days, nurses refused to examine her until she gave birth over a cell toilet.

But Colonel Parrish said that mistakes, and second-guessing, were part of the job, no matter who does it. "Anybody who is in the health care business for inmates is going to get blasted because inmates have nothing better to do than complain and sue and find somebody who is going to make a big stink about nothing," he said.

Certainly, a litany of complaints followed as Prison Health expanded across the nation. In Philadelphia, a 1999 federal court monitor's report warned that the company's failure to segregate inmates who were suffering from tuberculosis posed "a public health emergency." Pregnant inmates, it said, were not routinely tested or counseled for H.I.V., endangering their babies.

Dr. Robert Cohen, a state court monitor, said in an interview that Philadelphia doctors "actually encouraged women to refuse pelvic examinations."

Prison Health still works in Philadelphia, where officials have persistently prodded it to improve care. Like many governments, the city has moved from a fixed-cost contract in which the company's profit comes out of whatever it does not spend to one that covers most medical costs and pays Prison Health a management fee.

When other governments have shown less patience, Prison Health has survived, and even grown, by buying rivals like Correctional Health Services, of Verona, N.J. In 1999, its biggest purchase, EMSA Government Services, brought with it contracts with dozens of prisons and jails.

Back in Florida, the purchase brought some unwelcome déjà vu to Polk County, which thought it was through with Prison Health when it hired EMSA. When Prison Health bought EMSA, Polk officials soon replaced it yet again.

"P.H.S. was the lowest bidder, but we didn't accept their bid," said Mr. Bergdoll, the sheriff's counsel. "That should tell you something." Since then, he said, the number of lawsuits has fallen so sharply that the county's insurer lowered its premiums.

The EMSA purchase also brought Prison Health back to Broward County, Fla., which had dropped it years earlier because it had been unhappy with the medical care. Two years after its return, three state judges noticed the phenomenon that had played out in Pinellas - a parade of inmates showing up in court incoherent - and ordered the company to stop withholding psychiatric drugs.

"My impression was that it was money," Judge Susan Lebow said in an interview. "The doctors were under corporate direction to not continue the medications."

Prison Health denies it gave any such order. The Broward sheriff would not comment on the company, which the county replaced again in 2001.

But the revolving door of for-profit health care spins on. Last December, Broward hired Armor Correctional Health Services, a company formed just a few weeks earlier by a familiar figure: Doyle Moore, the nurse who founded Prison Health.

A Jailhouse Birth

Chaos on a Cell Floor

As a Baby Is Discovered

It could not have been much worse. A newborn baby lay in a pool of blood on the floor of the Albany County Jail. At least four adults were there: the mother, a registered nurse and two correction officers who struggled to save the tiny boy. But the nurse looked on passively, tending to the dazed mother, convinced that little could be done, state records show.

The baby, who was named Scott Mayo Jr., died two days later.

The mistreatment and missed chances to help the young mother, Aja Venny, began soon after her arrival 11 days earlier, investigators said. A 22-year-old secretary and community-college student from the Bronx, she knew she had done something stupid: taken a ride with a drug dealer she knew from her neighborhood. When a state trooper pulled them over, she stuffed his small bags of drugs into her bra.

She was booked into jail on Aug. 30, 2001, nearly six months pregnant.

The medical staff made an appointment with an obstetrician it paid to visit every two weeks, but Ms. Venny never saw him, state investigators said; nurses ordered her files from a Bronx women's clinic, but never received them. The one concession to her condition, it seems, was her assignment to the maternity unit, a six-bunk cell with a toilet cordoned off by a white curtain.

On Sept. 9, Ms. Venny awoke before dawn with excruciating cramps. Another inmate told the guard that Ms. Venny was about to give birth. After two calls to the nursing supervisor, Donna Hunt, a jail sergeant sent an officer to fetch her immediately.

When she arrived at 7:15 a.m., Ms. Hunt found Ms. Venny sitting on the toilet crying and "blood everywhere," she told investigators. She cleaned off and consoled the inmate, and told the officers to call an ambulance. She said later that she assumed that Ms. Venny had miscarried and saw no reason to check the toilet.

But ambulance technicians, on the phone with the sergeant, asked if there was a baby. Guards looked in the toilet and discovered the infant, still in his placental sac. Officer Dave Verrelli scooped him out using a red biohazard waste bag and laid him on a towel on the cell floor as Nurse Hunt watched.

"I knew that there was probably nothing we could do for this fetus," she told investigators.

Officer Verrelli detected a slight pulse. "What should I do now?" he frantically asked the nurse, who told him to cut open the sac. Officer Verrelli cut it, removed the baby and uncoiled the umbilical cord from its neck. Ms. Hunt confirmed that there was a faint heartbeat, investigators said, but did nothing to get the baby breathing in the quarter-hour before ambulance workers arrived and administered oxygen.

At the hospital, the boy was placed on a ventilator, his heart pumping but his temperature too low to be measured. On his third day of life, he died.

The State Board of Regents found that three Prison Health nurses, including Ms. Hunt, had failed to care properly for Ms. Venny or her baby. Each nurse was placed on a year's probation and fined $500. The State Commission of Correction did not say whether anyone might have saved the child, but it emphasized that Ms. Hunt did not take basic steps to help. She did not return calls seeking comment.

The commission also found more deep-seated failures: a disorganized staff and prenatal training for nurses that consisted of e-mail messages with instructions copied from a university Web site.

Prison Health's lawyers defended Nurse Hunt - saying she found the child in the toilet, but was pushed aside by guards - and accused the commission of ignoring "inconvenient facts."

Ms. Venny, who completed a six-month boot-camp prison program after her son's death, now lives in the Bronx with her husband, Scott, and their 20-month-old daughter, Skye. The ashes of Scott Jr. are kept in a golden urn in the bedroom.

"I know what I was doing was wrong," she said. But still, "I can't find a reason why a baby had to die."

Connecting the Deaths

A Pattern Emerges,

And a Battle Begins

It was late 2000 when state investigators began to notice something strange. Reviewing deaths that had occurred in jails in upstate New York, they were not struck by the number or even the grim details of the cases, which they routinely examined as employees of the State Commission of Correction. Something else was wrong.

Working out of a cluttered office in Albany, the three commissioners and a six-member medical review board noticed that low-level employees were doing work normally done by better-credentialed people. Nurses without the proper qualifications, they said, were making medical decisions and pronouncing patients dead.

In Rochester, where Candy Brown had died that September, pleading for help as she withdrew from heroin, investigators found that one of the nurses responsible for her had been suspended by the state three times for negligent care.

In that case and others, commission members said, the people offering the most help and compassion were guards and inmates. And the company, it turned out, was always the same: Prison Health.

"Our sense was that what we were dealing with was not clinical problems but business practices," said James E. Lawrence, the commission's director of operations.

It was the start of a long fight to get the company to change its ways, and when that failed, to get other officials in Albany to step in. Four years later, the commission has been stymied on both fronts.

Mr. Lawrence said Prison Health seemed unfamiliar with New York's tradition of regulated health care, "and dismissive of it." When the agency sought out those in charge, it would often be routed to lawyers or executives at the company's headquarters in Brentwood, Tenn., who bristled at the suggestion that they were answerable to New York State regulators. "The rules were not of any consequence," Mr. Lawrence said.

Prison Health entered New York in 1985 as medical provider for the Dutchess County Jail. Orange and Broome Counties hired the company for a few years, but ended those contracts in the 1990's.

By late 2000, when the company began to attract the state commission's notice, it had signed contracts with Schenectady, Ulster, Monroe and Albany Counties. The Albany jail superintendent at the time called the company "a godsend."

The commission called it a disaster. "Grossly and flagrantly inadequate," for instance, was its verdict on the care given Candy Brown.

Prison Health, in turn, challenged the commission's authority, and even sued over its report on one inmate's treatment, saying the panel had acted maliciously. The suit was dismissed on its merits.

Dr. Carl J. Keldie, the corporation's medical director, said the commission seemed to make up its mind before an investigation and then overstate its case in reports. "The tone, the timbre, the language is egregious," he said. Company executives said the commission has refused to meet and try to reconcile their differences.

The commission in 2001 moved beyond the specific criticisms in its reports to sound a general alarm. Asking state education officials to investigate, it said Prison Health was allowing "dangerously substandard medicine" by hiring doctors and nurses with questionable credentials.

A month later, spurred by the commission, the Department of Education alerted the state attorney general that the company was operating illegally in New York by not having doctors in charge of medical care. "Nobody really noticed that they weren't licensed," one commission doctor said of Prison Health's presence in New York.

In the three years since, nothing has come of either complaint. The only agency with the power to enforce the state law - the attorney general's office - finally replied last October, telling the commission to resolve the matter on its own. In a heated exchange of letters, an assistant attorney general, Ronda C. Lustman, scolded the commission for refusing to meet with executives.

The company says that it is acting legally because it has set up local corporations with doctors in charge. But there is abundant evidence, state investigators say, that those corporations are shams.

For example, Dr. Trevor Parks is listed as the sole shareholder of P.H.S. Medical Services P.C., which the company says provides all medical care at Rikers Island, free of any influence from Prison Health executives. But investigators say that when they interviewed him, he had little idea of his role, or his corporation's.

Moreover, records show that Dr. Parks's corporation went out of business in July, for nonpayment of taxes and fees. After The Times pointed that out to company executives in December, Prison Health paid the money. Dr. Parks did not respond to phone calls and e-mail messages.

If frustration mounted at the commission, a sense of impending trouble was growing at the jail in Albany County, where the commission said doctors' decisions on inmate treatment were being overruled by a regional medical director in Washington who was not licensed to practice in New York.

The doctor, Akin Ayeni, said in an interview that he never overruled any doctor there. But a former medical director at the jail said she quit in April 2001 because she felt the company's policies, and Dr. Ayeni's decisions, were dangerous.

"I told my staff, 'I know it's only a matter of time before they kill someone,' " she said, asking that her name not be used because she feared retribution. "I knew there was going to be a death. I could feel it."

In the six months after she left, two people died and a third was seriously injured after poor treatment by Prison Health, the state commission found; the dead included Aja Venny's newborn son.

The county and the company parted ways six months later, said Thomas J. Wigger, the jail superintendent, because he was unsatisfied with the quality of care.

One by one, other counties have followed suit. Ulster County, for example, caught Prison Health overbilling it for thousands of dollars of nurse hours and switched to another company in 2001. The company, for its part, said it lost most of the upstate contracts to competitors who had underbid them. Strangely, it said it had no record of working in Orange County, even though the state commission faulted the company in two inmate deaths, in 1989 and 1990.

Last October, Schenectady County dropped Prison Health after the death of Mr. Tetrault, the inmate with Parkinson's disease. The jail director, Maj. Robert Elwell, said in an interview that the medical director, Dr. Dufresne, had discouraged treatment for anything but the most urgent problems. "When you're dealing with a for-profit corporation, those are the types of decisions that get made," Major Elwell said.

The company's only remaining outpost in upstate New York is Dutchess County. "I believe they are a good company," said David W. Rugar, the county jail administrator. "It's just an intense thing to do, when you provide medical services."

Indeed, just days before it renewed its deal with Prison Health in 2002, the jail had an intense experience that would cost the company's medical director there his job.

Cries From the Heart

Despite Days of Agony,

'No Body Will Help Me'

When they cleaned out Cell 6 in Unit 10 on Feb. 16, 2002, workers at the Dutchess County Jail found a letter that Victoria Williams Smith had written to her husband.

"My chest is tight & burns, my arms are numb," it said. "I been to the nurse about five times & no body will help me. I need to get out of this jail. It feels like I'm having a stroke, no bull."

Actually, it was a heart attack, and it had killed Ms. Smith a few hours earlier at the age of 35. The letter was just one in a skein of increasingly panicked pleas for help during her last 10 days in jail.

Ms. Smith was born in Brooklyn, but settled in North Carolina with her second husband, Justin Smith. They married in 1997, shortly after he was sent to a prison in Dutchess County for attempted robbery.

She shipped him canned food that he could sell for cash, and in January 2002 drove to the prison for what friends said was a visit allowed to married couples.

The reunion was called off by state troopers, who were waiting at the prison to search her. They found about seven ounces of heroin clearly intended for her husband to use or sell, state records show.

Thirteen days passed, state investigators said, before Ms. Smith was examined by a doctor: Vidyadhara A. Kagali, the part-time medical director at the jail in Poughkeepsie, who worked only on Wednesday and Friday evenings even though he was responsible for about 300 inmates.

She could have hoped for better. Dr. Kagali, who was board certified only as a pathologist, had never treated patients in a hospital and had "limited knowledge of his responsibilities as jail medical director," according to commission records.

On Feb. 6, when she began to complain of chest pains and numbness, Dr. Kagali told her she was suffering from inflamed cartilage in her chest, and had her continue taking the Vioxx arthritis medication that friends in North Carolina mailed to her.

The next day, after Ms. Smith was found crying in pain in her cell, an electrocardiogram revealed abnormalities in her heart. But Dr. Kagali, notified by a nurse, did not see her, according to the state commission. On her third day in jail, records show, a second EKG showed the same heart problem, but the doctor still did not see her.

On the seventh day, a nurse turned to the jail's part-time psychiatrist for help in easing Ms. Smith's chest pain and labored breathing. Without seeing her, he prescribed a drug for intestinal problems. On the eighth day, Dr. Kagali saw Ms. Smith; he ordered a spinal X-ray and recommended Bengay.

Two days later, in tears, she phoned her North Carolina friends, Chris and Marjorie Bowers, three times. "She said these people would not help her at all," Ms. Bowers said.

In the early morning of Feb. 16, Ms. Smith's untreated heart ailment became an emergency, according to jail records and sworn statements from nurses and guards. Around 4:30 a.m., a guard found her rocking on her bunk, clutching her chest, and called Barbara Light, the registered nurse on duty.

Ms. Light concluded that Ms. Smith was having an anxiety attack - even though, the commission said, the nurse had never seen the inmate's medical record.

A half-hour later, Ms. Smith, weeping, told the guard she wanted to go to a hospital - a plea Nurse Light dismissed as an attempt to get drugs. Minutes after that, the guard placed a frantic third call to the nurse, who arrived to find the inmate on the floor, shaking. An ambulance rushed Ms. Smith to Vassar Brothers Medical Center, where she died in less than an hour.

The state commission, in its report, seemed hardly to know where to begin to catalog the failures.

It urged that Dr. Kagali be fired for "gross incompetence," and referred Ms. Light to state regulators for discipline. State health authorities eventually suspended the doctor's license for six months, but have not taken action against Ms. Light. Neither she nor Dr. Kagali would comment.

The company's confidential review of Ms. Smith's death found no fault with her treatment, but recommended that its staff offer grief counseling to colleagues and inmates after future jail deaths.

In a letter to the commission, Prison Health defended Ms. Light and Dr. Kagali. It said that over Ms. Smith's five weeks in jail the doctor had seen her numerous times and provided medications, knee braces and even an extra mattress for her arthritis. Ms. Smith had no known history of heart disease, the company said, and any suggestion that her death could have been prevented was "20-20 hindsight."

The letter was signed by Dr. Dufresne, whom the commission would later blame for Brian Tetrault's death.

Joseph Plambeck contributed

Alabama bans state whiskey

By Megan Murren
Auburn Plainsman

Although the beverage is now illegal in Alabama and the company is closed, there are individuals with the company trying to regroup.

Alva Lambert, director of the State Health Planning and Development Agency, was appointed last week by the company’s board to oversee Conecuh Ridge. His primary focus right now is to find investors and get the company back on track.

Lambert is meeting with companies from New York and the Caribbean today about taking Conecuh Ridge as their primary whiskey.

If they decide to take Conecuh Ridge and have a license to sell alcohol in Alabama, the whiskey will be available again.

Why is the director of the Alabama State Health Planning and Development Agency selling whiskey?

Paroles are up, but Alabama prisons are still overcrowded

Mobile Register

Short on money, out of prison space and running out of time, Alabama launched its boldest social experiment in decades: increasing paroles by thousands of inmates.

On one level, the plan begun almost two years ago has been a resounding success. The parole board has released 4,174 prisoners from a special docket of nonviolent offenders that was set up in April 2003. Parole officials said most have found jobs and, so far at least, stayed out of trouble.

The plan also has been a quiet disappointment. Despite shedding all those inmates -- on top of the 1,820 paroled through the normal process and the more than 13,500 whose sentences ended or who started the probation portion of a split sentence -- Alabama's overcrowded prison system stands only slightly better off than it did a year ago.

With 23,874 inmates jammed into state prisons, work release centers and boot camps, the prison system has almost twice the 12,943 inmates it was designed to house.

That doesn't include another 3,370 people who are waiting to be transferred from county jails, are serving time in privately run prisons in other states or are housed in alternative arrangements.

Sex, contraband allegations hit privately run Colorado prison for women

DENVER (AP) -- The warden of the privately run Brush Correctional Facility for Women has resigned and five officers face sexual misconduct and contraband charges.

Warden Rick Soares quit Tennessee-based GRW, which owns the 250-bed prison in Brush, on Feb. 18, said Alison Morgan, spokeswoman for the state corrections department. The warden was not implicated in any wrongdoing.

The facility, which became the first private prison for women in Colorado in August 2003, holds 80 inmates from Hawaii, 73 from Colorado and 45 from Wyoming.

The corrections department referred contraband allegations involving two staff members and one inmate and sexual misconduct allegations involving three staff members to District Attorney Robert Watson on Thursday.

Three officers had sex with four Hawaiian inmates, two Colorado inmates and one Wyoming inmate, Morgan said. Two of the officers have resigned and a third is on administrative leave.

Here in Alabama the raping of inmates was only outlawed just last year. Before that, it was not a crime.

Officer wins suit over injuries on meth raid

By William C. Lhotka
Of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A St. Louis County police officer won $600,000 from a homeowner Friday in a civil suit over injuries he suffered investigating a suspected methamphetamine lab near Eureka.

Ryan said he was checking out a jug on the floor of a shed when the spout popped open and anhydrous ammonia fumes engulfed him, causing what he said were permanent injuries.

Mark Ezra, a mechanical engineer, conducted tests on similar jug and concluded the spout could only be opened by hand.

Ex-deputy's suit stirs talk of coverup, marijuana


PITTSBORO -- Will a trial scheduled to begin Tuesday in Chatham County Superior Court reveal a cover-up of allegations of racism in the Chatham County School District or reveal whatever happened to all that marijuana?

Many people are speculating about exactly what will come out during testimony at the trial in which former Chatham County Deputy Dan Phillips is suing former Chatham County Sheriff Ike Gray for wrongful termination.

Phillips claims the sheriff fired him Jan. 18, 2001, because he tried to bring attention to racism at a Chatham County high school and because he took an informant to the FBI who had information about thousands of pounds of seized marijuana that went missing from the Chatham County Sheriff's Office.

In February 2000, the Chatham County Sheriff's Office was involved in a drug raid in Siler City that netted 5,000 pounds of marijuana. The sheriff's office seized the marijuana and was supposed to follow proper procedure for logging it in, sending samples off to be tested and destroying the remainder of it.

The sheriff's office put the packages of marijuana in an old army truck and parked the truck behind the sheriff's office. Eight months later when Keck drove the truck to the landfill to bury the marijuana, he discovered that about 4,000 pounds of the marijuana was missing.

Later that day, the remaining marijuana was buried in the landfill. It was later stolen.

Understand the value of methadone treatment

Michael Krawitz commentary in The Roanoke Times, VA.

Mapping the brain

By Helen Altonn

A $3 million brain-imaging tool, a $2 million facility and two internationally renowned researchers offer hope of new solutions to substance abuse in Hawaii.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy provided funding for the high-resolution MRI system, and Queen's contributed $2 million to develop a home for it in the hospital.

"In a short time it has revolutionized the study of drug addiction," said Joseph Frascella, director of the Division of Clinical Neuroscience, Development and Behavioral Treatment at the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

"You can really watch someone think with this technique," Ernst said, showing changes in a brain scan as he played music.

Chang said the MRI will be used about 10 percent of the time to diagnose medical problems and the rest of the time for research, looking at how crystal methamphetamine and marijuana change chemicals in the brain.

Who paid for the drugs?

The Independent (UK)

They buy fair-trade coffee, recycle their papers and worry about the environment. Then they buy a gram of coke that leaves children's blood on their hands. Steve Bloomfield travels to Colombia to see the horrific cost of Britain's middle-class cocaine boom.

Bush and marijuana? How could I stand for both?

Pro-Bush, Anti-Drug War discussion at

Drug trafficker songs in Mexico kids' book

Mark Stevenson
Associated Press
Feb. 27, 2005 12:00 AM

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's school libraries are stocking a book that includes the lyrics of "narcocorridos," folk songs that glorify drug traffickers, causing a storm of criticism in a country where the drug market and its violence have become part of life in thousands of communities.

Opposition activists are incensed that the administration of President Vicente Fox, which has declared a "war on all fronts" against drug gangs, allowed tens of thousands of copies of the book 100 Corridos: The Heart of Mexican Song to slip into grade-school libraries.

The book, printed by a private publishing company but bought in bulk by the government, contains lyrics for songs like The Red Car Gang, which describes Mexican cocaine smugglers shooting it out with Texas Rangers.

Some education officials tried to depict the scandal as an example of overly zealous censorship of a song genre that for centuries has celebrated outlaws and the common man. They noted one of the best-known and oldest corridos, La Cucaracha, also contains references to drugs.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Torture on U.S. Soil

DPA covers the story of a Tennessee man tortured by a Byrne-Grant Task Force intent on shaking him down for cash.

I don't know why the DPA chose not to mention that the torture also involved drowning the man in his own toilet and hooking a battery charger to his privates.

Here's a photo of the man and his wife.

What is Meth anyway?

Methamphetamine ( Desoxyn ) an amphetamine used to treat narcolepsy and attention-deficit-disorder in children. In some cases but rare this drug is used to treat depression. This drug is from a family of drugs known as central nervous system stimulants.

A shift to easing life after prison

By Sara B. Miller | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

BOSTON – In an effort to reduce troubling rates of crime by former inmates, states are increasingly focusing attention on a crucial period of opportunity and risk - supporting offenders as they reenter life outside prison.

Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R), who is leading the effort (in Massachusetts) said last week that it costs $43,000 to keep one person in prison, so the state could save $1 million for every one percent of recidivism deterred. According to a study in 2002 by the Massachusetts Sentencing Commission, 49 percent of state prisoners reoffend within a year of their release.

Other statistics lie behind the national movement, too. Over 600,000 prisoners are released each year from the nation's correctional facilities, and the recidivism rate - two-thirds - has remained stable for 30 years.

With 2 million people behind bars and tight budgets making it impossible to keep building prisons, "more and more communities are realizing it's in their best interest to shepherd this transition so that communities can be safe," says Peggy Burke, a principal at the Center for Effective Public Policy, a Maryland think tank.

Actor with part in terrorism drill files injury claim

By Tanya Sierra

February 26, 2005

NATIONAL CITY – A La Mesa actor who gave his all playing a part in a mock terrorist attack has filed a $3 million claim against the National City Police Department for injuries he received during the drill.

Donald Ahles II, was one of 15 actors hired to participate in last summer's drill, which was supposed to help emergency response teams prepare for the possibility of an attack on the trolley system in Chula Vista.

Police officers participating in the drill chased Ahles, slammed him to the ground and carried him away by his arms and legs, the claim says.

According to the claim, Ahles suffered multiple fractures to his left knee that required two plates, eight screws and a cadaver-bone graft to repair bone damage. He also said the officers scraped his face across the pavement.

Detroit store raids smack of hostility toward business, dubious priorities

By Daniel Howes / The Detroit News

Meet the Detroit Meat Police

Bill would let NDSU study wild hemp seeds

By JAMES WARDEN, Associated Press Writer

A longtime hemp supporter wants to authorize North Dakota State University to study seeds from wild hemp plants, hoping the information will give farmers a head start if the federal government allows the crop to be grown.

"Once it's legal, it's going to take off and go, because there is a demand," said Rep. David Monson, R-Osnabrock, who is the House assistant majority leader.

Monson successfully pushed legislation eight years ago to authorize an NDSU study of the benefits of industrial hemp as an alternative crop.

Frank talk about drugs could do us all some good

Bill McClellan
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

As I have argued before, we would be better off financially if we treated the soft drugs like booze. Regulate and tax them. Give the other stuff away. If you want to be a junkie, be a junkie. We can't stop you, anyway. We've spent billions trying to do it.

A Mercury Muddle

By Melissa Ross
First Coast News

As the Los Angeles Times recently reported, officials at drug maker Merck and Co., Inc., knew as early as 1991 that thimerosal had the potential to harm. An internal memo leaked to the Times expressed alarm that babies were being exposed to dangerously high mercury levels. The memo notes some babies were being injected with mercury "up to 87 times higher than guidelines for the maximum daily consumption of mercury from fish."

California and Iowa have already passed thimerosal bans, and nine other states are considering similar legislation.

But those bills might be made null and void by Congress. Lawmakers are now considering Senate Bill 3, which is titled "Protecting America in the War On Terror Act of 2005."

The legislation, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, would increase death benefits for the families of soldiers in Iraq. But it would also provide sweeping protection to pharmaceutical companies and the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

County K-9 marks first year in war on drugs

Escanaba Daily Press

ESCANABA,MI - Delta County Sheriff's Dep. Tom Lewis and K-9 partner "Benny" are marking 12 months on the job together.

Benny, a German shepherd, has been used in over 200 cases where illegal drug activity was suspected.

Many circumstances can lead to a search, like a tip, questions asked by police during a traffic stop, a motorist's behavior, or items noticed inside the car - like lots of air freshener. They can all lead to reasonable suspicion, and that's most likely when Benny would be sent sniffing.

Dogs can "alert" on exterior items such as outside vents, door seams and gas caps. "A lot of (arrested) people have dope on their hands, and they'll touch the door handles, for example," said Lewis.

Based on a year's worth of incident reports, Lewis estimates the number of drug arrests have more than tripled since the department acquired Benny.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Bill Conroy Debunks Border Scare

Bill Conroy
Narco News

State Dept. homicide stats put Narco-bogeyman scare on ice

Thanks, Bill. It's nice to see that someone is minding the store.

Two Grams of Crack = Two Life Sentences

Another case in my hometown. My good buddies at the Tallapoosa County Narcotics Task Force turned two grams of crack into a trafficking charge based on their having discovered "plastic bags and a razor blade" in this man's home. Do you have any plastic bags or a razor in your home?

According to the US Mint, a penny weighs 2.5 grams.

This must be what the president means when he talks about "Healing America’s Drug Users".

Community correction alternative explored at commission meeting

By CURTIS JOHNSON - The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, WV -- Cabell County’s commissioners, sheriff and prosecutor shared several cost-saving ideas Thursday that they hope can help control the county’s regional jail expenses.

However, all three offices are effectively on the clock to draft a solution into the form of a written grant by mid- to late March. That’s when the county needs to complete its application for the state’s community corrections grant.

The state’s community corrections initiative offers judges sentencing alternatives aimed at keeping non-violent prisoners out of jail, while reducing each county’s regional jail bill.

"There are people who need to be in jail, there is no question," said Cabell County Sheriff Kim Wolfe. "But there are people that are non-violent that could be out there working their own sentence off and wouldn’t be costing the taxpayers money for them to sit up there for $48 a day."

Costs of prison privatization are disputed

By Bill Cotterell


Confronted with conflicting cost and benefit numbers, a Senate budget committee ordered a special audit Thursday to determine whether privatizing prisons really saves Florida taxpayers any money.

Lobbyists for the Police Benevolent Association said the private companies have used their political influence to cut corners and dodge a legal mandate of operating 7 percent cheaper than state-run prisons.

Former Inmate Shows Pictures of Alleged Jail Abuse

ByLindy Thackston First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- Genevieve Miller says a JSO Corrections officer beat her during booking last March after she was arrested for marijuana possession. Miller's mug shot shows two black eyes and a broken nose.

Just this week, another inmate, John Laughon, was taken to the hospital after a struggle with officers.

Police say he's mentally ill, but Laughon's brother in law, Tony Seara, says he was having a seizure. "There's reports that he's this huge man with superhuman strength, that he attacked these guards and that's why he's in the hospital," said Seara. "He's not that big of a person - maybe 145 pounds."

Laughon has cracked ribs, and a collapsed lung. He remains unconscious at the hospital.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Suit charges cruelty to infirm in Alabama prison

WASHINGTON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Sick and disabled inmates in an Alabama prison for the elderly and infirm are left to lie in their own feces and rarely have access to doctors, a rights group said in a lawsuit filed in federal court.

The Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights said the 300 inmates of Hamilton Aged and Infirm Correctional Facility live in an unsanitary facility designed for 67 prisoners, and are often denied essential medical treatment, resulting in unnecessary suffering and premature death.

This is the Aged and Infirm prison, not to be confused with the Aids Prison mentioned last week.

Drug Czar Failed to Report Campaign Expenses

MPP Files Complaints to Compel Disclosure

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Complaints filed today with state election authorities in Montana, Oregon, and Alaska charge that the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) -- also called the drug czar's office -- failed to make the legally required disclosures of campaign expenses.

The President's National Drug Control Strategy

February 2005

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)—Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral, and Treatment (SBIRT): +$5.8 million. This initiative supports one of the Strategy’s goals to intervene early with nondependent users and stop drug use before it leads to dependence. This initiative will improve treatment delivery to achieve a sustained recovery for those who are dependent on drugs. SBIRT is designed to expand the continuum of care available to include screening, brief interventions, brief treatments, and referrals to appropriate care. By placing the program in both community and medical settings such as emergency rooms, trauma centers, health clinics, and community health centers, the program can reach a broad segment of the community.

This new approach, known as Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment (SBIRT)— and more informally as screen and intervene—is being fielded in medical facilities from major city hospital emergency rooms to a system of rural health clinics.

This looks like a plan to drug test the entire population.

Muscle Shoals Shuts Down

Rolling Stone

Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, the Alabama venue where Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Wilson Pickett, the Rolling Stones and Paul Simon all made classic records, has closed its doors forever.

Why is Mark Knopfler complaining about the grits? Everyone else seems to have thrived on them.

School chief wants to nix anti-drug program

SACRAMENTO, California (AP) -- The state's top education official urged all schools to drop an anti-drug program after an evaluation released Wednesday found it taught inaccurate and unscientific information.

The panel of five medical doctors and nine school health education specialists said the program "does not reflect accurate, widely accepted medical and scientific evidence."

Older Americans’ Attitudes on Medical Marijuana

AARP Survey

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Meanwhile here at the house

Officer in custody for drugs
by Amy Bice Alexander City Outlook

This corrections officer told police he was robbed at gunpoint after he went to see a man about a dog. Turns out he went to see a man about some pot.
The phrase "I'm going to see a man about a dog" means "I'm going to conduct some illicit business which I will not admit to". The response is "Don't let that dog bite you". In this case the dog did bite.

Florida boy accused of assault with rubber band

A 13-year-old student in Orange County, Fla., was suspended for 10 days and could be banned from school over an alleged assault with a rubber band, according to a WKMG Local 6 News report.

Gomez said when his science teacher demanded the rubber band, the student said he tossed it on her desk.

"They said if he would have aimed it a little more and he would have gotten it closer to her face he would have hit her in the eye," mother Jenette Rojas said.

Rojas said she was shocked to learn that her son was being punished for a Level 4 offense -- the highest Level at the school. Other violations that also receive level 4 punishment include arson, assault and battery, bomb threats and explosives, according to the Code of Student Conduct.

Alleged drug smuggler shot to death by Border Patrol agent

Associated Press
Feb. 22, 2005 07:30 AM

NOGALES - A suspected drug smuggler has been shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent in southern Arizona just north of the U-S-Mexico border.

The shooting, which occurred early Saturday, is being investigated by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Tony Estrada said the shooting took place after Border Patrol agents attempted to apprehend about a dozen people who were transporting some 300 pounds of marijuana in backpacks.

Estrada says the drug smugglers scattered and, for an unknown reason, an agent fired one shot, hitting a man and killing him.

The sheriff said deputies didn't find any weapon on the victim, who was an illegal immigrant. None of the other smugglers was apprehended.

The Mexican consul in Nogales says his government will ask for an investigation into the circumstances that led to the shooting.

So much for focusing on the Kingpins. This kind of thing is inevitable given the situation. None of the players involved deserve to be placed in this scenario.

The interaction between the Border Patrol and the illegal immigrants bears many similarities to the interaction between the [Byrne Grant Task Force/High Intensity Drug Trafficing Area] agents and the general US population.

Canadian Liberals to debate motion to legalize marijuana

By Campbell Clark
The Globe and Mail

Ottawa -- The federal Liberals will debate a motion to legalize marijuana at its policy convention next week, along with proposals to create national standards in education and to retain the traditional definition of marriage.

Liberal does not mean the same thing in Canada as it does in the US. These three issues mirror the "National Drug Control Strategy", "No Child Left Behind" and "Defense of Marriage" issues in the US.

Marijuana may block Alzheimer's


The active ingredient in marijuana may stall decline from Alzheimer's disease, research suggests.

Scientists showed a synthetic version of the compound may reduce inflammation associated with Alzheimer's and thus help to prevent mental decline.

They hope the cannabinoid may be used to developed new drug therapies.

The research, by Madrid's Complutense University and the Cajal Institute, is published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

97-Year-Old Grandma Arrested In Drug Raid

KOIN News 6

PORTLAND -- A 97-year-old great grandmother was one of nearly 20 people arrested early Tuesday at a suspected drug house.

The 19 arrests include the 97-year-old and her 79-year-old son, who owns the house. Some argue that the older generation did not know that the younger ones were dealing drugs.

"In this case, it's a matter of controlling your premises and not allowing your family members or acquaintances to deal drugs, use drugs in your home,"
Sgt. David Howe told KOIN News 6.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Ex-Ogilvy Ad Executives Convicted of Overbilling

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two former executives of advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather were found guilty on Tuesday of participating in a scheme to overbill the U.S. government for an anti-drug media campaign.

The government's Office of National Drug Control Policy said Ogilvy's labor charges for work performed in 1999 and 2000 were based on inaccurate time sheets that overestimated the amount of work its employees spent on the campaign.

Welcome to the Club, President Bush!!

I love this line
(As if the fact that it was a private conversation not meant for public consumption excuses it.)

In response, the White House said: "The governor was having casual conversations with someone he believed was his friend."

Well, you know those times the casual cannabis consumer was talking to their dealer about a quarter bag and you had the lines tapped?

See they thought they were talking to a "friend" too and their conversation was not meant for public consumption either.

And let's not forget Webster Alexander, 50 kids in North Carolina and 21 kids in Palm Beach, Florida thought they were talking to their "friends" too.

So lets see...if you will forget about our little skeletons then we will forget about yours.

Deal President Bush?

See...the snitch society you have created has turned and bit you in the ass. Now you know what it feels like to be one of the people you persecute.

Welcome to the club!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Drug War Propaganda in Alabama Schools

Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Agent Sgt. Mike Reese:

"28 percent of eighth graders are regular huffers"

"one in five meth labs blow up"

"Since meth comes through the skin, it causes sores that meth addicts will eat if they can't get any other source of the drug."

Why do we pay government workers to lie to our children?

Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S Thompson, the American counterculture writer, has been found dead at his home in Colorado.

Thompson's son, Juan, found his body. He said the 67-year-old shot himself.

He is best-known for his 1972 account of a drug-addled Nevada trip, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Other books are Hells Angels and Generation of Swine.

Thompson pioneered "gonzo journalism", a factual style in which the writer was an essential part of the story, and was an acute observer of American life.

Well, I could have done without that news on a Monday morning...or any morning for that matter. Being a big fan and follower of Hunter I feel lost and more than a little sad.
I think this must truly be a sign of the times.

Here is an mp3 of a Thompson speech. It is interesting that he mentions being shot out of a cannon.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Secret Tapes Reveal Bush's Marijuana Use

"I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions. You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried." - George W. Bush

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Marijuana grower sentenced to 5-10 years

Bonner County Daily Bee
Sandpoint, Idaho

SANDPOINT -- A California transplant convicted of running a subterranean marijuana growing operation in southern Bonner County was given a 5- to 10-year prison sentence on Friday.

"Please don't take my life away," Arthur Gary Jackson implored just moments before District Judge Steve Verby issued the sentence.

Verby explained that a lesser sentence would depreciate the offense of marijuana trafficking and serve as an ineffective deterrant for others who harbor notions of growing and selling pot. And while Jackson's record is devoid of prior felonies, Verby noted the defendant's sophisticated growing operation put him on the track of a professional criminal.

This is not really news because this kind of thing happens every day, but I thought the Judge's justification of the sentence was interesting.

Doctor Resigns From Alabama Aids Prison



Limestone Correctional Facility


Jail Breaks: Economic Development Subsidies Given to Private Prisons

This study examines an overlooked aspect of the billion-dollar private prison industry: The extent to which it has been the recipient of economic development subsidies provided by local, state and federal governments. These subsidies include tax-advantaged financing, property tax reductions, infrastructure assistance and training grants.

Home School Group Says Police Used Excessive Force


Some home schoolers say they were having a meeting in Simpsonville Park when an officer started bullying them.

Priscilla says, "I was frightened, I really didn't know who he was."

Priscilla’s 14 year old son, Glenn says, "He started yelling and screaming at this boy for having a knife, then pushed him down."

That’s when Priscilla says one of the other mothers tried to stop him, by getting between the officer and the student.

"She was trying to protect a student, we didn't know what was happening, he could've been a murderer, a rapist or anything, we just, he was attacking one of our kids and we were trying to stop him," says Jan.

"She turned to Jan and said call the police and that's when he told us he was the police. It didn't even occur to me he was a policeman, he acted so insane," says Priscilla.

Channahon officer suspended for excessive force

By Charles Thomas
ABC7 Chicago

February 18, 2005 — A Channahon police officer was suspended Friday for excessive force after an incident was caught on video tape.

Channahon internal investigators say the soundless videotape speaks for itself. After patrolman Edward Bischoff handcuffed Debra Losacco, he grabbed her around the neck and slammed her into the bed of her pick-up truck.

"Grabbing the woman in handcuffs by the throat and pushing her into that truck was the wrong way to deal with it and certainly was excessive conduct," said Joe Cook, Channahon mayor.

With video of the incident

Former Rankin Chief Turns Himself In To Authorities


PITTSBURGH -- He was sentenced to three years in jail last month, now a former Rankin police chief finds himself on the wrong side of the law again.

Darryl Briston turned himself in to state police Thursday morning.
He is facing numerous charges including oppression and theft by deception.

Police said those charges stem from allegations that Briston forced a tavern owner to pay for damages on a police cruiser.
The damages were paid, but Bristion allegedly kept the money.

Briston was sentenced last month for stealing close to 6 thousand dollars that was seized during a drug raid.

Former Lebanon Police Officer In More Trouble

WTVF Nashville

Detective Tommy Maggart has been indicted by a Wilson County Grand Jury. The indictment includes charges of theft, trying to fabricate evidence and official misconduct.

Last month, Maggart was fired by the police department after being accused of stealing money taken during undercover drug operations.

Back in 2000, Maggart was also in trouble. He was placed on administrative leave without pay for his role in the death of an innocent man.

Officers invaded the wrong home during a drug raid and shot and killed John Adams, 62. Maggart was one of the operation supervisors in charge of surveillance.

Hospital reports chemical poisoning


A Peruvian hospital in a notorious drug-trafficking zone said 13 people were admitted on Friday with symptoms of chemical poisoning, despite official denials that the government has begun spraying coca crops in its US-backed war on drugs.

The US government denied involvement in any spraying. "The US government does not engage in, participate in or finance any aerial spraying programs in Peru," State Department spokesman Tom Casey said in Washington.

Prominent local coca leader Nancy Obregon said a helicopter was seen flying over the area from February 9 to 14, and men in masks and white gloves were seen throwing a kind of powder that had been mixed with water from a height of 6 top 10 metres.

Around 2,000 coca growers have blocked main roads in protest and want a government commission to visit. Hospital director Maria Urmachea said key medicines would run out if the roadblocks were not lifted.

Wrongly jailed immigrants get $5.6 million

Police informants planted fake drugs in a scandal that cost Dallas millions

Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

DALLAS - Sixteen immigrants who were wrongly jailed after police informants set them up with fake drugs will receive $5.6 million to settle their federal civil rights lawsuits, a city attorney said Friday.

Through much of 2001, a group of confidential informants working with street-level narcotics officers planted 330 kilograms of fake cocaine and methamphetamine on 30 unsuspecting residents. Most of the victims were Hispanics who spoke little English and could not afford lawyers.

Drug Enforcement Budget Draws Criticism

by Greg Allen

How will we survive without our violent home-invading drug gangs, uh, I mean Task Forces?

The Cocaine Price Support Program

Bill Walker

Drug Prohibition’s costs are obviously much greater than any possible benefit to the general public. So why does every drug-using political hack from Rush Limbaugh to the most leftist pot-smoking Democrat advocate Drug Prohibition? For the same reason that politicians support price supports for milk or sugar: they increase the power of politicians. All price supports confer arbitrary power on those who administer them.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Man Tasered for Cursing

By Anthony Colarossi
Sentinel Staff Writer

An Orlando man who was struck with a Taser and then arrested for cursing after a traffic accident in early 2003 has settled a civil lawsuit against the Orange County Sheriff's Office for $32,500.

Inmates Deliver Fellow Prisoner's Baby

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Officials say inmates delivered a baby after a fellow prisoner went into labor and was apparently turned away at a corrections facility's clinic.

Andrea Dean is a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. She says the 32-year-old, Dayton-area woman gave birth to a boy Wednesday morning in a dormitory room at the Franklin Pre-Release Center. Dean says everybody is doing well. The inmate hasn't been identified.

Deans says the woman told nurses at the clinic she was in labor but was apparently dismissed and sent back to her room.

Debate rages over medical use of marijuana

The Randolph Reporter

New Jersey- Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, considered by himself and others to be among the most conservative members of the state Legislature.

Carroll said he expects to co-sponsor a bill in the Assembly to mirror one already proposed in the Senate, S2200, and sponsored by Sen. Nicholas P. Scutari, D-Union.

The bill would allow the state Department of Health and Senior Services to give registration cards to patients whose doctors say they need the marijuana. The bill would allow patients or caretakers to have up to six plants or one ounce of marijuana.

Acting Gov. Richard Codey has said he opposes the bill but Scutari said he spoke with Codey and that Codey is willing to further discuss the proposal.

This is a very nice article with a lot of good information.

Conn. Revisits Medical Marijuana

Join Together

A medical-marijuana bill that passed the Connecticut House last year but failed to advance further has been reintroduced, the Associated Press reported Feb. 16.

Sponsor Rep. Penny Bacchiochi (R-Somers) has personal experience with medical marijuana: she bought the drug on the streets 20 years ago to help ease the suffering of her husband, who later died of bone cancer. She said her bill would eliminate fear of arrest as one of the concerns faced by sick people seeking medical marijuana. "We are the ones who are afraid to purchase it for our loved ones in fear of prosecution," said Bacchiochi.

Proponents in Austin urge medical use of marijuana


AUSTIN- Proponents of the medical use of marijuana today urged the Texas Legislature to let sick and dying patients use marijuana to relieve their pain.
Texans suffering from leukemia, multiple sclerosis, paralysis and other afflictions told of the pain-reducing benefits of marijuana and said medical marijuana users should be given legal grounds to avoid prosecution.

Representative Elliott Naishtat, an Austin Democrat, has filed a bill that would create a defense to prosecution for patients who are being treated by a licensed physician and who use marijuana to relieve the effects of a legitimate medical condition.

Medical Marijuana Bill

Ohio News Now

State Senator Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown) today introduced a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to terminally ill patients or patients with debilitating medical conditions.

“This bill is about helping seriously ill and debilitated Ohioans get access to a treatment that will help them,” Senator Hagan said. “I’m not trying to legalize marijuana. I just believe that allowing people to suffer needlessly when there is an effective drug out there to ease their symptoms is unconscionable.”

Money Talks: A New Direction in the War on Drugs?

Drug Policy Alliance

At a Congressional hearing last week, Drug Czar John Walters defended the Bush budget from hostile members of Congress and said it’s time to eliminate anti-drug programs that don’t work and increase funding for programs that do work. Walters went on to say that the federal government should stop focusing so many resources on low-level offenders:

"It could be a more powerful tool if it's moved and integrated, remains state and local focused, and part of a consolidated effort…to break the businesses that are the drug trade. Otherwise, you are chasing primarily small people, putting them in jail, year after year, generation after generation. Break the business. Don't break generation after generation… of young men, especially poor, minority young men in our cities, and [put] them in jail.”

Army: Terror war needs painkillers

By Randolph E. Schmid

WASHINGTON - An Army physician argued yesterday that some popular pain relievers "are essential to the global war on terrorism" and should be kept on the market despite their potentially dangerous side effects. Without them, he said, the military cannot keep as many soldiers functioning on the battlefield.

Dr. Christopher Grubb told a joint meeting of Food and Drug advisory committees studying the risks of a group of drugs known as Cox-2 inhibitors -- including Vioxx, Celebrex and Bextra -- that the military carries Cox-2 drugs into battle. They are needed, he said, because of concerns about excess bleeding that can be caused by more traditional pain relievers like aspirin.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Pete Guither - An American Hero

Pete Guither documents the Federal Government's unrelenting assault on the State of Illinois.

The Kids Aren't Alright

The Kids Aren't Alright!
In the land of "Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams" Loretta Nall discovers the "Kids Aren't Alright"!

Join Loretta as she travels to Palm Beach, Florida to talk with students attending highschools targeted in "Operation Old Schoolhouse".

You'll be SHOCKED at what the kids have to say.

Can you say HOMESCHOOL?

(NOTE) The first five minutes of interviews with kids doesn't actually show the kids as they did not wish to be on camera. You'll see parking lot pavement and be able to hear the interviews. The second set of interviews shows the kids being interviewed.

View Show Here

Ecstasy trials for combat stress

David Adam, science correspondent
Thursday February 17, 2005
The Guardian

American soldiers traumatised by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be offered the drug ecstasy to help free them of flashbacks and recurring nightmares.

The US food and drug administration has given the go-ahead for the soldiers to be included in an experiment to see if MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, can treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

Scientists behind the trial in South Carolina think the feelings of emotional closeness reported by those taking the drug could help the soldiers talk about their experiences to therapists. Several victims of rape and sexual abuse with post-traumatic stress disorder, for whom existing treatments are ineffective, have been given MDMA since the research began last year.