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Chronicle AM: Chris Christie Picks Fight With Weed, New DEA Head Concedes Pot Might Not Be as Bad as Heroin, More (7/29/15)

Heroin (STDW) - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 20:53

Chris Christie is beating up on marijuana again, Ohio officials continue to play hardball with ResponsibleOhio, DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg takes a tiny step forward, Colombian peasants are grumbling at a rumored renewal of aerial crop eradication, and more.

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

Chris Christie Vows to Roll Back Legalization in the States if Elected. New Jersey governor and Republican presidential contender Chris Christie said Tuesday marijuana users in legal states should enjoy their highs while they have the chance because if he's elected, he will enforce federal prohibition. "If you're getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it," said Christie at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. "As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws. If you want to change the marijuana laws, go ahead and change the national marijuana laws," he added. Christie is currently struggling to break out of the bottom of a crowded field of GOP contenders.

Ohio Secretary of State to Investigate Legalization Petitions for Possible Fraud. Secretary of State Jon Husted said today he had named a special investigator to look into "discrepancies" in petitions from the controversial legalization group ResponsibleOhio. He said the review would look into "significant disparities" between the number of petitions the group claimed to have gathered and the number actually turned in. If the discrepancies constitute fraud, they could lead to criminal charges, he said. ResponsibleOhio, on the other hand, has accused state election officials of losing some 40,000 signatures and wrongfully invalidating others and is threatening to go to the state Supreme Court over the issue. The group had handed in nearly 700,000 signatures and needed only 305,000 valid ones to qualify for the 2015 ballot, but state officials last week said they were about 30,000 short. ResponsibleOhio has until midnight tomorrow to try to make up for the signature shortfall.

Medical Marijuana

Ohio Attorney General Rejects Medical Marijuana Petition Wording. Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that he had rejected a petition for the Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment, saying he had found several defects in the language. Now, the group will have to address those defects, gather another 1,000 initial signatures, and try again.

Washington's King County Will Force Unlicensed Dispensaries to Close. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said Tuesday that dispensaries operating illegally in unincorporated areas of the county will have to shut down soon. He said that he would be serving up lawsuits against 15 collectives in coming days. "Their days as marijuana sellers where they never had a license, and they never paid taxes, those days are over," he said. He added that the businesses had a couple of months to shut down before he goes after them in court.

Drug Policy

New DEA Head Concedes Marijuana Might Not Be As Dangerous as Heroin. DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg Tuesday conceded during a conference call that heroin is probably more dangerous than marijuana, but that he was no expert. "If you want me to say that marijuana's not dangerous, I'm not going to say that because I think it is," Rosenberg said. "Do I think it's as dangerous as heroin? Probably not. I'm not an expert." Coming from anyone other than a DEA head, the statement would be considered mealy-mouthed, but it actually marks a break with Rosenberg's hardline predecessor, Michele Leonhart, whose refusal to make the distinction helped contribute to her being forced from the position.

International

Irish Officials Say They Have a "Wide Consensus" for Drug Decriminalization. After a "think tank" on drug problems in Dublin today, Minister of State of the National Drugs Strategy Aodhan O'Riordain said there was a "wide consensus within the room for decriminalization," but there were also "some question marks and some discussion points as to how to get wider society on board with the idea. People in the sector may be convinced, but the terminology and the language is going to be important."

Colombia Coca Farmers Threaten Protests Over Reports Government Might Resume Aerial Spraying. Amid rumors that authorities plan to restart efforts to eradicate coca crops by spraying them with glyphosate, farmers in the north are vowing to fight such plans. "The moment they begin the fumigation, the peasant strike will begin," said a spokesman for the Campesino Association of Catatumbo. With US backing and encouragement, the Colombian government sprayed the herbicide on coca crops for years despite peasant protests that it was causing illness and damaging other crops and livestock. Earlier this year, the government halted the practice after the World Health Organization declared glyphosate a carcinogen. Nearly 2,500 police are being sent to the region in anticipation of protests, even though the interior minister denied any plans to begin spraying anew, saying it was only under discussion.

(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Categories: Heroin

US OH: State Program To Fight Heroin Crisis

Heroin (MAP) - Sat, 07/25/2015 - 07:00
Columbus Dispatch, 25 Jul 2015 - In Ross County, where heroin users worry both about deadly overdoses and a possible encounter with a killer, the state is setting up a multi-agency pilot program to respond to the crisis. The Office of Criminal Justice Services is chipping in $100,000 from a federal grant to attack the heroin problem by forming a partnership involving mentalhealth and addiction professionals, law-enforcement officials and the courts. The Heroin Partnership Project was announced on Friday at the Ohio University-Chillicothe campus so that agencies can work together to share information and provide services and treatment.
Categories: Heroin

US OH: Billboards Being Used In Champaign County Heroin Fight

Heroin (MAP) - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 07:00
Springfield News Sun, 21 Jul 2015 - URBANA - Sheriff Matthew Melvin and the prosecutor's office have teamed up to place two billboards to help get the word out about the fight against Champaign County's heroin epidemic. The billboards feature an anonymous hotline number to report heroin dealers and users to the Champaign County Sheriff's Office.
Categories: Heroin

US PA: Statistics Show Devastating Expanse Of Pa. Heroin Issue

Heroin (MAP) - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 07:00
Tribune Review, 21 Jul 2015 - Pennsylvanians' addiction to heroin is the biggest drug problem in the state, a fact revealed not only in death statistics but also in state police drug busts. Pennsylvania State Police seized four times as much heroin in the second quarter of the year as they did the first, according to numbers released Tuesday. They seized more than 80 pounds of heroin worth more than $27 million between April and June, compared to just over 21 pounds between January and March.
Categories: Heroin

US CA: Prescription Pills Fueling Increase in Use of Heroin

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 07/19/2015 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 19 Jul 2015 - LOS ANGELES - Standing in the pulpit above Austin Klimusko's casket three years ago, his mother used his death to draw the connection between pills from a pharmacy and drugs from the street. "When his prescriptions dried up, he turned to heroin," Susan Klimusko said in a frank eulogy meant as a warning to the young mourners at Simi Valley's Cornerstone Church.
Categories: Heroin

US CA: Heroin Use Surges In Northern California

Heroin (MAP) - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 07:00
Appeal-Democrat, 17 Jul 2015 - Health care providers say a surge in heroin use in Northern California is linked to the abuse of prescription opiate pain medications, following a nationwide trend. Methamphetamine is still the drug of choice of people in need of assistance with substance abuse in Yuba, Sutter and Butte counties, but "it is shifting and shifting very quickly towards opiates," according to Jen Carvalho, CEO of Skyway House, a recovery organization based in Chico.
Categories: Heroin

US MD: Heroin Task Force Wants 24-Hour Treatment Options

Heroin (MAP) - Mon, 07/13/2015 - 07:00
Baltimore Sun, 13 Jul 2015 - Group Urges Multifaceted Approach to Help Reduce Overdoses and Deaths To stem the growing heroin addiction rates and overdose deaths, a Baltimore task force plans to unveil a more than $20 million proposal today that includes around-the-clock treatment options.
Categories: Heroin

US CA: The Devastating Path From Pain Pills To Heroin

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 07/12/2015 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 12 Jul 2015 - Officials Sound the Alarm As Research Shows Heroin Users Are More Likely to Be Wealthy, Privately Insured and 18 to 25 Standing in the pulpit above Austin Klimusko's casket three years ago, his mother used his death to draw the connection between pills from a pharmacy and drugs from the street.
Categories: Heroin

US UT: Painkiller Addictions Leading To Wave Of Heroin

Heroin (MAP) - Sat, 07/11/2015 - 07:00
Standard-Examiner, 11 Jul 2015 - OGDEN - Mark Kastleman got a call this week from a 65-year-old woman who started on pain pills for back surgery recovery and now, a year later, has turned to heroin to feed the opiate addiction she developed. Unfortunately, her situation is not unusual.
Categories: Heroin

US NY: Editorial: Worrisome Increase In Heroin Use

Heroin (MAP) - Sat, 07/11/2015 - 07:00
Newsday, 11 Jul 2015 - 62 percent: That's how much heroin use in the United States increased in just under a decade. Experts say the widespread crackdown on prescription painkillers has pushed some people to choose heroin instead. The fight against drug addiction is an endlessly morphing battle everywhere, including on Long Island, where 137 heroin overdose deaths were reported in 2014. There is a bit of good news, though: Heroin use among 12- to 17-year-olds and minorities declined. Perhaps we can begin to build on that. - --- MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom
Categories: Heroin

US OH: Editorial: Saving Chillicothe's Heroin Addicts

Heroin (MAP) - Sat, 07/11/2015 - 07:00
Chillicothe Gazette, 11 Jul 2015 - If we needed any new reminders as to the pervasiveness of heroin in our community, the last few weeks have provided another stark, jarring jolt. While the community continues to come to grips with the deaths of four women and seeks information about two who remain missing, that news comes with links to the drug and prostitution culture around the city. The full impact of how much that lifestyle contributed to these incidents isn't fully known, but anecdotally we know the connections can be drawn.
Categories: Heroin

US PA: Pittsburgh City Council Learns Of Heroin Epidemic From

Heroin (MAP) - Fri, 07/10/2015 - 07:00
Tribune Review, 10 Jul 2015 - Gus DiRenna's addiction started with marijuana and beer in high school. He was popping pills at 18 and selling drugs between jail stints in his 20s and 30s. By age 40, the Whitehall resident was shooting heroin.
Categories: Heroin

US FL: As National Heroin Rates Surge, Miami-Dade Still Lacks A

Heroin (MAP) - Fri, 07/10/2015 - 07:00
Miami Herald, 10 Jul 2015 - For the past three years, Florida's Legislature has failed to pass a bill that would create a needle exchange program leaving the state without a program to help drug addicts avoid exposure to disease through dirty needles. But stark new figures released this week show heroin use is surging across the country and is up around 63% in the last decade, according to a new report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In another recent study, doctors at the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital found that over one year, cases of infection at Jackson Memorial caused by injection drug use led to 17 deaths at a cost of $11.4 million, much of it borne by taxpayers.
Categories: Heroin

US IL: Editorial: Multi-faceted Solution Needed In Heroin Crisis

Heroin (MAP) - Fri, 07/10/2015 - 07:00
Jacksonville Journal-Courier, 10 Jul 2015 - Heroin, once the forbidden fruit of even the most hardcore drug users, is now a problem for even Smalltown, USA. Experts believe the meteoric rise of addictive drugs such as Oxycontin and Vicodin has contributed greatly to the increase. As tighter controls were put on those drugs, heroin became a cheaper and easier option and offers a similar euphoric high.
Categories: Heroin

US OH: Are Ohio Heroin Laws Helping?

Heroin (MAP) - Fri, 07/10/2015 - 07:00
Coshocton Tribune, 10 Jul 2015 - COLUMBUS -- Heroin addicts leaving Ohio's prisons will soon receive the gold standard of treatment -- a combination of counseling and medication. But the state's largest detox centers, county jails, receive little money for medication, and law-and-order legislation proposed by Southwest Ohio lawmakers would lock them up longer. State lawmakers' reaction to the heroin epidemic has been bipolar. Some changes treat addicts like victims of a brain disease, while others punish them as a scourge on society. Meanwhile, thousands of Ohioans are dying of drug overdoses.
Categories: Heroin

US OR: Column: Let's Legalize Heroin Now, Okay?

Heroin (MAP) - Wed, 07/08/2015 - 07:00
Portland Mercury, 08 Jul 2015 - Friends, it truly is a wondrous time in which we live-and the last few weeks are proof! The racist relic that is the Confederate flag has been torn down across the land, the Supreme Court has finally recognized same-sex marriage as a basic human right, and, at long last, Oregon has brought about a new age of enlightenment and freedom by legalizing cannabis. But our fight is not yet over. Not while so many Americans still demonize the joy of so many people's lives: sweet, sweet heroin.
Categories: Heroin

US: Heroin Deaths Have Quadrupled In 10 Years

Heroin (MAP) - Wed, 07/08/2015 - 07:00
Washington Post, 08 Jul 2015 - Highly Addictive Prescription Painkillers Are Particular Concern From page A1 Heroin addiction and the rate of fatal overdoses have increased rapidly over the past decade, touching parts of society that previously were relatively unscathed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.
Categories: Heroin

US MA: Heroin Use Spikes Among Women, Higher-Income Groups

Heroin (MAP) - Wed, 07/08/2015 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 08 Jul 2015 - Study Finds New Faces of Addiction Rebecca Kaczynski doesn't fit the traditional image of a heroin addict. The daughter of a bank vice president and an assistant school principal, she grew up in a loving, intact, upper-middle-class family in the Central Massachusetts town of Dudley.
Categories: Heroin

US MD: Deaths From Fentanyl-Laced Heroin Surge, Spur Warning

Heroin (MAP) - Tue, 07/07/2015 - 07:00
Baltimore Sun, 07 Jul 2015 - Amid a statewide surge in overdoses, Baltimore health officials announced a campaign Monday to tell heroin users that the drug they buy on the street could contain the much more potent painkiller fentanyl. The synthetic opiod, which federal officials say is 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin, is blamed in the deaths of hundreds of drug users nationwide since 2013. Health, law enforcement and counselors began issuing warnings more than a year ago, but have not been able to stem overdoses.
Categories: Heroin

US DC: FBI Drug Agent Risked All To Feed Heroin Habit

Heroin (MAP) - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 07:00
Washington Post, 29 Jun 2015 - He Was Stealing Seized Evidence Even As Agency Was Hailing His Work "How do you tell someone you've idolized your entire life that you're a heroin addict?" Matthew Lowry, who kept his addiction hidden from his father and others
Categories: Heroin
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