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MAPTalk-Digest Thursday, November 29 2007 Volume 07 : Number 124

001 Hidden Wounds Lead to Drugs
    From: Herb <>
002 Drugs and Injustice
    From: Herb <>
    From: Herb <>
004 US: Book Review: Book Calls Drug Policy Inconsistent, Incoherent, Unjus
    From: Allan Erickson <>
005 meanwhile in the Philippines...
    From: Herb <>


Subj: 001 Hidden Wounds Lead to Drugs
From: Herb <>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 14:49:52 -0800

Hidden Wounds Lead to Drugs,15240,157153,00.html


Subj: 002 Drugs and Injustice
From: Herb <>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 15:08:54 -0800

Drugs and Injustice


From: Herb <>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 22:31:05 -0800



Subj: 004 US: Book Review: Book Calls Drug Policy Inconsistent, Incoherent, Unjust
From: Allan Erickson <>
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 07:51:19 -0800

Book Calls Drug Policy Inconsistent, Incoherent, Unjust

Newswise =97 Society=92s attitudes toward different drugs and its ways 
regulating them are often =93inconsistent,=94 =93incoherent=94 and 
unjust, says a new book by a team of University of Utah scholars.

The book says that to create a just drug policy, society must develop a=20

consistent and coherent way of thinking about the entire gamut of
drugs, from prescription and over-the-counter medicines to alternative=20

and herbal remedies and supplements, sports-enhancing steroids, illegal=20

recreational drugs, religious-use drugs such as peyote, and everyday
fixes like alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.

=93We must make significant changes, not merely cosmetic prunings, in 
way we treat drugs =96 all drugs,=94 says =93Drugs and Justice: Seeking 
Consistent, Coherent, Comprehensive View,=94 a book published Nov. 30 
written by a team of 11 philosophers, pharmaceutical scientists,
lawyers, doctors and psychologists. =93This means scrapping many of the=20

laws now on the books and starting over.=94

They write that making the needed changes in the way drugs are treated=20

means =93resisting politically motivated enforcement and reform measures=20

that have not been thought through with concern for their impact in all=20

areas=94 of drugs =96 across the board.

The book decries the compartmentalization of drug policy and
regulation, varying definitions of addiction and harm, the failure of
drug experts in different fields to reach beyond their specialties, and=20

=96 says publisher Oxford University Press =96 =93inconsistencies that 
more from cultural and social values than from medical or scientific

=93It=92s the compartmentalization and the differing histories of
regulation of different drugs that result in many of the apparent
inconsistencies and injustices,=94 says the book=92s first author,
bioethicist Margaret Battin, a distinguished professor of philosophy at=20

the University of Utah. =93It=92s not that some drugs don=92t cause 
Some cause serious harm or death. But the way in which we approach
regulation and think about drugs doesn=92t correspond to a thoughtful
evaluation of their capacities for addiction, danger, or beneficial
properties in reducing pain or producing pleasure.=94

Inconsistencies and Injustices in Drug Policy

=93Control of illegal drugs has been an immense focus of domestic and
international policy, with enormous financial and human costs,=94 Battin=20

says. =93Yet we haven=92t really examined our rationale for making some=20

drugs illegal and others not.=94

Some inconsistencies cited in the book include:

- -- =93Is the rationale for restricting prescription drugs consistent 
the absence of such restrictions for dietary supplements and herbal
drugs?=94 And why aren=92t dietary supplements and herbal medicines 
for safety when prescription drugs are tested?

- -- Should risks of death count? Why is marijuana illegal if alcohol is=20

not? Why is peyote illegal if tobacco is not?=94 In the book=92s 
physician-lawyer Peter Cohen of Georgetown University Law Center asks:=20

=93Why do we allow the sale of alcohol and tobacco, both responsible for=20

greater rates of mortality and morbidity than =91illegal=92 drugs? No
doubt, among the many factors responsible for the disjunction between
scientific fact and public policy are the overwhelming influences of
money and lobbying.=94

- -- Use of anabolic steroids by an Olympic athlete nets a one-year
suspension for the first violation, yet National Football League
players get only a four-game suspension.

- -- Under one accepted definition of addiction, someone who drinks
numerous cups of coffee daily, craves it and suffers withdrawal
headaches is considered =93addicted.=94 Under another definition, he is=20

=93substance dependent.=94 Yet a weekend cocaine user is neither 
nor substance dependent under the first definition and only in the less=20

serious category of =93substance abuser=94 under the other. The 
=96 used primarily in medical and psychological spheres =96 disagree, 
both define the coffee drinker as having a more serious disorder than
the weekend cocaine user.

- -- =93According to national surveys, it is about as easy for a high
school student to obtain illegal drugs as it is to obtain alcohol.
Ironically, the law will allow her to purchase alcohol in just a couple=20

of years but will never permit her to buy or possess other drugs.=94

- -- =93Is there any good reason why the same amounts of crack cocaine and=20

powder cocaine should result in vastly different criminal punishments?=94=20

Under federal law, possessing five grams of crack cocaine carries the
same five-year minimum mandatory sentence as possessing 500 grams of
powder cocaine =96 a problem now being addressed by the Federal
Sentencing Commission.

The authors say that =93some of these inconsistencies may turn out to be=20

justified while others may not.=94 Longer sentences for crack may arise=20

because it is linked to more violent crime and greater social harm, and=20

also because it is more widely available =96 or they may be due to
racism, since blacks are more likely to use crack than powder cocaine.

The history of drug policy has been shaped by politics, racism and fear=20

of foreigners, with early opium, cocaine and marijuana laws,
respectively, targeted at Chinese railroad workers, southern blacks and=20

Mexicans the book says.

Justice: An Rx for Society and Drugs

The book=92s authors say their objective =93is to identify apparent
inconsistencies in theory, policy and practice about drugs; to diagnose=20

what is at the root of these inconsistencies and consider whether some=20

may be justified while others not; and to show what would be involved
in developing a coherent body of theory, policy and practice that =85
covers all pharmacologically active substances. Doing this will
contribute to our ultimate goal, working toward greater justice in the=20

way the world manages drugs.=94

The researchers note that =93virtually every drug has the potential to=20

produce both benefit and harm,=94 and both must be considered. Yet 
which aspect gets emphasized depends on the specialty of the people
talking about it.

=93If we look at the use of narcotics in pain management we are 
looking at their benefits,=94 Battin says. =93If we are looking at
narcotics used on the street, we typically talk about the harm they

The authors began the interdisciplinary discussions their book endorses=20

by forming a group at the University of Utah in 2003 =93to consider
issues of justice in the way that drugs are used and controlled in
society,=94 they write.

Most of the book=92s seven main authors are at the University of Utah:=20

Battin; Erik Luna, a professor of law; Arthur G. Lipman, a professor of=20

pharmacotherapy and pain management expert; physician-anthropologist
Paul M. Gahlinger; an adjunct professor of medicine and expert on
religious drugs; Douglas E. Rollins, professor of pharmacology and
toxicology and medical director of doping control for the 2002 Olympic=20

Winter Games; Jeanette C. Roberts, a former Utah medicinal chemist and=20

herbal drug expert now at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; and
appellate attorney Troy L. Booher, also an adjunct professor of law and=20

political science.

Contributors to the book are David G. Dick, a former Utah philosophy
graduate student now at the University of Michigan; Dennis M. Fuchs, a=20

retired Utah Third District judge known for his work on drug courts;
and two University of Utah psychologists: substance abuse specialist
Karol Kumpfer, a professor of health promotion and education; and
addiction assessment expert Kelly J. Lundberg, clinical associate
professor of psychiatry.


Subj: 005 meanwhile in the Philippines...
From: Herb <>
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 16:43:21 -0800


meanwhile in the Philippines...

                        Ex-cop's daughter sentenced to life for drugs 

Thursday, November 29 2007 

DUMAGUETE CITY, November 29 - A retired master sergeant's daughter was not spared from provisions of the comprehensive anti-drugs law, in a decision penned by the drugs court in Negros Oriental today, Nov. 29, 2007.

Sentenced to life imprisonment for illegal sale of marijuana and another 12 years for illegal possession is Fredesminda Alega.

Alega was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the sale of 6.71 grams of marijuana to a police officer acting as poseur buyer on March 29, 2005 in Calindagan.

Subsequent to the buy-bust operation, is the confiscation of 37.9 grams of dried marijuana leaves from Alega. The court fined Alega a total of P800,000.

Meanwhile, Judge Tan also sentenced one Joseph Umali in absentia for his failure to appear during the scheduled promulgation on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2007.

Umali was sentenced to 12 years in jail for illegal possession of shabu and fined P300,000. 

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End of MAPTalk-Digest V07 #124

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