To the Editor:
Re "Woman Is Convicted of Killing Her Fetus by Smoking Cocaine" (news
article, May 18): There are numerous causes of fetal demise.
Many are related to what pregnant women put in their bodies a " both
illegal and, far more commonly, legal substances like alcohol, nicotine and
excessive amounts of salt and sugar.
It is usually difficult, and frequently impossible, to determine the
precise causes of fetal death. The prosecution of Regina McKnight was an
outrage, and her conviction (after 15 minutes of deliberation) a travesty.
[continues 86 words]
I respectfully disagree ("Marijuana loophole closed," May 10). Not only
should marijuana be allowed as medicine, but marijuana prohibition should
be subjected to a thorough cost-benefit analysis. Like any drug, marijuana
can be harmful if abused but the health effects of marijuana are
inconsequential compared to the life-shattering effects of America's
punitive criminal justice system. Of course, a review of marijuana
legislation would open up a Pandora's box most politicians would just as
soon avoid. America's marijuana laws are based on culture and xenophobia,
Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation
The High Court's Marijuana Ruling Won't Play In Mendocino
UKIAH, CALIF.--A neat row of bright-green seedlings basks in the sunlight
on Patrick's window sill. Together with the 20 full-grown plants sitting in
plastic kiddie pools under fluorescent lights in his basement, these plants
supply the stout, white-bearded Californian and a handful of other locals
with medicine. And though part of his tiny marijuana crop is clearly
visible from the driveway, he's unconcerned about the law. "I feel totally
legal," he says. "I have searched my soul and feel like finally we got the
law changed to a level where we can comply."
[continues 1037 words]
DANIA BEACH, Fla. -- Doctors and drug investigators, seeking a balance
between helping patients and preventing abuse, gathered Monday to try to
halt the growing illegal distribution of the painkiller OxyContin.
Drug manufacturers said they want to increase awareness about the dangers
of the pill, also known by its generic name, oxycodone. The prescription
pill, developed to treat chronic pain in cancer patients and those with
arthritis and back pain, has grown in popularity among drug abusers.
"We want to make sure that OxyContin and other strong medications remain
available to the patients with legitimate needs," said Dr. J. David Haddox,
senior medical director of Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin tablets.
[continues 297 words]
The Supreme Court has dealt a setback to the drive to allow medical use of
marijuana. In an 8-0 ruling last week on a California case, the court held
that federal law recognizes no therapeutic benefits to the drug. Therefore,
cooperatives that distribute marijuana to the sick can be blocked from
doing so by federal authorities. The court did not address whether the
states themselves may distribute the drug, or whether individual patients
may grow or possess it.
Polls show widespread support for the medical use of marijuana. The drug
has been found to ease the side-effects of chemotherapy, along with the
symptoms of AIDS and other illnesses. However, substantial data are
lacking, in part because the drug is illegal. The paucity of information
has helped make Congress reluctant to reclassify marijuana (now a Schedule
I drug), despite repeated promptings from advocates.
[continues 158 words]
WASHINGTON -- The deaths of a missionary and her child over Peru last month
serve as a brutal reminder that the war on drugs is a shooting war.
The CIA's continuing involvement with the Peruvian government to intercept
drug runners also exemplifies the sadly mistaken belief that America's drug
problem can be solved by attacking sources of supply.
Indeed, Donnie R. Marshall, the administrator of the Drug Enforcement
Administration, has recently written that the demand for drugs does not
drive the supply; rather it's the other way around.
[continues 595 words]
To the editor:
Regarding your editorial on the recent Supreme Court ruling against medical
marijuana (May 16, "High court sends pot plan up in smoke"), the issue is
by no means resolved.
Congress needs to show leadership on medical marijuana, which 70 percent of
Americans support. Not only should it authorize medical marijuana, but
marijuana prohibition itself should be subjected to a cost-benefit
analysis. The health effects of marijuana are inconsequential compared to
the life-shattering effects of the punitive criminal justice system.
[continues 180 words]
It is still technically possible under a 8-0 U.S. Supreme Court ruling for
seriously ill Californians to defend against charges of possession of small
amounts of marijuana in superior court for reasons of medical necessity.
What is doubtful is how wise such a defense is.
At issue is the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, passed by Californians as an
initiative. It allowed medical necessity as a defense against criminal
charges of possession of marijuana for alleviating symptoms of such
diseases and their treatments as cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis,
lupus and other painful, chronic conditions for which conventional FDA
approved pain- and nausea-relieving drugs may prove ineffective.
[continues 321 words]
Enslave your girls and women, harbor anti-U.S. terrorists, destroy every
vestige of civilization in your homeland, and the Bush administration will
embrace you. All that matters is that you line up as an ally in the drug
war, the only international cause that this nation still takes seriously.
That's the message sent with the recent gift of $43 million to the Taliban
rulers of Afghanistan, the most virulent anti-American violators of human
rights in the world today. The gift, announced last Thursday by Secretary
of State Colin Powell, in addition to other recent aid, makes the U.S. the
main sponsor of the Taliban and rewards that "rogue regime" for declaring
that opium growing is against the will of God. So, too, by the Taliban's
estimation, are most human activities, but it's the ban on drugs that
catches this administration's attention.
[continues 666 words]
Newsmaker Profile: Mike Nevin
Ex-Cop Hopes San Mateo County Study Helps Legalize Medical Pot
In his 27 years as a cop, Michael Nevin learned how easily illegal drugs
can ruin lives.
"Parents from all over the country would call the San Francisco police and
ask us to look for their kids," he recalls. "We'd find them dead in the
Now, as a San Mateo County supervisor, Nevin believes that one of those
drugs, marijuana, can be a lifesaver.
[continues 852 words]
LONDON (Reuters Health) May 17 - Patients taking a controversial new drug
for irritable bowel syndrome may have died because the US Food and Drug
Administration has become the "servant of the drug industry," the editor of
The Lancet claimed on Thursday.
In a devastating editorial, Richard Horton said that although
GlaxoSmithKline voluntarily withdrew alosetron (Lotronex) from the US
market last November after the deaths of five patients, senior FDA
officials were now seeking to reintroduce it.
"This story reveals not only dangerous failings in a single drug's approval
and review process but also the extent to which the FDA, its Center for
Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) in particular, has become the servant
of industry," Horton said.
[continues 980 words]