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1 US PA: D.A.R.E. Program Effective Despite DownsizingMon, 26 Dec 2011
Source:Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA) Author:Parrish, Tory N. Area:Pennsylvania Lines:92 Added:12/27/2011

Whitehall police Officer David Artman remembers the woman's bruised face when he and his partner responded to a domestic dispute. They left that August day, he said, with her intoxicated boyfriend in handcuffs.

Alcohol or drugs factor into domestic violence "almost every time," Artman told seventh-graders during a recent Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E., program at J.E. Harrison Middle School in Baldwin-Whitehall School District.

The D.A.R.E. program engages kids in discussions about drug abuse, peer pressure, self-esteem and bullying.

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2 US PA: Medical Marijuana in New Jersey: 'This Law Was DesignedMon, 12 Dec 2011
Source:Philadelphia Weekly (PA) Author:Goldberg, Michael Alan Area:Pennsylvania Lines:198 Added:12/13/2011

Rues Road-which winds through an idyllic and remote area of Upper Freehold Township, New Jersey, past lush farm fields and the occasional McMansion set back on a sprawling parcel of land-doesn't look much like a battlefield. But it's become ground zero in the fight over the state's Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, in limbo for nearly two years since former Gov. Jon Corzine signed the bill on his last day of office in January 2010.

A pot farm wants to move into a property on Rues Road, residents are up-in-arms, and medical marijuana advocates say a tiny but adamant group of anti-weed activists is behind efforts to stall the act indefinitely. And while many eyes here have been focused on New Jersey's nascent medical marijuana program as a potential model for Pennsylvania to adopt, the only lesson that seems to be coming out of the Garden State is how to pass a law without ever actually implementing it.

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3 US PA: Ex-Constable Acquitted Of Drug ChargesSat, 10 Dec 2011
Source:Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) Author:Lord, Rich Area:Pennsylvania Lines:72 Added:12/11/2011

A former Duquesne constable charged with conspiring to sell cocaine was found not guilty in U.S. District Court Friday.

Prosecutors had painted him as a sworn law enforcement officer who provided safe haven for his cocaine-dealing friends.

But Mr. Cobb, 30, testified Thursday that although his brothers, friends and even the mother of his son got mixed up with drugs, he chose a different path, signing on as a city firefighter from the age of 17 and working in private security. In 2006, he went to state constable school and took that post, which involves serving warrants but not making arrests.

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4 US PA: OPED: Legalizing Drugs Is Not The AnswerMon, 28 Nov 2011
Source:Pottstown Mercury (PA) Author:Cuzzolino, Daniel Van Area:Pennsylvania Lines:57 Added:11/28/2011

In his Nov. 12 opinion piece, "Is the war on drugs worth it? At what cost?," Earl W. Davis characterizes the Obama administration's drug control policy as a "war" and likens it to America's experience with Prohibition in the early 20th century. On both points, he expresses an outdated view that does not reflect the comprehensive approach to prevention, treatment, recovery, and criminal justice reform being applied to the nation's drug problem today.

The federal government is currently spending more on drug education and treatment ($10.4 billion) than on law enforcement ($9.2 billion) and when it comes to law enforcement, the administration is implementing a range of innovative public safety interventions that save tax dollars, treat addiction, and reduce criminal recidivism. In the past three years, drug treatment courts have sent approximately 120,000 offenders annually into drug treatment instead of prison. Through enhanced probation programs like Project HOPE in Hawaii, probationers are experiencing dramatic reductions in drug use as a result of drug testing and swift, certain, but reasonable sanctions. And through its support for the Second Chance Act, the administration has underscored the importance of substance abuse treatment, employment, mentoring, and other services that improve the transition of individuals from the criminal justice system to a new life in the community.

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5 US PA: Driver Chokes To Death On Bag Of DopeTue, 25 Oct 2011
Source:Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA) Author:Biedka, Chuck Area:Pennsylvania Lines:44 Added:10/25/2011

A New Kensington man who died after leading police on a brief chase early Sunday morning apparently choked to death in his vehicle.

Allegheny County police said Curtis D. Patterson, 40, was found in his vehicle about 2 a.m. Sunday. Patterson, who fled police about an hour earlier, tried to make a high-speed turn from Freeport Road in East Deer onto the Ninth Street Bridge, but his car struck one of the concrete approaches to the bridge, according to Tarentum police Chief Bill Vakulick.

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6 US PA: Seized Pot Growing Equipment Given To Pa. Food LabWed, 05 Oct 2011
Source:Seattle Times (WA)          Area:Pennsylvania Lines:30 Added:10/09/2011

Equipment Seized From a Philadelphia-Area Marijuana Operation Is Going to Be Used to Grow a Different Kind of Herb - and Vegetables, Too.

Delaware County District Attorney G. Michael Green tells The Philadelphia Inquirer the equipment taken in May from a sophisticated marijuana growing operation will go to Cheyney University and a Philadelphia community development corporation's Urban Food Lab.

Authorities say the raid at a former Chester drugstore yielded industrial generators, grow lights and hydroponic plant containers.

The Inquirer report ( http://bit.ly/r46Tgp) says Partnership CDC's Urban Food Lab grows greens, lettuce, peppers and broccoli. An on-campus business at Cheyney already uses hydroponic techniques to grow basil that's sold to local supermarkets.

Cheyney professor Steven Hughes puts the value of the donated equipment at tens of thousands of dollars.

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7 US PA: PUB LTE: U.S. Policies Prove FatalWed, 31 Aug 2011
Source:Centre Daily Times (PA) Author:Lynch, Jonathan Area:Pennsylvania Lines:39 Added:09/01/2011

The article describing the horrific massacre in Monterrey, Mexico, failed to note an important aspect of this story for U.S. readers: our complicity.

The drug war wreaking death and destruction just south of the border is fueled by drug prohibition and lax gun control.

The majority of profits feeding the Mexican mafia derives from the sale of marijuana to U.S. markets. This is profitable because marijuana is illegal, just as rum running was profitable during the era of alcohol prohibition.

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8 US PA: Spliff Decision: Angel Of Medical-Marijuana Mercy, OrMon, 22 Aug 2011
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Nark, Jason Area:Pennsylvania Lines:147 Added:08/23/2011

FACEDOWN ON the pavement with two pounds of pot in her trunk and a cop punching her in the side, Colleen Begley could have packed her bohemian lifestyle away and called it quits.

The Moorestown native could have dimed out all her longtime friends for a lesser sentence, with the hope of someday returning to a cozy life in that affluent suburb, where she could finish college and get into her family's law business. At the very least, she could have moved to Northern California, where there'd be less heat.

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9 US PA: PUB LTE: Pitts, NAACP On TargetThu, 11 Aug 2011
Source:Centre Daily Times (PA) Author:Cadore, Yolande Area:Pennsylvania Lines:35 Added:08/11/2011

Leonard Pitts Jr. deserves a round of applause for his excellent piece last Sunday on the NAACP's resolution, calling for an end to the war on drugs.

The NAACP's recent coming out on an issue that may not be widely popular among its mostly middle class base is indeed an act of courage and conversely may create an opportunity for the organization to reconnect with a constituency that may have viewed the NAACP as out of touch and irrelevant.

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10 US PA: PUB LTE: Clinic A Good ThingThu, 11 Aug 2011
Source:Centre Daily Times (PA) Author:Sharpe, Robert Area:Pennsylvania Lines:33 Added:08/11/2011

Thank you for making the case of methadone in your Aug. 7 editorial. Methadone has been proven to reduce drug use and related crime, death and disease among chronic opioid addicts. Though methadone is known as a treatment for heroin, it's also a viable treatment for addiction to synthetic opiates like OxyContin. Methadone staves off debilitating withdrawal symptoms, but does not produce a high that prevents patients from living productive lives.

The tough-on-drugs alternative to harm reduction programs like methadone maintenance is a very real threat to public safety. Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only increase the profitability of trafficking. For addictive drugs like heroin, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

Robert Sharpe

Washington, D.C.

[end]

11 US PA: Editorial: Welcoming Local Methadone ClinicSun, 07 Aug 2011
Source:Centre Daily Times (PA)          Area:Pennsylvania Lines:57 Added:08/07/2011

There's good news for people who suffer with substance abuse and addiction and their families.

A methadone therapy treatment center recently opened its doors in Ferguson Township and local residents who need treatment will no longer have to travel outside Centre County to deal with their addictions.

Used in the treatment of opiates such as heroin, OxyContin, Vicodin or other opioid pain medications, methadone is the gold star treatment for substance addiction and allows patients to manage their addiction and enhance their social productivity.

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12 US PA: Editorial: Too Expensive To Throw Keys AwayTue, 02 Aug 2011
Source:Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)          Area:Pennsylvania Lines:77 Added:08/03/2011

The remarkable success in shrinking Philadelphia's jail population over the last two years has not produced a corresponding spike in violent crime. That should offer hope, at least, to Pennsylvania officials who are exploring ways to reduce crowding in a state prison system costing taxpayers nearly $2 billion a year.

Judged by a recent report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the city's key stakeholders in law enforcement have figured out more ways to "lock up the right people," as noted by Mayor Nutter's top aide on public safety.

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13 US PA: OPED: PA Loosening Penalties, Not Purse StringsTue, 02 Aug 2011
Source:Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) Author:Kerkstra, Patrick Area:Pennsylvania Lines:101 Added:08/03/2011

You know money is tight when politicians - Republicans, no less - start talking about how expensive it is to lock people up.

In more normal times, few things get elected officials more excited than rigging the justice system with mandatory minimum sentences and other legislative maneuvers designed to stiffen the spines of squishy judges. The idea, of course, is to ensure that offenders, violent or otherwise, do the hardest time possible.

Voters are a skittish bunch. In large cities and small towns alike, they tend to think crime is getting worse though criminal violence has declined steadily since the early 1990s.

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14 US PA: Editorial: Marijuana Stalling OverSat, 23 Jul 2011
Source:Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)          Area:Pennsylvania Lines:62 Added:07/26/2011

After months of delay, Gov. Christie has finally made the correct decision: to stop stalling implementation of the state's medical marijuana law.

Christie never got the blanket assurance from federal authorities that they would honor the law. But he finally came to the same logical conclusion that others reached months ago, that it is unlikely that federal prosecutors would raid state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries.

That doesn't mean federal agents won't pursue illegal marijuana operations, but they have much bigger operations to target in their war on drugs.

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15 US PA: Serious Issues Remain Concerning MarijuanaFri, 08 Jul 2011
Source:Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) Author:Shore, Michael W. Area:Pennsylvania Lines:43 Added:07/09/2011

Many of the points made in the June 25 editorial "Marijuana on the Table" are well taken, but there are other important issues to consider.

First, the much higher potency of the active ingredient, THC, in today's marijuana renders it a powerful drug that can induce significant impairment in motor and cognitive abilities, including those having to with operating a motor vehicle.

Secondly, the use of any intoxicating substance is especially problematic in younger people. Full development of the brain does not occur until approximately age 22. Use of mood-altering chemicals by teenagers can have significant adverse consequences on brain development.

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16 US PA: D.A. - Philly's New Pot Policy Just Makes Sense ...AndFri, 08 Jul 2011
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Bender, William Area:Pennsylvania Lines:192 Added:07/09/2011

LYNNE ABRAHAM doesn't get it. She didn't get it when she was Philadelphia's district attorney from 1991 until last year.

And she'll probably never get it, no matter how many statistics and reports show that America's 40-year-old "war on drugs" has been a hugely expensive and crime-inducing failure.

"My view remains unchanged with regard to drug abuse," Abraham, 70, said from her office at the Archer & Greiner law firm, where the bulldoggish ex-prosecutor is now a partner.

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17 US PA: Editorial: Take It To The Next LevelTue, 05 Jul 2011
Source:Tribune-Democrat, The (Johnstown, PA)          Area:Pennsylvania Lines:66 Added:07/05/2011

Bath Salts Should Be Banned Nationwide

Synthetic drugs such as "bath salts" are now illegal in Pennsylvania.

We urge the federal government to consider a national law similar to the one passed by our Legislature and signed into law recently by Gov. Tom Corbett.

The new state law also prohibits synthetic marijuana.

Bath salts became a popular drug because of their low price.

The materials can be purchased for as little as $10 in some stores and online, The Associated Press reported.

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18 US PA: OPED: Time To End War On DrugsMon, 04 Jul 2011
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA) Author:White, Bill Area:Pennsylvania Lines:103 Added:07/04/2011

There have been a lot of lopsided military defeats over the years, but I'm not sure any of them have been as one-sided as our dismal trouncing in the war on drugs.

I've read estimates that we've spent a trillion dollars since President Nixon declared a war on drugs 40 years ago last month. If our goal was overflowing prisons, legions of dead police officers and federal agents, thriving drug dealers, urban battlegrounds controlled by gangs of thugs, grossly inadequate rehabilitation efforts and no reduction of drug use, we could declare "mission accomplished."

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19 US PA: Editorial: The Marijuana BillSun, 26 Jun 2011
Source:Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA)          Area:Pennsylvania Lines:36 Added:06/26/2011

It's a sad commentary on the disconnect between politics and common sense that only now, 40 years since President Nixon declared war on marijuana, have members of Congress summoned the brain matter to propose ending the colossal failure known as federal marijuana prohibition.

A bill introduced by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, would let states legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, limiting Washington's role to cross-border and interstate smuggling enforcement. Passage wouldn't quite bring about the flat-out legalization we favor but it would be a huge step in the right direction.

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20 US PA: Editorial: Mixed MessagesSun, 26 Jun 2011
Source:Daily American (Somerset, PA)          Area:Pennsylvania Lines:45 Added:06/26/2011

Although it shouldn't be a surprise, mixed messages came out of Washington, D.C. this week.

On Tuesday the Food and Drug Administration released new graphic warning labels for cigarette packages. On Thursday U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., along with other members of Congress, introduced legislation in the House to limit the federal government's role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or inter-state smuggling.

The initial reaction is how can the government try to encourage more people to quit smoking, but not want to enforce laws against marijuana use.

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