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.
[continues 509 words]
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.
[continues 1616 words]
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.
[continues 327 words]
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an outdated view that does not reflect the comprehensive approach to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.
[continues 133 words]
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
[continues 159 words]
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.
The article describing the horrific massacre in Monterrey, Mexico,
failed to note an important aspect of this story for U.S. readers:
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.
[continues 120 words]
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.
[continues 996 words]
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
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.
[continues 91 words]
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.
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.
[continues 272 words]
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
[continues 429 words]
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.
[continues 665 words]
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
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.
[continues 294 words]
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.
[continues 78 words]
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.
[continues 1310 words]
Bath Salts Should Be Banned Nationwide
Synthetic drugs such as "bath salts" are now illegal in
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.
The new state law also prohibits synthetic marijuana.
Bath salts became a popular drug because of their low
The materials can be purchased for as little as $10 in some stores and
online, The Associated Press reported.
[continues 245 words]
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."
[continues 702 words]
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
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.
[continues 107 words]
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
The initial reaction is how can the government try to encourage more
people to quit smoking, but not want to enforce laws against marijuana
[continues 189 words]