Officials Gather To Change Drug Policies 

Officials Gather To Change Drug Policies 
Posted by FoM on December 19, 2000 at 10:38:23 PT
By Jim Nickles, Record Staff Writer
Source: Stockton Record
When California voters cast their ballots in November, they overwhelmingly endorsed the idea of treating nonviolent drug users instead of locking them up.But they also left state and county officials with the monumental task of revamping California's criminal-justice system and changing drug policies that have been in place for decades.
And they have to accomplish all that by July.Facing a common challenge, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and drug-treatment experts from around California came together Monday to try to craft some answers -- or at least agree on the questions.Many of the 700 or so participants had opposed Proposition 36, which requires that many "nonviolent" drug offenders be sentenced to probation and drug treatment rather than jail or prison.But now it's their job to carry out the will of the voters.Initiative proponents urged judges, district attorneys and probation officers to embrace change, saying the measure will only succeed if every element of the justice system works together.The measure will put roughly another 36,000 people a year into probation and drug-treatment programs, on top of the 100,000 a year in those programs. But the state's drug-treatment agencies already are overburdened, as are county probation offices."Be creative," said U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles. "Turn this system upside down and re-create it in a way that's going to get the job done."The state's new drug czar, Kathryn Jett, said she is determined to make Proposition 36 work."I am someone who is committed to see Prop. 36 implemented and be successful," said Jett, the new director of the state Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.Others said state and county officials will have to address numerous issues over the next few months, including:* How to divide up the $120 million a year the initiative allocates to counties to beef up drug-treatment programs. The money could be split up proportionally, based on each county's population, or by need, according to the number of people convicted of drug violations, officials said. The state Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, which is distributing the money, has not yet devised a formula.* Who gets the money? Should the state hand the money out to counties, which would oversee drug-treatment providers in each community, or to drug-treatment programs directly? And should counties themselves have to put up some matching funds?Counties don't have any money to spend without taking it away from other programs, Solano County Supervisor Barbara Kondylis said."Counties need to remain whole," she said.* And to test or not to test. The initiative prohibits using any of the $120 million a year to conduct random urine tests of those going through drug-treatment programs to make sure they stay drug-free. Despite that, some conference speakers said drug testing should remain an integral part of any treatment program, while others said it's a waste of time and money.In many cases, testing is unnecessary, because those failing drug-treatment programs "are going to be obvious," said Superior Court Judge Jerome Nadler of Santa Clara County. "They're not going to go to meetings. They're not going to go to court."But Ralph Miller, a Los Angeles County probation officer, said testing is critical."People who are addicted are very good at disguising things. They could fool the devil," Miller said.The conference was organized by the Campaign for New Drug Policies, which pushed for the initiative on behalf of its big-money sponsors, who included New York financier George Soros and University of Phoenix founder John Sperling.The idea was to air all the issues and help state and local officials brainstorm ideas on how to implement Proposition 36, campaign coordinator Dave Fratello said."Everybody's betting against us," he said. "The post-election story has been, 'This is impossible.' "San Joaquin County officials attended the conference and are just beginning to devise their own Proposition 36 strategy, County Administrator David Baker said."We're taking a studied approach to it," he said. "I don't think we're prepared to come to any imminent conclusions." Source: Record, The (CA)Author: Jim Nickles, Record Staff WriterPublished: December 19, 2000Copyright: 2000 The RecordAddress: P.O. Box 900, Stockton, CA 95201Fax: (209) 547-8186Contact: editor recordnet.comWebsite: Campaign For New Drug Policy Is Key To Drug War Efforts Regrouping in Drug War
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Comment #9 posted by mungojelly on December 20, 2000 at 14:57:44 PT:
"very good at disguising things"
Yes, it's true, drug addicts can be very good at "disguising" their addictions. For instance, to conceal their evil drug habits they will even (and this is truly devious): get respectable jobs, act and dress properly and otherwise comport themselves as normal members of society, respect their neighbors, and generally avoid anti-social behaviour which would draw unwanted attention. Of course it sort of begs a question though, doesn't it: if they can "disguise" their addiction so well that one is unable to tell that they are an evil drug user by any method short of testing their bodily fluids, just exactly how is their habit harming society? 
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Comment #8 posted by NiftySplifty on December 19, 2000 at 16:20:27 PT
Remember, it's the gubamint...
  Now, it'll be the Dubyamint (sorry about that).   Anyway, the private sector or those with the "corporate mindset" aren't the ones throwing people in jail or making them get "treatment for their hopeless MJ addiction". Sure, they'll set up shop as long as the gov sends them clients, but it's the same as insurance companies. The laws say you have to have it, so we're stuck paying for it, or riding a bike. I'm not sure how many of these actually receive tax money, but I'd wager it's an awful lot.  After all, the gov has a big rea$on to try to keep drugs illegal. Not to mention the trampling of your civil liberties. Just about every time they take away one of your rights, it's justified by the War on Drugs. Bank records, Carnivore (program), phone taps, forfeiture of property. The list goes on and on.  The private sector has more reasons to make drugs Legal. If you want it, they've got it. If I want to dye my hair Red Wine, there's someone that makes it. When the gov steps in and says "Red Wine is bad", it screws everything up. I know I'm rambling, but I just wanted to stick up for business, because it's the gov that inhibits growth (in more ways than one!)  I think it's funny that now the rivets are being shaken out of the system, and they don't know what to do! They're all just complaining anyway, because it's easier for them the just lock these bad people in a room than to "help" them, or god forbid, leave them alone!!!
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Comment #7 posted by jjj on December 19, 2000 at 14:49:44 PT
health care/ease up on gvmt subsidies
a simple comprehensive program using natural alternitives  with aminimal emphasis placed upon individual psycotheray  with similar "guidelines" involving a comprehensable nutrient replacement/development standard appropriate to an individuals needs. Develop a plan to lessen the placating"virtuitous" climb dominated by a market driven system which aims to group and catagorize users on a mass scale; communities as well as a system that is guided by governmental means must work together to create more accessable programs specific to an indiv.needs(ie insurance)
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Comment #6 posted by Rainbow on December 19, 2000 at 14:46:16 PT
yes thats the one.I listenned to one of their spokeswomen talk on MPR (MN Public radio) and she mentioned why MJ is bad for you and why kids are so messed up blah blah blah.I called the editor of the news at MPR and gave him an ear full. He said the program was not a news cast but I corrected him and told him all their bradcasts are considered news and we look to them for unbiased truthful reporting.I told him about the bias and untruthfulness this lady was spewing forth.He mentioned that she was Minnesota's prime drug information person for a long time and she would only tell the truth. That's when I reminded him that she worked for a corporation and has to speak the corporate policy to have a job.He agreed and she has not shown up on MPR again (2-3 years now). YES we can make a difference.The guy who did the story doesn't do drug related stories anymore that I have heard. He is a prohibitionist from the get go and it was reflected in the work he did.CheersRainbow
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Comment #5 posted by Dan B on December 19, 2000 at 13:11:35 PT:
Rainbow, do you mean Hazelden? If you do, I know exactly what you mean (they're nationwide--here in Texas, too). They are publishers and distributors of 12-step group materials and other self-help types of things (as well as providers of addiction "treatment") designed to make people who are well feel like they need counseling. I frankly don't have a problem with people joining 12-step groups, and I have actually known several people who have, for example, stopped drinking alcohol or binging on food because of a 12-step group. That's fine, and I think people who want that kind of thing should be more than welcome to avail themselves of it. I do have a problem, though, when these groups send their none-of-you-out-there-are-normal propaganda outside meetings, as though the entire world needs to be evangelized away from all that is potentially habit-forming. "Normal" is such a relative concept; how can they justify any diagnosis when the absence or presence of symptoms is largely based on the experience of the person diagnosing?Which brings me to the whole "marijuana treatment" thing. The people of Hazelden can say that they treat a "marijuana addiction" because they make up their own definition of addiction. Is a person who smokes marijuana once per week "addicted"? If you ask Hazelden, yes because there is a consistent habit (even though it is only once per week). In fact, if you have used marijuana just once in your life, and that one time you got caught with it, Hazelden will gladly treat your "addiction"--Conventional "wisdom" says that people "never" get caught the first time, and all of those who have tried it are, of course, "hopelessly addicted," and the only way to get through the "terrible cycle of addiction" is to "accept one's own powerlessness" and "give thy will up unto thy Higher Power." Glory Be and Amen!(And that's why I left clinical psychology).Okay, I'll put the soapbox away. Dan B
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Comment #4 posted by Kickaha on December 19, 2000 at 13:01:27 PT
Hazelden is a downright shill for MJ treatment. They lobby, twist facts, and attempt to drum up business and public $$$. I have seen two press releases from Hazelden(which I wish I could lay my hands on) that clearly indicated the corporate mindset behind the prose. You could almost hear the echos of boardroom phrases like untapped revenue and undeveloped market. Truly disgusting, since they outright violate the first principle of medicine: "First, do no harm", with their overt fear-mongering and perpetuation of the status quo in a calculated attempt to enhance revenue by exploiting a vulnerable population group.
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Comment #3 posted by Rainbow on December 19, 2000 at 12:13:25 PT
treatment you say
how you would "treat" a marijuana userI think they have been wondering that themselves for a long time. It is one of those things that they don't want us to find out and hence one of the reasons for continuing the farcical drug war. Many people will find out what fools they have been and are.There is a treatment center here in Minnesota called Hazelton that does a "great" job in treating MJ users. Of course that is b ased on their evidence and numbers.The mythical ballon has a slow leak and will wither to a deflated sack soon. CheersRainbow
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Comment #2 posted by dddd on December 19, 2000 at 11:36:33 PT
too ridiculous to handle
"the beginning of the end has arrived." I think you are right Ethan. It will soon become quite obvious that setting up treatment for everyone who violates the numerous draconian drug laws,will be too much to handle.Especially when it comes to MJ.Hopefully they will realize that you dont really need to "treat" people,for something that doesnt need treatment. It boggles the mind to imagine how you would "treat" a marijuana user.Anyone with half a brain will know that marijuana does not fall into the category of "addictive",or "treatable"...The people who would attempt to run such a program would be far more in need of "treatment",than a marijuana user. With any luck,marijuana prohibition will be forced to end,as the sheer absurdity is exposed by attempting to provide "treatment",becomes evident....................dddd
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Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on December 19, 2000 at 11:01:41 PT:
We Can't Do That!
"Counties don't have any money to spend without taking it away from other programs."This statement is absurd. How about using unnecessary law enforcement and prosecution funds? How about checking on how Arizona has managed the issue and saved money in the process? What we see here is the bureaucratic mindset run amok. They cannot even imagine life without the War on Drugs. They had better get used to it, for the beginning of the end has arrived.
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