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Maptalk-Digest Tuesday, December 29 1998 Volume 98 : Number 507

SENT: to Ann Landers (FWD)
    From: Richard Lake <>
ART: Assailants missed mark, police say 
PUB: People need options
LTE: Its success is documented
Citizens Truth Commission on drug war
    From: Steve Young <>
Australia: PUB LTE: Teenage Voice Not Heard
    From: Richard Lake <>
PUB: Center drug debate on rational approaches


Subj: SENT: to Ann Landers (FWD)
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Mon, 28 Dec 1998 07:57:22 -0500

Ann Landers, P.O.  Box 11562, Chicago, IL, 60611-0562


27 December 1998  
Ann Landers
Chicago, IL, 60611- 0562 

Dear Ms Landers - 

I have followed your column almost continuously since my 
early 20s in the mid-50s, but have never written a letter 
until now. This letter is not about a personal problem; it is 
about a concern I have for the country.  

One year ago this month I shifted from lifelong republican 
to drug reformer. It took me many years to decide to 
come off the sidelines. I had been one of the many who 
trusted the government to fix drug use, abuse and 
addiction.  Congress is doing what they think is right, but 
they are on the wrong track. They simply are unable to 
deal with this difficult subject. It is natural for people to 
hate drugs when their families are ripped apart by abuse 
and addiction. So to be against drugs means to be for the 
drug war, Right? Wrong!  The way to approach drug 
abuse and addiction is to imagine the future, i.e. the pros 
and cons, if drug policy were relaxed.  One answer can be 
found in how Nixon - yes, Nixon - treated drug-using vets 
returning from Vietnam. Another in the statistics of the 
Dutch and the Swiss. One cannot accept official gov't  
information - even from NIDA - at face value.  

There is not enough space here to describe the damage 
being done to our Bill of Rights, and we have nothing to 
show for it except promises. The one person I know with 
first-hand knowledge of this is Nora Callahan, the woman 
who leads the November Coalition, the organization of 
families of drug felons. I am enclosing their latest copy of 
their periodical Razor Wire for your reference. Another is 
Sandee Burbank, described in the latest copy of DPFT 
News (Drug Policy Forum of Texas), also enclosed.  

Finally, my newspaper - the Tampa Tribune - edited out 
the sentence "Unfortunately, the  'war on drugs' has turned 
out to be a colossal failure." from your Christmas 
message. Would you please devote a few whole columns 
to the drug problem. Maybe they won't edit out a whole 

John Chase 


Subj: ART: Assailants missed mark, police say 
Date: Mon, 28 Dec 1998 08:38:40 -0600 (CST)

One more innocent victim in the war on marijuana.

From the 12-28-98 Dallas Morning News

- ----------------------------------
Assailants missed mark, police say 
Woman, 67, killed as shots fired into wrong southeast Dallas apartment 


By John McCoy / The Dallas Morning News 

A 67-year-old woman was killed over the weekend when drug dealers, 
apparently bent on revenge, poured gunfire into the wrong southeast 
Dallas apartment, police said.

"They fired into an apartment that was occupied by innocent victims," 
said homicide Sgt. Larry Lewis. "It's a wonder that more people weren't 
killed. It was quite apparent that they were wanting to fill the inside 
of that apartment with bullets."

Nadine McGee was shot in the hip about 8:48 p.m. Saturday in her 
apartment at the Oak Hollow complex, in the 400 block of Oak Hollow 
Drive. She died about an hour later at Baylor University Medical Center.

Several children in the apartment escaped injury when more than 20 
rounds came through the apartment's windows and walls, hitting Ms. McGee 
and two others.

Raymond Cain, 28, was treated for thigh and foot wounds and was released 
from Baylor, police said, and Brian Lamont Cain, 22, was grazed on the 

Police had made no arrests by late Sunday but said they had several 

"It looks like they were firing indiscriminately," Sgt. Lewis said. 
"These victims just happened to be caught in the cross-fire."

Sgt. Lewis said the assailants apparently had argued with rivals over 
drugs earlier and thought they were in Ms. McGee's apartment.

While investigating the shooting, officers found more than a half-pound 
of marijuana wrapped in 55 individual bags in a nearby apartment, 
according to a police report.

The complex is one of the most dangerous drug sites in southeast Dallas, 
said Sgt. Andrew Davis of the southeast substation. Police receive 
frequent calls about disturbances, violent crimes and drug dealing 

"We don't send any less than two men out there," Sgt Davis said.

The complex has also been the scene of other troubles.

In July, a man was found shot to death in the complex's parking lot. 
Later that month, three children died of smoke inhalation in a fire 
after being left alone.

And in October, residents from Oak Hollow and a neighboring complex 
staged a protest at the downtown offices of the apartments' owners. The 
residents complained about sewage backups, ceilings that were near 
collapse and open drug dealing.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have 
announced plans to foreclose on the complexes and sell them early next 

Saturday's barrage left several residents afraid for their lives.

An elderly neighbor of Ms. McGee's, who would not give her name, said 
she hid inside her apartment, barely daring to look out the window when 
the shooting started.

"I got myself out of the way," she said. "At the time it happened, I was 
in my kitchen."

After 27 years at the complex, she said, she had grown used to gunfire.

"You hear a lot of shooting," she said, "but it never got that close 

A 21-year-old woman who asked that her name not be used said she was 
desperate to escape the area's volatile mixture of drugs and guns.

"I'm the parent of two kids, and I'm ready to move," she said. "I'm 
afraid to let my kids go outside and play."


Subj: PUB: People need options
Date: Mon, 28 Dec 1998 08:39:03 -0600 (CST)

I'm not sure if Maia is on one of the list to which this
is being posted. Could someone send me her email address?
I have it somewhere, but can't find it.

(pardon any typos. the letters section has been missing from
the DMN website for the past few days)

From the 12-27-98 Dallas Morning News

- -----------------------------
Richard Estrada's column on methadone is typical of the
ill-thought-out, poorly researched journalism which often
appears in coverage of drug issues. I should know -- early
in my career, I wrote a similar op-ed opposing methadone for 
"New York Newsday". I thought that because methadone didn't
help me with my heroin addiction, it was useless for everyone.

Would you believe a heart transplant patient who recommended
such treatment for everyone, because "open heart surgery
didn't work for me"?  Of course not -- you would look at the 

The research on methadone -- recently reviewed by an objective
consensus panel for the "Journal of the American Medical 
Association" -- shows that it is the most successful existing 
treatment for heroin addiction. The Institute of Medicine and
the Office of National Drug Control Policy are hardly liberal,
pro-drug organizations and yet they recognize that this treatment
cuts crime, drug use and HIV rates better than any other treatment 
now known for heroin addicts. Addiction is not physical dependence --
addiction is compulsive use of a drug despite negative consequences.
Methadone, like Prozac for people with depression, has positive
consequences so it is not just "substituting on addiction for

We will never solve the drug problem if we believe that we will 
find one simple solution for addiction. It's a complicated 
problem and people need options: methadone, drug-free treatment
and self-help included. Only by offering them can we help the
largest numer of people.

Maia Szalavitz
New York, N.Y.


Subj: LTE: Its success is documented
Date: Mon, 28 Dec 1998 08:39:15 -0600 (CST)

From the 12-27-98 Dallas Morning News

- ----------------------------------
Its success is documented

Re: "Methadone treatment offers false hope to heroin addicts,"
Viewpoints, Dec. 11.

Richard Estrada's column was correct in emphasizing the 
importance of comprehensive rehabilitation treatment for
individuals with addictions. However, it is wrong to downplay
the importance of methadone maintenance treatment. It is true
that a goal of methadone maintenance treatment should be to
wean the person off methadone as they become psychosocially
stable. The effectiveness of methadone treatment has been 
documented in research studies for several decades and includes
improved employment for addicts, decreased crime rates and 
overall improved health.

Today we face significant cutbacks in addiction treatment. 
Insurance companies through managed care agents ahve lowered the
benefit utilization for substance abuse treatment by 70.7 percent
between the years 1988 and 1997. This is an appalling statistic
which simply makes it more difficult for individuals to access
adequate treatment for a sufficient period of time.

People with substance abuse disorders (i.e. addictions) do 
require phychotherapeautic and psychosocial services. Further,
there are additional psychiatric disorders in the addicted 
population. More than 50 percent of people with addictions have
an additional psychiatric disorder besides their addiction.
It is therefore critical that we integrate our mental health
programs with addiction services.

Edgar P. Nace, M.D.,
Immediate past president,
American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry,


Subj: Citizens Truth Commission on drug war
From: Steve Young <>
Date: Mon, 28 Dec 1998 09:37:14 -0600

The following is from the latest issue of CounterPunch, a newsletter that
features investigative reporting:

The Citizens' Truth Commission sponsored by the Insitute for Policy
Studies, is a project run by Martha Honey and Sanho Tree. "We are convening
a panel of experts to take testimony in Los Angeles and Baltimore on who's
profiting and who's paying the price for the war on drugs," Martha Honey
tells us. "Our intent is to map the drug and money laundering networks in
these cities and the ties of government officials and police to the drug
trade. There are two sides to the issue: the moving of drugs and the
profiting from the war on drugs." Hearings will be held in Los Angeles in
Marcha dn in Baltimore later in the year. Honey said the Commission will
also work with journalists to keep the story alive and to explore how the
press failed this story in the past. Honey says the project needs volunteers.

Citizens Truth Commission
733 15th Street NW Suite 1020
Washington, D.C. 20005
202-234-9382, ext. 266


Subj: Australia: PUB LTE: Teenage Voice Not Heard
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Mon, 28 Dec 1998 21:33:03 -0500

Newshawk:  (Ken Russell)
Source: Herald Sun (Australia)
Copyright: News Limited 1998
Pubdate: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 
Page: 20 
Author: Ken Russell
Note: The OPED this PUB LTE references is at:


PAUL Gray's article "Soft heroin talk fails" (Herald Sun, December 17),
discussing teenagers and drugs, was strange in that it contained no input
from teenagers.

The absence of teenagers allowed Mr Gray to mould them into people who are
apparently completely unable to make discerning decisions of their own.

The smart ones, we are told, interpret strategies designed to save the
lives of heroin users as justification for experimenting with the drug.

We can only assume that the less-intelligent apparently try it without any

In fact, the smart teenagers interpret harm minimisation strategies for
what they are, much like any other switched-on member of the community.
They also know that needle exchange programs (according to research in
Australia and America) save lives and do not increase drug use.

Paul Gray's attempt to censor people who advocate harm minimisation
strategies for fear of how teenagers may respond "subliminally" speaks
volumes about how out of touch he is with teens.

Teenagers are a mixed bunch but the number who see safe injecting rooms as
a reason to shoot up are small.

Give our children some credit, Mr Gray.

Ken Russell, North Wollongong, NSW 


Subj: PUB: Center drug debate on rational approaches
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 08:44:32 -0600 (CST)

Here's a helluva letter from DPFT's Gregg Davis.

From the 12-28-98 San Antonio Express-news

- -----------------------------------------
Center drug debate on rational approaches

It's funny that Al Ronnfeldt in his Dec. 16 letter would use a non 
sequitur to try to refute what he alleges to be a non sequitur in Jerry 
Epstein's Nov. 23 letter. 

Epstein's arguments against the drug war cannot be reduced to something 
so simple as "drugs should be legalized because the government has 
failed to stop their sale." 

The favorite tactic of those who favor more of the same is to make 
change sound ridiculous. 

Because no one is forcing anyone to smoke marijuana or to use cocaine, 
there is a profound difference between drug sales or use and theft, 
assault and murder. Theft and murder are crimes against others. Drug use 
is a choice. 

Ronnfeldt says the "debate should be over whether selling drugs is 
immoral and harms other human beings," and, "If it is not, then they 
should be legalized." It's not that simple. 

The list of legal products and substances that are harmful and immoral 
is pretty long. Putting people in prison is harmful. When it is done to 
hundreds of thousands of people on the basis of subjective morality, 
it's a crime against humanity. 

Prohibition makes relatively cheap substances worth more than gold. It's 
led to the global drug cartels that are the real threat to the world. 

What is the price of a human life? Good question. Let's debate whether 
more lives could be saved by a rational drug policy or one driven by 
fear and emotion.

Gregg Davis


End of Maptalk-Digest V98 #507

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Media Awareness Project              /' _ ` _ `\ /'_`)('_`\
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