NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- March 6, 2003

  NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- March 6, 2003

Posted by CN Staff on March 06, 2003 at 18:23:28 PT
Press Release 
Source: NORML 

Drug Czar Lauds Phony Anti-Drug Budget Numbers To Congress Washington, DC: United States Drug Czar John Walters told Congress that the White House is employing a "balanced strategy" of drug education, treatment, and interdiction, and called for increased student drug testing, at a reauthorization hearing yesterday before the House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources.
As expected, Walters presented newly revised federal anti-drug budget totals that downplay the actual amount of money the federal government spends enforcing drug laws, and inflate the dollars spent on drug education and treatment. According to the White House, all costs associated with the "secondary consequences of the government's primary drug law enforcement and investigative activities" are no longer included in federal anti-drug budget tabulations. As a result of this restructuring, more than two-thirds of the federal agencies included in past years' budgets including INTERPOL, the US Marshall's Service, and the US Attorneys Office are missing from this year's financial totals.In addition, an analysis by Common Sense for Drug Policy and the Drug Policy Alliance reports that this year's budget inflates the total the federal government will spend on drug treatment programs by including funding for alcohol treatment, "which by law is specifically excluded from their scope of responsibilities."NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said that despite Walters' assertions, the White House is still focusing far more resources arresting and jailing drug users than on drug treatment and education programs. "By hiding many of the known costs of the drug war, such as the incarceration of drug offenders, the Feds are trying to present the image of a kinder, gentler and more fiscally responsible drug war," said St. Pierre. "Unfortunately, even Walters' phony books can't hide the fact that this, Administration's war on drugs is more expensive and punitive than any other in history."Walters also called for expanding the use of student drug testing at yesterday's hearing. Last year, the Supreme Court approved 5 to 4 an Oklahoma school district's policy mandating drug testing for all students who wish to participate in extracurricular activities, including the chess club, the Honor Society and the marching band.This year's federal anti-drug budget includes funding for schools who wish to implement student drug testing, and by 2004 the White House is expected to spend more than $8 million on teen drug testing programs.For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751.March 6, 2003 - Washington, DC, USADL: Policy Alliance Drug War's Cooked Books Marijuana Extracts Greatly Improve Symptoms Associated With MS, Spinal Cord Injury, Study Says March 6, 2003 - Oxford, United KingdomOxford, United Kingdom: Marijuana extracts alleviate pain and other neurogenic symptoms unresponsive to standard treatment in patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and spinal cord injury, according to clinical trial data published in the current issue of Clinical Rehabilitation.Twenty-four patients participated in the Phase II placebo-controlled trial. Volunteers were administered randomized extracts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive compound in marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana, and a mixture of both compounds. Patients self-administered the extracts and/or placebo via a sublingual spray.Authors wrote, "Pain relief associated with both THC and CBD was significantly superior to placebo." In addition, researchers found that "impaired bladder control, muscle spasms and spasticity were improved by CME (cannabis medicinal extracts) in some patients with these symptoms." Unwanted side effects were "predictable and generally well tolerated," the study concluded.Data from follow up Phase III trails by GW Pharmaceuticals demonstrate similar results, but have yet to be published. The company is now in the process of submitting its regulatory application to Britain's Medicines Control Agency (MCA). Subject to regulatory approval, GW aims to launch its first medicinal marijuana products in the UK by the end of this year.For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Abstracts of the Clinical Rehabilitation article, "A preliminary controlled study to determine whether whole-plant cannabis extracts can improve intractable neurogenic symptoms," are available online via the PubMed search engine at: Pharmaceuticals Evidence That Cannabis Reduces Pain Kills Pain in Medical Trials Cannabis on the NHS Moves a Step Closer Anti-Drug Coalitions Ineffective At Drug Prevention, Study SaysMarch 6, 2003 - Chapel Hill, NC, USAChapel Hill, NC: Community anti-drug coalitions appear ineffective at reducing substance abuse in targeted populations, according to findings published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.The study evaluated the strategies and performance of "Fighting Back," a private program that awards $72 million in block grants to five citywide anti-drug coalitions. Authors noted that although the coalitions are "intuitively attractive and politically popular," the programs failed to show positive results."Strategies aimed at either youth or community/prevention outcomes showed no effects, while strategies to improve adult-focused outcomes showed significant negative effects over time, compared to matched controls," authors concluded. In addition, "Coalitions with a more comprehensive array of strategies did not show any superior benefits, and increasing the number of high-dose strategies showed a significant negative effect on overall outcomes."Researchers noted that performance evaluations of large-scale, anti-drug coalition programs are a "critical but neglected aspect of prevention research." Last year the federal government budgeted over $50 million to fund community anti-drug coalitions.For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751. Abstracts of study, "Fighting back against substance abuse: Are community coalitions winning, are available online via the PubMed search engine at: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: March 6, 2003 Copyright: 2003 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- Feb. 27, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- Feb. 20, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- Feb. 13, 2003

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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 07, 2003 at 10:19:25 PT
Thank You Dr. Russo!
I put it on my FTE site and on my medical page. Thank you for all you are doing!
New: All Current News from Cannabis News
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Comment #4 posted by 2Spooky on March 07, 2003 at 07:45:23 PT
Counter info?
Is any attempt by our side being made to present congress with information refuting this mis-presentation and accounting subterfuge?
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on March 06, 2003 at 19:36:44 PT

Dr. Russo
Please send me a copy and thank you!
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Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo MD on March 06, 2003 at 19:33:58 PT:

PDF of GW Phase II Results Article
I would be happy to E-mail a PDF file of the Clinical Rehabilitation article to anyone who requests it. This result should be spread to the media and politicians to point out the fallacy of the Schedule I fiction.
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