• Methamphetamine

    The Coming Legislative War Over the Oklahoma Methamphetamine Bill

    Methamphetamine Lab Incidents, 2004-2010

    You know how I feel about the issue – I favor requiring tablet form of pseudoephedrine being a prescription only drug. Here is a story about the State of Okalahoma.

    Oklahoma authorities have been at the forefront of the nation’s battle against methamphetamine, but they will soon have a tough new opponent: a politically connected, well-heeled pharmaceutical industry.

    At issue is a proposal to require a prescription for certain cold and allergy tablets containing pseudoephedrine. Police and prosecutors say the measure is essential for curbing an out-of-control meth trade. Drug companies and their lobbyists are eager to keep pills such as Claritin-D and Advil Cold and Sinus on store shelves.

    There has been plenty of evidence that Oregon has had great success over the past five years since they have required a doctor’s prescription for pseudoephedrine.

    Five years ago, Oregon became the first state to require a prescription for products containing pseudoephedrine — a step that authorities say was effective. Since then, the state has seen a 96 percent reduction in meth-lab incidents, a 32 percent drop in meth arrests and a 35 percent reduction in meth-related emergency room visits and health care costs.

    In 2008, two years after the law took effect, the state experienced the nation’s largest crime rate decrease, said Rob Bovett, a district attorney in Lincoln County, Ore.

    Mississippi is the only other state to impose a similar restriction, and it also has seen a tremendous drop in the number of meth labs.

    “If you see a reduction between 10 and 15 percent, that’s a big deal, and we’re between 60 and 70 percent. And it almost happened overnight,’’ said Marshall Fisher, director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.

    Oklahoma should pass a prescription only law. The inconvenience to a few allergy sufferers is NOTHING compared to the devastation of this drug on the health and welfare of its citizens. Besides the Oklahoma law only applies to the tablet form of pseudoephedrine. Gel caps and liquid would still be available over the counter.

    But, the pharmaceutical companies will wage a war against the legislation because it is all about the money and profits.

    Oklahoma legislators should weigh the cost/benefits carefully.

    Methamorphosis as a result of chronic Methamphetamine abuse

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for October 17th through October 18th

    These are my links for October 17th through October 18th:

    • North Dakota Women Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison for Methamphetamine – A woman accused in North Dakota of running a drug ring that included her 63-year-old mother was sentenced Monday to 23 years in prison.

      Authorities say Christeena Barker led the operation that transported about six pounds of methamphetamine from the Minneapolis and Bakersfield, Calif., areas for distribution in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Federal authorities dubbed the investigation "Operation Price is Right."

      Barker, 44, of Moorhead, Minn., pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver a controlled substance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Myers called Barker a "career offender-plus" and recommended a sentence of 25 years.

      "They moved an enormous amount of methamphetamine in a short period of time into the Fargo-Moorhead area," Myers said during Monday's hearing.

      Defense attorney Ross Brandborg asked for a sentence of 15 years. He said his client has lived her life under difficult circumstances, and ultimately cooperated with authorities.

      "She was never given a chance," Brandborg said.

      Myers said Barker had promised to help with the case after she was arrested in summer 2010. Instead she became a fugitive. She eventually was located in Strasburg in February.

      "Agents found her through a bit of luck and a lot of hard work," Myers said.

      Barker said in a tearful statement that she fled because she was scared.

      "Yes, I've had a drug problem and alcohol abuse. I've never had treatment," she said.

      Barker's mother, Betty Ann Schweigert, of Fargo, was sentenced earlier this month to 16 years in prison for her role in the conspiracy. Another one of Schweigert's daughters, Annette Avila, 32, pleaded guilty in July and is set to be sentenced in December.

    • ‘Rogue’ NLRB Defied Subpoena by Withholding Documents, Issa Says – The National Labor Relations Board’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, broke the law by intentionally withholding documents about Boeing Co., Representative Darrel Issa said.

      “Your continued personal obstruction, lack of compliance with a validly issued congressional subpoena and false statements to the committee are unacceptable,” Issa said today in a letter to Solomon. “The NLRB is acting as a rogue agency that believes it does not have to fully answer to Congress.”

      Issa, a California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, requested that six NLRB employees submit to transcribed interviews for his investigative panel.

      The NLRB’s complaint against Boeing in April said the airplane maker violated labor laws by deciding to build a 787 Dreamliner plant in South Carolina in retaliation for union strikes in Washington state, home to Boeing’s factories. NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Issa’s letter. Boeing has denied it acted to punish the union.

    • Who Besides Solyndra Got Loan Guarantees? – Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison just resigned, as the controversy stubbornly refuses to go away.  Seems worth revisiting the loans once again, since I've spent a little time looking more deeply at the program over the past few days.

      Supporters of these programs claim that they're a necessary part of winning the green future because these are investments that are too risky, or too big, for private capital to take on.  

      Of course, if the government is going to be a VC, supporters say, they have to expect a high failure rate. There's a lot of talk about the manufacturing "Valley of Death", where startup manufacturing firms may have difficulty getting capital to commercialize their prototypes.  According to proponents of this theory, there's plenty of money for early stage ventures, and plenty of bank loans for established firms, but no money for mass commercialization of new manufacturing ideas.  (Hence the "valley").  This valley, they say, is especially wide for energy firms, because the capital costs for starting up are so high.

      I've been somewhat skeptical of those claims–why are people pouring money into manufacturing startups if they're inevitably doomed to die at the commercialization stage?  But say it's true.  I thought it was worth looking at who got the money from these programs, and for what.  How well is the government doing in its role of VC/valley of death sherpa?

    • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-10-18 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-10-18 #tcot #catcot
    • Flap’s Links and Comments for October 17th on 06:09 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Links and Comments for October 17th on 06:09 #tcot #catcot
  • Methamphetamine

    Methamphetamine Making Chemicals Seized at Los Angeles International Airport

    Methamorphosis as a result of chronic Methamphetamine abuse

    No, it was NOT ephedrine or pseudoephedrine but other chemicals.

    Federal agents have seized a 1 1/2-ton shipment of methamphetamine-making chemicals at Los Angeles International Airport.

    Customs and Border Protection spokesman Jaime Ruiz said Thursday that 40 drums of methylamine hydrochloride and two barrels of ethyl phenyl acetate shipped from China were intercepted at the airport on Sept. 29.

    The chemicals are used to make methamphetamine and the party drug Ecstasy.

    The shipment, described as one of the largest meth precursor seizures at the airport, was destined for a company in Illinois. There are no further details.

    Ruiz says special permission is needed to import the controlled substances.

    There are no arrests.

    On Aug. 12, federal agents at the airport seized a quarter-ton of methylamine hydrochloride in eight drums that was being shipped from China to a company in central Mexico.

    Although Meth use has declined recently, there is ongoing pressure to manufacture this highly addictive and very ruinous drug.

    Congrats to the DEA for their intelligence and execution of the seizure.

    Now, as to that company in illinois…….

  • Methamphetamine

    While Washington Methamphetamine Labs Have Dwindled Challenges Remain

    Methamphetamine Lab Incidents, 2004-2010

    Good news and bad news.

    Ten years ago, this newspaper sponsored a community town hall meeting on the use and abuse of methamphetamine in South Sound. The illegal drug was consuming an incredible amount of law enforcement and court time and meth labs posed a significant environmental and public health risk.

    The statistics for the highly addictive stimulant were staggering. More meth labs were cleaned up statewide in the first nine months of 2001 than in all of 2000. Thurston County logged 105 meth lab cleanups between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2001, while neighboring Pierce County was the state’ s leader with 486 labs. King County busted 200 labs, while Spokane broke up 193 labs.

    Nationally, Washington state ranked second behind California in meth raids.

    Law enforcement officers and treatment professionals were warning people that they could get hooked on the insidious drug from the very first time they used it. Doctors were seeing more patients move from meth addiction to heroin addiction.

    In addition, every time law enforcement officers dismantled a meth lab, they had to safely dispose of hazardous materials. Sometimes it was a mobile meth lab operated out of a van. Other times, it was homes where children were subjected to great health risks every time their parents cooked a new batch of the drug. And just days before the town hall meeting, Lacey police were called to a motel to dispose of toxic chemicals from a meth lab set up in one of the rooms.

    But, in the ten years, there has been success in reducing the number of Meth Labs.

    Tonight, county officials will meet at the courthouse for another town hall meeting on meth sponsored by the Thurston County Action Team. Speakers will discuss the methamphetamine situation in South Sound 10 years after that first town hall meeting.

    They will report on their successes – primarily the decrease in meth labs. Thurston County has gone from a high of 150 meth raids a year to fewer than five in the last couple of years.

    Much of the success can be credited to a federal grant that led to the formation of a local enforcement team that made meth its top priority. Laws were changed to take ingredients for meth off the store shelves. Other laws were passed to increase penalties for those caught making and distributing the drug. Parents who brew meth in the presence of their children now face child endangerment charges that carry more jail time than manufacturing charges.

    But, there is also work to do.

    Sheriff John Snaza says, “ While we may have mostly licked the lab problem, meth is still an epidemic in Thurston County.” Local labs have simply given way to the Mexican drug cartels who import meth to South Sound in large quantities. “ We’ re seeing crazy numbers on that, ” Snaza said.

    More young people are using marijuana, Snaza said, and there has been an explosion in prescription drug abuse, mostly opiates like Oxycodone that are as addictive as heroin.

    Local young people are attending “ punch bowl parties” where they take their parents’ or grandparents’ prescription drugs, throw then into a bowl and party guests select unknown pills for consumption. “ They don’ t know what they are getting themselves into, ” Snaza said.

    The message from tonight’ s town hall meeting must be one of continued vigilance. While the meth lab problem is mostly behind us, other drug problems exist, and, in fact, are growing in severity and impacting the lives of our young people. We, as a community, cannot back away from these challenges.

    On the methamphetamine front, the federal government must better secure the border with Mexico and more strictly monitor precursor chemical manufacture offshore. Some states are now adopting an electronic database to monitor and prevent the smurphing of meth precursor chemicals like pseudoephedrine.

    Whatever it takes…..

  • Methamphetamine

    A Methamphetamine Vaccine?


    Three promising formulations could be used in a vaccine to treat methamphetamine addiction, U.S. researchers say.

    Kim Janda of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., and colleagues note methamphetamine use and addiction cost the United States more than $23 billion annually due to medical and law enforcement expenses, as well as lost productivity.

    The highly addictive crystal meth can cause a variety of problems including cardiovascular damage and death.

    The study, published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, found three of the new formulations that produced a good immune response in mice were particularly promising.

    Here is the paper.

    Let’s hope for a break through….

  • Methamphetamine

    United Nations Says Methamphetamine Use Surging in Southeast Asia

    Thai Malay Muslim drug users drink 4×100, the popular cheap narcotic drink on September 1, 2011in Narwathiwat, southern Thailand. Translated as ” sii khun roi,” 4 x 100 is a mix of the illegal kratom leaf, cough syrup and Coca-Cola with added ingredients like tranquilizers and marijuana

    Not a good development.

    “Over the past five years, ATS manufacture has spread to new regions which previously reported little or no manufacture,” the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s 2011 Global ATS Assessment report said.

    “ATS are attractive to millions of drug users in all regions of the world because they are affordable, convenient to the user and often associated with a modern and dynamic lifestyle.”

    The UN’s last assessment on the illicit production and trade in ATS, including ecstasy and methamphetamines, was published in 2008.

    The illicit manufacture of methamphetamines in South-East Asia has continued apace despite a significant rise in seizures from 32 million pills in 2008 to 133 million last year.

    While Myanmar remains the main source of methamphetamine production, new bases have emerged.

    Over the past five years, Indonesia has become a major producer of ecstasy, threatening to replace the Netherlands as the main regional supplier of the up-market party drug.

    In Europe, there is growing evidence of the spread of methamphetamine production replacing less expensive amphetamines.

    Illicit methamphetamine laboratories have been seized for the first time in Austria, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal, according to the UN report.

    “In Germany, more methamphetamine laboratories have been reported than amphetamine since 2008,” it said.

    Africa, which appeared to have escaped the ATS menace for years, is now on the map.

    The US government last year indicted members of a large international cocaine trafficking ring for alleged intent to establish a methamphetamine laboratory in Liberia.

    As recently as June, a methamphetamine laboratory was discovered in Nigeria, on the outskirts of Lagos.

    The question remains: Where are they getting the precursor chemicals to manufacture these amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS)? There are only nine manufacturing sites world-wide and can they not be tracked and shut down if they divert the chemicals?

    Somebody is dropping the ball here or intentionally looking the other way.

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for September 9th through September 11th

    These are my links for September 9th through September 11th:

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for August 2nd through August 4th

    These are my links for August 2nd through August 4th:

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for July 21st on 10:55

    These are my links for July 21st from 10:55 to 16:42:

    • Poll shows Californians prefer easing prison terms to paying more – Cash-strapped Californians would rather ease "third-strike" penalties for some criminals and accept felons as neighbors than dig deeper into their pockets to relieve prison overcrowding, a new poll shows.

      In the wake of a court order that the state move more than 33,000 inmates out of its packed prisons, an overwhelming number of voters oppose higher taxes — as well as cuts in key state services — to pay for more lockup space.

      The survey, by The Times and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, shows a clear shift in attitude by residents forced to confront the cost of tough sentencing laws passed in recent decades.

      The poll canvassed 1,507 registered California voters between July 6 and July 17, about six weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an earlier court order requiring the inmate numbers to be cut. It was conducted by two firms in the Washington, D.C., area: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a Democratic firm, and American Viewpoint, a Republican firm. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.52 percentage points.

      The ailing economy far outweighs crime as the top concern for most people today, the pollsters said. That, along with the court order, could help explain voters' new receptivity to changes long sought by prisoner-rights advocates:

      — More than 60% of respondents, including majorities among Democrats, Republicans and those who declined to state a party preference, said they would support reducing life sentences for third strike offenders convicted of property crimes such as burglary, auto theft and shoplifting.

      — Nearly 70% said they would sanction the early release of some low-level offenders whose crimes did not involve violence.

      — About 80% said they approve of keeping low-level, nonviolent offenders in county custody — including jails, home detention or parole — instead of sending them to state prisons. The same percentage favors paroling inmates who are paralyzed, in comas or so debilitated by advanced disease that they no longer pose a threat to public safety.

      The pollsters noted that people don't generally favor the release of convicted criminals. But "when it comes to prisons," said Linda DiVall of American Viewpoint, "voters are looking for solutions that don't raise taxes or take money from other priorities like education."


      Read it all…..

      Just wait until some horrendous crime by a just released felon occurs.

      Want to bet whether poll results change?

    • For California redistricting commissioners, what’s a conflict of interest? – In the spring of 2010, when he applied to become a member of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, Gabino Aguirre of Santa Paula described himself as a "community activist" who had been an "advocate for a variety of causes."

      Aguirre survived the rigorous screening process conducted by the State Auditor's Office and was ultimately chosen as one of 14 commissioners selected from a pool that originally included 25,000 applicants.

      Now, with the commission poised to adopt political district maps that are certain to displease many Californians, Aguirre, one of five Democrats on the panel, has become the subject of sharp attacks from Republican Party leaders who accuse him of being a community activist who has been an advocate for a variety of causes.

      The attacks raise anew questions that the State Auditor Elaine Howle struggled with in 2009 as she developed guidelines and regulations for the selection of commissioners, a task with which she was charged under Proposition 11, the initiative that created the independent redistricting process.

      Kim Alexander, president and founder of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation, said she believes the auditor "struck the right balance" in disqualifying those whose political connections were so strong as to make them potentially beholden to a particular party or politician while at the same time keeping the process open to those who had been engaged in civic activities.

      "No one involved in crafting this commission expected you to have applicants who had zero political involvement in their history," she said.

      Indeed, a review of applications reveals a history of civic and political activism on the part of several commissioners. Some examples:


      Read it all…..

      The California Citizen's Redistricting Commission is a disaster. The law should be changed to empower the California supreme Court to draw the lines.

    • See which areas have the most unauthorized immigrants in California – Undocumented immigrants comprise about 7 percent of the state's population and 9 percent of its workforce, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. The number of unauthorized immigrants in the state has held fairly steady at just below 3 million for the past five years — even shrinking slightly — as immigrants settle more often in states other than California, according to the report, which is based largely on federal tax returns. Undocumented immigrants are heavily concentrated in farming areas and urban coastal communities. This map shows which areas have the highest proportion of undocumented immigrants.


      The map is at the link….

    • Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone takes California Secession Online – PE.com – Politics – Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, who proposed that 13 counties secede from California, has taken his effort online.

      Stone's wants to create South California. And although he tempered the secession talk at a recent Board of Supervisors meeting, he did convince his colleagues to give him the go ahead to put together a summit on state issues — provided no county funds or staff went toward the effort.

      In a statement today, Stone proposed the summit for September or October and wants local officials to discuss ways to change the state. Stone, a Republican, wants a part-time Legislature, a balanced-budget requirement and changes to public employee pensions.

      He has launched both a website — californiarebellion2012.com — and a Facebook page to bolster his efforts.


      Never going to happen….

    • Meth Addict with Flame Thrower to Be Spared Prison as States Cut Spending – Zackariah Lehnen, a 30-year-old transient, was paroled from a California prison in November after serving five months of a 16-month sentence for drug possession. He left under a program intended to reduce state costs by freeing nonviolent prisoners without supervision.
      Six months later he was arrested and charged with murder in the torture and stabbing deaths of an 89-year-old man and a 27- year-old woman in a Los Angeles suburb, according to court documents. He’s in jail, with a plea hearing set for July 28.
      Lehnen’s case, reminiscent of Willie Horton, the Massachusetts inmate who committed rape in 1987 after failing to return from a weekend pass, is an extreme illustration of the risks states face when they look to reduce prison spending by locking up fewer convicts.
      “It’s a perfect example of what goes wrong when you prioritize saving money over public safety,” said Ted Lieu, a former military prosecutor who’s now a Democratic state senator from Torrance, in a telephone interview.
      U.S. crime has dropped in the past two decades, a period when the number of state prison inmates doubled to 1.4 million and correctional spending more than tripled to $52.3 billion in 2009, according to the Pew Center on the States and the National Association of State Budget Officers, respectively. Now deficits, and a rethinking of how convicts are handled, are prompting states to reduce the number of convicts they hold.


      Read it all….

      If they start letting these criminals out of prison, there will be more violent crime eventually.

      Then, the media will show the outrage that built all of the prisons in the fist place.

      But, at what cost…..

    • Mexico seizes over 800 tons of methamphetamine chemicals – The Mexican army has seized just under 840 tons of chemicals used for manufacturing methamphetamine in a raid in central Mexico, one of the biggest finds of its kind ever made in the country.

      The seizure in a warehouse took place in an industrial area in Queretaro, about 125 miles (200 km) north of Mexico City, the Mexican defense ministry said in a statement late on Wednesday.

      The seizure, which the army made on Monday, included 787 tons of phenylacetamide and 52.5 tons of tartaric acid, all in 25 kilogram (55 pound) packets. Both chemicals can be used in the manufacture of meth.

  • Methamphetamine,  Pseudoephedrine

    Oregon’s Law Restricting Pseudoephedrine to Fight Methamphetamine a Success?

    Yes, despite what the drug manufacturers would like to lead you to believe.

    In 2005, Burdick and the three other lawmakers fashioned a law that made Oregon the first state to require a prescription for the purchase of the tablet form of pseudoephedrine … and the state’s drug and crime statistics plummeted.

    Based on the success of the law there, legislators, prosecutors and others are pushing a similar law for Oklahoma, but not everyone in Oregon agrees that all the state’s good news in crime is the result of the pseudoephedrine restriction.

    One statistic that almost everyone credits to the law is that meth labs have essentially disappeared from the state.

    U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency statistics for 2004 show the state had 467 meth lab incidents – including police busts and dumped labs. Last year, there were only nine.

    Several months ago, the Portland Police Department made a meth lab bust and it was remarkable because of its novelty, said Lt. Robert King, spokesman for the Police Department.

    That’s no small accomplishment for the state.

    It means the state hasn’t had meth lab fires that destroy property and people, including innocents.

    It means the state hasn’t had to deal with the toxic sludge left behind by meth cooks.

    It means the state hasn’t had to deal with the expenses of pursuing meth cooks and cleaning up their lab.

    “We didn’t solve the meth problem … but we can honestly say we solved the home meth lab problem,” Burdick said.

    Lincoln County (Ore.) District Attorney Rob Bovett said that alone is a huge accomplishment.
    “Just getting rid of meth labs is vital to public health and safety, (and) drug-endangered children,” he said.

    But as Oregon’s leading evangelist of the pseudoephedrine restriction movement, Bovett is inclined to credit the law with a broader range of accomplishments.

    The website for his Oregon Alliance of Drug Endangered Children, tulsaworld.com/oregonmeth, links the law to fewer meth treatment admissions, fewer meth-related emergency room visits, and the fact that Oregon had the nation’s largest decrease in crime in the nation in 2008 and saw its crime rate at a 50-year low in 2009.

    Oklahomans pushing for the same law here have not been shy about pointing to those statistics in their arguments.

    Read all of the story.

    I think you can agree that this small change in the law requiring prescriptions for pseudoephedrine have made a huge difference in the quality of life for the people in Oregon.