The Drug Policy Digest

Monday, April 21, 2003
DEA Washington Office Not Making Big Cases, Says Internal Audit
War on Terrorism Hurting Drug Effort

The Washington D.C. division of the Drug Enforcement Administration has been criticized by administration officials for a "steady decline" in new cases and arrests, and some area law enforcement officials contend that the agency isn't doing enough to target major violent drug gangs in the District, says an internal report cited by the Washington Post. The The D.C. division covers the District, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Law enforcement officials complained that the DEA has too often avoided complicated cases in Washington and some surrounding communities because the division is overly cautious or unwilling to devote the time needed to develop bigger cases.

A Dec. 10 memo from DEA headquarters sharply criticized the division for the decline in new cases, as well as a drop in arrests and seizures of assets in the past few years. The memo came after a routine inspection last fall. The memo also cited some 13 instances in which the Washington division violated procedures in handling evidence, sensitive materials, fugitives and investigative files.

The number of cases handled by the Washington division dropped from 676 in 2000 to 602 in 2002, according to DEA figures. The number of arrests fell from 2,258 in 2000 to 1,629 in 2002. Seizure of assets also declined, from $19.2 million to $17.3 million.

The DEA nationwide experienced similar declines with the exception of asset seizures, which rose agency-wide.

In defense of the D.C. office, its head agent claimed that a more telling statistic is the number of new wiretap cases. Last year, there were 51, up from 46 in 2000, a sign that the office is focusing more on in-depth cases, it is claimed. Read the Washington Post story here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003
Drugs and Other Evidence Suggest Saddam's Son Lived a Hedonistic Lifestyle

The Washington Post reports that among the items found in the rubble of the home of Saddam Hussein's son, Uday, were drugs, alcohol, and evidence of a "Sybaritic" or hedonistic lifestyle. The article documents evidence of "a hunger for alcohol, drugs and women."

This, of course, stands in marked contrast to the poverty of much of the Iraqi population. Most surprising was the discovery of six (6) bags of heroin. Uday Hussein had been wounded in an apparent assassination attempt which resulted in his carrying a bullet in his spine and walking with a limp.

The Post article also states that "Uday's interest in sex was evident everywhere. The house was adorned with paintings of naked women, as well as bundles of Internet printouts of what appeared to be prostitutes, complete with handwritten ratings of each. One black book listed hundreds of women's names and phone numbers."

Read the complete article here.

Friday, April 11, 2003
Return of PCP a Real Trend, Researchers Say

Today's New York Times posts a letter from two research epidemiologists stating that the statements in the April 6th article ("PCP Returns to the East Coast" below) reporting that PCP is regaining popularity in New York City are backed by at last one body of data. The article states:

" report that "researchers said that there is as yet little statistical proof of a comeback" of PCP in New York City. Our data from epidemiological surveys in the northern Manhattan area suggest otherwise.

Among 199 drug users recruited in 1997-1998, 5.8 percent reported using PCP at least once in the past six months. Among 605 drug users recruited between 2002 and 2003, 15.2 percent reported using PCP in the prior six months. This increase in PCP use in New York City warrants further consideration."

Read the complete letter, with the authors' affiliations here.

Monday, April 07, 2003
PCP Returns to the East Coast - New York Times
"Angel Dust" Linked to Shooting Spree by Man in Brooklyn and Queens

Phelcyclidine Hydrochloride (a drug once widely known as PCP or "Angel Dust"), is apparently back -- at least in some areas of the northeastern United States. A recent (April 6th) New York Times article claims that this drug, once feared for its unpredictability -- even among experienced drug users) is regaining some of its popularity and was used by the man accused of four separate shootings last weekend in bodegas and small businesses in Brooklyn and Queens. Curiously, The Times, not normally known for making such errors, mistakenly refers to PCP as "phencyline" [sic] in its article.

Users of PCP today often refer to the practice of smoking the drug as "getting wet" or "wetting it up." Some evidence exists that a large number of PCP users may not even know they have taken the drug, which was misrepresented to them as "THC," "mescaline," or "Ecstasy." Reports of marijuana users receiving the drug without their knowledge may be exagerated, as it is truly rare for drug sellers to add a more expensive drug to a less costly one to increase its potency. However, pot users who share a "joint" with someone not known to them may be at risk of encountering PCP as an additive or adulterant.

PCP is usually smoked, although it can also be "snorted" or even injected. Drug treatment programs who have dealt with PCP abusers report that they are significantly more impaired than most other hard drug users. Those interested in a quick overview of this drug and its reputation (whether factually based or not) may want to consult NIDA's Infofax service.

Read the entire piece on The New York Times website or may click here if the article is no longer available through the original source.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003
Also Stops Study That Found Campaign Wasn't Working

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has announced that it plans to cancel the drugs-and-terror advertisements that attempted to reduce illicit drug consumption by linking the practice of purchasing drugs with the funding of terrorist groups. In addition, ONDCP will also cancel a polarizing $8 million annual study that found the ads were not working and that pitted the drug office against the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

'You killed me,' says the ghost of a little girl to a U.S. office worker in
one of the White House anti-drug campaign's cancelled ads.


The ad campaign drew derision from drug reform advocates and legalization supporters who pointed out that the profits reaped by those (including terrorist groups) who traffic in illicit drugs is due, in part, to the drug laws themselves. In addition, the drugs-and-terror advertisements inspired a series of similar ads that suggested that Americans driving SUVs and other gas-guzzlers poured billions of dollars of oil money into countries that support and give shelter to terrorist groups.

AdAge.Com, an advertising industry publicaton reported this development in yesterday's issue. Read it here.