Monday, May 09, 2005

A Psychedelic Cure


Some doctors want to see if ecstasy, a dangerous illicit drug, can help cancer patients and trauma victims

By Eve Conant
Newsweek International

May 16 issue - Imagine a gorgeous suite: sky-lights flood the room with sunlight, the strains of violins play softly from a CD player. A terminally ill cancer patient lies on a soft bed, surrounded by the best equipment the Harvard medical world has to offer. But a deep anxiety is keeping her from dealing with end-of-life issues, from saying goodbye to family or perhaps asking for forgiveness. Then she is given a powerful drug that allows her to peacefully confront her deepest fears—without sedation. The drug is called MDMA. But if you're a teenager or an FBI agent, you might know it by its other name: ecstasy.

Two decades after what's officially methylenedioxymethamphetamine became an illegal drug, it is seeing a quiet and cautious renaissance in mental-health circles. Despite some deaths usually linked to dehydration or lethal combinations with other drugs, researchers nonetheless believe ecstasy could act as a tool to unlock anxiety by targeting areas of the brain that don't usually respond to antidepressants. In December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, with little fanfare, approved a Harvard proposal to test MDMA in 12 patients diagnosed with moderate or greater anxiety in the advanced stages of terminal cancer. And in South Carolina, the first FDA-approved MDMA trials on humans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are reaching their first-year mark, and recently expanded to include vets from Iraq and Afghanistan. Similar tests are being discussed in Switzerland, and two in Spain and Israel are pending approval. "People who were young in the ' 60s and more comfortable with psychedelics are now in positions of authority," says Rick Doblin, an expert on MDMA who is bankrolling both U.S. studies through his nonprofit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. "Times have changed."

The drug is better known by its street names—ecstasy (or X), Adam, the hug drug or disco biscuit—which conjure images of teens and twentysomethings dancing wildly at all-night raves, sometimes half naked in whipped cream or soap foam. The side effects are addiction, depression and paranoia weeks after ingestion, and occasionally seizures, heart attacks and death. Russian, Israeli and Southeast Asian gangs have controlled most ecstasy trafficking, but America and Europe are top markets.

MDMA is pleasurable because of what it does to two parts of the brain: it gives free rein to the nucleus accumbens, a region involved with feeling good, and it suppresses the amygdala, which plays a role in anxiety. MDMA also triggers the release of dopamine—the brain's feel-good hormone—which partially explains the acute flush of happiness one gets after ingesting it. Unlike antidepressants, the effect is immediate. And MDMA also quells the anxiety of PTSD victims, who live in a constant state of alertness. "Traditional antidepressants won't tackle that battle zone in the mind," says Bruce Cohen, chief psychiatrist and president of the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel are hoping to test the drug soon for soldiers suffering from PTSD. Spanish psychiatrists want to revive a trial of MDMA for rape victims that was canceled in 2002 by Spanish authorities following negative press coverage. They're proposing expanding the study to include male and female PTSD sufferers. Europeans have done many more safety studies on MDMA than their U.S. counterparts, but in large part have fallen behind on studying therapeutic uses of the drug, says Doblin.

Trials in Boston with terminally ill cancer patients will test MDMA's efficacy for easing anxiety about treatment without sedation. Each patient will get six sessions over two months, followed by an overnight at the hospital and extensive therapy with a psychiatrist. Everyone is cautious. The PTSD study in South Carolina, for example, includes a $1 million insurance policy and $40,000 for an emergency-room doctor and nurse during each session. "We've learned not to overlook the risks," says Doblin.

Drug-enforcement authorities are against the studies. David Murray, a policy analyst with the White House, says trials send the wrong signal: "Kids will say, 'Hey, it's a medicine. They give it out at Harvard'." Even supporters of the trials, like oncologist Todd Shuster, who will help select patients for the Harvard trials, were skeptical at first. "I thought of MDMA as the rave drug. But the more I read, the more I realized this was a scientific question worth asking." All eyes are watching to see if he's right.

© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.

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The Ketamine Connection


Two men formed cartel to smuggle drug from Mexico into U.S.

May 1, 2005

There aren't enough dogs and cats in Mexico to warrant the amount of an animal anesthetic that Laboratorios Ttokkyo manufactured at a factory near Mexico City.

Not that it mattered – Ttokkyo was producing the drug for human consumption.

Its primary distributor was a Tijuana veterinary supply store operator who smuggled the drug, ketamine, through San Diego to drug abusers as far away as New York and Miami who knew the substance as "Special K."

The blossoming business coincided with the rise of the Internet, the growing popularity of ketamine among young people who like to party at dance clubs and determined efforts by U.S. officials to crack down on the drug.

Ketamine became a controlled substance in the United States in 1999, which meant it was only available with a prescription. The Drug Enforcement Administration describes the effects of ketamine as hallucinogenic.

An Oakland-based drug education organization listed the effects of the drug for most users as mild inebriation, dreamy thinking, stumbling, clumsy or robotic movement and delayed or reduced sensations.

However, at higher doses, it can be fatal or cause near-death experiences, in which users have difficulting moving, experience visions and feel as if they enter other realities.

The DEA says rapists use ketamine to knock out their victims and that the drug can cause brain damage.

Federal investigators said most of the ketamine abused in the United States a few years ago came from the Ttokkyo factory of Dr. Jose Francisco Molina Alvarado.

His lawyers called him "a national treasure" in Mexico for his work in pharmaceutical research and said he spent years working on improving the health of millions of people.

His primary partner was Jorge Chevreuil Bravo, 43, who took over the veterinary supply company his father founded 40 years earlier and built it into a chain with 14 stores, mostly along the U.S. border and in beach resorts frequented by young people on spring break, prosecutors said.

'A cartel'

From middle-class beginnings, the men developed a criminal enterprise that drew the attention of drug cartels, led to kidnapping attempts and shootouts on Tijuana streets and landed both in prison, prosecutors said.

"It was a cartel," said San Diego DEA office spokesman Misha Piastro. "It controlled the production, the transportation and the distribution of an illicit substance. It was a drug cartel in its own right."

The group also was a big producer and distributor of steroids, but because those were legal without a prescription in Mexico at the time, the investigation focused on ketamine, authorities said.

One midlevel steroid dealer recalled visiting Bravo's Tijuana store in the fall of 1999 and noticing ketamine for the first time, a prosecutor said in court documents.

Bravo told him it was an animal tranquilizer, but the "crazy gringos" were taking it, he said.
In 1999, he struck a deal with Ttokkyo, and sales skyrocketed after a U.S. company agreed to a DEA request to stop exporting ketamine to Mexico, where it was bought by smugglers who brought it back north.

That year, Ttokkyo imported about 440 pounds of raw ketamine from China, enough to make about 200,000 vials, prosecutor Timothy Coughlin said in court papers.

Each vial sold for about $10 in Mexico, but cost about $50 on the black market in New York City or Miami and more than $100 in the Midwest, authorities said.

In the first half of 2002, Ttokkyo imported more than 2 tons of the raw drug, enough for 2 million vials. That's enough to anesthetize 20 million dogs and cats.

But it wasn't enough to meet demand, Bravo told Molina that summer in a conversation taped by a U.S. informant wearing a hidden microphone, Coughlin said.

By then, Bravo, who was the sole Ttokkyo distributor, was selling 98 percent of the ketamine in Mexico, he said.

Bravo had a group of smugglers who used vans with false floors to take the drugs across the border and charged a 15 percent fee for delivery in the United States, the prosecutor said.
Bravo's couriers used storage lockers in South Bay to make deliveries to local dealers, he said.
But bigger shipments made it through as well, including 23,000 vials in a moving van stopped in Kansas on its way from San Diego.

Bravo also filled orders on Ttokkyo's Web site, Coughlin said.

Unwanted attention

But the growing ketamine business – and its mushrooming profits – caused other problems for Molina and Bravo.

A Mexican drug cartel demanded a piece of the action in 2002, Bravo's lawyer told a judge.
Bravo hired security guards, and in August, a convoy of armed men tried to kidnap him and shot at his car as he raced home in Tijuana, the lawyer, Guadalupe Valencia, said in court documents.
A month later, Bravo and Molina landed in Panama, eager to meet a contact for sales in Latin America. Instead, they were whisked onto a DEA plane and flown to Florida, where agents arrested and questioned them.

Molina told the agents they must be mistaken, that he was a businessman who sold veterinary medications legally.

"We didn't export to the U.S." he said. "We didn't have people. We didn't have sales in the U.S."
Bravo didn't tell the agents anything.

"In the back of his mind, Jorge knew that eventually things would come to an end," his lawyer said earlier this year. "But he never imagined what would happen next."

A missing son

A year after the arrest, Bravo's 22-year-old son was followed by gunmen as he returned home from school, Valencia said.

Much as his father had done earlier, the son sped off, but his pursuers, firing shots, caught up and abducted him.

His mother worked with police to try to pay a ransom, but agents tried to arrest the kidnappers and a gunfight broke out. A kidnapper was killed and three others were arrested.

Bravo's wife eventually paid a $300,000 ransom through unofficial channels, the lawyer told the judge. A year and a half later, her son is still missing and presumed dead.

When Bravo pleaded guilty in February 2004, he admitted that his operation imported more than $10 million worth of the drug into the United States. He was sentenced Monday to 6½ years in federal prison.

At his sentencing, Bravo said he never meant to violate U.S. law. But still, he said, "I don't consider myself guilty of everything that's being brought up."

Molina was sent back to Mexico for prosecution last year after pleading guilty in San Diego federal court.

The DEA says the bust was a success and that agents find ketamine much less frequently now.
A member of DanceSafe, the Oakland group that advocates drug education, said he too saw supplies dry up.

"But, as with all drug busts, as soon as they take one dealer down, five more pop up to take his place," said the man, who didn't want to be identified because of a drug conviction. "There are still mail-order suppliers in Mexico, Europe, India and other countries in Asia."

Drug News + Mexico + ketamine + drug smuggling + drug cartel + pharmaceutical +

Bill Pushes Medicinal Marijuana In New York

1010 WINS

ALBANY, N.Y. A Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill in the state Senate to legalize marijuana for medical use. Senator Vincent Leibell from Putnam and Dutchess County says the measure would let doctors prescribe marijuana to patients with life-threatening, degenerative or permanently disabling conditions.

Leibell tells the New York Post the controversial bill is not decriminalization of pot, just an exception for ``a narrow part of the population under closely controlled medical standards.

''The bill in the Republican-controlled state Senate differs slightly from one in the Democrat-controlled Assembly.

But Leibell and Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat, plan to hold a bipartisan news conference on the issue tomorrow -- along with T-V talk show host Montel Williams.
Williams is prescribed medical marijuana by a California doctor to help deal with his multiple sclerosis. Last year, he urged Governor Pataki and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno to follow the ten states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.

Drug News + New York + medical marijuana + marijuana + Montel Williams

Elderly Embrace Medical Marijuana

Older Americans are becoming more visible in the battle over the legality of medical marijuana, the Los Angeles Times reported May 8.Word of mouth has led more elderly patients to try marijuana to relieve pain and treat other ailments. But activists also realize that older patients help cast the medical-marijuana issue in a more positive light.Seattle resident Betty Hiatt, 81, has battled cancer, Parkinson's disease, and Crohn's disease, and uses marijuana along with a plethora of prescription medications. "It's like any other medicine for me," Hiatt said. "But I don't know that I'd be alive without it."Medical-marijuana activists say there are thousands of other elderly people using the drug. As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the legality of states' medical-marijuana laws, older users are becoming important political symbols because they don't fit the stereotype of the typical pot smoker.In a recent poll conducted by the American Association of Retired People, 72 percent of those ages 45 and older supported the legal use of medical marijuana. The drug is thought to help patients with conditions ranging from multiple sclerosis to glaucoma, arthritis, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's disease."There's this sense that when you get old enough, you've earned the right to live your own life," said Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "The mantra of the drug war has been to protect our kids. But the notion of a drug war to protect the elderly? That's ludicrous."Several drug companies are working on new prescription medicines derived from marijuana. But researchers like Raphael Mechoulam of Hebrew University in Jerusalem said that in the meantime, elderly patients should not be barred from using raw marijuana to ease their symptoms.

Drug News + marijuana + medical marijuana + elderly

Cocaine use seems to weaken coronary arteries

ABC News

May 9, 2005 — NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Heavy cocaine users may put themselves at increased risk of developing a coronary artery aneurysm, a bulge at a weak point in the artery wall. This might contribute to the higher rate of heart attacks seen among cocaine users, according to a report in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

Dr. Timothy D. Henry at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and his associates compared x-ray images of the coronary arteries of 112 patients with a history of cocaine use and of 79 others who did not use cocaine.

Thirty percent of patients in the cocaine group had coronary artery aneurysms, versus 8 percent of controls.

"Because aneurysms have altered flow characteristics, we believe that predisposes to blood clots forming there," Henry said in an interview with Reuters Health. These clots could cut off blood supply to the heart muscle and thereby cause a heart attack.

"We know that patients who use cocaine get heart attacks," he continued, which is related to constriction of the blood vessels, increases in heart rate and blood pressure, and the increased ability of platelets to clump together.

"However, all those things are temporally related to the use of cocaine," he noted. "The difference with this study is that aneurysms may be a reflection of heavy cocaine use that occurred 10 years ago."

For that reason, Henry suggests that doctors should ask patients who develop a coronary artery aneurysm at an early age about their history of cocaine use.

As for how people with aneurysms should be treated, he recommended "treating cholesterol aggressively and keeping patients on more aggressive antiplatelet therapy," such as aspirin and Plavix.

SOURCE: Circulation, May 17, 2005.
Copyright 2005 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Drug News + Cocaine + Coronary Arteries + aneurysm

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Sex, lies, drugs and staties: Narc squad blasted in trial

Boston Herald

By Tom Farmer
Thursday, May 5, 2005 - Updated: 07:31 AM EST

A state police sergeant allegedly was able to steal ``pounds and pounds'' of cocaine because the department's oversight of confiscated narcotics was ``sloppy and lax,'' a prosecutor said yesterday.

The system was so flawed, prosecutor William Bloomer said, that troopers were allowed to bring seized drugs home with them and some filed ``false reports'' indicating drugs were picked up by two troopers as required by regulations, when they actually picked up drugs alone.

``There were few policies. They were outdated and they were not adhered,'' Bloomer said in his opening statement in the Dedham Superior Court trial of Sgt. Timothy White.

White, 42, is accused of stealing and selling up to 27 pounds of cocaine and other narcotics while assigned in 2002 and early 2003 to the state police Narcotics Inspection Unit. He is also accused of threatening to kill his wife and assaulting her with his service pistol on Jan. 27, 2003 - one of three times prosecutors allege White abused his wife.

Bloomer told the jury of nine men and five women that White's wife Maura, Nancy White (a family friend who is the ex-wife of a state trooper and is no relation) and Robert Crisafulli of Hyde Park all conspired with Timothy White to traffic the stolen cocaine and engaged in frequent group sex that caused major tension in White's marriage.

Defense attorney Robert A. George told the jurors that Maura and Nancy White have been given immunity for testifying and that Crisafulli was given a ``sweet'' plea deal, and will serve three to five years instead of the mandatory 15 for cooperating.

Painting the witnesses as ``drug-addicted, drug-dealing, wife-swapping people,'' George said the key prosecution witnesses implicated his client to save themselves. He said state police oversight of seized narcotics was so bad that prosecutors won't be able to prove Timothy White stole drugs.

``It's going to come down to (state police) record-keeping and lying, drug-dealing, sex-swapping witnesses,'' George said. Bloomer told Judge Judith Fabricant he plans today to call Maura White to the stand, as well as state police officials who will testify about drug-control procedures.

Drug News + police + Boston + cocaine + narcotics + corruption

Tropical islanders getting hooked on washed-up cocaine


By Nick Squires in Sydney
(Filed: 06/05/2005)

For centuries the sea sustained the Marshall Islands, yielding fish to eat and contact with explorers and traders in one of the loneliest parts of the Pacific.

But the residents of the tiny tropical nation are now struggling to deal with an entirely unexpected ocean bounty: a huge consignment of cocaine.

Last March dozens of packets of the drug washed up on the palm-fringed beaches of Ebeye, one of more than 1,000 coral islands which make up the Marshall Islands.

The neatly-wrapped bricks, which police believe were dumped overboard by drug runners fleeing the US Coast Guard, weighed 60lb and were seized by the authorities.

More accustomed to coconuts than cocaine, the islands have no history of drug abuse but the unusual jetsam was to change that.

It has now emerged that some of the cocaine was stolen from a police station. With more packages probably found by beachcombing islanders, Ebeye is now awash with the stuff. The cocaine, selling in small bags for only five dollars, has found a ready market.

Although the Marshall Islands were described by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1889 as "the pearl of the Pacific", Ebeye is now little more than a slum.

Its 12,000 inhabitants live in crowded one-room shacks made of plywood, crammed together on the 80-acre island. Around 1,500 of them work at a large US military base nearby, on Kwajelein Island, used to test intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Since the cocaine washed ashore, 14 locals have been charged with possession of the drug and several have been jailed.

Packages of cocaine have been washing up on remote, uninhabited parts of the Marshall Islands since the early 1990s.

Named in 1788 by a British sailor, John Marshall, the islands were the scene of fierce fighting between US and Japanese forces during the war.

Drug News + Ebeye + Marshall Islands + Cocaine

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Pizza customer must have been hoping for a pot pie

Associated Press
May 3, 2005

FARGO, N.D. — It may have seemed like a good idea at the time.

A pizza delivery driver was assaulted after refusing to take marijuana as payment for a pie, police said.

Pizza Patrol driver Atif Yasin said he thinks the man was asleep when he arrived to deliver a medium pizza and 20-ounce soda.

After knocking a few times and calling the customer on his cell phone, Yasin said the man answered the door in his boxers, took the pizza, spent a few minutes looking for money and then offered to pay with marijuana.

The man began to yell when told that wouldn't be accepted, Yasin said. He then pushed the deliveryman and punched him in the face, Yasin said.

The 22-year-old college student said it was the first time he had been assaulted in three years delivering pizza.

Yasin called police, and while waiting for them to arrive he delivered two more orders that were in his car.

The suspect, 21, was arrested early Saturday. He has been released on bond.

Drugs + marijuana + pizza + funny

Federal Report: Marijuana Causes Mental Illness


But Critics Say Politics Is Driving Premature Conclusions About Drug's Role

By Todd ZwillichWebMD Medical News
Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MDon Tuesday, May 03, 2005

May 3, 2005 -- Children who use marijuana before age 12 are twice as likely to later develop serious mental illness as those who don't try the drug until they're 18, according to a federal report released Tuesday.

Bush administration officials pointed to the study as growing evidence that smoking marijuana may cause mental illnesses -- including depression, schizophrenia, and suicide attempts -- in some people.

But while the association of drug abuse and addiction with mental illness is well known, a causal connection between marijuana smoking and psychiatric disorders is not clear, other experts say.

In Tuesday's study, 21% of people who reported first using marijuana before age 12 also reported that they later went on to develop signs or symptoms of a serious mental illness. Those who said they used the drug only after age 18 had a 10.5% chance of reporting similar problems.

The study was based on federal drug use data culled in 2002 and 2003. Other past studies publicized by federal officials Tuesday also point to a connection between marijuana use and the development of mental problems later on.

"New research being conducted here and abroad illustrates that marijuana use, particularly during the teen years, can lead to depression, thoughts of suicide, and schizophrenia," said White House Drug Czar John P. Walters. "This press conference is a public health warning."

Another study highlighted by officials, published in 2001, suggested that people who were not depressed but used marijuana were four times more likely to develop depression years later than those who never used the drug.

Researchers have long observed a connection between drug use and mental illness. Many studies show the simultaneous occurrence of mental illness and substance abuse. People with mental illnesses are also known to use drugs to lessen their symptoms, a phenomenon psychiatrists refer to as "self-medicating."
But federal officials and some researchers say evidence is accumulating that shows that marijuana can actually cause serious mental illnesses in otherwise well people.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), depression, anxiety, and personality disturbances have been associated with marijuana use. However, the NIDA says it is not known whether marijuana use is an attempt to self-medicate an already existing mental health problem, or whether marijuana use leads to mental disorders (or both).

"The evidence is collectively indicating that there is a causal connection," says Neil McKeganey, PhD, professor of drug misuse at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

McKeganey notes that scientists have not yet uncovered evidence linking marijuana use to the brain changes routinely seen in people who suffer from mental illness. "If we wait until we understand that mechanism, we will lose thousands of young people," he says.

But Paul P. Casadonte, MD, a psychiatrist and associate clinical professor at New York University, cautions in an interview that research is not yet strong enough to show a causal link between marijuana use and serious mental disorders. He suggests that such claims by Walters and other administration officials were intended to further the Bush administration's efforts to quell young peoples' marijuana use.

"That's dangerous territory. It's politics more than science at this point," says Casadonte, who is also director of substance abuse treatment programs at New York Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Casadonte warns that Tuesday's study of early marijuana use does not necessarily prove that smoking at a young age leads directly to later illness. "We do know that the younger you start, the more likely that there's something mentally wrong with you to begin with. Marijuana has more of an addiction potential than most people want to believe," he says. "But basically we just don't have the science" to claim a causal link with mental illness.

Federal officials remain alarmed at high rates of marijuana use in younger and younger U.S. children. According to the NIDA, marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S.; nearly 53% of Americans who say they've used the drug say they tried it for the first time before age 17.

According to data from the CDC, one-tenth of students nationwide had tried marijuana for the first time before age 13. Overall, the rates were higher in males (13%) than in females (6%).

Officials are preparing to launch a national campaign using newspaper and magazine advertisements to draw parents' attention to a link between marijuana use and mental illness.

SOURCES: John P. Walters, director, White House Office on Drug Control Policy. Neil McKeganey, PhD, professor of drug misuse, University of Glasgow, Scotland. Paul P. Casadonte, director, Substance Abuse Treatment Programs, New York Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. National Institute on Drug Abuse. CDC.

Drugs + Drug News + US News + White House + Drug Policy + Mental Illness + propaganda

Marijuana behind 45 percent of U.S. drug arrests


By Alan Elsner
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Marijuana arrests account for almost half of all drug arrests in the United States, which spends $4 billion a year to catch, prosecute and incarcerate offenders, according to a report released on Tuesday.

"Since 1990, there have been 6.2 million arrests for marijuana possession and an additional one million for marijuana trafficking. As of 2002, marijuana arrests comprised 45 percent of all drug arrests," the report by The Sentencing Project said.

The Washington think tank, which promotes alternatives to imprisonment, said daily use of the drug by high school seniors nearly tripled to 6 percent from 2.2 percent during the years 1990 to 2002. Meanwhile, the street price of the drug has fallen in real terms and its purity has increased.

It also found that of the 734,000 marijuana arrests in 2000, only 6 percent resulted in a felony conviction. Marijuana arrests more than doubled, from 327,000 to 697,000 from 1990 to 2002, while arrests for other drugs rose by only 10 percent.

"The 'war on drugs' has been transformed into a 'war on marijuana' through dramatic shifts in law enforcement policies and practices," said Ryan King, co-author of the report.

He said arresting such large numbers at an annual cost of $4 billion was a poor investment in public safety and diverted resources from more serious crime problems.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said in a report released on Tuesday that adults who first used marijuana before the age of 12 were twice as likely to suffer from mental illness later in life than those who used the drug at age 18 or older.

The data came from an annual survey on drug use which found that 43 percent of U.S. adults -- almost 91 million people -- reported using marijuana at least once in their lives.

"New research being conducted here and abroad illustrates that marijuana use, particularly during the teen years, can lead to depression, thoughts of suicide and schizophrenia," said White House drug czar John Walters.

Jennifer Devallance of the White House drug policy office said it was inaccurate to portray the "war on drugs" as focused on a single substance.

"However, marijuana is the drug most abused in this country and the single largest source of treatment need, so it is appropriate to focus effort and attention on marijuana," Devallance said.
She disputed the report's contention that marijuana use had increased, citing figures from a survey of high school teens showing it was down 18 percent over the past three years.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

Drugs + Marijuana + Drug Policy + U.S. + White House