Wednesday, November 01, 2006

News of the Day 11-1-06

Really, really good article on issues associated with the "pharma" side of "technocorrections." This has it all, the drug that "remedies" meth/coke addiction, the anecdotal testimonials, the admission of no testing or trials, the rush to get it to market, the market forces that may drive acceptance before evidence justifies it--everything. NIDA is being outspoken, but it could be seen as turf-protecting. The corrections sentencing community needs better focus and response to these issues and to coordinate leadership to set protocols and standards. Otherwise, once again, as with man-mins, civil commitment, GPS tracking, etc., we could easily get stuck with products that not only don't deliver what they promise but could have counterproductive consequences. We cannot sit on our hands here, folks. . . . Speaking of hands and things maybe getting out of them, USA Today has a story today on the violent crime surge in FL. Some of it may just be law enforcement PR to get the feds to restore some grant dollars diverted to terrorism (well, actually, to stopping terrorism), but the numbers do look impressive. We can't emphasize enough what we know happens to corrections sentencing if crime takes off again, or even if it just appears to. And I love this quote from a law enforcement type--"It's flabbergasting to see suspects . . . . talk like death is the cost of doing business, an acceptable loss." Prison will deter these guys? Crime like this will stop with them in prison while there's more to replace them? As I've said before, sometimes the best policy might be just to let them take each other out and stop each others' long-term crime careers. Create a special category for their homicides so they don't count as much against the system, keep the hysteria down. Shameful? Hateful? But cost-effective as well. Okay, I'm not serious . . . completely. It worked in the '90s. . . . AZ is reporting declines in drug, alcohol, and cigarette use from 2002 to 2006 among its 8th-12th graders. What's interesting in the story is the way it makes it sound like meth use is up (4% had tried it this year) when no question was asked in 2002. Maybe, had meth been around then like now, its use too would have gone down by this year, we don't really know. But there are no grounds given for the slant of the story toward the "meth scourge" angle. . . . Maybe we'd know more if these parents could home test their kids (2/3rds say they'd do it to keep them away from drugs. Good luck with that, families.) Nice touch pointing out that illegal drugs get parents' attention, but not prescription drug abuse, a growing concern. . . . Maybe you'd get your kids' attention, parents, at least your female ones', if you showed them how it's clear now that fetuses also partake of meth in the womb, possibly causing restricted fetal growth and developmental problems. Put down your bourbon, wine, or growler before you start speaking, however.

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