Friday, March 24, 2006

Don't drink and sit on a stool

Texas has been sending undercover officers into bars and arresting people for... being drunk. That's right, being in a bar doesn't exempt Texans from getting busted under the law that bans public intoxication.

Here's the justification for the practice, offered by a spokeswoman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission:

"We feel that the only way we're going to get at the drunk driving problem and the problem of people hurting each other while drunk is by crackdowns like this," she said.

"There are a lot of dangerous and stupid things people do when they're intoxicated, other than get behind the wheel of a car," Beck said. "People walk out into traffic and get run over, people jump off of balconies trying to reach a swimming pool and miss."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Drug (testing) money

Ryan Grim has an expose on former federal drug official and drug testing profiteer Robert DuPont over at

Check it out.


Williamette Week, a weekly alternative paper in Portland, OR has done some interesting investigative journalism on... journalism. WW took a look at the Oregonian's reporting on meth. What they found wasn't pretty.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

WANTED: Missing college students - Please raise your hand

I know there are almost 200,000 of you out there, but despite my best efforts, I've only met a handful of you. You know who you are... Your plans to go to college were derailed after you lost your financial aid for getting a drug conviction.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the American Civil Liberties Union are now seeking plaintiffs for a class action lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law that strips college financial aid from students with drug convictions.

Maybe you had to drop out of school for a little (or long) while, maybe you were able to stay in school by taking less classes so you could work extra hours to make up for lost tuition assistance, or maybe you just got convicted and don't really know what's going to happen with the future of your education.

For years, SSDP students across the country have lobbied Congress to scrap this harmful and ineffective Drug War policy. But we've always had a hard time getting our peers who have been affected by the law to come forward and share their stories. Without being able to put a face on the law, we've had a hard time showing lawmakers the real harm it causes.

But now is your chance to stand up and claim your tuition money back.

Students who have lost their financial aid because of drug convictions can sign up and be considered as plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit. If we're successful, we'll erase this law from the books and make sure that no student ever again has to fear losing their college access because of a minor drug conviction.

For more information about the lawsuit and the aid ban itself, visit or contact

Also, you can help even if you don't have a conviction:

On the lawsuit info page, you'll find flyers that you can print and hang up or hand out to help us find more plaintiffs for the class action case.

And be sure to sign up for periodic news updates and action alerts from SSDP:

Email Address:

Finally, check out today's New York Times article on the ACLU/SSDP lawsuit.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Franklin Pierce College SGA Rejects CHEAR Resolution

Two weeks ago, I brought a resolution to the Franklin Pierce College Student Government asking them to join the Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform and endorse the full repeal of the HEA Drug Provision. To my suprise, the SGA voted not to endorse the repeal, some claiming a negative image for Franklin Pierce and others even claiming that, despite the facts, this law deters drug use among college students. The FPC student government could possibly be the first student government to ever turn down this resolution.

I was honestly suprised to see so much resistance from a student government. Our SSDP chapter tabled for weeks, distributing information about this coalition and the Drug Provision's many flaws. We also obtained, at the request of our student government, more than 350 student signatures asking the SGA to endorse repeal and join the 120 other student governments that make up this coalition. 350 students do not even turn out to vote for our SGA members during elections. Still the SGA voted no, 14-17, with many abstaining from voting at all.

I was told that even if the FPC Student Government did pass this resolution, the administration would have to approve of the Franklin Pierce name becoming part of CHEAR. However, they were not able to prove this and I cannot see how this could be possible. What would be the point of a student government if they're voice was silenced by the school's administration? The issue of funding being removed from the student government's budget was also brought up, but once again not confirmed by any students or faculty present at the meeting.

We are bringing the resolution back to a new senate in April and hoping for a better outcome. While I was greatly disappointed with our student government's decision, I feel that it only further verifies the need for an SSDP chapter on our campus. As you all know, our mission is to promote an open, honest, and rational discussion about alternative solutions to our nation's drug problems and I feel many members of our SGA were unable to do so.

If anyone has experienced a similar situation at their school, please contact me.

Students will bring drug prohibition to its knees

Kris Krane, SSDP's executive director, had the following great letter to the editor published in today's New York Times.

New York Drug Laws

Published: March 20, 2006

To the Editor

Re "When It Comes to Drug Laws, the Jokes End," by Clyde Haberman (NYC column, March 14):

More than two decades after President Reagan led the nation into a new "war on drugs," the city's special narcotics prosecutor, Bridget G. Brennan, has finally admitted that we can't "incarcerate our way out of the drug problem." Yet few public officials are willing to propose any sensible solutions to this seemingly intractable problem.

It's time for a new direction in drug policy from all levels of government. Increasingly harsh criminal penalties have failed to protect young people from the dangers of drug addiction. No drug known to man becomes less dangerous to the user or society when its production and distribution are left to criminals and cartels.

Violent crimes associated with drug prohibition could be avoided if government would step in and regulate the market.

Kris Krane
Washington, March 15, 2006
The writer is the executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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