Saturday, April 15, 2006

Drug Testing Essay Contest

If you are an Oregon High School student, SSDP can help you win $500 for taking a stand against random student drug-testing!
Oregon high school students can win $500 in an essay contest sponsored by the Oregon State Bar.

This year's topic addresses a newly proposed random drug-testing policy at a fictional school district. Applicants are asked to write a persuasive essay arguing for or against the policy.

The Oregon State Bar will provide legal research materials, including an actual case from Oregon's Vernonia School District that went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1995.

The contest topic, resource materials and rules are available through the Oregon State Bar's Web site at or at the bar center, 5200 SW Meadows Road, Lake Oswego, OR 97035. The phone number is (503) 620-0222.

Cash prizes also will be awarded to second- and third-place essays. All Oregon high school students are eligible. The deadline is April 28.
Effective talking points against student drug-testing can be found on SSDP's website. If you are considering writing an essay, don't hesitate to contact SSDP's national office for help: call 202.293.4414 or e-mail

Please forward this message on to those you know in Oregon.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

And the loser is...

...Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), who wrote the HEA Aid Elimination Provision - the law that strips financial aid from college students with drug convictions.

As a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) filed against the U.S. Department of Education, the government released this week the state-by-state breakdown of the nearly 200,000 students who have been denied aid under the penalty.

The state with the highest percentage of college applicants being denied aid for drug convictions? You guessed it: Souder's home state of Indiana.

Ryan Grim has a piece on Slate today.
If this law betters the lives of young people—Souder calls it a way to reduce youth drug use by reducing demand—then no state has done better than Souder's own Indiana. As of August 2005, nearly 9,000 Indianan students—one in 200—have been denied aid since the law passed. That's the highest proportion of students affected in any state by a wide margin. (Click here to see where your state ranks.) A week ago, when the Department of Education released preliminary data, I started calling Martin Green, Souder's spokesman, for a comment on Indiana's stellar showing. He has not returned my calls.

There's another funny thing about the Department of Education's numbers: They don't show the number of college applicants punished for drug convictions. They show the number punished for owning up to drug convictions. On their financial-aid applications, students are asked to check a box if they've been convicted of selling or possessing drugs. But the department has no way to verify students' answers. Officials can cross-check the answers with federal arrest records, but they make up a very small percentage of all drug convictions.

So far, about 190,000 students across the country (and abroad) have told the truth and been denied financial aid. It's impossible to know how many lied and headed off to college, federal aid in hand. Nearly 300,000 student-aid applicants, however, simply ignored the question in 2000-2001, the first school year in which it was asked. After internal debate, the Clinton administration decided to give all these students a pass. (A fitting verdict, perhaps, given Clinton's own equivocal response to questions about drug use.)

The Bush administration reversed this "ask, but don't tell" policy. Beginning in 2001, applicants who have refused to say whether they've been convicted of a drug crime are presumed guilty and bounced from the aid pool. That year, the number of students denied aid quintupled.

When Souder's amendment came up for reconsideration last year, its opponents couldn't muster the votes to get rid of it. They settled for a change that denies federal aid only to students caught getting high while in college. That bill was signed by President Bush as part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. But its future is hazy; it's tied up in court because the House and Senate versions differed slightly. Whatever its fate, the government still won't be able to verify much about a student's drug record. Which means they'll catch fibbing students only if they've had the unusual misfortune of being convicted of a federal crime. A word to the wise, and the not-so-wise: Just Check No.

SSDP will be releasing a report detailing the state-by-state numbers on Monday. Get in touch with us if you'd like to help us get press on this issue in your state.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot...

Remember Lee Paige, that DEA agent who shot himself in the foot while giving a presentation on gun safety to a group of high school students? (The best part is that the gun misfired one second after he said "I'm the only one in this room professional enough that I know of to carry a Glock-40." BOOM!)

Well, he's now suing the DEA for "improperly, illegally, willfully and/or intentionally" releasing the video to the public.

The poor guy claims he's been the "target of jokes, derision, ridicule, and disparaging comments" directed at him in public places like restaurants, grocery stores, and airports. Paige says he was "once regarded as one of the best undercover agents, if not the best, in the DEA." What an arrogant bastard.

He also complains that he can no longer work as an undercover narc since everyone has seen his face on the Internet. Awwwww.

He also states he is no longer "permitted or able to give educational motivational speeches and presentations." Thank God!

National DARE Day - Celebrating Failure


Bush Declares “National D.A.R.E. Day”

Studies Show D.A.R.E. Fails to Keep Kids Off Drugs

President Says “Heckuva Job” Anyway

WASHINGTON, DC – President Bush has declared today, April 11 “National D.A.R.E. Day,” despite federally-funded research showing the popular anti-drug program fails to reduce youth drug use and can actually increase drug use among some teens.

“Rewarding failure doesn’t keep kids off drugs. This is the Drug War equivalent of President Bush congratulating FEMA’s Michael Brown on a ‘heckuva job’ after Hurricane Katrina,” said Kris Krane, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. “Those of us who grew up during the escalation of the War on Drugs know that D.A.R.E.’s failed scare tactics put our generation at greater risk. For most students, the D.A.R.E. program is their first exposure to drugs, which only piques their curiosity.”

A 2003 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that D.A.R.E. has “no statistically significant long-term effect on preventing youth illicit drug use.” In addition, students who participate in D.A.R.E. demonstrate “no significant differences... [in] attitudes toward illicit drug use [or] resistance to peer pressure” compared to children who had not been exposed to the program, the GAO determined.

One study found that suburban students who were exposed to D.A.R.E. had significantly higher levels of drug use than the suburban students who did not go through the program. The U.S. Surgeon General, the National Academy of Science, and the U.S. Department of Education have all criticized D.A.R.E. in recent years.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy is calling on schools around the country to abandon D.A.R.E. and implement science-based education programs that effectively reach kids by teaching them about the real effects and potential harms of drugs without exaggeration or scare tactics.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy, a national organization with college and high school chapters, is committed to providing education on harms caused by the War on Drugs, working to involve youth in the political process, and promoting an open, honest, and rational discussion of alternative solutions to our nation's drug problems.

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Marijuana PROHIBITION Violence

The Drug Czar's "blog" highlights a story about a shootout that took place at a marijuana garden in Arkansas as evidence that marijuana causes violence.

What absurdism!

Such tragic gunfights would never happen under a legal, regulated market for marijuana. When's the last time you saw beer distributors shooting each other over who gets to stock a specific store?