Archive for March, 2009

Zero Tolerance in Schools Creating Trauma!

Posted in Education with tags , , , on March 25, 2009 by corecompany

savanna-redding(photo: Chris Hinkle for NY Times)

What happens when schools adopt a zero tolerance policy on drug use? A good idea no doubt – after all, who wants drugs in schools?  The answer is nobody wants drugs in schools, near schools, or at any level of a school system. But is zero tolerance realistic? Is it realistic to think there is ever a drug free system in America? Hardly!  A school in Safford Arizona has tested the zero tolerance policy on one of their students and created quite a stir.

 Savanna Redding was a 13 year old student in Safford, Az., she had no history of disciplinary issues or drug abuse.  Based upon a tip from a snitch facing disciplinary action from school officials after he was caught with Ibuprofin, Savanna was subjected to the schools zero tolerance policy which mandated a strip search by the assistant principal.    The case went to court and Judge Kim McLane of the ninth circuit court of appeals wrote for the majority saying, “It does not take a constitutional scholar to conclude that a nude search of a 13 year old child is an invasion of constitutional rights.” Well said, your honor!  In addition to the constitutional issues how about the child welfare issue? What could be more humiliating or traumatizing for a self -conscious adolescent girl than a strip search at school?  Bra shopping with your dad? That’s just as gross; it’s all so hideous and frankly unbelievable. As a side note, the picture of Savanna in the New York Times conjures thoughts of “I wonder if she babysits?”

When communities, schools, families, any system, draft drug policy with the mindset that it is something that can be controlled, deterred, or punished, it does not create public safety, it creates things like strip searching a 13 year old girl and other horrific by-products. In a sense, the disease wins. Nothing fuels addiction like trauma. The irony is, this measure of safety made Savanna pretty vulnerable to developing a chemical dependency herself.  Zero tolerance is not the answer, awareness and oversight are a much better solution!


Assemblyman Tom Ammiano Cashing in on the 14 Billion Dollar Crop!

Posted in Drug Reform with tags , , on March 13, 2009 by corecompany

tomammianoAssemblyman Tom Ammiano (D San Francisco) introduced legislation to treat the use of Marijuana the same way alcohol is treated. In other words, tax, regulate, and sell to people over the age of 21.

            Cannabis is the largest cash crop in California, estimated at over 14 billion dollars annually. Why then does the state not want its share of this? Clearly someone is smoking it, baking with it, doing something with it.  It makes no sense for the government to attempt to stop production of a product it’s people want and consumes! Consumption of marijuana is a mala prohibita “crime” – one that does not serve the greater good of the community.

            Having spent large portions of my youth in San Francisco, I can say that tit is filled with liberal leaders who have a tradition of creating groundbreaking policy. The earthquakes there seem to extend to cultural paradigms. It is the home of the hippy movement, the center of gay culture, home of Willie Brown and Diane Feinstein. The citizens are warm, friendly and somewhat accepting. However, they can also be smug, glib, entitled and misinformed in the belief that they are liberal. They are not accepting of the bouquet of humanity. Ask a San Franciscan about a conservative John Birch society member of the Orange County community and one is likely to give an intolerant, and superior answer. Do San Franciscans speak for the state of California? Maybe some of it. Do they speak for Californians on this issue? Seems like they do.  It’s highly unlikely that the entire amount of weed smoked in the state is sequestered to the bay area. Too bad weed smokers are too complacent to organize and OC republicans could kill this.  Why? Because their hypocrisy dictates that weed is the intoxicant of Mexicans and they are racist morons, who believe the Mexican population is worthy of mowing their lawns and cooking their food or at least the citizens who bother to vote.

            All of the policy created is successful to the degree that we can be honest about it. To say that we can control the consumption of intoxicants is a lie. We cannot. So go for it California, be the state to break some ground. The good part of San Francisco is they do things like this, so focus on your strengths Assemblyman Ammiano.

Say Yes to McMarijuana President Obama!

Posted in Drug Reform on March 7, 2009 by corecompany


Macro level first step?

             The first step of AA reads “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable”. Of course this was written in the 30’s and an updated version would read powerless over alcohol and other drugs. Is America ready to admit powerlessness?

            For many, the admission of powerless comes from being beaten to a pulp by the unmanageability. Clearly our drug and alcohol policy is unmanageable. Mexican border towns are war zones, but we read about Iraq daily. Prisons swell; community violence traumatizes children, families, and other systems. Unmanageable? You bet it is.

            Steve Huntley, in a Chicago Sun Times article, argues the economic benefits of ending Marijuana prohibition, or ending the denial of the unmanageability of the current laws. Huntley makes a convincing argument but does make a mistake when he says, “Marijuana, however undesirable to some, is not much different than the effects of alcohol”. You are wrong on that point. Marijuana is dramatically safer than alcohol. Though not without it’s risk factors, does anyone really think Marijuana is worse than Alcohol? As a grad student at the University of Illinois, there were on average 200 hospitalizations per semester directly linked to alcohol. Those are the ones documented by the University, who knows what the university didn’t know about. There were zero hospitalizations due to use of Marijuana. Maybe some undergrads laughed their heads off?  Maybe they ate so much, they got sick?

            Maybe the recession will be the straw to break the camels back on this issue. Who cares how people want to get high?  If legalizing marijuana will create a new tax base and free up the burden of punishing a health issue, why would we not do that? C’mon President Obama, lead America into the first step. We are powerless to control the use of this plant.

Minor League Baseball Fails John Odom!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 4, 2009 by corecompany


 John Odom is a tragic tale of addictive disease. He was a young man who played minor league baseball – his claim to fame is that he was once traded to another team in exchange for 10 bats. Humiliating on so many levels!!  He was a far more accomplished athlete than the beer swilling, wal-mart shopping, fat guys making fun of him. His death was ruled an accidental overdose of: heroin, meth, and alcohol. Accidental? Highly unlikely! More than likely young adult male bravado, depression, a lack of contact and supervision, a genetic make-up geared toward alcoholism and of course, trauma.

            Its hard to say what had gone on with this young man, mostly because it’s not likely that anyone asked him what he thought or felt or what challenges he was experiencing.  If they did he likely gave one-word answers, unable to name or articulate what he was feeling.

            He was part of system that not only tolerated drunkenness but also encouraged it.  Clearly minor league baseball is not a mental health agency but was nobody watching him at all? Did he lapse into alcoholism and mental illness before their very eyes? Was there no system to screen for this?  What a tragedy. If he had a physical injury they had something in place to deal with that but it was his mental and emotional injuries that killed him.  Where was the treatment for that?