PRESS RELEASE – UNIVERSITY STUDY OF REENTRY
Citizens for Criminal Justice, based in Dover, DE, is pleased to announce that its founder and former Deputy Attorney General, Ken Abraham, is participating in a University of Delaware (sociology department) study of reentry and those who assist people in reentry.
One of their points of interest is “what motivates those who assist people in reentry?”. Having counseled thousands of people in reentry through his daily work, and with his vast and varied experience with the criminal justice system (former prosecutor, defense attorney, addict, prisoner, probationer, victim of prison abuse) Mr. Abraham is a wealth of reliable information for the study.
The first Zoom interview was a great success, and more will follow. With about 9,000 people on probation or parole in Delaware, and more than 3 million Americans on probation or parole nationwide, the issues are important to everyone.
“Mr. Greed” got hold of this doctor. With all of the pill mills which have been prosecuted, he was stupid to do it. He should get, and probably will get, prison time.
Excerpts from the Article:
A doctor who operated a pain clinic in Milford has been convicted of more than a dozen federal drug offenses tied to his practice’s dispensing of addictive and dangerous opioids.
A federal jury on Wednesday found Dr. Patrick Titus guilty of 13 crimes for knowingly dispensing narcotics without a legitimate medical purpose as well as one charge for maintaining Lighthouse Internal Medicine, the practice he operated in Milford from 2005 to 2014, primarily as an outlet for selling drugs.
At trial, prosecutors argued that Titus gave out dangerous prescriptions without rendering meaningful medical care while both ignoring warning signs of patient abuse and raking in cash from those patients.
His defense attorneys argued the Air Force veteran was acting in good faith to help people in pain. “We are going to continue to fight this case vigorously as we did in the courtroom and now on appeal,” said Edson Bostic, an attorney defending Titus.
After two weeks of trial, jurors convicted Titus of dispensing narcotics outside the realm of medicine to 13 separate patients, a small sample of many that often paid cash for his services.
Read more about those patients and why federal prosecutors felt his practice was a “drug dealing operation dressed up as a doctor’s office” in the story linked here.
The case against him is another chapter in the government’s efforts to seek accountability for those who created an opioid crisis that killed more than 400 Delawareans last year.
Also on Wednesday, the state announced it will receive some $100 million as part of a nationwide lawsuit settlement with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, as well as three major medical distributors – Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen.
Another grim reminder that we are foolishly maintaining policies which do not work … i. e. the War on Drugs!
Excerpts from the Article:
Deaths from drug overdoses soared to more than 93,000 last year, a staggering record that reflects the coronavirus pandemic’s toll on efforts to quell the crisis and the continued spread of the synthetic opioid fentanyl in the illegal narcotic supply, the government reported Wednesday.
The death toll jumped by more than 21,000, or nearly 30 percent, from 2019, according to provisional data released by the National Center for Health Statistics, eclipsing the record set that year.
The increase came as no surprise to addiction specialists, drug counselors and policy experts who have watched the steady rise in deaths throughout the pandemic. But that did not make the statistics any less horrifying.
“Every one of those people, somebody loved them,” said Keith Humphreys, a psychiatry professor at Stanford University and an expert on addiction and drug policy. “It’s terrifying. It’s the biggest increase in overdose deaths in the history of the United States, it’s the worst overdose crisis in the history of the United States, and we’re not making progress. It’s really overwhelming.”
The estimated number of overdose deaths reached 93,331 in 2020, according to the new data. Annual final numbers usually differ little from provisional figures like those released Wednesday. More than 900,000 people have died of overdoses since the U.S. drug epidemic began in about 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Center for Health Statistics is part of the CDC.
Opioids, primarily illegal fentanyl, continued to drive the death toll, as they have for years. Overdose deaths involving opioids reached 69,710 in 2020, up from 50,963 in 2019, according to the data. Deaths from methamphetamine and cocaine also rose.
Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in an interview that fentanyl has so thoroughly infiltrated the illegal drug supply that 70 percent of cocaine overdose deaths and 50 percent of methamphetamine overdose deaths also involved fentanyl.
In many cases, she said, users are unaware that their drugs are laced with the powerful painkiller, which can halt breathing even if a minute amount is ingested. In other cases, users knowingly take multiple drugs.
“Most of the deaths are from multiple drugs,” she said.
But unlike past years, 2020 brought the added complications of a worldwide viral pandemic. Health-care resources were stretched and redirected toward the emergency. Anti-addiction medication was more difficult to obtain. Stress increased dramatically. Users were more isolated, leading to additional overdoses because other people were not nearby to summon first responders or administer the opioid antidote naloxone, experts said.
“The pandemic has led to increased substance use across the board, as people have sought to manage stress, isolation, boredom, anxiety, depression, unemployment, relationship and child care issues, and housing instability,” Kimberly Sue, medical director of the National Harm Reduction Coalition, an advocacy group that tries to prevent overdose deaths, said in an email.
The most populous state, California, saw an increase in fatalities of 45.9 percent from December 2019 to December 2020, according to the new data. In Vermont, deaths rose by 57.6 percent, the largest increase in the country, followed closely by Kentucky at 53.7 percent.
The White House has insisted that battling the overdose epidemic is an “urgent priority,” laying out a first-year slate of goals that include boosting harm reduction efforts and strengthening recovery supports. Biden’s proposed budget also calls for investing $41 billion in national drug program agencies — about $670 million more than the enacted FY 2021 level — with increased funding for evidence-based treatment and prevention services.
Volkow said the country must continue to remove obstacles that make it difficult for users to gain access to addiction medications such as methadone, buprenorphine and monthly injections of naltrexone.
The area of this shooting has long been known as the place in Dover to buy illegal drugs. As I have said hundreds of times, until the demand is reduced, there always will be a supply, with rip offs, battles for turf, etc., and the tragic carnage will continue!
Excerpts from the Article:
The Dover Police Department has released the name of a man killed in a late Wednesday night shooting that also left several other people injured.
Officers identified the victim as 19-year-old Tysean Nelson, also of Dover, Del. He was located a short distance from the location of the shooting and was declared deceased at the scene.
Police said that shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday, officers were called to the 100 block of South New Street, where they found multiple people shot.
Based on shell casings, police say at least 47 shots were fired. Officers arrived on the scene within 40 seconds of the shooting. They began rendering aid to the victims immediately.
Police say Nelson’s body was found in a vacant lot nearby. Three additional victims were struck by gunfire and are currently undergoing treatment or have been released from Bayhealth Kent General Hospital. A 40-year-old woman from Dover transported herself to the hospital with a leg injury. A 39-year-old man and a 22-year-old man, both from Dover, were transported to Bayhealth Kent General Hospital by ambulance for treatment of their injuries.
According to police, a large crowd gathered around the shooting. Officers from Camden, Wyoming, Capitol, and Delaware State Police assisted in crime scene security and crowd management.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Dover Police Department at 302-736-7111. Callers may remain anonymous.
Good, but not enough. $40 million is a drop in the bucket for a company with 2020 revenue of $394 million. Why are some of it’s executives not criminally charged?!
Excerpts from the Article:
E-cigarette company Juul agreed to pay North Carolina $40 million to settle allegations that the company aggressively marketed its products to young people, leading to addiction to high-nicotine vapes, Attorney General Josh Stein announced Monday.
North Carolina is the first state to reach a settlement with Juul for allegedly targeting youth through social media advertisements and other outlets, and fueling a sharp rise in youth vaping. Another 13 states and D.C. also have sued the e-cigarette company.
“For years, JUUL targeted young people, including teens, with its highly addictive e-cigarette,” Stein said in a statement. “It lit the spark and fanned the flames of a vaping epidemic among our children — one that you can see in any high school in North Carolina.”
The consent order also imposes several marketing restrictions, including barring the company from engaging in most social media advertising, having outdoor advertising near schools, and sponsoring sporting events and concerts. Juul has been voluntarily adhering to many of those restrictions, but the consent order gives them the force of law in North Carolina.
The agreement took on a national perspective when Stein urged the FDA to prohibit all non-tobacco flavors, including menthol, in e-cigarettes and to limit the level of nicotine in e-cigarette products, and to impose marketing restrictions to prevent youth appeal.
Juul has been at the center of the e-cigarette controversy since youth vaping began to increase sharply beginning in 2017, drawing the ire of the Food and Drug Administration and anti-tobacco advocates. In fall 2019, the company stopped selling flavored vaping pods except tobacco and menthol.
Under the settlement with North Carolina, Juul agreed not to sell sweet and fruity flavored e-cigarettes unless it was authorized to do so by the FDA.
Stein said Juul will pay the $40 million over the next six years to the state, which will use the money to fund programs to help young people quit e-cigarettes and to underwrite research on e-cigarettes.
Stein’s investigation began in 2018. He sued the company in 2019 for allegedly targeting young people in designing, marketing and selling its e-cigarettes and for misrepresenting the potency and danger of nicotine in its products. His office said most documents from the case will be made public by July of next year and maintained by a North Carolina public university to help with research efforts.
Now, Juul and other e-cigarette companies are awaiting word from the Food and Drug Administration about whether their products can remain on the market. The FDA is supposed to decide by early September, but it isn’t clear whether it will make that deadline.
Matthew L. Myers, president and chief executive of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, praised the North Carolina settlement as a positive step but said it is “time for FDA to act.” Only the FDA, he said, “has the authority to prohibit the sale of the flavored and high-nicotine e-cigarettes that are fueling the youth e-cigarette epidemic.”
He said in a statement that allowing Juul to continue to sell flavored e-cigarettes would be an “abdication of the FDA’s responsibility.”
The FDA has said it will prioritize applications from companies with the biggest market shares, suggesting that Juul is at the top of the list.
I want to know why some J & J executives are not in prison! Of course, we do know why: they spend millions of dollars lobbying all manner of officials and contributing to their campaigns, 🙁 I call this “legal bribery”.
Excerpts from the Article:
Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $230 million to New York state to settle claims that the pharmaceutical giant helped fuel the opioid crisis, Attorney General Letitia James said on Saturday.
The drugmaker also agreed to permanently end the manufacturing and distribution of opioids across New York and the rest of the nation, James said in a statement announcing the settlement.
The company “helped fuel this fire, but today they’re committing to leaving the opioid business — not only in New York, but across the entire country,” she said.
The deal involving a lawsuit brought by James in 2019 removes Johnson & Johnson from a trial that is slated to begin next week on Long Island — part of a slew of litigation over an epidemic linked to nearly 500,000 deaths over the last two decades.
In its own statement on Saturday, Johnson & Johnson downplayed the attorney general’s announcement. It said the settlement involved two prescription painkillers — developed by a subsidiary and accounting for less than 1% of the market — that are already no longer sold in the U.S. The settlement was “not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by the company,” Johnson & Johnson said. It added that its actions “relating to the marketing and promotion of important prescription pain medications were appropriate and responsible.”
The settlement was the latest development in the complicated universe of opioid-related lawsuits across the U.S. that has drawn comparisons to the multistate litigation against tobacco companies in the 1990s. It reflects a path being taken by some big drug companies that see settling as in their best interests, in part because that route would likely not cost as much as losing in court repeatedly.
Johnson & Johnson — along with distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson — made public last year that they were offering a total of $26 billion over 18 years to settle all the cases they face, with the money going to abate the crisis.
Opening the whole article will confirm why a picture is worth a thousand words. More press coverage of the most clearly cataclysmically failed policy in our history!
Excerpts from the Article:
June 17 marks 50 years since Richard M. Nixon declared drugs “America’s public enemy number one.” Perhaps no political decision has had a greater impact on Latin America’s recent past and present. Now journalists from the region are examining the failed policies of the war on drugs.
The power of language during moments of conflict can be a double-edged sword. Edward R. Murrow, for example, described how Winston Churchill “mobilized the English language and sent it into battle” during the darkest hours of World War II. There was no better general to stoke the fires of the heroism that led to the decisive victories against the Nazis.
A few days ago, my son-in-law told me that he was on a walk with my daughter and grandson in the center of São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, when a group of police officers approached them. My 2-year-old grandson didn’t understand why the officers were pointing a gun at his father. I am 40 years older than him, and I don’t understand it either, much less accept it, although I know that situations like this are frequent in Brazil. Unlike my son-in-law, I don’t usually go through this. But I’m White. He’s Black.
There’s an old saying: The definition of insanity is trying the same strategy repeatedly, while expecting different results. This is precisely what Colombia has been doing with its illicit coca crops: returning over and over, as we have during the 50-year-long war on drugs, to the aerial spraying of these crops, fruitlessly hoping they disappear.
Wherever you walk in Honduras, you are most likely in drug trafficking territory. For half a century, this country has been the Central American base for drug trafficking. Organized crime has infiltrated all institutions. If a Honduran comes across any authority — police, mayor, congressman — chances are that figure has commitments to organized crime. However, the Honduran drug trade has moved in step with the United States’ interests.
In January 2007, just a few weeks after beginning his mandate and declaring the war on drugs, Felipe Calderón, then president of Mexico, went to a military base in the state of Michoacán dressed as a soldier. There, he praised the military on the first operations of the strategy that would mark the narrative of a country that had replaced Colombia as the epicenter of drug cartel activity. From that display of premature triumphalism, the only thing that has remained in these 15 years has been the overlap between civilian and military power represented in the presidential uniform. The rest of Calderón’s discourse has been a self-fulfilling prophecy: The country that he made up, mired in a security emergency by the power of drug lords, is now suffering the most violent years in modern history.
So it goes in America: steal hundreds of thousands of dollars and you get a couple of years. Steal a loaf of bread, and if you’re Black, you get 50 years in prison. This actually happened to a man in CA under their “3 strike rule”!
Excerpts from the Article:
Former United Auto Workers president Gary Jones was sentenced to 28 months in prison for scheming to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars in union dues.
U.S. District Judge Paul Borman in Detroit sentenced the 64-year-old Jones on Thursday. Prosecutors sought 28 months in prison, lower than federal sentencing guidelines of 46 to 57 months. They cited Jones’ acceptance of responsibility and cooperation in a wide-ranging federal corruption probe of the union. But they also said the sentence should be enough to deter future corruption.
Jones’ lawyer also pointed to his cooperation and said most of the crimes happened before he was named president. Jones apologized to the court, the union and his family and said he failed them.
Another absurd outcome of our catastrophically failed “war on drugs”! We must eliminate the demand with smart, effective ads about the dangers of drugs, or we will never stop the supply!
READ The Power of Advertising – Win the “War on Drugs” – UPDATED 9/22/20
Excerpts from the Article:
The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman pleaded guilty Thursday to charges in the U.S. and admitted that she helped her husband run his multibillion-dollar criminal empire.
Emma Coronel Aispuro, wearing a green jail uniform, appeared in federal court in Washington and pleaded guilty to three federal offenses as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors.The charges include knowingly and willfully conspiring to distribute heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine for several years. She also pleaded guilty to a money-laundering conspiracy charge and to engaging in transactions with a foreign narcotics trafficker.
The 31-year-old was arrested in February at Dulles International Airport in Virginia and has been jailed since then.
“She is very happy to put this behind her,” Coronel Aispuro’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, said outside the courthouse. “She didn’t expect to get arrested after her husband received life in prison. So, this is obviously a troubling time. But we’re going to get past it.”
Prosecutors have alleged Coronel Aispuro “worked closely with the command-and-control structure” of the Sinaloa cartel and conspired to distribute large quantities of drugs, knowing they would be smuggled into the U.S.
As Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Guzman ran a cartel responsible for smuggling cocaine and other drugs into the United States during his 25-year reign, prosecutors say. They also said his “army of sicarios,” or “hit men,” was under orders to kidnap, torture and kill anyone who got in his way.
The prosecutor, Anthony Nardozzi, said his wife had “aided and abetted” the Sinaloa cartel’s objectives to smuggle drugs into the U.S. and helped to import more than 450,000 kilograms of cocaine, 90,000 kilograms of heroin, 45,000 kilograms of methamphetamine and about 90,000 kilograms of marijuana.
Lichtman insisted that Coronel Aispuro was a “very minimal participant” in the drug empire. “She was a very small part of this much larger thing,” he said
Her arrest earlier this year was a surprise in part because authorities had made no move to arrest her over the past two years, even after she was implicated in her husband’s crimes. During Guzman’s trial in 2019, prosecutors said she helped orchestrate Guzman’s two prison breaks in Mexico.
Nardozzi said Coronel Aispuro “served as a go-between” to deliver messages to cartel members after her husband was arrested and also conspired with Guzman’s sons to “plan and coordinate” his prison escapes.
“Yes,” she said through a translator, when asked by the judge if she had actually committed the crimes the government described.
Litchman said his client did not agree to cooperate with federal investigators but hoped she would receive below a statutory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison when she is due back in court in September for sentencing.
Though legally correct, this is a bad decision because the result is UNFAIR. Congress should revisit this issue and fix the problem!
Excerpts from the Article:
A widely touted 2018 law aimed at reducing sentences for drug offenders and addressing racial disparities in punishment offers no relief to many serving long federal prison terms, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday.
The justices held that while the First Step Act allows retroactive reductions for those serving mandatory-minimum drug sentences, it does not apply to cases where judges had greater discretion but still imposed long terms.
The decision means some sentenced for distribution of relatively small quantities of crack cocaine may see no benefit from the law, while those who dealt larger amounts got their sentences shortened by an average of almost six years.
Justice Clarence Thomas disposed of the case in a relatively brief, eight-page opinion that said the law was unambiguous and the arguments to broaden it were contorted.
“We will not convert nouns to adjectives and vice versa,” Thomas wrote.
The case that reached the high court involved a Florida resident, Tarahrick Terry, who was convicted in 2008 of an offense involving about 4 grams of crack cocaine. Terry was not sentenced under the federal guidelines for drug offenses, but others covering defendants deemed to be “career offenders.” He got a 15-year term, which was the bottom of the recommended range.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor filed a separate opinion, saying she agreed with her colleagues’ reading of the law but could not endorse Thomas’ recitation of the history of penalties for crack cocaine and the discrepancy with the treatment of powdered cocaine, including Congress’ decision in 1986 to impose 100 times greater punishment on crack offenders.
“It includes an unnecessary, incomplete, and sanitized history of the 100-to-1 ratio,” Sotomayor said of Thomas’ opinion. “The full history is far less benign.”