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July 14, 1977 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-07-14

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TO co"Tof

Heroin -the government as pusher

By MARK SCHWARTZ tablishment of "heroin mainte-
nance centers" as a technique
After 50 years of strict heroin for cracking the cycle of drug
prohibition and an estimated ad- addiction and crime.
,dict population of a half mil- Support for such experimen-
lion, a growing number of Am- tal clinics has come from Con-
erican doctors, judges and even sumer's Union, the Ndtional
some police are proposing es- League of Cities, the Drug Abuse
The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Thursday, July 14, 1977
News Phone: 764-0552
VA:* Reasonable doubt,
unreasonable convictions
DESPITE A TOTAL lack of direct evidence, the absence
of motive, and the established good character of
the defendents, Filipina Narciso and Leonora Perez were
found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of six of eight
charges against them. So much for our faith in the Amer-
ican system of justice.
The prosecution admitted all along the case was
based entirely on circumstantial evidence. And the one
piece of direct evidence in the entire trial was totally
That evidence was provided by William Miller, a
patient in the same room with one of the victims. The
victim died later. Miller told the court he definitely saw
suspicious activity by a man in a green surgical suit
with the other patient's intravenous tubes shortly before
that patient's breathing failure and subsequent death.
WILLIAM LOESCH, a victim who survived his breath-
ing failure induced by the drug Pavulon, testified he
remembered another man in green surgical suit fiddling
with his intravenous tubes shortly before his breathing
The prosecution only hinted at, then later disclaimed,.
the most absurd of possible motives: that the nurses
poisoned the patients in an effort to underscore poor
working conditions and understaffing in the Intensive,
Cave Unit ,of the Veterans Administration Hospital.
Now, the nurses could face life sentences for each of
the counts upon which they have been unfairly convict-
ed. According* to their lawyers, they may have no chance
for an appeitl.
The only cleat' hope left for the. two lies in a ,series_
of motions by odefense attorneys ftr. the judge to overt.

Council and committees of the
National District Attorney's As-
sociation and the American Bar
dent Carter's special assistant
on drug abuse, has opened the
door to heroin maintenance pro-
jects. Speaking in San Francis-
co at the annual conference of
the Ford Foundation's Drug
Abuse Council, Bourne declared
such proposals "will get the
same kind of consideration as
any other scientific proposal."
Bourne's statement also open-
ed the door to a storm of con-
troversy from the top of Am-
erica's drug control establish-
ment all the way down to neigh-
borhood treatment clinics in
such cities as New York, Detroit
and Oakland.
Richard Hatcher, the black
mayor of Gary,,Indiana, is one
of the leading proponents of
heroin maintenance experi-
ments. Last year he chaired
the National League of Cities
committee that endorsed such

had increased ten-fold.
It is partially because metha-
done maintenance has had so
little impact on drug addiction,
however, that a strong opposi-
tion has emerged against any
legalized heroin projects.
. SURPRISINGLY, some of the
staunchest resistance has come
not from local police - where
it might be expected - but in-
stead from community groups
and drug counseling programs.
"A band-aid solution" design-
ed to "pacify people" is how
Amos Henix, founder of New
York's Reality House detoxifica-
tion project described the new
proposals. An ex-addict himself,
Hemix adamantly opposes any
scheme to provide heroin to
junkies. And, he says, his neigh-
bors in Harlem are just as de-
"If I can believe what I've
been told, the people are going
to blow them up if the govern-
ment tries to put any clinics
here. The people have had it
as far as these band-aid solu-
tions are concerned. If they

'We would be forfeiting the struggle over
the real issues if we paralyze half a million peo-
ple with heroin and accept the government as

even death penalties are really
in bed with the people who pro-
pose heroin maintenafnce.
'We figure, conser-
vateivel y, that at least
60 p e r c e n t of the
criminal calendar is
drug related. Heroin
maintenance w o u I d
knock out 90 per cent
of the black market.'
-San Francisco
Judge Francis
GARY'S MAYOR Hatcher ad-
mits the major' reason the Na-
tional League of Cities endorsed
heroin maintenance projects is
"they were convinced it could
help control crime"' - a con-
cern expressed most loudly not
in the ghetto but in the middle
class and commercial districts
of the cities.
Frustration with the mounting
crime problem was the key to
a San Diego County grand ju-
ry's recommendation last Au-
gust to establish a network -of
county-run clinics for free hero-
in distribution to registered ad-
The San Diego grand jury de-
nounced expansion of the coun-
ty's $8 million methadone detox-
ification program as "a con-
temptuous and unnecessary ex-
penditure of public funds."
So far, however, the momen-
tum appears to lie with some
form of heroin maintenance, and
the bets among Washington poli-
cy makers are that initial ex-
periments will begin within the
next two years.
"The opponents say heroin
maintenance won't work," sighs
San Francisco's Judge McCarty.
"They say it won't stop the
black market, that it won't stop
addiction. Well, I don't like
negative thinking. Try it!t If
after two or three years it does-
n't work, we'll make modifica-
tions. But we just can't sit back
and do nothing with theintol-
erable situation we're in now."
~ ark 'crwrtz ocaeIy
Itrites for Ibe Psciftc News
Service about drug use ord eO-
tro in Americo.

billion a year on drug
and what we have to sI
it is a half million addi
maybe two million
Hatcher argues. "In effec
already is a heroin main
program - and it's be
erated by the underworld
posed to the governmen
Even more outspoken
Francisco Superior Cour
Francis McCarty, an
-veteran of the bench. "W
between 7,5040 and -20,000
users in - this city," N
THE SORT of progra
:Camty favors.would firstl
heroin, then administer
government-controlled cl
registered addicts free
a few cents a dose,t
undercutting tp profit h
-M um '

-Detroit Judge Justin Ravifz
:NT $3 think they're going to put one
abuse in our community, they better
how for think again."
cts and
users," A COMMITTEE of the Michi-
ct there gan legislature held hearings
tenance last month on a bill proposing
ing op- establishment of a state-run ex-
i as op- perimental maintenance pro-
t. gram.
is ,San Detroit's Recorder's Court
t Judge Judge Justin Ravitz, who made
18-year his reputation working with
fe have militant black union organizers
heroin in the late .'60s, regards the
McCarty proposed system as a clever
maneuver to.."cool out the cit-
rm Mc- "It seems to me that in De-
legalize troit and other big cities we're
r it in reaching the point where com-
Anica to mui ty imnpatience- over jobs
or at andbasic social problems might
thereby not 'be held back any longer.
n black Heroain;maintenance, on the oth-
- er hand, islpart acid .parcelof
govern- the whole repressie approach
imetha- to urban problems hi Ansie rls.-
tatment Those who call for. more cops,
budget bigger prisons, stiffer sentences,

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