Senate Organization Chart for the 114th Congress

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http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/reference/e_one_section_no_teasers/org_chart.htm

The Virtual Reference Desk provides resources about Senate Leadership, committees, and officers.

 

Alex Garland’s Black Lives Matter 2015: Activists March Through Seattle’s Central District in Protest for Police Accountability

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http://thedignityvirus.com/2015/01/10/black-lives-matter-activsts-march-through-seattles-central-district-in-protest-for-police-accountability/

More than 150 activists marched from Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park to the King County Juvenile Detention Center on 12th Ave. in Seattle during a demonstration for police accountability.

Activists took to the streets, stopping at several intersections along the way for moments of silence and speak-outs. Support was shown as the protest marched down Rainier Ave. as people put their fists up or raised hands in a sign of solidarity.

From the Facebook event page…

“We, as young people, have chosen to come forth and call out the many inequalities within the current Criminal Justice System. This system has blatantly devalued, dehumanized, and dismissed people of color. The Black and African-American Communities in the United States have especially been targeted. We are outraged with this systemic failure.

To not act is an injustice within itself. As citizens we need to step up and no longer allow law enforcement to abuse our powers. The current state of the Criminal Justice System has increased persecution of Black and African-American people.

We will no longer tolerate the mistreatment, lack of support, and denied opportunities for this community. We are addressing these issues through peaceful protests, unifying actions, and productive dialogues.

We invite law enforcement, elected officials, and community members to join the movement towards police accountability.

In order to ensure the mission of this protest is accurately portrayed we have come up with some guidelines. They are as follows:

***NO VIOLENCE***
• Do NOT touch the police officers
• Do NOT deface/destroy city or private property
• Do NOT move city or private property

If you do not follow these guidelines you will be asked to stop. If your actions continue you will be asked to leave.”

Peace & Love,
Women of Color for Systemic Change

“Black Lives Matter.” – Protest for Police Accountability

420 Leaks: Washington State I-502 MMJ Law Scandal

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From Washington State activist John Novak January 9, 2015:

This article includes a large number of links to public records, news articles and other information. If this email does not contain all the hyperlinks, please go to the following links..Please be patient as the site is experiencing heavy volume of visitors and is being adjusted accordingly.

Online at: http://420leaks.com/?p=689
On Facebook at:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/420leaks/i-502-opma-mmj-public-records-and-the-partnership/761929917211137

(We will follow up this email soon with our proposed solutions.)

Subject: I-502: OPMA, MMJ, Public Records and the “Partnership”

By John Worthington (background research also by Arthur West, John Novak)
(All exhibit links to box.com are from public record files in PDF format)
One of the main goals of Initiative I-502, as originally written and passed, was allegedly to create a policy change from enforcing marijuana crimes, to properly enforcing property crimes by ‘legalizing” marijuana for persons over 21.
Once the “legalization” initiative passed, the marijuana prohibition stakeholders, AKA the “partnership” went to work to reverse the policy goals outlined in I-502. (Exhibit 1 https://app.box.com/s/rmgcsqu9eknlx5zbp7o9 )
The “partnership” immediately orchestrated numerous secret meetings for I-502 implementation, to further remarket the marijuana prohibition bureaucracy and directed the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) take steps to get rid of medical marijuana.
 
Despite the best efforts to hide these meetings, enough information began to leak out to the marijuana activists, that they were able piece together how the “partnership,” influenced the WSLCB. The documents they obtained show how the “partnership” set out to increase local law enforcement funding and de-incentivize medical marijuana.
These public records obtained by various individuals and advocacy groups also show the subversion began with the secret Association of Washington Cities (AWC – a non-profit made up of corporations and government agencies) and law enforcement meetings with the Washington State Liquor Control Board.
The messages and goals for this new Meta organization was clear, get rid of medical marijuana, and divert I-502 revenue to the cities and counties.
According to the notes from these secret Liquor Control Board meetings with local, state and federal agencies set up by the AWC, medical marijuana was no longer needed because the State now had a “legal” marijuana system.
The notes also described in detail how the “partnership” wanted medical marijuana to be repealed and also wanted local law enforcement budget increases. The LCB then took this agenda to the editorial boards of newspapers around the state. (Exhibit 2 https://app.box.com/s/o4cips7jho2mejgho5cs See also https://app.box.com/s/asxmcnzjp2zxj4fbksxe)
The WSLCB arranged to have the legislature “give them cover”, by creating legislation that would allow them a “place at the table,” for medical marijuana discussions. This strategy is outlined in an email from WSLCB board member Chris Marr to the agency director, Rick Garza. (Exhibit 3 https://app.box.com/s/di9dkswq8v250c5ihs8u )
The email from Marr also introduced the other players in the Meta leadership. These players, knowing or unknowing, were Senator Ann Rivers and I-502 entrepreneur Ezra Eickmeyer. (Exhibit 4 https://app.box.com/s/y90s7ff4z4sho6s8wxb0 )
 
Eickmeyer, through Senator Rivers, proceeded to draft SB 5887, which proposed to create a medical marijuana work group, however, the bill did not pass.
Senator Rivers and Eickmeyer then acted to get a medical marijuana work group passed “Amendment #224” in the state’s budget bill, SB 5034, to which Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles objected to because “too many conclusions would be drawn behind closed doors. Senator Kohl-Welles put out an email on June 2, 2014 addressing concerns about the process.

“It has also has resulted in a high level of concern on the part of many patient and other advocacy groups — including even outright opposition being expressed in rallies and demonstrations. I am concerned that we would be handing over too much of our responsibility to a regulatory agency. I also worry that too many conclusions would be drawn behind closed doors, and that the process for creating these rules would circumvent public input.

In many ways, the LCB has a vested interest in diverting business from the medical collectives now operating and into the retail stores when they open early next year. It is easy to argue the LCB also has a vested interest in wanting to add to its regulatory scope, and bring the medical cannabis industry into its system. This may turn out to be the end result down the road, or it may be determined that another state agency should have that responsibility.

For these and other reasons, I think it best to have the LCB focus on its task at hand, that given to them by the voters in approving I-502 — an initiative that specifically mentions it will have no effect on medical cannabis laws.”

Meanwhile, the rest of the “partnership” worked behind the scenes to create law enforcement funding legislation for the “partnership.” The Washington State Patrol’s Investigative Assistance Division (IAD), was tasked to help “shape” I-502 policy. (Exhibit 6 https://app.box.com/s/eepfhipts7ty6svlvxzp )
The IAD is staffed by officers considered to be loaned state employees to the federal government subject to the Westfall and Federal Tort Claims Act.
Essentially, the federal government also had a hand in I-502 secret rulemaking process through the cross designated members of the WSP and in direct meetings with the DEA and U.S. Attorney’s office.
Soon after the passage of initiative I-502, the broad and powerful “partnership” had managed to convert the policy goals of redirecting law enforcement funding to property crimes to adding local law enforcement funding and getting rid of medical marijuana.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board had arranged its “place at the table”, and the “partnership”, managed to set forth a mechanism to glean law enforcement funding increases and interfere with medical marijuana laws when I-502 appeared to advertise just the opposite. (Exhibit 7 https://app.box.com/s/uhke9k9wda5tdjsx93cs )
For its part the work group, began its job of eliminating or de-incentivizing medical marijuana under the guise of merging it with recreational marijuana. (Exhibit 8 https://app.box.com/s/rdkfowosyuwyzodgyzs4 )
The medical marijuana work group had the same open public meetings problem as the I-502 implementation process. They also did not want the public to hear who it was they were working with in private and publically show how they arrived at its decisions.
The Governor’s office, with help from the local U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan did their part by making sure the public knew that the medical marijuana situation was “untenable”. (Exhibit 9 https://app.box.com/s/c5m8ogtl8hod59lmewbr )
The urgency for a “robust” regulatory system for marijuana was further ratcheted up with the use of a document referred to as the “Cole Memorandum”, which was actually requested by the LCB, and not a mandate generated by the U.S. Attorney’s office at the request of the Governor’s office. (Exhibit 10 https://app.box.com/s/o4cips7jho2mejgho5cs )
The following legislative session in 2014, SB 5887 and a new bill from Senator Jeanne Kohl Welles SB 6178, offered two approaches on how to integrate and de-incentivize medical marijuana. Representative Eileen Cody also proposed HB 2149 that same legislative session.
 
All of the bills contained language which highlighted the recommendations of the medical marijuana working group. The battle of killing medical marijuana in the 2014 legislative session began in earnest.
The legislators had several major hurdles to clear in order to kill medical marijuana. The most formidable of which was the fiscal impacts of the “robust” regulatory system which now included more law enforcement funding not included in the I-502 earmarks.
The fiscal notes to the Ways and Means and House Finance committees, which were put forth at the last second, did not include the actual cost of implementing the ratcheted up “robust” marijuana regulatory scheme.
Furthermore, the small business impact studies were incomplete further misleading the actual financial impact of the medical marijuana killing legislation.
Some legislators refused to consider more law enforcement funding because the initiative claimed to be saving money on law enforcement funding. (Exhibit 11 https://app.box.com/s/j9aq6xp77d3ut7fdlg1v )
 
“The argument for the initiative was that it’s going to lower public safety costs, and now they’re saying it’s going to increase public safety costs with absolutely no data. (It’s) troubling,” said House Finance Committee Chairman Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) in an interview.
Many marijuana activists claimed victory when all the medical marijuana bills failed to pass out of the 2014 legislative session.
The 2015 legislative session is underway and the legislature should be informed of what the I-502 rule making process has become so they can properly achieve policy goals set forth by the public.

U.S. Sailors Won Key Court Decision to go Forward with Class Action Lawsuit Against Tepco

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http://fukushima-diary.com/2014/11/u-s-sailors-won-key-court-decision-go-forward-class-action-tepco-ge-toshiba-hitachi-etc/

U.S. Sailors won key court decision to go forward with class action against Tepco, GE, Toshiba and Hitachi etc.

 Following up this article.. The US Navy sailors’ complaint refers to Fukushima Diary [URL]

The federal judge, Janis L. Sammartino published the decision to let U.S Navy Sailors go forward with the United States District Court in San Diego against Tepco. Tepco was insisting the court should be in Japan because most of the “witnesses are in Japan”, and “the Japanese government may refuse to disclose crucial information or make witnesses available in a U.S. court”.

However the Federal judge concluded it should be in U.S court for the plaintiffs’ “radiation related injuries,” which they claim would prevent them from traveling to Japan at all.  The court also considered “The U.S. also has a strong interest in seeing that members of the Armed Forces are compensated for their service. Especially as it is the V.A. system and the U.S. taxpayers who will ultimately pay for the injuries to Plaintiffs.”

Fukushima Diary was directly informed of this by Paul C. Garner, ESQ., the attorney of the plaintiffs.

 

By having the court in U.S, the Sailors can go forward with Class Action. Up to 70,000 U.S. citizens were potentially affected by the radiation and will be able to join the class action suit. This “Class Action” is not granted in Japanese court. It can be the major reason why Tepco tried to transfer the case from U.S. to Japan so they can minimize the compensation value.

 

Additionally, the Court granted TEPCO’s motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ design defect claim of the nuclear plant, however the court admitted the plaintiffs to add more defendants to consist of General Electric, EBASCO, Toshiba, Hitachi and the builders of Fukushima nuclear reactors.

 

In the decision, the court agreed with Plaintiffs that their Complaint is not barred by the firefighter’s rule. As alleged, the nuclear accident was independent of the earthquake that summoned the U.S. Navy. Although the Fukushima plant meltdown occurred in part due to the earthquake and tsunami, Plaintiffs allege the ultimate failure of Fukushima plant was a result of TEPCO’s inadequate preparation for a foreseeable natural disaster and negligence in designing and maintaining the Fukushima plant.

 

The amended pleading shall be filed by 11/18/2014.

Cooper-Order on Motion to Dismiss Sac102814

Cooper-second Tepco Press Release

 

_____

Français :

Les marins US gagnent une décision judiciaire clé pour avancer dans leur recours collectif contre Tepco, GE, Toshiba, Hitachi etc.

 

Article lié : La plainte des marins de l’US Navy fait référence au Fukushima Diary

Le juge fédéral Janis L. Sammartino a pris la décision de laisser avancer les marins de l’US Navy contre Tepco à la United States District Court de San Diego. Tepco insistait pour que la cour soit au Japon parce que “la plupart des témoins sont au Japon” et que “le gouvernement japonais pourrait refuser de donner des informations cruciales ou empêcher les témoins de se rendre dans une cour américaine”. Le juge fédéral a néanmoins conclu que ce serait dans une cour américaine pour les “blessures liées à la radioactivité” des plaignants qu’ils affirment pouvoir les empêcher de faire le voyage jusqu’au Japon. La cour a aussi considéré que “Les U.S. ont également fort intérêt à voir les membres des forces armées indemnisées pour avoir rempli leur mission. En particulier attendu que c’est l’administration des vétérants et les contribuables américains qui, au final, payeront les indemnisations aux plaignants”.

Le Fukushima Diary en a été directement informé par M. Paul C. Garner, ESQ., le représentant des plaignants.

Les marins peuvent aller plus loin dans leur action collective en ayant leur cour aus U.S.A. Jusqu’à 70 000 citoyens américains ont été potentiellement affectées par la radioactivité et seront en mesure de se joindre à l’action collective. Les “actions collectives” n’existent pas dans la juridiction japonaise. C’est sans doute la raison essentielle pour laquelle Tepco a tenté de déplacer le procès au Japon, pour réduire le montant des indemnisations.

En outre, la Cour a accédé à la requête de TEPCO de rejeter la demande des plaignants de défaut de conception dans la centrale, néanmoins la cour a autorisé les plaignants à ajouter d’autres inculpations de sociétés telles que General Electric, EBASCO, Toshiba, Hitachi et les constructeurs des réacteurs de la centrale nucléaire de Fukushima.

Dans sa décision, la cour a reconnu aux plaignants que leur plainte n’est pas interdite par la règle des pompiers. Comme présumé, l’accident nucléaire a été indépendant du séisme à l’origine de l’intervention de la marine américaine. Les plaignants prétendent que l’effondrement de la centrale nucléaire de Fukushima a fondamentalement été du à la préparation inadéquate de TEPCO à une catastrophe naturelle prévisible et à leur négligence dans la conception et l’exploitation de la centrale de Fukushima même si les fusions dans la centrale de Fukushima sont en partie dues au séisme et au tsunami.

La plaidoirie amendée sera déposée vers le 18 novembre 2014.

Cooper-Instruction sur la Motion de débout Sac102814

 

 

 

High Levels of Radiation Found at Fukushima, 460,000 Bq/L; Removing fuel in Unit 1 Storage Pool to Start 2017 — NHK World

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annapurnajaya:

  • High levels of radiation found at Fukushima, 460,000 Bq/L; Removing fuel in unit 1 storage pool to start 2017 — NHK World

***Note from Anna: Sometimes I rant,  hence the origin of my blog name. So this is for all of the scientists, farmers, educators, politicians, parents, doctors, and advocate in the United States:

1. YOU CAN’T GROW ANYTHING WITH SEVERELY RADIOACTIVE WATER. 2017 is TOO LATE FOR A CLEANUP.

2. THERE ARE FIFTY-FIVE NUCLEAR REACTORS ON A SET OF ISLANDS THAT CAN FIT ENTIRELY WITHIN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA. AN EARTHQUAKE SWARM WILL PUT JAPAN COMPLETELY UNDER WATER AND FILL THE WORLD WITH RADIOACTIVE CLOUDS.

3. THE MOX FUEL BEING RELEASE ***CANNOT*** BE CLEANED WITH CURRENT TECHNOLOGY. YOUR KIDS ARE GOING TO BE STERILE, YOUR CROPS ARE GOING TO DIE, AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH DOCTORS WORLDWIDE TO TREAT ALL THE CANCER PATIENTS  BECAUSE THE DOCTORS WILL HAVE CANCER TOO!!!

4. THE POLITICIANS IN BOTH COUNTRIES HAVE *DELIBERATELY* FAILED US. THEIR ACTIONS  ARE ACTS OF MASS MURDER AND TREASON.

5. GENERAL ELECTRIC AND TEPCO ARE 100% CULPABLE AND NEED TO IMMEDIATE PAY FOR THE EVACUATION AND RELOCATION OF ALL JAPANESE CITIZENS TO SAFE HAVENS.

By 2015 you realize what everyone has been saying when the following things start to occur:

Widespread immune, neurological, and muscular disorders.

Soldiers from Japan being deactivated from service due to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancers.

Mass heart attacks.

Mass outbreaks of cancer similar to what is currently happening in Malibu, California.

Widespread crops death including vegetables, fruits, wheat, hemp, and marijuana. You can’t grow organic medications if your crops are contaminated.

Inability to create medicine to handle the creation of new medicines because the researchers and scientists will also be getting sick and dying.

Outbreaks in crimes and cultural misunderstandings as sick people from Japan come seeking safe haven, which they should ABSOLUTELY get because AMERICA was complicit in poisoning them. if the situation was reversed American citizens would want, and demand, the same kind of help.

Budgetary crashes resulting in lack of FEMA or police resources.

You’ve been warned. DO SOMETHING!

 

 

Originally posted on Japan Safety : Nuclear Energy Updates:

View original

Law Lets I.R.S. Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required

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http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/law-lets-irs-seize-accounts-on-suspicion-no-crime-required/ar-BBbbfW3?ocid=mailsignout

The New York Times SHAILA DEWAN October 26, 2014
Carole Hinders at her modest, cash-only Mexican restaurant in Arnolds Park, Iowa. Last year tax agents seized her funds. © Angela Jimenez for The New York Times Carole Hinders at her modest, cash-only Mexican restaurant in Arnolds Park, Iowa. Last year tax agents seized her funds. ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa — For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her funds, almost $33,000.The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.“How can this happen?” Ms. Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”The federal government does.Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes.

The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up and settle the case for a portion of their money.

“They’re going after people who are really not criminals,” said David Smith, a former federal prosecutor who is now a forfeiture expert and lawyer in Virginia. “They’re middle-class citizens who have never had any trouble with the law.”

On Thursday, in response to questions from The New York Times, the I.R.S. announced that it would curtail the practice, focusing instead on cases where the money is believed to have been acquired illegally or seizure is deemed justified by “exceptional circumstances.”

Richard Weber, the chief of Criminal Investigation at the I.R.S., said in a written statement, “This policy update will ensure that C.I. continues to focus our limited investigative resources on identifying and investigating violations within our jurisdiction that closely align with C.I.’s mission and key priorities.”

He added that making deposits under $10,000 to evade reporting requirements, called structuring, is still a crime whether the money is from legal or illegal sources. The new policy will not affect seizures that have already occurred.

Jeff Hirsch, an owner of Bi-County Distributors on Long Island. The government seized $447,000 from the business, a candy and cigarette distributor run by one family for 27 years. © Bryan Thomas for The New York Times Jeff Hirsch, an owner of Bi-County Distributors on Long Island. The government seized $447,000 from the business, a candy and cigarette distributor run by one family…

The I.R.S. is one of several federal agencies that pursue such cases and then refer them to the Justice Department. The Justice Department does not track the total number of cases pursued, the amount of money seized or how many of the cases were related to other crimes, said Peter Carr, a spokesman.

But the Institute for Justice, a Washington-based public interest law firm that is seeking to reform civil forfeiture practices, analyzed structuring data from the I.R.S., which made 639 seizures in 2012, up from 114 in 2005. Only one in five were prosecuted as a criminal case.

The practice has swept up dairy farmers in Maryland, an Army sergeant in Virginia saving for his children’s college education and Ms. Hinders, 67, who has borrowed money, strained her credit cards and taken out a second mortgage to keep her restaurant going.

Her money was seized under an increasingly controversial area of law known as civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement agents to take property they suspect of being tied to crime even if no criminal charges are filed. Law enforcement agencies get to keep a share of whatever is forfeited.

Owners who are caught up in structuring cases often cannot afford to fight. The median amount seized by the I.R.S. was $34,000, according to the Institute for Justice analysis, while legal costs can easily mount to $20,000 or more.

Under the Bank Secrecy Act, banks and other financial institutions must report cash deposits greater than $10,000. But since many criminals are aware of that requirement, banks also are supposed to report any suspicious transactions, including deposit patterns below $10,000. Last year, banks filed more than 700,000 suspicious activity reports, which are reviewed by over 100 multiagency task forces.

There is nothing illegal about depositing less than $10,000 unless it is done specifically to evade the reporting requirement. But often a mere bank statement is enough for investigators to obtain a seizure warrant. In one Long Island case, the police submitted almost a year’s worth of daily deposits by a business, ranging from $5,550 to $9,910. The officer wrote in his warrant affidavit that based on his training and experience, the pattern “is consistent with structuring.” The government seized $447,000 from the business, a cash-intensive candy and cigarette distributor that has been run by one family for 27 years.

There are often legitimate business reasons for keeping deposits below $10,000, said Larry Salzman, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice who is representing Ms. Hinders and the Long Island family pro bono. For example, he said, some grocery store owners in Fraser, Mich., had an insurance policy that covered only up to $10,000 cash. When they neared the limit, they would make a deposit.

Ms. Hinders said that she did not know about the reporting requirement and that for decades, she thought she had been doing everyone a favor.

“My mom had told me if you keep your deposits under $10,000, the bank avoids paperwork,” she said. “I didn’t actually think it had anything to do with the I.R.S.” Lawyers say it is not unusual for depositors to be advised by financial professionals, or even bank tellers, to keep their deposits below the reporting threshold.

In the Long Island case, the company, Bi-County Distributors, had three bank accounts closed because of the paperwork burden of its frequent cash deposits, said Jeff Hirsch, the eldest of three brothers who own the company. Their accountant then recommended staying below the limit, so the company began using the excess cash to pay vendors, and carried on for more than a decade.

More than two years ago, the government seized $447,000, and the brothers have been unable to retrieve it. Mr. Salzman, who has taken over legal representation of the brothers, has argued that prosecutors violated a strict timeline laid out in the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, passed in 2000 to curb abuses.

The office of the federal attorney for the Eastern District of New York said the law’s timeline did not apply in this case. The federal attorney’s office said that parties often voluntarily negotiated to avoid going to court, and that Joseph Potashnik, the Hirsches’ first lawyer, had been engaged in talks until just a few months ago. But Mr. Potashnik said he had spent that time trying, to no avail, to show that the brothers were innocent. They even paid a forensic accounting firm $25,000 to check the books.

“I don’t think they’re really interested in anything,” Mr. Potashnik said of the prosecutors. “They just want the money.”

Bi-County has survived only because longtime vendors have extended credit — one is owed almost $300,000, Mr. Hirsch said. Twice, the government has made settlement offers that would require the brothers to give up an “excessive” portion of the money, according to a new court filing.

“We’re just hanging on as a family here,” Mr. Hirsch said. “We weren’t going to take a settlement, because I was not guilty.”

Army Sgt. Jeff Cortazzo of Arlington, Va., began saving for his daughters’ college costs during the financial crisis, when many banks were failing. He stored cash first in his basement and then in a safe deposit box. All of the money came from his paychecks, he said, but he worried that when he finally deposited it in a bank, he would be forced to pay taxes on the money a second time. So he asked the bank teller what to do.

“She said: ‘Oh, that’s easy. You just have to deposit less than $10,000.’”

The government seized $66,000; settling cost Sergeant Cortazzo $21,000. As a result, the eldest of his three daughters had to delay college by a year.

“Why didn’t the teller tell me that was illegal?” he said. “I would have just plopped the whole thing in the account and been done with it.”

Washington State Attorney General’s Office Prescription Drug Abuse

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Prescription Drug Abuse

http://www.atg.wa.gov/prescriptiondrug.aspx#.VE57Q1dhBkg

Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in Washington state. There are more deaths annually from prescription drug abuse than from meth, cocaine, and heroin combined.

What’s causing this epidemic? Drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Methadone are now commonly prescribed for pain. Painkillers offer relief to millions of Americans but present a hidden danger.

These kinds of prescription drugs are called “opiates.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines “opiate” as a sedative narcotic, “[C]ontaining opium or one or more of its natural or synthetic derivatives.”  In a way, these drugs are the cousins of a better known—and more feared— drug: heroin. But unlike heroin, most people don’t know how potentially addicting and dangerous prescription opiates can be.

Some recreational users crush prescription painkillers and then ingest them in order to bypass the time-release function of the medications. This provides a somewhat immediate, and sometimes deadly, high.

When overdosed, prescription painkillers can cause a significant decrease in lung function and death. They can also be lethal when they’re combined with other prescribed or over-the-counter drugs. High-profile deaths include actor Heath Ledger, who died from a lethal combination of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine.

Teenagers are increasingly experimenting with drugs commonly found in their parents’ medicine cabinets. According to the Healthy Youth Survey, 12 percent of 12th graders used prescription pain medications to get high in the past 30 days. The same survey also shows that an alarming number of younger kids experiment with these drugs. That’s why it’s critical to learn how to properly safeguard and dispose of your medications.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that more than 47 percent of teens get prescription drugs from their friends for free. About 10 percent buy them from their friends, and another 10 percent take them from friends without asking.

What the AGO is doing about prescription drug abuse in Washington State

The Attorney General’s Office uses funds from consumer protection settlements with drug manufacturers—including the makers of OxyContin— to provide grants to promote drug abuse prevention and prescription drug safety.  To date those grants have totaled more than $2.7 million and include:

  • $1,000,000 dollars to fund the Washington Prevention Summits and Spring Youth Forums, where kids learn to use the latest technology to create prevention programs in their schools.
  • $683,000 to the State Department of Health to create a prescription drug monitoring program to prevent the “doctor shopping” that allows addicts to get access to dangerous drugs.
  • $400,000 for the University of Washington  to educate doctors on drug marketing. The funding is a portion of the $9 million awarded in grants nationwide from a settlement with Neurontin.
  • $30,000 to The Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Network to develop the Unwanted Medicine Return Program. This program promotes drug safety and a cleaner enviornment by promoting the safe disposal of unwanted medications.
  • $15,000 for Prescriptions for Life, a local nonprofit organization working to eliminate prescription drug abuse. The money will help pay for a new educational video that will be shown to students, teachers, school counselors, law enforcement, medical professionals and civic and business leaders.
  • $400,000 for the Washington Health Foundation launch a  program  to reduce prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse among college students, creating one of the first programs in the nation to target young adults between the ages of 18 to 24 (more below).

What the AGO is doing about prescription drug abuse in Tribal Communities

According to DOH, American Indians and Alaska Natives are hardest-hit by prescription drug abuse.
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The AGO has addressed this issue by targeting a series of grants for programs that address substance abuse prevention programs in tribal communities:

  • $101,700 for the Boys & Girls Club of America to establish two new clubhouses on Native American lands by 2011, targeting ages 7-18. The two anticipated newly established clubs on reservation lands should see an enrollment per club in excess of 700 youth.  Boys & Girls Club substance abuse programs include SMART (Skills, Mastery And Resistance Training) Moves.
  • $198,550 to the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board to provide four “mini-grants” of $30,000 each to tribal partners for community based projects to fight prescription drug abuse, and to fund a one-day regional training conference on prescription abuse among tribal members.
  • $25,250 to Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling to help pay for a 6-day youth camp called New Directions: Tribal Youth Music Academy for Addiction Awareness & Prevention.

Prescription drug abuse on campus

The Attorney General’s Office has partnered with the Washington Health Foundation, the Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and other national organizations to provide an online health community and a set of resources to help college kids confront the prescription drug epidemic.
The Washington Health Foundation asks college students to be part a part of the solution – to help address prescription and over-the-counter drug misuse and abuse. Learn more on The Washington Health Foundation’s Web site.  There, you can tell your story, share your ideas, explore innovative resources, and participate in social media discussions

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