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2004 Legislative Action 

 

News & Commentary Archives 2004
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President Bush statement on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and funding faith based programs.
"Now, finally, one of the most important initiatives that -- I think one of the most important initiatives that we put forth was the faith-based and community-based initiative.
I'll tell you why -- (applause.) I'll tell you why. You see, some of the problems that people face are really problems of the heart. And government can't change hearts. But hearts can be changed by loving individuals who are inspired by something greater than government. (Applause.)
Take, for example -- take, for example, alcohol and drug abuse. We want to save people's lives in America. And sometimes it requires a higher power to help change somebody's life. You change their heart, they change their habits. And government, therefore, ought not to fear welcoming and opening up grants to programs whose sole -- whose sole being is based upon faith.

In the past it wasn't that way. In the past, they -- we can't have an interface with government and faith. And, by the way, many in the faith community say, why do I want to interface with government. (Laughter.) Bureaucracies cause me to lose my mission. We changed that attitude in Washington. Over the next four years I will continue to promote this faith and community based initiative so that we help save more lives and provide more hope for the American people. (Applause.)" From the White House Website

Alcoholism, Treatment Review by  NIAAA What kind of help is there?
 

Tougher penalties continue to be the focus for all DWI legislation that becomes law. Instead of focusing on the core problem in Louisiana, we continue to deal with "band- aids".  If only those fighting for these laws could get the truth-  Tens of thousands of people in this state need help for drinking problems, and untreated alcoholism.  We need standards in sentencing that are effective in identifying and directing problem drinkers to solutions.

From the Times Picayune:
The penalty is about to get stiffer for people in Louisiana who commit vehicular homicide while drunk or with a DWI record. House Bill 255 by Rep. Austin Badon Jr., D-New Orleans, was signed by the governor last week and takes effect Aug. 15. Current law says a person convicted of vehicular homicide can be fined $2,000 to $15,000 and imprisoned with or without hard labor for two to 20 years, with at least one year imposed without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence. The new law extends the mandatory jail time to at least five years if the offender has a previous DWI conviction or if the offender's blood-alcohol level was 0.15 percent or more at the time of the accident. 

Louisiana DWI offenders Shall go to treatment! SB 679 Dies on House Floor  The vote was 38 votes for and 62 (See if your House Member supported you by opposing the bill here) against the measure, largely because critics of the bill said the current system that emphasizes treatment over jail time is working. The Senate approved the measure 37-0 on April 20. But the House vote is what we have been working on with our members across the state read the full story Full Article here

Thanks to our Support Treatment for DWI remains in current law as mandate!
I was on the House floor sitting in the lobby along with others in attendance opposing SB 679, we again filled out forms at the doors of the House Chambers to let the members know we were there and we opposed this bill, we spoke to our House Members, and friends to the Recovering Community.  For weeks we knew our efforts were working, the bill stayed on a list called the "To be called" list, as the support for final passage had been side railed with the many pleas for keeping treatment in place.  To stop the alcohol harms in this state we must begin to focus on the core problem, a public health problem totally gone astray creating a culture of extremes and family cycles of destruction.

Our Alerts & Your Actions Work!
Email Updates June 8 Update and Actions Needed

June 17 Baton Rouge Capital
The same afternoon SB 679 would come to the full House for a final vote another bill
HB 549 by Rep Baldone passed the full Senate (Expanding treatment for DWI to include Drug Courts).  We supported Baldone's bill.
The problem?  The last bill signed by our Governor wins!  What this meant was SB 679 had to die on the House Floor, with just days left in the session there would be no time to undo the damage of its passage.  The final vote on the House Floor supported the original law in place that provides a mandate for treatment for convicted 3rd and 4th offenders see the video of the House Session and our supporters of treatment here
Leg Day 47
You may recall this SB 679 died and came back to life  in the House Committee on Administration and Criminal Justice (HCACJ) 679 Died in Committee. We attended this hearing I spoke for our opposition, along with Gordon Barth a New Orleans member.  We were shocked to learn that the bill we saw die came back to life after we had left the committee room.
Pushing for Weeks
For weeks we have been
e-mailing, calling, and meeting with legislators, the hard work paid off.  Several members of the Legislature told me "We get it! Can you ask your folks to back off" yet knowing that Rep Odinet fought hard to pass this law and keep it in place because of the great results we continued to voice our opposition. 
Small step in major work yet to be done----
We know those with alcohol abuse and dependence will repeat their behavior regardless of how long you incarcerate them, how much you fine them, or what type of gadgets they are forced to install.  Alcoholism is a disease, and treatment and recovery support should be our priority in this state.  We have been pushing for full reform to redirect the DWI sentencing to include a public health focus and approach.  Current laws for DWI sentencing are clearly not reducing the deaths on our highways.  We need a public health focus, and this week the Legislature responded to the thousands of requests to kill this bill that would end a treatment mandate that actually is working.
  OAD dates shows the current law and  success of treatment for last two years (See the OAD study)

Our DWI laws need alcohol health support focus
I have met with Col. Champagne from Highway Safety, along with Michael Duffy from OAD requesting appropriate alcohol assessments and referrals for all DWI sentencing.  Mr. Duffy agreed to work out a low cost fee schedule in the 10 regional substance abuse clinics across the state.  Col Champagne sited that the fiscal costs for those who would need treatment referrals would kill such and effort this year.  They were both helpful and agreed we should work together to improve our states sentencing to include alcohol health interventions.  Cathy Childers of MADD also met with us, she said she supports treatment, yet SB 679 was a direct effort to end treatment that was proven to work.

Critics noted that, because of the 2001 law, third- and fourth-offense drunken drivers, which are felonies, faced less jail time than first- and second-offense violators, which are misdemeanors.  We need to change this --but it does not mean doing away with the one thing working to get alcoholics help--it means addressing this sooner, and with greater support for recovery.

Thanks to the strong support from our members across the state,
we are now in a position to ask for an expansion of treatment provisions in SB 679 to an earlier conviction, sure to save and restore lives in Louisiana.
 


Louisiana Oxford Houses Under Attack by Rep Scalise despite Governors Opposition to his Efforts based on concerns of legality.

Addiction is a disease, people recover, and the Fair Housing Act considers recovering alcoholics and addicts a protected class
more on  Addiction Science
Legally- Oxford House, recovering alcoholics, and addicts have a right to fair housing more on Zoning for Oxford House

Mary Paul, Executive Director of Oxford House and Samantha-Hope Atkins,  work to support Oxford House Mary Paul arrived in Baton Rouge last week to assist members of the independently run Oxford Houses in Louisiana with support as those supporting recovery and rights for "recovery" in homes across the state organized the recovering community and supporters to oppose thee efforts of Rep Scalise to pass legislation that clearly would violate the Fair Housing Act.

You should watch the video of Rep Scalise on the House Floor after his HB 1645 was essentially killed by its referral to the Senate Finance committee with just days left in the session. 
Watch the Video here from 6/18 
Leg Day 48- Part2

Rep Scalise believes that local zoning ordinances should trump the Fair Housing Act that recognizes recovering alcoholics and addicts as a protected class.


Recovering Community Fights Legislation
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, said House Bill 1645 is aimed at Oxford House, a nonprofit company that operates 31 group homes for 221 recovering addicts and alcoholics in Louisiana. It has also helped to facilitate more than 1000 Oxford House's start across the country and in other countries.


Open Container Bill Sheds Light on Louisiana's Culture related to alcohol-supported by our lax laws.  An AP article ran in papers across the state revealing part of our state's culture that supports the pervasive nature of alcohol in our culture.  Few have any idea about the impact on communities, and how this "its just Louisiana" culture has created problems across our state both in public safety and public health.  The one thing this article does not talk about is how much need we have in our state, and how little of the need for alcohol problems is met.  Our state needs comprehensive DWI reform, not just a public safety, victims support approach. Our focus should be on ending the need for victims not in growing this support structure.  We should look to ways to end the number offenders, not growing systems to support the growth of such numbers.  If incarceration and penalties could fix this problem, we would not be where we are today--facing the highest rates of incarceration in the nation.  No mention was made that DWI offenders have no opportunity to get an appropriate medical screening for alcohol problems.  This should be required, and should be a priority.  We are making progress in some areas, but the bottom line is that our environment supports alcohol misuse, abuse, and dependence.  Our environment and culture in this state has not shown great support for preventing, treating, and supporting recovery for alcohol problems and addiction.

This AP running in papers across the country on the new law banning open containers by passengers, passed in the 2004 session, article is from the Daily Advertiser:
“In Louisiana, we drink to celebrate births and drink to mourn deaths. We drink early and we drink late. We drink all day long for any reason. And an awful lot of people keep drinking in a car,” said Ronnie Jones, a former state trooper who now teaches criminal law at Tulane. 
More here

Public Health should be involved in DWI Legislation....
Louisiana does not have just a driving problem, we also have an alcohol problem.  We should not take a Public Safety "Only" approach in policy that governs DWI offenders.  The reason we face repeat offenders, and rampant harms and death--directly correlates to the "late stage" or non existent opportunity to intervene on alcoholics using the courts as a vehicle to mandate appropriate alcohol screenings and needs driven treatment and recovery services.  Instead we have a public safety only approach.  There are no standards for substance abuse screenings, interventions or treatment and recovery support services across Louisiana.  The same federal legislation that calls for the increase in penalties also requires that an appropriate assessment for alcohol problems be conducted, and necessary referrals be made for treatment.  I have personally requested this, but was told the money was not there.  I find that interesting considering the fiscal note on the DWI tracking data base that totals millions over several years.  Where are our priorities?  Why is it that the agenda that supports public safety only are funded at the blink of an eye?  Meanwhile OAD-and Public Health continues to fight to hold onto monies that only allow them to serve 8% of those with substance abuse problems in this state.  DWI problems in Louisiana can't and won't improve until the culture, environment, and funding to meet needs is provided to OAD, along with policy that makes use of our courts as a  mechanism for healing by interventions proven by science to have impact in communities.

Bill Tracking DWI Offenders, Establishing Points system for youth, and a 2nd Offense DWI would face stricter penalties, but still no hope for treatment or intervention in this legislation proposed this year by  Public Safety Officials,  victims groups like MADD, and  Senator Chaisson. 

Cathy Childers, Louisiana executive director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said the bill would help deter bad drivers and provide stiffer penalties for repeat offenders  In 2002, Louisiana had 875 deaths in traffic accidents, 413 of them alcohol-related, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
 Read the entire article here

June 13 3004 New Orleans Youth-New Trend with youth and "Wicked Brew" common tropical flower being used for cheap high. 
This Times Picayune writes about a new trend in the South (New Orleans and Florida) of kids drinking a potion to get high, made of local garden plants. Parents are pretty alarmed considering for $1.39 at a local plant nursery, kids can buy the necessary ingredients for this life threatening concoction.
From the story:
One teenager who drank it tried to jump off a roof, and a friend who drank it tried to eat his own arm, thinking it was a roast beef sandwich. Two other teens who drank it showed up nude in a neighbor's back yard, saying they were looking for spark plugs.
Read the Story

more from New Orleans....Faith Community Uniting to confront hardest areas social ills.
Armed only with their Bibles, about 500 ministers and lay leaders of religious congregations soon will begin hitting the streets of New Orleans at night to confront drug-dealers and other wrong-doers. Read the Entire Article here
 
17 Million in Healthcare cuts--Unbelievable impact for Louisiana!

In the midst of these cuts, I hope you all will read the wise words of these two senators, clearly aware of the long term savings returned by treating addiction in our state!  If you have 5 minutes today, I encourage you to write Senator Fields, and Senator Hainkel--State Senators' email addresses here

Thank them for supporting treatment and recovery in this state! 

From the Times Picayune article:
 "Senators said they were interested in shifting dollars to stop some of the health cuts. Sen. Cleo Fields, D-Baton Rouge, said he was interested in expanding beds in the drug treatment programs. Sen. John Hainkel, R-New Orleans, said he thought it should be a priority to stop the planned closure of 87 beds for women with addictive disorders who have children."
 Read the entire article here


Governor Blanco-Needs you!  Are you a citizen concerned about public health? 
Want to get involved in the process going on to improve public health services in Louisiana?  The only requirement to apply in your regions of the state is that you be a willing and concerned citizen willing to pull up your sleeves!  Sound familiar?  HopeNetworks encourages you to get involved in this process, remembering the relationship between public health crisis and preventable, treatable ---Addictive Disorders!  Here is the How to from the Governor's website--to get involved now!

Alcohol Problems in our Courts -Judge removed for alcohol abuse-  Why not, alcoholism knows no boundary-
Last week the Louisiana Supreme court took action to remove a judge from the bench.  A confessed alcoholic, who has been to treatment, clearly had relapsed, and the Supreme Court, probably is saving his life (and the dignity of the court!) by removing him from the bench.  If anything, this event should speak volumes as to the crisis our state has with alcohol problems."Doggett is only the second Louisiana judge ever disciplined for behavior caused by an alcohol problem, the high court said."  Read the entire story here

Neighbors complain about Legislative Parties "Alcohol is just flowing in all three houses," said Marguerite Ourso, a long-time resident. 
read the entire article

Big News for Big Tobacco, one of the wealthy Addictive Industries in our state and across the country has been ordered by a New Orleans Jury to "Pay up" to clean up the costs of addiction, Jury award is firs to its kind that requires the Big Tobacco companies to pay for tobacco treatment, $590 Million in services to be provided for smoking cessation in Louisiana, once of course the appeal process is complete, this sends a message to other reckless addictive industries.  Read the entire article here
 

Michael Duffy, is reappointed by Governor Blanco as Assistant DHH Secretary, for the Office of Addictive Disorders!  Governor Blanco Appoints Three DHH Assistant Secretaries
BATON ROUGE-- Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco today announced three appointments to the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH). She announced the reappointment of Michael Duffy as Assistant Secretary for the DHH Office for Addictive Disorders-
read the entire press release here


SB 549- Clears the Insurance Committee-Next a full Senate Vote-
Thanks to many working together to end disease discrimination.
Wednesday May 12
We have good news to report.
   On Wednesday,  the Senate Insurance committee passed SB 549. This bill removes disease discrimination in the current law.  Senator Irons advocated strongly against paid lobbyist for business and Insurance.  It is important that we now begin to write our Senators, a list of your senators is located a the very end of this message.  (Ask them to support an end to disease discrimination in Louisiana and to support SB 549)

Also Louisiana has passed the "Open Container" law for passengers--Goes to Governor Blanco for Signature


Good News-
Our Statewide Support for HB 549 that expands treatment by including a Drug Court option for judges in sentencing,  has gotten out of the House committee!  Rep. Odinet, and Rep Baldone, have been working to expand the near 70% success rate of treating those we know are clearly in need of medical treatment for alcohol abuse/dependence. Judge Jerome J. Barbera III, from Lafourche Parish also came and spoke in favor of expanding the current law to include Drug courts.   I want to personally thank you all for the INCREDIBLE show of support.  We unlike many, are all volunteers, totally driven to improve our state's health and safety.  Needless to say, for all those who so strongly support comprehensive community solutions to our state's alcohol related harms, some choose not to.  The seek their own agenda, not in line with the AMA or their own National Organizations policy.  We can't change this, but we can continue to bring data and solutions forward offering hope to the thousands in our state who need medical treatment to change their behavior
We have gotten hundreds of e-mails upset with the entire effort to end treatment and add more fines and fees and jail time, and I will do my best to explain what happened or you should watch this on video in the House Archives.
WATCH THIS ARCHIVE NOW ONLINE WITH REAL PLAYER
 
http://house.louisiana.gov/rmarchive/Ram/RamMay04/CJmay05.ram
Bad News- Addictive Industries aren't the only ones with "dirty" tricks in the Legislature.....SB 679 was not reported to the full house- after all! We saw it killed with our own eyes!  We all felt relieved that we had put to rest angry efforts to stop effective measures
(See the OAD study) with DWI's (the first ever!) A bill that would end treatment (by cutting funding currently available by mandate) came back to life thanks to Lobbying efforts of MADD- Once Rep. Odinet was safely out of site, they had Rep. Bruce call for a revote on a bill- KILLED in committee earlier-

Ending effective treatment SB 679
which was killed by this committee--and we believed all DWI business was done in the Committee-however it was reheard once those who opposed ending treatment and adding jail and penalties and fines had left---including State Rep. Odinet, our members, and other attending with information on treatment service success. 
Your support and action along with our testimony, the defense attorney's and Judge Barbera III,  initially did kill SB 679--this bill ---then in a very unusual move -----
MADD lead this action, and has taken a very aggressive approach- she no longer wants to work with HopeNetworks after our members contacted her National Office expressing concerns about MADD's Chapter in our state, and the continued effort to seek an end to effective treatment mandates.  We will continue to support the National Policy of MADD, as they understand and advocate for comprehensive policy to address efforts to reduce intoxicated driving in states across the country.

70% of those mandated to substance abuse treatment in the state- remain in recovery, the alternative, is prision.


Alcoholism is a Crime in Louisiana!! (SB 679 must be killed to save lives!)
Despite the facts, and valid research, alcoholics continue to be "cracked down" on by the media and others who push for incarceration and never treatment.  With clear data supporting the need, and effectiveness of treatment and recovery support, we continue to see alcoholics facing criminal sanctions for having an illness.
 
Please Contact EVERY member of this Committee to tell them you support the only current mandate that exists in Louisiana for treatment for DWI offenders.

What does the American Medical Association say?

American Medical Associations Policy on DWI and Screenings--
Urges all states to pass legislation mandating all drivers convicted of first and multiple DWI offenses be screened for alcoholism and provided with referral and treatment when indicated, and that is the amendment we wish to see added to any DWI bills in our state.

What does MADD say in National Policy Suggest?
First time offenders should have sentences that are designed to stop them from re-offending and repeat offenders/high BAC drivers should be dealt with seriously and should be required to receive intensive alcohol treatment. (NOT JAIL TIME AS IS GIVEN TO THOSE IN OUR STATE AT PRESENT and CLEARLY WE DO NOT PROVIDE TREATMENT OR ASSESSMENT OR ANY STANDARD TO REDUCE RE-ARRESTS!)

Comments on the Editorial in the Times Picayune:
"This measure would restore logic to the way the state handles repeat offenders and leave up to judges whether an offender should face substantial jail time, treatment or a combination of both."
____________________Note____
We know that the language change in the law will cut funds for treatment and end the success we are seeing-------------------------The proponents of this bill know that too, they see that today there is virtually no treatment in Louisiana compared to need---------

"Rep. Ken Odinet, who sponsored the bill that limited judges' discretion, said he did so because he wanted to provide more treatment options for multiple offenders. There is some merit to that idea -- anyone with multiple DWIs obviously has a substance abuse problem."

There is more than "merit" there is real data showing a 63% reduction in recidivism by those who are chronically alcohol dependent!  Not to mention the huge savings to our state in fiscal costs see

Report for Louisiana 3rd and 4th offenders showing progress in reducing recidivism (something actually working to end alcohol dependent persons on our highways that they want to cut!)

Report from OAD
Treatment is working for DWI offenders....(Odinet's Law referred too and success!!)

Treatment saves money and lives
Dr. Loren Scotts's report for the State of Louisiana shows we save $5 for every $1 we spend to treat substance abuse.

"But they're also breaking the law -- over and over -- and endangering the lives of other people. Louisiana has the third-highest highway fatality rate in the nation, and nearly half of those deaths are linked to alcohol".

Gee could that be because they have asked for help over and over for a disease, that requires treatment and not prison to stop this behavior threatening both public safety and their own health and safety?

"But Sen. Chaisson has shown that he's persistent when it comes to cracking down on drunken driving."

If only Sen Chaisson was persistent on treating alcoholism, and early interventions, perhaps we would not lead the nation in Alcohol related highway crashes--for anyone who has not noticed--Prison is not an effective treatment for alcoholism.  Why would anyone cheer for a solution that is only a band-aid to our problems with alcohol and public safety in Louisiana? 
This is simply wrong
Supporting recovery is a vital component to ending the victims in our state, yet clearly we find little support in fact direct opposition from victim advocacy groups.    Advocates for Alcoholics, to get access to treatment are not placed in offices across the state, nor do groups like Hopenetworks dedicated to ending addiction in our state have the budgets to do so.  We are a grass-roots network dedicated to reducing the harms of alcohol and other addictions in our state.  At the end of the day we come back to the same truth over and over.  Plenty of money to imprison alcoholics, little to treat them or support recovery.  Despite the enormous savings in lives and dollars to our state.  Please contact the House Admin Criminal Justice committee tell them you do not support ending treatment to those who are in need, and that you have seen the OAD information that provides data supporting treatment as a solution to DWI recidivism.  Alcoholism is a disease, not a crime.  Not treating alcoholics should be criminal for the damage it sets up for those who are literally without the power to control their behavior.
It's bad enough that our laws support more jail for people with higher BAC's and not some sort of medical treatment, it is literally outrageous, to say "the sicker you are the more we will punish you"?  Not to mention the damage and deaths these laws are causing, I wish someone would get mad enough to mandate treatment by health officials for every offense of DWI--not to do so means 14,000 alcoholics are driving with no access to treatment, and that scares me!!! When DWI is no longer "profitable" we will see these changes, but right now with no standards in place what else should we expect?  Money rules over public health and safety---Call your law makers them you know Prison does not treat alcoholism, and it never has......

See related info from 2003
-Screen Treat Monitor Fact Sheet


What is NEEDED for the start of DWI Reform in Louisiana:

Amendments to current proposed DWI-legislation mandating all drivers convicted of first and multiple DWI offenses be screened for alcoholism and provided with referral and treatment when indicated by a Louisiana State Board Certified Substance Abuse Counselor or other health services provider approved by OAD.
(this creates a standard that does not exist in our current DWI law and is vital effective interventions for problem drinkers by providing valid screenings/assessments to those in need and appropriate referral if any)

Of the 21,000 arrested for DWI last year alone it is estimated that 14,000 need medical treatment for alcohol abuse/alcoholism and we have no way to identify those persons or screen and treat them today.

Report for Louisiana 3rd and 4th offenders showing progress in reducing recidivism
Report from OAD
Treatment is working for DWI offenders....

We need to move Louisiana law makers forward in supporting treatment and recovery support.  Clearly this is saving money we would be spending for incarceration not to mention the lives that are being saved, and highway crashes and fatalities being prevented. 



.

Get Ready For Thursday
we will need to appear at the capitol for this committee, this is not a good piece of legislation, and we don't need any more deaths from underage drinking and alcohol overdose in Louisiana. Read the Scoop on this nightmare bill--to allow underage drinking?
HB 872-

Rally Advocate Article-
Recovery Rally April 23rd, Article focused on Youth in Recovery, and the ongoing need in Louisiana!

Alcohol, drug addicts gather at State Capitol

Rally Slide Show!  See Our Pictures from the 2004 Recovery Rally!

Legislative Update on DWI Senate Bills and Threat to Treating Alcoholics furthering risks on our highways---HERE

C
onflict of Interest for DA in New Orleans?
People for years have been talking about Louisiana's high rates of incarceration, and the link to substance abuse.  The talk has to do with the huge budget to prosecute, and incarcerate individuals compared to a virtually non -existent budget for treating and preventing addictive disorders.  The result? Louisiana leads the nation in incarceration, and virtually every tax payer in our state pays the price. Because the systems that support the criminal link to addiction are so strong (lobby for law enforcement, corrections, and related industry) and we have just begun in our efforts we should expect to see an unbalanced system.  Our voice is a vital component to a system change in our state.  Read this article and realize please, that this can only happen where people who vote, and run communities in our state allow it to.
______________
For years before his retirement as Orleans Parish district attorney, Harry Connick beat the drum for a Massachusetts company that uses hair samples to test people for drug use. He spoke out publicly in favor of testing students' hair and on occasion escorted its officers to meetings with officials and opinion-shapers in the media.
Read all of this Times Picayune article
___________________
Governor Blanco Declares April 8--Alcohol Screening Day
Read the
OAD release & Governor Blanco's Proclamation!

GO>
Sign up online to Volunteer with the Recovery Rally
TigerWeekly-Off Campus Newspaper writes a great story about Recovery -
This is one area -College community- I can say almost void of support for recovery, and this article is a real eye opener and public service, especially when you consider how little information is promoted on how to get help on campuses across the state.   I have written to thank the editor for the willingness and insight to publish such an article.  Take a moment and read more here

Vigil held in memory of 40 children who died last year of neglect and abuse-
Forty Louisiana children died in 2002 as a result of abuse or neglect, but only 25 people assembled Thursday for a candlelight vigil in their memory.  Read more

Please"Pass on"  The numbers below, or Post them for others The hot line's volunteers provide counseling to parents as well as information to other callers on how to report suspected cases of abuse or neglect  "I think the very soul of the matter has to be prevention and education," said Mandy Weber, who coordinates the toll-free Kidline -- (800) CHILDREN or (800) 244-5373 -- for Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana.
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Alcohol dependent drivers are scary and need intervention, however; I find Irresponsible Journalists, who are clearly uneducated, to be far more dangerous.
This article in the Times Picayune tells a tragic story, about a young woman killed by an alcoholic.  The two had been at a bar in New Orleans, and the fatal crash happened when he was bringing her home.  His behavior was outrageous, unacceptable, and deplorable, like many of us when we are living addicted to alcohol-there is no excuse for such behavior.  The writer of this article, though makes a statement, that supports a dangerous belief that alcoholics are simply "stupid" as he says.  I called this writer, and asked him about this, and he suggested I write in if I had a problem with his article.  I was shocked that he was not interested in that the American Medical Association, World Health Organization etc have recognized alcoholism as a primary disease.  Despise the behavior, but for God sake, get the fact right.  This mis- information fosters the treatment gap in our state, and across the country.  We need to encourage people to begin identifying this problem, and reaching to those in need of treatment and recovery support services- this is a must if we are to reduce the deaths and harms to innocent victims.  Alcoholics/Addicts are sick people in need of help- and we have denied all but 8% of those treatment in this state.

If only we could crack down on funding for Alcohol Abuse and Dependence! 
Meanwhile DWI's will keep being issued and we will keep trudging to make progress in gaining expansion for the 32 medical detox beds (often a must for alcohol dependent persons)  We need a comprehensive solution for alcohol abuse and dependence, until then Louisiana will continue on our path of struggling to fight the consequences of not have a real solution for people driving, working, living dependent on alcohol.
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's office has launched a crackdown on local drunken drivers.
Sheriff Howard Zerangue said during the operation his deputies will be conducting checkpoints and saturation patrols to stop and ticket drivers who violate laws such as speeding, driving while intoxicated and failure to use seatbelts and child passenger restraints.
 Read the entire story

DWI arrest too rough, plaintiff says, Lawyer says face pushed in gravel
 
Wednesday March 31Staff writer  Meghan Gordon
AMITE -- In the first day of a civil trial against a state trooper and the Louisiana State Police, Tangipahoa Parish jurors heard two theories Tuesday for how a former prosecutor ended up bruised and bloodied during a DWI stop.

Joe Arthur Sims Jr. testified that when he refused to take a field sobriety test, Trooper Barry Ward snapped and pounded him with unnecessary force. But defense attorneys for Ward and the State Police argued Sims invented the story and exaggerated his injuries when he realized his political connections wouldn't free him of the DWI charge.

The trooper stopped Sims, a Hammond lawyer whose wife, Julia, sits on the state Pardon Board, on June 3, 2000, as he drove home from a high school class reunion. He admitted during testimony drinking several glasses of wine and 1˝ beers over five hours. read all of this Times Picayune story

 

2004

 

Baton Rouge info on Local Baton Rouge Ordinance for "Mandatory 21" stops those underage from entering bars, if they are not the legal drinking age, or with a parent/guardian we know that crowded campus bars can't realistically prevent purchase and pass of alcohol-renders the drinking age law of 21 unenforceable in bars- closing the loophole, will be one more solution in efforts to reduce underage drinking.
 

2/20/04  Attend the Baton Rouge Public forum on Substance Abuse held by Capital Area Human Services  District, make sure to RSVP if you are attending!

 

 

 

 
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2004 Legislative Action 
 


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