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News stories tagged with "drugs"

State Sen. Patty Ritchie. NCPR file photo
State Sen. Patty Ritchie. NCPR file photo

Heroin fears: Plattsburgh, Watertown hold public forums

A new state Senate task force on heroin addiction and other drugs derived from opium will hold public forums today in Plattsburgh and Watertown. The task force was formed following a surge in heroin use and deadly overdoses statewide.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/danielleellis55/13295727434/in/photolist-mfU5xU-mfS6bc-cenaT-Jyndv-4PsCEL-4KNJ9Q-65SpkG-5DbZz4-aDrE9x-aqV1pK-5SviVC-5xG6CF-gpwP73-j2iq6X-65G8XH-jFr6Gt-jFrmQz-jFrE2D-jFsgDv-jFsrcr-jFstic-jFsKi8-jFsKUM-jFsNXk-jFt4zt-jFtoD8-jFtp3W-jFtsqN-jFtvXg-jFtEgG-jFtHrE-jFtW9o-jFtYZJ-jFuhsb-jFunvA-jFuxkq-jFuRzw-jFvoAj-jFvV33-jFso6B-jFsPje-jFsRtp-jFsZkX-jFu469-jFu6w1-jFujoU-jFuAbW-jFv1au-jFvbsy-jFvoMJ">Danielle Sprags</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Danielle Sprags, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Cheap, easy, deadly: heroin use rising in rural NYS

Early this month, the Food and Drug Administration approved a prescription device that can inject a fast acting antidote to heroin and other opioid drugs. It's the latest response to a surge in opioid abuse.

Heroin use has doubled between 2007 and 2012. It's no longer just an urban street drug--it's now common in small town America.  Go to full article

Canadian sentenced for running US pot smuggling

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) A 66-year-old Canadian man has been sentenced in a northern New York court to 10 years in prison for his leading role in a multi-million-dollar marijuana smuggling operation.

The U.S. Department of Justice says Thursday that 66-year-old Nicolas Varacalli of Montreal was recently sentenced in federal court in Syracuse, where he pleaded guilty last December to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.  Go to full article
At a rally in March, workers from Chateaugay Correctional Facility protested the Cuomo administration's decision to close the prison in July. Photo provided by NYSCOPBA.
At a rally in March, workers from Chateaugay Correctional Facility protested the Cuomo administration's decision to close the prison in July. Photo provided by NYSCOPBA.

How America's drug war sparked the North Country prison boom

This week, North Country Public Radio is looking in-depth at how New York's 40-year prison boom changed two very different neighborhoods, Brownsville in New York City and Chateaugay in Franklin County. Check out these stories and many more in our Prison Time Media Project.

This week, the tiny North Country town of Chateaugay learned that their local prison -- operated by the state Corrections Department -- will close in July.

The decision was made final in New York's state budget.

Town supervisor Donald Bilow told the Plattsburgh Press-Republican that he is "devastated" by the closure.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomma/4906491235/">Thomas Marthinsen</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Thomas Marthinsen, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Cops meet in Ft. Edward to discuss heroin problem

FORT EDWARD, N.Y. (AP) Scores of law enforcement officers from New York, Vermont and Massachusetts have met in an upstate county that has become a crossroad in the trafficking of heroin to northern New England.

The Post-Star of Glens Falls reports that about 90 local, state and federal officers met Thursday at the Washington County Sheriff's Office to discuss how to combat the growing heroin problem in the Northeast.  Go to full article

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The  Rev. Oberia Dempsey campaigned early against drugs in Harlem. Photo: Wikipedia
The Rev. Oberia Dempsey campaigned early against drugs in Harlem. Photo: Wikipedia

Why did black leaders support America's drug war for so long?

This year, North Country Public Radio is looking in-depth at America's forty year long drug war. Tough-on-crime policies, sparked in part by New York's Rockefeller drug laws, changed the way we think about crime and justice and addiction. They also changed the North Country, as more and more prisons were built to house the swelling number of inmates.

This morning, our series continues with a look at how the drug war has been viewed within the African American community. Some black leaders see tough crime laws as racially biased and unfair. But many supporters of the drug war hoped that long prison sentences and harsh penalties would help clean up neighborhoods plagued by drugs.  Go to full article
Charles Rangel (L) at the signing of a drug-war era law with Nancy Reagan and President Ronald Reagan. Photo:  Wikipedia
Charles Rangel (L) at the signing of a drug-war era law with Nancy Reagan and President Ronald Reagan. Photo: Wikipedia

Charles Rangel: America's "front-line general" in the drug war

America's black leadership supported the drug war for decades in large part because of the efforts of one man.

Charles Rangel, a former federal prosecutor and Korean War veteran, emerged as one of the dominant figures in the nation's politics.

He was also a fierce supporter of tough crime policies and was once described as the "front-line general in the war on drugs" by Ebony magazine.

Our profile of Charles Rangel is the latest installment in our Prison Time Media Project series.  Go to full article
Lunchtime in the mess hall. Photo: Natasha Haverty
Lunchtime in the mess hall. Photo: Natasha Haverty

Alternatives to Incarceration: into Shock prison

This week as part of our Prison Time Media Project, producer Natasha Haverty is looking at some of the approaches cash-strapped states are taking to try and cut prison their populations.

Yesterday, we began the story of Jeff, a young man from western New York who fell into serious drug addiction and broke into a pharmacy to feed his habit. After spending years cycling through drug courts, unable to stay off drugs, he was sent to prison here in the North Country.

"It's very true to say that I as given a great opportunity at drug court and I failed. I failed at drug court. I failed. I'm going to prison, for years. That's the lowest of the low, that's the lowest I can think of before death."

But unlike many other inmates, Jeff was sent to a shock prison in Moriah, in Essex County, which focuses on life skills training and rehabilitation. Part two of our series takes us to Moriah Shock and finds Jeff at the middle of his prison sentence.  Go to full article
Jeff in class. Photo: Natasha Haverty
Jeff in class. Photo: Natasha Haverty

Alternatives to Incarceration: One man enters the system

When Governor Nelson Rockefeller pushed through his landmark drug laws in New York forty years ago, he argued that any alternatives to his new tough on crime zero tolerance approach had failed:

"I was on this kick of trying to get the addict off the street, into treatment. Now this was a beautiful concept, except it just didn't happen to relate to the realities because the pushers keep finding new people. And I have to say that as far as I am aware, there is no known, absolute cure for addiction."

But in recent years, those Rockefeller Drug Laws have gone through a series of reforms. These days, cash-strapped states like New York are struggling to reduce inmate populations so that they can close expensive prisons. Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to mothball two more correctional facilities downstate this year.

And reducing the number of people behind bars means experimenting with diversion programs for non-violent drug offenders: States are offering counseling programs, rehabilitation and therapy, and opening alternative, "drug courts." The goal is to battle drug addiction without incarceration.

This week, as part of our Prison Time Media Project, Natasha Haverty follows the journey of one man through a system that's trying to turn away from mass incarceration. Here's part one of her three-part series.  Go to full article

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