A Campaign for Substance Awareness 7/31/98

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An organization in New York State, the Orange County Citizens for Substance Awareness (OCCSA), has gone on a crusade seeking disclosure of honest information on the serious health-related risks of various drugs. The group's call is prompted by a study which reveals that 575 people in Orange County die annually from drugs and that almost all such deaths are caused by tobacco and alcohol.

"If our goal is to protect public health, we need the disclosure of accurate information about the documented risks associated with all dangerous substances. Hundreds of people are dying each year in this county due to drug use, but the public is not being made aware of the risks associated with the use of common-accepted drugs," said Michael H. Sussman, an attorney and spokesperson for the group.

An OCCSA survey in early 1995 revealed that most Orange County residents believed, mistakenly, that the bulk of drug-related deaths stemmed from abuse of illegal drugs, when in fact, fewer than 1% of drug-related deaths were related to the illegal drugs. According to federal date, there were 578 drug-related deaths in 1992, 455 tobacco- related, 120 alcohol-related, two related to cocaine, one related to opiates, and none from marijuana.

In 1994, OCCSA mounted a public education campaign featuring a billboard in Chester, NY, listing these numbers. Recently, however, according to OCCSA, the billboard owner took the OCCSA advertisement down, without explanation and in violation of the rental contract.

For further information, contact Michael H. Sussman at (914) 294-3991. Take a look at OCCSA's billboard at http://www.drcnet.org/images/occsa.jpg.

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Issue #52, 7/31/98 NJ NEP Workers' Conviction Upheld in Appeals Court | Oakland City Council Votes to Shield Local Cannabis Dispensary from Federal Prosecution Controversy Over Searches | DOJ Asks for Dismissal of Hemp Suit | Feds Indict Peter McWilliams, Todd McCormick and Others, Alleging Vast Conspiracy to Supply Medical Marijuana | Peaceful Prison Protest Earns Solitary Confinement | Action Request: The Tax Stamp Controversy | New Zealand Health Ministry: Pot Poses No Serious Risk | Newsbriefs | Link of the Week | A Campaign for Substance Awareness | Debating Points | Office of National Drug Control Policy Hard at Work | Editorial: The Pompano Beach Twelve

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