Woman Whose Daughter Turned Her In Gets One Year 5/12/00

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Linda Sue Martin of Medina, OH, was sentenced this week (5/8) to one year in prison for "attempted manufacture of drugs." Martin came to the attention of authorities after her daughter, then 14, brought a crack pipe -- which she had found among her mother's belongings, in to school and showed it to her counselor in an effort to get help for her mother.

The counselor alerted school authorities, who in turn alerted the police. Police raided the home and turned up no drugs, but did find paraphernalia. Martin was not charged with the most serious possible offense, manufacture of illicit drugs, because, according to prosecutors, she "cooperated" in the investigation against herself. That cooperation reportedly consisted of admitting that she had "cooked" cocaine into crack, its smokeable form. That process involves adding baking soda and water to cocaine and heating the mixture, often over a cigarette lighter.

Martin's daughter, who is now 15 and living with her father in Cleveland, did not attend her mother's sentencing. She told police during the investigation that had she known that her mother might go to prison, she would never have come to her counselor for help.

Sandee Burbank is the Director of Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse, a non-profit organization which focuses on drug education regarding all substances, both licit and illicit, says that the Martin case highlights much of what's wrong in our nation's current approach.

"Is the drug war about protecting the health of families? Is it about protecting children? Who was protected here? The devastation that has been brought upon this family is unimaginable. A mother, who needed help, instead gets prison. That result costs society far more in tax dollars than if she had been offered treatment and family counseling."

"Furthermore," said Burbank, "we have a young person whose trust in society and its institutions has been permanently damaged. This case indicates that our drug policies are alienating those among us who most need help. In looking at this case we ought to ask: 'who was helped here?' The mother? The daughter? The taxpayers? And if no one was helped by the intervention of the state, isn't it time that we looked seriously at our response to the issues of substance use and substance abuse?"

(NOTE: Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse (MAMA) is currently seeking funding for its next three-week tour, during which they will speak with parents, educators and the media about family-focused drug education. To donate, or to learn more about MAMA and their publications, visit their web site at http://www.mamas.org, write them at 2255 State Road, Mosier, OR 97040, or call (541) 298-1031.)

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Issue #137, 5/12/00 New York Assembly Legalizes Over the Counter Sale of Syringes | Woman Whose Daughter Turned Her In Gets One Year | Justice Department Reports Seventy Percent of Jail Inmates Drug-Involved | Mexico City Police Commissioner Calls for Dutch Approach to Drug Policy | Q and A on Dutch Drug Policy | Report Calls on the UN Biodiversity Convention to Stop Dangerous US Fungus Experiments | Student Senate Overturns Presidential Veto of HEA Reform Resolution | Green Harvest Eradication Program Denied Funding in Hawaii | No Helicopters to Colombia: Act Now Before May 16th Vote | Stop "Smoke a Joint, Lose Your License" -- Action Update | RAISE YOUR VOICE: Action Needed Against Higher Education Act Drug Provision | MORE AlertS: New York and Washington State | EVENTS: District of Columbia, Toronto, New York, San Francisco | Editorial: Family Devalued

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