Category Archives: Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco

The Navy’s ‘0-0-1-3 Alcohol Use Philosophy’


We got a tip last week in the newsroom that the U.S. Navy, in some way, shape or form, was implementing some sort of new drinking policy for its service members.

Vague, yes. So in an effort to get to the bottom of the story, Ed Friedrich, our military and transportation reporter, made some calls to local public affairs officers. None of them had heard of any such “policy,” being implemented.

I revisited the tipster, who said it had something to do with “0-0-1-3.” And then I consulted Google.

Turns out “0-0-1-3” is not relatively new. I found the “Penny Press,” the newsletter of the USS Abraham Lincoln. And in its March 20, 2009 newsletter — about one month before the Lincoln headed across Puget Sound to Bremerton for maintenance — they talk of this “alcohol use philosophy.”
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Local Drug Detectives Arrest Tacoma Attorney

As we’ve seen before, detectives with our two local drug task forces — the county’s West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team and Bremerton’s Special Operations Group — often follow cases well out of their immediate areas of jurisdiction.

Last week, WestNET detectives ventured to Tacoma (their force, I will add, now includes representatives from Pierce County) for an unusual drug bust: a marijuana grow operation and distribution network allegedly involving a Tacoma lawyer.

The attorney, 54, was arrested Thursday along with four other people (two of them from Gig Harbor). Detectives raided the attorney’s office, on the 3700 block of South 12th street, and apparently found 82 marijuana plans, growing and packaging equipment, record keeping of drug sales and more than seven ounces of processed marijuana.

The task force’s Washington State Patrol-based sergeant, Carlos Rodriguez, told the Tacoma News Tribune that an informant last February led them to the suspected grow.

Pierce County prosecutors have the next move, and are considering formal charges in the case.

Is That Cocaine on Your Money? Apparently


Here’s a statistic I find hard to believe: an analysis of more than 200 banknotes in 18 U.S. cities found they had come in contact with cocaine.


The study was released at a meeting of the American Chemical Society a few weeks back. It made me go after the numbers of cocaine users in this country to determine if the drug was indeed that ubiquitous. The U.S. Office of Drug Control Policy says about 2 million Americans used Cocaine in 2007.

Those 2 million Americans, then, must go through a lot of bills in snorting the drug. Why? Less than one percent of the American population (around 300 million) used coke. But 90 percent of our currency had the stimulant on its banknotes.

Interestingly, notes the Scientific American, there was more residue on $5s, $10s, and $20s than on $1s and $100s.

Despite Successful Past, Drug Court Faces Precarious Future


In 10 years, Kitsap County Drug Court has given 285 people a new lease on life. They are folks who once allowed drugs to rule and ruin their lives — and often the lives of those around them. But their dedication, along with the voluminous support and guidance of the drug court staff, has given them tools to control addiction and become productive members of society.

Yet the drug court’s future is uncertain. The court relies on a litany of grants and various streams of funding from federal, state and local government. It’s already had its share of financial problems. And in perilous economic times like these, such a budget structure can be problematic.

Hard to believe, given the fact, as Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna said Friday, that $1 to drug court saves $10 to $12 down the road to the criminal justice system.

I’m working on a project looking at drug court’s overall impact on the community through the eyes of its graduates, as well its administrators’ plans to keep it alive for the next ten years. I’d welcome anyone’s comments.

What Age Groups Suffer Most from Drunken Driving

Which age range bears by far the largest amount of casualties at the hands of drunken drivers in Washington?

The answer is those who are in their twenties, who account for almost a third of such crashes, according to the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System. In Washington, 79 people in that age range died on average each year between 2001 and 2007. (The overall average of those killed per year was 244.)

The next closest range was those in their thirties, with an average of 45, followed by those 15 to 20 years old, with an average of 40.

The numbers drop off considerably for those in their forties and fifties, with averages of 38 and 21, respectively.

Special thanks to Marsha Masters of MADD for providing this sobering data.

Prosecutor Calls Defense Brief in NK Vehicular Homicide Case ‘A Tangled Mess’

20090102-201123-pic-815909370_t600The case against a North Kitsap man accused of a drunken driving crash that killed a 34-year-old woman is proceeding to trial, albeit at a glacial pace.

That’s primarily due to a number of arguments a judge needs to decide concerning what attorneys in the case will — and will not — be able to tell a jury.

Stephen T. Harvey, 34, is charged by prosecutors with one count of vehicular homicide. The sheriff’s office says that on Jan. 21, 2008, Harvey was driving while intoxicated when his car hit another vehicle, driven by Jessica Z. Torres, 34, of Port Orchard. Torres, who was driving home from work on Clear Creek Road, was killed in the crash.

Fast forward to April 2009, to what deputy prosecutor Cami Lewis called “a tangled mess.”
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Here’s One Kilo of Meth That Won’t Make it to Kitsap

Presumably, they worked up the chain, starting with the drug addict, finding the drug dealer and ultimately the drug distributor.

As the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team often does, they swam against the current of drug pushing, utilizing surveillance, intelligence and confidential informants to climb the ladder and find the bigger fish.

On Thursday, the undercover detectives’ network took them to Olympia, where they busted a 34-year-old allegedly trying to sell a half pound of meth in a parking lot. Following that, they served a search warrant at a home in the town, arresting two men in their mid-twenties and finding a kilo of meth worth about $84,000 on the street, they said. The task force also seized nearly $30,000 in U. S. currency, $2,600 in counterfeit bills, and two vehicles.

Charges against the suspects are pending, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office said.

UPDATE: Jurors Tossed at Kitsap Marijuana Trial

Bruce Olson was arrested for growing marijuana at his Wiley Lane home in Olalla in May 2007.

It’s taken until this week to bring the case to trial in Kitsap County Superior Court, due to a lot of pre-trial motions from the lawyers involved. The trial, at first glance, may be lengthy as well.

According to the Cannabis Defense Coalition of Seattle, which has been diligently covering the beginnings of the trial, 49 potential jurors were dismissed Wednesday after Alexis Foster, deputy prosecutor handling the case, aired concerns to Judge Leila Mills of medical marijuana activists outside the courtroom.

Olson, along with his wife Pamela, held medical marijuana cards. But detectives with the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team in May 2007 raided their property and found 48 marijuana plants in an underground bunker. They said the number of plants exceeded the state’s 60-day supply rule allowed under the 1998 medical marijuana initiative.

Under a new Washington law, card-carrying medical marijuana patients can defend their use in open court if they have no more than 15 plants and up to 24 ounces of marijuana. if they believe their supply is within a “60-day supply.” A new Washington law establishes the presumptive amount at 15 marijuana plants and up to 24 ounces of marijuana.

But that law didn’t exist when the Olson cases were brought forth by the enforcement team — only a vague definition dubbed the “60 day supply.”

(Blogger’s note: I spoke with Alison Holcomb, drug policy director for the local office of the American Civil Liberties Union, who told me my original post was incorrect.)

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New Candy-like Club Drug Hits Kitsap’s Shores

West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team detectives got a bit of a surprise while working a case in November. Utilizing a police operative, they arranged a purchase of what they thought would bring in ecstasy, a popular club drug, from a known seller.

Instead, they got 103 pills, some of which were shaped like Transformers, the Simpsons and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (Photos at left courtesy of the Anchorage Daily News crime blog.)

“It looked just like candy,” said Carlos Rodriguez, the narcotics team’s sergeant. “If you were to have it in a bowl on a table, you would want to grab it and eat it.”

What Rodriguez found was that the pills were “BZP” — or Benzylpiperazine — an amphetamine-based drug that, much like ecstasy, increases alertness, the senses, your heart rate, and an overall sense of euphoria.

It also can cause seizures and acute psychosis, according to Wikipedia, and Rodriguez said the hangover is more severe than that of ecstasy.

It’s also cheap — about $7 to $10 a pill — when compared to other drugs, including meth, heroin, and cocaine.

Rodriguez said he’s been checking in with other drug enforcement task forces to ensure they’re aware of the drug, and they’ve been discussing strategies to combat it. But it’s still very early in the drug’s arrival.

The Costs, Benefits of Drug Treatment (and its Impact on Your Wallet)

photo from Michigan courts

The commenter Samm made some great points about a story I wrote regarding the potential closure of the Kitsap Recovery Center.

“It would have been nice to see some facts on how this center has been helping our community. How is the recidivism rate? How well is this program working? Is it just a place where people sober up and eat healthy for awhile then 2 days after they’re out they are in the gutter again or do most the people who go in stay sober?

It’s not hard to throw out a couple of success stories and then cry that the center is closing. But how many of these stories are actually a success? I don’t know but it would be nice to.”

Well, Samm, I do indeed have some data to share. Here goes:

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