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Drugs: It's Not The Use But The User That Counts

In Drug Enforcement, It's Not The Use But The User That Counts


By Prorev.com Editor Sam Smith

THE REVIEW HAS OPPOSED the nation's drug policy for four decades. One reason has been that it is the sort of law that works one way for some people and another way for others. It's not just the cocaine - crack punishment disparity. Consider the huge difference between the percent of blacks and whites imprisoned on drug charges despite similar usage. Or the immune cocaine culture in Hollywood and executive suites compared to tough ghetto enforcement. Or Bill Clinton and George Bush using cocaine and the media not even mentioning it while it's become an open issue in the Obama campaign.

Now we have another example from your nation's capital. In this town where the mayor, Marion Barry, was arrested and pilloried for drug use, we now find that the city's baseball team's new catcher among those listed in the George Mitchell report of those illegally using steroids.

According to the Washington Post:

|||| The report said that Radomski sent performance-enhancing substances to [Paul] Lo Duca's home and to the clubhouse of the Los Angeles Dodgers, for whom Lo Duca played from 1998 to 2004. Lo Duca's name, address and telephone number were listed in the address book seized from Radomski's Long Island home in December 2005.

Neither Lo Duca nor his agent, Andrew Mongelluzzi, returned messages yesterday. The Nationals, who signed Lo Duca to a one-year, $5 million contract earlier in the week, issued a statement last night declining to comment on the report in general and on their own players specifically because they "have not yet had an opportunity to fully review" the Mitchell report. . .

The details of Lo Duca's alleged involvement came from the raid of Radomski's home. They included a note from Lo Duca to Radomski in which Lo Duca said his cellphone had broken and he needed Radomski's contact information. On another note -- written on Dodger Stadium stationery -- Lo Duca scrawled, "Thanks, Call me if you need anything! Paul." |||

And from the report itself:

|||| According to the notes of an internal discussion among Los Angeles Dodgers officials in October 2003 that were referred to above, it was reportedly said of Lo Duca during the meetings: Steroids aren't being used anymore on him. Big part of this. Might have some value to trade . . If you do trade him, will get back on the stuff and try to show you he can have a good year. That's his makeup. Comes to play. ||||

If the report is true then the Nationals have just signed for $5 million Marion Barry lite. . . a lawbreaker and - since a lot more kids want to be ball players than want to be mayor - an even worse role model for the young.

Will the Nationals cancel Lo Duca's contract? Will the media pillory him like they did Barry? Will he replace Barry as the cheapest laugh in town? Don't count on it.

Of course, the argument will be made that steroids are far less dangerous or criminal than cocaine, but that is in part thanks to a sports media that has issued the sentencing guidelines for major league violators, namely, somewhere between not much and so what, that's life.

If you are not a major leaguer and use the stuff, it can be a bit different just as it is in the case of cocaine depending on who's taking it. Here is some legal advice from the web site Elite Fitness:

|||| Under federal law and the laws of many states, selling steroids, or possessing them with intent to sell, is a felony. An individual who sells steroids, or possesses with intent to sell, is punishable by up to five years in prison under federal law and up to seven years in prison under New York state law. Of course, whether an individual serves any prison time at all depends upon numerous factors including but not limited to the person's past criminal history, the strength of the prosecution's case, the person's role in the offense, and how effectively the case is either negotiated or litigated by defense counsel. An experienced criminal lawyer can make the difference.

While most steroid investigations by law enforcement target sellers, either big-time or, lately, even small-time, arrests for personal possession do occur. Often, these arrests arise out of car stops for traffic violations and the steroids are found during a search of the car. For example, I recently defended a case where a police officer found a few syringes after stopping my client for speeding and discovering he had a suspended driver's license. In New York, the possession of hypodermic instruments is a misdemeanor, and my client was arrested on the spot. . .

It is important to know that under the Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990 which applies across the country, steroids are in the same legal class as amphetamines, methamphetamines, opium and morphine. Simple possession is a federal offense punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a minimum fine of $1,000. Further, most states have enacted their own laws modeled after the Control Act. ||||

Somehow we have a feeling that Paul Lo Duco doesn't have to worry about this. The hypocrisy of our drug laws and their enforcement is rampant but it is not likely that Major League Baseball and its accomplices in the sports media will be much bothered by this. Still it has cost the DC budget over $600 million to provide a ball park for such role models as Lo Duco and if there is any residual guilt in the heart of the owners and the city politicians, they might consider squaring things a bit by honoring a local player who went to jail for just one deal and naming the place Marion Barry Stadium.

*************

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