Just a week ago, Karen Gunson, Oregon's medical examiner, announced that deaths as a result of heroin use are on the decline in Oregon. But the following weekend, a lethal batch of the drug passed through Multnomah County, killing six people in 36 hours. The Multnomah County Health Department has issued a warning to potential heroin users, advising people to take precautions such as taking a tester first when shooting up, not mixing other substances with heroin, and shooting up with friends, rather than alone. Jason Renaud with Cascadian Behavioral Healthcare sees this as all the more reason not to stop worrying about heroin use or consider declining usage as a good sign. "Sixty percent of heroin users are functioning citizens with jobs," says Renaud. "This is a huge, huge problem." KATIA DUNN
On Sunday, about 450 protestors gathered on the lawns of Lewis & Clark College to protest a visit from the rabidly conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. There to dedicate the opening of a new campus building, Scalia was greeted by civil rights activists, pro-choice supporters, and environmentalists. Over the past decade, Justice Scalia has led Supreme Court decisions against conservationist land use, immigrant rights, and abortions.
According to Liz Joffe, an organizer for the Northwest Justice Coalition, the goal of Sunday's rally was to raise public awareness about imminent Supreme Court appointments. It is believed as many as four current justices will retire within the next few years. President Bush has publicly vowed to replace those seats with justices who resemble the ideology of Scalia.
Several Lewis & Clark alumni also pointed out that the visit may have had more to do with politics. In spite of the law school's liberal student body, the ideologies of the school's Dean, Jim Huffman, lean to the right. Some speculate that Huffman may be angling for an appointment to the federal bench; Sunday's visit may have been an opportunity to closely align himself with the conservative powers-that-be. The law school said that Huffman had little to do with arrangements for Scalia's visit. PHIL BUSSE