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News Briefs

Drug Czar Calls for Mandatory Rehab Treatment of Criminals


The director of the administration’s war on drugs called Monday for a “historic shift” toward mandating drug treatment for hundreds of thousands of criminals, saying that policies aimed at simply locking up state and federal offenders without curing their addictions have failed.

“This is not a soft-on-crime issue. It’s trying to get good corrections policy combined with good drug treatment policy,” Barry McCaffrey, who heads the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, told reporters. “The current system is broken.”

McCaffrey will deliver that same basic message Tuesday to 900 prominent law-enforcement officials, health administrators and government policy analysts gathering in Washington for a major conference on the issue. Attorney General Janet Reno and Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala also will participate in the conference.

Law-enforcement officials in some states have moved in the last decade to develop drug courts and other ways of offering treatment to drug-addicted criminals. But McCaffrey said that, with as many as 85 percent of the nation’s nearly two million prisoners thought to be chronic drug users, a new national direction is needed to break the cycle of addiction.

Physicist, Nuclear Arms Expert Richard Latter Dies at 76


Richard Latter, 76, a theoretical physicist who warned of clandestine ways to cheat arms-reduction treaties during the Cold War, died of lung cancer Dec. 2. He lived in McLean, Va.

Latter, who once was termed “conservative cubed” politically, headed what became the physics department at Rand Corp. in the 1960s.

He later became a founder and vice president of the defense technology think tank R and D Associates (RDA) in 1971. He led RDA’s Washington office from 1974 to 1979. Logicon Inc., now a subsidiary of Northrup Grumman, bought RDA in the early 1980s.

In the 1960s, Latter warned of the ease of skirting nuclear-arms-testing regulations while a member of the U.S. delegation to the Geneva-based Conference for the Discontinuance of Nuclear Weapons Tests and a science adviser to the strategic arms limitation talks (SALT).

Underground tests, he said, could be conceived in a filled cavity, thereby minimizing the seismic waves of the explosion.

Not only could this happen in the event of a small blast, but also one larger than 10 kilotons, said Harold Brode, a theoretical nuclear physicist who specialized in the effects of weapons blast radiation.

Latter helped work with Soviet scientists at the Geneva conference to develop what would in 1964 become a treaty banning atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.

Latter, a Chicago native, was a Navy veteran of World War II. He was a 1942 physics graduate of the California Institute of Technology, from which he also received a doctorate in theoretical physics.