HR3722 `Putting Drug Free Families First Act of 2011′

HR 3722 IH

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 3722

To amend part A of title IV of the Social Security Act to require States to implement a drug testing program for applicants for and recipients of assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

December 16, 2011

Mr. PEARCE (for himself, Mr. WESTMORELAND, Mr. ROE of Tennessee, Mr. DUNCAN of South Carolina, Mr. DESJARLAIS, Mr. HUIZENGA of Michigan, Mr. POSEY, Mr. KING of Iowa, and Mr. MULVANEY) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means


A BILL

To amend part A of title IV of the Social Security Act to require States to implement a drug testing program for applicants for and recipients of assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
    This Act may be cited as the `Putting Drug Free Families First Act of 2011′.
SEC. 2. DRUG TESTING PROGRAM FOR APPLICANTS FOR AND RECIPIENTS OF ASSISTANCE UNDER STATE TANF PROGRAMS.
    (a) Requirement That Applicants and Individuals Receiving Assistance Be Tested for Illegal Drug Use- Section 408(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 608(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
      `(12) REQUIREMENT FOR DRUG TESTING; DENIAL OF ASSISTANCE FOR INDIVIDUALS FOUND TO HAVE USED AN ILLEGAL DRUG-
        `(A) IN GENERAL- A State to which a grant is made under section 403 may not use any part of the grant to provide assistance under the State program funded under this part to an individual unless the individual is tested for the use of the drugs listed in subparagraph (B)(i)–
          `(i) if the individual has applied for such assistance and the application has not been approved, before the receipt of such assistance; and
          `(ii) in any other case, before the end of the 3-month period that begins on the date of the enactment of this paragraph.
        `(B) DRUGS TO BE INCLUDED IN TESTING-
          `(i) IN GENERAL- In conducting drug testing pursuant to subparagraph (A), the State shall test for each of the following:
            `(I) Marijuana.
            `(II) Cocaine.
            `(III) Opiates.
            `(IV) Amphetamines.
            `(V) Methamphetamine.
            `(VI) Phencyclidine.
            `(VII) Heroin.
            `(VIII) Lysergic acid diethylamide.
            `(IX) 3,4-methylenedioxy amphetamine.
          `(ii) EXCEPTION FOR PRESCRIPTION USE OF DRUGS- A positive test for a drug listed in clause (i) shall be disregarded for purposes of this paragraph if such drug was used pursuant to a valid prescription or as otherwise authorized by law.
        `(C) DENIAL OF ASSISTANCE FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO TEST POSITIVE FOR AN ILLEGAL DRUG-
          `(i) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subparagraph (D), if an individual tests positive pursuant to subparagraph (A) for the use of any drug listed in subparagraph (B)(i), the State may not provide assistance under the State program funded under this part to such individual unless–
            `(I) a 1-year (or, if the individual has so tested positive for the 2nd time, 3-year) period has elapsed since the results of the test were determined; and
            `(II) the individual tests negative for the use of each drug listed in subparagraph (B)(i) at the end of such period.
          `(ii) PERMANENT INELIGIBILITY AFTER THIRD POSITIVE TEST RESULT- If an individual tests positive pursuant to subparagraph (A) for the third time for the use of any drug listed in subparagraph (B)(i), the State shall treat such individual as permanently ineligible for assistance under the State program funded under this part.
        `(D) REHABILITATION EXCEPTION AFTER FIRST POSITIVE TEST RESULT- In the case of an individual who tests positive pursuant to subparagraph (A) for the first time for the use of any drug listed in subparagraph (B)(i), the period for which assistance may not be provided to an individual by reason of subparagraph (C)(i) shall be 180 days if the State determines that the individual–
          `(i) has successfully completed a drug rehabilitation or treatment program for the drug for which the individual tested positive; and
          `(ii) tests negative for the use of such drug at the end of such 180-day period.
        `(E) PAYMENT OF COSTS- The State shall require each individual who applies for assistance under the State program funded under this part to pay the portion of the cost of the drug testing pursuant to subparagraph (A) that pertains to such individual. If such individual tests negative for the use of each drug listed in subparagraph (B)(i) and the State provides assistance under the State program funded under this part to the individual, the State shall increase the first payment of such assistance in an amount equal to the amount paid by the individual under this subparagraph for the drug testing.
        `(F) DESIGNEE FOR CHILD BENEFICIARY- In the case of a parent of a minor child, if such parent tests positive pursuant to subparagraph (A) for the use of any drug listed in subparagraph (B)(i), the State shall designate an individual other than such parent to receive payments for assistance under the State program funded under this part on behalf of the minor child. The State may not so designate an individual unless the individual has been tested for the use of each drug listed in subparagraph (B)(i) and did not test positive.
        `(G) DEFINITION OF DRUG REHABILITATION OR TREATMENT PROGRAM- In this paragraph, the term `drug rehabilitation or treatment program’ means a program that–
          `(i) has been determined by the State to provide rehabilitation or treatment for the use of an illegal drug; and
          `(ii) complies with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws and regulations.’.
    (b) Penalty for Failure To Implement Illegal Drug Use Testing Program- Section 409(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 609(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
      `(16) PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO IMPLEMENT ILLEGAL DRUG USE TESTING PROGRAM- If the Secretary determines that a State to which a grant is made under section 403 in a fiscal year has violated section 408(a)(12) during the fiscal year, the Secretary shall reduce the grant payable to the State under section 403(a)(1) for the immediately succeeding fiscal year by an amount equal to 10 percent of the State family assistance grant.’.
    (c) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall take effect on the 1st day of the 1st calendar quarter that begins on or after the date that is 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

END

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Trading Sex for a “F–cking Happy Meal?

Mom Can’t Get Food Stamps After Drug Offense, Resorts to Prostitution to Feed her Kids

If she’d committed murder, Carla could have gotten assistance to feed her children. But because the crime she committed was related to drugs, she can’t.

December 21, 2012  |  

images2

Carla walked into my office with despair in her eyes. I was surprised. Carla has been doing well in her four months out of prison; she got off drugs, regained custody of her kids, and even enrolled in a local community college. 

Without much prodding she admitted to me that she had retuned to prostitution: “I am putting myself at risk for HIV to get my kids a f—ing happy meal.”

Despite looking high and low for a job, Carla explained, she was still unemployed. Most entry-level jobs felt out of reach with her drug record, but what’s worse, even the state wasn’t willing to throw her a temporary life preserver.

You see, Carla is from one of the 32 states in the country that ban anyone convicted of a drug felony from collecting food stamps. With the release of the Global Burden of Disease Study last week, it bears looking at how we are perpetuating burdens among the most vulnerable Americans with our outdated laws.

If she’d committed rape or murder, Carla could have gotten assistance to feed herself and her children, but because the crime she committed was a drug felony, Carla joined the hundreds of thousands of drug felons who are not eligible.

The 1996 passage of the Welfare Reform Act was supposedly implemented to prevent drug addicts from selling their food stamps for drugs. But that concern is virtually unwarranted today. Unlike old food-stamp coupons, today’s food stamps are distributed electronically, which makes selling or trading them quite difficult.

Nonetheless, the law persists.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nine states have a lifetime ban for food-stamp eligibly for people convicted of drug felonies.  Twenty-three states have a partial ban, such as permitting eligibility for persons convicted of drug possession but not sale, or for persons enrolled in drug treatment programs.

Denying food stamp benefits to people convicted of drug offenses is an excessive and ineffective crime control strategy. The policy increases an individual’s risk of returning to prison by making it more difficult for people to survive after they get out, slowing or possibly even preventing their reintegration into society. People without the financial cushion necessary to get through the initial period of job searching and re-establishing a life have little choice but to turn to illegal means to make ends meet.

What’s more, the food-stamp ban is a law that works against good public health policy. As a doctor who cares predominantly for people who are released from prison, I see the damaging consequences of this ban on food stamps. I have seen patients of mine with diabetes go without food and end up hospitalized with low blood sugar, and still others with HIV skip their antiretrovirals because they don’t have food to take with their pills.  Not having access to food is associated with bad health outcomes including worsening diabetes, HIV, depression. Young children face anemia, diabetes, and depression.

Women with children are especially affected. It’s estimated that 70,000 women and their children are banned from obtaining food stamps. This means mothers who are simply trying to feed themselves and their children, and who are trying to get back on their feet after serving their time, are banned from receiving the money to pay for the basics necessary to survive.  Meanwhile, 46 million others, including college graduates and PhDs with far more resources, can receive food aid.

No other criminal conviction results in such a ban—not arson, not rape, not even murder.

Carla was arrested at 20 for selling marijuana.  At the time, she had also been making money working for her “boyfriend” as a sex worker.  Her boyfriend was also arrested for robbery.  He could qualify for food stamps upon release. But not Carla. She continues to pay for selling marijuana— a drug which two states have now voted to legalize outright—and the price is health risks for herself and for her children. 

CONTINUE READING….PAGE 2…

Judge dismisses federal lawsuit over “forced catheterization”

 

 

Updated: 10:38 am | Published: 12:27 am

Reported by: Jonelle Merrill
Written by: Jonelle Merrill

Gavel (ABC 4 News)

Gavel (ABC 4 News)

SANPETE COUNTY, (ABC 4 News) – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit involving a young man who believes his constitutional rights were violated when police forced a catheter inside him.

Stephan Cook, 22, brought the lawsuit against several law enforcement officers in Sanpete County and Ephraim City, claiming that they performed a forced catheterization on him, after he refused a drug test in 2008 while attending Snow College.

As the plaintiff in the case, Cook claims the incident in question started on a quiet side road in Ephraim where he was parked smoking cigarettes inside a car with friends. Cook says police officers approached the car, suspecting the young men were smoking marijuana.

“When they approached us, they said it smelled like marijuana, but we said no, we’re smoking cigarettes and we just put the cigarettes out like you asked us to,” says Cook.

Cook refused to offer a urine sample after the cops demanded it numerous times. He adds that he repeatedly asked for an attorney to be present.

 
After obtaining what Cook’s attorneys call a “botched” search warrant, he was forced by police to be catheterized at Sanpete County Hospital.

“The nurse told the officers to hold my shoulders while they catherized me, and after that they took me straight to jail,” said Cook.

According to the attorneys, Sanpete County Hospital still has not produced the urine sample as evidence, or even a record of Cook coming to the hospital. They say it further adds to their belief that the law enforcement agencies involved did not follow correct procedure.

 
Criminal defense attorney Lindsay Jarvis calls the forced catheterization the ultimate violation of her client’s civil rights. “I would say anybody who’s in that position would feel as though they were sexually assaulted – yes. You’ve got a female nurse who is unbuttoning his pants while another individual holds him down. And then, they stick an object into his private parts.”

Prior to filing his civil lawsuit, Cook fought the case in criminal court, where he accepted a plea of abeyance. The agreement allowed him to admit to one count of possession of marijuana and a fine, in exchange for dropping the rest of the charges against him. According to Cook’s legal team, the federal judge dismissed his civil lawsuit partially due to the fact that Cook had previously admitted guilt. However, both Cook and his attorneys say the plea of abeyance was made under duress. The attorneys, who plan to appeal, say the ruling to dismiss the case on those grounds is just plain wrong. “Irrespective of whether he committed this crime, that’s irrelevant to whether they’re entitled to forcibly catheterize him,” said attorney Justin Heideman.

Peter Stirba, defense counsel for the Sanpete County officers issued this statement in response to the dismissal of the lawsuit: “The officers’ behavior was fully justified and certainly was not violative of any of Mr. Cook’s constitutional rights.”

Cook’s mother who is a fellow police officer for a different city strongly opposes the defense counsel’s statement, calling this a matter of police brutality.

“This is a story of contemptive cops. He (Stephan) wouldn’t voluntarily pee, and they were gonna do whatever it took to get his urine – period,” said Stephan Cook’s mother Holly Ziegenhorn.

Cook wants to keep fighting and move forward with an appeal. He says he does not want another person to have to go through what he did. “I never wanted this to happen. I’m willing to stand up for everybody else who can’t,” said Cook.

CONTINUE READING…

Judge dismisses federal lawsuit over “forced catheterization”

Updated: 10:38 am | Published: 12:27 am

Reported by: Jonelle Merrill
Written by: Jonelle Merrill

Gavel (ABC 4 News)

Gavel (ABC 4 News)

SANPETE COUNTY, (ABC 4 News) – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit involving a young man who believes his constitutional rights were violated when police forced a catheter inside him.

Stephan Cook, 22, brought the lawsuit against several law enforcement officers in Sanpete County and Ephraim City, claiming that they performed a forced catheterization on him, after he refused a drug test in 2008 while attending Snow College.

As the plaintiff in the case, Cook claims the incident in question started on a quiet side road in Ephraim where he was parked smoking cigarettes inside a car with friends. Cook says police officers approached the car, suspecting the young men were smoking marijuana.

"When they approached us, they said it smelled like marijuana, but we said no, we’re smoking cigarettes and we just put the cigarettes out like you asked us to," says Cook.

Cook refused to offer a urine sample after the cops demanded it numerous times. He adds that he repeatedly asked for an attorney to be present.

 
After obtaining what Cook’s attorneys call a "botched" search warrant, he was forced by police to be catheterized at Sanpete County Hospital.

"The nurse told the officers to hold my shoulders while they catherized me, and after that they took me straight to jail," said Cook.

According to the attorneys, Sanpete County Hospital still has not produced the urine sample as evidence, or even a record of Cook coming to the hospital. They say it further adds to their belief that the law enforcement agencies involved did not follow correct procedure.

 
Criminal defense attorney Lindsay Jarvis calls the forced catheterization the ultimate violation of her client’s civil rights. "I would say anybody who’s in that position would feel as though they were sexually assaulted – yes. You’ve got a female nurse who is unbuttoning his pants while another individual holds him down. And then, they stick an object into his private parts."

Prior to filing his civil lawsuit, Cook fought the case in criminal court, where he accepted a plea of abeyance. The agreement allowed him to admit to one count of possession of marijuana and a fine, in exchange for dropping the rest of the charges against him. According to Cook’s legal team, the federal judge dismissed his civil lawsuit partially due to the fact that Cook had previously admitted guilt. However, both Cook and his attorneys say the plea of abeyance was made under duress. The attorneys, who plan to appeal, say the ruling to dismiss the case on those grounds is just plain wrong. "Irrespective of whether he committed this crime, that’s irrelevant to whether they’re entitled to forcibly catheterize him," said attorney Justin Heideman.

Peter Stirba, defense counsel for the Sanpete County officers issued this statement in response to the dismissal of the lawsuit: "The officers’ behavior was fully justified and certainly was not violative of any of Mr. Cook’s constitutional rights."

Cook’s mother who is a fellow police officer for a different city strongly opposes the defense counsel’s statement, calling this a matter of police brutality.

"This is a story of contemptive cops. He (Stephan) wouldn’t voluntarily pee, and they were gonna do whatever it took to get his urine – period," said Stephan Cook’s mother Holly Ziegenhorn.

Cook wants to keep fighting and move forward with an appeal. He says he does not want another person to have to go through what he did. "I never wanted this to happen. I’m willing to stand up for everybody else who can’t," said Cook.

CONTINUE READING…

Why Do Clinics Deny Painkillers To Medical Marijuana Patients?

By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~

pills0409_image.jpeg

Should health care facilities have the power to make lifestyle decisions for you — and punish you when your choices don’t measure up to their ideals? More and more hospitals are making exactly those kinds of decisions when it comes to people who choose to use marijuana — even legal patients in medical marijuana states. Apparently, these places don’t mind looking exactly as if they have more loyalty to their Big Pharma benefactors than they do to their own patients.

A new policy at one Alaska clinic — requiring patients taking painkilling medications to be marijuana free — serves to highlight the hypocrisy and cruelty of such rules, which are used at more and more health care facilities, particularly the big corporate chains (the clinic in question is a member of the Banner Health chain).

Tanana Valley Clinic, in Fairbanks, started handing out prepared statements to all chronic pain patients on Monday, said Corinne Leistikow, assistant medical director for family practice at TVC, reports Dorothy Chomicz at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.


"We will no longer prescribe controlled substances, such as opiates and benzodiazepines, to patients who are using marijuana (THC)," the statement reads in part. "These drugs are psychoactive substances and it is not safe for you to take them together." (This statement is patently false; marijuana has no known dangerous reactions with any other drugs, and in fact, since marijuana relieves chronic pain, it often makes it possible for pain patients to take smaller, safer doses of opiates and other drugs.)

LIAR, LIAR: Corinne Leistikow, M.D. says "patients who use opiates and marijuana together are at much higher risk of death." We’d love to see the study you’re talking about, Corinne.

"Your urine will be tested for marijuana," patients are sternly warned. "If you test positive you will have two months to get it out of your system. You will be retested in two months. If you still have THC in your urine, we will no longer prescribe controlled substances for you."

TVC patient Scott Ide, who takes methadone to control chronic back pain, also uses medical marijuana to ease the nausea and vomiting caused by gastroparesis. He believes TVC decided to change its policy after an Anchorage-based medical marijuana authorization clinic spend three days in Fairbanks in June, helping patients get the necessary documentation to get a state medical marijuana card.

"I’m a victim of circumstance because of what occurred," Ide said. "I was already a patient with her — I was already on this regimen. We already knew what we were doing to get me better and work things out for me. I think it’s wrong."

Ide, a former Alaska State Trooper, said he was addicted to painkillers, but medical marijuana helped him wean himself off all medications except methadone.

Leistikow admitted that the new policy may force some patients to drive all the way to Anchorage, because there are only a few chronic pain specialists in Fairbanks. Still, she claimed the strict new policy was "necessary."

The assistant medical director is so eager to defend the clinic’s new policy that she took a significant departure from the facts in so doing.

"What we have decided as a clinic — we’re setting policy for which patients we can take care of and which ones we can’t — patients who use opiates and marijuana together are at much higher risk of death, abuse and misuse of medications, of having side effects from their medications, and recommendations are generally that patients on those should be followed by a pain specialist," Leistikow lied.

Patients who use opiates and marijuana together are NOT in fact at higher risk of death, abuse, misuse and side effects; I invite Ms. Leistikow to produce any studies which indicate they are. As mentioned earlier, pain patients who also use marijuana are usually able to use smaller, safer doses of painkillers than would be the case without cannabis supplementation.

CONTINUE READING HERE…

Why Do Clinics Deny Painkillers To Medical Marijuana Patients?

By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~

pills0409_image.jpeg

Should health care facilities have the power to make lifestyle decisions for you — and punish you when your choices don’t measure up to their ideals? More and more hospitals are making exactly those kinds of decisions when it comes to people who choose to use marijuana — even legal patients in medical marijuana states. Apparently, these places don’t mind looking exactly as if they have more loyalty to their Big Pharma benefactors than they do to their own patients.

A new policy at one Alaska clinic — requiring patients taking painkilling medications to be marijuana free — serves to highlight the hypocrisy and cruelty of such rules, which are used at more and more health care facilities, particularly the big corporate chains (the clinic in question is a member of the Banner Health chain).

Tanana Valley Clinic, in Fairbanks, started handing out prepared statements to all chronic pain patients on Monday, said Corinne Leistikow, assistant medical director for family practice at TVC, reports Dorothy Chomicz at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.


“We will no longer prescribe controlled substances, such as opiates and benzodiazepines, to patients who are using marijuana (THC),” the statement reads in part. “These drugs are psychoactive substances and it is not safe for you to take them together.” (This statement is patently false; marijuana has no known dangerous reactions with any other drugs, and in fact, since marijuana relieves chronic pain, it often makes it possible for pain patients to take smaller, safer doses of opiates and other drugs.)

LIAR, LIAR: Corinne Leistikow, M.D. says “patients who use opiates and marijuana together are at much higher risk of death.” We’d love to see the study you’re talking about, Corinne.

“Your urine will be tested for marijuana,” patients are sternly warned. “If you test positive you will have two months to get it out of your system. You will be retested in two months. If you still have THC in your urine, we will no longer prescribe controlled substances for you.”

TVC patient Scott Ide, who takes methadone to control chronic back pain, also uses medical marijuana to ease the nausea and vomiting caused by gastroparesis. He believes TVC decided to change its policy after an Anchorage-based medical marijuana authorization clinic spend three days in Fairbanks in June, helping patients get the necessary documentation to get a state medical marijuana card.

“I’m a victim of circumstance because of what occurred,” Ide said. “I was already a patient with her — I was already on this regimen. We already knew what we were doing to get me better and work things out for me. I think it’s wrong.”

Ide, a former Alaska State Trooper, said he was addicted to painkillers, but medical marijuana helped him wean himself off all medications except methadone.

Leistikow admitted that the new policy may force some patients to drive all the way to Anchorage, because there are only a few chronic pain specialists in Fairbanks. Still, she claimed the strict new policy was “necessary.”

The assistant medical director is so eager to defend the clinic’s new policy that she took a significant departure from the facts in so doing.

“What we have decided as a clinic — we’re setting policy for which patients we can take care of and which ones we can’t — patients who use opiates and marijuana together are at much higher risk of death, abuse and misuse of medications, of having side effects from their medications, and recommendations are generally that patients on those should be followed by a pain specialist,” Leistikow lied.

Patients who use opiates and marijuana together are NOT in fact at higher risk of death, abuse, misuse and side effects; I invite Ms. Leistikow to produce any studies which indicate they are. As mentioned earlier, pain patients who also use marijuana are usually able to use smaller, safer doses of painkillers than would be the case without cannabis supplementation.

CONTINUE READING HERE…

Marijuana legalization backers puzzling over how to keep stoned drivers off the road

DENVER — Angeline Chilton says she can’t drive unless she smokes pot.

The suburban Denver woman says she’d never get behind the wheel right after smoking, but she does use medical marijuana twice a day to ease tremors caused by multiple sclerosis that previously left her homebound.

“I don’t drink and drive, and I don’t smoke and drive,” she said. “But my body is completely saturated with THC.”

Her case underscores a problem that no one’s sure how to solve: How do you tell if someone is too stoned to drive?

States that allow medical marijuana have grappled with determining impairment levels for years. And voters in Colorado and Washington state will decide this fall whether to legalize the drug for recreational use, bringing a new urgency to the issue.

A Denver marijuana advocate says officials are scrambling for limits in part because more drivers acknowledge using the drug.

“The explosion of medical marijuana patients has led to a lot of drivers sticking the (marijuana) card in law enforcement’s face, saying, ‘You can’t do anything to me, I’m legal,’” said Sean McAllister, a lawyer who defends people charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.

It’s not that simple. Driving while impaired by any drug is illegal in all states.

But it highlights the challenges law enforcement officers face using old tools to try to fix a new problem. Most convictions for drugged driving now are based on police observations, followed later by a blood test.

Authorities envision a legal threshold for pot that would be comparable to the blood-alcohol standard used to determine drunken driving.

But unlike alcohol, marijuana stays in the blood long after the high wears off a few hours after use, and there is no quick test to determine someone’s level of impairment — not that scientists haven’t been working on it.

Dr. Marilyn Huestis of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a government research lab, says that soon there will be a saliva test to detect recent marijuana use.

But government officials say that doesn’t address the question of impairment.

“I’ll be dead — and so will lots of other people — from old age, before we know the impairment levels” for marijuana and other drugs, said White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske.

Authorities recognize the need for a solution. Marijuana causes dizziness, slowed reaction time and drivers are more likely to drift and swerve while they’re high.

Dr. Bob DuPont, president of the Institute for Behavior and Health, a non-government institute that works to reduce drug abuse, says research proves “the terrible carnage out there on the roads caused by marijuana.”

One recent review of several studies of pot smoking and car accidents suggested that driving after smoking marijuana might almost double the risk of being in a serious or fatal crash.

And a recent nationwide census of fatal traffic accidents showed that while deadly crashes have declined in recent years, the percentage of mortally wounded drivers who later tested positive for drugs rose 18 percent between 2005 and 2011.

CONTINUE READING…