Archive for the ‘DRUG AND ALCOHOL NEWS’ Category

Heroin: BIG Problem in the BIG EASY

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

The City of New Orleans has issued a public health advisory due to the drastically increased number of heroin overdoses since last year.

Billie Holiday, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, John Belushi, River Phoenix, Sid Vicious, and Kurt Cobain – All of these celebrities have lost their lives due to heroin, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Yet, heroin has undergone a national resurgence spawned by a new generation of teenagers and young adults who don’t connect with these celebrity heroin deaths of the past. Deaths that led to heroin’s decline in the mid-90s.

Even the more recent heroin overdose death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has not stopped the surge.

Thus,it is easy to understand why the New Orleans area is playing a large role in this resurgence. After all, alcohol and drugs have been part of New Orleans’ culture for years, and heroin use has been prevalent since the drug first arrived in the Big Easy over a century ago, according to Gambit, a local New Orleans newspaper.

In fact, according to several retired deputies from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, local cops say the heroin resurgence is now worse in New Orleans than in any other areas of the nation. As a result, the city has issued a public health advisory due to the increase in the number of heroin overdoses since last year, which has been linked to five deaths in the first two weeks of 2016. During press conference, City officials said the number of overdoses have jumped from an average of 2 to 2.5 per day to more than 4 per day, with some days reaching as high as 10.

NOLA first-responders are using naloxone, a drug that gets people breathing again, at a record pace. “We’ve using it more and more, over double what we would typically see in a normal day.”
Dr. Jeffrey Elder Director of New Orleans EMS

In terms of addictiveness, heroin ranks at the top of the list with crack cocaine, which is also a huge drug problem in New Orleans. According to Forbes Magazine, in addition to the heroin resurgence, New Orleans has one of the highest crack problems in the U.S., which has led to the Big Easy leading the nation in murder – 95 per 100,000 people – that are known to be directly related to drugs.

“Kids aren’t as afraid of heroin as they once were,” said Robyn Dewhirst, Director of Assessment and Early Intervention at the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (CADA) for Greater New Orleans. “The impression is that smoking it is no big deal, and the fear of becoming a proverbial junkie is just not there.”

According to Dewhirst, instead of shooting heroin by injecting a cooked solution of the drug with a syringe, the teenagers of New Orleans and other urban cities are more likely to snort it by inhaling lines of the powdered drug through their nostrils like cocaine or smoking it with prescription medications such as Adderall or painkillers.

These methods are preferred since users believe the risk of over dosing is reduced. However, the risk of addiction remains the same.

Many teens are turning to heroin for a cheaper, longer-lasting, and more intense high. A heroin user in New Orleans can now get high for hours for just $5. A”20-bag ($20 worth of heroin) is enough to get a user high for two days while half a gram of cocaine, chopped into four or five lines, costs about$30.

According to FBI data, after hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans area was swamped with cheap and potent heroin as new dealers were trying to gain turf in the local market. Post-Katrina. there are a lot more people with a direct pipe line to the very potent Mexican heroin, which is common in the Crescent City.

New Orleans has been called the city that care forgot. But it is time New Orleans does not forget to care about the BIG PROBLEM of heroin.

Family Courts Fail to Protect Children from Parents who Abuse Pot

Monday, January 18th, 2016

According to an article featured on the Parents Opposed to Pot website, family courts throughout America regularly fail to protect children whose parents show signs of marijuana abuse. The article states the primary reason for this neglect is caused by father rights’ lawyers and women’s groups who are more concerned about the legal rights of the abuser parents instead of considering the best interest of children. The following three cases are examples of the courts’ failures to protect children of drug abusers.

CASE ONE: In Oregon, a state that decriminalized marijuana in 1973, a 2-year old boy was killed while in custody of his mother who admitted to daily marijuana use. On March 6, 2014, 2-year old
Cotlin Salsbury was killed by his mother’s boyfriend when he bashed the boy’s head in to the toilet. The Oregon’s Department of Human Services allowed the mother to have custody, despite noting that Cotlin tested positive for THC at birth.

CASE TWO: Peyton Bean, a 4-year old girl, was nearly killed in an auto accident on September 25, 2014 when her father, who was smoking pot while driving, crashed into a tree. Prior to the accident, Peyton’s mother sought full custody of the child since the father was abusing THC. The judge ruled otherwise.

CASE THREE: During a court ordered overnight visitation, 4-year old Javon Dade, Jr. was killed by his father’s pit bull and other dogs while playing in his father’s yard. The boy’s father and his girlfriend were passed out on drugs at the time of the fatal attack. Since the father had several drug arrests for possession and dealing, Parents Opposed to Pot questions why the courts allowed visitation.

CONCLUSION: “As the United States rushes to decriminalize marijuana and pass laws to allow medical marijuana, we can expect more children to die at the hands of violent and neglectful parents.” – Parents Opposed to Pot

Opioid Overdose Epidemic Worsens

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

Heroin Death Rate Spiked 26%

The death rate for drug overdose has never been higher with 60 percent of these deaths involving opioids, according to the current CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report stated that opioid overdose deaths, which included deaths from opioid pain relievers and heroin, increased 14 percent from 2013 to 2014. This significant increase is due in part to surges in heroin and synthetic opioids usage, especially illicitly-made fentanyl. During this period, the death rate related to heroin spiked by an alarming 26 percent.

However, the primary cause of deaths is related to natural and semi-synthetic opioids, such as commonly prescribed opioid pain relievers oxycodone and hydrocodone. The deaths caused by these types increased by 9 percent during this period. According to the report, more than 80 percent of fentanyl drug seizures in 2014 were concentrated in 10 states where heroin may be cut with illicit fentanyl. These states were located in the Midwest, Northeast and South where the use of heroin laced with fentanyl is rapidly increasing.

Here are the facts for the period of 2013-2014 from the report:
Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids such as illicitly-made fentanyl, increased by 80 percent;
Roughly 5,500 people died from overdoses involving synthetic opioids in 2014; and
Past misuse of prescription opioid pain relievers is the strongest risk factor for heroin initiation and use. The major factors for increased heroin usage that leads to more overdose deaths:

  • Availability
  • Reduced price
  • High purity of heroin

In response to the alarming increases, the report recommends the following four ways to decrease overdose deaths:

  • Improve opioid prescribing to reduce exposure to opioids and stop addiction
  • Expand access to evidence-based substance abuse treatment, such as Medication-Assisted Treatment, for people already addicted to opioids
  • Expand access and use of naloxone—a safe antidote to reverse opioid overdose
  • Improve detection of illicit opioid use by working with state and local public health agencies, medical examiners and coroners, and law enforcement

Drugs, Crime & Money – The Impact on Society

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Inner Cities Sub-culture Threatening America’s Traditional Way of Life

Gone are the “Happy Days” symbolized on TV by the decade of the 1950s. Gone is our innocence and along with it we lost the joy and spirit personified by such TV characters as “Richie Cunningham” and the lovable tough guy the “Fonz.” Americans no longer feel safe and secure. In fact, the average middle-class American can no longer walk in our inner city neighborhoods without fear. The once so-called ideal lifestyle featured on TV shows like “Leave it to Beaver” or “Father Knows Best” that formed the basis of the American family dream is now replaced by the nightmare caused by the effects of Drugs, Crime and Money. A lot has changed in the past decades. Instead of a party phone line, we now have smartphones. Instead of juke boxes, we now have iTunes.

Most of the changes have made an incredible positive impact on the quality of life. However, with these good changes along came what I call the “hood,” the bad and the ugly.
Hood – Increased crime to support drug habits has created a sub-culture in our inner city neighborhoods.
Bad – Money, which can be used for the good, is now supporting the bad habit of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction.
Ugly – The fresh faces of too many of our youth and young adults have been replaced by faces scared by the effects of addiction.

Drugs – A Way of Life While urban centers like Baltimore, New Orleans and San Francisco appear on the Forbes list of cities dealing with the worst drug problems, the use of illegal substances is increasing in almost every city and suburb. Although, marijuana and cocaine (crack) are still popular, heroin use is rapidly increasing along with synthetic alternatives such as “Mojo”, “Spice” and “Bath Salts” to name a few.

Crime – Drugs Play Central Role Illegal drugs play a central role in criminal acts committed in the U.S., according to the annual drug report recently released by the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy. The report showed about 71 percent of men arrested in 10 U.S. metropolitan areas during 2014 tested positive for at least one illegal substance at the time they were taken into custody. The most common drug was marijuana while cocaine was second.

Money – Economic Impact Drug abuse and addiction to tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs costs the US economy more than $500 billion a year, according to a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The report states illicit drug use accounts for about $180 billion of that total while alcohol has a $185 billion a year and tobacco a $193 billion a year impact. The following are examples of how alcohol and drug misuse impacts the economy and jeopardizes safety:

  • Increased health care related costs
  • Loss of productivity
  • Excessive absenteeism and tardiness
  • Accidents
  • Crime
  • Incarceration
  • Increased law enforcement

The Cost of Abuse & Addiction An alcoholic who daily consumes two six-packs of beer spends over $3,600 annually while a smoker with a heavy nicotine habit spends about $6,000 a year. As for illegal drugs, the marijuana user spends as much as $1,000, a methamphetamine addict spends about $4,000 and those with additions to cocaine or heroin can spend more than $10,000 in a twelve month period. Gone are the Days After taking a closer look at how drugs, crime, and money have combined to changed the culture of America, it is safe to say that the so-called “good old days” are just a memory frozen in time.

By Jerry LePre

Clearing the Air – The Deadly Facts about Legalized Marijuana

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

“The ugly truth is that Colorado was suckered. It was promised regulation and has been met with an industry that fights tooth and nail any restriction that limit its profitability.” – Ben Cort, Director of Professional Relations for the Center of Addiction Recovery and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado Hospital

Since 2006, fatalities from vehicle crashes in Colorado involving drivers under the influence of marijuana were up 254%, according to an annual report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA). The report stated in 2014, 94 vehicular deaths were attributed to pot while the total was 37 in 2006. The past year total represented 19.3% of all deaths in fatal crashes. In comparison, the 2006 total of 37 accounted for 6.9% of the total fatalities.

MORE PEOPLE HOSPITALIZED

The report also stated that during the four year period from 2011 to 2014, marijuana related ER (emergency room) visits in Colorado increased from 8,198 to 18,257. This is more than 220%. The highest increases were among adults 18 to 25. The RMHIDTA is an offshoot of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The RMHIDTA is a federal program charged with providing assistance to federal, sated, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug trafficking regions in the United States.

MORE PEOPLE DYING

$1,398,916 is the total economic impact for a vehicular fatality. This includes property damage, medical, insurance, and productivity according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). $10,270 is the total economic impact for a drug related driving under the influence (DUI) offense. The costs for this offense is similar to those of an alcohol related one.

Percentage of all Colorado road deaths involving marijuana

Percentage of all Colorado road deaths involving marijuana

 

Fentanyl Laced Heroin Killing People at a Record Pace

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

74 Overdoses reported in Chicago during a 72-hour Period

Heroin laced with fentanyl is killing people at a record rate across the nation, especially in Chicago. Recently, 74 people in the Windy City overdosed on fentanyl-laced heroin in a three day period. This is more than double the same three-day period last year. However, the problem is not limited to Chicago. According to the DEA, during a period from late 2013 through 2014, there were at least 700 fentanyl-related deaths nationwide. As a result, the DEA issued a nationwide health alert in March.

This increase in heroin overdoses is attributed to users obtaining heroin that was cut from fentanyl, which is a very strong synthetic narcotic, according to Diane Hincks, the emergency room director at Mount Sinai, which is a Chicago based hospital. Fentanyl is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), cutting fentanyl with street-sold heroin amplifies its potency to life-threatening levels. Effects can include respiratory depression and arrest, unconsciousness, coma and death. The last major outbreak of fentanyl-related deaths took place between 2005 and 2007, killing more than 1,000 people across the country. Dozens in the Chicago area died of overdoses, stated the Chicago Tribune.

The Effects of Cocaine

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant, native to South America. It produces short term euphoria, energy, and talkativeness, in addition to potentially dangerous physical effects such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. – National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

GRAND FORKS, ND – Cocaine (COC), also known as benzoylmethylecgonine (BE), is a strong addictive stimulant mostly used as a recreational drug. An estimated 36 million Americans have used cocaine in the past, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). It is classified by the DEA as a Schedule II Controlled Substance. Cocaine is commonly snorted and inhaled or smoked in the form of crack-cocaine. Crack is simply a smokeable form of cocaine and gets its name because when smoked, the baking powder residue left in it crackles.

Essentially, any psychoactive drug hits the brain quicker when smoked than any other method. The heat eliminates the other ingredients, so the user gets high grade cocaine. The Crack trend really pushed the acceleration of cocaine use in the USA. Cocaine can also be injected into the veins; however, this is the least common method currently used. In 2013, there were 1.5 million current cocaine (including crack) users age 12 or older, according to NSDUH.

Effects of Cocaine
Mental effects, which can begin within seconds to minutes of use and last between five and ninety minutes, include loss of reality, feeling of euphoria, or agitation. Signs, Symptoms and Risks Physical signs, symptoms and risks may include:

  • Fast heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Large pupils
  • High blood pressure and body temperature
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Lung problems, when smoked
  • Blood infections
  • Sudden cardiac death

An estimated 36 million Americans have used cocaine in the past. – NSDUH

Addiction
After only short period of use, there is a high risk that addiction will occur. It is estimated that one million users tried cocaine for the first time during the past year.

Vehicle Crashes are a Leading Cause of Teenage Deaths

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

National Teen Driver Safety Week October 18-24, 2015

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teenage deaths in the US, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency reported in 2013 there were over 2,600 teenagers (15-19 year old) killed in fatal crashes with teenage drivers. An estimated 130,000 were injured. Despite these alarming facts, a recent survey conducted by NHTSA showed only 25% of the parents questioned had a serious talk with their kids about safe driving and the five key dangers of driving. These dangers include the adverse effects of alcohol, not wearing seat belts, texting while driving, speeding, and extra passengers. NHTSA says that even if parents think their kids don’t hear them, they do. They say all parents should discuss the “5 to Drive” – Set the rules before your teenage drivers hit the road.

Remember the “5 to Drive” Tips from the NHTSA

  1. No Drinking and Driving. Set a good example by not driving after drinking. Remind your teen that drinking before the age of 21 is illegal, and alcohol and driving should never mix no matter your age. Teen drivers are at a greater risk of death in alcoholrelated crashes compared to drivers in all other age groups, even though they’re too young to legally buy, possess, or consume alcohol. Nationally in 2013, almost one out of five (19 percent) of the teen drivers (15 to 19 years old) involved in fatal crashes had been drinking.
  2. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Every Front Seat and Back. Lead by example. If you wear your seat belt every time you’re in the car, your teen is more likely to follow suit. Remind your teen that it’s important to buckle up on every trip, no matter how far or how fast they are driving. In 2013, 64 percent of all the young passengers (13-to 19-year-old) of teen (15- to 19-year-old) drivers who died in motor vehicle crashes weren’t restrained. When the teen driver was also unrestrained, the number of all passengers unrestrained increased to almost 90 percent.
  3. Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All. Remind your teen about the dangers of texting or dialing while driving, and that the phone is off-limits when they are on the road. It’s equally important to model safe driving habits for your teen—you shouldn’t text and drive either. In 2013, among drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 6 percent were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the highest percentage of drivers distracted by phone use. In 2013, 156 people were killed in crashes that involved a distracted teen driver. TIP: Put your cell phone in the trunk of your car while driving to avoid the temptation to use it.
  4. Stop Speeding Before It Stops You. Drive the speed limit and require your teen age kids to do the same. Explain that every time your speed doubles, your stopping distance quadruples. In 2013, almost one-third (29 percent) of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding.
  5. No More Than One Passenger. With each passenger in the vehicle, your teen’s risk of a fatal crash goes up. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers. Check your State’s GDL (Graduated Driving Licensing) law before your teen takes to the road; it may prohibit any passengers. From October 18-24, join parents across the country in the “5 to Drive” campaign. For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and the “5 to Drive” campaign, please visit www.safercar.gov/parents.

Colorado Realizing the Negative Effects of Legalized Pot

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

“I feel like we’re losing a generation. I talk to these kids. Mainstream kids who are doing the concentrate (concentrated marijuana) every day. The potential for harm and the implications for their future is unfathomable.” – Diane Carlson, Co-founder of Smart Colorado, a youth advocacy group

More and more the citizens of Colorado are learning of the negative effects caused by the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. As a result, throughout the state, a fledgling repeal movement is underway. In fact, according to Bob Doyle, Executive Director of the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance, voters who once supported the law in 2012 are now voting to block pot shops in their neighborhoods.

The primary concerns are:

  1. The levels of the psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are 400 percent higher than they were three decades ago, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
  2. Marijuana is available in concentrated products such as brownies, chocolates, cookies, lollipops, gummies and cherry drops. Opponents say the marijuana industry is targeting young people with edible marijuana products. These items are produced by extracting the psychoactive ingredient of the plant for a very powerful effect.
  3. The focus on youth is making a horrific impact. Based on information provided by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA), an offshoot of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, kids under the age of 21 are using pot at excessive levels despite 21 being the minimum age for purchasing marijuana.

As a result of legalized pot, all aspects of life in Colorado – family life, education, business, law enforcement and healthcare – are being adversely affected.

Stages of Chemical Dependency

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

GRAND FORKS, ND – There are three stages of chemical dependency, according to physiology:

  • Early Stage – Use
  • Middle Stage – Abuse
  • Late Stage – Addiction

THE EARLY STAGE – USE

  • The use of alcohol or illegal substances to achieve a “high”, “euphoric state of mind” or “calming effect”.
  • Excessive use of prescription medications in higher doses than prescribed by a physician to alter the user’s mood or to get a “high”.

THE MIDDLE STAGE – ABUSE

  • The continued excessive or improper use of a drug or alcohol despite negative consequences.
  • Usage of the substance is continuously increased. Yet the initial euphoria and high cannot be reached.
  • Stopping usage of the substance is still possible.
  • Drugs or Alcohol become the central focus.
  • Behavior changes are apparent.

THE LATE STAGE – ADDICTION

  • This disease causes the body to become chemically dependent upon the substance (drug or alcohol).
  • Condition is classified as “drug dependence” or “alcoholism”.
  • User needs the substance in order to function and prevent withdrawals.
  • An alcoholic or drug dependent (addicted) person cannot stop without counseling, medical treatment and family support.

Codependency

Codependent relationships are defined as a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, lying and deceit, or under-achievement. It enables, not empowers others, by providing help, assistance and support to bail someone out or cover-up behavior so the wrongdoer does not suffer the unpleasant consequences of their actions. These enablers, who perceive themselves as rescuers, are often in denial of the wrong- doing of others through justification.

Enablers, who are often motivated by love or manipulation, feel satisfaction and acceptance by being merciful and helpful. They do not understand they are actually hurting the wrongdoer by not allowing the offender to face the real issues and resulting penalties. Enablers prevent wrongdoers from receiving help.

The Workplace Enabler

A substance abuser in the workplace can create a paranoid corporate culture of deception based on lies, deceit, mistrust and suspicion. Abusers control and manipulate managers, supervisors and co-workers to cover up for their symptoms and behavior. Those who are manipulated feel sorry for the abuser. As a result, these knowingly or unknowing participants partake in the cover-up by making excuses, justification or not reporting the abuser’s signs of wrong-doing.