Archive for September, 2010

National Survey Reveals Increases in Substance Use from 2008 to 2009

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

The use of illicit drugs among Americans increased between 2008 and 2009 according to a national survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows the overall rate of current illicit drug use in the United States rose from 8.0 percent of the population aged 12 and older in 2008 to 8.7 percent in 2009. This rise in overall drug use was driven in large part by increases in marijuana use.
The annual NSDUH survey, released by SAMHSA at the kickoff of the 21st annual National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, also shows that the nonmedical use of prescription drugs rose from 2.5 percent of the population in 2008 to 2.8 percent in 2009. Additionally, the estimated number of past-month ecstasy users rose from 555,000 in 2008 to 760,000 in 2009, and the number of methamphetamine users rose from 314,000 to 502,000 during that period.
Flat or increasing trends of substance use were reported among youth (12 to 17-year-olds). Although the rate of overall illicit drug use among young people in 2009 remained below 2002 levels, youth use was higher in 2009 compared to 2008 (10.0 percent of youth in 2009, versus 9.3 percent in 2008, versus 11.6 percent in 2002). The rate of marijuana use in this age group followed a similar pattern, declining from 8.2 percent of young people in 2002, to 6.7 percent in 2006, remaining level until 2008, and then increasing to 7.3 percent in 2009. Additionally, the level of youth perceiving great risk of harm associated with smoking marijuana once or twice a week dropped from 54.7 percent in 2007 to 49.3 percent in 2009, marking the first time since 2002 that less than half of young people perceived great harm in frequent marijuana use. The rate of current tobacco use or underage drinking among this group remained stable between 2008 and 2009.
Overall past-month illicit drug use among young adults aged 18-25 increased from 19.6 percent of young adults in 2008, to 21.2 percent in 2009. This rise in use was also driven in large part by the use of marijuana.

NSDUH is a scientifically conducted annual survey of approximately 67,500 people throughout the country, aged 12 and older. Because of its statistical power, it is the nation

What information does a Social Security Trace pull and what does it mean when an Invalid result or discrepancy is reported?

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Information on a Social Security Trace is reported from credit headers, which means that any name, date of birth, or address used for credit purposes associated with the given social number will show on the trace. When a discrepancy is found (i.e. the name or DOB given does not match the given), it is best to check that the SSN was entered correctly. If the SSN is entered correctly, than most likely the applicant has not established credit history or a representative at a credit agency mistyped the name and/or date of birth for the applicant or typed the wrong social number for another person who applied for credit. In the instance of an invalid result, the SSN provided is either incorrect, or the applicant is a new U.S. citizen whose information has not been updated by the Social Security Administration. When discrepancies and invalid results on the social trace are found, it is best to review the individual’s social security card and make sure that the information provided is correct.

“Lean” and “Purple Dank”: Dangerous Cocktail

Friday, September 17th, 2010

“Lean” is another name for “Purple Drank,” the special drug cocktail (sipping syrup) that combines codeine-based cough syrup with promethazine, lemon-lime soda, ice, and crushed up hard candies. With those ingredients mixed together in a cup, the color of the blended components turns purple or pink. The core ingredient in “Purple Drank” is the codeine-promethazine cough syrup.
To produce Lean, one must first come into possession of diverted cough syrup. Promethazine and codeine is a controlled substance under Schedule III of the Federal Controlled Substances Act. The underground market for the cough syrup is brisk. A pint of promethazine and codeine cough syrup can cost up to $400. The average street price hovers around $250. In some cases, plain codeine cough syrup is substituted when the combination medicine can not be found. But true aficionados of lean will testify that plain codeine syrup falls far short of the effects of real promethazine-codeine products. Typically, Lean is mixed in a two-liter plastic bottle of lemon-lime soda with four ounces of cough syrup. Crushed up hard candies can be added at any point to the blending process. It takes several minutes for the candies to dissolve in the liquid. The candies, along with the lemon-lime flavoring of the soda tend to offset what can be a nauseating taste of cough syrup. Poured over cracked ice or small ice cubes, the drug is consumed from small foam cups. True “Lean” fans drink their cocktail from a foam cup. Music videos and pictures of rap artists using “Lean” or “Purple Drank” always depicts the drug being consumed from foam cups.

The effects of “Purple Drank” and “Lean” are dose dependent. Sharing the beverage with others as it’s poured from a two-liter plastic bottle, it’s unlikely that a partygoer will get any more drug than what would constitute one to two doses of straight-up cough syrup. In the end though, how much any one abuser ingests is dependent on how much is shared and how many glasses of “Lean” is consumed. Users are urged to nurse their “Purple Drank.” It’s encouraged to drink the mix it in a fashion similar to that of a martini or “scotch on the rocks.” Because both codeine and promethazine are central nervous system depressants, the effects of “Lean” can be quickly observed. Some of the signs and symptoms of “Lean” intoxication are the following:

FMCSA Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP)

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

In May of 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) launched its Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), which allows commercial motor carrier companies to electronically access driver inspection and crash records as a part of the hiring process.
The Pre-Employment Screening Program offers access to up to five years of driver crash data and three years of inspection data regardless of the state or jurisdiction. By using driver safety information during pre-employment screening, commercial carriers will be able to better assess the potential safety risks of prospective driver-employees. PSP also gives drivers additional opportunities to verify the data in their driving history and correct any discrepancies. A driver’s records will be protected in accordance with federal privacy laws.
The Pre-Employment Screening Program is populated monthly by FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). The MCMIS is comprised of driver performance data including inspection and compliance review results, enforcement data, state-reported crashes, and motor carrier census data.
PSP is designed to assist the motor carrier industry in assessing individual operators

Go On And Unstress Yourself Today

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

If I told you that you should take an entire day to un-stress your life, would have a clue how to do it?

I don’t mean you should go out and unstress yourself by shopping or getting your sports fix. I am saying that you can talk to yourself more positively when you’re feeling down and out or obsessing about issues that cause you to worry. Following are a few “worry and depression” songs that I often hear played by my “stressed out” communications clients:

1. “If I keep thinking negative thoughts…bad things are going to happen to me!” Your gloomy thoughts DO NOT cause bad things to happen! They’re just negative thoughts trying to scare the pants or skirt off of you…making you feel naked and vulnerable. Don’t go there…there’s nothing useful to learn from fear that seeks to put a stranglehold on your confidence and crash your mood.

2. “I hate not having control!” The harder you try to control what you don’t have control over, the ‘behinder’ you will get in your mood and tasks that you DO have control over. That’s the paradox: fear will command you focus on what you don’t have control over and fret too much about this or that – thus disrupting you and distracting your attention away from focusing on what you DO have the power to impact and change in positive ways.

3. “Why do I allow negative energy in my team to drain me and bring me down?!” Frustration (frustrating yourself) is like cigar smoke that sticks to your clothing and person, whether you “allow” it to or not. BUT you can go outside for some fresh air, shower yourself with loving and caring thoughts, take a few deep breaths of fresh air, remind yourself what the most important tasks are to do today.

4. “Why am I SO stuck in the negative?!” All of us do the negative far easier than the positive because of old habits and lazy emotional thinking. Let negative feelings roll off your back like water off the feathers of a duck’s back. Sure, you and I look like a calm duck on the surface, and we’re paddling like heck underneath the surface to get from here to there. You’ve got nothing to worry about because you’re not alone!

5. “I’m falling behind and failing!” If you’re not failing once in awhile…than you’re not doing anything worthwhile or important to benefit your work and family world! Are you just driving yourself nuts by demanding that each and every performance on your part must be perfect…or else?

6. “I want to run away or fade into the woodwork!” Go ahead and hide behind a “business wall” at times to soothe feelings and repair damaged self-esteem. But don’t stay in your cubicle cave, for gosh sakes…you aren’t a Neanderthal. Go out and smile, and ask: “SO, how’s it goin’ today?” Fear not…it’s not going well for most of us.

By Dr. Dennis O’Grady

How to Build Loyalty With An Angry Customer or Co-Worker

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
In every business, mistakes happen and co-workers or customers get angry. But when a problem is fixed properly and stays fixed–loyalty actually increases!
Here are five steps you can take to not only resolve the problem but also actually build loyalty with your co-workers and customers. In fact, you can use these steps to deal with anger and build positive relationships in all areas of your life.
1. LISTEN carefully to the person who is angry. Active listening requires a lot of effort and cannot be accomplished when you’re distracted. You need to stop everything you are doing and give your customer 100% of your attention.
2. EMPATHIZE with the other person

CSA 2010 Myths Exposed

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Myths, rumors, and half-truths are always in abundant supply when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) comes up with new rules, programs, or procedures, and that

Can someone other than the employee direct that an MRO have the employee

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

No. Because the split specimen exists to provide the employee with

Michigan Legislators Consider Banning K2 Legal Marijuana Alternative

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

A drug that many MSU students use as a legal alternative to marijuana could become illegal if a bill passed unanimously by the state Senate on Aug. 24 becomes law.

Currently, there are no regulatory controls on the production of JWH-018 and K2, and this makes it dangerous for consumption, said state Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, the bill

NIDA to Launch National Drug Facts Week

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Expanding on its online Drug Facts Chat Day, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) announced it is launching National Drug Facts Week, a new national awareness week to bring together teens and scientific experts to discuss the facts about drug abuse. NIDA is a component of the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“What we learned through our annual Web chat is that teens have many questions about drug use and are eager for objective, factual answers,” said NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow. “So we wanted to build a series of events where teens could ask scientists their questions directly.”

The week, which starts on Monday, November 8, encourages community-based question and answer events between teens and scientists. Events can be sponsored by a variety of organizations, including schools, community groups, sports clubs, book clubs, and local hospitals. NIDA provides an online toolkit that advises teens and their sponsoring organizations on to how create an event, how to publicize it, how to find a scientific expert, and where to find scientific information on drugs.

National Drug Facts Week is being supported by multiple federal agencies that share an interest in preventing teen drug abuse.