Monday, May 31, 2010

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - PBS's 'This Emotional Life': Memorial Day -- Remembering Military Suicides

For some families, this Memorial Day will be especially hard. Their loved ones -- spouses, parents, sons and daughters -- didn't die the hero's death. They were one of 160 soldiers last year who committed suicide, despite the military's unprecedented effort to stem the tide.

How does it happen? After surviving harrowing combat, why would a young soldier decide to take his or her own life? The Army is spending $50 million to figure it out, and we may get an answer in a couple of years. But for some, that will be too late.

Juarez Murders Tied to Success of Border Drug Enforcement

Success at inhibiting the flow of drugs from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to El Paso, Texas, and other U.S. border towns may be fueling turf wars within the Mexican city, the Wall Street Journal reported May 22.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - 'Eyeballing' A Drinking Fad Among Teens

A dangerous new drinking fad has emerged: it's called "vodka eyeballing."

You don't drink vodka -- you pour it into your eye.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Saudi Arabia: Aid for Muslim addicts

Mohammed Al-Turaiki left his traditional Saudi Arabian headdress behind in favor of a blazer and sweater as he made the rounds at one of the United States' oldest addiction treatment centers.

He traveled 7,000 miles to Michigan in hope of finding answers to a problem so taboo in the conservative Muslim kingdom that no official statistics exist: alcohol and drug addiction.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - Coast Guard seizes 800 pounds of marijuana near Fort Lauderdale

The Coast Guard seized almost 800 pounds of marijuana around midnight Saturday from a 20-foot vessel traveling west from Bimini, Bahamas, according to a press release.

After receiving reports of a suspicious vessel, crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Diamondback located and boarded the craft to conduct an safety inspection. The marijuana was discovered in plain sight.

Crewmembers detained two suspected smugglers from the vessel, and they offloaded 47 bricks of marijuana with an estimated street value of $725,000 at Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale.

The suspects were transferred to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, and the drugs and vessel were transferred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol officers in Fort Lauderdale.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Don't Blame Clinics for Methadone ODs, SAMHSA Says

Methadone has been involved in a growing number of drug overdoses, but diversion from methadone clinics is not the source of the problem, according to officials at the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Rather, most of the methadone associated with overdoses originated with physicians prescribing the drug as a painkiller. "While deaths involving methadone increased, experiences in several states show that addiction treatment programs are not the culprits," said H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., director of SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

Painkillers, Other Prescription Drugs Causing More Deaths, Injuries

A "substantially growing number of patients" are being injured or killed by the prescription drugs they are taking under doctors' orders, according to a new report from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.

Reuters reported Sept. 10 that researcher Thomas Moore and colleagues said that reports of such deaths and injuries have more than doubled between 1998 and 2005, largely due to problems with painkillers and immune-system boosters.

Youth ER Visits for Alcohol-Related Problems Spike During Holiday Weekend

Underage-drinking related visits to hospital emergency rooms are 11 percent higher on the typical Memorial Day weekend than on normal days, according to a new study (PDF) from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Also, ER visits for problems associated with combined alcohol and other drug use by those under age 21 are 27 percent higher over the holiday weekend.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ARLS Day in the Life: May 25, 2010 - Jamaica cops, soldiers invade slum stronghold where gunmen defend reputed drug kingpin

In this photo taken Wednesday, May 19, 2010 a Jamaica Defense Force armored vehicle make its way into a barricaded street in Hannah Town, West Kingston. Jamaica. Jamaican Police have an arrest warrant for Christopher "Dudus" Coke, who allegedly leads one of Jamaica's drug gangs and is sought by U.S. authorities on drug and arms trafficking charges but residents of West Kingston neighborhoods have set up barricades to prevent the police for entering the slums to execute the order. (AP Photo/The Jamaica Gleaner, Norman Grindley) (Norman Grindley, AP / May 18, 2010)

ARLS Day in the Life: May 25, 2010 - Ex-Miami Beach cop accused of running pot grow house

A former Miami Beach police officer involved in two fatal shootings while on the force has been accused of running a marijuana grow house in Southwest Miami-Dade County.

Adam Tavss, 35, was arrested about 4:30 p.m. Monday, according to a Miami-Dade police news release. He has since bonded out of jail.

World Cannabis Value

According to a recent report in the Economist, Japan is the most costliest place to get high.

A gram of cannabis costs about 58.3 USD compared to the UK's 5 USD.

Colorado Schools Grapple with Medical Marijuana Law, Policy

Local officials and school administrators in Colorado are struggling to reconcile the state's medical-marijuana laws with school drug policies, the Summit Daily News reported May 19.

For example, students at Summit High School can be suspended or expelled for marijuana possession -- a typical policy at high schools statewide -- but there is no rule for how to handle legal users of medical marijuana.

Study: Canadians Overestimate Harm of Illegal Drugs, Underestimate Alcohol Dangers

Alcohol costs Canada twice as much in social and economic consequences than illicit drugs, but most Canadians view illicit drugs as more harmful than alcohol, according to the Canadian Center on Substance Abuse.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - WHO Calls on Nations to Address Excessive Alcohol Use

Price controls and marketing regulations are among 10 policy options outlined in a resolution aimed at cutting excessive alcohol use, which was endorsed this week by the 193 member states of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Monday, May 24, 2010

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - New iPhone Application for Smoking Cessation

Lorien Abroms, an assistant professor at George Washington University (GW), created "My QuitLine" - a free application for the iPhone that facilitates instant messages and phone calls between users and trained smoking-cessation counselors from the National Cancer Institute Quitline.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - Crushing Virtual Cigarettes to Squish Addiction

The Los Angeles Times reported Nov. 4 that Canadian researchers found that 15 percent of smokers enrolled in a stop-smoking support group were able to quit after 12 weeks when their therapy included crushing cigarettes in a virtual-reality simulation. The quit rate was just 2 percent among a control group that was only allowed to squeeze balls in the simulation.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - Encouraging Text Messages Help Smokers Quit

Smokers who received daily text messages offering advice and encouragement as they attempted to quit smoking were twice as likely to succeed as others trying to quit, according to a new study conducted in New Zealand, Great Britain and Norway.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - Study: Social Connections on Cessation Website Help Smokers Quit

MeYouHealth reported May 19 that a study of more than 7,500 members of the online smoking-cessation site QuitNet found that individuals with the most connections to other members were less likely to smoke. Researcher Nathan Cobb, M.D., and colleagues found that active users of the site were mostly women in their 40s, and many had been involved in QuitNet for a year or longer.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - Police: When the crack cocaine runs out, the fighting starts

A Daytona Beach man faces aggravated battery charges after a fight that broke out when the crack cocaine ran out, police said. Ricky Wingate, 53, was arrested about 9:45 a.m. Wednesday at an apartment on S. Coates Street.

Police believe Wingate was smoking crack cocaine with others in the apartment and after the cocaine was used up, a verbal argument broke out about getting more of the illegal drug, according to an arrest affidavit....

Reminder - May 21, 2010 in Orlando

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - Tough Talks with Teens: Drug Addiction

VIDEO: Tough Talks with Teens: Drug Addiction

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - Substance abuse and teens

Here are some facts about substance abuse and teens from the UK Adolescent Medicine Clinic.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - The Three Leading Causes of Injury Mortality in the United States, 1999-2005

"For at least the 40 years prior to 2004, the two leading causes of injury death were MVT [motor vehicle traffic] deaths and firearms. Beginning in 2004, poisoning deaths outnumbered firearm deaths and have increased at a greater pace than firearm deaths since then. Unintentional drug poisonings are the largest component of poisoning deaths; they are primarily related to drug overdose and their rates of increase have outpaced those of all poisonings..."

U.K. Study Finds Link Between Youth Antisocial Behavior and Early Death, Disability

Boys with a history of juvenile delinquency as youths not only had more problems with addiction and mental illness later in life but also were more likely to be dead or disabled by age 48, according to researchers at Cardiff University in Wales.

All Kids Should Be Screened for Alcohol, Pediatricians Say

The American Academy of Pediatricians has recommended that doctors screen all of their young patients for alcohol use starting in middle school, the Wausau Daily Herald reported May 15.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

ARLS Oddity of the day: Man Accused Of Offering To Swap Baby For Beer

Police say a Northampton man tried to swap his 3-month-old daughter for beer.

A maintenance man at a gas station in Chicopee claims 24-year-old Matthew Brace offered him his baby girl for a pair of 40-ounce beers Monday.

Open Letter: Mass Incarceration: A Destroyer of People of Color and their Communities - Jaamal Bell

Dear Obama Administration, instead of having our Drug Czar focus on addiction recovery and prevention programs, how about changing the policy of our racialized criminal justice system that has used the "War on Drugs" policy to put more Black males in the criminal justice system than slavery in 1850?

Around this time last year, the Obama Administration's Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske said he wants to banish the idea that the U.S. is fighting "a war on drugs," which is a move that favors treatment over mass incarceration. While this approach is being taken, more than 60% of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities.

Justice System Struggles with Cases Involving FASD

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) sometimes manifests itself as an inability to understand the consequences of one's actions, a fact that has U.S. courts struggling to reconcile the medical science with justice in a number of criminal cases, the Chicago Tribune reported May 9.

ARLS Oddity of the Day: Pentagon Land Once Used to Grow Hemp

The U.S. Department of Agriculture once used the land in Virginia where the Pentagon now stands to grow hemp, a close cousin of the cannabis sativa plant that produces marijuana, the Washington Post reported May 13.

Graphic Tobacco Warnings Could Soon Appear in Mass. Stores

Federal stimulus money could be used to pay for a Massachusetts campaign to mandate display of posters with graphic health warnings at tobacco retail outlets, the Boston Globe reported May 12.

The state's Public Health Council is expected to formally endorse a program that would require retailers to display posters showing the damage smoking can cause to lungs, hearts and teeth; other posters would give smokers information on getting help to quit. The campaign is based on one pioneered overseas and in New York City.

The posters would be provided at no charge to retailers, but those who fail to display them near registers could face fines of $100 to $300.

Monday, May 17, 2010

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - Operation Medicine Cabinet

CORAL SPRINGS - Two police agencies are hosting drug-collection programs Saturday.

In exchange for your unused or expired prescription medication, police will offer $5 gift cards. Coral Springs police will have their collection from 9 a.m. to noon at the drive-through in front of City Hall, 9551 W. Sample Road.

Consumers "don't even have to get out of their car," said Lt. Clyde Parry. "It can't be any easier."

Coral Springs is offering Walmart gift cards. For information, call 954-346-1792.

The Broward Sheriff's Office is also running campaigns aimed at keeping prescription drugs away from young people. Saturday's event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Jarvis Hall, 4505 Ocean Drive in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

In June, the Sheriff's Office will have drug buybacks in Lauderdale Lakes and North Lauderdale. Participants have the choice of a Walmart or a CVS gift card. For information, call 954-557-1124.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - 75 Years of AA

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) celebrates 75 years of "one alcoholic talking to another" as over 40,000 AA members from around the world gather in San Antonio for the 2010 International Convention, July 1-4.

It started with two men meeting in 1935 to over 2 million members estimated worldwide. For the first time in the history of AA's conventions, members from the island Republic of Palau, will participate in the opening flag ceremonies. More than 75 countries will be represented at the four day event, including Mexico, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Spain.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - Traits Associated With Prescription Drug Disorders?

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have identified clinical characteristics associated with prescription drug use disorder (PDUD) in primary care patients with chronic pain. The study found that by identifying characteristics of prescription drug abuse, primary care clinicians can identify those at risk and provide appropriate treatment. This study currently appears on-line in Journal of Pain.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - NIH Podcast on Prescription Drug Abuse in Women


The Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH)

Prescription drug abuse means taking a prescription medication that is not prescribed for you, or taking it for reasons or in dosages other than as prescribed. Abuse of prescription drugs can produce serious health effects, including addiction. In 2008, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 15.2 million Americans age 12 and older had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant, or sedative for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Oddity of the Day: Woman, 87, Busted For Selling Crack

MAY 14--An 87-year-old Florida woman was arrested yesterday for allegedly selling crack cocaine to undercover cops. Ola Mae Agee, pictured in the mug shot above, was collared after a month-long investigation by the Escambia County Sheriff's Office targeted drug dealing in her Pensacola neighborhood. During the police operation, Agee sold $20 worth of crack to an undercover cop inside her Martin Luther King Drive home. The April 30 transaction was secretly videotaped by investigators, according to a sheriff's report, which listed Agee as a "retired janitor." Police executed a search warrant at Agee's home yesterday, and charged the senior citizen with selling cocaine. She was later released from jail on her own recognizance due to her age. Remarkably, Agee is not the oldest person arrested for peddling crack. In 2004, a 96-year-old North Carolina woman was arrested (along with some younger kin) for selling the drug from her Kings Mountain home.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - Marijuana plantations feeding Europe's habit

Mountains of Southwest Colombia (CNN) -- Through the afternoon downpour a horse plods along a muddy mountain path. I can smell him almost before he rounds the bend. He's weighed down with more than 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of freshly-picked marijuana.

A peasant farmer gees the animal along, anxious to get his crop into the dry. I stop the farmer and briefly pet the horse.

"He's called Stoner," the farmer tells me in Spanish, before breaking into a broad grin and setting off again. He was, of course, joking.

These are the mountains of Colombia's southwest Cauca province, far from the reach of the law and just as far from market -- making it difficult, the dirt-poor peasants say, to scrape a living selling legal produce.

Around every bend and in every village there's a surprise. Marijuana plantations stretch sometimes for several acres, clinging to steep-sided canyons.

Celebity Substance Abuse: Boozy Tudors Star Banned

Tudors star JONATHAN RHYS MYERS has been banned from flying United Airlines due to boozy pre-flight mayhem.

Reports source Myers at JFK airport in New York and say, that in early May, Rhys Myers was booked on a United Airlines flight headed to Los Angeles.

Despite the early AM departure time, airline employees saw the Tudors thesp "pounding drinks" in the first class pre-flight lounge.

He soon became drunk and disorderly.

Rhys Myers then attempted to board but was prohibited from flying due to "belligerent" and "disruptive" behavior that "was getting out of control."

An official from United Airlines confirmed the story but refused to elaborate.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - Fort Lauderdale cop faces drug charges

A Fort Lauderdale police officer was arrested Thursday on charges of buying drugs on duty and having drugs and paraphernalia in his patrol car, possibly indicating he was using drugs on the job.

Justin Krashefski, 27, a four-year patrol officer, was suspended without pay and may be terminated within a couple of weeks, Police Chief Frank Adderley said. "We sent a message immediately that we're not going to tolerate that type of behavior in the agency," the chief said.

Krashefski has no prior criminal history in Florida, records show. He was charged with possession of oxycodone, possession of drug paraphernalia and solicitation to commit a felony. The third-degree felony charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The defendant was jailed on $4,500 bond.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - Kids Confuse Camel Orbs with Candy

A survey in Virginia found that 39 percent of youths under age 18 thought that the new Camel Orbs smokeless-tobacco product was candy or gum, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported May 7.

Further, 28 percent of those under age 18 said they would try the smokeless-tobacco product based on its packaging.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - Supreme Court Nominee's Background Includes Work on Tobacco Regulation

Elena Kagan, President Obama's nominee to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, has a track record that includes working on such contentious issues as tobacco regulation, abortion and gun control as a domestic-policy staffer in the Clinton White House, the Chicago Tribune reported May 10.

Kagan's biggest impact came on the issue of tobacco control: she carved out a deal between Republicans and Democrats to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the power to regulate tobacco products, though Congress would not pass such legislation until more than a decade later.

Kagan, a lawyer by profession, was described as effective, pragmatic and non-ideological in her role in the tobacco negotiations.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - Insurers Seek to Limit Scope of Federal Parity Regulations

The 2008 federal addiction and mental-health parity law is under attack by insurance companies that want the Obama administration to delay implementation of the regulations and change some of the rules designed to ensure that behavioral-health problems are treated on par with other diseases, the New York Times reported May 9.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Reminder - May 21, 2010 in Orlando

Please join Alan S. Levine, Esq. and Raymond G. Ferrero III, Esq. of Addiction Recovery Legal Services in conjunction with Wellness Resource Center of Palm Beach and Dr. Carmine Peceraro, Psy.D of Springfield College in Orlando, May 21, 2010 for a free breakfast, lectures and networking seminar re: The Florida Marchman Act and Co-occurring Disorders: What do you really know?

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - Obama Drug Strategy Stresses Evidence-Based Prevention

President Obama said he is “committed to restoring balance in our efforts to combat the drug problems that plague our communities” in unveiling his 2010 National Drug Control Strategy, and while the plan does little to address the imbalance between demand-reduction and supply reduction spending in the drug budget, it does place stronger emphasis on implementing proven prevention strategies and investing in early interventions that are better integrated into mainstream medicine.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog - Six Healthy Habits You Can Start TODAY!

Everybody wants to be healthy, right? Although there are some things we can't control about our health, there are many things we can. By developing healthy habits that we practice on a daily basis, we can tip the odds in our favor for living a long and vibrant life.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

ARLS Oddity of the Day: Accidental Ecstasy

ARLS Marchman Act Blog Presents: 'Sins of My Father': The secret life of the son of the world's most notorious drug lord

Few things are more prickly and complicated than the relationship between sons and fathers. Just ask Michael Douglas, who spent many troubled years trying to carve out any kind of satisfying kinship with Kirk Douglas, his emotionally distant father. Many political observers believe that part of the impetus for George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq came from a deep-seated desire to set himself apart from the kind of failures that marked his father's, George H.W. Bush's, one-term presidency. But when it comes to difficult fathers, few men have endured the kind of emotional burden carried by Sebastian Marroquin, the son of the notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, whose illicit empire was so vast that he was once estimated to be worth around $25 billion, his cartel controlling the majority of the global cocaine trade.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog Presents: CNBC Special Report - Marijuana in America

Many Americans support legalization and many states already permit medical use. An end to prohibition would generate billions in tax revenue and relieve the criminal justice system. But is it the right thing to do?