Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Time Magazine - Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds

One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don't drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking. But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that - for reasons that aren't entirely clear - abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.

Marchman Act Blog Slideshow: Booze under a microscope

CLICK HERE: Slide 1 of 12

Marchman Act Blog: Paris Hilton thought cocaine was gum - faces felony drug charges

(CNN) -- Prosecutors in Clark County, Nevada, filed a felony charge against Paris Hilton on Monday stemming from her arrest over the weekend on suspicion of cocaine possession.  Hilton was charged with possession of a controlled substance. She is set to be arraigned October 27 in Clark County District Court, according to courthouse spokeswoman Jillian Prieto.  The hotel heiress, 29, was arrested late Friday. Police pulled alongside a Cadillac Escalade in which Hilton was a passenger about 11:30 p.m. and smelled "a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle," according to the arrest report. Read Full Story and See Video...

Marchman Act Blog: Police: American-born drug kingpin arrested in Mexico

(CNN) -- American-born Edgar Valdez Villarreal, believed to be one of Mexico's most ruthless drug traffickers, was captured Monday, Mexican authorities said.  Federal police made the capture, though the exact location and timing of it were not immediately known.  The arrest, a high-profile win for Mexican authorities, followed "intelligence work" that began in June 2009, federal police said in a statement.  His capture came after a shootout, according to Viviana Macias, a spokeswoman with the federal attorney general's office.

Marchman Act Blog Local News: Ride operator in Parkland girl's fall at amusement park admits to marijuana use

[PHOTO - Teagan Marti, 12, was injured after plunging 100 feet to the ground on a theme park ride in Madison, Wis., on July 30. In this picture, she is about to board the ride. Picture is courtesy of The American Family Children's Hospital (The American Family Children's Hospital, Courtesy / August 31, 2010)].

The ride operator who accidentally released a Parkland girl on a 100-foot free fall told police he smoked marijuana three days before the incident, according to a detailed police report.
But Charles "Chuck" Carnell, 33, denied he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he "blanked out" July 30 and let Teagan Marti, 12, fall to the ground and sustain severe injuries.
The Wisconsin Dells man has been charged with one felony count of first-degree reckless injury, punishable by up to 25 years in prison, for the incident at Extreme World Amusements. Marti remains in a Wisconsin hospital and could be paralyzed. Read Full Story...

ARLS Marchman Act Blog: SAMHSA Document on Confidentiality Regulations Raises Further Questions

With national health reform moving the field toward coordination of all aspects of an individual's medical care via "patient-centered medical homes," longstanding federal requirements that govern information about clients in addiction treatment have come under scrutiny over their potential effect on integrated care.

Information about clients in addiction treatment programs is protected by federal 42 CFR Part 2 regulations, which generally require that a client grant specific written permission for the release of personal information. The regulations also spell out circumstances under which patient information can be released without consent in cases of medical emergency, as well as terms for treatment providers that enter into agreements with billing companies and other service providers that require the sharing of patient-specific information.  Read Full Story...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Tobacco companies are reaching out to kids via YouTube, study says

Tobacco advertising are strictly regulated on TV, and portrayals of smoking in movies continue to decline. Where can tobacco companies go to get their brands and products in front of kids?

YouTube, of course.

And apparently they are, according to a study published online Thursday by the journal Tobacco Control. Researchers from New Zealand identified the 163 most popular and relevant YouTube videos linked to five global cigarette brands – Marlboro, L&M, Benson and Hedges, Winston and Mild Seven. They found that 71% were pro-tobacco, compared with 4% that were anti-tobacco. (The rest were either neutral, contained a mixture of positive and negative messages or had no clear message about tobacco whatsoever.)

Read Full Story...

ARLS Marchman Act Blog: Paris Hilton - Mug Shot...Again

[PHOTO - Paris Hilton is seen here in the third mug shot of her young career. Hilton, 29, was arrested last night after a bag of cocaine fell out of her purse during a traffic stop on the Las Vegas Strip. Imagine the poor girl's luck. Her boyfriend’s car was pulled over by a cop who smelled marijuana wafting from the SUV].

ARLS Marchman Act Blog: Amphetamine Misuse Linked to Artery Damage in Young Adults

Young adults who misuse amphetamines have a three-fold risk for tears in the aorta -- the body's largest artery -- compared with nonusers, Reuters reported Aug. 17.

Researchers at the University of Texas examined the medical records of 31,000 Americans ages 18–44 hospitalized between 1995–2007 and found that patients who abused amphetamines had three times the risk for aortic dissection than patients who did not, even after controlling for other risk factors.

Amphetamines are known to increase heart rate and blood pressure. Aortic tears are potentially fatal. The research team also examined medical records of 49 million U.S. adults over age 50, but did not find an increased risk in this age group.

"Doctors should screen young adults with aortic dissection for amphetamine abuse in searching for a potential cause," said Dr. Arthur Westover, lead author of the study.

The research appears in the August 2010 issue of the American Heart Journal.

ARLS Marchman Act Blog: ER Visits for Synthetic Marijuana on the Rise

An herb-and-chemical compound sold legally in the U.S. as incense is sending many of those who smoke it to the hospital, Reuters reported July 29.

The compound, known as K2, interacts with brain receptors in a way that is said to be similar to marijuana. Unlike marijuana, not much is known about the chemical makeup of the compound.

Officials said more and more people who smoke the "synthetic marijuana" have reported to emergency rooms and poison-control centers with symptoms ranging from anxiety, hypertension, and vomiting to severe paranoia and hallucinations.

U.S. poison-control centers received 13 calls related to K2 a year ago, while 766 cases have been reported in the first half of 2010, said Anthony Scalzo, medical director for the Missouri Poison Center.

The concern, according to Scalzo, is that the surge "may represent the tip of an iceberg."

ARLS Marchman Actr Blog: CASA Report Warns Parents about Nexus of Drugs and Gangs in Schools; Students Less Concerned

American students are essentially split over the question of whether their school is “drug free,” but students still cite drugs as a major problem facing people their age, according to a new survey of 12- to 17-year-olds from the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.

Asked, “Is your school a drug-free school or is it not drug free, meaning some students keep drugs, use drugs or sell drugs on school grounds?,” 48 percent of students described their schools as “drug free” while 49 percent said their schools were “not drug free.”Read Full Story...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Mexican massacre investigator found dead

The body of an official investigating the massacre of 72 Central and South American migrants killed in a ranch in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas was found today dumped beside a nearby road alongside another unidentified victim, according to local media.
Earlier, two cars exploded outside the studios of the national TV network Televisa in the state capital, Ciudad Victoria. There were no casualties, but the blasts added to a growing sense of fear in the aftermath of the worst single act of violence in the country's raging drug wars.
Meanwhile, investigators under armed guard continued the process of identifying the victims, with 20 named by midday on Friday, local officials said.
The migrants, 14 of them women, came from at least four countries, including Honduras, El Salvador, Brazil and Ecuador. They were found bound and blindfolded by the wall of a barn after navy personnel stormed the ranch on Tuesday. Read Full Story...

Marchman Acty Blog Mexico Massacar Update: Mexicans fear cartels are winning

There used to be a time when the municipality of San Fernando in north-eastern Mexico was known for farming, fishing and a quiet way of life. Today, it is associated with death.

This week, a young Ecuadorean with bullet holes through his shoulder and cheek told the story of how he and his travelling companions on their way to the US in search of work had been kidnapped in San Fernando by the Zetas, one of Mexico’s drug cartels. “They pulled us out of the truck violently and demanded money,” he told authorities after managing to escape, according to local press reports. “They said that they were Zetas and that they would pay us $1,000 every two weeks [if we joined them] but we didn’t accept and they opened fire.”

Marchman Act Blog: Paris Hilton Arrested for Cocaine Possession

LAS VEGAS: Smoke wafting from a Cadillac Escalade on the Las Vegas Strip ignited Paris Hilton's latest legal 
troubles late Friday, when a motorcycle officer who suspected the smell was marijuana stopped the vehicle and police say a bag of cocaine fell out of the 29-year-old socialite's purse. 

It's the second time this year Hilton has been arrested on drug possession allegations, although authorities in South Africa dropped marijuana charges earlier this summer. reckless driving and was sentenced to 45 days in jail. This time, the hotel heiress was with her boyfriend, Las Vegas nightclub mogul Cy Waits, who manages a club inside the Wynn Las Vegas and was driving the black SUV that the officer stopped nearby at 11:22 p.m. Friday. The officer "followed the vapor trail and the odor of marijuana to the Escalade," police Sgt. John Sheahan said. Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog Local News: Traffic stops in Keys net drugs, seafood

The flow of contraband through the Florida Keys was interrupted over the weekend when a large task force of police, immigration officers and drug agents set up checkpoints in Islamorada and in other spots along U.S. 1 that turned up a cache of cocaine as well as shark meat, two sailfish and $5,000 worth of whole lobster.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, 151 traffic stops were made Friday, with agents issuing 84 citations.

On the first stop of the night, a drug-sniffing dog named Deja helped sheriff's detectives find 139 grams of crack cocaine, 87 grams of powder cocaine, 12 grams of marijuana, 5 Xanax pills, and $2,047 in cash that may be the proceeds of drug sales.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Mexican Drug War - Photo Slideshow

Bodies of 72...Launch Slideshow

Marchman Act Blog: Two car bombs explode in northern Mexico; no casualties

CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico (Reuters) – Two car bombs exploded in northern Mexico early on Friday, days after marines found the bodies of 72 people gunned down in the country's escalating war with powerful drug cartels.

The blasts, the second and third modest-sized bombs planted in a vehicle this month in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of the northern Gulf state of Tamaulipas, and the fourth in Mexico since late July, caused no casualties but damaged buildings.
The attacks came the same day officials discovered the body of a police officer investigating the massacre of dozens of migrants in the latest attack linked to Mexico's drug war. Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog Local News: Jeremy Philip Davis: Hollywood man charged in drug lab that caught fire, police say


Police have arrested a Hollywood man whose apartment allegedly caught fire two months ago while being used as a drug lab.

Jeremy Philip Davis, 32, was arrested Thursday on charges that include first-degree arson and possession of drug paraphernalia and illegal chemicals, said Hollywood Police spokesman Lt. Manny Marino.

"Mr. Davis' injuries and the damage to the apartment building exhibit the serious dangers inherent with the manufacturing of illegal drugs," said Mark R. Trouville, special agent in charge with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami.

DEA officials and Hollywood police began investigating June 30, when a fire broke out at Lakewood Apartments at 3630 N. 56th Ave.

Firefighters, who quickly extinguished the blaze, became suspicious when they noticed the intensity of the heat and witnesses told them the victim — who suffered several burns — threw items into the complex's trash bin after the fire started, officials said.

Officials took samples and other evidence that showed it was a drug lab, Marino said. A warrant was issued for Davis' arrest Aug. 20, and he was arrested six days later, Marino said.

Davis declined to speak with detectives, Marino said.

Juan Ortega can be reached at jcortega@SunSentinel.com or 954-356-4701.

Marchman Act Blog Local News: Dr. John Habib: Dead body found in Oakland Park anesthesiologist's pool


He found a body floating in his pool, but Dr. John Habib says he doesn't know who it is or how it got there.

On Friday, investigators were seeking answers while trying to obtain a search warrant to Habib's home. Habib, 55, an anesthesiologist whose license was suspended this year after a drug arrest, called 911 on Thursday after he woke up at around 3 p.m. and found the body.

His attorney said Friday that Habib remains "traumatized."
Read Full Story...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Marchman Act Blog Local News Update: Toxic drug mix found in driver's blood after Boca-area crash kills father, daughter


A driver accused of killing a neighbor and his daughter in a May accident had a toxic mix of drugs in her blood behind the wheel, records show.  Investigators found painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs, alcohol and THC in Angela Stracar's blood test results, according to an arrest report.  The compound THC is the active ingredient in marijuana and hashish. Stracar, 25, who lives west of Boca Raton, was arrested Thursday on two counts of DUI manslaughter and two counts of vehicular homicide, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

The crash happened May 21 at the entrance to the Boca Isles South development at Cain Boulevard and Point Royal Drive, west of Boca Raton. Angela Stracar DUI charges - Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog Local News: Delray mom DUI arrest: Mother arrested driving drunk in Delray with child in backseat, police say


A Port St. Lucie mother was arrested Tuesday evening after allegedly driving drunk in the wrong direction home with her 4-year-old daughter in the back seat, police said.

Teresa Odom, 47, was so intoxicated that she had defecated on herself and could hardly stand up, police spokesman Jeff Messer said.

An officer pulled her over around 7:30 p.m. after seeing her green Mazda swerving in and out of lanes on southbound Federal Highway, he said.

The officer said she smelled like alcohol and noticed her daughter sitting in a car seat in the back.   Odom reportedly told police she had gone to a doctor's appointment in Jupiter and was on her way home to Port St. Lucie. She had no idea she was in Delray Beach driving the wrong way, Messer said.

The Port St. Lucie woman refused a blood alcohol test and was unable to stand upright for a roadside sobriety test, police said. Odom allegedly told police she had been drinking "a little," Messer said.

She was booked at the Palm Beach County jail on DUI and child neglect charges. Officers took her daughter to the police department, where they fed her and called her father in Port St. Lucie to pick her up. She has a valid Florida driver's license and a history of DUI arrests, Messer said.

Marchman Act Blog Local News: Angela Stracar DUI charges

A driver involved in a crash in which her SUV went airborne and landed on top of a car, crushing the father and daughter inside, has been charged with two counts of DUI manslaughter and two counts of vehicular homicide.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office arrested Angela Stracar, 25, who lives west of Boca Raton, on Thursday.

The crash happened on May 21 at the entrance to the Boca Isles South development at Cain Boulevard and Point Royal Drive, west of Boca Raton.

Killed in the crash were Odette Kane, 51, and Robert Kane, 79, who were returning home from picking up take-out for dinner, a relative said at the time. The Kanes and Stracar lived on the same street, Dinner Key Drive.  Investigators said Stracar lost control of her GMC SUV while traveling north on Cain Boulevard. She veered left onto the west shoulder of the road, crashed through the "Boca Isles South" sign and the SUV went airborne. The Kanes were pulling into the development when the SUV landed on their Cadillac, investigators said at the time.

Stracar was not seriously injured in the crash, officials said. Stracar's blood alcohol level was not released Thursday. She was being held without bond Thursday night at the Palm Beach County Jail.

Marchman Act Blog Local News: Dr. John Habib: Body found in pool of Oakland Park crystal meth suspect


Broward sheriff's deputies are investigating a death at the home of an anesthesiologist arrested earlier this year on charges of methamphetamine trafficking and possession.

Dr. John Habib, 55, told deputies he woke up about 3 p.m. Thursday and found a man's body floating in his backyard pool in the 3400 block of Northeast 17th Terrace. Habib said he had no recollection of how the body got there, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Mike Jachles. Investigators have ruled the death "suspicious" and were trying to identify the body Thursday night, Jachles said.  Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog: Parents, do you know what these texts mean?

(CNN) -- Do you know what this means: %*@:-( ?
Or this: ~~#ZZZZZZ ?
If the answers are no, you're not a teenager who uses alcohol or drugs.

'Boy am I old'
Six years ago, Ryan Jones didn't know what the above terms meant either -- but that was before he became an expert in the shorthand teens use to communicate about their illicit activities. It all began in 2004, when Jones, a software engineer, received some odd instant messages at work, using terms such as "idk" and "lyk." It was all Greek to Jones. Jones, a computer programmer in Allen Park, Michigan, quickly realized the messages weren't from his boss -- they were from his boss' children who were hanging out at the office with their father for the day. As a joke, they'd gone into their dad's AOL account and sent silly, innocent instant messages to everyone in the office, and none of the adults could understand the shortcuts and slang. He later learned "idk" means "I don't know" and "lyk" means "like." "It was a real 'boy am I old' moment," Jones remembers. "But then it occurred to me the slang was actually really creative and saved time and keystrokes. I was talking to some of the other programmers, and we thought it would be a cool idea to start a website that had translations of the slang that kids use." Jones created noslang.com in 2005, and as more readers have submitted terms related to drugs and sex, what started out as a fun little lexicon of innocuous shortcuts has become a valuable educational tool for parents to learn about what their children are up to.  View Text Examples...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Mexico tries to identify 72 bodies found near border

[PHOTO: These guns were found at the Mexican ranch in Tamaulipas state, where 72 bodies were discovered.]

Mexico City, Mexico (CNN) -- Mexican investigators have asked diplomats from El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador and Brazil to help identify the bodies of 72 presumed migrants discovered at a ranch in northeast Mexico. The nationalities of the deceased have not yet been confirmed, according to a statement released by Mexican President Felipe Calderon's office late Wednesday. The statement said Calderon "strongly condemns the acts that caused the death of 72 people, suspected to be migrants," and said that drug gangs are repeatedly turning to extortion and kidnapping of migrants as their resources and recruits dwindle.

Marchman Act Blog: Broward Sheriff's Office: Multi-agency crackdown yields over 200 arrests


A multi-agency operation targeting prostitution, online sexual predators, and illegal prescription drugs sales yielded over 200 arrests, the Broward Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday.

The two-day operation Thursday and Friday resulted in multiple felony arrests and the confiscation of 25 firearms, as well as 9,000 prescription pills and more than 300 grams of cocaine among other items, the Sheriff's Office reported.

Other agencies involved in the operation were the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local police agencies.

Marchman Act Blog: MarchFHP trooper resigns: oxycodone posssession

ST. LUCIE COUNTY —  Federal authorities have arrested a Florida Highway Patrol trooper and issued him a notice to appear in court after concluding an investigation, according to records obtained Wednesday and an FHP official. Trooper Gary Bach, who was placed on administrative duty with pay in mid-May, also resigned in a letter dated Tuesday, records show. Bach worked out of the FHP's Fort Pierce office. According to federal court records, Bach was accused in May of possessing oxycodone, which the documents list as a misdemeanor charge.   Court records also show relatives of Bach work in law enforcement in Martin County and that another relative used to work with the State Attorney's Office. The Drug Enforcement Administration investigated the case to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog Update: Boynton stabbing suspect Greg Senser blames drinking, cocaine in police report

[PHOTO REPOST: Greg B. Senser, 29, of Boynton Beach, has been charged with second-degree murder. (Palm Beach County SheriffĂ‚’s Office / August 22, 2010)].

Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog - From Across the Pond: 12% increase in drug-related deaths

By Wesley Johnson, PA

The number of drug-related deaths in the UK rose by almost 12% to 2,182 last year, figures showed today.
Heroin and morphine were involved in more than half (52.9%) of the deaths, up from 45.3% in 2008, and more than four in five were accidental overdoses, the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths report showed. The increase in the number of deaths, up from 1,952 in 2008, showed the UK still has a "major problem", the researchers said.  Read Full Story...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Mexico: bleeding to death in the war on drugs

Another 72 corpses found in a new mass grave. Feuding cartels blamed for displays of mutilated bodies. Death toll in four-year crackdown passes 28,000


By Guy Adams in Los Angeles

The shootout left four people dead; but that was just the beginning. As dust began to settle on a ranch in north-eastern Mexico, thought to have been owned by one of the world's most powerful drug cartels, the battle-hardened Marines stumbled upon their first decomposing corpse. Minutes later, they found a second; then a third. By the time troops had finished searching the remote property, roughly 90 miles from the US border, a total of 72 contorted bodies had been laid out in rows, beneath the summer sunshine. The 54 men and 18 women had all been recently murdered. None has so far been identified, but a survivor confirmed that they were illegal migrants from Central America who had been taken hostage by the Zetas, a drug-running organisation which recently diversified into kidnapping and human trafficking.  Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog: Mexico bodies: Marines find 72 bodies at ranch

[PHOTO: Mexican marines on Wednesday guard the hospital where the sole survivor of the massacre is being treated.]

Reporting from Mexico City —

Mexican marines searching a ranch in northern Mexico found the bodies of 72 people who may have been Central and South American migrants kidnapped by the Zetas drug gang, authorities said Wednesday.

Officials said the corpses of 58 men and 14 women were found Tuesday after a daylong search of a rural swath about 90 miles south of Texas in the violent border state of Tamaulipas, a key smuggling corridor where a bloody feud between the Gulf cartel and the Zetas has produced an air of lawlessness and widespread fear. Authorities did not specify a possible motive for the killings, though migrants have been targeted for extortion by criminal groups.  Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog: South Florida 'Pill Mill Capital'

A combination of a high concentration of doctors, loose state regulations and lax oversight by law enforcement has helped contribute to South Florida's reputation as America's "pill mill capital," the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported July 19. For the first time, the prescription drug oxycodone, not cocaine, has been identified as the most lethal drug in Florida, according to state medical examiners and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. More than 900 fatal overdoses occurred statewide in 2008.

Broward and Palm Beach County are at the center of Florida's "perfect storm" of prescription drug abuse, with fatal overdoes related to oxycodone increasing by 20 percent from 2007 to 2008, according to state authorities. The two counties had a combined total of 221 deaths related to oxycodone last year. With pharmacies on almost every block, and law-enforcement agencies focused on violent crimes, the two affluent and suburban counties are considered to be perfect breeding grounds for the booming painkiller market. Other factors include a number of people relapsing from addictions to painkillers at the scores of nearby rehabilitation centers, and dealers who travel to South Florida to buy pills to resell elsewhere. Despite the economic downturn, some 90 pain clinics have opened in Broward County and Palm Beach since 2008, according to the Sun Sentinel. Some cities are responding by exploring ways to prevent more clinics and pharmacies that fill prescriptions on demand from opening in the area. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed legislation in June that seeks to close the existing loopholes in regulating and monitoring pain clinics; however, it will take a few years to establish the mandated prescription-monitoring program.

Marchman Act Blog: Mass. Approves Online Tracking of Prescription Painkillers

Massachusetts health officials approved a plan on Aug. 11 that will allow doctors and pharmacists to track narcotics prescriptions online -- a major step toward reducing "doctor shopping" in patients addicted to prescription drugs, officials said.

The Boston Globe reported Aug. 12 that the plan will give doctors and pharmacists access to an online database detailing patients' previous prescriptions for steroids and potent painkillers, such as OxyContin.

An estimated 9,000 Mass. residents are suspected of going from doctor to doctor seeking multiple prescriptions, said Alice Bonner, director of the Mass. Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality.

"It's tough to know when you're prescribing opioids or any controlled substance for chronic pain whether you're doing benefit or harm,'' said Daniel Alford, senior physician at the Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit at Boston University School of Medicine. "The more tools we have to help us to know whether we're benefiting or harming the patient, the better off we are.''

The online prescription monitoring program is set to go into effect early next year. Officials estimate the program will save $2 million a year by detecting patients "doctor shopping" through the state's health insurance program.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: AP Wire - George Michael admits drug-driving

[PHOTO: George Michael leaves after appearing at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court in London on August 24. Michael pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of cannabis when he crashed his car into a shop last month, and could face jail.]

Pop singer George Michael pleaded guilty in a London court on Tuesday to driving under the influence of cannabis when he crashed his car into a shop last month, and could face jail.  The 47-year-old "Careless Whisper" star also admitted possessing cannabis cigarettes when he appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court. Dressed in a black suit over a black jumper, he was greeted by a scrum of photographers as he arrived for the appearance.  In court, he spoke only to give his plea and confirm his real name of Georgios Panayiotou. District Judge Robin McPhee gave the singer an interim six-month driving ban, and said he would be sentenced on September 14 after the court considers his case. He will remain on bail until that date.  "I make it clear the options in respect of sentence remain open, including the power to imprison," the judge told him.  "It is a serious matter. Your driving was extremely poor and there was an accident. There is also a conviction from three years ago."  In the latest incident, he was arrested after his Range Rover car crashed into a photography shop in north London in the early hours of Sunday, July 4.  The court heard Tuesday how police found him slumped at the wheel with the engine still running. Officers roused him and said he appeared "spaced out".  In June 2007, Michael was given a two-year driving ban after pleading guilty to driving while unfit. On that occasion, he claimed he was tired and had been taking prescription drugs.  The singer, who first found fame in 1980s pop group Wham!, has fought a long battle with drugs.

Marchman Act Blog Local News: Broward Briefings - Underage Drinking Decline

Broward Briefings
Substance Abuse Information for Action
Volume IV Issue 3 August 2010
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Center for the Study and Prevention of Substance Abuse
A Community Partnership with
Nova Southeastern University
Center for the Study and Prevention of Substance Abuse

The percent of Broward residents aged 12 to 20 years reporting any alcohol use in the past 30 days declined from 29 to 25 percent between 2002 and 2008 according to the just released substate findings of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. While the decline was technically not enough to be statistically significant, Broward youth and young adults under age 20 outpaced those in Florida and the nation whose rates remained relatively stable. Rates among the same age group reporting binge alcohol use of 5 or more drinks in a row on one or more occasions in the past month also declined from 17.14 percent to 15.13 percent in Broward County over the same 7-year period, while the national and State rates remained stable at 18.31 percent nationally and 17.45 percent for all of Florida. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health combines 3 years of data in order to provide findings for 362 substate areas across the nation including Broward County.
The full report is available at:

Marchman Act Blog - Perspective from Across the Pond: Extreme social stigma holds back drug recovery


This report by Charlie Lloyd (University of York) aims to summarise what the research evidence has to tell us about the stigmatisation of problem drug users; to explore the nature of this stigmatisation, its impacts and why it happens. These considerations raise some fundamental issues about the nature of addiction and the extent to which it is seen as a moral, medical or social issue. They also raise important questions about autonomy and the blame attached to addiction. The report is the first instalment of a wider research project, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation with additional funding from the Scottish Drug Recovery Consortium, which will also include: i) a public attitudes survey (modelled on the Department of Health annual attitudes to mental illness survey) ii) with a study of the experiences of users and families iii) an analysis of how drug users are portrayed in the media.  The report can be downloaded here:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Marchman Act Blog - 2nd Oddity of the Day: Drug smugglers ‘come in all shapes and sizes’

TURTLECREEK TWP., Warren County — An 85-year-old man accused of trying to bring marijuana to his grandson in jail recently was an eye opener for prison officials, but the act of smuggling drugs into facilities is nothing new.  Ohio prisons are on pace to see more smuggling incidents this year than last year when 243 people were caught in the act, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol, which investigates such incidents.  This year, prison officials have already investigated 168 incidents, ahead of last year’s pace. Of those, seven were at the Warren Correction Institution, compared to nine in 2009. At the adjacent Lebanon Correctional Institution, also a medium security prison, eight investigations were reported in 2009 and four this year.  “Attempting to smuggle forbidden items into prison has been ongoing since inmates have been incarcerated,” said Julia Bush, a spokeswoman for WCI.

Marchman Act Blog: Police Take Advantage of a Drunk Girl


Marchman Act Blog: Oddity of the Day - $3000 bottle liquor stolen from Weston store

Instead of paying the steep price tag for a stiff drink from a cask strength, limited edition bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue, a man grabbed the collector’s item, shoved it into his pants and moseyed out of a Weston liquor store undetected. The suspect was slick about his approach. After removing the bottle from the plexi-glass case where it was displayed, he grabbed another bottle and put that in its place. Store employees didn’t notice the item was missing until Monday, November 2, but the entire heist was caught on surveillance video.
johnnybluelabelThe tape shows a heavy-set man walking into the store Friday, Oct. 30, at around 6 p.m. The suspect did a couple of trial runs, stealing a $70 bottle of Grey Goose by sticking it in his pants, then walking out of the store, putting the bottle in his car and returning to the store. He then followed the same procedure to steal a bottle of pinot noir from Master Wine Liquor, 4569 Weston Rd. Finally, once he got enough practice, he neared the secured case containing the 200th anniversary bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, priced on sale at $3,500. A female accomplice distracted the store employee, and when the coast was clear, the man pried back the door of the plexi-glass case, creating enough of an opening to squeeze his hand in and take the bottle out. He stuck the bottle into his pants, grabbed a display bottle and put it in inside the case, grabbed the Baccarat crystal decanter that accompanied the limited edition bottle and moved away from the case, stuffing the decanter into his pocket. Moments later, he and the woman, left the store.

The 200th Anniversary Johnnie Walker Blue label is the most exclusive and most expensive Johnnie Walker product. There were only six distributed in the state of Florida.

Marchman Act Blog: Cannabis Crackdown in UK

CNN's Atika Shubert reports on how police are cracking down on the rising number of cannabis factories in the U.K. Click to Watch CNN Video...

Marchman Act Blog: World's first fully approved cannabis drug on sale in UK

A medication called Sativex has become the first drug fully approved for multiple sclerosis that is made from natural cannabis.

The United Kingdom's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved the drug, an oral spray, on Friday, and it went on sale in the country on Monday. The drug has been available in Canada on a limited basis since 2005 for the relief of neuropathic pain and advanced cancer pain, and also to a small number of patients in Spain. It is expected to be approved more broadly in Spain later this year. Click to Watch CNN Video...

Marchman Act Blog: Feds begin crackdown on online pharmacies

American Fork, Utah (CNN) -- Pharmacies in Utah and Illinois are at the heart of an illicit nationwide network providing prescription drugs over the internet, federal agents state in court papers filed in two cities.
In search warrant affidavits obtained by CNN, agents that the business was centered around two pharmacies, one in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, Illinois, and the other here in this small town south of Salt Lake City.
According to the affidavits, both pharmacies are owned by the same man, Kyle Rootsaert -- the subject of a 2008 report by CNN. One of them, the Des Plaines company now called Rand Pharmacy, combined with another unidentified pharmacy to ship 30,000 packages of prescription drugs across the country during the first six months of 2010. Click to Watch CNN Video...

Marchman Act Blog Local News: Greg Senser: Boynton Beach man charged in fatal stabbing after night of drinking

A man has been charged with fatally stabbing a friend after a night of drinking, police said Sunday.

The man, Greg B. Senser, 29, of Boynton Beach, has been charged with second-degree murder. He is in the Palm Beach County Jail.

Senser and the friend, Jason F. Barnett, were drinking at 1st and 10, a sports bar in the 4900 block of Le Chalet Boulevard in Boynton Beach, at around 2 a.m. Sunday.

The two left the bar and went to the La Costa apartment complex off Gateway Boulevard. Outside the apartment, they got into an argument, police said. Someone at the complex called police to report the noise.

When police arrived, they found Barnett on the ground and Senser standing beside him. Police said Senser ran from them and, after a brief chase, he was taken into custody.

Senser stabbed Barnett several times in the neck, police said. Barnett was taken to the Delray Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Marchman Act Blog News: Huffing

The abuse of inhalants is widespread across the United States; however, it may be underreported because law enforcement officials and healthcare providers are often unfamiliar with the signs of inhalant abuse. Abusers, primarily adolescents, inhale chemical vapors from a variety of substances, many of which are common household products. These young people abuse inhalants in order to obtain a euphoric effect and are often unaware of the potential risks, which include brain damage and death. Some adults also abuse inhalants, particularly nitrites. Adult abusers often inhale substances in order to enhance their sexual experiences.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Marchman Act Daily News: Fewer Magazines Exposing Youth to Alcohol

Exposure to alcohol ads in magazines among 12-20 year olds fell 48 percent between 2001 and 2008, according to a new report from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Exposure to adults (over 21) fell 29 percent during the same span.

HealthDay reported Aug. 13 that alcohol ads have virtually disappeared from magazines with more than 30 percent of readers under age 21.

However, magazines with a greater than 15 percent youth-audience composition overexposed youth to alcohol ads, generating 74 percent of youth exposure in 2008. Half of the industry's magazine-ad spending from 2001 to 2008 used this strategy.

Also, although youth exposure to distilled alcohol ads fell by 62 percent in such magazines, exposure to beer ads rose by 57 percent.

The full report, Youth Exposure to Alcohol Advertising in National Magazines, 2001–2008, is available on the CAMY website.

Marchman Act Blog: Report: Mom charged with 'huffing' after young son seeks help for her

A Summerfield woman has been arrested on charges of "huffing" after her young son went searching for help for her, according to an Ocala.com report. The boy went to a neighbor and said his mother needed help. When the neighbor went back to the boy's home, she discovered that the boy's mother was in a locked room. The boy and his brother removed the doorknob, revealing their mother, Amanda Branda, 31, on a bed with an aerosol can nearby. A rescue crew kicked in the door to the room. When a Marion County deputy arrived and went into the room, Branda, who later said she is pregnant, inhaled from the can of Maxwell "Blast Away" duster.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Marchman Act Blog Local News: Labor Day DUI crackdown

PLANTATION — In advance of the upcoming Labor Day holiday, law enforcement agencies throughout the state and in South Florida are taking part in a nationwide crackdown on drunken and impaired driving. The Plantation Police Department is one of the agencies that will be conducting DUI saturation patrols for the 18-day period that began Friday and runs through Monday, Sept. 6. "Many people choose to celebrate with alcohol during the summer," said Plantation Police Sgt. Joe Gallignani in a statement from the agency. "Our goal is to apprehend impaired drivers in the area before they cause crashes," the statement said. Statewide, the Florida Highway Patrol is also taking part in the enhanced enforcement campaign called "Over the Limit, Under Arrest." According to FHP figures, 875 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2009, including 29 who died during the official Labor Day holiday period.

Marchman Act Blog: Mexican museum displays 'narco bling' confiscated from drug lords

[Photos: A medal belonging to the Zetas drug cartel (right) and (left) a gold plate dedicated to 'Commander Shark' of the Gulf of Mexico drug cartel].

This gleaming display of weaponry reveals the increasingly extravagant lifestyles of Mexican drug barons. The confiscated items, which include several guns and high-precision rifles lavishly decorated with gold, jewel and even religious symbols, feature in a Mexican military museum.

Marchman Act Blog: Mom, Grandma Accused of Pimping 14-Year-Old Girl to pay for drug habit

In a disturbing story out of Houston this week, a 14-year-old girl told the police she was being forced into prostitution. The pimps she named? Her own mother and grandmother. And while the idea of a grandmother as a pimp may be strange to the point of almost comical, familial trafficking of teen girls is far from rare.
Elizabeth Buford, her daughter Alicia Melchor, and her 14-year-old granddaughter lived together in a rented motel room in the Houston area. They paid their rent on time, but the motel soon began to receive complaints from other tenants that there was a steady stream of people going  in and out of the room at all hours of the day and night. When police investigated, they found evidence to indicate Buford and Melchor had been forcing their grand daughter/daughter into prostitution, possibly since she was 11 years old. The money the teen was paid to have sex with several men a night went to support the older women's drug habit and to pay for basic living expenses.
Melchor claims the forced prostitution charges are a lie, and that her daughter had been in her father's custody until recently. However, the teen told police her mother and grandmother had been selling her for sex for years. The two women were eventually arrested at the motel where they lived for compelling a minor into prostitution and possession of heroin. No word yet as to whether human trafficking charges will be brought as well. Read Full Story....

Marchman Act Blog: Farm Store manager and clerk sold marijuana in drive-thru


Police say the level of service at one local Farm Store was a tad too high. Investigators arrested a manager and a clerk this week on charges they sold marijuana through the drive-thru of the store at 3230 Holiday Springs Blvd., in Margate. Police also found a few dozen grams of marijuana stashed in the store's freezer, said Officer Vonley Williams. Click here to sign-up for Breaking News text alerts and you could win a $250 gift card at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse Investigators began looking into the store's alleged seediness in June, after residents complained, officials said. The police department was particularly concerned because the store is about 150 feet from two daycare centers, Williams said. Manager Salman Yousuf, 29, of Pembroke Pines, and clerk Robert Potter, 20, of Boca Raton, were jailed Tuesday on charges of sale and distribution of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a child care facility. Both men have since bonded out of the Broward County Jail.