Thursday, September 30, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Comedian Greg Giraldo dead after prescription Read Full Accountdrug overdose

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10 Most Common Addictions in America

A fascinating post from...

Marchman Act Blog: Teesside man dies after downing pint of vodka

Richard Davies, 29, from Thornaby, near Stockton, had been drinking with friends before the alcohol knocked him unconscious in January.
Mr Davies was found not breathing in a pool of his own blood, and died hours later.
Recording a verdict of misadventure, Teesside coroner Tony Eastwood said the alcohol in his system had killed him.
The hearing on Tuesday at Teesside Coroner's Court was told how the electrician's mate was five-and-a-half times the legal drink-drive limit and his body contained traces of the then-legal high mephedrone, which has since been banned.
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Marchman Act Blog Oddity of the Day: Toddler takes pot to school

Marchman Act Blog: Supervising Methadone Saves Lives, U.K. Study Finds

Supervising the distribution of doses of methadone to recovering heroin abusers cut the rate of overdose deaths in Scotland and England by a factor of four, Medical News Today reported Sept. 22.

Using public mortality data from Scotland and England, a research team from the National Addiction Centre in Britain analyzed cases between 1993 and 2008 where methadone was the sole cause of death and where it was one of several drugs involved.
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Marchman Act Blog: Animal Research Uncovers Neurological Roots of Impulse Control

Canadian researchers have discovered how the rat brain triggers and suppresses impulsive behavior, which could lead to new methods for diagnosing and treating addiction in humans, Postmedia News reported Sept. 21.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Should all South Florida pain clinics be closed?

Pain management is a difficult issue, medically and legally. All kinds of questions arise in both arenas.

How much pain can or should a patient tolerate? How much pain-relief medicine is enough, or too much? What other medications is the patient taking? What is the patient's long-term prognosis?

Are patients honest about the amount of pain they experience or can tolerate? Do doctors prescribe pain-management drugs only to those who truly need them? Are the pain clinics that have proliferated in South Florida being run legitimately and safely?
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Marchman Act Blog: Lindsay Lohan heads back to rehab for the fifth time

Marchman Act Blog: Anti-Drug Leaders Respond to Uptick in Use Rates, Urge Community Action

A number of anti-drug organizations delivered words of warning this month upon the federal government's release of data from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) showing some increases in young people's use of drugs such as marijuana and prescription medications for nonmedical purposes.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) conducts the NSDUH annually as the main source of substance use prevalence information in 12-and-older population.
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Death by prescription drug overdose hard for families to swallow

Marchman Act Blog: Lindsay Lohan and Heroin?

CROUCHING in a dark corner, Lindsay Lohan is poised to inject herself with what appears to be a syringe of heroin.

Our shocking picture shows the troubled Mean Girls star wrapping a tourniquet around her lower arm - the method addicts use to raise a vein.
Her right hand hovers the needle over the skin of her left arm.
Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog: Prop. 19 About Much More Than Getting High

It's the land of hippies, Humboldt County and Cheech and Chong. But in the state more closely associated with marijuana than any other, the ballot measure to legalize pot has exposed California's conflicted relationship with the drug.
 Pot growers have opposed it. Some police have favored it. Polls show the public is deeply divided. Only politicians have lined up as expected: Nearly all major party candidates oppose the measure.
Meanwhile, hanging over the whole debate: the federal law banning marijuana, which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled still applies regardless of how Californians vote.
As the Nov. 2 election nears, Proposition 19 has become about much more than the pros and cons of the drug itself. The campaigns for and against have framed the vote as a referendum on everything from jobs and taxes to crime and the environment.  Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog: New Recommendations from British E.R. Docs to Limit Alcohol-Related Injuries

Emergency doctors from Britain's College of Emergency Medicine have called for wide-ranging policy changes designed to limit alcohol-related injuries, The Guardian reported Sept. 21.

The sweeping set of recommendations included a call for minimum pricing for alcohol to discourage use; clearer labeling on alcoholic beverages; better training for bar workers so they can refuse service to drunk patrons; an end to alcohol advertising targeted at young people; and no more happy hours.
Read Full Story...

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Family Guide to the Florida Marchman Act - Repost by request

A Family Guide to the Florida Marchman Act

Let me introduce myself. My name is Raymond G. Ferrero III, Esq. I am a Partner and Director of Addiction Recovery Legal Services, LLC of Florida, the Executive Director of Heath Affairs for Nova Southeastern University’s Health Professions Division and Gubernatorial Appointee for the Florida Statewide Drug Policy Advisory Committee.

It is my great pleasure to be writing this brief overview of the Florida Marchman Act on behalf of myself and law partner Alan S. Levine, Esq. For over a decade, we have been actively involved with South Florida’s Marchman Act Court and firmly believe that the Marchman Act is a families greatest resource and tool for addressing substance use and abuse within the family unit.

The Florida Marchman Act is a law that was written to provide those in need with confidential, court ordered and monitored drug and alcohol assessment, stabilization and treatment. Although the Florida Marchman Act is not limited to simply addressing substance abuse issues for juveniles and adolescents, I will - for the purpose of this discussion - review the Florida Marchman Act as it would be applicable and utilized by parents and primary caregivers.

What is the Florida Marchman Act?

Most simply put, the Florida Marchman Act is a civil procedure that allows the friends or family of someone who is substance abuse impaired to confidentially petition and ask the court to help them address their loved one's substance abuse problem.

Based upon this petition, the court can issue an order that requires the impaired individual to enter into a court supervised and monitored, drug and alcohol intervention, assessment, stabilization and/or treatment. The key to this court order is that the impaired individual must comply with the court supervised drug and alcohol intervention, assessment, stabilization and/or treatment. The individual has no choice in the matter. Even if the individual has refused to get voluntarily help in the past for their substance abuse problem, under the Florida Marchman Act they cannot refuse such help once the court order has been put into place.

Under the Florida Marchman Act, if the individual refuses to comply with the court order, they subject themselves to court sanctions and punishment - including jail time! However, it should be noted that the intention of the Marchman Act court is to provide treatment, not punishment. A family member should not fail to file a Marchman Act petition out of concern that they are subjecting their loved one to interaction with law enforcement.

What is the history of the Florida Marchman Act?
The Marchman Act was passed in 1993 by the Florida Legislature and is officially entitled the Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services Act of Florida. The Marchman Act was named after Hal S. Marchman, a pastor and lifelong advocate for the rights of alcoholics and drug addicts throughout Florida. Hal S. Marchman is most widely recognized worldwide as the Chaplain of the Daytona International Speedway, who gave the invocation at the beginning of every race for 42 years before retiring at the age of 85. Hal S. Marchman passed in October of 2009 in Daytona, Florida.

Why did the Florida Legislature draft and enact the Florida Marchman Act?

Florida is an extremely progressive State that recognizes the growing trend of substance abuse across the Nation and the need of the government to play a role in addressing the consequences that addiction has upon society as a whole.

Specifically, Florida Statute §397.305 recognizes:

Substance abuse is a major health problem and leads to such profoundly disturbing consequences as serious impairment, chronic addiction, criminal behavior, vehicular casualties, spiraling health care costs, AIDS, and business losses, and profoundly affects the learning ability of children within our schools and educational systems. Substance abuse impairment is a disease which affects the whole family and the whole society and requires specialized prevention, intervention, and treatment services that support and strengthen the family unit.

When should a parent begin to consider filing a Marchman Act petition?

A parent should consider filing a Marchman Act petition if they suspect their child may be using or abusing drugs or alcohol. This may be a very difficult decision for a parent. Often, parents are unsure if their child is using or experimenting with drugs and/or alcohol. Often, parents do not want to get their children involved with the court system.

To address these concerns, a parent must consider that even if they are not exactly sure what may be going on with their child, if they suspect substance use or abuse, the Marchman Act is a wonderfully effective tool to determine what is actually going on. More so, the Florida Marchman Act is a confidential and a civil procedure unlike the criminal court system. Filing a Marchman Act petition has no effect upon a child’s personal record because it is not criminal in nature. In fact, there is no record. The intent of the Florida Marchman Act is treatment, not punishment.

I always advise clients who are unsure whether to file a Marchman Act Petition to recognize that it is far better to uncover and address a potential substance abuse problem in a confidential, civil environment, then it is to allow the problem to persist and allow the child to risk being thrown into the criminal arena for an arrest due to drug use, possession or associated criminal activity. It is unwise for a parent to fail to take a proactive approach when it comes to suspected drug and alcohol use. Don’t simply wait, hoping that things will somehow get better.

What elements must be demonstrated for the court to grant a Marchman Act petition?

A court may grant a Petition for Involuntary Assessment, Stabilization and/or Treatment, if it is determined that there is a reasonable belief that the child is substance abuse impaired and the child:

(a) has lost the power of self control with respect to substance use; and either
(b) has inflicted or is likely to inflict physical harm on him/herself or others unless admitted; or
(c) the person's judgment is so impaired they are incapable of appreciating the need for care and making a rational decision regarding such care; or
(d) the person has refused to seek voluntary care.

How do I file a Marchman Act Petition?
In order to initiate a Marchman Act preceding you must go to the Mental Health Division of your respective local court house. There you should be provided documentation for your execution to initiate a Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization. Generally, there is no fee associated with filing a Marchman Act petition. However, it should be noted that the above discussion has been provide to familiarize you with the very basics of the Florida Marchman Act.

Additional pleadings, requests and petitions for further treatment options will need to be filed in the future. Although the Marchman act is designed to initiate the process by yourself, the complexity of any given situation may suggest that you seek the assistance of a skilled and trained attorney. This has been meant to be a general overview of the Marchman Act process to educate you as to resources that are available from the court for families who find themselves in need of substance abuse services.

The Florida Marchman Act

2009 (c)Raymond G. Ferrero III, Esq.

ARLS - Addiction Recovery Legal Services, LLC
888 South Andrews Avenue, Suite 203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Marchman Act Blog: Broward County Pain Management Clinic Task Force will submit draft report

In a county effort to create stricter oversight of so-called pill mills, a task force is recommending that local pain clinics must be owned and operated by licensed physicians.

That was just one of many suggestions laid out in a draft report that the Pain Management Clinic Task Force voted Thursday to submit to the Broward County Commission.

"We don't want clinics that are dispensing orbital quantities of controlled substances with no ifs, ands or buts," said Dr. Sanford Silverman, representing the Broward County and Florida medical associations on the task force. "That's not pain management, that's a stereotypical pill mill."
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Survey Reveals 17 Million Americans Drive Drunk

Twenty percent of American drivers have gotten behind the wheel within two hours of drinking, and 8 percent have driven when they considered themselves drunk, the Associated Press reported Aug. 25.

The findings are the result of a 2008 survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
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Marchman Act Blog: Pill mill lawsuit: Doctors sue to block pain clinic crackdown

Two pain doctors with six offices in South and Central Florida have filed a federal lawsuit to block the state law that cracks down on pain clinics starting Oct. 1.

One of the doctors said Wednesday the law would unfairly punish law-abiding pain doctors, primarily by putting them at risk of arrest or discipline if a colleague breaks the rules.

The suit also brands the law unconstitutional because it bans pain clinics from selling more than a three-day supply of pills to customers paying with cash or credit, the favored means for addicts and drug dealers.
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Marchman Act Blog: Google to sue ‘rogue pharmacies’

“Litigation of this kind should act as a serious deterrent to anyone thinking about circumventing our policies to advertise illegally on Google,” said Michael Zwibelman, litigation counsel at Google, in a company blog post on Tuesday. “Rogue pharmacies are bad for our users, for legitimate online pharmacies and for the entire e-commerce industry – so we are going to keep investing time and money to stop these kinds of harmful practices.”
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Marchman Act Blog: Reputed Colombian drug lord appears in Miami court

A reputed Colombian drug boss who climbed the ranks of the once-dominant North Valley cartel stood before a Miami federal magistrate in handcuffs and prison uniform Tuesday, a day after authorities flew him out of Venezuela.

Prosecutors said they will seek to detain Jaime Alberto Marin-Zamora as he awaits trial on charges that he conspired to distribute thousands of kilos of cocaine in his homeland knowing that the drugs would be smuggled into the United States.

Marin-Zamora, 48, known in the underworld as "Beto," will have a detention hearing on Friday and arraignment Nov. 1. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Stigma Unaffected by Acceptance of Disease Model, Study Finds

Survey results show that although more Americans now believe that mental illness and alcohol dependency are medical or genetic in origin than did so in the mid-1990s, they are just as likely to reject those who suffer from them, HealthDay News reported Sept. 14.

Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, public health advocates promoted the view that mental illness and substance abuse are rooted in neurobiology. Researchers from Indiana University and Columbia University decided to test whether these efforts had changed public perception, support for treatment, and attitudes about people living with disorders.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Lindsay Lohan arrest warrant issued

Marchman Act Blog: Pill Mill Protest


Marchman Act Blog: 5 ways to spot a liar

Although this clip is about pathological liars, I felt it was befitting this blog as addicts will often use lies to conceal or hide an addiction - maybe, in some cases - even from themselves.

Marchman Act Blog: Broward pain clinic protest: Protesters target one of Broward's pain clinics

They stood quietly hoisting their signs, but their message and the honking it inspired resounded for several hours Monday morning.

More than two dozen protesters, many of them eyewitnesses to the anguish caused by oxycodone addiction, were targeting one of the many clinics they call pill mills.

Waving signs that read "Close the Clinics, Open Rehab," "Stop Killing Our Children," and "Pill Mills Kill," the protesters vowed to continue with monthly demonstrations until legislators make the clinics go away.

The clinic, the Pain Relief Centers of South Florida, was closed on Monday.
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Marchman Act Blog: Young children test positive for cocaine: Palm Beach Gardens mother charged after children test positive for cocaine

A Palm Beach Gardens mother has been arrested after her young children tested positive for cocaine and police found them in their home in filthy clothing and soiled diapers.

Lori Barfield, 34, came to the attention of police after taking her two children to a local hospital in June, fearing they may have accidentally swallowed Oxycodone pills.

Later, in Barfield's townhouse in the Garden Lakes neighborhood, police found "deplorable conditions" — including broken glass, soiled diapers and alcohol and bug spray within reach of the young children, according to an arrest report.
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Paris Hilton Takes Plea Deal In Cocaine Arrest, Avoids Jail

LAS VEGAS -- Paris Hilton has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors stemming from her drug-related arrest last month at a Las Vegas resort.

Hilton pleaded guilty in a Las Vegas courtroom Monday morning to drug possession and obstructing an officer.

Clark County District Attorney David Roger said under the terms of the deal, the 29-year-old celebutante will serve a year of probation and avoid a felony conviction..
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Marchman Act Blog: Pot Growers join Teamsters

As organized labor faces declining membership, one of the country's most storied unions is looking to a new growth industry: marijuana.
The Teamsters added nearly 40 new members earlier this month by organizing the country's first group of unionized marijuana growers. Such an arrangement is likely only possible in California, which has the nation's loosest medical marijuana laws.
But it's still unclear how the Teamsters will safeguard the rights of members who do work that's considered a federal crime. Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog: Scottish government debate: drugs strategy

Marxhman Act Blog: Bruno Mars Arrested On Drug Possession In Las Vegas

Bruno Mars was arrested on Sunday (September 19) for suspected possession of illegal narcotics, reports the Las Vegas Review Journal.  The 23-year-old singer-songwriter was arrested around 2:40 a.m. when Hard Rock Hotel security officials reportedly confronted him in a bathroom and found him with drugs.
Bruno has rose to fame this year both for his own album and for writing hit songs for B.o.B. and Flo Rida. He recently released the music video for his hit song “Just The Way You Are.”

Marchman Act Blog Oddity of the Day: Kentucky man claims caffeine insanity

NEWPORT, Ky. – A Kentucky man accused of strangling his wife is poised to claim excessive caffeine from sodas, energy drinks and diet pills left him so mentally unstable he couldn't have knowingly killed his wife, his lawyer has notified a court.
Woody Will Smith, 33, is scheduled for trial starting Monday on a murder charge in the May 2009 death of Amanda Hornsby-Smith, 28.
Defense attorney Shannon Sexton filed notice with the Newport court of plans to argue his client ingested so much caffeine in the days leading up to the killing that it rendered him temporarily insane — unable even to form the intent of committing a crime.
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Marchman Act Blog: Lohan tweets she failed court-ordered drug test

LOS ANGELES – Lindsay Lohan has confirmed on her Twitter page that she failed a court-ordered drug and alcohol screening, and she said that if asked, she is ready to appear before the judge in her case and face the consequences for her actions.
In a series of messages posted late Friday, the actress said "Regrettably, I did in fact fail my most recent drug test."
She also said, "Substance abuse is a disease, which unfortunately doesn't go away over night. I am working hard to overcome it." Lohan often posts updates with the account that's verified by Twitter as belonging to the actress.
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Marchman Act Blog: New Research Center to Help Parents with Kids' Substance Use

Philadelphia's Treatment Research Institute (TRI) is launching a new center designed to help parents address alcohol and drug use by their children, TRI announced in a Sept. 14 press release.

The Parents Translational Research Center, funded with a five-year grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), will conduct research to aid parents and caregivers, and disseminate its findings by collaborating with the Partnership at (formerly the Partnership for a Drug-Free America).
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Marchman Act Blog: 'Media Detective' Reduces Kids' Susceptibility to Alcohol and Tobacco Ads

Teaching even young children to think critically about alcohol and tobacco advertising may reduce their risk for using either substance in the future, ScienceDaily reported Aug. 24.

In a study conducted by Innovation Research Training, Inc., of North Carolina, about 700 third to fifth graders were randomly assigned to participate in "Media Detective," a two-week course designed to boost critical thinking skills with regard to advertising, or to a waiting list.
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Marchman Act Blog Oddity of the Day: Texas Chef Successfully Deep-Fries...Beer!

According to this report: The beer is placed inside a pocket of salty, pretzel-like dough and then dunked in oil at 375 degrees for about 20 seconds, a short enough time for the confection to remain alcoholic. When diners take a bite the hot beer mixes with the dough in what is claimed to be a delicious taste sensation.

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Marchman Act Blog Local News: Alcohol, Video Games Blamed in Deadly Shooting

Ft. Lauderdale Police are on the lookout for the shooter who opened fire on a man over a dispute involving video games and alcohol.
It happened just after midnight Thursday on 7th St. and Northwest 13th Terrace. Witnesses say a group of people were hanging out when 29-year-old Ellison Austin approached a woman for money over video games he gave her.
When she didn’t pay up, witnesses say he grabbed a bottle of alcohol from her. That’s when the woman allegedly called over a group of friends, resulting in punches, followed by a gunshot. Austin’s mother says he died at Broward General Hospital.
“Next thing I know, I heard a gunshot and he said he was hit. I went in the house and got a towel for him and came out and called 911 out for him. They came and they took him away on the stretcher,” said witness Dexter Williams.
“I wish whoever did it come forward and take responsibility for what he did because he’s going to be caught,” said the victim’s mother, Diane Griffin.
Thursday morning, witnesses saw police taking people into custody for questioning.

Marchman Act Blog Local News: Legal weed: Florida wants to ban 'legal weed'

Florida officials want to ban so-called "legal weed," packs of herbs treated with chemicals that mimic the high of marijuana and have sent a rising number of smokers to emergency rooms.

The herbs are sold as incense in head shops and hookah bars under brand names such as K2 and Spice. They've become popular in the past year among teens and young adults who want legal substitutes for pot.

Doctors said some legal weed smokers have been stricken by short-lived yet potentially serious side effects, such as racing heartbeat, high blood pressure, agitation, panic attacks, severe vomiting and occasionally fevers as high as 106.
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Marchman Act Blog: Synthetic Cannibus Drug Testing Announcement from Redwood Toxicology Labratory

Redwood Toxicology Labratory now offers lab-based testing for the detection of JWH-018 and JWH-073 metabolites in urine. JWH-018 and JWH-073 are the primary synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists responsible for the euphoric and psychoactive effects that imitate marijuana and are among the numerous compounds found in "herbal" incense or smoke blends.

JWH-compounds are now being sprayed on herbal material and sold as "fake weed" or "synthetic marijuana." Users looking for a "legal high" often turn to popular herbal smoking products marketed under brand names such as K2, K3, Spice, Genie, Smoke, Pot-pourri, Buzz, Pulse, Hush, Mystery, Earthquake, Ocean Blue, Stinger, Serenity and many others. Read Full Story at Website...

Marchma Act Blog: Treatment Admissions Double for Older Adults

Substance-abuse treatment admissions for people 50 and older more than doubled between 1992 and 2008, corresponding to significant changes in their sociodemographic status, USA Today reported Sept. 9, 2010.
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Marchman Act Blog: Studies Shed Light on Breast Cancer and Alcohol Link

Two new studies examine why some women who drink alcohol are at higher risk for breast cancer or recurrence of the disease than others.

Previous research established alcohol as a risk factor for breast cancer, but "few studies have evaluated how alcohol-related risk varies by breast cancer subtype," wrote Christopher I. Li, M.D., Ph.D., of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and colleagues in the first study.

Medical News Today reported Aug. 23 that the researchers looked at tumor subtypes, alcohol consumption, and health and lifestyle characteristics of 2,944 participants in the Women's Health Initiative (a long-term study of health outcomes in postmenopausal women) who had invasive breast cancer.
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Marchman Act Blog: Longer Treatment Time Helps Struggling Smokers Quit

New research suggests patients who enter smoking cessation treatment but are unable to quit initially can achieve abstinence if given enough time, the Los Angeles Times reported Sept. 2.

Investigators at Oregon Health Science University followed more than 2,000 patients assigned to a 12-week smoking cessation program involving either drug therapy plus counseling or counseling alone. They found that 45% of patients who were unable to quit at the start of the program or who relapsed early on had achieved abstinence by the end of the program, regardless of the treatment they received. Further, these patients comprised one-third of the total participants who remained abstinent at one year.

These results “support continuing cessation treatments without interruption for smokers motivated to remain in the quitting process despite lack of success early in the treatment,” the authors concluded.

The study was published online in the journal Addiction.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Marchman Act Blog Oddity of the Day: Pot Ice Cream?

High Scream? Soquel Shop Sells Pot Ice Cream - CLICK TO LINK TO VIDEO

Marchman Act Blog Local News: Prescription drug arrests: More than 175 people were being arrested in southwest Florida


More than 175 suspects are being arrested after southwest Florida authorities busted a massive prescription drug ring.

Authorities started investigating "Operation Pill Popper II" in July. According to Pinellas County Sheriff's detectives, the suspects possessed or sold more than 100,000 Oxycodone pills.

Suspects were arrested Wednesday on 375 charges including doctor shopping and drug trafficking.

Marchman Act Blog Local News: Hollywood teen charged with DUI in crash that killed friend

Roee Chai Ben-Amor, 18, of Hollywood, who faces three charges from the Aug. 27 crash, turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday. The charges are DUI manslaughter, DUI manslaughter impairment and DUI property damage. "We had reason to believe he was going to flee the country, so we were able to get the information we needed expedited a bit," said Mark Wysocky of the Highway Patrol. Samuel Gargir, 18, a Hollywood Hills High School graduate, died at the scene. He was the only passenger in Ben-Amor's 2007 Kia Optima. Read Full Story...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: FDA Mulls Restricting Access to Cough Medicines

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing options to restrict access to cough medicine because abuse rates are rising, the Associated Press reported Sept. 1.

Abuse of cough suppressants sent nearly 8,000 people to the emergency room in 2008, an increase of over 70 percent from 2004. Consuming cough medicine in large amounts -- at roughly 25 times the recommended dose -- can result in euphoria.

Although the active ingredient in these medicines, dextromethorphan, is considered safe and effective, high doses of it cause fever and increase blood pressure and heart rate. Dextromethorphan is found in over 100 over-the-counter medicines, including Robitussin, Nyquil, and other popular brands. It is often paired with other drugs that can cause additional health impacts.

Regulators at the FDA initiated their review of dextromethorphan (PDF) at the request of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) because of concerns over its abuse by teens.

On Sept. 14, the FDA will ask a panel of outside experts to make recommendations on what steps to take.

The panel will consider a number of options to restrict the sale of cough medicines, including moving them behind the counter, outlawing sales to persons under 18, or requiring a prescription.

According to the Associated Press, it's unlikely that the FDA will require prescriptions, because of the workload it would place on doctors and pharmacies.
Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog: Major drug cartel fugitive caught, Mexico says

MEXICO CITY – Mexican marines have arrested Sergio Villarreal Barragan, a presumed leader of the Beltran Leyva cartel who appears on the country's list of most-wanted drug traffickers.
An official in Mexico's Navy tells The Associated Press that Barragan, alias "El Grande," was captured in the state of Puebla. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department policy.
Barragan appears on a 2009 Attorney General's Office list of Mexico's most-wanted drug traffickers and has a roughly $2 million reward for his capture. He is listed as one of the top leaders of the Beltran Leyva cartel.
Barragan's capture comes two weeks after the arrest of Edgar Valdez Villarreal, or "The Barbie," another alleged capo linked to the Beltran Leyvas.

Marchman Act Blog: Violence, drugs, corruption: On 200th birthday, Mexico troubled by what it sees in the mirror

MEXICO CITY — The movie that Mexican director Luis Estrada is putting out for his country's bicentennial is bluntly named "Hell."

Like many Mexicans, Estrada says there is little to celebrate in Mexico today, with its violence, corruption and inequity. Yet in another way, the harshly critical movie shows how far the country has come — it was made with government funding, and nobody tried to censor it.

"I think this should be seen as enormous progress," Estrada says.

Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog: U.S. Adult Smoking Rate Remains at One in Five

Nearly 21 percent of adult Americans still smoke, a rate that hasn’t changed significantly since 2004, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Associated Press reported Sept. 7.

According to the article, a major obstacle to lowering the smoking rate further is a lack of funding for smoking cessation programs and public health campaigns. However, it noted that cigarette taxes and non-smoking regulations have helped to push the smoking rate lower in some states.

In a separate report on secondhand smoke, CDC researchers analyzed a sample of over 30,000 nonsmokers during 2007-2008 and found that 40 percent had cotinine, a chemical in tobacco smoke, in their blood, down from 52 percent of nonsmokers during 1999-2000. The researchers also noted that more than half of American children between the ages of 3 and 11 live with smokers and are exposed to secondhand smoke.

The reports on adult smoking rates and secondhand smoke were published in the Sept. 27, 2010 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Snooki vs. Lohan

Marchman Act Blog Oddity of the Day: Tequila moves to China!

Marchman Act Blog Local News: Davie prescription drug drop-off: Davie Police part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day


People can drop off their outdated prescription drugs at the main lobby of the Davie Police Department on Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The department is participating in the Drug Enforcement Agency's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, an effort to help curb the abuse of prescription drugs.

Prescription medication can be dropped off in the main lobby of the department at 1230 S. Nob Hill Road, on the southeast corner of Nob Hill and State Road 84.

Prescription drug abuse is a serious and growing problem in communities across Florida and the nation. The DEA program is designed to allow members of the public to turn in prescriptions that are outdated or no longer being used.

Susannah Bryan can be reached at or 954-356-4554.

Marchman Act Blog: Smoking to 'Self-Medicate' May Increase Depression in Teens

Teenagers who smoke tobacco to “feel better” may actually be at increased risk for depressive symptoms, Science Daily reported Aug. 27.

Canadian researchers asked 662 high-school students to fill out questionnaires over a five-year period on their use of smoking to improve mood ("self-medication"). The students were also asked about depressive symptoms -- e.g., excessive worry, feelings of hopelessness, and sleep problems.

Researchers found that teens with higher self-medication scores related to smoking had more depressive symptoms than those with lower scores and those who didn’t smoke.

"Although cigarettes may appear to have self-medicating effects or to improve mood, in the long term we found teens who started to smoke reported higher depressive symptoms," said Michael Chaiton, researcher at the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit of the University of Toronto and lead author of the study.  The study is available online in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Sheriffs want lists of patients using painkillers

Sheriffs in North Carolina want access to state computer records identifying anyone with prescriptions for powerful painkillers and other controlled substances.

The state sheriff's association pushed the idea Tuesday, saying the move would help them make drug arrests and curb a growing problem of prescription drug abuse. But patient advocates say opening up people's medicine cabinets to law enforcement would deal a devastating blow to privacy rights.

Allowing sheriffs' offices and other law enforcement officials to use the state's computerized list would vastly widen the circle of people with access to information on prescriptions written for millions of people. As it stands now, doctors and pharmacists are the main users.
Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog Slideshow: Childhood in Juárez, Mexico, is Mired in Drug War Violence

Click to Link to Slide show:
Photo 1 of 17 by Luis Aguilar
Many kids in Juárez live a truncated childhood, sealed indoors by parents who fear their children will become collateral damage in the raging drug war.

Marchman Act Blog Local News: 2 ex-detectives found guilty of shaking down drug dealer

Joe Losada (left) and Daniel Fernandez (right), ex-Miami-Dade police detectives who were tasked with targeting the county's criminal underbelly, are guilty of felonies stemming from the shakedown of a drug dealer, jurors decided Wednesday. The disgraced detectives were immediately jailed to await sentencing; a court date has not been set. ``We respect the voice of the jury. It was a courageous decision,'' Miami-Dade Assistant State Attorney Bill Altfield said. ``They sent a message that this community will not tolerate corrupt police officers who violate the law.'' Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog: Barbara Boxer aide charged with possession of pot

Marcus Stanley, who served as a senior economic adviser and at one time worked on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee — chaired by Boxer — was stopped by a police officer Tuesday morning when he allegedly tried to “remove and conceal” a leafy green substance from his pocket during a security screening at the Constitution Avenue door of the Hart building around noon, according to a Capitol Police report.  Read Full Story...

Clinton says Mexico drug war beginning to resemble insurgency

WASHINGTON _ Mexico's struggle against powerful drug cartels increasingly resembles an insurgency that challenges the government's control of its own soil, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday.

Clinton compared Mexico's battle against the drug cartels to Colombia's recent struggle against a drug-financed leftist insurgency that, at its peak, controlled up to 40 percent of that country. She said the United States, Mexico and Central American countries need to cooperate on an "equivalent" of Plan Colombia," the multibillion dollar military and aid program that sought to turn back Colombia's leftist militants.

"These drug cartels are showing more and more indices of insurgencies," Clinton said in response to a question following a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. "It's looking more like Colombia did when the narco-traffickers controlled certain parts of the country."
Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog: Holiday DUI child neglect:

Three parents charged with DUI while driving with children in car. Three people were arrested over the Labor Day weekend in separate incidents after they allegedly drove drunk with their children in their cars, according to law enforcement affidavits.

Eric Alexander Kelly, 29, of Palm Springs, was booked on Saturday. Akram Musa, 43, of Deerfield Beach, was booked on Sunday night. Both were charged with DUI and child neglect without great harm. And Jennifer Lee Dunn, 30, of Royal Palm Beach, was booked just after midnight Monday and is charged with DUI with property damage and child neglect without great harm.

Records show all three left jail: Kelly after posting $1,000 bond, Musa after posting $4,500 bond and Dunn on supervised release. According to affidavits:  Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog: A Parkland family rides the tumult of their son's oxycodone addiction, steers him toward rehabilitation


When his son's friends hanged themselves in a park by his house, Frank Lindine hoped the shocking double suicide would spur the 21-year-old to kick his oxycodone habit.

Instead, he relapsed.  His parents have taken away his car, forced him to take drug tests and barred his bad-influence friends from their home. Still he has failed repeated attempts at out-patient detox and has broken promises to commit to rehab.  For half a year now, this has been the cycle of life in the Lindine home as their only child tries to end his dependence on the highly addictive, narcotic pain relievers he copped at so-called pill mills, Lindine said.

"It's an epidemic. I'm living it," said Lindine, 54, an account executive for a computer company. "It's just ruining thousands of families and young kids today."  Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog: National Recovery Month!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Police Uncover Underground Marijuana Grow House

Two Westchester men have been charged after police found more than two dozen pot plants in a specially built basement under a home. During the course of a narcotics investigation, Miami-Dade police received a warrant to search the home at 7800 SW 29th Street. While nothing in the home was surprising, what was underneath it was. A basement of sorts had been dug out and constructed under the east side of the home and inside was an elaborate set up to grow marijuana. Police confiscated 26 pot plants and place Leiner Hidalgo and Luis Florencio Gonzalez Reyes under arrest. In addition to the drug charges, both are charged with grand theft because they allegedly stole the electricity to power the underground grow house.

Marchman Act Blog: DUI arrest elementary school: Woman accused of driving drunk at Lake Mary Elementary School

A Seminole County woman with several prior DUI arrests had a blood-alcohol level that was four times the legal limit when she crashed her car at an elementary school Tuesday afternoon, according to a police report released Wednesday.

Lake Mary police arrested Renee A. Godby on a count of driving under the influence — her fifth such arrest since 1985 — after she crashed her Mitsubishi Montero into car in the Lake Mary Elementary School parking lot. The police report said Godby, 43, seemed confused and was unaware she struck a car stopped in front of her when an officer arrived. Godby told the officer her children were in the vehicle with her, but the officer said no kids were in the car at the time.  Read Full Story...

Marchman Act Blog: Smoking to 'Self-Medicate' May Increase Depression in Teens

Teenagers who smoke tobacco to “feel better” may actually be at increased risk for depressive symptoms, Science Daily reported Aug. 27.

Canadian researchers asked 662 high-school students to fill out questionnaires over a five-year period on their use of smoking to improve mood ("self-medication"). The students were also asked about depressive symptoms -- e.g., excessive worry, feelings of hopelessness, and sleep problems.

Researchers found that teens with higher self-medication scores related to smoking had more depressive symptoms than those with lower scores and those who didn’t smoke.

"Although cigarettes may appear to have self-medicating effects or to improve mood, in the long term we found teens who started to smoke reported higher depressive symptoms," said Michael Chaiton, researcher at the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit of the University of Toronto and lead author of the study.  The study is available online in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

Marchman Act Blog: Stigma Hinders Drug Users' Recovery, Report Finds

Referring to problem drug users as “junkies” or “addicts” can interfere with their recovery, according to a review of research on stigma and drug use, the Guardian reported Aug. 24.

The report was the first in a series of four planned reports to be published by Britain’s UK Drugs Policy Commission (UKDPC).

“Some have argued that the stigma attached to problem drug users prevents others from taking drugs by example and that the shame of stigma pushes users into treatment. However, attempts to scare young people away from drug use have not proved effective,” wrote author Charlie Lloyd of the University of York in the report. “The evidence reviewed here suggests that stigma keeps users away from treatment.”

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Risk Factors for Painkiller Addiction Identified

Researchers have found four common risk factors among study participants addicted to opioid painkillers, and found evidence that genes could play a part in the addiction, Medical News Today reported Aug. 28.

Investigators from Geisinger Health System interviewed 705 patients suffering from chronic pain who had been prescribed opioid painkillers for over 90 days, and examined their DNA. Researchers found that patients 65 years old or younger, using psychiatric medications, or with histories of drug abuse or depression were more likely to be addicted to the painkillers. Over one in four participants who were currently addicted had all four risk factors.

"By assessing patients in chronic pain for these risk factors before prescribing painkillers, doctors will be better able to treat their patients' pain without the potential for future drug addiction," said Joseph Boscarino, Ph.D., an epidemiologist and senior investigator at Geisinger's Center for Health Research.

The study also looked at chromosome 15 where a gene had previously been linked to dependency on alcohol, nicotine, and cocaine. Researchers found evidence suggesting that genetic mutations on the same chromosome may be linked to opioid addiction.

The findings were published online in the journal Addiction.