Thursday, September 29, 2011

Conrad Murray trial: Day 3 to bring one of most damning witnesses

Coast Guard video shows another bust of submarine-like drug vessel

UCF students vote for 'alcohol emergency' policy after Ann Hefferin's death

104 pot plants found inside Port St. Lucie grow house, police say


NY Times: Drugs, Risk and the Myth of the ‘Evil’ Addict

My column on making Naloxone available over-the-counter to reverse overdoses drew many plaudits and two main strands of criticism.  One group argued that addicts aren’t worth saving and we need to cut the drug supply; the other said that Naloxone, also known by its brand name, Narcan, is too risky to be available without a prescription. Read Full Story...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jump in Hospitalizations for Drug and Alcohol Overdoses Among Young Adults

Marshals: Husband of slain Boca area woman given up by drug dealers

Coast Guard unloads two-ton cocaine seizure in Key West

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show

Lori Smith of Aliso Viejo with photographs of her son Nolan, who died of a drug overdose in January 2009, six months shy of his 16th birthday. A toxicology test turned up Zoloft, which had been prescribed for anxiety, and a host of other drugs that had not been prescribed, including two additional anti-anxiety drugs, as well as morphine and marijuana. (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times / September 18, 2011)
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Addiction Expert Calls for More Doctors to be Trained in Prescribing Suboxone

With great unmet demand for substance abuse treatment, addiction experts are looking for ways to expand treatment options. Many experts agree there is a need to increase the number of patients treated with Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone). Elinore McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco and former president of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, talked with Join Together about ways to increase Suboxone treatment. Read Full Story...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Woman arrested on charges she spiked husband's coffee with Xanax to calm him down

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Tamarac 'Take Back' event collects record number of prescription pills

By Laura C. Morel, Sun Sentinel

5:56 p.m. EDT, September 14, 2011
It was a "Take Back" for the record books — or Ripley's Believe It or Not.

During an Operation Medicine Cabinet event last Saturday, one woman dropped off more substances than Broward Sheriff's Office staff had ever seen: a half-dozen garbage bags loaded with thousands of prescription drugs.
Read Full Story...

Charlie Sheen: I'm "Absolutely" Sober Now

The star also insists to Lauer that he's "absolutely" sober, although he couldn't specify the last time he had a drink or took drugs. "I don't really keep track of the time. It's been awhile." Read Full Story...

Amy Winehouse's final 'perfect' music video released

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Uncertainty Surrounds Use of Synthetic Drugs, Expert Says

Synthetic drugs such as “K2,” “Spice” and “Vanilla Sky” are part of an emerging class of abused drugs causing concern among health professionals, researchers and legislators, according to a doctor studying these drugs. Products containing unregulated psychoactive drugs are being sold as “incense” or “bath salts” without restriction or quality assurance. In fact, users don’t know what—or how much—of the drug’s active ingredients are in each batch, which can lead to dangerous side effects or overdoses. Read Full Story...

Hanging corpses carry threat to Mexico Internet users

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Tamarac "Take Back" event yields record number of prescription pills

By Laura C. Morel, Sun Sentinel

12:58 p.m. EDT, September 14, 2011
It might go down as the mother of all prescription drug take back events.

A record number of prescription pills were collected during the Broward Sheriff's Office's latest Operation Medicine Cabinet effort. Read Full Story...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

TSA agents, cops arrested for drug trafficking

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Elderly at Risk for Prescription Drug Abuse

Elderly patients, who tend to take many medications prescribed by more than one doctor, are at risk for prescription drug abuse, the Miami Herald reports. Health experts are concerned about the increase in the number of patients over age 50 who require intervention and treatment for addiction to medication and other substances. Read Full Story...

Many Recovering Addicts Follow the Same Path - Overcoming Adversity with Excercise

Alleged Colombian drug lord 'Loco Barrera' among those charged by feds in Miami

By Jay Weaver, The Miami Herald

4:13 a.m. EDT, September 13, 2011
One of Colombia's most-wanted drug traffickers with alleged ties to a narco-terrorist organization has been charged in Miami along with two other "high-level" partners, U.S. authorities said Monday.Read Full Story...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Amy Winehouse's father believes singer died from alcohol detox

By David Eckstein Zap2it

2:18 p.m. EDT, September 12, 2011
While Amy Winehouse's autopsy results were ruled inconclusive, her father believes the late singer died from a seizure during alcohol detox, the AP is reporting.

Winehouse's parents, Mitch and Janis Winehouse, join Anderson Cooper for the debut of his daytime talk show to discuss the singer's troubled, yet accomplished, life. Read Full Story...

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.

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

Working Together to Improve Public Health and Safety on College Campuses

David K. Mineta, Deputy Director for Demand Reduction, Office of National Drug Control Policy

Across the country, college and university campuses are welcoming new and returning students. As the first hints of fall are felt, excitement and opportunity are in the air. At the same time, we know the new school year also ushers in risks. For about 40 percent of college students, binge drinking will be a part of their college experience. Making matters worse, a 2010 national survey found that about 14 percent of college students reported marijuana or other drug use over the past month. It is no surprise that binge drinking and drug use are problems on our campuses. Nor is it a surprise to learn that drug use and addiction can result in missed classes and lower grades. Read Full Story...

The Reach of Mexico's Drug Cartels

Drug-impaired driving rising in Palm Beach County with prescription drug abuse

The scourge of prescription drug abuse is hitting South Florida roads and highways. Increasingly, drugs such as oxycodone and alprazolam, commonly known as Xanax, are playing larger roles in traffic crashes. Read Full Story...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Marijuana Use on the Rise, National Survey Finds

Results from the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health, released today, have found marijuana use is on the rise, while methamphetamine use is on the decline.
USA Today reports the survey, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), found 8.7 percent of Americans say they regularly use illegal drugs recreationally, the same rate as 2009, but above the 2008 rate of 8 percent. The most popular drug is marijuana, with 17.4 million regular users. In 2007, 14.4 million Americans said they used marijuana. Read Full Story...

Fugitive cop who fled to Brazil likely to avoid extradition

Fugitive David Britto may be out of reach of American authorities forever.

This city's former Police Officer of the Year was under house arrest, awaiting trial on drug trafficking charges, when he cut the electronic monitoring bracelet from his ankle Aug. 24 and hopped on a plane in Miami, bound for his native country, Brazil, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

Brazil's constitution prohibits the extradition of Brazilian nationals.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Investigation leads to prescription drug trafficking operation in Boynton Beach

Police including a DEA agent return to Intracoastal Park with a suspect in the back of a pickup truck Wednesday morning. (Photo courtesy of The Palm Beach Post/Lannis Waters)
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Applications for New Pharmacies in Florida Rise as “Pill Mill” Law Takes Effect

As a new Florida law banning “pill mills” takes effect, the number of applications filed with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for new pharmacies in the state has jumped, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The newspaper reports half of the nation’s new pharmacy applications originated in Florida in the first half of 2011.

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Under fire, pain clinics try to open their own drugstores

Joel Shumrak at his never-opened pharmacy beside his Pain Center of Broward in July. (Joe Cavaretta, Sun Sentinel)
Florida pain clinics are banned from selling narcotic pills, but some operators are trying to preserve their main source of cash by opening pharmacies.

Pain clinic owners have flooded the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency with requests to start small drugstores. In the first six months of the year, Floridians filed more than 215 applications for federal controlled-substance registrations, half of the nation's total.
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Inside the Hollywood Drug Scene: How Celebrities Get Their Fix

For the young, rich and famous, this is a pretty typical Hollywood weekend, insiders say.

And they tell Pop Tarts that Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, who have fessed up in recent weeks to possessing and using cocaine, respectively, aren’t the only ones partying hard. While the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institute of Health do not track drug use by occupation (like model, actress or musician), many closely connected to the entertainment arena tell Pop Tarts recreational drug use is on a dangerous rise. Read Full Story...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bail set at $360,000 for doctor linked to pain clinic

Bond was set at $360,000 on Friday for Dr. Gerald Klein, one of 14 doctors prosecutors say were involved in the largest illegal pain clinic network in the country.

Circuit Judge Joseph Marx ordered that 77-year-old Klein surrender his passport, not practice medicine and remain on house arrest if he posts bond.
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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Florida's prescription-drug database launches today

By Amy Pavuk, Orlando Sentinel

September 1, 2011

Florida's prescription-drug-monitoring database, which advocates say will help discourage doctor shopping and deter physicians from over-prescribing, is slated to launch today — after an effort by Gov. Rick Scott earlier this year to kill the program.

Supporters of the database have touted it as a key tool in combating Florida's prescription-drug epidemic.

Law enforcers say one of the reasons so many drug abusers and dealers travel to Florida for their prescriptions is because their home state already has a similar monitoring program.
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