Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mom on pills crashed car with kids in it, Maitland cops say

A 32-year-old mother from Casselberry was arrested in Maitland early Saturday, after police said she crashed her car with her daughters inside while driving under the influence of prescription pills.

An officer reported hearing a loud crash about 7:15 a.m. and saw that a U-turn sign on the U.S. Highway 17-92 median had been knocked down, according to an arrest report.

The officer then spotted a white Kia pulling into the parking lot of a nearby Publix. Police said the driver, Brenda Michelle Singletary, claimed she didn't know how she arrived in the lot.
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Friday, July 29, 2011

New Parent Helpline Provides Support, Resources For Teen Substance Abuse

When parents find out their teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, the family’s immediate focus is generally on getting help for the teen. But parents are often in great need of help themselves. They may need advice on what to say to their teen, how to evaluate whether he or she needs professional treatment and where to find the appropriate substance abuse treatment program if one is needed. A new toll-free telephone helpline is providing that assistance.
The Parents Toll-Free Helpline, 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373), is staffed by clinical social workers with practical experience in substance abuse prevention and treatment. The helpline, launched by The Partnership at, began taking calls in April 2011 and will offer bilingual support (English/Spanish) beginning in mid-August. Read Full Story...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Feds seeking money, cars from accused South Florida pill mill czar

MIAMI— The U.S. government is moving to seize vehicles, cash and other assets from a former owner of a South Florida pain clinic facing federal drug charges. Among the items linked to 42-year-old Vincent Colangelo: a 1999 Lamborghini roadster, a 21-foot Chaparral boat, a Range Rover and eight other vehicles. Read Full Story...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Prescription Drug Abuse Gateway to Injected Drugs, Study Suggests

A new study suggests that abuse of prescription opioids may be a first step on the path toward misuse of heroin and other injected drugs.
Science Daily reports that the researchers found four out of five injection drug users misused an opioid drug before they injected heroin. They also found that almost one out of four young injection drug users first injected a prescription opioid, and most later switched to injecting heroin. Read Full Story....

Russell Brand's touching letter re: death of friend, Amy Weinhouse

Russell Brand, recovering addict and person who knew and cherished Amy Weinhouse before the fame, used one of his best outlets–the written word–to pay tribute to his dear friend.

In the touching letter, he extends his memories as well as his hopes:

When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone.

I’ve known Amy Winehouse for years. When I first met her around Camden she was just some twit in a pink satin jacket shuffling round bars with mutual friends, most of whom were in cool Indie bands or peripheral Camden figures Withnail-ing their way through life on impotent charisma. Carl Barrat told me that “Winehouse” (which I usually called her and got a kick out of cos it’s kind of funny to call a girl by her surname) was a jazz singer, which struck me as a bizarrely anomalous in that crowd. To me with my limited musical knowledge this information placed Amy beyond an invisible boundary of relevance; “Jazz singer? She must be some kind of eccentric” I thought. I chatted to her anyway though, she was after all, a girl, and she was sweet and peculiar but most of all vulnerable.

I was myself at that time barely out of rehab and was thirstily seeking less complicated women so I barely reflected on the now glaringly obvious fact that Winehouse and I shared an affliction, the disease of addiction. All addicts, regardless of the substance or their social status share a consistent and obvious symptom; they’re not quite present when you talk to them. They communicate to you through a barely discernible but un-ignorable veil. Whether a homeless smack head troubling you for 50p for a cup of tea or a coked-up, pinstriped exec foaming off about his “speedboat” there is a toxic aura that prevents connection. They have about them the air of elsewhere, that they’re looking through you to somewhere else they’d rather be. And of course they are. The priority of any addict is to anaesthetise the pain of living to ease the passage of the day with some purchased relief.

From time to time I’d bump into Amy she had good banter so we could chat a bit and have a laugh, she was “a character” but that world was riddled with half cut, doped up chancers, I was one of them, even in early recovery I was kept afloat only by clinging to the bodies of strangers so Winehouse, but for her gentle quirks didn’t especially register.

Then she became massively famous and I was pleased to see her acknowledged but mostly baffled because I’d not experienced her work and this not being the 1950’s I wondered how a “jazz singer” had achieved such cultural prominence. I wasn’t curious enough to do anything so extreme as listen to her music or go to one of her gigs, I was becoming famous myself at the time and that was an all consuming experience. It was only by chance that I attended a Paul Weller gig at the Roundhouse that I ever saw her live.

I arrived late and as I made my way to the audience through the plastic smiles and plastic cups I heard the rolling, wondrous resonance of a female vocal. Entering the space I saw Amy on stage with Weller and his band; and then the awe. The awe that envelops when witnessing a genius. From her oddly dainty presence that voice, a voice that seemed not to come from her but from somewhere beyond even Billie and Ella, from the font of all greatness. A voice that was filled with such power and pain that it was at once entirely human yet laced with the divine. My ears, my mouth, my heart and mind all instantly opened. Winehouse. Winehouse? Winehouse! That twerp, all eyeliner and lager dithering up Chalk Farm Road under a back-combed barnet, the lips that I’d only seen clenching a fishwife fag and dribbling curses now a portal for this holy sound. So now I knew. She wasn’t just some hapless wannabe, yet another pissed up nit who was never gonna make it, nor was she even a ten-a-penny-chanteuse enjoying her fifteen minutes. She was a fucking genius.

Shallow fool that I am I now regarded her in a different light, the light that blazed down from heaven when she sang. That lit her up now and a new phase in our friendship began. She came on a few of my TV and radio shows, I still saw her about but now attended to her with a little more interest. Publicly though, Amy increasingly became defined by her addiction. Our media though is more interested in tragedy than talent, so the ink began to defect from praising her gift to chronicling her downfall. The destructive personal relationships, the blood soaked ballet slippers, the aborted shows, that youtube madness with the baby mice. In the public perception this ephemeral tittle-tattle replaced her timeless talent. This and her manner in our occasional meetings brought home to me the severity of her condition. Addiction is a serious disease; it will end with jail, mental institutions or death. I was 27 years old when through the friendship and help of Chip Somers of the treatment centre, Focus12 I found recovery, through Focus I was introduced to support fellowships for alcoholics and drug addicts which are very easy to find and open to anybody with a desire to stop drinking and without which I would not be alive.

Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy’s incredible talent. Or Kurt’s or Jimi’s or Janis’s, some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill. We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care. We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn’t even make economic sense. Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call.

Brenda Wilhelmson says key to sobriety is honesty - South Florida

By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog

10:00 a.m. EDT, July 24, 2011
Admitting you have a problem, it's often said, is the first step to recovery. Brenda Wilhelmson reached that point years ago when she realized that alcohol was wrecking her life. Join a live Web chat with Wilhelmson on Monday, July 25, at 11 a.m. PDT (1 p.m. Central and 2 p.m. Eastern time) when she speaks about her book, "Diary of an Alcoholic Housewife," about her struggles with addiction and her ongoing recovery.

While some addicts talk about hitting bottom before seeking help, Wilhelmson said that pivotal moment may not be the same for everyone.

"I'm hoping my story can flip the switch for others," she said, "and help them recognize that yes, you're an alcoholic even though you have two cars in the garage and you're married and everything looks good on the surface." Read Full Story...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mom charged after Tampa-area toddler dies from oxycodone

A Tampa Bay-area mother has been charged with manslaughter after she told police her 2-year-old daughter apparently took an oxycodone tablet she'd left on her night stand and later died.

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office said they arrested 27-year-old Tiffany Lynn Mitchell on Tuesday. An autopsy had shown that her daughter, Kaylynn Bella Mitchell, died from having the powerful painkiller in her system. Read Full Story...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hundreds in Weston shred papers, return pills at BSO event


Drug-treatment centers fear flood of patients as Florida's pill-mill law kicks in

"Essentially you have a new class of drug-addicted individuals who if their supply is stopped will need at least detox capacity and most probably treatment capacity, and programs are full across the state," said Mark Fontaine, executive director of the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association. "So it will be a challenge."

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Friday, July 8, 2011

RX drug overdoses in Florida up 61 percent in 6 years

Fatal prescription drug overdoses jumped by 61 percent in Florida from 2003 to 2009 and claimed 16,650 lives, federal health officials said in a new analysis Thursday.

The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documents a trend that state officials have noted for years. It led to new laws over the past three years, most recently July 1, to control excessive prescriptions by pain doctors and clinics. Among the CDC's findings: Read Full Story...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

State agents and health officials have started to visit pain clinics in Florida in order to begin confiscating their leftover pills.

One of the initial locations to be visited by agents from the Broward Sheriff's Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and representatives from the Florida Department of Health was the Wellness and Pain Centers of Broward, 5459 Federal Highway. Read Full Story.....