Archive for Your Recent ALERTS
After the apparent overdose of his daughter last year, New Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi threw his vocal and influential support behind a law that grants immunity to drug users who suffer an overdose or who report the overdose of an acquaintance.
The measure has already caused the dismissal of potentially life-saving criminal prosecutions and abruptly terminated one of the state’s most effective treatment tools. It’s not so subtle side-effects are to enable those suffering from addiction and exculpate those who intentionally violated the laws that were designed to protect them. Perhaps more tragic is the anticipated effect this measure will have upon the state’s already ailing prevention efforts.
Note: 14 states have enacted overdose immunity laws. All but 3 of those 14 have also decriminalized marijuana use in some form.
The first overdose immunity law was passed in 2010 and according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, research does not exist to claim that these laws increases calls to 911 or save lives. We do know that the majority of fatal overdoses are unattended and would not be benefited by this wide reaching law. We also know that many witnesses to overdoses are not themselves in the most competent state of mind. Sober friends don’t let friends die, even if they might get a minor possession charge for making the call. We know for certain, however, that prevention does save lives. And by decriminalizing the behavior, laws like this undermine substantive research proven preventative measures.
For decades now, the criminal justice system has been the leading referral source for adults entering drug treatment programs. Those who can’t seek treatment on their own are often compelled to enter treatment as a result of their criminal prosecution. As thousands of recovered addicts can attest, they were saved by arrest.
Under the new immunity law, hundreds of overdose victims will simply get a shot of narcan and wander back out into the street, instead of being compelled to get the treatment they need to save their lives; the treatment they are unable to seek voluntarily.
In New Jersey, 1st time overdose victims do not go to jail. Nor do people found in possession of personal use quantities of drugs. In both cases, defendants such as these are given several opportunities to avoid prosecution, and have their charges expunged, if they agree to enter a life-saving treatment program. The criminal laws were helping and immunity was available so long as you agreed to enter treatment.
Criminal laws do not exist to produce arrests, they exist to guide behavior. They are amongst our most effective deterrent and preventative measures. Experts have long found a direct statistical relationship between a person’s perception of risk and their frequency of drug use. The perception of risk is closely related to the illegality of the behavior. The disease of addiction and the occurrence of overdose are both preceded by the choice to use drugs. The removal of legal sanction eliminates an important preventative influence from that life-threatening decision making process.
Drug dealers were also given aide by the immunity law which now removes a productive pool of potential informants from police investigators. Without legal sanction, overdose victims and bystanders now have no incentive to cooperate with authorities in trying to stop the flow of deadly drugs on our streets. It would seem as though this might be a worthy sacrifice if it would result in fewer deaths, but of course there’s no credible scientific evidence to say that it will. And now drug dealers don’t have to worry about their victims snitching on them if it all goes bad.
The best form of harm-reduction is use-reduction. Instead of lobbying for immunity, why not lobby for more prevention? Don’t tear down laws are working, enhance laws which hold people responsible for their irresponsible acts; acts which include letting your friends die. The Good Samaritan Overdose Immunity law has enacted an unreliable and unsubstantiated measure at the expense of well-proven prevention and treatment resources. Instead of saving lives, it is much more likely to endanger them. I’m shot through the heart Jon, and you’re to blame.
(Still love your music though.)
If an armed gunman attacked today, would you survive?
The school shooting in Newtown, CT was just one of several recent assaults by armed gunmen upon unsuspecting citizens. We’ve now seen them in public settings, work settings, movie theaters and malls. A difficult review of who lives and who dies in these incidents has given us some lifesaving insight.
Being innocent, unsuspecting and unarmed, doesn’t mean that you have to be unprepared. Spree shooters want to kill as many easy targets as possible in the shortest amount of time. They don’t want to chase you and they don’t want to encounter resistance. Their terrible act will be over within about six minutes. As unpleasant and unpredictable as these things are, these basic similarities do provide some advantages to would-be victims.
Your survival is based upon three basic objectives: escape, evade or improvise. If you can’t escape, try to evade. If you can’t evade, it’s time to improvise.
Escape: Most spree shooting victims have been those who froze, chose poor hiding places or never saw their assailant coming. So starting today, whenever you enter a building pretend you’re on an airplane. Mark your exits and plan at least two escapes. Raise your eyes every so often to scan the crowd and revise your exits as you move. At the first sign of danger, make towards the closest exit of any kind. If need be, create your own exit by breaking a window etc. The point is, get moving! Don’t just drop to the ground and lie there.
Evade: If the exit is blocked and you can’t escape, it’s time to evade. Most spree shooting deaths occur at close range. Both distance and movement dramatically affect the accuracy of the shooter, so even if all you do is run, you’re greatly increasing your chances of survival. Put angles between you and your attacker and seek out bullet-proof barriers such as cinder-block walls. Become a hard-target. Buy yourself a moment of time or a few feet of distance. That may be all you need.
Improvise: If danger is close and you cannot escape or evade, you must improvise. Exploit your environment. Many buildings have dry-chem fire extinguishers mounted in highly visible places. These create thick clouds of highly unpleasant yellow dust and are as good as tear gas in close quarters. They can be used to create particulate barriers, to mask your escape or to stun your assailant. They can also be used as impact weapons. Know how to use them (youtube it).
Fire hoses can be used to defend stairwells or deter an attacker, particularly if the lights are off. Extension cords can tie doors closed from the inside. Properly positioned chairs and furniture can fortify a room. Mops and other long-handle tools can be used to defend a barricaded doorway etc.. Remember, the shooter only has a few minutes and he knows it. Make the most of your time and delay him for a few critical seconds. He’ll likely move on.
Stun and Run! If you can do nothing else, plan for a fight. Pick your moment and surprise them with a sudden attack. Throw cleaning liquid in their face. Find anything to throw or swing. Target their head, then their hands, then their groin. Deliver a solid blow then run around a corner, towards a barrier or through an exit.
Fight for your life. As you walk through your environment tomorrow ask yourself, “What would I do if it happened now?” It’s not silly to plan and even practice these things. Preparation is part of the winning mindset and that may be all you need to survive.
Timothy Shoemaker has received extensive training regarding active shooters, including incident debriefs and strategy sessions from several high profile national incidents. This brief post is formatted for general advice and should not be taken to conflict with any formalized school or work response plan.
Today, many kids order their drugs right over the internet and have them delivered directly to their home. “It’s as easy as ordering a pizza” says Adam, a fourteen year old designer drug user.
Most parents are completely unaware that their child is receiving these deadly deliveries right under their nose. Worse off, it’s usually the parents credit card that is used to make the purchase.
Adam explained to MpoweredParent just how he finds the drug he wants, borrows his parent’s card and places the order. Less than a week later a fictitious envelope arrives in the mailbox. “You can get anything” he says. “Pot, pills, powder, whatever you’re after. They’ll send it to you.”
There are now hundreds of foreign drug sales websites marketing to both kids and adults. Checking your credit statement wont reveal anything suspicious. Their transactions show up as a non-descript paypal charge or as a misleading corporate moniker. Adam tells his parents that he’s buying video games or parts for his computer. Sometimes he reimburses them from his allowance.
The clean cut package that arrives gives nothing away. Mom or dad plucks it out of the mailbox for him and drops it on his pillow. It’s waiting for him when he gets home from school.
Parents and preventionists are simply overwhelmed by the recent explosion in the drug trade. Designer drugs, internet marketing and increasingly prominent marijuana legalization campaigns have flooded the teen environment with creative, enticing and easier-than-ever drug use options. At the same time, economic depression has forced a reduction in drug-prevention programs and community awareness initiatives.
Vigilance, consistency and up-to-date know how are a parent’s best allies. Be present for all credit card orders made by your child. Inspect all packages arriving in their name. Talk to them about drug use and be the voice of reason against all the pro-drug noise they now hear on a daily basis. To learn more about preventing drug use with your kids, visit our Drug Prevention For Parents page.
Parents of teens and young adults have something new to worry about today as news of several recent deaths are linked to a synthetic drug called Smiles. Smiles is the newest in a wave of designer drugs to hit smoke shops, convenience stores and internet marketplaces. Just a few months ago, we saw the deaths of two North Dakota teens in the same town. This week, Sons of Anarchy star Johnny Lewis is believed to have been under the influence of the drug when he murdered his landlady and then committed suicide.
The Smiles drug has been one of many designer drugs to follow in the footsteps of the infamous bath salts synthetic stimulants and K2 synthetic marijuana products. A refined white powder, the drug can be taken in capsule form, eaten or snorted. Internet reports state that users commonly mix the Smiles powder with chocolate or candy prior to ingesting it. It causes hallucinations and a euphoric state that resembles stimulants like methamphetamine. In some cases, the effects can last for days. It’s most popular amongst high school, college kids and young clubbers.
Paranoia, anxiety, panic and nausea have been reported amongst users, along with a potential loss of consciousness. The DEA has banned the drug, known to G-men as “2C-1″, but right now, use is continuing to rise. Fueled by misinformation spread by kids in chatrooms and social media sites, many naive partiers are scrambling to get their hands on it. Initially available on shelves in the stereotypical “not for human consumption” labels, distribution is now most commonly seen through black market dealers and white-envelope internet deliveries.
Bob Parsons, a Forensic Toxicologist from the Indian River Crime Laboratory, tells MpoweredParent that 2C-I may not be all that new after all. Known to chemists as 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodophenethylamine, it is a synthetic phenethylamine that was first synthesized by entheogenic drug promoter Dr. Alexander Shulgin over 20 years ago. Shulgin produced well over 200 other psychoactive designer drugs and listed them in his 1991 book PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story. “It’s been abused since the 1980’s,” say’s Parsons, “but has only now become popular.” It was only recently added to the Federal Controlled Substance Act, so it was formerly legal but is now illegal in the USA. “Like the other phenethylamines, it is a powerful stimulant with hallucinogenic properties and can be quite dangerous outside of research settings.” Many thanks to Bob for the consult!
A new drug called Krokodil, named after the large, green, toothy reptile, may be the next big killer for American drug users. This controlled substance has particularly heinous ingredients and effects, yet it’s use continues to spread.
Parents or communities that are currently watching a heroin problem in their neighborhoods will want to learn about Krokodil. It can be made in a home lab, using free how-to methods available on popular internet outlets. The typical Krokodil user is one who has been a heroin or opiate-based prescription drug abuser, but can no longer support the habit. Krokodil is a morphine derivative, and offers a similar high at a fraction of the price.
The alluring ingredients of codeine, iodine, lighter fluid, industrial cleaning fluid, paint thinner, gasoline and red phosphorus are combined to produce an addictive concoction called Desomorphine. The toxicity of these substances causes devastating and potentially fatal side-effects.
Beyond the obvious risks of drug use, Krokodil abusers typically experience an acute reaction at the site of injection. The skin and tissue cells die, scale over and fall off the body. Gangrene sets in. In many cases, entire limbs must be amputated due to exposed bone and decomposed blood vessels. The liver and kidneys are also affected and can suffer irreparable damage.
There may be as many as one million Krokodil users in Russia alone. For those reached by drug prevention efforts or addiction rehabilitation treatment, detox can last up to one month -that’s nearly twice the time it takes to detox from heroine.
In 2011, Krokodil emerged in the European drug market. Officials are cautious that it could be on a crash course for the world’s largest consumer of illicit substances….America. Fortunately, there do not appear to be any reported seizures of the drug on U.S. territory as of yet. Regrettably, we already have cheap and widely available substitutes that may serve as illegal drugs of choice in place of this illicit import.
Knowledge is power and prevention is key. For ideas on how you can prevent this and other drug use in your home or community, please visit our Drug Prevention Pages.
Freshmen girls who engage in at least one incident of binge drinking have a 1 in 4 chance of being sexually assaulted during their first semester at college. This says a new study released today in the Rutgers University Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
In yet another example of what many would claim to be science corroborating common sense, the study found that freshmen girls who consume between 4 and 6 drinks in any one sitting have a frightening likelihood of sexual victimization. For heavier drinkers, such as those who reported having consumed 10 or more drinks in any one given night, it actually became probable that they would become the victim of a sexual attack. Nearly 60% of these heavy drinkers reported being victimized by acts that ranged from unwanted sexual contact to rape.
The study further warned about the practices of drinking while in high school, the years that oftentimes foreshadow college drinking behavior. While abstinence in high school continues to remain substantially influential in higher abstinence rates at college, it does not guarantee it. Even occasional drinking in high school may predict heavy drinking during the first semester at college. This study found that nearly half of the girls who reported drinking “lightly” in high school ended up binge drinking at least once during their first college semester – a time when they are still below the legal drinking age.
For parents, it stands as a reminder of the important in keeping kids alcohol free during the formative high school years. Hard fought diligence in the years just prior to college life can reward kids with the practice and perseverance needed to maintain responsible behavior away from home. Kids who learn to socialize and enjoy activities while sober become much better equipped to deal with the dangerous peer influences and social pressures present on their new college campus. As this study again demonstrates. There is a lot to be gained by being sober. Respecting the law, standing your ground and setting the example when it comes to drinking may just stave off a sexual assault.
Click here to read the full text of this study.
Do you live in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, or Connecticut? If you do, you no longer have to feel alone with a particularly dubious distinction. For the first time in any of our lifetimes, the average American is now more likely to die from a drug overdose than from a car crash. It’s an unprecedented mortality rate that, until recently, only a handful of states could claim ownership of.
This stomach-turning statistic sheds more light on a trend that prevention officials have been desperately broadcasting for several years now. Strangely, their cries have been falling upon an uncharacteristically disinterested public and inattentive media.
Many adults who lived through the crack cocaine epidemic of the 80′s or heroin plagued 90′s may recall the aggressive outing of America’s then dirty little secret. At the time, the plague of addiction and overdose flooded our media. It was a theme that became conspicuously embedded in many of the day’s pop culture icons, spawning a litany of movies, P.S.A.’s, articles and editorials. The difference between then and now is troubling to say the least, particularly given the ironic fact that prescription drug overdoses now outpace those of cocaine and heroin combined.
These are critically important times, but the average person doesn’t seem to know it. Try telling the average New Jerseyian that they are more apt to be killed by drugs than by one of their fellow Jersey motorists and you’re likely to be met by disbelief. But when you consider that America’s number one prescribed drug is no longer Amoxicillan or Lipotor, but the opiate Vicodin, you’ve got yourself a very blatant -and ominous- sign of the times. Getting that message to the public is mission number one. Prompting action is another thing altogether. For those who’ve cared to read this far, consider the following fact for motivation:
In just 14 minutes from now, another one of our neighbors, mothers, brothers, sisters or sons will be lost to a drug overdose. It’s a cycle that will continue all day long. It will start again tonight at midnight and continue for the rest of the week, month, year and decade. In fact, it will continue indefinitely -until we decide to stop it.
Will you help us stop it? Start by forwarding this message. Do it liberally. Do it before you click away. Do it now. Together we can save a life, save a country, and save a future worth being proud of. Get involved.
A new drug has hit the streets in an alarming new form. It’s an opiate, like heroin or oxycontin, and it comes in the form of sublingual film. Users simply remove the film from the packet and place it under their tongue. It dissolves in 2 to 10 minutes, and takes effect almost immediately.
The drug goes by the trade name Suboxone, and contains buprenorphine and naloxone. It has been sold on the street in its original pharmaceutical wrapper, which resembles that of a wetnap. The drug itself looks like a gelatine breath strip, such as those sold by Listerine and others. It also comes in tablet form. Both the strip and tablet bear the markings “N2″ or “N8″.
Though commonly used to treat opiate addiction, suboxone itself is known to be addictive, and can cause overdoses in uncontrolled amounts. It can also produce fatal results if combined with other common drugs like alcohol, antihistamines, antidepressants or sleep aids.
In clinical settings, Suboxone is a legitimate prescription medicine that has been approved by the F.D.A. to treat opiate addiction for patients who are under the care of a licensed practitioner. A video describing the administration of suboxone can be viewed at this link.
Substance abuse professionals have been worriedly tracking increasing rates of marijuana use amongst teens and tweens. At the same time, prescription rates for psychological stimulants, such as Ritalin and Adderall have been blowing through all previous barriers. While the early assumptions as to why this is happening are not so surprising, they are certainly alarming.
Many high school and college students find that they cannot maintain an aggressive party schedule alongside a productive academic schedule. Rather than adjust their behavior, this new and naive generation has turned to amphetamine based prescription medicine as a remedy. The stimulants, meant to treat patients with psychologically induced attention deficiencies, increase awareness and mental productivity. Though widely prescribed and perceived by many to be harmless, Adderall and Ritalin are indeed habit forming drugs with potentially fatal side effects. Unfortunately, this does not phase many kids, nor deter some college officials from dolling out the drugs.
It is not yet common for college health clinics or primary care physicians to conduct drug screening on those who seek treatment for ADHD symptoms. Nor is it practice to deny psycho-stimulant prescriptions for those who test positive for marijuana. Yet some of those institutions that do test, are finding positive results upwards of 40%.
“The irony here, is that a patient will complain of mental sluggishness, of having difficulty focusing and retaining information. They will simultaneously admit, or test positive for recreational use of marijuana -a drug known to cause these exact symptoms. Yet rather than address the obvious underlying problem, the patient seeks and is granted a prescription for an additional drug. “
It’s a very disturbing trend, and one that cries for more dialog. Many feel that the responsible role of responsible officials is to rule out underlying substance use before prescribing additional drugs to a patient, particularly those at vulnerable ages. Others argue that the clinical denial of ADHD medicines to marijuana users will only push them into the black market. While the community has not yet reached consensus on this hot topic, one conclusion is clear, parents need to take an increasingly active role in shaping their children’s perception of drugs as performance enhancers. Pscycho-stimulants have quickly become the mental steroids of the new millennium.
For more information of marijuana, Adderall or Ritalin, please visit our Drug Fact Sheets.
Every day, 13 American teenagers die as a result of abusing alcohol. Kids who start drinking in their teens, are several times more likely to develop addiction problems, than are those who wait until it is legal. Teen drinkers are also more likely to allow their own kids to drink underage, when it becomes their time to parent. It’s a debilitating cycle.
It’s time for a change, and MADD thinks that they have a way to do it. MADD selected April 21st to be the subject of a national campaign to improve the communication between parents and their teens. Powertalk 21 is a program designed to make the process easy. They’ve created a booklet, a series of pointers, and even a free parent education program to assist you. You can access all of those great resources, by clicking here.
If you have a teen living in your home, its important that you make every effort to counterbalance the constant barrage of advertising, pressure and temptation facing them. You can find all the details you need, on our Alcohol Tutorial. If you haven’t had a discussion with them recently, April 21st is the time to do it! It’s time to protect these kids.