Archive for the ‘Drunk Driving’ Category

New Study Reveals Alcohol More Dangerous Than Drugs

November 3, 2010
alcohol more dangerous than drugs

New Study Reveals Alcohol More Dangerous Than Drugs

LONDON—According to a new study by Britain’s Centre for Crime and Justice and published in the medical journal, Lancet,  alcohol is more dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin and crack cocaine.  It is believed that the reason alcohol scored so high is because it is so widely used and has devastating consequences not only for drinkers but for those around them.

The study evaluated substances including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana, ranking them based on both how destructive they are to the individual who takes them and to society as a whole.

Researchers analyzed how addictive a drug is and how it harms the human body, in addition to other criteria like environmental damage caused by the drug, its role in breaking up families and its economic costs, such as health care, social services, and prison.

Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals. When considering their wider social effects, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the considered the deadliest. However, alcohol outranked all other substances overall, followed by heroin and crack cocaine.  Scoring far lower were Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD.

When drunk in excess, alcohol damages nearly all organ systems. It is also connected to higher death rates and is involved in a greater percentage of crime than most other drugs, including heroin.   But experts said it would be impractical and incorrect to outlaw alcohol as history has already proven.

“Drugs that are legal cause at least as much damage, if not more, than drugs that are illicit,”  said Wim van den Brink, a professor of psychiatry and addiction at the University of Amsterdam. He was not linked to the study but co-authored a commentary in the Lancet.

Not Again. . .

November 2, 2010

Yesterday, when I got into the office and opened my email box, I discovered that once again it was flooded with Google alerts containing stories about people who should know better about the dangers of impaired driving, getting arrested for doing just that, and quite frankly I am appalled by the number of incidents lately. These are all smart, educated people charged with either protecting or treating us.  If talking, education, and literally seeing firsthand the destruction impaired driving causes hasn’t stopped them, do we really believe that more talk and more education will work for the general public?

Okay, I know I have been on this soap box before, but I have never before documented what constantly makes me so sick to my stomach, so, for the next 30 days I am going to keep a record of all the incidents, write about some of the most outrageous ones, and report back here in 30 days on what I discovered.   Honestly, I am terrified that for the next 30 days I am going to be really sick to my stomach.

Just in case you want a preview . . .

. . .  Dr. Raymond Dwight Cook accused of driving drunk at a high rate of speed and causing a collision that killed an aspiring ballerina is scheduled to be in Wake County Superior Court today for his trial.

. . . A Morristown police officer,  Jesse Dickerson, was charged with drunken driving after his car rear-ended a tractor-trailer on in the early hours of Saturday, Oct. 16.

. . . A week after his arrest for alleged drunken driving, 7th Circuit magistrate judge Mark Marshall’s calendar is being cleared of driving under the influence cases.

. . . A highly decorated United States Marine Col who risked his life thousands of times to protect the citizens of the United States, yet chose to risk the lives of  thousands by driving drunk and it cost him his career as he was removed from his post as Commander of Cherry High at Camp LeJune.

And for some more career busters . . .

. . . South Carolina’s House of Representative Candidate John Randolph Wolfe was arrested twice in less than 24 hours for drunk driving.

. . . The former Colorado State Patrol trooper arrested for being drunk while on duty in his patrol car says he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder following years on the state’s accident reconstruction team and his condition caused him to start drinking heavily.

Stay tuned.

Cherry Point Commander Relieved of Duty

November 1, 2010

Another, I can’t believe it . . .

Col. Denn a decorated officer who has risked his life thousands of times in order to protect the citizens of the of the United States and yet he choose to risk the lives of thousands by driving impaired.  We can continue to talk about the dangers of drunk driving and we can continue to education about the dangers of impaired driving, but until we actually put some teeth behind all our talk and education we will continue to bury and mourn the death of about 17,000 US citizens who die each year as a result of impaired driving which is 4x as many who died in each year of the Iraq war.


CAMP LEJEUNE — The commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, who was arrested and charged with drunk driving Monday night in Newport, was relieved of command Wednesday by the commanding general of Marine Corps Installations East.

Col. Douglas A. Denn, 47, was relieved by Maj Gen. Carl B. Jensen due to a “loss of confidence” in Col. Denn’s ability to command, according to a news release released by the major general.

The relief occurred as a result of an investigation into allegations of Col. Denn driving under the influence that eroded “good order and discipline,” according to the release. Col. Denn, who took command of the air station in August 2009, has been temporarily assigned to administrative duties at the air station.

Col Robert D. Clinton, executive officer, MCAS Cherry Point, has assumed command. A CH-46E helicopter pilot and graduate of the Naval War College, Col. Clinton has previously commanded Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 and served with U.S. Pacific Command, 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Prior to his assignment at MCAS Cherry Point, Col. Clinton was the Officer In Charge of the II MEF Forward Command.

Court records in Beaufort show Newport Police Officer Justin Ferrell stopped Col. Denn at 11 p.m. on Highway 70 in Newport for speeding. He was then charged with driving while impaired as a result of blowing 0.14 in a blood alcohol test (legal limit is 0.08), speeding 67 mph in a 55 mph zone and possession of an open container in the passenger area of the vehicle.

Prior to arriving at Cherry Point, Col. Denn served in command at various duty stations. They included Marine Aircraft Group 31 and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 in Beaufort, South Carolina.  Col. Denn, a jet pilot, has more than 3,500 flight hours and has received numerous decorations, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service medal, Navy Commendation Medal with three gold stars and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

National Survey Reveals Increases in Substance Use from 2008 to 2009

October 25, 2010
Please correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t we going in the wrong direction . . .

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that marijuana use rises; prescription drug abuse and ecstasy use is also up.

The use of illicit drugs among Americans increased between 2008 and 2009 according to a national survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows the overall rate of current illicit drug use in the United States rose from 8.0 percent of the population aged 12 and older in 2008 to 8.7 percent in 2009.  This rise in overall drug use was driven in large part by increases in marijuana use.

The annual NSDUH survey, released by SAMHSA at the kickoff of the 21st annual National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, also shows that the nonmedical use of prescription drugs rose from 2.5 percent of the population in 2008 to 2.8 percent in 2009. Additionally, the estimated number of past-month ecstasy users rose from 555,000 in 2008 to 760,000 in 2009, and the number of methamphetamine users rose from 314,000 to 502,000 during that period.

Flat or increasing trends of substance use were reported among youth (12 to 17-year-olds).  Although the rate of overall illicit drug use among young people in 2009 remained below 2002 levels, youth use was higher in 2009 compared to 2008 (10.0 percent of youth in 2009, versus 9.3 percent in 2008, versus 11.6 percent in 2002). The rate of marijuana use in this age group followed a similar pattern, declining from 8.2 percent of young people in 2002, to 6.7 percent in 2006, remaining level until 2008, and then increasing to 7.3 percent in 2009. Additionally, the level of youth perceiving great risk of harm associated with smoking marijuana once or twice a week dropped from 54.7 percent in 2007 to 49.3 percent in 2009, marking the first time since 2002 that less than half of young people perceived great harm in frequent marijuana use. The rate of current tobacco use or underage drinking among this group remained stable between 2008 and 2009.

Overall past-month illicit drug use among young adults aged 18-25 increased from 19.6 percent of young adults in 2008, to 21.2 percent in 2009.  This rise in use was also driven in large part by the use of marijuana.

“These results are a wake-up call to the nation,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “Our strategies of the past appear to have stalled out with generation ‘next.’ Parents and caregivers, teachers, coaches, faith and community leaders, must find credible new ways to communicate with our youth about the dangers of substance abuse.”

“Today’s findings are disappointing, but not surprising, because eroding attitudes and perceptions of harm about drug use over the past two years have served as warning signs for exactly what we see today.” said Director of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske. ”

As in previous years, the 2009 NSDUH shows a vast disparity between the number of people needing specialized treatment for a substance abuse problem and the number who actually receive it. According to the survey, 23.5 million Americans aged 12 or older (9.3 percent of this population) need specialized treatment for a substance abuse problem, but only 2.6 million (or roughly 11.2 percent of them) receive it.

NSDUH is a scientifically conducted annual survey of approximately 67,500 people throughout the country, aged 12 and older. Because of its statistical power, it is the nation’s premier source of statistical information on the scope and nature of many substance abuse behavioral health issues affecting the nation.

The complete survey findings are available on the SAMHSA web site at: http://oas.samhsa.gov/nsduhLatest.htm.

Guilt-Based Anti-Alcohol Ads Can Backfire, Study Finds

October 18, 2010

Researchers are now saying that using shame or guilt to try to prevent over consumption of alcohol can actually cause people to drink more.  Go figure!  Shouldn’t we have realized that years ago?   How many of us understand that addicts are mentally trying to escape?  Do we really think that piling on the guilt is going to make an addict stop?

Researcher Adam Duhachek of the Indiana Kelley School of Business and colleagues said that ads that link alcohol abuse to negative consequences like blackouts and automobile crashes in order to elicit feelings of shame or guilt can trigger a defensive coping mechanism. This can lead viewers to believe that bad things related to drinking can only happen to others and can actually increase irresponsible drinking, researchers said.

“The public health and marketing communities expend considerable effort and capital on these campaigns but have long suspected they were less effective than hoped,” said Duhachek. “But the situation is worse than wasted money or effort. These ads ultimately may do more harm than good because they have the potential to spur more of the behavior they’re trying to prevent.”

A better approach might be to educate the public about the negatives associated with drinking but link that message to one of empowerment, said Duhachek. “If you’re going to communicate a frightening scenario, temper it with the idea that it’s avoidable,” he said.

Please don’t get me wrong, I believe educating people about the danger of impaired driving is extremely important, but education alone is never going to eradicate impaired driving.  Lets face it, we have been educating everyone about the dangers of impaired driving for more than 3 decades now (my 31 year old son was taught it in the Safety School program he attended prior to his first day of kindergarten),  yet we have not seen a decrease in impaired driving deaths in the past 15 years.  Until we get serious and accept that it is going to take some type of safety technology  installed in every vehicle, this problem is not going to go away.   Isn’t that the same reason that seat belts and air bags were made mandatory for every vehicle?

I also think these signs serve a better purpose than trying to lay a guilt trip on someone and that is to reminds us how fortune we are that we have never had to live that pain.  My heart and prayers go out to the family every time I see one of these.

Drunk School Bus Driver Sends 13 Children to the Hospital

October 15, 2010

After reading about police officers, paramedics, doctors and even coroners driving drunk, is anyone surprised that we also have school bus drivers being arrested for DUI with children on their bus?   Last week an Illinois District 150 bus driver was arrested for allegedly driving while under the influence when he crashed into two parked cars and sent 13 children to two Peoria hospitals.  Thankfully all were released later that day.

According to police, Stewart registered a 0.04 percent on a breath test, however the required by law blood draw results are not yet available.  Stewart admitted drinking three beers, some 12 hours before the crash, and taking some cold medicine later that night.  He said he was not impaired, noting he took students from Peoria to Pekin that morning before the accident.  I guess he thinks that just because he didn’t crash on his first route of the day, we should believe that he couldn’t have possibly been impaired, right?  Wrong!

Just because someone has gotten away with doing something before and nothing bad happened doesn’t mean they weren’t wrong.  It just means they didn’t get caught!  Unfortunately, he isn’t the only one who thinks that way.  Too many school districts and business feel that just because they haven’t had an incident where an employee has been caught driving under the influence while on the job, means it isn’t happening.  They too are wrong.  Statistically,  it just means they haven’t been caught,  yet.

Given that 10% of the American population is considered to be an addict, the odds are stacked against any school district or company.  Lets face it, if you have 10 or more drivers, chances are, you have at least one that is driving your company vehicle under the influence on a regular basis.

It used to be that there really wasn’t anything a company could do to protect themselves 24/7, but not anymore.  So, you can either bury your head in the sand and continue to play the odds, or you can do something to protect your company.  It will cost you either way, but one is MUCH more expensive than the other.

Just remember . . .

Impaired Worker + Company Vehicle = $$$$$$$$$