Archive for the ‘Illicit Drugs’ Category

Bath Salts, A Growing Drug Problem

January 28, 2011

bath salts latest trend in drug use new recreational drug teens college-aged students white powdery substance sold legally hallucinogenic drug known Methylenedioxypyrovalerone MDPV MDPK Mtv Magic Peeve Super Coke cocaine  plant food insect repellents Cloud 9 Ivory Wave Hurricane Charlie Red Dove Ocean Charge Plus White Lightning White Dove Scarface inhaled smoked swallowed injected snorted hallucinations suicide poison control centers school campuses parent prevent mood-altering Cleared2Drive driving while under the influence drug

Most bath salts contain some form of sodium, glycerin and a fragrance.  The latest trend in drug use is not your typical bath salt.  There is a new recreational drug being used by teens and college-aged students across the nation and all social circles.  The white powdery substance is being sold legally by labeling it as bath salts.

While it is not actually a bath salt but instead, is intended to be used as a hallucinogenic drug known as Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), MDPK, Mtv, Magic, Peeve or Super Coke (as it is similar to cocaine).  This substance is purposely falsely labeled bath salts, plant food or insect repellents under the names Cloud 9, Ivory Wave, Hurricane Charlie, Red Dove, Ocean, Charge Plus, White Lightning, White Dove and Scarface so it can be sold legally.

When inhaled, smoked, swallowed, injected or snorted; the drug acts much like cocaine giving its users hallucinations, raising blood pressure, increasing in heart rates and even bringing on thoughts of suicide, sometimes with the attempt or successful attempt to follow.  Health experts at many poison control centers are reporting that they have already seem more cases thus far in 2011 than they saw in all of 2010.

Drug use on school campuses is perhaps one of the reasons some families choose to keep their children home to educate them and avoid the unnecessary pressure from peers.  Unfortunately, these trendy drugs can find their way into even the most well-meaning parent’s home.  Fortunately, as a concerned and active parent, you have the opportunity to prevent your children from choosing these mood-altering substances.  But, they make the ultimate decision as to whether or not they will heed your advice.

When you are concerned that your child “might” just once try it, you need to take every precaution you can including installing a Cleared2Drive system on your child’s vehicle so at least you are assured that they won’t be driving while under the influence of this or any other drug.

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Treatment vs Jail: Portugal’s Success

January 5, 2011

drugs problem addicted arresting addiction illegal jail treatment counseling Portugal flag government addicts abuse drug-related court crime problem public health drug-using criminals ignition interlock device Cleared2Drive relapsing

The United States has been fighting the war on drugs for decades now and there seems to be no end in sight which bring to mind the old proverb about the definition of insanity – “Doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result.’  Well I think it is time we start doing things differently and here is a good example of where we should start.

Big Risk, Big Reward

Ten years ago, Portugal had a big drug problem. 100,000 people, or about 1% of the population, were addicted to drugs. Portugal found itself in the never-ending cycle of arresting drug criminals, prosecuting them, and then after their sentence was complete finding them back on the streets again. It’s one of the main problems countries face when trying to end drug addiction and the crimes that so often are associated with it.

In 2000, Portugal passed a law that decriminalized the use of all illegal drugs. Drugs are still illegal in Portugal, but instead of throwing someone in possession of drugs to jail, it sends them to treatment or counseling. Portugal wrote it into law that anyone caught with illegal drugs instead of being charged with a criminal offense will go directly to a “Dissuasion Committee” for counseling and further treatment if necessary.

It’s not a new concept, but it is one that is difficult to carry out. How does a government take the first step and say that citizens aren’t going to get in trouble if they are caught with illegal drugs? Fears in Portugal were that everyone would go out and try drugs, and that the country would become full of addicts who were getting away with their drug abuse. But that hasn’t happened. In the last 10 years, Portugal has seen drug-related court cases drop 66%, the number of drug abusers has remained the same, and the number of people receiving treatment rose 20%. Most importantly, some of the country’s worst neighborhoods, once plagued with drug addicts and crime, have become safe.

Opponents

Some argue that policies like these are too soft on drug addicts, and without pressure and the threat of jail some people will never change, and for some people that is true. But only in countries that become lax when it comes to carrying out the law do they see an increase in drug users, but in countries like Portugal who have followed through with the treatment part of the plan, they have seen success. It works because they have changed the drug problem from a law enforcement issue to a public health issue which can be more openly managed.

Throwing a drug addict in jail does little good. We can expect 48% of substance abusing criminals to get caught using drugs again. However, if we can get these people the help they need to live a life without drugs, we can change their lives for good and we would encourage these countries to implement a mandatory ignition interlock device like Cleared2Drive program, which can prevent drugged or impaired driving as they too have proven very successful in keeping people from relapsing.

Drug-related crashes up in Florida

December 17, 2010

National Highway Transportation Safety Administration NHTSA illegal drugs pharmaceuticals tested positive illicit drug criminal offense fatalities New Year's Day holiday drive impaired Cleared2Drive Good2GoIs anyone surprised that the number of drug-related traffic crashes is rising in Florida given that they are the nation’s prescription drug capital?  Yes, it is nice that as the holiday season gets under way the state is ratcheting up its efforts against drunk and drugged driving, but let’s be honest here folks, Florida’s impaired driving problem isn’t going to go away just because we ring in a new year.

Over the holidays the Florida Highway Patrol says it is launching a new crackdown on impaired drivers (glad to see they are now starting to focus on impaired driving as opposed to just drunk driving) as the numbers show there’s a real need for it.  The latest statistics show drug-related crashes and injuries are up more than 10% in Florida, according to Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp. “Drug-related crashes increased by nearly 11% and drug-related injuries by more than 19%. These are numbers that we cannot ignore.” When you include drunk driving, the problem is even worse. Alcohol and drugs were factors in 44% of the more than 2,500 fatal crashes last year.

According to Bruce Grant, Director of Florida’s Office of Drug Control, driving at night on weekends is even riskier.  He sights a national survey by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) showing that a lot of drivers are using illegal drugs or pharmaceuticals on weekend nights.  “One in eight nighttime weekend drivers tested positive for an illicit drug. That number rises to one out of every six when you include not only illicit drugs but also pharmaceuticals.”

Grant says 17 other states make it a criminal offense to drive while using an illegal drug and he is urging Florida lawmakers to adopt a similar law.  “I think it’s time for Florida to seriously consider adopting a version of this so that we stop the increase that we see in drugged driving and prevent these crashes from becoming fatalities.” In my humble opinion, Florida should have been leading the charge on this one!

Over the New Year’s Day holiday in 2009, Florida experienced a record high fatality rate.  Police say DUI/DWI crashes killed 34 people over the four-day period.  Now with another New Year’s holiday fast approaching, Kottkamp is urging Floridians not to drive impaired this holiday season. “I would encourage all Floridians to be responsible and make good decisions, decisions that can make all live a better life.”

Yes, it good to “encourage” people to be responsible and not drive impaired, but when they can’t do it on their own, take comfort knowing Cleared2Drive can do it for them.

Michigan Middle School Students Overdose at School

December 16, 2010

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Two students from Derby Middle School in affluent Birmingham Michigan are OK after experiencing a bad reaction to some prescription drugs they took during the school day. The drugs were not prescribed to the students and “it wasn’t an accident,” according to Corporal Ron Halcrow, school liaison officer for Birmingham Public Schools and the Birmingham Police Department.

Halcrow said the Dec. 1 incident wasn’t considered an overdose, but a “medical reaction.” – oh really!  Is that now the politically correct term for overdosing on drugs that aren’t even yours? I would venture to say that he wouldn’t be claiming a “medical reaction” had the children died! He said the incident occurred during the lunch hour at Derby, when the two students were found by teachers to be very drowsy. After school officials investigated, they learned the children had taken an undisclosed amount of prescription medication one of them had brought from home.

Halcrow couldn’t say what the medication was or how much was taken, but both students were taken to the hospital as a precaution. The students were turned over to their parents and no police reports were filed, Halcrow said. Because prescription drugs were involved, though, Halcrow said he’ll be hosting counseling sessions with the students and their parents about the dangers of prescription medication.

Derby Principal Debbie Hubbell sent a letter to school parents Friday, warning about the dangers of giving students access to prescription medication. “By using these medications for purposes other than they are intended to help, students are putting their health at risk. We do know this has become an issue in many communities and we want parents to be aware of the implications,” the letter said.

Hubbell asked parents to consider what’s in their medicine cabinets and whether their children have access to it. “This would be a perfect time to talk with your child about the dangers of medications and possible side effects,” Hubbell said in the letter.

This would also be a good time for parents to start thinking about what could have happened if they had  just been a couple years older.  Had these students been just a couple of years older and went undetected, without a Cleared2Drive system installed in their vehicles that detects impairment from drugs or alcohol, they could have driven impaired and harmed themselves or others.  You can’t wait till an accident happens to protect your child.  It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Drug Prescriptions Double for Teens and Young Adults Compared to 15 Years Ago

December 13, 2010

Cleared2Drive Good2Go drunk driving impaired driving  Breathalyzers Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) ignition interlock device Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Drunk DrivingTwice as many teens and young adults are getting prescriptions for controlled substances than had been 15 years ago, Reuters reported Nov. 29.

Investigators led by Robert J. Fortuna, MD, of the University of Rochester’s Strong Children’s Research Center in New York, assessed U.S. prescription trends for 15- to 29-year-olds based on 2007 survey data from more than 8,000 physicians, clinics, and emergency departments. They then compared results with similar data from 1994. Analysis revealed that more than 11 percent of teenagers received prescriptions for controlled medications (including Oxycontin, Vicodin, Ritalin, and sedatives) in 2007, up from 6 percent in 1994. A similar trend was seen for young adults, where the prescription rate for such drugs rose from 8 to 16 percent over the same time period.

As noted by Fortuna, the rise does not necessarily mean the drugs are being diverted or abused. However, teenagers and college students are much more likely than adults to use prescription drugs recreationally and to pass them on to others. “Physicians need to have open discussions with patients about the risks and benefits of using controlled medications, including the potential for misuse and diversion,” he said. “The nonmedical use of prescription drugs by adolescents and young adults has surpassed all illicit drugs except marijuana,” concluded the authors. “This trend and its relationship to misuse of medications warrants further study.” The article was published online Nov. 29 in the journal Pediatrics.

Studies like this reinforces what we at Cleared2Drive have been saying, we need to stop focusing on ways to eradicate “drunk driving” and focus on what is truly happening in our society which means we need to focus our efforts on eradicating “impaired driving.”  Breathalyzers and all the effort that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety(IIHS) is putting into developing their Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) technology will do nothing to stop someone under the influence of illicit drugs or prescription drugs (better known as  drugged driving) from operating a vehicle but Cleared2Drive’s ignition interlock device (IID) that is based upon their internationally patented Impairment Detection Technology will. Even Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) now admits that we need to stop focusing solely on “Drunk Driving” and put our efforts behind stopping “Impaired Driving”.

How Family Dinners Can Curb Teen Substance Abuse

December 11, 2010

How Family Dinners Can Curb Teen Substance Abuse Cleared2DriveIf you want to keep your children away from alcohol, drugs and tobacco as long as possible, you might want to consider having frequent family dinners together. The more often you sit down together for a meal each week the less likely your children will become involved in substance abuse at a critical early age.

Research shows that teens who have infrequent family dinners are more than twice as likely to say they will do drugs in the future.

The latest edition of the study, “The Importance of Family Dinners VI,” from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, has once again shown that frequent – five to seven per week – family dinners can make a big difference in kids’ attitude about alcohol and other drugs.

This goes along with other research that shows that the better the relationship between parents and their children, the less likely the children will begin drinking and drugging early in life.

Talk to Your Children

In the latest CASA study, the researchers found that compared to teens who have frequent family dinners, those who have infrequent – less than three a week – family dinners are:

  • Twice as likely to have used tobacco
  • Almost twice as likely to have used alcohol
  • One and half times likelier to have used marijuana

The key for parents is not just eating together, but talking with their children about what is going on in their lives. The study found that teens who do not talk with their parents are twice as likely to have used tobacco and one and a half times likelier to have used marijuana.

Friends Who Use Drugs

The study also found that teens who have fewer than three family dinners per week are:

  • More than one and a half times likelier to have friends who drink regularly and use marijuana
  • One and half times likelier to have friends who abuse prescription drugs (to get high)
  • One and a quarter times more likely to have friends who use illegal drugs like acid, ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.

On the other hand, teens who have frequent family dinners are less likely to report having friends who use substances.

Ask About Their Lives and Listen

“The message for parents couldn’t be any clearer … it is more important than ever to sit down to dinner and engage your children in conversation about their lives, their friends, school – just talk. Ask questions and really listen to their answers,” said CASA’s Kathleen Ferrigno. “The magic that happens over family dinners isn’t the food on the table, but the communication and conversations around it. Of course there is no iron-clad guarantee that your kids will grow up drug free, but knowledge is power and the more you know the better the odds are that you will raise a healthy kid.”

The complete report, “The Importance of Family Dinners VI,” is available online.

How a Good Relationship With Parents Can Prevent Teen Drinking Problems

December 8, 2010

How a good relationship with your teenager can prevent them from abusing alcohol and drugs Cleared2DriveAs evidence continues to mount that parents have a significant influence on whether their children develop substance abuse problems Cleared2Drive is committed to helping parents develop methods for keeping their children from using alcohol and drugs.  The most important thing you as a parent can do is develop a relationship with your teenagers in which they feel like they can discuss their problems with you and feel that you respect their feelings.  Doing this will increase the chances you can prevent them from developing alcohol problems.

A new study found that teens with a “strong relationship” with their parents have less risk of developing drinking problems.

A lot of research has shown that the age at which children begin drinking alcohol is a factor in whether or not the eventually develop alcohol abuse disorders and related problems, such as antisocial behaviors and school or work problems.

Lower Risk of Drinking Problems

A study of 364 teens by the Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Problems examined the relationship between early drinking age and the teenager’s relationship with their parents. The teens were questioned three times over a two-year period.

The lead researcher, Dr. Emmanuel Kuntsche, found that teens that reported an early drinking age during the first survey tended to be heavier drinkers during the second survey and were a greater risk for alcohol-related problems by the third time they were surveyed.

Those findings confirm earlier research. But Kuntsche also found that the only group that had a lower risk of drinking problems by the third survey were teens who reported both a later drinking age and a strong relationship with their parents.

Healthy Development

The researchers suggest that high-quality parent-child relationships can “trigger a spiral of healthy development during adolescence” that can lead to a lower risk of alcohol problems.

Kuntsche’s study, “The Earlier the More? Differences in the Links Between Age at First Drink and Adolescent Alcohol Use and Related Problems According to Quality of Parent-Child Relationships,” was published in the May 2009 edition of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

How to Keep Teens from Alcohol and Drugs

December 6, 2010

cleared2drive how to keep from teenagers drinking and driving how to stop impaired driving how to stop teenagers from using alcoholFor parents trying to keep their children away from alcohol and drugs during their formative years, there is good news — research shows that parents can have considerable influence on the decisions their teens make regarding substance abuse.

As part of  Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month we at Cleared2Drive are devoting this entire week to providing useful information to parents concerned about what they can do to keep their teenager from using drugs.  The following are the best tips for parents from the latest scientific research into why teens do and do not decide to drink alcohol or do drugs during adolescence.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that 45% of teenagers drink alcohol, and of those who drink, 64% admit to binge drinking. Not only is consuming five or more drinks in a row a dangerous practice itself, the CDC found that teen binge drinking is strongly associated with other risky behaviors, such as sexual activity and violence.

Parents Do Have Influence

As a result of the CDC report, New York University Child Study Center developed five tips for parents to use to curb teen binge drinking by maximizing the influence they have over their children’s decision-making.  “Contrary to popular belief, parents remain the greatest influence over their children’s behavior,” said Richard Gallagher, Ph.D., Director of the Parenting Institute and the Thriving Teens Project at the NYU Child Study Center, in a news release. “Though media and peers play a role, parental influence is critical and there are ways parents can maximize that influence to reduce the likelihood that their children will engage in binge drinking.”

Tips for Parents

Dr. Gallagher suggests these five tips to help parents curb teen binge drinking:

  • Clearly state what actions you expect your teen to take when confronted with substance use. Teens who know what their parents expect from them are much less likely to use substances, including alcohol.
  • Talk about the alcohol use that your children observe. Parents need to make it clear how they want their children to handle substances, such as alcohol and tobacco. Children need to have controlled exposure to learn the rules of acceptable use.
  • Help your teen find leisure activities and places for leisure activities that are substance-free. Then, keep track of where, with whom, and what your teen is doing after school and during other free times.
  • Limit the access your children have to substances. Teens use substances that are available. They report that they sneak alcohol from home stocks, take cigarettes from relatives, and obtain marijuana from people that they know well.
  • Inform teens about the honest dangers that are associated with alcohol use and abuse. Although teens are not highly influenced by such information, some discussion of negative consequences has some impact on the decisions they make. Especially emphasize how alcohol clouds one’s judgment and makes one more likely to be harmed in other ways.

According to the CDC, binge drinking is associated with unintentional injuries (such as car crashes, falls and burns), intentional injuries (firearm injuries and sexual assault), alcohol poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy, among other health problems.

Sources:
Child Study Center, New York University School of Medicine, NYU Child Study Center Expert Recommends 5 Tips To Help Curb Teenage Binge Drinking . AboutOurKids.org. Accessed January 2007.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Quick Stats: Binge Drinking.” June 2006.

Drug use found in 33% of drivers killed

December 2, 2010

drug-test results National District Attorneys Association illegal substances cocaine Don Egdorf Houston Police Department DWI task force abuse prescription drugs David Strickland NHTSA Good2GoAccording to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) just released report, 1/3 of all drug tests on drivers killed in motor vehicle accidents came back positive for drugs ranging anywhere from hallucinogens to prescription painkillers last year.

The report, the agency’s first analysis of drug use in traffic crashes, showed a 5-percentage-point increase in the number of tested drivers found to have drugs in their systems since 2005. The increase coincided with more drivers being tested for drugs, the report shows.

Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said the numbers are “alarmingly high” and called for more states to address the problem of driving and drug use. Seventeen states have some form of such laws, according to NHTSA: Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.  Obviously more need them.

Although much research has been done on alcohol’s effects on driving, little has been done on the impact of drugs on driving, researchers say. The NHTSA analysis doesn’t address whether the drugs were at levels that would impair driving because right now there isn’t a standardized test. What they need is a system like Cleared2Drive, one that detects impairment not arbitrary levels in a person’s blood.

Jim Lavine, the president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said drug-test results don’t always pinpoint when the person took the drug: It could have been days or weeks ago.  Again, another reason to focus solely on impairment detection.

The lack of research presents a problem for lawmakers, adds Scott Burns, executive director of the National District Attorneys Association. “With respect to illegal substances, the answer seems fairly easy: ‘You can’t drive with cocaine on board,’ ” he says. “The tougher question becomes, ‘What do you do with prescription drugs?’ ”

Don Egdorf of the Houston Police Department’s DWI task force says many people abuse prescription drugs. “If you have tooth pain, they give you Vicodin. You might develop a tolerance,” he said. “You might end up taking two instead of one.”

David Strickland of NHTSA recommends better state records of crashes involving prescription drugs.  While record keeping is important, shouldn’t our main focus be on prevention?

Cleared2Drive anyone?

Drugged Driving Increasing

December 1, 2010

With prescription drug abuse a growing problem in the state and nation, it’s no surprise police are seeing a result on roadways. “We’re getting pounded by painkillers,” said Cpl. Chad Blankinchip, an instructor at the Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center in Selma. “Marijuana is still the most common because people think it’s undetectable, but painkillers are right up there with it.”

However, the upside in the battle against drugged drivers is Alabama is one of 46 states that participate in the nationally recognized Drug Recognition Expert, or DRE, program. State troopers as well as some police and sheriff’s departments around the state use the trained experts.

DRE experts are training to conduct a series of tests on the suspect permitting them to serve as an expert witness when discussing the driver’s impairment in court.

Blankinchip said after a traffic stop is made, a field sobriety test is given followed by a breath test. If the level doesn’t measure for alcohol, a further evaluation is performed for drug impairment, including pulse checks, checks of vital signs and pupil dilation. The trained officer also looks for injection sites on the body of the suspect and takes statements. Finally, the suspect goes to the hospital for toxicity screening. It can take an hour or longer to charge an individual with drug-related DUI.  “That’s a drawback and a concern because there’s really nothing that can be done to speed up the process right now,” Blankinchip said.

Rogersville, Alabama Police Chief Terry Holden said he’s seeing more cases of drug DUIs.  “We see as many DUI drug cases as we do alcohol,” Holden said. “Five years ago, you just didn’t have that much.”

Town Creek Police Chief Jerry Garrett said the only test an officer can give for drugs is field sobriety, but there are definite differences between someone impaired from alcohol and drugs. “The biggest thing is their speech,” Garrett said. “They talk with a thick tongue, and speech is impaired worse than with alcohol usually.” He said his last few DUI cases have been for controlled substances. “The problem is you can’t walk up and smell it like you can marijuana or alcohol,” he said. “Officers have to pay close attention to the drivers. A sobriety test can only go so far. One of the biggest arguments I hear from suspects of drug DUI is, ‘I have a prescription for it.’ ”

While Garrett said people are smarter about (refraining from) drinking and driving, “they’re not using their brains at all when it comes to popping pills and getting behind the wheel of a car.”

Tony Faulkner, community marketing representative for Bradford Health Services, routinely deals with individuals referred from the courts after DUIs. There’s been a definite increase in those cases with the biggest growth in prescription pills. “I always say that most addicts are dyslexic when it comes to taking pills,” Faulkner said. “Instead of taking one every four to six hours, they take four to six pills every hour.”

Blankinchip said as long a prescription pills are so readily available, “the problem will just continue to grow.”  And, for loved ones of those that continue to abuse drugs, the only safe guard is a Cleared2Drive system in every vehicle.