Archive for the ‘toxicology tests’ Category

Marines Corps Working to Curb Excessive Drinking

January 27, 2011
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23 year Lance Cpl. Sean Conley drank himself to death

 

The booze was flowing Halloween night in the Camp Pendleton barracks, but the party ended early for one young Marine overcome by potent cocktail “bombs” made of liquor and caffeinated energy drinks. Lance Cpl. Sean Conley, a 23-year-old helicopter mechanic, had been helped to his room by friends after he started feeling ill, his father said. But the Marine was later found on a bench on the barracks veranda, unconscious.  Results of toxicology tests revealed that Conley drank himself to death that night.

His family back in Green, Ohio, had been worried about the Marine’s impending deployment to Afghanistan. “The fighting going on, that was the biggest concern for us — that he would get his foot blown off,” his father Steven Conley said.  “We prayed for him a lot,” but when it came to his safety and welfare, “we never thought of alcohol,” Conley said.

Despite efforts in recent years to redefine a long-standing culture of heavy drinking and to force alcohol-dependent Marines into treatment, the Corps continues to struggle with alcohol abuse in its ranks. In the first half of 2010 and most of the three previous years, the Marine Corps had the highest rate of new cases of alcohol dependence or chronic alcoholism among all branches of the armed forces, according to a report by the Pentagon’s Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center and the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

Last year, nine Marines died in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents, including seven who were at the wheel and two who were passengers, the Marine Corps reported.  One of the latest accidents this year claimed Lance Cpl. Andrew T. Tjhung, a 19-year-old Camp Pendleton Marine riding passenger with another Marine who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. The last two fiscal years saw the highest numbers of alcohol-related injuries among Marines since 2005 — 114 incidents in 2010 and 118 in 2009, according to the Naval Safety Center. The good news is that the number of Marines killed or totally disabled in alcohol-related vehicular accidents peaked in 2007 at 22 and declined into the low teens in recent years, even as the size of the Corps swelled by 22,000 Marines.

Conley was a member of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing’s Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469. The air wing’s commanding general, Maj. Gen. Thomas Conant said through a spokesman that he views every alcohol-related incident as preventable.  The air wing uses a mentoring program and incentives to help units reduce alcohol-related incidents, as well as disciplinary actions against those who break the rules.

Even as binge drinking has become more prevalent among civilian youth, the Corps has tried to temper its long history of alcohol-soaked revelry. The days when commanders kept beer on ice for Marines to imbibe after long marches are over.  John Veneziano, a retired Marine and director of Camp Pendleton’s Consolidated Substance Abuse Counseling Center, said the staff saw about 2,100 clients last year for alcohol and substance abuse screenings, including about 36 a week who entered treatment.  That is a couple hundred more than their annual average before the war era began in 2001.

When the Corps flew the Conley family to San Diego County this winter, the helicopter mechanic’s buddies wanted to toast his passing with beers at a restaurant. Steven Conley raised his brew in the memory of his son. But he shook his head in disgust when he heard about the party that was to follow.“My son just died from alcohol poisoning, and they’re having a party afterwards to go out and get drunk?” he said. “That’s when it hit me. … They don’t even see it.”

And he is SO right.  They don’t see it which is why family members should insist that a Cleared2Drive unit be installed in their vehicle.

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Drunk Delta Airline Pilot Gets 6 Month Sentence for Attempting to Pilot International Flight While Drunk

January 26, 2011

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Should we be at all surprised at the Delta Airline pilot who turned up so drunk at Heathrow Airport that he didn’t know where he was supposed to fly his transatlantic passenger plane has been jailed for only six months.  Guess the time has come for Cleared2Drive to launch Cleared4Flight.

George La Perle was stopped by security officers because he was reeking of alcohol, Isleworth Crown Court was told.  Given that he has now admitted to being an alcoholic we are left to wonder just how many times has he flown hundreds of passenger while under the influence.

He told them he had just had a few beers the previous evening and that he was scheduled to fly to New York. His destination was in fact Detroit. The 49-year-old was found to have four and a half times the legal amount of alcohol for pilots in his blood. He also exceeded the less strict limits for driving a car.

First Officer Le Perle, of Delta Airlines, who has 20 years flying experience, was due to be one of three pilots in the cockpit of the Boeing 767, with 240 passengers on board, the court was told.

Heidi Stonecliffe, prosecuting, said security staff stopped La Perle at around 8.30am on November 1 last year. There could have been ‘potentially disastrous consequences’, she added.  He pleaded guilty to performing an aviation function with excess alcohol.   Defense counsel Neil Fitzgibbon said La Perle felt deep remorse.   Geez, I should hope so!

Jailing him on Friday, Judge Phillip Matthews said: ‘You knew that you were about to co-pilot a Boeing 767 across the Atlantic with all that entails, yet you had consumed alcohol which, at the time that you arrived at Heathrow Airport, was showing that you were four times over the prescribed aviation limit. ‘The consequences for the passengers on that plane, if you had piloted for any stage of that journey, which was a distinct possibility bearing in mind that is what you were employed to do, were potentially catastrophic.’

30 Year Veteran Metro Boston Transit Authority Bus Drunk Fired After He Crashed Bus While Driving Drunk

January 25, 2011
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Metro Boston Transit Authority Bus Driver McCarthy Drove his Bus Drunk

A 30year veteran bus driver for the Metro Boston Transit Authority (MBTA) who was accused of being drunk after he hit a car with his bus has been fired.  After he allegedly drove his bus into a car stopped at a traffic light in Somerville, John McCarthy, 61, was charged with drunken driving Friday , Transit Police said. The only passenger on the bus and the driver of the car were not injured.

In a letter dated Jan. 23, MBTA General Manager Richard Davey wrote that McCarthy was in violation of the authority’s drug and alcohol policy and had been immediately discharged from his position.  McCarthy was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol.  He was released on personal recognizance at his arraignment Monday.

Police said that after the crash, McCarthy could not stand up straight, had trouble speaking and smelled of alcohol which is understandable given that court documents revealed he had a blood alcohol concentration of .155 percent — almost twice the Massachusetts legal limit of .08 percent.  Even though a bottle of vodka was found in his jacket pocket, McCarthy told police he had not been drinking.  “There was nothing in his employee record to suggest a problem,” MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.

Does anyone believe that this was the first time he drove the bus drunk?  If you do, I have some ocean front property in Oklahoma I would like to sell you.  When are the transit authorities going to wake up and smell the alcohol (literally)?  More than 10% of all Americans have a substance abuse problem.  Do they really think that bus drivers, taxi cab drivers, semi drivers, are all exempt?  For less than the price of a set of tires, they could install a Cleared2Drive system on each bus and be assured that ALL their drivers are driving sober ALL the time.