Archive for May, 2010

Science Behind Inaccuracy of General Drug Testing Results

A study that was presented during the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association indicate that drug abuse testing often yields inaccurate results, according to a feature on Med Page Today. The study was conducted by Dr. Dwight Smith of the Boston Medical Center and his colleagues, and involved a review of literature of drug tests and their scientific background as well as the possible clinical concerns that may arise.

drug testSmith was quoted as saying: “There are gaps in our understanding of the science behind drug tests, and how that leads to our interpretation of testing results.”

There are two general things that make the results of what was termed as a “general drug test” inaccurate. One is the generation of false positives triggered by otherwise harmless substances, while the other is the inability of the test to detect all abused substances.

The number of drug tests that are currently being performed and the role that it plays in various aspects of life in a society – including employment, education and sports – make specific knowledge regarding the limitations of general drug testing important for the correct interpretation of test results, as well as for the determination of next steps.

For instance, a positive result may not necessarily mean that the person is abusing drugs; for one, a small teaspoon of poppy seeds, roughly the amount that can be consumed in a poppy seed bagel, may generate false positives; the same holds true for the intake of certain medication. This means that there may need to be a follow-up background check on the patient’s medical history if the patient tests positive.

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Minor League Baseball Players Test Positive for Drugs

We have shared with you how MMA fighters aced drug tests conducted during a recent event; this time around, however, we share news about athletes who failed their drug tests.

Myrtle Beach PelicansThree players of Minor League’s Myrtle Beach Pelicans tested positive for a substance that is considered as a performance-enhancing drug, according to a feature on The Sun News. The players are shortstop Amadeo Zazueta, second baseman Albaro “Yoel” Campusano, and first baseman/outfielder Gerardo Rodriguez. The substance is reportedly an amphetamine, and although Kurt Kemp, the Director of Player Development of the Atlanta Braves, was informed about the actual substance and the dates of the tests he said he was not at liberty to discuss the details.

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are the advanced Class A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves organization.

The announcement was made on Friday by the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball. The three players were each suspended for 50 games, with the suspension set to begin immediately after the announcement. Failing the tests meant that the players were in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

According to Kurt Kemp, players are subjected to random testing all year, and are required to make their whereabouts known during the offseason. Drug testing for Minor League Baseball is conducted by a body that is different from that which handles testing for Major League Baseball, although their drug prevention and treatment programs are both being handled by the office of Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.

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Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Pass Drug Tests

There’s good news for MMA enthusiasts: fights are still taint-free, at least when certain fighters are involved. The six fighters who were tested for performance-enhancing as well as illegal drugs have passed drug tests with flying colors.

The testing was conducted last Saturday at the “Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery” event at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Six fighters were confirmed drug-free by Strikeforce spokesperson Mike Afromowitz.

Alistar OvereemA post on Testing It Up wondered about whether testing will be conducted during the May 15 fight, being as it were that there were speculations that Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem may be using performance-enhancing drugs. Overeem defended his title against challenger Brett Rogers, whom he defeated with a first-round TKO. The fighters included in the list of fighters who passed drug testing were Overeem, Antonio Silva, Joey Villasenor, and Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcente.

Test results for main-card competitors – including Brett Rogers, Andrei Arlovski (who fought Antonio Silva), Roger Gracie and Kevin Randleman – are not yet available.

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker shared that they worked with a local facility in the implementation of the testing. Coker shared the following with “We fixed the problem by drug testing everybody. If there’s a problem, we’ll let people know. It was the right thing to do because the commission is doing random testing, and I didn’t want to leave any chance or a crack of skepticism. And this puts everybody in check. We’ll do it again if we have to.”

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Lindsay Lohan Blames Dad for Lost Passport

There is never a moment without drama in the Lohan family chronicles, and this episode has a court, a warrant of arrest and a conspiracy involving the theft of a passport to prevent one of the leads from making it to court.

lindsay lohanIn a previous post, we already shared with you how Lindsay Lohan might not make it to her mandatory court hearing after she allegedly lost her passport while at the Cannes Film festival. We know that stars usually go to these shindigs every year, but can’t Lindsay just decide to miss this one just so she doesn’t annoy the judge handling her case any more than it seems she already has?

In the end, Ms. Lohan did fail to show up in court – and no matter what her lawyer said, Superior Court Judge Marsha Revel did not fall for the reasons and issued a warrant for her arrest.

As for the mystery of the vanishing passport, a report on Today revealed that Lindsay accused her father Michael of having something to do with the theft of her passport through an e-mail sent to Us Magazine. Lindsay reportedly wrote: “I always said my father had someone do it.”

Michael Lohan’s lawyer Lisa Bloom quickly released a statement from the actress’ dad, which effectively denies the insinuations made by his daughter. The elder Lohan said that his pushing Lindsay to go into rehab has angered the actress and led her to blame him for her problems. The statement also reads: “Michael wishes Lindsay the best regardless of what she may say about him, and stands ready, willing and able to help her at any time.”

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Lindsay Lohan Stuck in Paris and Won’t Make It to Court

Michael Lohan’s lawyer Lisa Bloom has sent a letter to the Honorable Marsha Revel on behalf of her client. The letter asked the Judge Marshall, in whose court the case of actress Lindsay Lohan resides, to order “frequent, random, court-ordered drug testing.” We can only wonder about what Judge Revel’s reaction will be when Ms. Lohan is unable to appear in her chambers for a scheduled hearing on Thursday.

lindsay lohanThe hearing will look into the actress’ compliance of her probation sentence for a drunken driving conviction in 2007, according to a feature on CNN. Her probation calls for her to attend weekly alcohol counseling programs; according to reports, she was not able to faithfully attend sessions. Judge Revel had given the actress a warning in October that she will be hauled off to jail if the is unable to comply with these terms.

These things will be taken into account at Thursday’s hearing, but it looks like Lindsay will not make it to her court date as she is reportedly stuck in France. Lohan was attending the Cannes Film Festival and missed a flight from France because she lost her U.S. passport. She is still waiting for a replacement passport in Paris. Attorney Shawn Chapman Holley said: “I don’t know if it was stolen or lost, misplaced,” although Lohan was said to be “doing everything in her power to get back to the States.” Will Judge Revel buy that, or is Lindsay in trouble with the court yet again?

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From Paul and Cheryl Vanacore: Signs of Addiction

In a previous post, we shared with you the decision of Paul and Cheryl Vanacore of Lancaster, New York, to share their experience with their son Joshua – who is serving a prison sentence for drug-related robberies – in order to help other families. Among the experiences that they shared are the warning signs they noticed before they learned about their son’s addiction.

One of the signs started in May 2005; Joshua was no longer able to pay his car loan on time. He eventually admitted to his father that he was experimenting with painkillers and heroin. Their family doctor, however, said that Joshua did not seem to be addicted.

heroin addictionThen, other signs emerged – including money missing from the house. An over-the-counter drug test revealed that Joshua was “clean”; they were unaware, however, that the reason why it came out clean was that the drugs have already cleared his system at the time he took the test.

Paul Vanacore recalls: “He said, ‘I swear to God.’ That phrase will resonate in my head forever… ‘I swear to God, I’m not doing anything. I swear to God I didn’t take any money.’” They believed Joshua, and the clean test made them hopeful. However, when they noticed that Joshua was wearing a hoodie on a hot day, they found needle marks on his arm when they asked him to roll up his sleeves.

He underwent a five-day rehab program at the Erie County Medical Center, but he was back on heroin after a couple of weeks. He was unable to pay drug dealers – who beat him and threatened his then-pregnant girlfriend. His father at one time paid the dealer so that the threats would stop.

Eventually, they stopped giving him money – so he resorted to robbery.

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