Archive for October, 2010

Halloween Safety Tip: Beware of Pot-Laced Candy!

We share this very important warning from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to parents regarding pot-laced treats this Halloween.

halloween treatsThe Sheriff’s Department is asking parents to check Halloween treats that their kids may receive over the weekend, as they have been able to find more and more pot-laced cookies, candies, cereal snacks and bottled soda currently in circulation.

A raid on marijuana facilities, which resulted in the arrest of eleven people. Officials were able to seize 78 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated street value of $234,000. In addition, they were able to find pot-laced candy bars and orange drinks, as well as breakfast cereal that would look pretty close to your kids’ usual breakfast fare of Froot Loops or Apple Jacks.

Just last week, three boys from Orange County were almost poisoned after having cookies laced with marijuana, a gift from a neighbor to one of the boys’ father. The three boys – who were not related – each had a cookie. Soon after, they began feeling sick and started vomiting. The father had not known that the cookies were laced with pot.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department issued the warning on Friday, and expressed worry over the fact that pot-laced treats may somehow find its way into trick-or-treat goody bags. These products apparently may look attractive to kids. Parents are encouraged to check the packaging of their kids’ treats for any signs of tampering.

There have been no cases reported thus far, however, of kids getting pot-laced treats on Halloween.

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Drug Props That Parents Should Watch Out For

Halloween parties are a reason for teens to dress up every which way, armed with a myriad of props and accessories. There are certain things, however, that parents should watch out for, especially if they are not exactly part of your teen’s Halloween get-up.

Halloween partyTeen parties – Halloween or otherwise – sometimes have unnecessary items on the menu; all-night dance parties are sometimes accompanied by rave or club drugs, such as ecstasy, ketamine GHB, Rohypnol and LSD, as shared by The Daily Courier’s Lisa Irish. Partying teens usually carry seemingly mundane items that are actually used in conjunction with these drugs, and it may be beneficial for parents to watch out for these paraphernalia.

One of the ordinarily harmless things that have become part of the drug scene is a pacifier. But then again, why will a 15-year-old need a pacifier to begin with? Sgt. Amy Bonney of the Community Section of the Prescott Police Department in Arizona shared the following with The Daily Courier: “Pacifiers are definitely associated with rave or club drugs like ecstasy, and teens use the pacifier to prevent the bruxism, or grinding of teeth, that comes from using the drugs.”

Another staple in rave parties are glow sticks; those who are high on ecstasy enjoy enhanced visual images from waving glow sticks.

Bonney also warned parents about Vicks VapoRub, which are usually paired with dust masks: “They’ll put the Vick’s VapoRub on their face and use a dust mask to enhance the feeling they get from inhaling the VapoRub.”

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Alcohol + Caffeine = Bad Idea

In a previous post, we shared the results of an investigation into the hospitalization of 9 students of Central Washington University this month, which pointed to a caffeinated energy drink called Four Loko as the reason for the students’ illness.

Four LokoThis was not the first time that Four Loko has been implicated in cases of alcohol poisoning. Last month, 23 students from Ramapo College in New Jersey also ended up in the hospital, again after consuming Four Loko.

A report on the New York Times looks further into the dangers of the drink as well as others like it. Doctors have given the opinion that the combination of alcohol and caffeine in the drinks is dangerous, because caffeine covers up the effects of alcohol. As a result, those who drink it do not realize how drunk they already are.

Dr. Michael Reihart, an ER doctor at Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, told the Times: “It’s a recipe for disaster because your body’s natural defense is to get sleepy and not want to drink, but in this case you’re tricking the body with the caffeine.” According to Reihart, he has treated more than a dozen people in the past three months because of Four Loko.

Dr. Peter Mercer, the president of Ramapo College in New Jersey, said: “I do not see any socially redeeming purpose being served by these beverages. At the end of the day, they’re aimed at a young, inexperienced market for the purpose of enabling them to become rapidly intoxicated.”

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Charlie Sheen Hospitalized After Episode at The Plaza

It was not, once again, the best of nights for actor Charlie Sheen – and he was a mere eight days away from the end of his 90-day probation, due to the incident with his wife Brooke Mueller in Aspen last Christmas. The star of “Two and a Half Men” was hospitalized Tuesday at the New York Presbyterian Hospital after he reportedly trashed his suite at The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, according to a feature on the New York Daily News.

Charlie SheenThe chandelier in the actor’s suite was reportedly broken, among other things, and a police source shared that Sheen was “irrational” and that he “was getting in everyone’s face, frothing, paranoid, acting like a true [jerk].” While there were no drugs that were found in the room, it is said that Sheen admitted to drinking and snorting cocaine prior to the incident.

According to police sources, Sheen’s outrage was apparently a result of his inability to find his wallet and cell phone. He reportedly had a “mystery woman” with him in the room, and it is this woman who alerted the hotel desk of Sheen’s erratic behavior.

A spokesman for Sheen, however, downplayed the incident and gave a statement saying that the actor’s hospitalization was due to “an adverse allergic reaction to some medication.” This excuse lands in a list of “worst celebrity alibis” in another recent post on the New York Daily News.

Sheen’s ex-wife, Denise Richards, and their two daughters, were also staying at The Plaza.

Sheen has since been released from the hospital, and was expected to fly back to California.

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Four Loko May Have Caused Illness in College Students

An investigation into the illness that led to the hospitalization of nine students of Central Washington University this month identified the culprit as an energy drink called “Four Loko.” A feature on the Chicago Tribune shared the following quote about the product, as described on the website of Phusion Projects, manufacturer of the drink: “A wild blend of flavors, 12% alcohol and modern day ingredients such as caffeine… all packed into a huge 23.5 ounce can.”

Four LokoKen Briggs, head of Physical Education and Public Health at Central Washington University, shared the following comparison: “Essentially what you have is you have about a six pack of beer… and five cups of coffee in one of these cans.”

The nine students who were hospitalized were reportedly drugged at a party in Roslyn last October 8, at least based on what police were initially told. The blood alcohol levels of these nine students were determined to have ranged from .123 to .335. Cle Elum-Roslyn-South Cle Elum Police Chief Scott Ferguson gave the reminder that .3 is considered as lethal.

Looking into the home where the party was held, investigators were unable to find drugs. They did, however, find empty cans of “Four Loko,” which are commonly sold in convenience stores in the area, along with other brands. When asked whether the hospitalized students took the drink, they all answered yes, which ruled out drug overdose altogether as a cause for the illness.

Briggs shared further: “You have a wide awake drunk who may not feel the warning signs of dangerous drinking such as the important subjective effects of tiredness and loss of coordination which are good signals that it’s time to shut it down and stop drinking.”

Attorneys General across the country are said to be petitioning the FDA to have the products banned. A feature on The New York Times revealed that 23 students at Ramapo College in New Jersey were also hospitalized last month after drinking Four Loko.

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Police Bust Drug Lab in Georgetown Dorm Room

A report on The Washington Post shared the discovery of a drug lab in a dorm room at Harbin Hall, the freshman residence hall of Georgetown University.

According to the report, a resident of Harbin Hall reported a strange order coming from a room on the 9th floor to campus police. The call was made at 5 a.m. on Saturday, and when officers came to investigate, they found various chemicals, based on a statement from Pete Piringer, spokesman for the D.C. Fire Department. “They did have some heating equipment. They did have a ventilation sytem,” he said.

DMT crystalsThe 400 residents of the 9-floor dorm were evacuated at 6 in the morning, and were sent to the dining hall or the student center. Seven people were checked for exposure to the chemicals, but all were cleared.

Two male students and a campus visitor were arrested in connection with the incident on Saturday morning, and were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Initially, authorities thought that they had stumbled upon a meth lab. An investigation later in the day revealed that the production that was going on in the room was for dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, a hallucinogenic, based on the chemicals that were retrieved from the area.

The chemicals were removed from the room in question by authorities on Saturday afternoon. Julie Green Bataille, spokeswoman for Georgetown University, said that there were no indications that the toxins spread: “It appears to be confined to that one room… It will have to be decontaminated.”

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