Archive for December, 2010
Iowa Hawkeyes’ Adam Robinson, who had already been suspended by coach Kirk Ferentz for Insight Bowl, placed his career at Iowa in jeopardy after being arrested on marijuana charges Monday night, according to a report on The Washington Post.
The 21-year-old starting running back was arrested for possession of marijuana in Des Moines, Iowa. According to Iowa State Patrol, the vehicle that Robinson was riding in was pulled over because it did not have front plates. A trooper had detected the odor of marijuana from the vehicle, prompting a search; they eventually found marijuana. Both Robinson and the driver of the vehicle were charged; the charge against the driver, who was not identified, was possession with intent to deliver marijuana.
Gary Barta, athletic director for Iowa, issued a statement Tuesday afternoon regarding the incident involving Robinson: “Kirk [Forentz] and I were made aware of Adam’s situation earlier this morning. Obviously, we are both extremely disappointed to hear the news. We don’t have all of the facts and will withhold any further comment until we return to Iowa City and learn all of the details.”
Robinson had been left off the roster of Insight Bowl Tuesday night against Missouri, because he was unable to comply with the expectations and policies of the team. Robinson’s future with the team is now unclear, and freshman Marcus Coker may end up taking over in 2011.
Adam Robinson has since been released. He is set to appear in court on Jan. 5. The Post said that a message that was left in the home of his family in Des Moines was not returned right away.
First, “Spice” and other forms of synthetic marijuana had to be dealt with, and those who are against it scored a small victory when spice, technically sold as incense, was banned for a period of one year. Now, however, there is another substance that has become a cause for concern: synthetic cocaine, being marketed as bath salts, insect repellant, or plant fertilizers.
A news release on PR Newswire warns against these products, which are reportedly resulting in abusers winding up in emergency rooms across the country. Mark Ryan, director of the Louisiana Poison Center, said: “We are incredibly concerned about the extreme paranoia being reported by people who are taking these drugs.”
The products have the ability to mimic the effects of methamphetamine abuse, according to the release. They are thought to contain a chemical called Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MPDV), which does not have approval for medical use in the United States. Initially, these products were only being sold on the Internet; now, however, abusers are able to find them at gas stations and head shops as well. These “legal” cocaine-wannabes go by several aliases: “Red Dove,” “Blue Silk,” “Zoom,” “Bloom,” “Cloud Nine,” “Ocean Snow,” “Lunar Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” “Ivory Wave,” “White Lightning,” “Scarface” and “Hurricane Charlie.”
Alvin C. Bronstein, medical director of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center and the acting director of toxicosurveillance for the American Association of Poison Control Centers, shared that his office has observed a “definite increase” in reports about these substances, so much so that it has become a health threat “that needs to be taken seriously.”
Prescription drug abuse is dubbed by a feature on the Chicago Sun-Times as the “fastest-growing drug problem” in the United States. Deaths due to accidental drug overdose have increased five-fold over the last twenty years, according to the CDC. It also overtook heroin and cocaine combined as the cause of overdose deaths in the United States in 2007.
This meteoric rise of prescription drug abuse is due to several reasons. The fact that these drugs – usually painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Fentanyl – are basically legal substances that are prescribed by doctors for legitimate reasons, people think that it is safer, regardless of whether it is used properly or abused.
Sally Thoren, executive director of Gateway Foundation, an organization that provides substance abuse treatment, said: “People think, ‘It comes from the doctor. Mom took it for a toothache or a broken bone. How bad can it be?’”
Another reason for the surge is the fact that there was also an increase in doctor prescriptions for painkillers, a trend that began in the 1990s. According to Kathleen Kane-Willis, director of Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, the greater availability of prescription painkillers became the catalyst for more widespread abuse: “In the 80s and early 90s, there was so little pain medicine prescribed… Now, the pendulum has kind of swung the other way.”
She suggested that while there is no need to deny pain medication to people who need them, it is important for doctors to have frank conversations with their patients regarding the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
A clothing store and travel agency in Montrose, California, apparently served as a front for a marijuana cultivation operation, according to a report on Glendale News-Press.
Sgt. Tom Lorenz told the Glendale News-Press that the Blue Seas travel agency and Fast Fashion high-end clothing store, located at Honolulu Avenue, were but fronts for what was described as a “sophisticated indoor-marijuana growing operations.” According to Sgt. Lorenz, “All you have to do is walk up to the front of the building and smell the marijuana.”
These businesses housed a full-scale cultivation operation with lights, ventilation, and 381 marijuana plants. In addition to this “marijuana garden” of sorts, the police also received a tip that Mike Boyadjian was also allegedly growing marijuana plants in his apartment, on the 1000 block of Justin Avenue. When policed searched the apartment, they found 40 flowering plants, a .357 mm handgun, a digital scale, cash, and a ledger that showed profit earnings, and money spent on the operations.
Sgt. Lorenz revealed that Boyadjian, 32, was also responsible for the other marijuana grows, according to his own admission. He then identified four other men who helped him take care of the plants: Shibu Koshy, 32, of Bell Canyon; Aris Nersessian, 32, of Glendale; David Davitian, 26, of Hollywood; and Michael Degirmendjian, 22, of Hollywood.
All five men were arrested Wednesday night, on suspicion of marijuana cultivation and sales, according to Sgt. Lorenz.
Police said that the estimated street value of the marijuana more than 400 marijuana plants was $200,000.
Actress Lindsay Lohan is in the hot seat once again after an employee of the Betty Ford Center, where she is currently in a court-ordered stay, accused her of assault after an alleged drunken encounter.
While Lindsay has denied the allegations, and her accuser, Dawn Holland, has been fired by Betty Ford, the question remains: what is in store for the young actress after this episode? She is, after all, still on probation in a DUI case, and this new development, if proven, constitutes a violation of her probation.
According to a feature on People.com, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elden Fox had threatened Ms. Lohan with more jail time, if she is found to be in violation of her probation.
Richard Hirsch, a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles who is not involved in the case, told People.com: “If the latest allegations are true, it just spells disaster for Lindsay… After all the chances she’s had, the judge may have no other option left.”
The feature recalled Lindsay’s failed drug test from a couple of months back, where she was spared more jail time by Judge Fox, who was convinced that what Lindsay needed was further treatment from her self-admitted addiction. She was instead ordered to stay at the Betty Ford Center until January 3.
Steve Sitkoff, another Los Angeles criminal attorney, said: “Judge Fox isn’t one to make idle threats… Especially if he decides that Lindsay was the instigator in the scuffle with the Betty Ford employee, that’ll make him more likely to punish her with jail instead of treatment.”
Back in April, baseball fans were shocked when news of the tragic death of Nick Adenhart, rookie pitcher of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, came out. The 22-year-old native of Hagerstown, Maryland, had just come from his fourth Major League start – he pitched six scoreless innings and gave a brilliant performance in a game against the Oakland A’s – when the car that he and a couple of his friends were riding in was struck by a red minivan driven by a drunk driver.
In September, drunk driver Andrew Gallo was convicted on three counts of second degree murder, and single counts of drunken driving, hit and run driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol and causing great bodily injury. Gallo had ran a red light and struck the car that Adenhart was riding in, and also attempted to run away after the accident, although he was eventually caught.
At the time of his conviction, it was estimated that he would spend from 50 years to life in prison; the sentencing was scheduled for December 10.
The sentencing happened December 22, and District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and court spokeswoman Carole Levitzky revealed that Gallo received the maximum sentence of 51 years to life in prison.
At the time of the accident, Andrew Gallo’s alcohol was 0.19 – certainly well above the legal limit of 0.08.
In a written statement, Rackauckas said: “Before drinking, set up a plan to have a sober driver… If you make the decision to drink and drive, we will make the decision to charge you with vehicular manslaughter or murder and you may spend the rest of your life in prison. During this holiday season, think about the pain on the victims’ families’ faces before you drink and drive.”