Archive for August, 2012

Fort Lauderdale Joins Other Cities in Banning Synthetic Marijuana and Bath Salts

Fort Lauderdale is the latest to join the growing number of cities wanting to ban the sale or display of bath salts and synthetic marijuana, according to the CBS Miami report.

bath saltsBroward County commissioners have asked the county’s attorney on Tuesday to draft an ordinance banning products that contain illegal substances or ingredients that mimic the effects of those substances.

“We’re talking about products that carry names such as ‘Innocence’ and are sold at convenience stores and gas stations, et cetera,” said Commissioner Sue Gunzburger who requested the ordinance.

Synthetic marijuana and bath salts have become an alarming concern to US officials and law enforcement following reports about teenagers and adults who have been abusing them. As of 2012, at least 44 states have already banned one or both of these substances.

Last year, Gov. Rick Scott signed a law prohibiting bath salts; however, manufacturers have managed to elude banning penalty by slightly altering the drugs’ chemical makeup.

In Miami-Dade County and the cities of Miami, Sunrise and Sweetwater, ordinances banning synthetic marijuana and bath salts have been either passed or already in the final stages of passing.

Fort Lauderdale’s drafted ordinance is scheduled to come back for commission review in the fall.

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Norwood Police Introduces Plan to Suppress Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse

The Norwood Police Department of Massachusetts recently published on its website a strategy for fighting heroin and prescription painkiller abuse.

Chief of Police William G. Brooks III said in a statement that copies of the document have been distributed to all Department personnel, as well as published on the department’s website for the public to view “in a spirit of candor.”

prescription drug abuseThe comprehensive strategy outlined in the document  aims to address heroin and prescription painkillers abuse head-on. Aside from its ultimate goal of reducing the number of people who use heroin and abuse prescription opioids, other objectives of the plan include being able to arrest drug dealers, help landlords evict them, leverage addicts into treatment, and educate the public.

Norwood Police multifaceted plan starts with strategic policing which is designed around the principles of the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Compstat approach.

Drug intervention is also an important part of Norwood Police Department’s strategy to effectively combat the problem of heroin and prescription abuse.  They will institute a Drug Intervention program whereby officers approach addicts and offer them assistance in finding treatment. The department’s website lists drug treatment programs and all personnel have access to a list of detoxes and other drug treatment programs on the Department’s internal computer system and cruiser laptops.

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Six West Virginia Regions to Receive Grants to Fight Drug Abuse

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced on Thursday, Aug. 23, that six regions in West Virginia will benefit from the $7.5 million grant approved by the Legislature last winter.

The state grant will be dedicated for creating substances abuse program that will help put an end to the drug abuse epidemic that has been victimizing an increasing number of West Virginians. Tomblin shares that more residents are dying of drug overdoses than are killed annually in road accidents.

“Substance abuse is all over West Virginia. It’s just that the substance is different from region to region,” Tomblin said.

According to the State Journal report, the funding recommendations include establishing or expanding the following services:

Region 1: a crisis stabilization unit/detoxification unit and a women’s regional recovery unit that would serve Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall and Wetzel counties.

Region 2: Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment, or SBIRT, services, as well as a women’s treatment and recovery facility in the Potomac Highlands region. Region 2 serves Morgan, Berkeley, Jefferson, Mineral, Hampshire, Grant, Hardy and Pendleton counties.

Region 3: a child and adolescent treatment facility that would serve Wood, Pleasants, Tyler, Ritchie, Wirt, Calhoun, Roane and Jackson counties.

Region 4: SBIRT services in Randolph, Harrison and Braxton counties, as well as intensive outpatient treatment in Randolph and Tucker counties, two recovery coaches in each of Monongalia, Marion, Preston, Taylor, Doddridge, Harrison, Lewis, Gilmer, Braxton, Barbour, Tucker, Upshur and Randolph counties.

Region 5: SBIRT services in Logan and Mingo counties providing regional coverage, a women’s treatment facility with outpatient services available for men and women in Logan, Mingo and Boone counties. Region 5 serves Cabell, Kanawha, Mason, Putnam, Clay, Wayne, Lincoln, Logan and Mingo counties.

Region 6: a detoxification and stabilization unit, as well as SBIRT services. Region 6 serves Fayette, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers, Webster, Nicholas, Greenbrier, Pocahontas, McDowell, Mercer and Wyoming counties.

Gov. Tomblin acknowledges the fact that the problem of substance abuse impacts everyone in many different ways and that fighting  the epidemic requires statewide, collaborative effort.

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Back-to-School Survey Reveals Surprising Trends on Drug Abuse Among High School Students

Parents send their kids to school to arm them with the knowledge they need for a better life in the future. But given how drugs of abuse have proliferated even in campuses, parents are faced with the challenge of raising drug-free kids as much as teens face added drug and alcohol risks once they’re back to school.

high school drug abuseIn the 17th annual back-to-school survey conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASAColumbiaTM), it was found that 17% of high school students — 2.8 million teens — drug, drink, and smoke during the school day.

The survey also revealed that 44% of high school students know a student who sell drugs at their school. Marijuana remains a drug of choice for students selling drugs on school grounds, followed by prescription drugs, cocaine, and ecstasy.

More than half (52%) of the surveyed students say that there is a place on school grounds or near school where students go to get high during the school day; thereby, making it easier for high schoolers to use drugs, drink alcohol, or smoke during school days without getting caught.

For the first time in the Back-to-School Teen Survey’s history, more than half of private high school students say their school is drug-infected, a 50% increase over the past year, from 36% in 2011 to 54% in 2012.

“For millions of American teens, drugs and alcohol, not more advanced education, are what put the ‘high’ in the high schools they attend,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr. Founder and Chairman Emeritus of CASAColumbia and former US Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. “For millions of parents trying to raise drug-free kids, the ‘high’ school years are the most dangerous times their children face, and the ‘high’ schools are a dangerous place to send their kids.”

This year’s survey also evaluated the effects of teen social networking and found that 75% of 12-17-year olds who see pictures of teens partying with alcohol or marijuana on Facebook, MySpace or another social networking site encourages other teens to want to party like that.

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Initiative for Seniors Aimed at Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse

seniors-prescription-drugsSeniors take prescription medications to deal with various health conditions. However, these prescription meds have the tendency to sometimes land in the wrong hands, such as teenagers who experiment on pills. So, to make sure older adults understand the risks involved with their own medications, the Commission on Aging in Otsego County is holding a workshop aimed at preventing prescription drug abuse.

The workshop is called “Be the Solution: How to Secure, Monitor and Dispose of Prescription Drugs” and its mission is to equip seniors with practical information about the  proper ways to manage their pills.

“We want to make sure that our older adults are safe that they have good information. Information is power and with that they know what to do to guard against these kinds of things,” said Eileen Godek, Coordinator for Commission on Aging Volunteer.

The Otsego County Sheriff’s Department is also getting involved with the initiative by designating a disposal area in their building where anyone can drop off their old medications.

For Otsego County Undersheriff Matt Nowicki, getting rid of prescription medications properly is one of the effective ways to eradicate the possibility of having someone take them.

While overshadowed by street drugs like heroin and methamphetamine, Undersheriff Nowicki do not dismiss the fact that prescription drug abuse is still happening in the area. Becoming aware of it and knowing what to do can go a long way in minimizing the incidents of people who use prescription drugs without  doctor’s supervision.

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Teenagers Smoking Marijuana Have Higher Risk of Anxiety Disorder in Adulthood

Frequent use of marijuana can be harmful to the developing brains of teenagers, according to the research findings from Australia.

The 15-year study followed 1,943 teenagers in Australia, ages 14 to 17 years old, to investigate the link between marijuana use and anxiety in adolescents. Lead researcher Louisa Degenhart, from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, and colleagues assessed the subjects six different times over the course of a decade and a half. Teens were asked about their cannabis use and were evaluated for depression and anxiety.

According to the study result, teenagers who frequently smoked marijuana were 2.3 times more likely to develop anxiety later in life, while marijuana dependent teens were 2.5 times more likely to have anxiety disorder during adolescence and in adulthood.

The research did not find any association between marijuana use and depression, but the link between pot smoking and anxiety has been clearly observed.

Dr. George C. Patton, one of the study investigators, from the Centre for Adolescent Health at Royal Children’s Hospital and the University of Melbourne, said the results have something to do with the brain development taking place during the teen years.

“During the teen years the parts of the brain that are involved in managing emotions are still developing rapidly and it is highly possible that heavy cannabis use at this sensitive point could have long lasting effects,” Patton said.

A few years ago, a U.S. study revealed that frequent cannabis users consistently have a high prevalence of anxiety disorders and patients with anxiety disorders have relatively high rates of cannabis use.

Marijuana is one of the commonly drugs of abuse in the United States. In 2009 alone, 28.5 million Americans age 12 and older had abused marijuana at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. Majority of surveyed participants are 12th graders (34.8%), followed by 10th graders (27.5%) and 8th graders (13.7%).

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