Archive for April, 2015

Missouri Senate Passes Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Posted on: April 22nd, 2015 by sobrietyresources


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A proposal that has been blocked in the Missouri Senate repeatedly in recent years has advanced.  The Senate has passed a bill that would establish a state prescription drug monitoring program, but some lawmakers still have concerns.

Senator David Sater’s bill would track prescriptions and sales of highly addictive medications such as painkillers.  Similar bills in the past filed by Sater have been held up because of privacy concerns about the data collected, but this year Sater included measures meant to improve protections and penalties for misuse.

“I think we have probably the most secure, the most effective [prescription drug monitoring program] bill in the United States,” said Sater.

Missouri is the only state in the country without a prescription drug monitoring program.

Senator Ed Emery said he appreciates the work done to make this bill better than other states’, but he still opposes it.

“I personally didn’t take an oath to those other states’ laws, or to making better laws than those states.  I took an oath to the constitution.  I still believe this is an unconstitutional provision,” said Emery.  “Regardless of the work that’s been done to try to avoid the pitfalls of other states, I still believe that we as a body should reject it.”

Senator Will Kraus is also concerned about privacy issues with the data collected.

“We’re taking personal information from individuals that have done nothing wrong and putting it into a government database, and I for one just don’t believe that’s what we should be doing,” said Kraus.  “I think that whenever you take an innocent person’s information and put it in a database that takes away their liberty that takes away their freedoms.”

Sater said prescription drug abuse amongst teens is on the rise.

“It a major problem for the abusers and also for our kids,” said Sater.  “We have a growing problem with opiate abuse in our teenage population also.”

The bill was passed 24-10 and now goes to the House, which passed its own version of a prescription drug monitoring program earlier this year.  The two chambers will now to try to compromise, or choose, between the two versions.

Magistrate says addicted children should go to rehab

Posted on: April 22nd, 2015 by sobrietyresources

April, 9. 2015


Drug-addicted teenagers should be required to live in rehabilitation centres, with the current system failing to help many of the state’s most vulnerable get clean, a magistrate says.

Children’s Court Magistrate Jennifer Bowles realized how little she could do to help such children when confronted by the mother of teenager Greg,* who had tried and failed six times to complete a voluntary drug treatment program. In open court, the mother asked the Magistrate some years ago: “What can you do? I am watching my son die before my eyes.”

“And all I had after the voluntary de-tox had not worked was ‘We can detain him in custody’. And when it’s a health issue, it’s not a punitive response that we’d like,” Ms Bowles said.

Last year, she travelled on a Churchill fellowship to Sweden, where children can be ordered to live in secure homes to treat their drug problems and mental illnesses.

Ms Bowles said such therapeutic facilities were urgently needed in Victoria for children aged about 13 to 17 who were often abused or, like Greg, self-medicating their mental illnesses. “We’d like to be able to have somewhere to treat (children like Greg) with specialists … to try to work out the underlying issues for why young people are using substances.”

In her fellowship report What can be done? she said, “These young people will lead the most damaged lives and be the most resource-intensive unless their needs can be addressed now.”

Currently, magistrates can order children to attend treatment for drug and alcohol problems and mental health issues, which can include weekly counselling sessions. But because these rehabilitation  facilities are voluntary, children cannot be compelled to attend them, and often struggle to do so.

Ideally, Ms Bowles said that children in different age groups would be separated, with specialist help to move back into the community as soon as possible. The court would also monitor their treatment to protect them from potential abuse while they were inside.

While the magistrate stressed that she was not critical of voluntary facilities, without “radical” change, she said the system risked perpetuating harm. Almost 90 per cent of young people in custody have a history of alcohol and/or drug misuse and 59 per cent have a history of being in child protection.

“We have to do something to stop this cycle because some of my colleagues … have seen nearly three generations of parents coming through our court,” she said.

Ms Bowles understood the community’s reluctance to contain children but said this would be a last resort for those who could not benefit from voluntary treatment: “Their lives are really tragic and they’re not only hurting their own health, they’re limiting their options for the rest of their futures. I really worry about where they’re going to end up.”

A spokeswoman for Families and Children Minister Jenny Mikakos said: “The Minister will soon be meeting with Magistrate Bowles and looks forward to discussing her report and recommendations then.”



Private sector gets go-ahead to build drug rehab centers

Posted on: April 22nd, 2015 by sobrietyresources

Saudi Gazette – Mon, Mar 9, 2015


Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, second deputy premier and minister of interior, has approved a framework of rules for the establishment of private hospitals to rehabilitate drug addicts, Al-Jazirah newspaper reported.

The ministries of interior and health have also given the go-ahead to set up controls for establishing the private rehabilitation hospitals and centers.

The aim is to provide the best curative services and rehabilitation programs to support government hospitals in the treatment of addicts.

A spokesman for the National Committee for Combating Drugs, of which Prince Muhammad is also chairman, said these measures confirm the concern of the ministers of interior and health for addicts and their desire to facilitate their treatment and rehabilitation.

He said the committee’s treatment and rehabilitation committee would work with specialists at the Ministry of Health to implement the criteria for issuing permits to set up rehabilitation hospitals and centers.

In a related development, Director-General of Mental Health at the Ministry of Health Dr. Abdulhameed Al-Habib disclosed that 40,000 people visited rehabilitation clinics in the Kingdom in one year.

Twenty percent of these were teenagers while 60 percent were suffering from psychiatric diseases. Of these, 10 percent were women, Alsharq daily reported.

New data: Indiana teens trying pot more often than alcohol and cigarettes

Posted on: April 22nd, 2015 by sobrietyresources

New data shows Indiana high school seniors are trying marijuana more often than alcohol and cigarettes. The information comes from the Indiana Youth Institute’s annual Kids Count report.

The data is worrisome to area health professionals, like Dr. Ahmed Elmaadawi, who says marijuana is mentally addictive.

“Cannabis, in general, works in an area of the brain that’s responsible for judgment and well-being. We actually know if you use marijuana for a long period of time, it affects your judgment [and] self-esteem. And longtime use of cannabis can actually cause psychosis,” said Dr. Elmaadawi, a child and adolescent psychiatrist.

Dr. Elmaadawi is concerned mainly for teen use. He says there is proven research marijuana can be healing to cancer patients and others suffering from chronic pain, but use for teens is dangerous. He says those who try the drug before age 18 are 67% more likely to continue using. The number drops to 27% for adults who try it for the first time.

“The pleasurable response is there. They want to have more to get that same feeling from the first time they used marijuana,” said Dr. Elmaadawi.

While health professionals are standing strong in the dangers, there is an overwhelming support for legalization at the national level. According to a Pew Research Poll, millennials are setting aside partisan politics with 77% of Democrats between ages 18-34 and 63% of Republicans agreeing laws that prohibit pot are outdated.

But, not all young people agree, including one local teen who struggled with abuse at an early age. The teen, called “John” for the purpose of this story, went to rehab at age 16. He started using pot at 13. His legal trouble started when he was caught on camera stealing from parked cars with a friend. Both were high and had a history of theft.

“There was an adrenaline part that didn’t make me worry about it. The money part is what made me do it, but the thrill is what didn’t make me afraid of it,” said John.

After his first arrest, John went to the Juvenile Justice Center (JJC) for 10 days. After his release, he started using synthetic marijuana. His mom caught him sometime later, called his parole officer, and he was again arrested. This time, John went to JJC for a month and rehab for 6 months.

“I stopped mainly because it was hurting a lot of the relationships I had, and I wanted to do stuff for myself. I knew if I wanted to go as far as I wanted to, I was going to get backtracked all the time if I smoked weed,” said John.

An arrest record and rehab aren’t enough for everyone. The Indiana Youth Institute (IYI) says while overall substance abuse is declining in terms of alcohol and cigarettes, marijuana use is increasing in teens.

“A big key to being successful to keeping our kids away from any illicit substance is open communication with their parents and other caring adults in their lives,” said Bill Stanczykiewicz, the President and CEO at IYI.

Dr. Elmaadawi and Stanczykiewicz agree there are mixed messages about marijuana legalization and the longtime effects. They agree open communication and community resources are key in helping teens make tough choices. Dr. Elmaadawi says there needs to be more education in schools in addition to collaboration between the resources in the community. Stanczykiewicz says teens are most influenced in their personal decision making by people they know directly.

“Kids benefit when they hear consistent messages about right and wrong from all of the caring adults in their lives. There’s no 100% guarantee that kids are going to make good choices, but what we are trying to do is increase the odds,” said Stanczykiewicz.

Aging Baby Boomers Bring Drug Habits Into Middle Age

Posted on: April 22nd, 2015 by sobrietyresources

Older adults are abusing drugs, getting arrested for drug offenses and dying from drug overdoses at increasingly higher rates

Baby Boomers like Mike Massey, who stopped using drugs in his 30s but started abusing them again when he was 50, are developing drug problems at increasingly higher rates. What is the profile of a Boomer at risk? WSJ’s Jason Bellini has #TheShortAnswer. Photo: Stuart Palley for The Wall Street Journal



Updated March 16, 2015 12:41 p.m. ET


UPLAND, Calif.—From the time he was a young man coming of age in the 1970s, Mike Masseycould have served as a poster child for his generation, the baby boomers. He grew his hair long to the dismay of his father, surfed, played in rock bands and says he regularly got high on marijuana and cocaine.

The wild times receded as he grew older. In his 30s, he stopped using drugs altogether, rose into executive positions with the plumbers and pipe fitters union, bought a house in this Los Angeles suburb and started a family. But at age 50, Mr. Massey injured his knee running. He took Vicodin for the pain but soon started using pills heavily, mixing the opioids with alcohol, he said.

“It reminded me of getting high and getting loaded,” said Mr. Massey, now 58 years old, who went into recovery and stopped using drugs and alcohol in 2013. “Your mind never forgets that.”

Older adults are abusing drugs, getting arrested for drug offenses and dying from drug overdoses at increasingly higher rates. These surges have come as the 76 million baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, reach late middle age. Facing the pains and losses connected to aging, boomers, who as youths used drugs at the highest rates of any generation, are once again—or still—turning to drugs.

The trend has U.S. health officials worried. The sharp increase in overdose deaths among older adults in particular is “very concerning,” said Wilson Compton, deputy director for the federal government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The rate of death by accidental drug overdose for people aged 45 through 64 increased 11-fold between 1990, when no baby boomers were in the age group, and 2010, when the age group was filled with baby boomers, according to an analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mortality data. That multiple of increase was greater than for any other age group in that time span.

The surge has pushed the accidental overdose rate for these late middle age adults higher than that of 25- to 44-year-olds for the first time. More than 12,000 boomers died of accidental drug overdoses in 2013, the most recent data available. That is more than the number that died that year from either car accidents or influenza and pneumonia, according to the CDC.

“Generally, we thought of older individuals of not having a risk for drug abuse and drug addiction,” Dr. Compton said. “As the baby boomers have aged and brought their habits with them into middle age, and now into older adult groups, we are seeing marked increases in overdose deaths.”

Experts say the drug problem among the elderly has been caused by the confluence of two key factors: a generation with a predilection for mind-altering substances growing older in an era of widespread opioid painkiller abuse. Pain pills follow marijuana as the most popular ways for aging boomers to get high, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which conducts an annual national survey on drug use. Opioid painkillers also are the drug most often involved in overdoses, followed by antianxiety drugs, cocaine and heroin.

Opiate abuse, domestic violence are high

Posted on: April 22nd, 2015 by sobrietyresources

NEW BEDFORD  — Opiate abuse and domestic violence are at the forefront of the New Bedford Police Department’s agenda, Police Chief David A. Provencher said today.

Provencher said he sees the department’s use of Narcan, a drug carried by officers that temporarily reverses the effects of an overdose, as somewhat like a double-edged sword.

“It’s sad to say it’s very successful. I’m (also) happy to say it’s very successful,” he said of Narcan’s use locally, during a meeting with The Standard-Times’ Editorial Board.

Critics of Narcan’s use say it can encourage heroin users by providing them with a safety net. Provencher, though, said his rationale for the department’s use of the antidote is simple.

“We’re in the business of saving lives. That’s why we’re here. There’s no life that has more value than another,” he said. “If I can deploy a mechanism to save a life, then I’m happy with that.

“Opiates are quickly becoming our major priority,” he said.

Provencher’s wide-ranging interview with the Editorial Board this morning touched on many subjects, including hiring practices, the department’s upcoming budget, past successes and his own spat with mayoral candidate Maria Giesta, who said she would fire him, if elected.

He said he’s been happy to see the District Attorney’s Office place such “an emphasis” on domestic violence. He said NBPD tries to “lock in statements as soon as we can” to prosecute cases against batterers, should victims decide against testifying.

Provencher cited as a major success the in-roads the department has made in getting guns off the streets and gang members behind bars.

“We have targeted that as major priorities,” he said, working with the district attorney’s office and other law enforcement partners like the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The chief said the department has had difficulty attracting qualified women and Spanish-speaking officers into the department as well as retaining existing personnel from going to the state police.

He said he submitted his fiscal 2016 budget to the mayor’s office and it did not contain any budget cuts. He added that he has not had any conversations with the mayor’s office about his new budget.

Provencher was reserve in his remarks about mayoral candidate Giesta’s comments last week.

“I’m not quite sure where that criticism is coming from,” he said, adding her remarks that serious crime is up in New Bedford is not supported by data.

Her comments were a disservice to the men and women of the department, he said. “Without having a conversation with that individual, it’s very hard for me to comment further,” he said.

Giesta, reached for comment, said her comments were not against the men and women in the department. “This is about the leadership by the chief,” she said, not backing down from her pledge to fire him, if elected.

She said that the chief’s remarks that serious crime is down is “laughable.”

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