Category : Drugs/Drug Addiction

(Coloradoan) A hidden horror: Heroin deaths rise fourfold in Colorado since 2002

Rebecca Waechter doesn’t need to listen to people talk about heroin and prescription opioid addiction to understand its far-reaching effects. She need only remember the night she almost died of an overdose in a friend’s Fort Collins bathroom.

Nine years after that near-death experience, the 35-year-old Loveland resident remains painfully acquainted with addiction’s deadly toll. As she sifts through a small binder stuffed with wrinkled letters and old photos of friends and lovers alike, she utters a phrase no amount of practice makes easier: “no longer with us.”

She’s lost track of the toll, though she estimates losing more than a dozen friends and loved ones to the deadly grip of opioid addiction.

“It’s terrifying to me,” Waechter said, her voice tinged with frustration over the ignorance in places like Fort Collins of the prevalence of opioid and narcotic abuse. “It is next door. It’s everywhere. It’s here.

“You don’t need to travel anywhere to get it. It is everywhere. And it’s cheap and just readily accessible. And people aren’t aware.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine

(AP) Besieged by Opioids, City of Everett Wash. says drugmaker knowingly let pills flood black market

As deaths from painkillers and heroin abuse spiked and street crimes increased, the mayor of Everett took major steps to tackle the opioid epidemic devastating this working-class city north of Seattle.

Mayor Ray Stephanson stepped up patrols, hired social workers to ride with officers and pushed for more permanent housing for chronically homeless people. The city says it has spent millions combating OxyContin and heroin abuse — and expects the tab to rise.

So Everett is suing Purdue Pharma, maker of the opioid pain medication OxyContin, in an unusual case that alleges the drugmaker knowingly allowed pills to be funneled into the black market and the city of about 108,000. Everett alleges the drugmaker did nothing to stop it and must pay for damages caused to the community.

Read it all.

Posted in City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Health & Medicine

(1st Things) Christopher Caldwell–American Carnage: The New Landscape of Opioid Addiction

There have always been drug addicts in need of help, but the scale of the present wave of heroin and opioid abuse is unprecedented. Fifty-two thousand Americans died of overdoses in 2015—about four times as many as died from gun homicides and half again as many as died in car accidents. Pawtucket is a small place, and yet 5,400 addicts are members at Anchor. Six hundred visit every day. Rhode Island is a small place, too. It has just over a million people. One Brown University epidemiologist estimates that 20,000 of them are opioid addicts—2 percent of the population.

Salisbury, Massachusetts (pop. 8,000), was founded in 1638, and the opium crisis is the worst thing that has ever happened to it. The town lost one young person in the decade-long Vietnam War. It has lost fifteen to heroin in the last two years. Last summer, Huntington, West Virginia (pop. 49,000), saw twenty-eight overdoses in four hours. Episodes like these played a role in the decline in U.S. life expectancy in 2015. The death toll far eclipses those of all previous drug crises.

And yet, after five decades of alarm over threats that were small by comparison, politicians and the media have offered only a muted response.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine

Lethal opioid ”˜China white’ cases on the rise in South Carolina

South Carolina had a larger number of cases than its neighboring states involving an increasingly popular synthetic drug that in its purest form can kill someone by just touching it.

There were 90 cases involving seized fentanyl in South Carolina in 2015, according to a recently released report by a congressional commission that monitors and investigates the national security implications of the trade and economic relationship between China and United States.

The report singled out China as the United States’ primary source of fentanyl, which was referred to as a “cheap, synthetically produced opioid” ”“ a painkiller that is about 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/news/local/crime/article132464299.html#storylink=cpy

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

(Vancouver Sun) When churches become marijuana dispensaries

It was probably inevitable, especially on the cannabis-loving West Coast.

A Christian church has been turned into a marijuana dispensary.

The quaint building that used to house Shawnigan United Church on Vancouver Island has now been “re-christened” the Green Tree Medicinal Dispensary.

There is symbolic power in the transformation. And, depending on your tastes, the metaphorical shift is positive or negative.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Canada, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(LADN) Heroin use fuels surge of ER visits among California millennials

California’s millennials continue to flood hospital emergency departments because of heroin, a trend that has increased steadily statewide and in Los Angeles and Orange counties over the past five years, according to the latest figures.

The state data released last week show that in the first three months of 2016, 412 adults age 20 to 29 went to emergency departments due to heroin. That’s double the number for the same time period in 2012.

Overall, emergency department visits among heroin users of all ages increased, but the sharpest was among the state’s young adults. About 1,500 emergency department visits by California’s millennials poisoned by heroin were logged in 2015 compared with fewer than 1,000 in 2012.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Young Adults

(1st Things) Peter Hitchens: The Fantasy of Addiction

It was the triumph of the Christian religion that for many centuries it managed to become the unreasoning assumption of almost all, built into every spoken and written word, every song, and every building. It was the disaster of the Christian religion that it assumed this triumph would last forever and outlast everything, and so it was ill equipped to resist the challenge of a rival when it came, in this, the century of the self. The Christian religion had no idea that a new power, which I call selfism, would arise. And, having arisen, selfism has easily shouldered its rival aside. In free competition, how can a faith based upon self-restraint and patience compete with one that pardons, unconditionally and in advance, all the self-indulgences you can think of, and some you cannot? That is what the “addiction” argument is most fundamentally about, and why it is especially distressing to hear Christian voices accepting and promoting it, as if it were merciful to call a man a slave, and treat him as if he had no power to resist. The mass abandonment of cigarettes by a generation of educated people demonstrates that, given responsibility for their actions and blamed for their outcomes, huge numbers of people will give up a bad habit even if it is difficult. Where we have adopted the opposite attitude, and assured abusers that they are not answerable for their actions, we have seen other bad habits grow or remain as common as before. Heroin abuse has not been defeated, the abuse of prescription drugs grows all the time, and heavy drinking is a sad and spreading problem in Britain.

Most of the people who read what I have written here, if they even get to the end, will be angry with me for expressing their own secret doubts, one of the cruellest things you can do to any fellow creature. For we all prefer the easy, comforting falsehood to the awkward truth. But at the same time, we all know exactly what we are doing, and seek with ever-greater zeal to conceal it from ourselves. Has it not been so since the beginning? And has not the greatest danger always been that those charged with the duty of preaching the steep and rugged pathway persuade themselves that weakness is compassion, and that sin can be cured at a clinic, or soothed with a pill? And so falsehood flourishes in great power, like the green bay tree.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Alcohol/Drinking, Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Pastoral Theology, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Story of a Pittsburgh area cop who moved from pain killer addiction to Heroin: 'American tragedy'

James B. Johnson V’s arrest exemplifies what his attorney says is a modern “American tragedy” ”” an injury leads to painkiller addiction which, in turn, leads to heroin use.

“Local kid gets injured, gets hooked on opioids and can’t get off of them,” attorney D. Scott Lautner said Thursday. “This clearly shows the drug epidemic problem in the United States right now, that it affects everybody of different ages, sexes, religions and occupations.”

In this case, the addict is a police officer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Theology

AP story on the DEA's attempt to try to keep up w the nearly unending stream of new US drugs

No one knew what was in the baggie. It was just a few tablespoons of crystalline powder seized back in April, clumped like snow that had partially melted and frozen again.

Emily Dye, a 27-year-old forensic chemist at the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Special Testing and Research Laboratory, did not know if anyone had died from taking this powder, or how much it would take to kill you.

What she did know was this: New drugs were appearing in the lab every other week, things never before seen in this unmarked gray building in Sterling, Virginia. Increasingly, these new compounds were synthetic opioids designed to mimic fentanyl, a prescription painkiller up to 50 times stronger than heroin.

This, Dye realized, could be one of them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government, Theology

(WSJ) The Children of the Opioid Crisis

The police officer who entered Mikaya Feucht’s Ohio apartment found it littered with trash, dirty dishes and plastic milk jugs full of the opioid addict’s vomit.

He also found two toddlers, aged 3 and 2, who watched as the officer uncovered the track marks on their mother’s arms and looked in vain for any food to feed them.

That was three years ago. By the time Mikaya overdosed and died from the elephant tranquilizer carfentanil this summer, her sons were living with their grandparents. But the chaos of watching their mother descend into addiction will burden them for years. They were often hungry and dirty in her care, and spoke of being hit with a belt by her boyfriend, according to their grandparents.
At the funeral home before Mikaya, 24 years old, was cremated, her younger son, Reed, clung to her through the open casket. “And it wasn’t just a quick hug. It was heartbreaking,” says Chuck Curran, his grandfather.

Widespread abuse of powerful opioids has pushed U.S. overdose death rates to all-time highs. It has also traumatized tens of thousands of children. The number of youngsters in foster care in many states has soared, overwhelming social workers and courts. Hospitals that once saw few opioid-addicted newborns are now treating dozens a year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Post-Gazette Editorial–When jail fails: The push for alternatives must get stronger

A report released Wednesday calls out Allegheny County law enforcement officials and the court system for putting people in jail when alternatives would better serve the defendants and the taxpayers. Too bad it came out after James Marasco died of undetermined causes in the county jail while serving a 10-day sentence for loitering.

The report, by the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics, indicated the jail’s population had swelled to 2,200 despite falling crime rates. Many are locked up while awaiting disposition of their cases; 81 percent of inmates in the county jail are not serving sentences, compared with a national average of 62 percent. Only 19 percent of county inmates have been charged with violent crimes; the rest are there for drugs or the kind of lower-level crimes that landed Mr. Marasco behind bars.

Moreover, as many as 75 percent of inmates have mental illness, substance abuse problems or both. Mr. Marasco had mental illness and used drugs. Mental illness may be the underlying factor in a person’s crimes and should be taken into account before incarceration. The primary purpose of jail is correction, not treatment. It’s unlikely that a person’s mental illness will improve in jail. The illness is likely to worsen, and that is why mentally ill inmates often incur more disciplinary infractions and serve longer sentences than healthy peers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, City Government, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Mental Illness, Politics in General, Psychology, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Time) Denver Becomes First City to Allow Marijuana Use in Bars and Restaurants

Colorado law is not currently clear on marijuana use in public, which has led to a range of local ordinances. Bar and restaurant owners in Denver may now choose to allow their patrons to use (but not smoke) pot indoors, with a possibility for some outdoor smoking areas.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NPR) The Trend Toward Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

The question of whether pot should be legal is a big theme on state ballots this year. Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada are also voting on measures that would make the drug legal to possess and use in small amounts for people over 21. Four other states are voting to legalize medical marijuana: Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota.

According to the Atlantic, recent polls show that voters in the five states deciding on recreational marijuana are leaning toward legalization. If all the measures passed, marijuana would be legal for 25 percent of the country’s population, up from where it is currently, at 5 percent.

That echoes a national trend. According to a recent Gallup poll, public support for legal pot has climbed to 60 percent ”” the highest level recorded by the polling group in nearly 50 years. The move toward acceptance might mean more politicians will soon join Pelosi in openly supporting similar measures across the country.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(CBS Marketwatch) Brett Arends–The case against legalizing marijuana

Here’s what the actual medical research you need to know about ”” from scientists, not lobbyists.

1. The research does not show that marijuana is harmless or OK.

2. Researchers at the University of Mississippi’s Natural Center for Natural Products Research have found that marijuana available today may be up to five times stronger than the stuff available back in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. Comparing “hippie pot” to today’s pot is like comparing beer to a bottle of vodka.

3. Medical researchers at Columbia University found that drivers who had used marijuana were more than twice as likely to have a car crash.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Theology

(America) Washington D.C. Council Supports Assisted Suicide Bill

Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander, chairperson of the Health and Human Service Committee, and Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau offered the only votes opposing the measure.

“The D.C. City Council has taken another step toward passing a fatally flawed bill that would legalize assisted suicide in Washington, D.C.,” said Michael Scott, director of the D.C. Catholic Conference, which represents the public policy interests of the Catholic Church in the district. The conference joined a broad-based coalition of other groups in opposing the measure.

“This bill discriminates against our African-American and Hispanic neighbors, sick seniors, the disabled, the uninsured and all who are vulnerable in our community,” Scott said in a statement after the vote. “Our coalition will continue to fight this bill, which has few safeguards to protect the vulnerable and does nothing to help the thousands of D.C. residents desperate for access to better health care and improved social services, such as counseling.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, City Government, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Theology