Florida is Ground Zero for Patient Brokering Arrests

With the most recent addition of Amanda LaFrance arrested in Florida for steering patients to treatment centers in return for cash kickbacks, Florida is far and away the epicenter of this illegal activity.

Amanda LaFrance

Amanda LaFrance

Amanda, who is 25, was caught in a government sting intended at chipping away at this unethical practice is notable for her young age, but not for the size of her crime. Her alleged transgression of receiving $6,750 pales in comparison to the types of figures that ringleader James Kigar was moving around (the main operator of Whole Life Recovery, which is the drug rehab at the center of the controversy).

Many Ask, “What is the Big Deal About a Referral Fee?”

The practice of brokering patients is, in short, getting financial payment for referring patients to a specific treatment center. If this does not sound like much of a crime to you, then you are not alone.  The practice of paying “kickbacks” for treatment referrals might seem logical, but there are strict regulations surrounding referring patients to get medical care.  The law is intended to keep referrals going to destinations that have the patient’s best interest in mind, not the finances of the person doing the referring.

“Addicts Helping Addicts”

The saying goes in the 12-step Meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous that it is made up of “addicts helping addicts.” It would seem to be a grave violation of this ethos to sell someone’s treatment to the highest bidder rather than truly recommend what might help them.  What makes Amanda LaFrance’s crime a little more tragic and unexpected was that she was in fact merely three years removed from entering treatment for her own addiction. Amanda then subsequently had a child with fellow recovering addict Deon Hill. In the interim they have both relapsed and Deon Hill has been charged with armed robbery.

The arrests have netted many in the Palm Beach area but there are similar charge being prepared in the Southern California area and no doubt many other hotbeds of addiction treatment centers.

 

Canada Struggling With Influx of Fentanyl

Canadian MapCanada has been recently inundated with Fentanyl, which is an incredibly potent opiate painkiller that is very popular with those addicted to narcotics.

Recently, one article in particular seems to encapsulate how serious the problem is: A Killer High: How Canada Got Addicted to Fentanyl.

This article chronicles the pain suffered by the survivors of those who overdose, and also features excellent reporting about how easy it is to obtain the drug online.

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State Attorney Generals Push Congress to Pass CARA

38 state attorney generals across America have banded together to urge the U.S. Senate to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2015. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, whose home state is facing a huge uptick in opiate use, told the Associated Press that the nationwide epidemic demands a comprehensive response. Advocates say the act will arm states with the necessary tools to effectively confront the growing crisis of addiction – primarily to opiates and crystal meth – that has recently surged to epidemic proportions in communities across Midwestern states such as Ohio and Indiana.

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Thousands Touched By Addiction Attend UNITE to Face Addiction Rally

The October 4, 2015, UNITE to Face Addiction rally in Washington, D.C., was a historic moment for those in recovery and the first-ever rally of it kind. Tens of thousands of supporters touched by addiction turned out on the National Mall in Washington. D.C. for the inaugural event, meant to bring awareness for the struggles faced by those suffering from the disease of addiction. Organizers hailed the event as an opportunity to change the conversation from one of problems to solutions for addiction in America. 

The UNITE to Face Addiction rally was organized by Facing Addiction Inc., a 501(c) 3 organization dedicated to finding solutions to the addiction crisis, as well as an independent coalition of national, state, and local non-profit organizations focused on helping individuals and their families cope with the effects of the devastating disease.
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Spice is Not a Natural “Herbal High”

Spice GoldThe term “Spice” is drug slang for a class of herbal concoctions that have gained a reputation as a safe and way to get high. Sold as incense or potpourri in convenience stores, head shops and over the Internet, Spice consists of a mixture of dried plant leaves and stems that have been soaked in synthetic chemicals. When smoked, Spice produces psychoactive (mind-altering) effects that have been compared by some to marijuana.

Many Spice products carry labels saying “not for human consumption.” Despite these labels, Spice is marketed as a natural “herbal high.” It has been sold since 2004 under a variety of names, including K2, Genie, Incense and Bliss.

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Federal Panel Votes for More Controls on Vicodin

Federal panel wants to make Vicodin a Schedule II narcotic.Hydrocodone, a narcotic painkiller that is an ingredient in Vicodin, has been responsible for more deaths since 2006 than any other prescription medication. In an effort to stem the growing tide of Vicodin-related deaths, a federal panel has recommended that the FDA reclassify the drug as a Schedule II narcotic. This would place it in the same category as prescription drugs like OxyContin and fentanyl and illegal drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine. All of these drugs that have a high potential for abuse and addiction.

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Spirituality Linked to Drug Abuse and Other Mental Health Issues

Pagan SymbolsPeople who describe themselves as “spiritual” but who aren’t members of an organized religion are more likely to suffer from a variety of mental problems, including eating disorders, drug abuse, depression, anxiety and phobias. This was the finding of a recent study conducted by researchers at University College London.

The study used survey data from more than 7,400 randomly selected adults. Study participants were asked about their spiritual beliefs and religious habits as well as their mental state. About 35% of those surveyed were self-described members of an organized religion and said they attended services at a church, synagogue or mosque. Nearly 20% of participants said they were spiritual but had no religious affiliation. The remaining survey members, about 45%, claimed to be neither spiritual nor religious.

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Professional Boxers and Drug Abuse

Hector Comacho dead at age 50.Years of substance abuse appear to have led to the death of former world champion boxer Hector Camacho in a drug-related drive by shooting. In November of 2012, former world champion boxer Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho, died tragically after he was shot in the head while sitting in a parked car. According to the New York Times, several bags of

Oscar cocaine were found in pockets of a friend of Camacho’s who was with him in the car and also killed.

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New Study on American Teen Drug Use

Teens and marijuanaProlonged use of marijuana by our nation’s students and the drug’s harmful effects were the focus of this year’s “Monitoring the Future” survey. This annual survey of students from the eighth, tenth and twelfth grades recently completed by researchers from the University of Michigan. The data was obtained from classrooms throughout the country earlier in the year and was licensed through a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The study reveals that 6.5% of high school twelfth graders smoke marijuana daily, compared to 5.1% only a few years ago. A surprising 23% admitted they had used the drug in the month before taking the survey and more than 36% confessed to using marijuana in the prior year. For tenth graders, 3.5% reported using the drug daily, 17% said they have used it within the past month, and 28% admitted using pot in the previous year. Only 1.1% of eight graders said they use the drug daily, and 6.5% of students used it within the past month. Over 11% of eight grade students admit they used the drug in the prior year.

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ADD/ADHD Medication Abuse

RitalinThe majority of prescription medications in America are taken safely and properly by the intended recipient, but the growing trend of prescription drug abuse among teenagers and young adults can make many of these medications dangerous and even lethal.

Ritalin is a prescription drug that is frequently abused by young people. This drug is a stimulant that is prescribed to children for the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A 2009 report showed that over 10% of high school seniors admitted using some form of a stimulant within the past year, and almost 25% of college students admit abusing their medications (like Ritalin and Adderall) as either a study aid or for pleasure.

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