Dozens Overdose on Synthetic Drugs At/Near Homeless Shelter

Dozens Overdose on Synthetic Drugs At/Near Homeless Shelter
Courtesy of Yayimages

Last week, dozens of homeless people overdosed at (and around) a homeless shelter in Indianapolis, Indiana. The site of the crisis was Wheeler Mission, a Christian nonprofit which describes itself as a temporary emergency shelter to homeless and disadvantaged men. Wheeler Mission's Chief Development Officer Steve Kerr told the media that most of the people overdosed inside or nearby. “We’ve experienced overdoses in the facility before but never ever to this degree.” The shelter, which also operates a drug treatment center in Indianapolis, believes that somebody distributed synthetic drugs (Spice, K2, or bath salts), possibly laced with PCP to guests at the shelter. A person in a security video smoking the substance dropped to the ground immediately and went into convulsions. One man tried to bite another man in another video the police viewed. Police arrested 63-year-old Melvin Cannon and 59-year-old Nathaniel Davis of “possession of and dealing in a synthetic drug or synthetic drug lookalike substance." Synthetic Overdoses are a Medical Emergency While staff on-site attempted to administer…

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Office of National Drug Control Policy Needs New Drug Czar

The Trump Administration recently employed 24-year-old Taylor Weyeneth to be the deputy chief of staff (also known as the drug czar) of the Office of National Drug Control Policy or ONDCP. While many addiction advocates were hoping the Administration would be filled by an experienced professional, the appointment of Mr. Weyeneth proved to be profoundly flawed. Before Mr. Weyeneth’s work for the Trump administration, there were only two jobs from which he gleaned experience the only position he’d held since graduating from college in 2016. One of these tasks was working on President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Washington Post reported earlier this month. Aside from his young age, and lack of experience in the field of mental health or addiction, this young man’s lack of knowledge also spilled into the jobs he listed on his resume. Included in the resume was a post he held at a law firm, where the attorneys terminated him for being a “no show” just seven months into the position. Like many young…

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Using Marijuana for Morning Sickness is Dangerous

A new study shows that more women than ever are turning to marijuana for morning sickness, although there is no medical evidence to show that this is safe. In fact, experts are warning that using marijuana while with child is dangerous for the unborn. The study, which followed trends in pregnant women in California, is a cause for alarm for many reasons. For one thing, the marijuana use referenced in the study was self-reported, which means that study participants likely under-reported their use of cannabis. An earlier study by the same organization also found marijuana use among pregnant women rose from 2.37% in 2002 to 3.85% in 2014. The numbers may sound small, but the worries of medical providers are not. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, published an editorial explaining the many dangers. Few things are known about the effects of marijuana use on fetal development. However, with reports that women should avoid sugar, caffeine, and even specific candies such as licorice to…

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Fake Street Pills Made With Deadly Opiates Now Common

People addicted to Oxycontin often resort to desperate measures, including buying their pills on the street. Unfortunately, addicted persons who buy these pills are discovering that they're fake street pills. They are now being linked to carfentanil and cyclopropyl fentanyl overdoses in New Jersey and across the country.  New Jersey is just one of many states that has experienced deadly incidents of street pills – typically sold as Oxycontin or Hydrocodone -- giving their users more than they bargained for. Luckily, in Holmdel and Long Branch New Jersey, investigators were able to seize the pills before anyone got hurt – as far as they know, anyway. (It takes months for a state Bureau of investigation to tally the figures that include deaths from any illicit drugs.) The seizure was made last week, and the oxycodone pills were found to not contain oxycodone at all. In fact, they contained carfentanil, a synthetic opiate that is 10,000 times as strong as morphine. The drug is so strong that a non-drug user…

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Across the US, Diversion Programs Spread Hope

As Americans become more aware that addiction is a disease and not a crisis of character, law enforcement and the judicial system have started to stand up and take notice. Rather than lock up the masses of people with a substance abuse disorder, many law enforcement agencies now offer diversion programs. Diversion programs are run in different ways, but they all focus on helping an addicted person improve their lives and hopefully break free from their disease. One such example is a program that has been in place for 10 years, in Essex Massachusetts. Started by a DA personally affected by the opioid epidemic, a total of 117 people from 22 communities took part in the drug diversion program in 2016, with a success rate averages 40 to 50 percent. (In the world of substance abuse disorders, this is an excellent rate. Treating these issues can be incredibly challenging.) The DA goes over cases that are drug-related to find arrestees that may have suffered from addiction. From there, they…

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Washington State Debates Using Medications for Addiction Treatment

There has been much talk recently in the state of Washington about the opioid epidemic. A two-day summit was recently held with two main focuses: Reduction of legally purchased drugs Medications in the treatment of opioid addiction However equally important both topics are the questions surrounding the use of medications for treatment is gaining more attention. A handful of people that work in law enforcement spoke about the importance of treating opioid addiction as a 'medical condition' and it was their general consensus that the drugs should be removed from the shadows of society. They agreed that using medications has proven to reduce deaths and help people lead functional lives. Much Debate About Using Medications The debate over using medications to help addicts recover has been very contentious over the last two decades. however, prescribing medications to opioid addicts is still the preferred method for treatment towards rehabilitation. Experts will agree that a person who has developed an opioid addiction should be treated like any other patient with a…

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Pennsylvania Gets Boost in Addiction Recovery Funding

The Health and Human Services Administration made the announcement that $485,000,000 will be granted towards funding addiction recovery in America’s battle with opioids. The money will be distributed throughout the United States with Pennsylvania getting the fourth largest disbursement.  Why Pennsylvania? The disbursement of funds was determined by factoring which states had the most severe problems with addictions and how each state presented their proposals for the grant money. Pennsylvania health administrators were clear in stating that opioid addiction is the number one public health problem in their state. Reports have indicated that there were more than 3,500 overdoses that led to deaths in the state of Pennsylvania in 2015. This is a 20% increase in deaths from opioids in 2014 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tom Wolf, Governor of Pennsylvania, estimates this number will go up even higher in 2016 and in 2017 if left unattended. The most common problematic drug in 2015 in Pennsylvania was heroin while the next highest number of overdoses leading to death was by…

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Tiger Woods’ DUI An Issue of Vicodin Not Alcohol

Tiger Woods has recently been arrested for a DUI but his blood alcohol level was 0.0%. It has been determined by law enforcement agents Mr. Woods was taking prescription pain killers due to his recent back surgery. It was determined that the medications were the cause of his impairment. The list of pharmaceuticals that he has been prescribed are below: Soloxine Vicodin Turox Vicodin is a highly addictive prescription painkiller that is commonly distributed. Turox is an anti-inflammatory drug. Soloxine a drug used for dogs with hyperthyroidism. It has been shown that the synergy of these drugs can lead to serious complications with health. In some cases the combination of such drugs have even led to death. However it is the Vicodin that is the most dangerous drug in this group. Mr. Woods' arrest gives a signal for Americans to be on alert in regards to their safety on the roads. There is a rising rate in accidents ending in fatalities due to drivers under the influence of opioids. Therefore not only…

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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, 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…

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