Law

Celebs get second chance, why not other addicts?

An article in NJ.com by our own Ira:

Ira Levy

Celebrities often seem to be afforded multiple opportunities at recovery and rehabilitation. But the typical New Jerseyan struggling with substance abuse tends to become trapped in a cycle of addiction, unemployment and incarceration.

Members of the New Jersey State Legislature are attempting to provide incarcerated individuals dealing with addiction the opportunity they are often denied.

More: http://goo.gl/OygGN

Authorities raid Florida pain clinics

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 24 (UPI) — Authorities say they have raided 11 south Florida pain clinics, arrested 23 people and seized $2.5 million in cash and dozens of cars.

Among the four doctors arrested Wednesday for over-prescribing and illegally distributing pain medications was Zvi Harry Perper, the son of Broward Medical Examiner Joshua Perper, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

One of those arrested was Vincent Colangelo, 42, who allegedly earned $150,000 a day from the seven pain centers he owned. Officials were working to seize $22 million of his assets, including cash, homes and cars.  MORE…

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/02/24/Authorities-raid-Florida-pain-clinics/UPI-79301298570250/#ixzz1EuJrZmxk

“Bath Salts” and “Incense” Are Seriously Bad News

I thought I'd write some follow-up on the subjects of “bath salts” and “incense,” since they are obviously impacting so many people.

K2, one of several mixtures often sold as "incense"

These compounds, commonly sold across the counter at convenience stores, gas stations, head shops and other such vendors, fall into the class of abusable compounds that we refer to as “designer drugs.”

Designer drugs mimic — or attempt to mimic — the action of other drugs that are either illegal or difficult to acquire due to legal requirements such as prescriptions.  In some cases, they are the result of attempts to improve on the originals.  Methamphetamine and Ecstasy (a derivitive) are well-known examples of such “improvements.”

It is possible to make minor modifications in the chemical formula of a drug while keeping its intoxicating characteristics.  Such modifications can render the drug legal, due to its failure to be addressed by the current Federal statutes, which were written far too narrowly and are thus relatively easy to work around.

The catch, so far as we are concerned, is that phrase “attempt to mimic.”  Even minor changes in a chemical formula can create major changes in the way it affects the human brain (and sometimes other parts of the body as well). Methamphetamine is a good example.  The addition of one carbon atom and three oxygen atoms to the compound amphetamine, a drug commonly prescribed for problems such as Attention Deficit Disorder, results in a drug that is far more psychoactive, more addictive, and more difficult to “kick” once the user becomes hooked. While this is a good thing for drug dealers, who value repeat business, it's really hard on their customers.  Meth, or Crystal Meth, is a bad trip almost from the beginning.

In the case of “incense,” (fake marijuana) and “Bath Salts,” these minor modifications have created a monster. The several compounds that were created are not only intoxicating, they are toxic, in a big way. In both cases, people have suffered extreme side effects, up to and including death and mental disturbance leading to suicide.

Until State and Federal laws are re-written in an attempt to include these “legal” modifications of controlled substances, we will continue to see more drugs of this class.  Some states have already passed laws making them illegal (Florida is one), but those laws may or may not hold up in court.  In the meantime, education and vigilance on the part of parents and partners is the only real defense.

FL Atty General Bans “Bath Salts” Sale

Courtesy Bay Co. Fla. Sheriff's Dept.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on Wednesday temporarily banned a synthetic designer drug called MDVP that is commonly labeled “bath salts.”

Officials say the complex drug, sold at malls, head shops, convenience and other retail outlets, often near displays of energy drinks, can produce hallucinations, severe paranoia, seizures, aggression, increased blood pressure and eventually kidney failure.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/01/26/2035806/florida-ag-bans-drugs-labeled.html#ixzz1Cd9FY3Jz

Sale or possession is now a felony!

US Moves To Ban “Fake Marijuana”

The DEA has begun a 30-day process to put the “designer marijuana” products in the same category as cocaine and heroin.

The man who created three of the chemicals as part of his government-sponsored research nearly 20 years ago said, “They are dangerous and anyone who uses them is stupid.”

Although they have similar effects, the chemicals are very different from cannabis structurally, and far more dangerous.

U.S. moves to ban chemicals in synthetic marijuana – latimes.com.

Feds Declare Alcohol/Caffeine Products Like Four Loko Dangerous, Illegal

“FDA does not find support for the claim that the addition of caffeine to these alcoholic beverages is ‘generally recognized as safe,' which is the legal standard,” said Joshua M. Sharfstein, the FDA's principal deputy commissioner in a written statement. “To the contrary, there is evidence that the combinations of caffeine and alcohol in these products pose a public health concern.”…

Read More…

Michigan Bans Alcoholic Energy Drinks

Michigan has banned all alcoholic, caffeinated energy drinks from being sold in the state after nine Washington college students were hospitalized last month after consuming Four Loko, known as “blackout in a can.”
Reversing its earlier approval, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission yesterday banned Four Loko and 54 similar fruity, high-caffeine, high-alcohol drinks, Detroit Free Press reports. Other banned drinks include Joose and Smirnoff Raw Tea. Manufacturers have 30 days to remove their products from stores.
Read more…