Archive for March, 2012


OK.

So Megapillions isn’t a word. If it were, I would make the description something like “the rapidly growing pill problem among the hundreds of millions of Americans.”

Many of you got here probably my misreading the title for “megamillions.”   After all, that’s what everyone wants to talk about, right?

I know. It’s not a sexy thing to talk about. Most Americans don’t fantasize, read up on, or concern themselves with the prescription drug problem in America.

The pill addiction isn’t as fun to talk about like the record breaking lottery jackpot that awaits someone or some people this Friday. Megamillions fever has caputred the countries attention. It’s fun to sit around with friends, family, and co-workers and talk about what you would do.

Let’s put it this way. The odds are REALLY stacked against you. Not just a toughy, it’s downright near impossible. Sure it happens. Someone right now is doing absolutely nothing, and making thousands of dollars a minute on the interest to their big win.

So to be cliche, lets take a look at some of those odds charts to see where winning the jackpot falls.
Odds of getting a hole in one: 5,000 to 1
Odds of getting canonized: 20,000,000 to 1
Odds of winning an Olympic medal: 662,000 to 1
Odds of drowning in a bathtub: 685,000 to 1 (we had one recently, so it’s going to be a while RIP Whitney Houston)
Odds of being killed sometime in the next year in a transportation accident: 77 to 1
Odds of being killed in any sort of non-transportation accident: 69 to 1
Odds of being struck by lightning: 576,000 to 1
Odds of being killed by lightning: 2,320,000 to 1

The list goes on and on. So what are the odds of winning the mega millions jackpot?

176,000,000 to 1.

That’s right. It’s not going to happen to 175,999,999 of you. Yet come Friday, it will likely be the top story in most news markets where the game is played, and it will certainly be the watercooler discussion this week if it already hasn’t been.

So why is that people don’t talk about the growing pill problem, where the odds are 3-1 that a teen may abuse prescription meds over the next year?

2.1 million people abuse pills each year. An addition 1 million kids ages 12-17 begin abusing pills. So you have 3.1 million pill abusers. If they just use 1 pill a month each, you’re looking at 37 million pills abused a year. If they misused medications once a week, those pill popping Americans will go through 161 million pills annually.

Very few people know about our pill problem, and those that know, don’t really want to talk about. Parents seem to think that just buy saying “drugs are bad” that’s an encompassing statement that will prohibit their children from trying anything.

It’s time we speak up and talk about this. You have some very vocal lawmakers like Senator Chuck Schumer from New York and Attorney General Jack Conway in Kentucky. Both are adamant about stomping out this epidemic.

Madonna responded to dance icon Deadmau5’s accusations that she was glorifying drugs recently at a Miami music festival.

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The material girl says that she wasn’t promoting ecstasy when she asked the crowd if they had seen Molly. She claims that she was referring to a song written by a friend of hers.

She tweeted Deadmau5 with a photo that said “From one mouse to another I don’t support drug use and I never have. I was referring to the song called Have You Seen Molly written by my friend Cedric Gervais who I almost worked with on my album.”

She went on to say that the musical wizard, whose real name is Joel Zimmerman, should have come to her first about the comments. While the two have made nice, you have to wonder if there was just a little drug reference being hinted at during her appearance at the festival.

Either way, Madonna’s steadfast assurance that she does not endorse drug use, was a good sign for any drug users who believed that she was sending them a shout out.

It’s the image ravers hate. They are all a bunch of drug-using mushheads.

Even the LA Weekly took a shot at this blog when Teensavers reminded parents to exercise caution when it comes to teens attending raves. Now Teensavers didn’t allude to the fact that everyone that attends these events are on drugs. The Teensavers teams wanted to remind parents of some of the younger attendees that drugs are used at these events.

While raves are supposed to be 18 and over only crowds, some minors do sneak in. A rave in Los Angeles saw that first hand. At the Electric Daisy Carnival in 2010, a 15-year-old girl died of a drug overdose. LA leaders called for a crackdown.

But not all ravers use drugs. Many go and enjoy the music and the lights and the activity drug free. And some musical acts are outspoken about the linking of music festivals and drug use.

Case in point: The Ultra Music Festival in Miami. Madonna was there to introduce Avicii. Trying to keep herself relevant and hip with the younger crowd, she asked, “how many of you have seen Molly?”

Molly isn’t a singer on the bill. Molly is slang for Ecstasy. And while some of the crowd let out a roar, it didn’t leave everyone in the dance community laughing.

Deadmau5, one of the hottest acts on the planet, didn’t like what Madge had to say. In fact, the star (real name Joel Zimmerman) lashed out at Madonna via his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

“Very classy there madonna. “HUR DUR HAS ANYONE SEEN MOLLY???” such a great message for the young music lovers at ultra, Quite the f’n philanthropist. but hey, at least yer HIP AND TRENDY! fucking cant smack my head hard enough right now.”

The Huffington Post posted an exchange between the musical producer and a fan. You can read it HERE. The fan called him out asking him where he’d be without ecstasy. Zimmerman didn’t skip a beat saying “i’d give up my entire career to remove the fucking rampant stupidity thats plagued my favorite type of music in an INSTANT.”

It’s good to see that some of the popular people in a genre stand up and speak out against drug use. Imagine if we saw the biggest names in TV and movies follow Deadmau5’s lead? It might be refreshing. Instead we still have movie and TV stars who are the poster children for drug use like Seth Rogan and Charlie Sheen.

It certainly would be nice if someone of stature like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie came out and say that the Pitts are against pill abuse or heroin is for has-beens. It would be magnificent if Justin Bieber told his millions of fans that drugs will never be cool. Deadmau5 may not be a household name, but to dance fans, he’s well-known.

It’s great to see him relay a positive anti-drug message!

Most people have a stereotype that comes to mind when they think about communities and the types of drugs they use. Some people think marijuana is explosive in more diverse communities, whereas other people believe that big cities leads the way in drugs like heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy. Pill popping? That’s left for old America, right? Wrong!

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A new survey conducted in the middle oh Ohio, an area as hard-working and American as any. It shows exactly what the drug trends are in terms of usage and availability. The survey was answered by law enforcement, treatment experts, and drug users over a 16-county wide map of central-eastern and southern Ohio.

The report shows that heroin and suboxone are on the rise, while for the first time we’ve seen, a decrease in bath salts is seen. Ohio has been one of the leading states to ban bath salts, but as we’ve seen, the producers of the substances continue to skirt laws, and vendors continue to sell them despite the new laws.

Black tar heroin is sharply on the rise over the last 6 months, and the report suggests that the primary age group of users is 18-30. It also shows a new drug trend. Users are giving up on Oxycontin for Opana. Users are able to crush Opana and either snort or inject it, while Oxycontin no longer can be manipulated in that way.

The other highlight was the kids like pills and over the counter medications. Teens have easy access to the pills, and they prefer the high thinking it is safer because it is “medicine.” In what may not be a surprise at all, kids can get their hands on marijuana and cocaine at any time, most often picking it up at school.

In some communities, heroin is easier to get than marijuana. The drug survey shows age and substance range. You can see the information in the graphic below.

 

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If you are a parent of pre-teen or teen and you haven’t heard of spice, bath salts, ivory wave, or K2, you better start doing your homework. Here’s a quick cliff’s notes version of what they are, and why they are still here.

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Those products go by many names, but they all have one thing in common; they are synthetic marijuana.

Synthetic marijuana is designed to be a substitute for the real thing, but carry the same psychoaltering effects. The real problem is that they are far more dangerous than the real thing, and some kids have no fear using the products.

These synthetic cannabanoids are sold as incense, potpourri, or bath salts. They are clearly marked, “not for human consumption.” But don’t be fooled. That warning is really an advertisement for teens. The message really states, “if you smoke this, you’re going to get really high.”

Despite numerous attempts to criminalize and ban the products, the creators have been very, well, creative in getting around those bans. State and federal lawmakers have tried banning the chemical combinations, but the manufacturers continue to tweak the formula to escape the ban.

The mind-altering effects come from the chemical compound, which is sprayed onto the products. Essentially it doesn’t matter what the originating product is, once it is coated in the chemical solution, it acts as a powerful drugs. You could go pull some dandelions from your backyard, and if they are dipped in the right solution, smoking them would mimic the effects of pot.

So why are these products to dangerous? Well they are a toxic mixture of chemicals, and they can create numerous symptoms in teens. They can be hard to diagnose. One of the leading theories, though never fully confirmed, was that Demi Moore was smoking this type of product when she had her 9-1-1 episode.

Convulsions, sweating, and hallucinations are just some of the side-effects. A recent story in the USA Today quoted Joanna Cohen, an emergency medicine physician at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington. DC. It cited her writings in Pediatrics, that ER doctors have been having a very hard time detecting the use in kids.

Where there is concern is that parents are the first to argue that they could “tell if THEIR child is on drugs.” This is a fallacy that too many parents believe. They often do not notice any kind of drug use until the user is addicted.

But parents can educate themselves about the warning signs. They can also visit their pediatrician and discuss the possibility that their teen has been using these synthetics. As Cohen reminds in the USA Today article, the long term effects include memory loss and psychosis.

Once upon a time, St. Patrick’s day used to be a fun little holiday that consisted of children finding leprechaun dust and using green frosting to decorate shamrock cookies.

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Perhaps your little wee’un wore a green cocked hat, and perhaps paraded around in red beard to celebrate a holiday that most people have no idea of its origins.

Truth be told, this author is a little fuzzy on the origins of the day, and a quick check of the wikipedia reminds me:

Saint Patrick’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig (The Festival of Patrick); Ulster-Scots: Saunt Petherick’s Day)[2] is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March. The tradition came about at the instigation of the Irish Protestant organisation The Knights of St. Patrick. The inaugural parade took place on 17 March 1783.

Well especially in America, if there are any religious connections remaining with this holiday, they are paid in tribute to the patron saint of alcohol.

On the one day where everyone can celebrate being Irish (many call this, and Cinco de Mayo, amateur hours), liquor stores and supermarkets publicize, market, and pander to the partying consumer.

Chances are most people have seen the Guinness clock display that either shows up in bars or stores that sell alcohol reminding drinkers how many minutes are left until St. Patty’s day. Kids see these cool countdown devices when they are visiting their local grocery store. They too know the hour is near.

But there’s a whole other St Patrick’s Day passion. Teen marijuana smokers won’t be green with envy on this holiday. They will stock up and store their supply to celebrate this storied holiday. Regardless of whether it is Sativa or Indica, for teen pot smokers it’s time to celebrate 420 on 3/17.

So when parents look at their teens and think about how the novelty of the holiday has long passed by, they should remind themselves that they need to give their children much more than a little pinch because their teens aren’t wearing green clothing.

This is a great time for parents to ask their children questions like “what are you doing for St. Patrick’s Day” or “how are you spending this day?” Since the holiday falls on Saturday, you may have more teen revelers than normal. It could be a good time to remind your kid that green beer (another marketing ploy to sell beer) is not only uncool, but it’s also illegal for teens. And parents should remind their kids that the other green, marijuana is illegal, and not tolerated in your family.

You could also remind them to say “no” if they are asked if they would like a “greenie.” That’s the street term for amphetamines. There’s no holiday excuse for your kids to be popping pills on St. Patty’s Day.

You biggest line of defense Sunday morning, could be a Teensavers Home Drug Test Kit. It’s the one green thing that could give parents peace of mind. When you see the green box, you know you have the best product for your family.   Don’t rely on the luck of the Irish to keep your kids drug free.

Marijuana legalization advocates are rejoicing because they got a big boost in support from the 700 Club’s Pat Robertson. The evangelical leader and former presidential candidate told his followers that, “I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol. If people can go into a liquor store and buy a bottle of alcohol and drink it at home legally, then why do we say that the use of this other substance is somehow criminal?”

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But the Teensavers Team has 7 reasons why Pat’s theory is one big puff of smoke.

1. Bongloads beat up the body: While the immediate highs and effects are enjoyed by users, numerous doctors will tell you that prolonged use will effect your brain, heart, and lungs. The extent of the damage has been long debated.

2. Pot will not fill our pocketbooks: We’ve been taxing alcohol and cigarettes for years, and we are still financially struggling as a country. All of the binge drinkers and chain smokers haven’t been able to defeat the debt. Taxing marijuana after legalization won’t make a dent in our country’s deficit.

3. Kids think chronic is cool. It’s bad enough we have adults killing themselves with alcohol and drugs, but we’re seeing more kids experimenting with drugs. 4,000 kids try drugs for the first time every day. We don’t need that number to increase. Legalizing marijuana would likely spike that number.

4. A Spicy society: Marijuana users afraid to use the real thing, often turn to synthetics to get high. The military has a huge problem, and kids are using these synthetics. Despite government efforts to stop the chemistry, manufacturers continue to produce, and sellers continue to sell. With legalized pot, more parents would be testing for that, so kids would turn to the synthetics which aren’t easily detected with instant read drug tests.

5. The Gate-way is ajar: Recent studies have dispelled that marijuana is the gateway drug in most people, but some marijuana users still get bored with the drug, and look to increase their highs with other narcotics. Beer drinkers often make the switch to the “hard stuff.” Legalized, marijuana probably wouldn’t be considered much of a hard drug. But there are others out there to ramp up the highs.

6. High-er accident rates on our roads: We are already seeing a shift in the nation’s driving habits. More DUIs are involving drugs, and not alcohol. And in a recent survey out of Canada, teens admitted they were more likely to drive while under the influence of marijuana, as opposed to alcohol. The thought it, smoking pot and taking pills and driving is a much safer combination than alcohol and getting behind the wheel.

7. No Joint Relief: Our prison overcrowding will not recede with the legalization of marijuana. People in jail or prison on drug charges, are there because they will commit a crime to satisfy their urge. Nobody is in jail for just lighting up one joint. People in jail for drugs are typically dealers, or parole violators who had other crimes, with narcotics charges on top of the original violations.

It’s hard to tell kids that drugs are bad, when drug use is glamorized in movies, TV, and music. Snoop Dog is the musical ambassador for pot for the younger generation, as Willie Nelson continues to inspire baby boomer puffers.

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Scores of music, movies, and television celebrities have had some pill issues. Whitney Houston appears to be the latest. Heath Ledger also had a dangerous combination of pills in his system. It’s tough when the drug use is glorified constantly.

Most parents already avoid talking to their kids about drugs. They usually figure that the “drugs are bad” message is assumed and of course they rely on programs like D.A.R.E. to make their kids aware about drugs.

But what about the parents who do stress the message at home? What about the proactive parents that monitor the media that their kids watch and listen to? Are they fighting an uphill battle?

So what happens when you have an evangelical, with plenty of airwaves to push his message, comes out endorsing marijuana? Pat Robertson believes that the war on drugs have failed. He believes that taxpayers are paying billions of dollars to support the initiative, and that people are wasting away in jails and prisons unjustly.

This is not exactly a startling revelation. The 81-year-old danced around the decriminalization topic in 2010.

This week, the former presidential candidate told the New York Times, “I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol.” “I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.”

With a following of millions, how do parents combat Robertson’s message, which is being spread by drug legalization groups across the social media?

How can parents tell their kids marijuana and all other drugs are bad, when an evangelical leader endorses them? Marijuana remains illegal for everyone, except for patients of numerous states’ medical marijuana laws. Once legalized, could the marijuana mindset become something similar to the alcohol mindset? With booze, may kids have the perception that “if it’s good enough for adults, it’s good enough for me.” Of course that thinking contributes to the serious number of binge drinking teens and young adults across college campuses. If legalized, would we have a growing number of potheads in our society?

America’s Parenting Coach, Tim Chapman, a 30-year treatment veteran says the message is simple, “Parents should tell their kids that everyone has an opinion. Some people are brilliant on some subjects but not as informed about others. For example, some Europeans believe that it is acceptable for 10-year-olds to have wine at dinner. Most families do not. That’s why each family should make the decision what’s good for their family, despite what high profile person is saying it. Reinforce your values, and your kids will listen.”

On the heels of yesterday’s story involving a stolen iPhone leading police to a New Canaan, CT teen and his small drug operation, we learn about a bigger bust involving an iPad theft.

San Jose authorities arrested three men after stumbling onto their $34 million dollar stash of drugs. Officers were looking for a stolen iPad, but would up finding 75 pounds of methamphetamine last Thursday.

In some ways, America’s obsession is leading to drug busts. It’s like Apple is not only enlightening people technology, but fighting crime!

 

The drugs are believed to have come from Mexico for distribution here in the United States.