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Drug Headlines across the U.S. for the week of October 8 Edition

MIAMI HERALD 
CRISIS LOOMS IN FIELD OF DRUG COUNSELING
There are months in Ebony Davis' life she can't remember. Christmas of 1994, 1995 and 1996 are blocked from her memory. Birthdays and other events are gone from years of smoking crack.
 
The addiction took her to places she said she never wanted to go, including stealing and prostituting to get money for another hit. Until one night she called 911 from a pay phone seeking help after walking all night long.
 
That was eight years ago. Now Davis, 28, promotes substance-abuse prevention as the community information coordinator for Stewart-Marchman Center for Chemical Independence. She's like many others in the addictions field who are recovering themselves.
 
Some figures estimate about 40 percent of counselors are in recovery, state officials say. Others may get into the field because of a family member who abused drugs.
 
But the field is going through a tough period statewide and nationally, officials say. The demand for services is growing, yet staff turnover is high, with a lack of funding for salaries and people turning to other fields to make a better living.
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/state/12872986.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp 
 
COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE
RESEARCH FINDS METH IN AIR 24 HOURS AFTER IT'S COOKED
Children crawling through a house in which methamphetamine was made can be exposed to deadly chemicals at least 24 hours afterward, a study done in Colorado Springs found.
 
Other household activities such as vacuuming and walking also can stir up meth and the chemicals used to make it from contaminated surfaces such as carpets and sofas.
 
Headed by the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, the study measured the toxic fumes meth labs emit and how they contaminate a building up to 24 hours after the drug is manufactured.
<http://www.gazette.com/display.php?id=1310916&secid=1>

 
ALBANY TIMES UNION (NY)  
COURT TO HEAR SCHOOL-ZONE DRUG CASE IN OCTOBER SESSION
The shortest distance between two points landed James Robbins in jail.
In addition to other drug crimes, Robbins was charged with a New York law that makes it a crime to sell illegal drugs within 1,000 feet of school property.

However, the law does not say how the distance should be measured.
 
Robbins, 40, was arrested in March 2002 after selling crack cocaine to an undercover officer in Manhattan, about three blocks from the Holy Cross grade school on West 43rd Street. He's now serving a six- to 12-year prison sentence.
 
Robbins' lawyer, Martin Lucente, argues that lower courts erred when they ruled the distance from the school should be determined by "a straight line or `as the crow flies' method," according to court documents.
 
He contends that because buildings were in the way of that line, the distance in his client's case should have been determined by how far one would have to walk from the school to get to the location Robbins was selling drugs. Detectives measured two walking routes and found the distances to be 1,294 feet and 1,091 feet.
http://timesunion.com/AspStories/storyprint.asp?StoryID=407373
 
WIRED NEWS  
NEW SCREENING TECH MISSES NOTHING  
Bad news for terrorists and drug traffickers: The hunt for narcotics, explosives and biohazards is about to get faster and easier thanks to new research from Purdue University. A new testing method can, for the first time, speedily check objects and people for traces of chemical compounds. The detection technology known as mass spectrometry is already in use by forensic scientists.
 
"Mass spectrometry is one of the most sensitive methods for finding drugs, chemicals, pollutants and disease, but the problem is that you have to extract a sample and treat that sample before you can analyze it," said  Evan Williams, a chemistry professor at UC Berkeley. That process can take anywhere from two to 15 minutes for each sample. Multiply that by the number of people in line at airport security at JFK the day before Thanksgiving, and you've got a logistical nightmare on your hands. 

The research from Purdue, led by analytical chemistry professor Graham Cooks, developed a technique called desorption electrospray ionization, or DESI, that eliminates a part of the mass spectrometry process, and thus speeds up the detection of substances to less than 10 seconds, said Williams.
 
To use it, law enforcement officials and security screeners will spray methanol or a water and salt mixture on the surface of an object, or a person's clothing or skin, and test immediately for microscopic traces of chemical compounds.
http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,69137,00.html 
 
SUMMIT DAILY NEWS (CO)  
METH FUELS THE WEST'S OIL AND GAS BOOM
Sheriff Buddy Grinstead, a solidly built cop's cop who benches 300 pounds, is only beginning to wrap his ham-hock-sized arms around the drug problem that he says is swallowing his county. Over the years, methamphetamine has claimed victims from across the socio-economic spectrum, but according to Grinstead and energy industry insiders, it has recently become epidemic on the oil and gas rigs sprouting in the dusty expanses around Craig, a small town of roughly 10,000 in the northwest corner of Colorado.

Grinstead busted his first meth lab in 1987, but says he didn't think much about it; the "cook" was from California, and the whole operation seemed out of place in his area. Then, around 2000, about the same time as the natural gas boom took off, he noticed an increase in meth use and related crimes. It was like a "light switch went on," said one of Grinstead' s deputies, a drug investigator who asked to remain anonymous. "It was like a disease; everyone had it."
http://www.summitdaily.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051007/NEWS/110070044&template=printart
 
THE DAYTONA BEACH NEWS JOURNAL
LOW SALERIES DRIVING DRUG COUNCELORS TO NEW JOBS
There are months in Ebony Davis' life she can't remember. Christmas of 1994, 1995 and 1996 are blocked from her memory. Birthdays and other
The addiction took her to places she said she never wanted to go, including stealing and prostituting to get money for another hit. Until one night she called 911 from a pay phone seeking help after walking all night long.

That was eight years ago. Now Davis, 28, promotes substance-abuse prevention as the community information coordinator for Stewart-Marchman Center for Chemical Independence. She's like many others in the addictions field who are recovering themselves.
But the field is going through a tough period statewide and nationally, officials say.
 
The demand for services is growing yet staff turnover is high, with a lack of funding for salaries and people turning to other fields to make a better living.
 
HOUSTON CHRONICLE  
HOW 'SYRUP' RING WAS EXPOSED
State Trooper Steve Culling already was suspicious after finding $25,000 in cash in the console of a car he had stopped for speeding in Galveston County. But when he noticed that some of the money was sticky with a thick, purple substance, he knew this was much more than just another traffic stop.
 
Inside some plastic bags in the back seat, he found bottles of a highly addictive cough syrup that has become increasingly popular as a recreational drug especially among young people.
 
The arrest of the driver, and the evidence gathered from that incident in July 2003, began a chain of events leading to charges against a Houston-area group, including a doctor and pharmacists, that made huge profits illegally dispensing drugs. Six pharmacists were convicted last week in a federal trial that focused attention on Houston's nationwide reputation in the rap culture as the "City of Syrup."
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.mpl/metropolitan/3388360 
 
CHICAGO TRIBUNE 
ARE POT CLUBS LEGAL? IT'S HAZY
Four months after the Supreme Court upheld the right of the federal government to crack down on the sale and use of medical marijuana, California's estimated 150,000 medical marijuana patients are still puffing freely.
 
As they smoke, the air grows as hazy as the complicated legal saga of medical marijuana. When California voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996, medical marijuana became legal under state law but remained illegal under federal law. Federal authorities have always had the right to arrest and prosecute people using marijuana for medical reasons in the 10 states that have passed laws allowing such use. California's law is considered among the most liberal in the nation.
 
For some law-enforcement officers, medical marijuana has presented a tricky legal situation. California's law differs from the federal law, county district attorneys have varying stances about whether medical marijuana cases should be prosecuted, and each county can set its own limits about how much marijuana patients and caretakers may possess, as long as it's no less than the 8 ounces allowed by the state.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0510120129oct12,1,2930700,print.story?coll=chi-news-hed 
 
 
PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE
BILL BANS CANDIES THAT TASTE LIKE POT
A plastic container filled with marijuana-flavored lollipops sits on the counter at Spencer Gifts in Ross Park Mall, its label beckoning customers to "taste the munchie goodness." At $1.99 per pop, the "Stoner Pop" candies are one variety of hemp-flavored sweets available in novelty stores and on the Internet. The candies combine an earthy taste and smoky smell with cheeky marketing slogans like "every lick is like taking a hit."

But state Rep. Thomas C. Corrigan, D-Bucks County, doesn't see any humor in the products. He plans to introduce a bill today that would outlaw all candy that tastes like marijuana. "It is really frightening to develop a taste for marijuana in children through lollipops," he said http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05278/582743.stm

THE BBC
NEWS THE PAINT STRIPPER THAT KILLS                                                                                                            
An industrial solvent used to clean graffiti has become the potentially lethal drug of choice for some on the gay clubbing scene. Another Saturday night, another ambulance outside a night club. But this is not the aftermath of a drunken brawl in binge-drinking Britain.

The medics are there to attend to someone overdosed on an industrial cleaner - GBL - and it's a scene which has been repeated a dozen times in one night. Gamma butyrolactone, to give it its full name, has a similar effect to GHB, the "date-rape" drug made illegal in 2003 and which is equally popular in some gay clubs. They produce a euphoric high or, if too much is taken, nausea and unconsciousness.  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4261788.stm

LOS ANGELES TIMES  
BOOMERS' OVERDOSE DEATHS UP MARKEDLY
Californians age 40 and older are dying of drug overdoses at double the rate recorded in 1990, a little-noticed trend that upends the notion of hard-core drug use as primarily a young person's peril. Indeed, overdoses among baby boomers are driving an overall increase in drug deaths so dramatic that soon they may surpass automobile accidents as the state's leading cause of nonnatural deaths.

In 2003, the latest year for which the state has figures, a record 3,691 drug users died, up 73% since 1990. The total surpassed deaths from firearms, homicides and AIDS.Remarkably, the rate of deadly overdoses among younger users over that period has slightly declined, while the rate among those 40 and older has jumped from 8.6 to 17.3 per hundred thousand people.

The change has caught many prevention programs, which tend to be geared toward young people, off guard. Several drug abuse prevention officials and other experts said there was virtually no strategy in place to address the risk of overdose among older users. http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-me-overdose10oct10,1,2166586,print.story?coll=la-headlines-frontpage 

 
LEXINGTON-HERALD LEADER
STATE PLANNING 'RECOVERY KENTUCKY' CENTERS THROUGHOUT KENTUCKY
Gov. Ernie Fletcher, speaking at an anti-drug conference in Frankfort last week, said his administration is focused on fighting the "scourge" of drug abuse and helping those caught "in the jaws of addiction" through enhanced rehabilitation efforts.  Rehabilitation centers planted in communities throughout the state are among the components Fletcher said he is eyeing to help combat drug addiction. There are already four such rehab centers planned, and at least six more on the way, Fletcher said.

"If someone is caught in the jaws of addiction, we've got to make sure we do everything we can to make sure we give that individual the ability to reach their full potential and to get out of the jaws of addiction," Fletcher said. "It is very difficult, almost impossible, to get out of those jaws by yourself."Gov. Ernie Fletcher, speaking at an anti-drug conference in Frankfort last week, said his administration is focused on fighting the "scourge" of drug abuse and helping those caught "in the jaws of addiction" through enhanced rehabilitation efforts.

Rehabilitation centers planted in communities throughout the state are among the components Fletcher said he is eyeing to help combat drug addiction. There are already four such rehab centers planned, and at least six more on the way, Fletcher said. http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/state/12860324.htm
 

NEW YORK TIMES
CASTING METHADONE AS INGREDIENTS FOR A CROSS-ADDICTION
It seemed like a nodding addict's dream the other day; a group of recovering heroin addicts drank their methadone at a downtown clinic and headed to Lincoln Center, where they were heartily cheered by a sophisticated crowd. They were at the Walter Reade Theater after a screening of a new documentary, "Methadonia," in the New York Film Festival. The documentary, which is being shown on HBO tonight, spotlights a bleak side of methadone, a synthetic opiate used since the 1960's primarily to prevent the euphoric effect of heroin and to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal from it.
The recovering addicts are experiencing an unusual 15 minutes of fame as subjects in the film, which explores the difficulties that methadone users have in working toward a straight life."How do you like that? We just went from underworld characters to movie stars," said William Cornax, 50, who has been on methadone for 30 years.                                                                   http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/06/nyregion/06methadone.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1129090033-8HVoYwAQVQ5xBdOZdL887A

 

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