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Family files claim over teen's death after a rave

By Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times

January 3, 2011

The parents of 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez, who died of an ecstasy overdose after attending a rave, have filed a claim against the management of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The parents are seeking $5 million in damages from the Coliseum Commission.

The claim, filed Dec. 23 with both the city and county of Los Angeles, is a necessary step before suing in court. The claim says the commission, a joint state, city and county board, did not fulfill its "duties and was negligent in creating and/or allowing others to create a dangerous condition of public property" during the two-day Electric Daisy Carnival rave at the Coliseum in June.

Sasha Rodriguez, a high school student and drill team member from Atwater Village, was able to get into the event despite the 16-and-over age requirement advertised by Los Angeles-based Insomniac Events, the producer of the rave. Those under 16 needed a parent or guardian to attend, according to the event's website. Sasha attended with friends; her parents have said they did not know she was going to a rave.

She died days after falling into a coma after attending the rave.

The Coliseum "knew, or should have known, that the rave would attract, promote, encourage, facilitate and enable widespread illegal and illicit activity, including but not limited to the possession, sale and consumption of illicit drugs," the claim says.

The Coliseum Commission also "knew, or should have known, that the rave would attract minors under the age of majority … yet it failed to enforce such minimum age requirement," the claim said.

Patrick Lynch, general manager of the Coliseum, said in an e-mail Thursday that he was out of the office and unaware of the claim, and so was unable to comment.

In November, in a controversial vote, the commission lifted its moratorium on raves — all-night dance parties featuring electronic music. A month later, it voted to require rave promoters to come before the panel at least 60 days in advance of an event for approval.

"We're going to limit whatever abuses take place," Commissioner David Israel said at the December meeting.

The Electric Daisy Carnival rave, which drew 185,000 people over two days, resulted in 120 people being taken to local hospitals, mostly for drug intoxication. Coliseum managers said there were no major problems at subsequent raves Aug. 21 and Oct. 23, which attracted 6,000 and 22,000 people, respectively. A New Year's Eve rave, Together as One, at the Sports Arena resulted in 25 arrests and 17 hospitalizations.

All three raves that took place after the June event had been scheduled before the rave moratorium enacted after the teen's death.

The L.A. Memorial Coliseum and Sports Arena relies on raves for 28% of its revenue, according to a consultant report filed to the commission in July.

Commissioners said they were not driven by the bottom line when they voted to continue holding raves at the public facility. Some expressed worry that raves would be forced into unregulated "back alleys" if no longer allowed at the Coliseum or Sports Arena.

Israel said commissioners weighed both public safety and free-speech concerns, and said recommendations from the county Department of Public Health would be enacted to ensure safety and reduce risk at future events. Among the recommendations: strictly enforcing an 18-and-over age limit, adding security and drug searches, and hiring medical staff to work at the raves.

Another publicly owned facility took a different approach. The state-run Cow Palace in Daly City, south of San Francisco, banned raves in November, citing numerous drug and alcohol overdoses at recent events, including two deaths following a rave in May.

On Dec. 22, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) introduced a bill to ban raves at publicly owned venues. Ma cited a study that found many teenagers attending raves use "club drugs" such as ecstasy, GHB, methamphetamine and LSD.

Rave promoters denounced the legislation as heavy-handed.

Steven Archer, a lawyer representing Sasha's parents, Grace Rodriguez and Leonard Contreras, said the claim does not seek any injunction that would ask a judge to stop raves at the facility.

"However, one of the collateral results of a successful lawsuit may be a change in policy of the Coliseum Commission to further control or limit raves," Archer said. "It's not our goal to limit them … but when the Coliseum Commission is called upon to pay monetary damages to this family for what happened to their daughter, maybe by hitting them in the pocketbook, the Coliseum Commission will have its eyes opened."

ron.lin@latimes.com

Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Times

 

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Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Shaun King charged with DUI in Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Former Tampa Bay Buccaneersquarterback Shaun King has been charged with driving under the influence in Florida.

Hillsborough County jail records show that King refused to take a blood alcohol test when sheriff's deputies stopped him at 2:12 a.m. Sunday.

He posted $500 bond and was released.

King played seven NFL seasons with the Buccaneers andArizona Cardinals. He recently was hired as a football analyst for Bright House Sports Network.

The 33-year-old lives in St. Petersburg. A message left at a phone number listed for his address was not immediately returned.

A spokesman for Bright House Networks would not comment on the arrest but said King was a part-time employee, not full time.

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DWI Texas Law Could Change behind Legislation in 2011!

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Bill proposes deferred adjudication in Texas DWI cases

 

 


 

 

Associated Press

 

AUSTIN, Texas – A new legislative proposal would allow first-time drunken drivers in Texas to be acquitted if they complete supervision and treatment, a move supporters say would reduce court backlogs and shift the judicial system's focus to punishing repeat DWI offenders.

 

Rep. Todd Smith, R-Euless, filed the proposal that would allow for deferred adjudication for first-time DWI offenders. Repetition of the offense would become grounds to increase future punishments.

 

The bill, which has supporters including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, prosecutors and defense attorneys, would be a change from the state's stance that all drunken drivers should face fines and jail. In the mid-1980s, deferred adjudication for such offenses was abolished in the state. Opponents at the time, including MADD, had argued that the form of probation was being accepted for repeat offenders.

 

"It's a needed change," said Richard Alpert, a Tarrant Countyprosecutor. "It's not like they are getting a free DWI, but a type of probation that would not technically be a conviction. If they don't reoffend, they can say they have not been convicted. But if they do reoffend, it can be used to enhance their punishment."

 

Supporters say that by routing cases out of courtrooms, the plan could ease court backlogs. Also, they say, it could improve efforts to track and punish repeat DWI offenders and remove the threat of jail that makes some first-timers refuse guilty pleas.

 

"Generally we do not support deferred adjudication bills, but we are going to support this one," Bill Lewis, public policy liaison for the Irving-based nonprofit group MADD, told the Austin American-Statesman. "Right now, we are hearing that many cases are not getting prosecuted for DWI but for a bogus charge. We hope the practice of reducing charges will be reduced if this bill does indeed pass."

 

Supporters of the bill also say it could give prosecutors a new negotiating tool.

 

Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley said that the plan would still require supervision of the defendant and could enforce fines and allow a judge to impose jail time as a condition of probation.

 

"This would be a first step to putting some sanity in that system as long as people make sure to retain it only for the true first-time offender," Bradley said.

 

While the proposal has been in front of the Legislature before, Alpert said there is plenty of support this time.

 

"I think there is some momentum for this," Alpert said. "It would give people who want to take responsibility an incentive to plead guilty, as opposed to setting these cases for trial. We have too many cases on the docket."

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Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com

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The Effects Of Spirituality In Alcoholics Anonymous On Alcohol Dependence

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New research shows that attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings may increase spirituality and help decrease frequency and intensity of alcohol use

  • Alcoholics Anonymous is a widely known 12-step program that can help individuals control their dependence on alcohol, and spirituality is a large part
  • A new study shows that spirituality does increase over time, which can lead to better alcohol outcomes and an improved rate of recovery
  • These results indicate that spirituality is an important factor in the multi-faceted recovery from an alcohol-use disorder

Addictions, whether it is to drugs or alcohol, are a very difficult hurdle for individuals to overcome. But, there are ways to help people with their recovery through 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Many of these organizations, including AA, highlight spirituality as a very important factor, but the data surrounding its effectiveness have often been contested. 

However, new research shows that as attendance of AA meetings increase, so do the participants spiritual beliefs, especially in those individuals who had low spirituality at the beginning of the study. 

The results will be published in the March 2011 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View. 

John F. Kelly, lead author of the study, Associate Professor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Associate Director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, said that while spirituality is an important aspect of AA recovery, it is not the only way they can help individuals. 

"I've heard it said that AA is too spiritual, and I've also heard it said that AA is not spiritual enough for some people. Although this is not the only way that AA helps individuals recover, I think these findings support the notion that AA works in part by enhancing spiritual practices," Kelly said. 

The researchers assessed more than 1,500 adults throughout their recovery process, with data being gathered at three, six, nine, 12, and 15 months. The study utilized data on their attendance to AA meetings, their individual spirituality/religiosity practices and overall alcohol-use outcomes to determine if spirituality is indeed a mechanism of behavior change. 

The results indicated that there was a robust association between an increase in attendance to AA meetings with increased spirituality and a decrease in the frequency and intensity of alcohol use over time. One of the most interesting aspects of the research was that the same amount of recovery was seen in both agnostics and atheists, which indicates that while spirituality is an important mechanism of behavioral change for AA, it is not the only method used. 

"Many people will be surprised that alcoholic patients with little or no interest in spirituality attended AA and seemed to change even more than did those who had a pre-existing, strong sense of spirituality," said Keith Humphreys, a Career Research Scientist with the Veterans Health Administration and Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University. "AA is thus much more broad in its appeal than is commonly recognized." 

The researchers also noted that while spirituality is an important aspect of recovery, it is still not known how these beliefs work in complement or competition with other recovery methods, as there are multiple. 

"We have also found that AA participation leads to recovery by helping members change their social network and by enhancing individuals' recovery coping skills, motivation for continued abstinence, and by reducing depression and increasing psychological well-being," said Kelly. 

"Down the road it will be important to conduct more qualitative research as well as further quantitative replication of our findings in order to understand more about how exactly spiritual practices and beliefs influence coping and behavioral change in recovery from addiction

Source: 
John F. Kelly, Ph.D.
Center for Addiction Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital 
Keith Humphreys, Ph.D. 
Stanford University 
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research

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Alcoholics May Stop at One Drink With Lundbeck Pill but what about the second drink,third and so on?

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Alcoholics may stop one drink with new pill. What about the second drink? In Europe a new medication is being used to help the fight of alcoholism. For many years the search for a pharmacological treatment answer in the fight against alcoholism has been sought. The drug, nalmefene from H. Lundbeck A/S in Valby, Denmark, blocks brain signals that make activities such as sex and drinking feel good. Should trials succeed, the medicine may win clearance in Europe as early as 2012, becoming the first new alcoholism treatment approved there in more than 15 years.
Most of the current medications are geared to fighting relapse once a person stops using alcohol. The focus of the new drug promises an attack of the problem from a different angle. The individual continues to drink while using this medication. Currently the method of abstinent is required for most people to become free from alcohol.
This new method of treatment raises many questions on it's effectiveness to stop alcoholism. The addiction treatment communities are champions for new tools, medications, tecniques and approaches to the treatment of alcoholism. However, much concern exist when you hear of the magic pill cure to fight alcoholism. It does not take long for the addiction professionals and the treatment and recovery community to get cynical about the idea of giving a pill and continued drinking.  
New ideas are always evaluated and researched in the addiction treatment industry. So while we watch this new approach to medication and alcoholics develop I hope more people will focus on the education of alcoholism.  


By Scott Kelley LCDC
More information on article found at business week.
via www.businessweek.com


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DEA takes Temporary Control over K2 and other chemicals!

DEA Moves to Emergency Control Synthetic Marijuana
Agency Will Study Whether To Permanently Control Five Substances 

NOV 24 -- WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is using its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control five chemicals(JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) used to make “fake pot” products.  Except as authorized by law, this action will make possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the U.S. for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals and products should be permanently controlled. 

Source: http://www.justice.gov      K2

 

A Notice of Intent to Temporarily Control was published in the Federal Register today to alert the public to this action. After no fewer than 30 days, DEA will publish in the Federal Register a Final Rule to Temporarily Control these chemicals for at least 12 months with the possibility of a six-month extension. They will be designated as Schedule I substances, the most restrictive category, which is reserved for unsafe, highly abused substances with no medical usage.

Over the past year, smokable herbal blends marketed as being “legal” and providing a marijuana-like high, have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults.  These products consist of plant material that has been coated with research chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet.  These chemicals, however, have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process.  Brands such as “Spice,” “K2,” “Blaze,” and “Red X Dawn” are labeled as incense to mask their intended purpose. 

Since 2009, DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding these products.  Fifteen states have already taken action to control one or more of these chemicals.  The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to allow the DEA Administrator to emergency schedule an abused, harmful, non-medical substance in order to avoid an imminent public health crisis while the formal rule-making procedures described in the CSAare being conducted. 

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Addiction the Word

Some terms that are commonly used in discussing drugs and drug use are difficult to define with precision, partly because they are so widely used for many different purposes. I want to caution people when learning about different addiction related terms. Many different meanings from many different sources use the word addiction to imply explanations of their points of view.  The term Addiction is a controversial and complex term. Another complicating reality is that everyday usage of the word addiction seems to gravitate away from scientific meanings of the word. The history of the word has meant different things throughout the last 200 years.

Who uses the term addiction anyway? The scholars or academic historians have their own opinions and view points to what addiction means. Very interesting points of views have been discussed in the circles of education. The individual addict and the families of the addict all have their own experience with what addiction means to them. Counselors and physicians, nurses, outreach workers, and case managers have their point of views. Then you have judges,lawyers,police officers, probation officers,clergy,child welfare and child protection workers, public health workers, teachers,school counselors, and youth workers who sometimes have their own way of relating the term addiction to what they see in their professions. With so many different views of what the word means it can lead  you in so many different directions when seeking help for someone that has an addiction. No wonder confusion exist for the addiction treatment consumer looking for a great drug or alcohol addiction facility. You are not alone. I hope i can help you find the right facility. Please enjoy the site and feel free to call or e-mail me or better yet post a comment. 

Scott Kelley LCDC

 

 

 

 

 


Alcohol more harmful than heroin or crack

Alcohol more harmful than heroin or crack'

Sacked government drugs adviser David Nutt publishes investigation in Lancet reopening debate on classification

 

Teenagers drinking alcohol

Heroin causes harm to users, but alcohol causes considerably more harm in the wider community, study finds. Photograph: Action Press/Rex Features.

 

Alcohol is the most dangerous drug in the UK by a considerable margin, beating heroin and crack cocaine into second and third place, according to an authoritative study published today which will reopen calls for the drugs classification system to be scrapped and a concerted campaign launched against drink.

Led by the sacked government drugs adviser David Nutt with colleagues from the breakaway Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, the study says that if drugs were classified on the basis of the harm they do, alcohol would be class A, alongside heroin and crack cocaine.

Today's paper, published by the respected Lancet medical journal, will be seen as a challenge to the government to take on the fraught issue of the relative harms of legal and illegal drugs, which proved politically damaging to Labour.

Nutt was sacked last year by the home secretary at the time, Alan Johnson, for challenging ministers refusal to take the advice of the official Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which he chaired. The committee wanted cannabis to remain a class C drug and for ecstasy to be downgraded from class A, arguing that these were less harmful than other drugs. Nutt claimed scientific evidence was overruled for political reasons.

The new paper updates a study carried out by Nutt and others in 2007, which was also published by the Lancet and triggered debate for suggesting that legally available alcohol and tobacco were more dangerous than cannabis and LSD.

Alcohol, in that paper, ranked fifth most dangerous overall. The 2007 paper also called for an overhaul of the drug classification system, but critics disputed the criteria used to rank the drugs and the absence of differential weighting.

Today's study offers a more complex analysis that seeks to address the 2007 criticisms. It examines nine categories of harm that drugs can do to the individual "from death to damage to mental functioning and loss of relationships" and seven types of harm to others. The maximum possible harm score was 100 and the minimum zero.

Overall, alcohol scored 72 – against 55 for heroin and 54 for crack. The most dangerous drugs to their individual users were ranked as heroin, crack and then crystal meth. The most harmful to others were alcohol, heroin and crack in that order.

Nutt told the Guardian the drug classification system needed radical change. "The Misuse of Drugs Act is past its sell-by date and needs to be redone," he said. "We need to rethink how we deal with drugs in the light of these new findings."

For overall harm, the other drugs examined ranked as follows: crystal meth (33), cocaine (27), tobacco (26), amphetamine/speed (23), cannabis (20), GHB (18), benzodiazepines (15), ketamine (15), methadone (13), butane (10), qat (9), ecstasy (9), anabolic steroids (9), LSD (7), buprenorphine (6) and magic mushrooms (5).

The authors write: "Our findings lend support to previous work in the UK and the Netherlands, confirming that the present drug classification systems have little relation to the evidence of harm. They also accord with the conclusions of previous expert reports that aggressively targeting alcohol harm is a valid and necessary public health strategy."

Nutt told the Lancet a new classification system "would depend on what set of harms 'to self or others' you are trying to reduce". He added: "But if you take overall harm, then alcohol, heroin and crack are clearly more harmful than all others, so perhaps drugs with a score of 40 or more could be class A; 39 to 20 class B; 19-10 class C and 10 or under class D." This would result in tobacco being labelled a class B drug alongside cocaine. Cannabis would also just make class B, rather than class C. Ecstasy and LSD would end up in the lowest drug category, D.

He was not suggesting classification was unnecessary: "We do need a classification system – we do need to regulate the ones that are very harmful to individuals like heroin and crack cocaine." But he thought the UK could learn from the Portuguese and Dutch: "They have innovative policies which could reduce criminalisation." Representatives of both countries will be at a summit in London today, called drug science and drug policy: building a consensus, where the study will be presented.

UK reformers will be hoping the coalition government will take a more evidence-based approach to classification and tackling drugs than Labour did. The Liberal Democrats supported Nutt over his sacking, while Conservative leader David Cameron, who got into trouble at Eton, aged 15, for smoking cannabis, acknowledged the Misuse of Drugs Act was not working during his time as an MP on the Home Affairs select committee.

Nutt called for far more effort to be put into reducing harm caused by alcohol, pointing out that its economic costs, as well as the costs to society of addiction and broken families, are very high. Taxation on alcohol is "completely inappropriate", he said – with strong cider, for instance, taxed at a fifth of the rate of wine – and action should particularly target the low cost and promotion of alcohol such as Bacardi breezers to young people.

Don Shenker, the chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said : "What this study and new classification shows is that successive governments have mistakenly focused attention on illicit drugs, whereas the pervading harms from alcohol should have given a far higher priority. Drug misusers are still ten times more likely to receive support for their addiction than alcohol misusers, costing the taxpayer billions in repeat hospital admissions and alcohol related crime. Alcohol misuse has been exacerbated in recent years as government failed to accept the link between cheap prices, higher consumption and resultant harms to individuals and society."

"[The] government should now urgently ensure alcohol is made less affordable and invest in prevention and treatment services to deal with the rise in alcohol dependency that has occurred."

The Home Office said last night: "We have not read the report. This government has just completed an alcohol consultation and will publish a drugs strategy in the coming months."

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "In England, most people drink once a week or less. If you're a women and stick to two to three units a day or a man and drink up to three or four units, you are unlikely to damage your health. The government is determined to prevent alcohol abuse without disadvantaging those who drink sensibly."Two experts from the Amsterdam National Institute for Public Health and the Environment and the Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research point out in a Lancet commentary the study does not look at multiple drug use, which can make some drugs much more dangerous – such as cocaine or cannabis together with alcohol – but they acknowledge the topic was outside its scope.

They add that because the pattern of recreational drug use changes, the study should be repeated every five or 10 years.

 

 

 

 

 


Summer Sky Treatment Center Houston Texas!

Summer Sky Treatment Center attended the 2010 Spectrum Conference hosted by the Houston Chapter of the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals. This years conference was The Thirty Seventh Annual Conference on Addiction Studies. It is a honor to help support such a great organization and be apart of addiction professionals serving those with substance use disorders across the State of Texas. Summer Sky recently opened up the new Detox Now Program. The Detox now program is created for those who do not want a 30 day stay in treatment, but desire to have detox take place. It is really geared to those who have had previous treatment or have a history of relapse. Please take a look at there website at http://www.summersky.us or call them at 1-888-857-8857.    


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