Heroin dealers in NY may face homicide charges if user dies

From the Poughkeepsie Journal, Joseph Spector 9:30 p.m. EDT June 11, 2015

ALBANY – A heroin dealer could face homicide charges in New York if a person dies from the drugs sold by the dealer, according to legislation passed by the state Senate this week.

The measure was among 13 bills adopted by the Republican-led Senate to combat a surge in heroin use across the country and in New York.

“It’s hitting everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your economic status is. It’s everywhere,” said Sen. Sue Serino, R-Hyde Park, Dutchess County.

heroin-overdoseLawmakers have pressed for new laws to address the increase in heroin use, while state leaders have added more law enforcement officials to crack down on abuse and expanded access to naloxone, which can counter the effects of a heroin overdose. Continue reading

Social Host Law

When it comes to driving, teenagers are already four times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident, prone to distractions and poor judgment at a greater level than more experienced drivers. Prom nights and graduation celebrations during the month of  June only adds to this mix, increasing the risks of something tragic happening.

host jpegAlthough it is justifiably a time for celebration, it is also crucial that caution and restraint be exercised by not only those attending proms and graduation parties, but for businesses and adults hosting such celebrations to do so responsibly.  While all parents want their teens to enjoy these once-in-a-lifetime events, it’s important to take preventive measures to ensure their safety during these high-risk times.

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Discovery opens door for homemade morphine, painkillers

AP graphic


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Scientists have figured out all the steps to make morphine and similar painkillers without using opium poppies, opening the door for home-brewed drugs and even wider abuse.

While no one has yet reported making morphine in the laboratory from scratch, some experts are calling for regulations to prevent garage tinkerers from making do-it-yourself morphine, which can be converted into heroin.

Society needs to “think this through now before it becomes a reality,” said bioengineer John Dueber of the University of California, Berkeley, who led a team that discovered the final missing link of the process.

Poppy plants have been farmed for centuries for opium, from which morphine is derived. The controlled substance is often used before and after surgeries to relieve severe pain. Continue reading

President Obama Discusses Marijuana Policy

obamaYesterday, in an interview with Vice News, President Obama made some of his most lengthy comments to date about substance abuse, particularly legalization. Below are some marijuana policy statements, as released by Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), with the caveat that these are lifted from the interview as a whole. The entire interview, addressing many issues, can be found here,

Some Quotes from President Obama:

“First of all,” the issue of marijuana “shouldn’t be young people’s biggest priority….but you should be thinking about climate change, jobs, war and peace…”

“I’d separate out the issue of the criminalization of marijuana from encouraging its use…I think there is a legitimate concern about the overall effects this has on society, particularly vulnerable parts of our society. Substance abuse generally, legal and illegal substances, is a problem.”

“We may be able to make progress on the decriminalization side…But I always say to folks, legalization…is not a panacea. Do we feel the same way about meth? Do we feel the same way about coke? How about crack? How about heroin? There is a legitimate concern about the overall effects this has on society, particularly vulnerable parts of society. Substance abuse generally, legal and illegal substances, is a problem.”


FDA Warns Marijuana Companies About Interstate Commerce


According to Kevin Sabet at SAM, the FDA has sent warning letters to CBD companies about marketing an unapproved drug. This is the first time FDA has intervened to our knowledge in this way.

Your products are not generally recognized as safe and effective for the above referenced uses and, therefore, these products are ‘new drugs,’” the FDA wrote to CBD Life Holdings in Arizona. “New drugs may not be legally introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce without prior approval from the FDA…You should take prompt action to correct the violations cited in this letter.”

Similar letters were sent to Hemp Oil Care in California, Twin Falls Bio Tech in South Carolina, and three Washington State companies: Purecbd.net, Canna Pet, and Canna Companion.


Research Finds Half of Young Victims of Fatal Crashes in Nine States Used Either Alcohol or Marijuana

fatal crash

Half of teens and young adults who died in car crashes in nine states were under the influence of either alcohol or marijuana, or both, according to statistics of fatal road accidents involving 16- to 25-year olds between 1999 to 2011.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health analyzed the statistics to gauge how possible policy changes could influence substance use among teens and young adults. The study, led by Katherine M. Keyes, PhD, assistant professor of Epidemiology, was published online in the journal Injury Epidemiology.

Keyes and researchers analyzed 7,191 fatal crashes involving the young drivers from 1999 to 2011 who died within one hour of the crash in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Washington State and West Virginia. These nine states were chosen for the study because all routinely perform toxicological tests on the blood or urine specimens of drivers who die in car crashes, according to a news release.


Prescription Medications to Blame for More Than Two-Thirds of ER Visits for Narcotic Overdoses

Oct 29, 2014

More than two-thirds of emergency room visits for overdoses of narcotics involve prescription medications, says a new report.

The study’s author, Michael Yokell, a medical student at Stanford University School of Medicine and his colleagues came to this conclusion by analyzing tens of thousands of reports of narcotic overdoses from a sample of nationwide emergency room visits from 2010.

The research was done to better understand why people overdose on narcotics, such as heroin and prescription painkillers like Percocet and Oxycontin, which can often be fatal.
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