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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mary Kennedy Driving While On Drugs

The Taconic Parkway and the Kennedys are back in the papers again because of alcohol. Just one month after Mary Kennedy's license was suspended after she pled guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol the wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was pulled over for speeding on the Taconic Parkway and police suspected that she was under the influence of drugs. The Taconic Parkway was the scene of the tragic Diane Schuler Taconic Parkway accident that claimed the lives of eight people; now, a year later Mary Kennedy is speeding at 82 mph and high on drugs. It seems like the Taconic Parkway is cursed by drugs and alcohol as of late.

WNBC reported that officers suspected that Kennedy was under the influence of prescription medication. What she may or may not have been high on is not clear yet, but, charges have been brought up. Mary Kennedy, like many Kennedy's before her seems to be struggling with addiction considering what has happened since May - first alcohol and now drugs. Mary Kennedy probably needs help and should seek guidance. Kennedy's lawyer, Kerry Lawrence, told The Journal News, "We look forward to defending the charges against Miss Richardson Kennedy." She was able to plea down her drunk driving charge, and now she is scheduled to appear in Pleasant Valley Town Court on Thursday.

Hopefully, the judge will be able to help convince Mary that she needs help. There is a good chance that the Kennedy influence will be able to lessen her charges but the fact still remains that a problem exists. Robert Kennedy, Jr filed for divorce just days before her first DUI, her life is spiraling out of control and now she is using drugs and driving. We will be following this story as it develops; our hope is that she will be able to go to treatment for her problems.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

ChildLine Calls Prompted by Parents' Drink and Drugs

Children are calling ChildLine, a hot-line for kids who have a problem, regarding their parent's drug and alcohol use. ChildLine receives phone calls from more than 100 children a week who are concerned about their parent's behaviours, the NSPCC reports. Two-thirds of the children who call about their parent's drinking habits, also report abuse; violence is often a terrible byproduct of parents who drink, creating an unhealthy environment for anyone in the household. Between January and March, 5,700 children had called, unfortunately the founder of the NSPCC, Esther Rantzen, reportedly told the BBC that many kids are afraid to call and report a problem at home. Ms Rantzen said: "These are the children that know our number and ring us, but what about the many, many thousands of children who aren't, alas, familiar with ChildLine's work and who might be fearful of ringing us?"

"I am, in a sense, imploring those people who work with children to be alert to the possibility that the silent, friendless child... may have trouble at home created by alcohol and drug problems". Growing up and around addiction has its effects on children in a number a ways, it seems that the most common problem that children of addicts develop are emotional problems - trouble in school or difficulty making friends for fear that people will find out that dad or mom have a problem. What's more, those children become susceptible to the urge to try the substances that their parents use, inevitably starting down their own road of addiction.

The chief executive of a charity called Drinkaware, said: "Lots of parents might be horrified to learn of the number of young people seeking help as a result of parental alcoholism, but the news should serve as a timely reminder that you don't have to be an alcoholic to have a direct impact on your children. Regularly drinking to excess in front of children will only normalise alcohol misuse but it's important this pattern within the family unit is broken to ensure young people grow up to have a healthy relationship with alcohol".

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tough Economy Poses Challenge for Addicts

The economy and one's financial standing affects people in a number of ways and people deal with their problems differently. Those who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction often times relapse because of downturns in the economy, pay cuts and downsizing can be devastating to any one, so it makes sense that it would be a step on the road to relapse if one's program of recovery was not in check. Loss of job and the inability to find work can make it harder to stay sober for recovering addicts.

"Martin Miller believes he was fired in December because he’s an alcoholic."

"Miller, who didn't want to use his real name because he is currently job hunting, said his alcohol problem surfaced when he was downsized as a manager for a mortgage company in 2006 and ended up in a substance abuse treatment program at age 31."
"In the years that followed, he found himself in an increasingly tough job market, losing yet another mortgage job due to downsizing, working temporary positions to make ends meet, and struggling to stay away from booze."

"Last October, he landed a good position as a client services representative for a software company in southern New Jersey and thought his life was finally turning around. Alas, he gave in to temptation at the company Christmas party that one his managers pressured him to attend, and he ended up in the hospital."

"He informed his employer that he was going into a treatment center for his addiction, and the next day he got a termination letter delivered to his home via UPS".

The quoted text above is from MSNBC, I chose to put the article in its entirety because it is a great example of how places of work treat addicts differently. In the 21st century there is no reason why anyone should be fired for the disease of addiction. Miller's situation is not uncommon; this type of thing happens all the time and employers do not need to tell you the reason for your termination, which protects employers from being sued for wrongful termination.

Recovering addicts are productive members of society and deserve the same treatment as someone who does not have this disease.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Tackling Drug Driving

The road is a dangerous place, in the blink of an eye peoples' lives are changed forever because individuals decide that they can get behind the wheel intoxicated. Alcohol and drugs permeate the streets of America, and it is next to impossible for any law enforcement agency to police everyone. Drunk drivers make the news more than drugged drivers because there has never been a quick and easy way to determine whether or not a driver is high on something. Drugs use is much harder to detect mostly because drugs generally do not have a strong odor like alcohol; the typical ways an officer determines whether or not someone is drunk do not transfer over to drugs. Everyday people get pulled over intoxicated and are let go because there is no fast and accurate field sobriety drug test.

Testing for drugs is much more complicated than testing for alcohol and it is very difficult distinguishing between the different side effects exhibited. "In recent years, police have seen more drivers under the influence of cocaine, which causes them to feel overconfident and to drive aggressively. Ecstasy, meanwhile, can cause blurred vision and poor judgment, while depressant drugs, like diazepam, can lead to slow reactions and an inability to maintain concentration. Legal, prescription medications can also have a negative impact on driving, and combining several drugs or mixing them with alcohol complicates their effects". Drivers suspected of being on drugs first go to a police station, tested for drugs, and then a doctor has to examine the test to confirm its accuracy. While all that is taking place the drugs in the suspects system are leaving, making it very hard to determine the levels of a particular drug in the blood stream.

Now, countries are working on finding ways to remove the doctor from the equation. In the UK law enforcement officials are developing saliva and sweat tests that police officers could use either on the roadside or in the station. There would no longer be a need for a doctor which will make keeping the streets safe easier. The Institute of Advanced Motorists has been working for ten years to create a machine that is compact and could test for the entire battery of drugs out there. Until they develop something viable, police forces should use tests that are already in existence and do not need a doctor; those tests may be expensive but they will ultimately save lives.

Kevin Delaney, from (IAM), says: "Unlike alcohol, which is just one drug, the number and range of drugs that can impair somebody's driving is almost incalculable, and actually designing a piece of machinery that will deal with all of them is going to prove extremely difficult".

Source: BBC
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