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Friday, December 30, 2011

Military Using Synthetic Marijuana

In the last year we have seen a rise in synthetic drugs sending people to the emergency room. Synthetic marijuana like Spice and bath salts like Ivory Wave contain chemicals that mimic other illegal drugs causing hallucinations that can go on for several days. Typically you hear of teenagers and college students abusing these substances; however, since it is difficult to drug test for synthetic drugs there has been a rise in use with the military.

Just two years ago there were only 29 Marines and sailors who were suspected of using such drugs, but this year the number jumped to over 700. This exponential jump has officials alarmed and concerned due to the fact that jobs in the military require that individuals be on point because lives are often at risk. An investigation has been launched on more than 1,100 suspected users.

Synthetic drugs are relatively easy to come by; the Internet is perhaps the most popular place to purchase them. You can also find them in smoke-shops and in some places even gas stations.

"You can just imagine the work that we do in a military environment," said Mark Ridley, deputy director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, adding, "You need to be in your right mind when you do a job. That's why the Navy has always taken a zero tolerance policy toward drugs."

Those found guilty of using Spice are kicked out, although the Navy does not track the overall number of dismissals. Fortunately, tests are being developed and chemicals used to make these drugs are fast becoming illegal to purchase.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Midnight Mission

“Giving support is just as therapeutic as getting it” - NBC’s Jane Pauley

Recovery finds addicts the same way addicts find recovery, as is the case for most people working a program of recovery. The process of getting back in touch with oneself is often a long hard road, there is no time limit on how long one will be in the grips of addiction, although, the longer one dances with fate the greater the chance that addiction will take one’s life or everything worth living for.

Recovery involves surrender, coming to terms with the fact that you cannot control everything, let alone addiction. Surrendering to oneself and to others is perhaps the most important aspect of recovery, which is something that Orlando Ward had to figure out the same way every other addict who has hit rock bottom did.

At the age of 51, after ten years at the Midnight Mission, a homeless center in Los Angeles, Ward has achieved the executive position. Alcohol took everything from Orlando, but, with the help of the Midnight Mission and a higher power Ward has managed to work a successful program of recovery for 12 years.

He is a sign of hope for all those who have are homeless and have hit rock bottom as a result of their battle with addiction. We encourage everyone to watch the short video clip below as we hope that everyone has happy holidays.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Friday, December 16, 2011

Smoking May Cause Skin Cancer

Cigarettes are perhaps the hardest drug to quit and users have a high potential for relapse. While tobacco may not be the worst drug one could consume it still happens to be extremely harmful to one’s health and very addictive. Every year, thousands of people lose their life to health conditions that are a result of prolonged tobacco usage. Every case is different, but in most cases cancer is the cause of death, typically lung cancer or mouth and throat cancer.

A new study was conducted and the results may tie smoking with a particular type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma in women. Women with squamous cell carcinoma were almost four times more likely than women without the cancer to have smoked for 20 or more years, according to a news release from Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, where the study was conducted.

The study included 383 patients with skin cancer and 315 people without the disease. They were asked:
  • How much they smoked
  • When they started
  • How many years in total they smoked

Smoking did not appear to significantly increase men’s risk of skin cancer. Lead author Dana Rollison said she did not know why they found a gender difference in smoking risk. The female hormone estrogen may affect the breakdown of nicotine in the body, and the body’s ability to repair damage to lung DNA that is caused by smoking.

The authors pointed out that while the study found a link between smoking and skin cancer risk, it did not prove smoking causes skin cancer.

The study appears in the journal Cancer Causes & Control.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Danae Miller Goes to Trial

Amine Britel

Last February in the affluent coastal community of Newport Beach, California, a bicyclist lost his life when a drunk driver was texting while on the road and veered into the rider. Orange County Superior Court Judge Derek G. Johnson ruled Thursday, December 1, 2011, that 23 year old Danae Miller will stand trial. If convicted she faces up to 10 years in prison for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. The felony charge is the result of an accident on San Joaquin Hills Road that killed Amine Britel, a Moroccan athlete who came to the United States and ran a local business.

Initially, Miller told authorities that she had not been drinking before she got behind the wheel on that fateful day. She also claimed that she had not been using her cell phone either; however, phone records indicated that she had been exchanging text messages with friends in the minutes leading up to the crash. A blood test after the crash showed Miller had a blood alcohol concentration of .10, above the legal limit.

Danae Miller had a history of bad driving, to the point where it’s a wonder how she still had a driver’s license. According to court records, Miller had been cited a total of 16 times for alleged traffic violations. The Daily Pilot reports that Miller received six tickets for speeding or driving too fast for conditions each year between 2005 and 2009, a ticket in 2006 for driving the wrong way on a street, a failure to stop at a stop sign in 2007, and tickets in 2009 and 2010 for talking on her cell phone while speeding.

As sad as it is, Miller’s record clearly showed she was a hazard to herself and to others, yet, for some reason the DMV didn’t pull her license and something tragic occurred. Miller is out on $100,000 bail and is scheduled back in court on December 12th.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Medical Marijuana Lowers Traffic Deaths

Drunk driving and drugged driving have proven time and time again to be extremely hazardous, with thousands of accidents, sometimes fatal, every year. Whenever someone uses a mind altering substance it inhibits one’s ability to focus the same way they would sober which is why just about every state in the country has strict laws to deter such behavior. It turns out that medical marijuana may actually decrease the number of traffic deaths each year.

A new study has found that medical marijuana laws may be linked to a reduction in traffic deaths. Researchers believe that some people in “medical marijuana allowing states” use marijuana instead of alcohol. Pointing out that alcohol is more deadly than marijuana when combined with driving, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was reviewed before and after the legalization of medical marijuana laws in 16 states, the current number of states that allow medical marijuana programs. They found a nearly 9 percent decrease in overall traffic deaths.

In most states with medical marijuana laws, the researchers saw an increase in marijuana consumption in addition to prescription uses among people over 18, but not among minors. Those states also experienced a small drop in alcohol consumption. Seemingly, people are substituting marijuana for alcohol, which at the end of the day may be a good thing considering how caustic alcohol has proven to be to the human body.

Marijuana is typically consumed within the confines of one’s own home, whereas alcohol is usually drank in public settings where the potential for driving is that much greater. Researchers claim that when people are drunk they are less likely to think that they are too intoxicated to do a particular activity, which is contrary to marijuana users who can usually gauge better how high they actually are.

The researchers’ findings appear in a working paper for the Institute for the Study of Labor.
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