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Friday, December 28, 2012

Meth Labs Move to the City

The production methamphetamine has become easier to make as a result of new techniques where by almost anyone can produce the lethal drug. Techniques known to authorities as the “shake and bake” or “one pot” methods have become extremely popular amongst cooks and as a result the labs have moved from the country to the city, according to the Associated Press.

Methamphetamine lab seizures have tripled in some major metropolitan areas across the country. Law enforcement officials are more than concerned about the change of venue as it may be an indication of much more to come.  

St. Louis, Kansas City, Mo., Nashville, Tennessee, and Evansville, Indiana have all seen a increase in meth lab seizures in the past few years. This new trend has caught the eyes of dangerous street gangs in those areas, prompting them to open their own production centers.

"No question about it — there are more labs in the urban areas," said Tom Farmer, coordinator of the Tennessee Methamphetamine and Pharmaceutical Task Force. "I'm seeing car fires from meth in urban areas now, more people getting burned."

On top of the meth labs popping up in major cities, authorities also have to contend with Mexican "super labs," which have increased production, making meth more pure and less expensive, and then using existing drug pipelines in big cities.

Methamphetamine is the most corrosive drug the human body has ever come into contact with. The long term side-effects of using meth are still being determined due to the fact that the drug is still in its infancy when compared to other hard drugs.  

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Prescription Drug Orphans

Prescription drug abuse by all accounts is an epidemic of outrageous proportions. The problem is affecting families across America, but, the Midwest has been hit especially hard for a number of reasons. Poverty and lack of education regarding the dangers of prescription narcotics plays a huge role in the devastation seen in the Midwest. New research has shown that in Kentucky it's the children that are affected the most by this epidemic.

There are more than 86,000 children in Kentucky being raised by someone other than a biological parent. Community leaders claim that this sad statistic is due to prescription drug abuse and the high rate of overdoses that accompany such usage.

New data has shown Kentucky to be the fourth most medicated state in the country and has the sixth highest rate of overdose deaths, CNN reports. However, it is difficult to assess how many children are orphaned after a prescription drug overdose death by a parent.

"Someone has to take care of these kids, and we simply do not have the facilities to do that," said U.S. Representative Hal Rogers, whose district in Kentucky is hard hit by prescription drug abuse. "So it's neighbors, it's churches, other civic groups that are trying to be parents to these kids who are orphaned by drug-abusing parents. That's a huge undertaking, because there's literally tens of thousands of these young children."

This holiday season let's remember all the children and work to keep them safe. 
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Friday, December 14, 2012

Family Social Capital vs. School Social Capital

Every parent knows that at some point their children will experiment with alcohol and/or drugs during their formative years. In some cases, children, as young as ten years of age, will get a hold of alcohol or marijuana from a friend or older sibling.

Parents should have an open dialogue with their children in order to educate them about the dangers of using. A new study has found that parental guidance is more important than the school environment in preventing or limiting their child’s use of alcohol or marijuana.

More than 10,000 students, parents, teachers, and school administrators took part in the study. The main focus points were what’s called “family social capital” (bonds between parents and children) and “school social capital” (a school’s ability to provide a positive environment for learning), the Science Daily reports.

Family Social Capital includes:

  • Trust
  • Open Communication
  • Active Engagement in a Child’s Life

School Social Capital includes:

  • Student Involvement in Extracurricular Activities
  • Teacher Morale
  • Teachers’ Ability to Address Student Needs
Students with high levels of family social capital and low school social capital levels were found to be less likely to have used either marijuana or alcohol, or to have used them less frequently. Students with high levels of school social capital and low family social capital were found to be more likely to have used, or to use more frequently.

“Parents play an important role in shaping the decisions their children make when it comes to alcohol and marijuana,” study co-author Dr. Toby Parcel of North Carolina State University said in a news release. “To be clear, school programs that address alcohol and marijuana use are definitely valuable, but the bonds parents form with their children are more important. Ideally, we can have both.”

The study appears in Journal of Drug Issues.
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Friday, December 7, 2012

Banning Tobacco Product Displays

The first drug that children and teenagers typically use is nicotine in one form or another. Health officials work hard to find ways to stop kids from ever picking up cigarettes or any tobacco products. Policies that ban tobacco-product displays at the point of sale may help reduce teen smoking, according to a new study.

1,200 teens who were smokers, or considered to be likely smokers, participated in the study. The teens “shopped” in a virtual convenience store, some of the stores had cigarette products visible, while in others they were hidden. Some of the stores had tobacco ads present, while in others they were either hidden or banned altogether. The teens were told to buy one drink, one snack, and two additional items at check-out, with no restrictions on what they could purchase.

Teens shopping in stores with hidden tobacco products were also much less likely to try to buy those products, HealthDay reports. Banning tobacco ads had minimal impact on the teens’ decision about whether to buy cigarettes.

The study found 9 percent of teens who shopped in stores with hidden tobacco displays bought cigarettes, compared with more than 24 percent of those shopping in stores that openly displayed them.

“These results provide support for policies that would ban the display of tobacco products at the point of sale,” lead researcher Annice Kim, PhD of RTI International said in a news release. “We found that enclosing tobacco product displays significantly lowers the likelihood that youth will try to purchase tobacco in the virtual store.”  

The study appears in the journal Pediatrics.
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