May 26, 2013
Do you know why marijuana has been tough to legislate when it comes to driving under the influence? The issue is that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, binds to fat cells and can stay in the blood stream for up to 30 days. So how does a police officer know that the marijuana you test positive for wasn’t from a party two weeks ago?
With the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes by both Colorado and Washington in last year’s elections, the issue is ever-more important. Washington’s law included a measure that decreed a driver with .05 nanograms of THC in his blood would be deemed legally under the influence. Colorado has not been able to get both parties to agree to pass this legislation. In fact, back in April they threw a bill out that would have used the .05 nanograms for its legal mark as well.
As a counselor for both in-class and online drug classes I can tell you this is a hot topic among my students. The vast majority of my students who use marijuana feel they are perfectly capable of operating a car. Can you believe that more than 90% think marijuana does not decrease their ability to drive?
How do you feel about this topic? Are you concerned about those around you being high on marijuana?
May 24, 2013
This is the second in a series of blogs looking at the most recent “holiday” celebrated by many in the United States. I am talking about April 20th, or 4/20 as it is better known.
Across the country and now around the globe, marijuana enthusiasts use 4/20 as a call to gather and weed in public. As reported in www.usnews.com.
This year, Weed Day enthusiasts hoping to see the tide turn (both politically and socially) on the legalization of marijuana front have more to celebrate than usual.
Scary stat - A national survey by the Pew Research Center earlier this month found that, for the first time ever, a majority of Americans would now support regulating marijuana use the way most states and federal authorities regulate alcohol.
In fact, Pew found, the number of "Baby Boomers" who would support decriminalizing marijuana has gone up year after year during the 40 years it's been asking about the question – and is now more than double what it was in the early 1990s.
Meanwhile, recent studies claim what social scientists have been saying for years, that the theory marijuana is a "gateway drug" leading to hard drug use is flat out wrong. Do you agree?
If anything, these new studies found other things like alcohol or cigarette use are better predictors than marijuana use of eventual prescription drug abuse or addiction to harder drugs like heroin and cocaine. How do you feel about that?
Time will tell if the liberalizing of marijuana policy on the state level increases or decreases marijuana use. I would assert that states start using a good portion of the tax money generated from marijuana sales for 12 hour drug classes and other forms of counseling and education for addiction.
May 22, 2013
Do you live in an area that celebrates April 20th as some sort of holiday? Do you know what is celebrated on 4-20?
It was 4/20 time again last week. For those who aren't part of the millennial generation, 4/20 is unofficial "Weed Day" in America – a counter-culture phenomenon that has drawn up to 10,000 marijuana legalization activists at college campuses in the U.S. in recent years. As reported in www.usnews.com.
In years past, Weed Day counter-culture "holiday" celebrations have taken place on April 20 at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, in several Canadian cities, at the University of Colorado at Boulder and elsewhere. Weed Day has also migrated to other parts of the world.
Where did the concept of 4/20 as a way to celebrate marijuana smoking originate? One claim is that it originated on a flyer at a Grateful Dead concert in 1990 that referred to "420ing" (smoking pot) on April 20, and that in part has led to successive celebrations on April 20.
Another theory is that a group of high school friends known as "the Waldos" at a San Rafael, Calif., high school coined the term "4/20" in the 1970s as the designated time of the day to smoke pot after school. By fits and starts, 4/20 is either a time of day for pot smoking or a counter-culture day of rebellion that travelled mostly by word of mouth.
How do you feel about this holiday? Is this just another reason for stoners to get high? They sure do not seem to need a reason. It is more like another day to flaunt their bad habit in public.
May 20, 2013
Do you think drugs and piloting a boat are a good idea? The same principle could be used for pilots of airplanes too. There is not enough publicity about the dangers of drugs and boating. There are hundreds of tragedies each year that could have been avoided with a Illinois drug class: http://www.onlinedrugclass.com/Online-Drug-Education-Classes/Illinois
Fifty-one-year-old David Hatyina with the grieving mother crying in the courtroom, pled guilty to aggravated DUI . He had cocaine in his system and was over the legal alcohol limit when his speedboat struck and killed 11-year-old Tony Borcia. As reported in www.chicagotribune.com.
Hatyina faces three to 14 years in prison. He has ruined the lives of many people, including his own.
The day of the crash, Tony and three siblings were getting inner tube rides from behind a pontoon boat driven by their father. Tony had fallen off the tube, as he bobbed in the water waiting to be picked up, the speedboat struck him, despite his family's frantic efforts to get its drivers to stop. Tony died instantly.
Hatyina's blood alcohol level hours after the crash were measured at 0.052 but that a toxicologist estimated it to be 0.09 to 0.128, over the legal limit, at the time of the accident. The toxicology report also showed cocaine in his blood.
Could an online drug class mandated by the state before granting a person a boating license have prevented this tragedy? Maybe yes, maybe no. The truth is, it certainly could not have hurt.
May 18, 2013
Looks like adorable, little Justin Bieber is all grown up. Perhaps he is taking his break-up with Selena Gomez hard, but it looks like The Biebs is starting to experiment with drugs. Back on March 29th numerous photos came out with Bieber and his pals smoking marijuana.
Justin Bieber's friends have reportedly taken over his Calabasas home to throw an alcohol and pot party while the singer was out of town last week. As reported in news.softpedia.com.
Some 40 girls and several of the singers' male friends have been invited to the even, a party still raging at 2 AM.
There are numerous snapshots on the Internet taken as the party was just about to end. They reveal a bong, beer bottles and liquor lying all around Bieber's mansion. An unidentified guest sits in front of a portrait of Bob Marley, the same piece that shows up in the backdrop of one of Lil Twist's recent Instagram photos.
The 20-year-old rapper is believed to have set up the drug-filled bash and there are photos of him and Bieber smoking marijuana back in January. Bieber, 18, has since apologized to fans for his behavior, expressing how much their opinion means to him in a series of Twitter posts.
It is evident Bieber and his pals need a good 8 hour drug class.
May 16, 2013
Is a cure to drug addiction so simple that all that needs to happen is to have the addiction “turned off” in the brain? That is what some American researchers are claiming.
A study in rats has found that stimulating a key part of the brain reduces compulsive cocaine-seeking and suggests the possibility of changing addictive behavior generally. As reported in www.ghanaweb.com.
The study, published in Nature, was conducted by scientists at the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the University of California, San Francisco.
One thing this study does offer is a new direction of research for the treatment of cocaine and possibly other addictions. Despite drug education and drug classes, the problem with chemical substance abuse and addiction seems to be getting worse all over the world.
Compulsive drug-taking, despite negative health and social consequences, has been the most difficult challenge in human drug addiction. In this study, researchers used an animal model of cocaine addiction, in which some rats exhibited addictive behavior by pushing levers to get cocaine even when followed by a mild electric shock to the foot. Other rats did not exhibit addictive behavior.
This is the first study to show a cause-and-effect relationship between cocaine-induced brain deficits in the prefrontal cortex and compulsive cocaine-seeking. The results seem to provide evidence for a cocaine-induced deficit within a brain region that is involved in disorders characterized by poor impulse control, including addiction.
What do you think? Could a solution be this simple. It would be nice to eradicate addictive behavior. I just don’t see that happening. We need to continue to educate our youth and parents with drug classes and provide counseling and support for addicts to help them overcome their problem.
May 14, 2013
There are many people who believe that driving under the influence (DUI) occur only because someone was drunk on alcohol. Of course, “under the influence” can mean any drug, including alcohol.
One area that has seen the percentage of drivers under the influence of drugs other than alcohol is Phoenix, Arizona. As reported in www.ahwatukee.com.
DUI is the act of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs including illegal drugs, medical marijuana and prescription medication.
There is no doubt that part of the reason for this increase is that more people are abusing illegal and prescription drugs.
A reason more DUI arrests are made for drugs other than booze is that Arizona has several hundred officers trained to recognize the symptoms of drug impairment. Officers are better trained now to pinpoint someone impaired by a substance other than alcohol, compared to only a few decades ago.
A significant factor contributing to the increase in total DUI arrests in Phoenix in 2011 was due to driving under the influence of drugs, which included arrests for driving under the influence of medical marijuana, illegal drugs, and prescription medications, even if the pills were dispensed legally.
Can it be that people driving loaded on marijuana or prescription medications believe they are not violating the law? Ignorance of the law is no excuse!
I feel that mandatory drug classes for all kids in middle school and high school certainly will help the situation. How do you feel?
May 12, 2013
Battling drug addiction is hard for any individual. Most of us are helped by drug classes, counseling and joining social networks of other addicts attempting to stay sober. For addicts battling mental illness, the battle against addiction can seem impossible.
Sometimes seen as "self-medication," drugs and alcohol can worsen mental illness but treating substance abuse is not always given the high priority it deserves. As reported in www.lowellsun.com.
The truth is you cannot solve either addiction issues or mental illness by themselves – both issues must be tackled together.
The worrisome combination of mental illness and substance abuse is especially disturbing because there is scant attention being spent on addressing those who suffer from both addiction and mental illness.
Throw into this dangerous mix that both addicts and those who suffer mental illness are prone to violence and the firestorm rages.
Do you believe there is more substance abuse now? It may begin with mental illness that goes untreated. The patient decides to medicate himself and addiction issues become part of the problem.
I am not sure how drug classes fit into this mix. Perhaps if more effort is placed on education through drug classes, mentally ill people might seek professional remedies rather than self-medicating. Would you agree?
May 10, 2013
For the second time this month I have read about law enforcement officials commenting they will not pursue certain offenders because they feel it is a waste of their time and the laws are nearly impossible to enforce.
First, was a sheriff in Weld County, Colorado who said he will not enforce the state’s new gun legislation because it would be impossible. Could it be that he is a sheriff in one of the most politically conservative districts in the United States? As reported in www.telegraph.co.uk.
Now comes a British official who admits she will not go after drug criminals because it is a waste of police time.
Former Labor minister Vera Baird, who is in charge of the North Umbria police force for five years, will not prioritize drug users, with her office justifying the move on the grounds that combating low-level drug use would mean taking officers off the streets. How would you feel about that? How would you feel if you were a parent with a middle school or high school-age child?
I would be ticked off. Doesn’t she realize drugs are the gateway to other crimes? Don’t you agree that Baird is ignoring significant concerns among local people?
While she plans to have police deal with major organized crime, including dealers, by not enforcing laws sends out the wrong message to kids. She needs to take a drug class to realize the damage drugs due to children and those who are older.
May 8, 2013
There is no doubt the entire country is watching to see if Colorado crashes and burns. As one of two states to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes (Washington is the other) Colorado is in for a world of hurt when it comes to regulating the use of this drug which is still illegal under federal law.
One of the first places Colorado is addressing is driving under the influence of marijuana. Just how stoned is too stoned to drive? As reported in www.huffingtonpost.com.
Well, A bill that sets a legal limit for THC in a motorist's bloodstream passed in the Colorado House in April.
Now, drivers caught with 5 nanograms THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces the "high" sensation, in their blood would be considered to be driving under the influence of marijuana and could be ticketed similarly to a person who was considered to be too drunk to drive.
Why do legislators think that we are only now pursuing DUI cases against those high on weed? This bill will send a very strong message that no longer can you get behind the wheel after smoking marijuana, but that message should have been out there long ago. This is not a recent problem with legalized marijuana. Stoned drivers are almost on par with drunken drivers.
Tim will tell if this bill comes to fruition. This is the fourth time in three years that the state House has supported a marijuana DUI bill, however all previous attempts have failed in the Senate in years past. With increased drug classes and more police attention to stoned drivers, hopefully marijuana use will begin to ebb.