Pro Wrestlers Understand Need for Substance Abuse Education

by Mike Miller June 7, 2013

For the second time in two weeks the child of a professional wrestler has been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. This time it was Brian Christopher, son of WWE Hall of Fame star Jerry "The King" Lawler

The man known as "Grand Master Sexay" of the WWE was arrested back in April. Like many DUI recipients Christopher was pulled over for a minor traffic infraction, failing to stop at an intersection. As reported in www.examiner.com.

At the time of his arrest, Christopher admitted to drinking more than half a liter of vodka and taking a mix of methadone and Xanax before getting behind the wheel of the vehicle.

How can a sane person get behind the wheel after consuming that cocktail of drugs and alcohol?

Brian came to prominence in the WWE as part of the tag team Too Cool along with Scotty 2 Hotty. The two were known to dance as they came to the ring, and then after their matches they would dance again for their fans with the Samoan wrestler Rikishi. He was at the height of his popularity from 1997 to 2001.

After that, he bounced around between TNA Wrestling and some independent promotions but has never made it back to the big stage.

This is not Brian’s first alcohol-related incident. In 2009, he was arrested for disorderly conduct and then for public intoxication when he threatened a police officer. He did time at an in-patient treatment center for that infraction.

I would hope that Brian gets a proper drug and alcohol class and counseling to help him deal effectively with his addiction issues.

Is Alcohol and Drug Prevention a Part of Obamacare?

by Mike Miller June 5, 2013

Do you know what is and is not covered under Obamacare? If you are confused about any or all of this legislation you are part of the majority. A recent poll showed that more than 90% of all Americans do not understand Obamacare. I am not ashamed to say that I am part of that 90%.

By the way, 9.9% of those remaining people do not understand it either. When it comes down to it, basically the lawyers of the insurance companies who helped draft it, and a select few congressional aides who actually read and understand the bill, really know what it is all about. As reported in www.opposingviews.com.

Following is one more attempt to try and illuminate part of the legislation. As a counselor for substance abuse prevention and writer for online drug educational programs, I have found it very informative.

When Obamacare goes into full affect in 2014, about 32 million Americans will finally have access to substance abuse and mental health treatments.

Mental health and drug abuse treatment falls under the “Essential Health Benefit” section in Obamacare.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 3.9 million individually insured people do not have access to drug rehab or mental health care, 1.2 million people insured under small group health insurance plans lack access to drug abuse and mental health care and 27 million Americans who have no insurance coverage at all.

It will be interesting to see if Obamacare has any impact on drug addiction and drug education in the United States.

Chris Washburn Understands Need for Alcohol and Drug Prevention Classes

by Mike Miller June 3, 2013

There are far too many stories about athletes whose careers were destroyed by drugs and alcohol. There are far too few stories of their redemption. Chris Washburn’s is a story of redemption.

Washburn, who had dedicated more than a decade of his life to getting high, had never felt so low. The former basketball standout — one of the most highly recruited high-school athletes in North Carolina history — sat quietly with a crack pipe in his hand, a .44 Magnum pistol in his lap, and thoughts of suicide in his head. As reported in www.hpe.com.

He knew he was not able to get as high as he used to. He knew his basketball career was over. He knew that girls, who used to flood him, no longer returned his phone calls.

With these depressing thoughts filling his mind, Washburn cocked the trigger. This would be the way to end it all — quickly, painlessly. As he debated pulling the trigger, Washburn thought of his wife, who had not yet left him, despite what he had become. He thought of his four sons. He thought of his mother back home.

Rags to Riches Tale

Anybody who’s familiar with Chris Washburn knows his life story. It’s a cautionary, riches-to-rags tale of a teenager with freakish athleticism and seemingly unlimited potential who squandered it all in a drug-fueled spiral into oblivion.

A three-time high-school All-American, Washburn had college coaches drooling over him before he had even entered ninth grade.

His great career never happened. In his two years at North Carolina State University, Washburn enjoyed only one productive season on the court. Washburn’s substance abuse problems also intensified at State, when he progressed from drinking beer to smoking marijuana.

After two seasons, he left for the NBA, where the Golden State Warriors made him the third overall pick in the draft. In the NBA, though — with more freedom and more money to blow — Washburn gravitated more toward the drug culture than the basketball court.

Could preventative drug classes have helped Washburn? Would they have enabled him to steer clear of drugs and alcohol? None of us know the answer to that question. Undoubtedly Washburn wishes he had never experimented.

Paramedics Understand Need for Drug Classes

by Mike Miller June 1, 2013

There is nothing like being on the front line of any issue to understand its complexities. How do you think first-responders feel about drugs and alcohol? A recent study of paramedics in Perth, Australia brings to light these feelings.

Would it surprise you to know that paramedics say drug abuse and binge drinking are making their job a misery, with officers fearing for their lives when they turn up in certain areas. As reported in www.heraldsun.com.au.

Ninety-eight Perth homes and 93 country properties have been red-flagged for paramedics to wait for police before providing first aid.

A major reason they have to wait for police before providing emergency care – fear of being assaulted!

Don’t you think it’s a sad reflection on society that paramedics could not attend some houses without protection? For me, considering the role they play to assist people and save lives, it's pretty astonishing.

Authorities believe that A lot of it is alcohol-fuelled violence, binge drinking and amphetamine issues.

Thugs who assault paramedics face mandatory sentencing under "assault public officer" charges.

One paramedic who has been on the job for 20 years and did not want to be named, said several colleagues had been assaulted, including one man who had a gun held to his head.

There is no doubt that paramedics should not have to deal with threats of violence or intimidation when going about their job. I would hope Australian authorities would mandate online alcohol and drug classes to help deter this type of behavior.

Online Substance Abuse Class Is Good Place to Get “Clean”

by Mike Miller May 30, 2013

Every once in a while a book comes along that has the opportunity to change people’s lives. “Clean” by David Sheff is one of those books.

Addiction swallows lives whole, and not only with overdose, illness and concentric cycles of rehab and relapse. As reported in www.nytimes.com.

I don’t know about you, but the books written by those who have actually lived with and through addiction are the most compelling. There is nothing like personal experience. You cannot learn in a classroom or even a counseling office everything you need to understand what an addict goes through.

That’s why I respect the work of Sheff and his son, Nic, the addict. Perhaps you know the Sheff best for their 2008 bestseller “Beautiful Boy.”

In the last five years the two have written a small library of memoirs centered on Nic’s battle with substance use, with two by Nic (now 31, and sober).

Now comes “Clean,” less memoir than guide for those just entering the terrain

In “Clean,” Mr. Sheff traces the trajectory of addiction from cradle to rehab and beyond with the same question in mind: How does a promising clear-eyed kid from a good family wind up in an inconceivable sea of trouble?

In tomorrow’s blog entry we will continue to look at Sheff’s book “Clean” and try to understand addiction as an illness that requires medical attention.

Drug Classes Were a Huge part of Chris Washburn’s Life

by Mike Miller May 30, 2013

This is the story of an uber-talented athlete. This is the story of how drugs and alcohol ruined a career. This is a story about overcoming addiction and not ruining an entire life.

This is the third in a 3-part series of blogs looking at the life and career of Chris Washburn. As reported in www.hpe.com.

Sports fanatics may remember Washburn as a stellar basketball player in North Carolina. They may remember him as part of Jim Valvano’s North Carolina State University basketball program. They may remember him as the number three pick in the NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors. They may remember him as a player who was punished by the NBA and banned for life because of consistent drug abuse.

Hopefully, his legacy will be that he was a father, a businessman and a human being devoted to helping others overcome addiction issues or keep them from ever experimenting in the first place.

Redemption

Washburn hasn’t died, of course, though he admits he probably should have. At 46, he has lived to tell of his hellish journey through drug addiction, and today that’s exactly what he’s doing.

He runs a soul food restaurant called Washburn’s Wings and More. In addition to his business he is dedicated to helping others. In a recent interview he said, “Any time I think I can help by sharing my own story, that’s what I want to do. You know that old saying, ‘If I can help just one person’? Well, I’m never satisfied helping just one — I want to help a multitude.”

Washburn spends his time educating prisoners and children about what can happen when they use drugs and what can happen when they quit using. He provides motivation for children to stay off drugs and inspiration for those needing to get clean.

Would Drug Classes have Helped Chris Washburn?

by Mike Miller May 28, 2013

The stories of athletes overcoming drugs and alcohol and leading a productive life are few and far between. There were few who believed Chris Washburn would turn his life around. Nevertheless, despite blowing what could have been a truly great career in the National Basketball Association, Washburn is now clean and sober and dedicating his life to helping others.

In our previous blog entry on Washburn we looked at him as a high school prodigy who succumbed to drugs and alcohol and washed out of the NBA quickly after being the No. 3 overall pick by the Golden State Warriors. As reported in www.hpe.com.

Within only three years in the NBA, he had failed three drug tests and was banned from the league for life. Sports Illustrated, which had written extensively about what a young basketball prodigy Washburn had been, eventually declared him the second-biggest bust in NBA history.

Washburn went to drug rehab centers more than a dozen times, or that on some of the days he was released from a rehab program, he was getting high again before the sun went down. You may not know about him playing basketball overseas after the NBA ban. He even signed to play for a team in Colombia signed him to play. Who sends a drug addict to Colombia?

Washburn was homeless for a time, scavenging for food from trash cans and stealing bread and sandwich meats at the grocery store. He spent time in prison and was shot.

He was as down-and-out as one can get. Yet somehow, this is a story of redemption. It all starts with getting clean. There is no redemption if you continue to use!

DUI on Weed: Take a 24 Hour Online Drug Course

by Mike Miller 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?

4/20 and Drug Classes, A Symbiotic Relationship

by Mike Miller 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.

Gateway Drug?

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.

4/20 Creates Greater Need for Colorado Drug Educational Program

by Mike Miller 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.