Trick or Treaters Not Even Safe from Drugs!

by Mike Miller April 29, 2014

It is one of the greatest worries for parents when their kids go trick or treating on Halloween. When I was a kid there were rumors of people hiding razor blades in caramel apples and we were warned against eating anything homemade.

Just this past Fall a piece of Halloween candy that may have sickened a Southern California toddler, tested positive in preliminary tests for methamphetamine, in the second case of a child being sickened by meth possibly because of their trick-or-treat take-home goodies. As reported in

The type of candy that was tainted - Smarties, and it was bad enough to land a 2-year-old boy in the hospital. Of course now that it is in the hands of federal agencies, it could take a long time before anything is proven. They are estimating months to complete testing.

The question is not whether the boy ingested methamphetamine, but whether the illicit drug made its way into his system through Smarties candy he received while trick-of-treating on Halloween.

In another case of possibly tainted treats, a 6-year-old boy in Huntington Beach was hospitalized after eating Halloween candy and he, too, tested positive for methamphetamine.

Detectives have confiscated all of the boy's trick-or-treating take-home and are testing to see if any of the sweets were laced with meth.

The possibility that someone in their neighborhood may have handed out drug-laced candy to trick-or-treaters was enough for some families to throw away all the goodies their young ones collected on Halloween.

This is scary stuff, right? Have you experienced anything regarding tainted Halloween candy? If so, please chime in on the blog.

Do Pets Need Drug Classes Too?

by Mike Miller April 24, 2014

Fido – put down the crack pipe! As crazy as it sounds, the number of pets being treated by veterinarians for poisoning from recreation drugs is a very real problem. One veterinary emergency room in San Diego, California sees at least one pet per week suffering from poisoning from marijuana.

San Francisco veterinarian Jill Chase had a frightening experience. She had just finished hosting a birthday party for her son 10 years ago when her dog went limp. After investigating what might have caused the problem, she discovered the culprit: cannabis-infused butter that a neighbor had dumped in the garbage down the street. Her dog, a Tibetan terrier who was a habitual trash surfer, had eaten a large dose. As reported in

Marijuana poses a much more serious problem for digs, especially when they have ingested enough THC to get a rhino high. Her dog was completely ODd in a coma for three days on the bathroom floor with an IV but eventually recovered.

As marijuana becomes more prevalent in society and more widely-accepted the problem posed to pet appears to be increasing. Cases of marijuana poisoning in dogs have increased, particularly in states like California where medical marijuana is legal. As one veterinarian put it, our dogs are "munching out." Dogs are known to be indiscriminate eaters, going after paper, trash, random objects on the street and, now, their best friend's cannabis.

The Pet Poison Hotline, which takes calls from around the country and Canada, noted a 200 percent increase in reported incidents of poisoning in the past five years. Dr. Lori Green, a critical care veterinarian at the San Francisco SPCA Veterinary Hospital, says the clinic treats as many as three dogs a week for symptoms of marijuana toxicity: trembling, vomiting and walking troubles.

There is no such thing as medicinal marijuana for pets. Online drug classes for adults will help keep munching pets safe.

Meth Problem Shows San Diego Needs More Drug Awareness Classes

by Mike Miller April 19, 2014

For most, the stereotype of San Diego, California involves sandy beaches and a warm, moderate climate. But those who know the city intimately, see a darker side. One that is drug-related.

Though San Diego is no longer considered the "meth capital," the drug continues to be a huge problem in this Southwest corner of the States. Meth continues to take a deadly toll and the statistics are disturbing. As reported in

According to officials from the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), there were 217 meth-related deaths in San Diego in 2012 – up from 140 in 2008. That marks a 55 percent increase in local meth-related deaths.

The 2012 figure is the second highest since the county’s Methamphetamine Strike Force – a group composed of approximately 70 local, state and federal organizations and agencies – first began tracking these types of incidents in the mid-90s.

Here is a frightening statistic: 36 percent of adult arrestees in 2012 tested positive for meth, compared to 24 percent in 2008. That is more than one in three!

This certainly seems to show that meth continues to be the drug of choice for adults in San Diego, especially for people who are on probation.

On a positive note, the number of juvenile arrestees who tested positive for meth dropped to 4 percent in 2012, down from 10 percent in 2008.

Law enforcement officials have a continued battle to face as meth manufacturers are still finding new ways to make and distribute the drug.

This includes smuggling liquid meth across the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as using a potentially explosive meth manufacturing method called “shake ‘n bake,” in which chemicals are mixed together in a 2-liter soda bottle.

The best thing is more drug classes. Education, places like, provides the foundation to keep people from ever trying a drug like meth.

Could Online Drug Education Keep Courts from Acting as Emergency Rooms?

by Mike Miller April 14, 2014

With the surge in drug abuse, court rooms across the nation have become like emergency rooms. Take Boston, Massachusetts for example.

In 2012, the district courts in Quincy, Brockton and Plymouth ranked first, third and fourth in the state in the number of referrals for involuntary commitments to drug-abuse treatment centers. As reported in

Quincy District Court topped Boston’s eight courts with 464 such referrals. Boston saw 313, Brockton saw 186 and Plymouth saw 163 in the same period.

For court officials it is a terribly depressing situation. They are inundated by bright, young people who are ravaged by addiction issues. They can tell, sometimes just by looking at them, that many of these kids are not going to make it. In one court that tested youth offenders for drugs 3,000 of 7,000 urine samples tested positive for opiates in a recent year.

Basically, the court has turned into a sort of emergency room, only there are no doctors and nurses. Social workers can’t do their evaluations. People are deteriorating right before their eyes, forcing court personnel to call 911 from the courthouse.

The involuntary commitments are intended to help addicts get treatment at specialized facilities – one for women and one for men in Brockton. Patients stay for an average of 30 days.

What do you think of this situation? Do you think this will help alleviate the problem of drugs?

Could Dog Send Druggies to Online Drug Class?

by Mike Miller April 10, 2014

We have all heard about bomb-sniffing dogs, and anyone who has been to the international terminal of an airport knows about drug sniffing dogs, but this is taking it all to a very personal level. At, we like to discuss interesting stories about the world of drug abuse and drug prevention. I think this story from San Diego, California qualifies.

After learning prescription drug and heroin use rose significantly in the last five years in San Diego County, former firefighter and professional K9 handler Troy Morrison decided to take action. As reported in

He and his dog, Chewy, are making their services available to parents in Southern and Central California.

Chewy is trained to alert Morrison when he smells narcotics, specifically meth and marijuana. He can also detect oxycodone, cocaine, Adderall and Spice.

Heroin abuse is growing both in San Diego and the entire nation. Heroin seizures and treatment admissions have increased consistently in the last five years. The misuse of painkillers may contribute to this trend, as users switch to heroin after painkillers becomes harder to find or pay for.

One instance where Chewy came in handy was for a father who wanted his daughter’s room completely clean before she got home from rehab. He had stripped down her room himself and didn’t find anything. After Chewy went through it, they found traces of drugs and alcohol hidden under the mattress, in the closet and one in a shoe container under the bed.

I would like to see more people like Joe with dogs like Chewy. Setting an addict up for success is a good step in the right direction for long-term sobriety. Dogs like Chewy might keep people from needing another drug class or might even save their lives.

Hispanic Teens Need Good Drug Education Course

by Mike Miller April 5, 2014

This is the second a series of blogs here at looking at the current situation relating to drugs and Hispanic teens. Of course drug use and abuse is an issue for all teens, regardless of race, religion or socio-economic background.

Does it surprise you to learn that according to a recent government survey Hispanic teens are more likely to experiment and use recreational drugs that other types of teens? As the educational director for I can tell you that this does not really surprise me. As reported in

While marijuana still tops the list of the most abused drugs by Hispanic teenagers, the data in the report indicates Hispanic teens also top the lists of most frequent users for alcohol, cocaine and ecstasy.

The most recent Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) indicates the following numbers associated with Hispanic teen drug abuse:

• Fifty-four percent of Hispanics teens reported having used an illicit drug, versus 45 percent for African American teens and 43 percent for Caucasian teens.

• Forty-seven percent of Hispanic teens used marijuana, compared to 39 percent for African American teens and 36 percent for Caucasian teens.

• Thirteen percent of Hispanic teens used Ecstasy, compared to 6 percent for Caucasian teens and 8 percent for African American teens.

• Thirteen percent of Hispanic teens reported cocaine use, compared to 8 percent for African American teens and 3 percent for Caucasian teens.

• Hispanic teens reported they consumed alcohol (62 percent) at a similar rate to Caucasian teens (59 percent) and significantly higher than African American teens (50 percent).

• Sixty-two percent of Hispanic teens have been offered drugs at least once in their lifetime, compared to 53 percent for Caucasian teens and 46 percent for African American teens.

• Forty-two percent of Hispanic teens have been offered drugs at their own school, compared to 30 percent for Caucasian teens and 28 percent for African American teens.

• Twenty-four percent of Hispanic teens report seeing frequent drug use in their communities, compared to 15 percent for Caucasian teens and 24 percent for African American teens.

• Twenty-six percent of Hispanics teens reported having abused or misused a prescription drug in the past year, compared to 15 percent for both Caucasian and African American teens.

• Sixteen percent of Hispanic teens reported they engaged in the risky behavior of mixing alcohol with abusing prescription drugs (without a prescription), compared to 11 percent for Caucasian teens and 6 percent for African American teens.

• Ten percent of Hispanic teens abused over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine in the past year, compared to 5 percent for both Caucasian and African American teens.

I know the Hispanic community is working on this ever-growing concern. The ground-work is being laid by just the right people – the parents. According to this study, Hispanic parents are setting the best example among parents with lowest usage of recreational drugs. We will look at this in our next blog.

Hispanic Teens and Adults Would Benefit From Drug Awareness Education

by Mike Miller March 31, 2014

One thing about drug addiction – no one is immune. There is no age group, race, religion or ethnicity that cannot suffer from drug addiction.

When it comes to drug abuse, Hispanic teens and adults are not representative of one another. Would it surprise you to learn that Hispanic teens are more likely to abuse drugs compared to peers while Hispanic adults are less likely to abuse drugs? The stereotype is that Hispanic adults abuse drugs too. The compilation of data comes from a report by the Latin Post examining the most recent statistics from national surveys. As reported in

When it comes to drug abuse among teenagers, Hispanic teens are leading the way, according to a report from the Partnership at Not only are Hispanic teens more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to abuse drugs, Hispanic teens are more likely to see drugs as a part of their environment. They are more likely than other teenagers to have friends with easy access to hard-core street drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine, and they are most likely to be offered drugs when at school or out with friends.

Again, drug abuse is an issue for teens of all races and ethnic backgrounds. We will continue to look at use and abuse among Hispanic teens again tomorrow.

McGruff the Crime Dog Headed to Level 4 Drug Class

by Mike Miller March 26, 2014

Are you interested in celebrity gossip? You are if you are like a seeming majority of American citizens who cannot get enough dirt on Hollywood’s actors and actresses.

As a kid growing up two mascots who made a strong impression on me were Smokey Bear and McGruff the Crime Drug. Until now I not heard any dirt on either. No, Smokey did not commit arson. This time it was McGruff the Crime Dog who finds himself on the wrong end of the law.

The incident happened in Houston, Texas, and of course, it was not an animal that committed any drug-related crimes, it was the actor who played McGruff.

The Houston native, known legally as John R. Morales, apparently has issues with both drugs and weapons. Back in early February, Morales was sentenced to more than 16 years in federal prison on drugs and weapons charges. While I do not have specific details, I do promise to share more of McGruff’s run-in with the law as they become available in the future.

Obviously, McGruff’s commitment to crime fighting does not go very deep. If you have any celebrity drug dirt that you would like to share with the blog, please do not hesitate to send it in. I am sure we all would appreciate it.

Jason Wahler is Another Celebrity in Need of Drug Education

by Mike Miller March 21, 2014

Each time we read about another tragic death attributed to drug addiction and overdose we can only hope it helps others get clean. Of course, experience is the best teacher, but the wisest can certainly learn from the mistakes of others.

Jason Wahler is the latest celebrity to open up about his battle with substance abuse and addiction in the wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death. As reported in

On February 6th, the former The Hills star wrote a personal essay for The Huffington Post, in which he explained how he deftly kept his addiction a secret from his friends.

The 27-year-old admits that he would host parties at his house in L.A. where there would be 50-100 people raging out of control. While everyone thought he was enjoying the party as much as they were, little did they know he was secretly going into the master bathroom and snorting as much coke and drinking as much alcohol as he could.

Wahler – who appeared on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2010 and has completed several stints in rehab – says the death of Hoffman at 46 serves as a reminder of his own, intense battle with substance abuse.

Unlike some other major celebrities who never made it out of active addiction alive, Hoffman was able to put a face to recovery. It's my hope that his passing isn't in vain, and that I can continue to educate more people about how important it is to not only get into treatment if necessary, but also to continually stay connected to prevent relapse. Taking an online drug course is a good place to start.

Kenyan Children Desperately Need Alcohol and Drug Education

by Mike Miller March 16, 2014

This is the third in a series of blogs here at addressing the frightening drug problem faced by parents in the African nation of Kenya. In the previous blogs we discussed the fact that it is estimated that one-third of all Kenyan students use and abuse drugs and alcohol.

It is quite a battle faced by Kenyan parents. Not only are drugs easily available, but they are also very inexpensive. For instance for the price of a loaf of bread, a student can get two glasses of chang’aa. Chang'aa is an alcoholic drink which is popular in Kenya. Distilled from grains like millet, maize and sorghum, it is very potent. Its production and distribution is controlled in many cases by criminal gangs. As reported in

For the same amount they can buy two rolls of bhang (cannabis). For just a bit more a hit of poor quality cocaine is easily purchased.

Despite the recognition of devastating effects of drugs and alcohol on students, many schools have not instituted measures to prevent the onset of alcohol and drug consumption. Consumption takes place right on school grounds.

Students have devised many sophisticated ways to smuggle drugs into schools, concealing alcohol and drugs in drinks, powdered milk and even detergents. Some students mix alcohol in bottled juices. Some drugs even pass as sweets or chewing gum, some are put in the back side of the actual toothpaste and the tube carefully sealed back into its normal shape and in sanitary towels. Some students go as far as creating a hole in bar soaps and hiding the drugs in there.

They are introduced to drugs and alcohol through many ways including peer pressure, the desire to experiment, cheap and accessible drugs and alcohol, the environment both at home and school, poor role models from parents among other factors.

Kenyan officials say school staff also are to blame. Highly addictive drugs such as heroin and cocaine also make their way past school authorities to the students via school staff.

This is a problem that parents need to tackle ahead on. With no online alcohol classes or online drug classes currently available in Kenya, I would like to see the government set up a task for to get parental involvement. What do you think?