- UN: Illegal Drugs Sold Via Social Media [The Seattle Times]
- Prescription Drug use Linked to Illicit Drug Use [PsychCentral]
- Study Assesses Effectiveness of Brief Interventions [Findings]
- OC Sex Addiction Expert Blasts Ad With Model "Having Sex With A Hamburger" [CBS Los Angeles]
- Online Toolkit for Genetic Research Expands Focus on Substance Abuse And Addiction [Newswise]
- Man Denies Charges After Coffee Spiked With Meth [The Northwestern]
Pharmacy chain CVS Caremark Corp. tells The Fix it has no intention of allowing its pharmacists access to prescription drug monitoring databases, despite recent trouble with the DEA and a lawsuit for alleged illegal distribution of OxyContin by two of its stores in Florida. The databases, which are run by the Florida State Department of Health, were set up to help pharmacists nationwide prevent sales to drug abusers. According to CVS director of public relations Michael DeAngelis, the company is sufficiently “trained and prepared” to recognize inappropriate drug use by some customers.
Some pharmacists disagree. Dr. Rich Lawrence, of Ft. Myers Prescription Shop says, “The database goes a long way in helping people who are abusing medication to get the help they need and toward getting criminals who might be selling the medications on the street.”
Meanwhile, six CVS pharmacists face DEA scrutiny for selling staggering amounts of Oxycodone sales at two CVS pharmacies in Sanford, Florida. According to federal court documents filed on Friday, the DEA says the pharmacists “filled prescriptions for controlled substances that they knew or should have known were not for a legitimate medical purpose,” noting that the pharmacists remain employed by CVS. The pharmacy chain and its key pharmaceutics supplier, Cardinal Healthcare, filed an injunction against the DEA’s ban on sales of controlled substances by the two pharmacies in February.
“The role of pharmacies in prescription monitoring programs is to provide information (to the state) on prescriptions that are actually filled," DeAngelis tells us. "Our handling of this task from a centralized location unburdens our pharmacies from having to perform this at the store level.” Pharmacists’ lack of access to state prescription drug monitoring databases isn't mentioned in the current litigation.
It didn't take long for someone to produce an addiction-related parody of The Artist, the throwback silent film that took Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director honors at the Oscars. And the clip is just the latest in a growing number of Intervention spoofs to hit the web, including the Funny or Die “Intervention Intervention” sketch that we enjoyed a few weeks ago. “The Artist’s Intervention” [below] charts the harrowing journey of “Jeff” (Paulo Costanzo, of Road Trip fame) who, since seeing the film two weeks prior, has lapsed into a silent, tap-dancing, black-and-white existence, ruining his friendships and his relationship. “I left him last week,” laments his fiancee. “But he didn’t even really seem that upset. He just blew his nose really hard into this cartoonishly large handkerchief, and then he did the Charleston for, like, five minutes straight.” Be forewarned: This subject matter may not be suitable for all viewing audiences.
Anti-drug trafficking grants from the White House paid for cars that plain clothes NYPD officers used to conduct surveillance on Muslim neighborhoods, and for computers that stored trivial information about Muslim college students and mosque events. Since the 9/11 attacks, the Bush and Obama administrations have provided $135 million to the New York and New Jersey region through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program (HIDTA), whose grant program is overseen by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. This is confirmed by the AP through secret police documents and interviews with current and former city and federal officials. However, the Obama administration says it has no control over how the NYPD spends its grant money and that congress isn't provided with a breakdown of activities. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney adds that the White House drug policy office has no authority to direct, manage or supervise law enforcement operations, including NYPD surveillance of Muslims. "This is not an administration program or a White House program," says Carney. "This is the New York Police Department." NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly is unapologetic, claiming that local politicians who questioned NYPD methods are pandering to voters. The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union yesterday called for a federal investigation.
Neil Hope, who starred in the 1980s Canadian dramas Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High and was an alcoholic, was found dead at 35 years old in 2007—but members of his family only discovered this four years after the event. Police and the coroners were originally unable to identify Hope's body after he died in an Ontario boarding house, and he was buried unclaimed in a municipal morgue. Hope played the role of Derek “Wheels” Wheeler in the Degrassi dramas, a character whose series of misfortunes leads him down the road of alcoholism. The show's producers revealed that Hope's character drew largely from Hope himself: his neglectful parents took his earnings from the show to feed their own alcohol habits. He had his own drinking problem by the time Degrassi High finished filming; at the age of just 19, Hope contributed to a public service film about alcoholism. “It's nothing to be ashamed of. Because it's not your fault,” he said, hoping to help other teens growing up in similar circumstances. For the rest of his life he worked odd jobs, unable to recapture his acting career, and ultimately disappeared from the public eye entirely.
The huge human toll of the War on Drugs—47,000 deaths in Mexico and many others in Honduras, for example, which has the highest homicide rate in the world—has some Latin American leaders debating the decriminalization of narcotics. But US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano insists that would be a bad move. “I would not agree with the premise that the drug war is a failure,” she asserts. “It is a continuing effort to keep our peoples from becoming addicted to dangerous drugs.” US and Mexican forces continue their hunt for Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, Mexico's most wanted drug kingpin, who has been at large since 2001; Napolitano notes that it took 10 years of perseverance to capture Osama bin Laden. However Latin American leaders are less optimistic than she is, with many seeking alternative ways to approach the drug problem. “We have to keep open ears and open minds,” says El Salvador's president, Mauricio Funes. “I think decriminalization could deliver a serious hit to the finances of organized crime groups... But we also need to consider how [it] could stimulate consumption among our youth.” The decriminalization issue will be debated in April at the Latin American leaders' summit in Colombia.