The Drug Report

Facts about what can go wrong when people use drugs

  • The Best Drug Info Ever?

    A big part of my inspiration for The Drug Report was Beth Pearce's amazing film, VOICE OF THE VICTIMS: TRUE STORIES OF ECSTASY AND KETAMINE. The film simply lets the victims of drug tragedies tell their stories. It's real life, it's undeniable, and it's incredibly powerful. I'm sure Beth has saved many, many lives, and it is my hope that this blog will do so as well. To learn more about her film, go to Voice Of The Victims.

    FACTS ARE FACTS

    A friend of mine likes to say, "You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts."

    When it comes to drugs, there are lots of opinions out there: Some think drugs are safe and fun, some think they're dangerous and frightening, and many think everything in between.

    But facts are facts, and when someone dies from drugs, or someone is murdered by a person who is on drugs, or is raped by someone who has given them drugs, that's just a fact. Drug users who actively promote drug use rail against these facts, and I expect they'll be commenting regularly on The Drug Report. But they can't change the facts.

Archive for the ‘Meth’ Category

Wyoming Sees More Child Deaths

Posted by Childress on June 27, 2006

Officials in Wyoming are puzzled by a recent increase in deaths of children and teens, and at least one state official says the increase may be the result of meth use in the state.  From AP:

A national report on child well-being showed a significant increase in the number of child deaths in Wyoming, placing the state next to last in that category.

Using data from 2003, the annual Kids Count report showed Wyoming with 37 deaths for every 100,000 children between the ages of 1 and 14, up from 27 deaths per 100,000 in 2000. Infant and teen deaths are counted separately. …

Marilyn Patton, administrator of protective services for the Wyoming Department of Family Services, said the state’s growing methamphetamine problem may also be contributing to the rise in child deaths.

“The abuse deaths in recent years, over 50 percent of them have been related to meth use by their parents,” Patton said.

Think about that for a moment.  Over half the kids in Wyoming who are killed by abusive parents live in meth-using households.  Add in what’s probably another high number — kids killed by alcohol-abusing parents — and you’re looking at some very troubling impacts of drugs on our society.

Posted in Alcohol, Meth | Leave a Comment »

“Promise Thrown Away”

Posted by Childress on June 24, 2006

In early June, parents who had lost their children to drugs gathered in Washington DC for a candlelight vigil to honor their children … and warn others.

The Washington Post ran an article on the vigil, which you can read here.  Unfortunately, the article focuses exclusively on cocaine.

Parents at the Vigil had many more stories to tell: Kids who died from ecstasy and GHB, from prescription drugs and over the counter cold medicines, from meth.  It's too bad the Post didn't report the whole story.

Posted in Cocaine, Ecstasy, Meth, Prescription drugs | Leave a Comment »

Meth Death Mistrial: Now What?

Posted by Childress on June 24, 2006

The jury in the Amy Leanne Prien case deadlocked 6-6 on whether the meth-addicted mom murdered her toddler with meth-laced breastmilk.

Courtesy of AP, here's the story from Riverside CA:

Prosecutors will decide whether to retry a woman accused of killing her baby by nursing with methamphetamine-laced breast milk after a jury deadlocked on murder charges and a judge declared a mistrial.The jury stalemated 6-6 Thursday in the murder case against Amy Leanne Prien, said Ingrid Wyatt, spokeswoman for the Riverside County district attorney's office.

"It was a very difficult case with complicated issues involved," Wyatt said.

Prien, who is currently serving a 10-year sentence for felony child endangerment, would have faced 15 years to life if she had been convicted. The jury got the case June 15 after a 2 1/2-month trial.

The story reports that prosecuters are leaning towards a retrial, even as Prien's attorneys have filed a $10 million civil suit against the prosecutors.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Meth | Leave a Comment »

How To Buy “No More Sunsets”

Posted by Childress on June 22, 2006

I received this email from Shawn Bridges' brother.  Shawn's the dying meth addict who is allowing his failing health to be filmed in the moving "No More Sunsets," which I posted on earlier.

If you are still trying to get a copy of the tape you can call Chip at Rossetti Productions at 618/922-6063 or send a check or money order of $20 to Chip Rossetti. 1400 Chestnut, Marion, IL 62959

I am Shawn's Brother we have a myspace site for Shawn; it is http://www.myspace.com/shawnbridges

Shawn would like to get emails about how his story is helping people or letters though mail. shawn_bridges@sbcglobal.net
Shawn Bridges
c/o Jack Bridges
554 Woodbine PL
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

Thanking you for talking about his story and helping us get it out to the people.

And thank Shawn and his family for letting this very personal and powerful story be told!

Posted in Meth | 1 Comment »

Baby Drug Death Case Goes To Jury

Posted by Childress on June 19, 2006

Amy Leanne Prien's fate now lies in the hands of a jury.  Unfortunately, her infant son Jacob's fate was entirely in hers. She is accused of killing Jacob by breast-feeding him meth-laced mother's milk.  From the Riverside (CA) Press-Enterprise:

During closing statements, Supervising Deputy District Attorney Allison Nelson reminded jurors of testimony from Amy Leanne Prien's friends, who said Prien used methamphetamine during her entire pregnancy and after her son, Jacob Smith, was born.

"She continued to breast-feed that baby because she didn't care," Nelson said. "She was responsible to protect him, to protect him. The choices the defendant made cost him his life."

Prien used methamphetamine for 10 to 15 years and sold it to others, the prosecutor said. …

In 2003, Prien was convicted and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Her conviction was overturned last year, but a state appeals court did not bar prosecutors from retrying Prien. Her retrial began in April.

The blood tests showed Prien's levels were 471, within the potentially lethal range, he said, which spans from 40 to 5,000.

Her defense attorney placed the blame on Jacob, saying the infant might have licked the meth off bedsheets.  And how did the meth get on the sheets?

Posted in Charges & Trials, Meth | 2 Comments »

“No More Sunsets”

Posted by Childress on June 10, 2006

His movie career is doomed to not go too far … and that's just what he wants.

Shawn Bridges is a meth addict who is dying from his addiction.  Here's his dad:

I'd say he's got a 34-year-old body on the outside with 70- to 80-year-old man on the inside.

Bridges is letting his dying days be filmed so others can see first hand what meth can do to a healthy young man and avoid repeating the mistake he, and so many others, have made.  The resulting film is called "No More Sunsets."

Here's excerpts from a powerful story in the Washington Post:

By his family's account, Bridges already died twice, his heart so ravaged by meth over the years that it stopped and had to be shocked back into beating. "The bottom half of his heart is dead," his dad laments on camera. …

Bridges' life now isn't much. Largely bedridden, his constant companions are the catheter that funnels the urine out of his body and the feeding tube sticking from his stomach.

When he does speak, it's in guttural slurs. "Ahmmmmmmm collllllllllllllllllllllld," Shawn, dressed in boxer shorts and sweat socks, said recently from a hospital-style bed wedged into his father's living room. His dad hustled to blanket him. …

"It just really hurts seeing him the way he is," [his brother] says in the documentary, wiping away tears. "As soon as he knows he's done good, he'll be able to go home."

This film may help many people, just as the Voice of the Victims films have helped kids better understand club drugs.  More power to Shawn for realizing that even though he'd messed up his life badly, he had a chance to end it well before meeting his Maker.

The film is supposed to be available through its production company.  I'm having trouble finding ordering information, but you can view a powerful trailer for the film here.

Posted in Meth | 3 Comments »

Typical Tragedy

Posted by Childress on June 7, 2006

This sad, tragic story is all too typical.  Boy gives drugs to girl.  Girl starts reacting badly.  Boy thinks more about getting in trouble than saving lives.  Girl dies.  Boy goes to court, and probably jail. 

From the Raleigh NC News and Observer:

A Wake County judge ruled Tuesday that the murder trial of a teenager accused of supplying a lethal dose of drugs to his friend will be held in juvenile court.

That means the case will continue to be heard in a closed courtroom and the public will not hear testimony about what led to the Oct. 3 death of 16-year-old Erica Hicks.

A junior at Southeast Raleigh High, Hicks died from a mixture of cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy, according to an autopsy. Police charged the boy, who is now 16, with second-degree murder in January. His name has not been released because he was 15 when charged.

Cary police on Friday released 911 tapes and transcripts that show the boy spoke with emergency dispatchers about 11:30 p.m. Oct. 1 but told operators that his younger sister had placed the call by mistake and there was no emergency. Prosecutors maintain Hicks was in physical distress at the time of the first call.

About 30 minutes after the 911 call, the boy went to a neighbor's home. He told his neighbor that Hicks was having seizures but instructed the neighbor not to call police, according to the tapes. However, the neighbor did call 911 shortly after midnight Oct. 2.

Kids, call the police if someone is suffering ill effects from drugs.  Your choice is to save a life or maybe get in a bit of trouble.  This isn't a tough choice.

In the Young Adult edition of the Voice of the Victims films, this story is told forcefully.  You'll see the story of Sara who died because the guy who gave her Ecstasy didn't do call for help for eight hours.  You'll hear cops say it's ok to call, do call, please.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Ecstasy, Meth, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

50 Meth Deaths in Stockton Area

Posted by Childress on June 5, 2006

California's San Joaquin County, just south of Sacramento, is seeing a big increase in meth use … and meth deaths, according to this AP report:

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) Methamphetamine killed 50 San Joaquin County residents last year, more than any other illegal drug, a county coroner's report said.

Heroin, which killed 15 people in the county between 2004 and 2005, has been second to methamphetamine for four straight years, the coroner said.

County drug treatment programs have seen demand quadruple in the past five years due to meth, officials said.

"Meth is undercover in so many ways," said Gospel Center Rescue Mission drug counselor Joseph Tabangcura. "It's hiding behind violence. It's hiding behind the gangs."

Posted in Meth, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Meth Mouth and Budgets

Posted by Childress on June 4, 2006

Tammy (a couple posts down) may have avoided the ravages of "meth mouth," but most don't.  This AP article out of Seatlle makes an interesting tie between meth, rotten teeth and lives of crime:

About 40 percent of the state's annual dental budget for prisoners in Washington goes toward repairing or removing teeth ravaged by methamphetamine.

That's about $5 million out of the Washington Department of Corrections' $12 million dollar inmate dental budget.

Dr. Mike Morton, who runs the Corrections Department's dental services, estimates that more than 30 percent of the state's 17,000 prison inmates suffer severe tooth decay because of meth use.

"It just mows the teeth down. It's like a wildfire in a forest," Dr. Bart Johnson, associate professor in the University of Washington's School of Dentistry, told The Seattle Times for a story published Saturday. "It can ruin a beautiful mouth in a very short period of time."

Posted in Meth | Leave a Comment »

HIV Patient: Ecstasy, Meth to Blame

Posted by Childress on June 4, 2006

When Andrew "D'Andre" Gonzales dies of AIDS, his death will not be attributed to Ecstasy and meth, and supporters of those drugs will not count him among the victims.

But Gonzales does.

In a San Jose (CA) Mercury News article today, Gonzales is profiled, and it's clear to see where he places the blame for his HIV:

"I knew I was going to get it. I was living a life of risk and not caring,'' Gonzales said in an interview at Bay Positives, a San Francisco drop-in center for HIV-positive youths.

The San Jose native, diagnosed with HIV in 2001, used crystal meth and the club drug ecstasy during an adolescence so turbulent that his parents placed him in a residential program for out-of-control teens. He knew what could happen if he had unprotected sex with men, he said, but the drugs wrecked his judgment.

For many, drugs are a part of the clubbing lifestyle, whether that lifestyle is gay or straight.  Gonzales now watches from the sidelines and worries.

"Now I see younger kids doing what I was doing. If I could take it back, I would.  But there's no use sitting here and feeling sorry for myself.''

Posted in Ecstasy, Meth | Leave a Comment »

Meth Mom Afraid to Leave Prison

Posted by Childress on June 4, 2006

The emerging picture of the meth addict — scarred face, rotting teeth, twitching, twitching, twitching — is sort of like the old picture of the child molester — creepy, out of place, an obvious lecher. 

Many speed addicts are more like Tammy Howard, who's profiled today in the Columbus (OH) Dispatch.  Here's what they say:

In 15 years of meth use, she never felt the worst of what the drug offers, she said.

She didn’t suffer the infected sores caused by "meth bugs," the itches and twitches under the skin that cannot be satisfied.

She never went days without sleep. She never experienced the dramatic weight loss that is so common because the drug makes food seem unnecessary.

And she kept her teeth. Often, the chemicals in the drug strip the enamel and cause rot and infection in the gums.

She counts herself among the lucky.

But her meth use was not without consequences. Her 21 year old son, with whom she smoked the meth she brewed at home from cough medicines, is in jail and her six year old daughter is being raised by others.

She's lost her home, her car and her job. And she's gained an addiction that worries her as her one-year prison sentence for meth-making wraps up.  She's not at all sure she'll be able to stay clean:

Howard said that given the chance for early release she’ll likely pass it up. "I’m gonna wait until I can get it together," she said. "Somehow." She sits in silence. "Yeah," she says finally, "I’ll go home. Somehow."

All this tragedy for the pick-me-up meth offered her. 

Posted in Charges & Trials, Meth, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Aussies #1 in Ecstasy Use

Posted by Childress on June 3, 2006

A "culture of acceptance" has led to Australia becoming the world leader in per capita Ecstasy use, and second in global meth use.  From The Advertiser

National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre figures … showed in the past year, 500,000 Australians used amphetamines – including ecstasy – with 73,000 of them now dependent on the drug.  Up to 66 per cent of users also took the more potent crystalline form, called ice.

The inquiry heard a United Nations study put Australians at the top of the international list for the consumption of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, per head of population and second for amphetamine, or speed, use.

"We have developed a culture of acceptance of these types of harmful substances," NSW drug squad Det-Insp Paul Willingham told the inquiry into synthetic drugs.

That may explain why there have been 110 Ecstasy-related deaths in Australia in the last three years.

Posted in Ecstasy, Meth | Leave a Comment »

Drug DUIs on the Rise

Posted by Childress on June 1, 2006

Thanks to Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other activists, drunk driving arrests and fatalities are down.  But drug DUI's are up, the LA Times reports:

Russ Clark, a motorcycle officer with the Long Beach police, says he's arrested "potheads, hard-core methamphetamine addicts, even nurses and doctors under the influence of drugs."

In his pursuit of law-breaking motorists, the 26-year veteran of the department has pulled over weaving vehicles thick with marijuana smoke and drivers so high "they were moving in slow motion." "It was like right out of a Cheech and Chong movie," he says.

He's snared twitching meth addicts driving erratically and motorists so wasted on muscle relaxers they could hardly stand.

While incidences of drunk driving have declined over the years, thanks in part to organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, driving under the influence of drugs has increased, reports Marilyn Huestis at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Rockville, Md.

To battle the problem, researchers are scrambling to develop uniform procedures that would allow police to easily screen motorists suspected of being under the influence of drugs. 

Australia — where Ecstasy use is on the upswing, as are Ecstasy-related emergency room visits — and Europe are way ahead of us on getting contol of "drugged driving."  Read the article if you're interested in more details. 

Posted in Alcohol, Charges & Trials, Ecstasy, Marijuana, Meth, Prescription drugs | 1 Comment »

Two More Lives Ruined by Meth

Posted by Childress on May 31, 2006

Here's a shocking, but classic, good kid turned bad story — and not surprisingly, it all focuses around meth.  From the Regina (Canada) Leader.

Drug addiction led a former high school athlete, volunteer and Big Brother into a terrible downward spiral that culminated in him setting fire to another man during a crystal meth-induced rage, a Regina Court of Queen's Bench judge heard Tuesday.

Justice Ellen Gunn said William Henry White, 23, had once been what every mother could hope for in a son: A bright, ambitious student who participated in numerous sports and was editor of his school paper before going on to join the Big Brother program to help youths in need. Court heard White was to begin training as a volunteer in the palliative care unit of a Saskatoon hospital, but drugs got in the way.

It started with cocaine in 2001, escalating to a crystal-meth addiction that remained with him until Sept. 21, 2005, when he doused Tommy Dykes, now 26, with gasoline and set fire to him at the door of the victim's Regina home.

White, who had no previous criminal record, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault Tuesday and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Crown prosecutor Constance Hottinger said the two men, each of whom used crystal meth, were involved in a conflict sometime on Sept. 20 at Dykes's home in the 2700 block of Argyle Street.

Following the altercation, White left with a friend. He returned just after midnight on Sept. 21, high on crystal meth and armed with gasoline he'd gotten from an acquaintance.

When Dykes answered the door, White immediately threw the gas on him, then used a lighter to set the man on fire. White fled, leaving a screaming Dykes and someone else at the house to try to put out the fire.

Neighbours who were awakened by the agonized screams called 9-1-1. Dykes's injuries were considered life-threatening and he spent several months in an Edmonton burn unit, undergoing numerous surgeries, including skin grafts, to treat the third-degree burns that covered more than half of his body.

"He will suffer permanently from these injuries …," said Hottinger in court. "He will be disfigured to some extent forever."

Defence lawyer Pat Reis outlined his client's past and the situation that led to the September incident while White and several supporters listened solemnly. Reis said White was concerned for the family he was staying with, worried that Dykes was planning on harming them.

At the time of the incident, White was heavily under the influence of crystal meth, said Reis, using as much as three to five grams per day.

Dykes' sentence is permanent disfigurement.  White's is four years.  It doesn't seem fair.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Meth | 1 Comment »

“I Undid Everything Good”

Posted by Childress on May 30, 2006

Barbara Dehl was once famous for her crusade against dating violence, a worthy cause if ever there was one.  She was spurred in the effort by the death of her daughter, who died in a car driven by her drunk boyfriend.  So this is the story of a good woman gone bad.

By her own admission, it was meth that caused the change:  "In a matter of a two-week period, I undid everything good in my life and I feel terrible about that," she said in an Idaho court, hoping for a lenient sentence in a case involving meth distribution, kidnapping and murder (she wasn't charged in the murder).

Dehl was sentenced to 15 years, more than double what was expected.  It's a complex story; here's a summary:

Friday's sentencing was the culmination of a seven-hour hearing that lasted two days and included detailed testimony from Dehl about her role in the kidnapping and violent interrogation of two teenagers suspected of a theft of jewelry, money and drugs that prosecutors now say Dehl fabricated.

During the interrogation, in which the teens were threatened with a gun and hacksaw, suspicion shifted to 22-year-old John Schmeichel, who [Dehl's boyfriend Larry] Hanslovan and Ronald Huntsman later picked up in Dehl's car before Huntsman fatally shot Schmeichel in the face while Hanslovan drove the car down Interstate 84.

Huntsman has been found guilty of first-degree murder and is scheduled to be sentenced in August. Hanslovan was sentenced Tuesday to 18 years in prison for selling drugs and for his role in the teens' kidnapping.

Dehl pled guilty to drug and kidnapping charges.  Read the entire account at The Idaho Statesman

Posted in Charges & Trials, Meth | 1 Comment »

 
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