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 July, 2006

Australian Man Dead from Ecstasy-PMA

Posted by Childress on July 30, 2006

PMA is back.  The cheap drug is periodically mixed with Ecstasy or sold in place of Ecstasy — with fatal results.  It’s happened again, this time in South Australia:

A man who sold a lethal cocktail of party drugs to a workmate has been jailed for 16 months. Christopher Gurney died shortly after ingesting tablets he bought from Damien Aaron Shaw in November 2004

But the workmate’s death could not be used to justify a harsher penalty, a South Australian District Court judge said today.

Both men believed the tablets had been ecstasy, but later analysis showed they had contained a mix of ecstasy and the hallucinogen PMA.

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Posted in Charges & Trials, Ecstasy | 1 Comment »

Meth Maker Dies of Burns

Posted by Childress on July 30, 2006

From the Toronto Sun, news that the world is a better place; there’s one less meth manufacturer:

A Mississauga man burned by a fire in a suspected residential crystal methamphetamine lab has died.

Jason White, 31, a married father of two originally from Texas, died in hospital late Monday after suffering extensive burns about the body around 8 p.m. Sunday.

A second man, 45, remains in critical condition.

A decent man, a good father, would have never allowed himself to be taken away from his kids. God be with them. But meth dealers are not decent men.

Posted in Meth | 2 Comments »

Ecstasy Killer Gets 14 Months

Posted by Childress on July 30, 2006

The London Mirror reports:

A man who supplied a teenager with the ecstasy that killed him was yesterday jailed for 14 months.

Daniel Lee, 19, had a fit in front of his parents and later died in hospital after a common reaction to the drug.

He had been given the tablet by Michael Hughes, Swansea crown court heard.

Hughes, 24, from Swansea, already had a conviction for possessing cocaine.

After the hearing, Daniel’s dad Hywel said: “Anyone experimenting with ecstasy or thinking about it should think again – the risks are too high. Daniel made a mistake and paid the price.”

Kill with a gun and face serious time; kill with ecstasy and get 14 months.  It hardly seems fair.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Ecstasy | 8 Comments »

A Huffing Death in Wales

Posted by Childress on July 30, 2006

Here’s the story of Helen Coffey, a 14-year-old Welsh girl who died last week from huffing a deodorant spray:

Her sister Dorothy, 21, told how she discovered Helen foaming at the mouth at the family home in Rumney, Cardiff.

She said, ‘Helen never abused substances so she would not have been inhaling in deliberately.

‘When I was getting ready for bed I heard a squeaking noise outsider. Our eight-year- old sister Mary-Rose went to investigate and she found Helen lying on the floor outside the front door of the house.

‘Helen was shaking, foaming at the mouth and her hands were clenched. Helen had a very rapid heartbeat and we tried to put her in the car but she was too heavy.

‘Our dad turned up and we got her in the car to drive her to the nearest police station where they called an ambulance.’

Paramedics examined Helen but she had gone into cardiac arrest with blood coming from her nose and mouth.

The inquest heard paramedics carried out cardiopulmonary resuscitation as they took her to hospital. But she died a week later.

The hearing was told the can of Deofab room spray was found in the bathroom wrapped in tissue paper.

Huffing — inhaling solvents — most often involves kids in their pre-teens or early teens.  Aerosol cans contain butane, which can make you high … and kill you.

It kills more people annually than Ecstasy, according to some sources.  I haven’t posted on it previously simply because I haven’t been including it in my searches.

Posted in Huffing | 3 Comments »

Ecstasy Kills Canadian Teen

Posted by Childress on July 30, 2006

Multiple organ failure — the same painful death that killed Sara and Steven, whose deaths are profiled in the Voice of the Victims films — is the cause of death for a Toronto teen who took Ecstasy:

A probe into the Ecstasy drug death of a 15-year-old Ajax teen has spread across the Greater Toronto Area as police nabbed two teenage girls as they work their way “up the food chain.”

Two girls – aged 15 and 16 – were arrested by Durham Regional Police in raids on homes in Ajax yesterday.

The girls — who cannot be identified because of youth laws — are jointly charged with trafficking in a controlled substance and will likely have a bail hearing over the weekend.

The pair are alleged to have sold Ecstasy pills to the Ajax teen, who died in hospital from multiple organ failure and other complications July 19 — four days after she collapsed and fell into a coma, police said.

Police cautioned drug users in the area to avoid yellow ecstasy tabs with musical notes printed on them. 

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

Ecstasy Suspected in Wales Death

Posted by Childress on July 30, 2006

From the Press Association of Wales:

A 22-year-old man who died after visiting a nightclub had taken Ecstasy, detectives believe.

Darran Baker, of Burwell, Cambridgeshire, died following a night out in Newmarket, Suffolk.

Police said today that they believed Mr Baker had taken Ecstasy but did not know whether the drug had caused his death.

A coroner’s inquiry will answer the question.

Posted in Ecstasy | Leave a Comment »

Erica Hicks Murder Trial Update

Posted by Childress on July 30, 2006

The trial of a 16-year-old boy for the death of South Carolina teen Erica Hicks is proceeding, with details of the girl’s final hours hitting public record.  The Raleigh (NC) News and Record reports:

Wake County prosecutors said … the defendant had been providing drugs, including cocaine, to the victim during the 24-hour period before her death.

“He gave her coke the night before,” Wake Assistant District Attorney Melanie Shekita said. “He gave her drugs throughout the the following day starting at mid-afternoon.”

Hicks went into convulsions at the defendant’s home before midnight on Oct. 2.

Defense attorneys are taking a not unexpected course: Blaming water, not drugs. Yup. Despite arguing that it’s impossible to tell whether it was coke or ecstasy or some other drug that killed Hicks, the defense attorney also argued that it was water that killed Hicks.  Drinking too much of it, of course.

That’s like arguing it’s the phone pole that killed the drunk driver, not the alcohol that wrecked his perception and caused him to black out.

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

Ecstasy, Ketamine Kill 13-year-old in China

Posted by Childress on July 30, 2006

Police in the Chinese city of Mongkok, a part of Kowloon, Hong Kong, have raided discos, made arrests and siezed drugs following the death of 13-year-old Chek Wai-yin.  The girl allegedly took a mixture of Ecstasy and ketamine before she collapsed and died on Wednesday.

The South China Morning Post reports:

Wai-yin went to a disco in Mongkok Road with a 20-year-old female friend shortly before 1am, said police.

Before dawn, she complained of dizziness and left the disco with her friend, taking a rest outside a public toilet in Mongkok Road.

“The pair then walked to Canton Road, Mongkok, where they took a rest again. The girl subsequently collapsed there and her friend called police at 6.15am,” a police spokesman said.

The girl was declared dead before arrival at Kwong Wah Hospital.

“Initial investigations showed that she did indeed take some recreational drug at the disco,” a police source said. The source added it appeared to be a mixture of ketamine and Ecstasy but it was not known how much of the drugs the girl had taken. …

“I hope this tragic incident can send a strong message to young people that drugs not only harm their health but can kill them,” said the head of the Customs Drug Investigation Bureau, Ben Leung Lun-cheung.

One hopes ….

Posted in Ecstasy, Ketamine | 2 Comments »

Brit Ravers Risk Liquid Meth Death

Posted by Childress on July 22, 2006

Here’s a disturbing news item from The Sun (UK):

BRITISH clubbers are dancing with death by unwittingly taking killer drug Crystal Meth.

Dealers in rave capital Ibiza are selling the Class A narcotic by claiming it is less harmfulecstasy.

Scores of youngsters have collapsed in the past week after being duped.

One clubber on the Spanish isle admitted: “I am worried someone will end up dying.”

Tests on Brits who nearly died have proved positive for the drug, which costs less to produce than ecstasy. But just a few grams can prove fatal.

London’s Bromley Hospital has treated sufferers who reported racing heart beats, hallucinations and terrifying nightmares. One victim said: “It was the scariest experience ever.”

Collapsing, nearly dying, worrying — but partying on.  Don’t count on drug users to make sound judgments, no matter how much “safe use” information is given them.

 And don’t trust drug dealers to do anything but put their interests first.

Posted in Ecstasy, Meth | 2 Comments »

Drugs Linked To Houston Murders

Posted by Childress on July 22, 2006

Four years after Rachael Koloroutis and Tiffany Rowell, both 18; Marcus Precella, 19, and Adelbert Sanchez, 21, were bludgeoned and shot to death in the Houston suburb of Clear Lake, police have arrested one suspect and are hunting another.

And they have a motive, says the Houston Chronicle

Police had said the killings were likely drug-related and that Precella owed money for drugs he sold. Precella, who worked part-time as a waiter, began selling the drugs he and his friends used to other friends, police have said. The drugs were identified as Ecstasy, Xanax, cocaine and marijuana.

Sanchez, Precella’s cousin, also sold drugs, according to police.

Police have one suspect in custody and are looking for Chris Snider, who may be in Louisville or North Carolina.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Marijuana | 2 Comments »

“Self Medicating” Leads to Two Deaths

Posted by Childress on July 19, 2006

Rollie Morgan was self-medicating, his father said.

“These pills, marijuana and beer will just take you down the tubes.  Those things made him into something I didn’t recognize.”

What sort of things?  Horrible things:

Only seconds before he died, Rollie Morgan ran into his house carrying the .22-caliber rifle his father, Richard, futilely tried to wrestle away hours earlier.

The 18-year-old told his father: “I just shot Tara. We need to take her to the hospital.”

Morgan reloaded the rifle and sprinted to the car where his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Tara Lowery-Stevens, 19, lay wounded, if not dead.

As his father watched, Morgan fired at least nine more shots into her head and upper body through the shattered passenger-side window.

He then sat behind the steering wheel and looked toward the body. “I love you, Tara,” he said.

Morgan placed the rifle between his feet, inserted the muzzle in his mouth, reached down and pulled the trigger.

Rollie was definitely a troubled kid.  But what he needed was help and professionally prescribed medications.  What he opted for was self-medication:  drugs and booze.

Bad choice. 

His dad has a wish:

“I hope other kids learn from mine.”

Posted in Alcohol, Charges & Trials, Marijuana, Prescription drugs | 7 Comments »

Rhabdomyolysis: An Ecstasy Death

Posted by Childress on July 19, 2006

A medical inquest into the death of a South Wales young man who died after taking Ecstasy has revealed that a chemical reaction unrelated to the size of the dose caused his death.

The story reminds me of what happened to Sara and Steven, whose tragic deaths are told on the Voice of the Victims films.  Those deaths involved the ecstasy substitute PMA, but the symptoms were quite similar.

From the Press Association:

A drug expert warned today that ecstasy is a killer which can trigger a fatal blood poisoning in an unknown number of users.Professor Robert Forrest, an expert in forensic chemistry, spoke out to highlight the danger after the death of a south Wales teenager.

Daniel Lee, 19, of Sketty, Swansea, collapsed at home and was rushed to hospital unconscious after taking the drug, an inquest heard today.

He died in April last year, more than a week after collapsing, never having regained consciousness. …

Earlier [Forrest] had heard that the teenager’s organ failure had been so chronic his body had lost almost all ability to remove the drug from his system.

Blood samples taken a week after his collapse indicated the drug was taking five days to be cleansed from his system instead of the normal eight hours. …

The inquest heard that Daniel had died of brain swelling brought on by liver failure as a result of taking ecstasy.

It heard his parents had no suspicion their son was taking drugs but seven ecstasy tablets were found hidden at their home while Daniel was in hospital.

A report to the inquest by Prof Forrest highlighted how ecstasy in some users can trigger a fatal illness.

It said the teenager had developed a condition known as rhabdomyolysis which is linked to blood toxicity.

Its symptoms include prolonged fits and high temperatures and the leaking of a chemical in the muscles into the blood stream.

The molecules in the chemical are so large it cannot pass the kidneys, lodging in the small blood vessels in the kidney and causing liver failure.

Prof Forrest said that he could only give an educated guess as to how many ecstasy tablets Daniel had taken, but he thought it would have been more than two and fewer than 10.

He said it was unknown why some people develop a fatal illness when taking just a “normal” dose of the MDMA drug, ecstasy.

“It is not dose related, the ingestion of only one or two tablets can trigger the syndrome in some individuals,” he warned.

“It is unfortunately the case that a significant number of individuals have died with a mode of death very similar to that documented in Mr Lee’s case.”

Posted in Ecstasy | Leave a Comment »

Heroin Doesn’t Always Kill Scummy Junkies

Posted by Childress on July 19, 2006

Here’s a sad story out of New Jersey via the Passaic County Herald News that paints a different picture of heroin overdoses.  This isn’t a story of some guy living on the street, lost to his family, stealing to support his habit.

A young man’s battle with drug addiction ended tragically this week, police said… .

Christopher Loeffler apparently injected heroin at his family’s home on Sunday, after looking bright-eyed and healthy moments before, his father said.

On Tuesday, Loeffler’s loved ones gathered to remember the outgoing 20-year-old man who graduated from the township’s high school last year.

“He’d been battling this thing for about a couple of years off and on,” Robert Loeffler said of his son’s drug addiction. “We couldn’t tell for sure when he was using. Lately, we thought he had turned a corner. But that’s the life of an addict.” …

A wake was to be held today for Loeffler, who turned 20 this month. He had started working as a technician for a Lincoln Park filter company in June and enjoyed weightlifting and spending time with his friends and family, his father said.

On Tuesday, friends spent the afternoon in the family’s living room putting together a memorial for today’s viewing at the M. John Scanlan Funeral Home.

“He was a very social person and made friends all over the place,” his father said. “He was a fun-loving spirit and everyone’s going to miss him. For now, we’re all just holding together as best as we can.”

Please say a prayer for the Loeffler family.  Their loss must be overwhelming.

Posted in Heroin | 4 Comments »

Marijuana Stars in Many Crimes

Posted by Childress on July 15, 2006

I don’t usually search for marijuana-related crimes, but today I did the Nexis search, “marijuana AND death OR murder” and what I found was shocking.

In just one week of English-language news coverage, this search generated 315 hits. Granted, many represent different stories on the same subject, and a few detail research studies, not actual crimes. 

But even so, the tale is shocking.  Here are just a few of the stories unearthed by this search:

Suspect in murders of five has long arrest record

Dyleski trial site won’t be moved (the trial of a 17 year old charged in the murder of the wife of a prominent attorney)

Authorities:  Georgia student shot in drug deal

Suspected in an act of evil; Man who police say blew smoke from drug in face of infant son to quiet him is charged in the child’s death

Variety of witnesses say Olsen fessed up (to murdering a teenage girl)

Teenager will get 30 years for killing (she was one of three teen charged in the murder of a 62 year old grandmother; all three were pot users)

Man admits to 2003 killing; victim found in burning car in Kenner (pot deal gone bad)

New York man charged in “shaken baby” death of son

Family man, addict, prisoner

Killer gets life; family of victim still hurts

Man charged in revenge killing

Gun didn’t fire right, driver says:  But it still fired, and killed teen

Police ID body found under bridge

Gunman in trooper’s death sentenced to life

Brother: Fatal chase out of character

Needing money, drug dealer turned against people he knew

Life sentence brings little comfort

Man arrested in fatal overdose

Jacksonville man’s murder trial begins

Car jumps curb; strikes and kills 9 year old cyclist

Fatal details emerge in mobile home fire

College athlete found dead in trunk of car

Pettis gets life in prison

Hattiesburg suspect in deaths still at large

Man charged with killing mom has long drug history

Terrell Hills slaying goes to trial

Former Henry basketball player gets life without parole for 2004 murder

Mouchett’s car, gun linked to murder

Feds indict man in 1997 Lincoln double homicide

Death row inmate moved; retrial set

Family faced threat by son

Last screams of Briton stabbed by rape gang

Former Rapids man found dead in jail

Former Fresno State basketball player sentenced to life in prison for murder

Brazen drug dealer jailed for four years

Dope link to violent deaths

RCMP search for suspect after 2 Saskatchewan Mounties shot in police pursuit

Fugitive’s arrest re-opens murder case for ex-sheriff

Multiple stabbing nets 15 years

Probation for student in traffic fatality

Muncie man pleas guilty to shooting

Woman will be tried in heroin user’s death

Supreme Court upholds conviction in death of Reno police officer

That’s one week’s worth stories.  One week.  In each one of them, marijuana played a role.

In some, early marijuana led the way to a life of drugs and crime.  In others, killers were high on marijuana.  In others, people killed for marijuana.

Often overlooked as a minor drug, marijuana has major consequences.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Marijuana | 6 Comments »

Ecstasy Tagged in Another Murder

Posted by Childress on July 15, 2006

Here’s a tragic story about a girl in a bad situation made much worse from her decision to take drugs. From the Hartford Courant:

She stayed in her room for two days straight, sleeping and waking, crying and screaming. Paralyzed by flashbacks and fear, she was unable to rise from the very bed where, she says, her brother’s friend raped her.But her presence — in the form of toys, birthday cards and pictures of her family — still trims the walls and mismatched furniture. The 17-year-old’s blond, crystal-eyed dolls and stuffed animals clutter the bed and bright-pink desk. Names of relatives and her middle name “Abigail” are written in lively, skinny black script on her door and mirror. …

This is where Elsie played reggaeton and bachata on her CD player, chilled with her friends. This is also where she sometimes shared a bed with her sister Gloria — the youngest of her eight siblings, whose hair she combed and who she sometimes pretended was her daughter.

Now, Elsie sleeps in a cell at York Correctional Institution in Niantic, charged with murder. For on the day Elsie emerged from her room after those 48 hours of weeping and solitude, police say, she and two boys from her building went for a walk and plunged a knife into the heart of a man they bumped into on the street.

By all accounts, Elsie and her friends didn’t know Jaroslaw Sawicki. The 34-year-old man was “some Polish guy” who happened to walk by them on his way home from a bar that chilly January night, according to police reports.

What triggered the altercation is unclear. No robbery, no drugs or gang turf, no previous interaction between victim and alleged attackers, police say. Maybe Sawicki picked a fight with them. Maybe Elsie and her friends did the instigating. Maybe Elsie was too high on Ecstasy and prescription painkillers to know what she was doing, as she claimed in a letter she later wrote from jail.

I’d say Elsie knows best on this one.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Ecstasy, Prescription drugs | Leave a Comment »