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 ‘Alcohol’ Category

“I Made a Mess of Myself”

Posted by Childress on October 21, 2006

Of all the drugs covered in The Drug Report none is as potentially lethal as alcohol.  Long-term it can kill by attacking the liver; short-term it can cause comas and death.

And then there’s the tried and true way alcohol kills — the drunk driving crash.  Here’s a story that’s poignant and all too comment, from The State (Columbia SC):

The Pelion High School auditorium was still as Brandon Silveria described how his life changed after he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his car into a tree in 1987 after drinking with friends.

He was in a coma for several months and then had to relearn how to swallow, walk, talk and think. He has permanent brain damage that causes violent seizures and memory problems.

“I made a mess out of myself by making a stupid choice,” he said. …

Halfway through the presentation, they showed a video featuring pictures of Brandon Silveria from before the accident and his recovery.

Silveria was a senior in high school at the time and had just learned he would receive a full athletics scholarship to Boston College, Tony Silveria said. He was popular, dated a beautiful girl, played football and enjoyed surfing with his friends.

Tony Silveria encouraged the teens to consider not only how their choices would affect their lives, but how they would change their families’ lives.

To date, Brandon Silveria’s medical bills total at least $3 million, his father said.

Brandon and his dad now tour the country talking to high school kids?  They listen to his brain-injured voice, described as sounding like a tape recording on slow and think, “What if it were me?”

Scare tactics?  No, I’d call it reality tactics.

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Posted in Alcohol | 1 Comment »

Drugs Lead to Coma and a New Life

Posted by Childress on October 13, 2006

Corey Haughn has the unfortunate job of being the poster boy for everything that’s wrong with taking massive amounts of drugs and alcohol.  He speaks (as well as he can) to kids, begging them not to follow in his footsteps (or wheel chair tracks).

Here’s what he took, according to the Tulsa World:  more than 20 tablets of Xanax, countless bottles of liquor and several doses of methadone over a three-day period .  Corey says he wasn’t trying to kill himself, rather:

“I was just working on a ‘really good’ high.”

Aaarrgggh!  How come so many kids think it’s just fine to take such an insane amount of drugs? 

Here’s what Corey’s life is like today:

“I wasn’t supposed to come out of that coma. I was supposed to be brain dead,” Haughn said. “Once I woke up, doctors said I would be lucky to have the brain capacity of a lizard.”

A drug-induced stroke had caused his coma, his family realized, and the journey to recovery was going to be a tough one.

Today, the now 20-year-old is partially paralyzed and lives in a Glenpool nursing home. He wheels himself around in his wheelchair.

He dresses like any other young man his age: Jeans, green-and-white striped golf shirt, sports shoes.

He looks people in the eye when he speaks to them, but he speaks softly. His handshake is confident but without force.

When he speaks, he struggles to breathe and sometimes wheezes. Verbalizing his thoughts takes longer than it used to.

If you doubt this description, watch the clip of Erin Rose at Voice of the Victims.  And consider this — it was one “normal” dose of Ketamine that put Erin into her coma — not a three-day-long dope-and-booze-athon.

Please, please buy the two Voice of the Victims videos.  It’s only $25 for the set, and it is the best tool you can find.

Posted in Alcohol, Ketamine, Methadone | Leave a Comment »

Warning to Brit Vodka Drinkers!

Posted by Childress on September 15, 2006

Funny how things work out … just the other day I made a point about alcohol being safe, medically at least, because of rigorous control over its manufacture.  Now this:

British drinkers have been warned to look out for illegal bottles of vodka that could blind or kill, the Sun newspaper reports.

A bottle of Kremlin Vodka with sixteen times the recommended maximum amount of methanol was found on sale at a provincial shop the paper said. Trading Standards officers fear it is available across the North West and urged consumers to contact them if they come across it.

Methanol is a toxic chemical often used in bootleg liquor. Even moderate amounts can kill and initial effects may include drowsiness, inebriation. Delayed symptoms include blindness.

Kremlin Vodka comes in 1-litre clear glass bottles with a picture of the Kremlin on a red label and marked 37.5% vol, Bottled in Russia.

Be forewarned!

Posted in Alcohol | 2 Comments »

Gay Drug Party Ends in Death

Posted by Childress on September 4, 2006

The following article from the Glascow Evening Times blames David Steel’s death on Ecstasy, but it’s clear that there was much more at work within his body when he died.

A GLASGOW addiction psychiatrist has been accused of hosting a drug and drink fuelled gay party during which a man died.

Dr Clint Tatchell, 37, allegedly wrote a prescription for the tranquilliser Diazepam then misled police by tidying up his flat after David Steel, a former Mr Gay Glasgow, was found dead in his bed.

A General Medical Council fitness-to-practise hearing in London was told Mr Steel’s body was discovered at Dr Tatchell’s flat in Glasgow on September 21, 2003. Mr. Steel, 30, of the city’s Ingram Street, who died of an ecstasy overdose, had also taken heroin, cocaine and Diazepam in a binge that began two days before.

Dafydd Enoch, for the GMC, told the hearing: “The party was not just fuelled by drink, although there was vodka, beer, champagne and alcopops drunk. We say it was fuelled by drugs, certainly in Mr Steel’s case.

“Dr Tatchell orchestrated a thorough tidy up of the flat before police arrived following Mr Steel’s death. He had just found a dead body in his bed, he must have realised he should have touched nothing. What did he have to hide?”

The insane irony of this story is that Tatchell is an addiction psychiatrist.  He therefore knows professionally the effects of this much drug-taking.  If I were the prosecutor, I would go for whatever the English equivalent of first degree murder is, because the case can be made that he had knowledge and forethought.

Posted in Alcohol, Charges & Trials, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Prescription drugs | 6 Comments »

Drugged or Drunk?

Posted by Childress on September 4, 2006

That’s the name of an interesting article on Salon that tells the story of Emily Dowdy, who now resides in Oklahoma’s Mabel Bassett Correctional Center, convicted of DUI manslaughter after her car plowed into another, instantly killing the son of a local police chief.

The twist in this tale is that it’s highly likely that Dowdy had been drugged with GHB at the nightclub she was visiting prior to the accident and that she had been raped.

Read the story.  It presents a compelling case for police departments to consider the possibility of GHB as a causal factor in accidents, and to routinely test for presence of the drug.

Dowdy hopes to be released on appeal, but until the court decides, she is in prison, suffering from partial paralysis as a result of the accident — and if she was, in fact, drugged, the perp who drugged her, raped her and caused the death of a young man remains free.

Posted in Alcohol, Charges & Trials, GHB | 1 Comment »

Agitated on E, Boy Falls to Death

Posted by Childress on August 29, 2006

Graham Bousfield was 19 and on a camping trip near Lancaster, England with his friends.  A little beer, a little Ecstasy, a little accident … and Bousfield was dead.

The coroner’s report found significant amounts of Ecstasy and alcohol in his system, and a head injury that mercifully killed him quickly.

Was this just a stumbling alcohol death?  I don’t think so, and here’s why:

They had all been drinking but Graham’s friend, 17-year-old Cassandra Bemford, told the inquest he had seemed uncomfortable and agitated. She said: “He was talking about anything random and anything that popped into his head. He was also twitching. He said he wanted to go rock climbing and we all said no.”

That sounds like Ecstasy and alcohol getting together in a particularly bad way.

Posted in Alcohol, Ecstasy | Leave a Comment »

Drug Cocktail Kills Young Dad

Posted by Childress on August 29, 2006

In the northern England town of Teesside, “Magic” Mark Fisher is dead, leaving behind his eight year old son Bradley.

The culprit:  A cocktail of drugs including ecstasy, cocaine and effedrine — all washed down with alcohol.  All evidence points to this being an accidental death, but accidental deaths happen when multiple drugs are mixed.

Says the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette:

After his death his mum Davina Fisher, of Gedney Avenue, paid tribute to her “lovely” and “beautiful” son. She said then: “He lived life to the full. He was a lovely person. Bradley idolised him. Mark was his God.”

How sad.

Posted in Alcohol, Cocaine, Ecstasy | Leave a Comment »

Survey Finds Parents Clueless on Kids’ Drugs

Posted by Childress on August 19, 2006

A recent survey by – finds that parents’ perception of parties their teens go to vary a great deal from what the teens reports goes on at their get-togethers. From the Chicago (IL) Tribune:

[A] survey released Thursday by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University… [finds]: One-third of teens and nearly half of 17-year-olds attend house parties where alcohol, marijuana and illegal drugs are plentiful–even when parents are actually in the home. The survey also found:

– Eighty percent of parents believe that neither alcohol nor marijuana is usually available at teen gatherings, but 50 percent of their kids say they attend parties where alcohol, drugs or both are available.

– Ninety-eight percent of parents say they are normally present during parties in their homes, while a third of teens report that parents are rarely around.

– Only 12 percent of parents see illegal substances as their teen’s greatest concern. But twice as many teens (27 percent) say drugs are a major worry.

– Thirty-eight percent of teens say they can buy marijuana within a day; 19 percent can complete the transaction in an hour or less.

Commenting on the survey, Joseph A. Califano, secretary of health, education and welfare during the Carter administration, said:

Where are [the parents]? Why aren’t they walking in and out of the party? Don’t they smell the pot or the booze? There’s just a tremendous disconnect.”

“Parents are living in a fool’s paradise. They’ve got to take the blinders off and pay attention. If asbestos were in the ceiling, they’d raise hell. But their schools are riddled with drugs. If they’d say, `Get the drugs out’ with the same energy, we’d get somewhere. This is a wake-up call.”

Parents need to pay attention and not expect schools to handle this for them. THEY need to talk to their kids about drugs. The best tool I know of to accomplish this is the Voice of the Victims films. The parent edition gives parents the information they need to know, and the motivation and will to talk to their kids.

The teen/young adult edition tells the stories of four drug tragedies in the reality-TV format kids appreciate: No narrators, no endless statistics, no phony scare tactics: Just the friends and families of the victims, telling their stories through tears.

Here’s a direct link to the order page. My friend Beth Pearce, the producer, has it on sale now (both films, more than two hours of good stuff, for $25 and she’ll pay the U.S. shipping — this is a mission for her, not a business), so do buy the set and MORE IMPORTANT, do talk to your kids.

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

Just Another Drunk Driving Accident …

Posted by Childress on August 10, 2006

… just another unthinkable tragedy.  This one’s from my hometown — an event that happened on a road I regularly drive on.

A woman whose 6-year-old son was killed when their car crashed on the San Joaquin Hills toll road in Newport Beach was booked Wednesday on suspicion of felony driving under the influence, authorities said.

California Highway Patrol officers said Julie Ann Smith, 46, of Costa Mesa lost control of her car Tuesday night as she tried to pass traffic on the right shoulder, striking a guardrail.

Her son Trevor was flung out of the Lexus LS400 and was killed instantly. The CHP said the car was traveling 90 mph when it crashed.

CHP Officer Jennifer Hink said witnesses reported that Smith was driving erratically in the northbound lanes shortly after 9 p.m. before she struck the guardrail near the Jamboree Road exit.

The boy, who was wearing a seat belt, was ejected as the car spun repeatedly.

Seatbelts were not enough to save this poor boy from his mom’s alcohol-induced bad decision-making.

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

Toddler Dies of Alcohol Poisoning

Posted by Childress on August 10, 2006

Alcohol doesn’t get written about enough on The Drug Report — but it is an awful killer and a creator of great tragedies, like this, as reported by AP:

CAMDEN Miss. — An autopsy shows an 11-month-old baby died of alcohol poisoning and now his mother faces a murder charge, authorities say.

The 11-month-old boy had a blood alcohol level of .4 percent when he died on May 11, officials said.

“We have stabbings and shootings and such, but this is the first time I’ve had something like this,” said Madison County Sheriff’s Department investigator Kelly Edgar. “It’s hard to deal with. It’s hard to imagine someone doing something like that to a child, especially an 11-month-old.”

Kadarrius Douglas died at the mobile home in Camden where he lived. An autopsy was performed that day, Madison County Coroner Alex Breeland said.

The toxicology report came back a month later, indicating Kadarrius had the blood alcohol level of .4 percent when he died. The cause of death was ruled to be ethyl-alcohol intoxication, Breeland said.

Who knows what went on in that trailer! Did Douglas pass out and young Kadarrius somehow find a bottle of booze? Was Hattie out of formula so she drunkenly thought she’d give her boy a little nip instead?

Whatever it was, it’s sad evidence of the fact that sometimes drugs do nothing more than cause people to make bad decisions, with tragic results.

Posted in Alcohol, Charges & Trials | 1 Comment »

“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 »

Melanie Boyd’s Dad Comments

Posted by Childress on July 12, 2006

 

A few days back, I posted the story of Melanie Boyd (above), a young and beautiful Australian girl who ingested a mix of prescription drugs, alcohol and illegal drugs at a pharm party.  That’s pretty standard stuff for a pharm party — but the results were tragic, as Melanie died.

Melanie’s dad saw the post and wrote this comment:

As Melanie’s father, my anger at my daughter’s senseless and avoidable death rages unabated.

No-one appears to be taking this seriously. Melanie was fed a deadly mix of alcohol, cannibis, prescription drugs and, finally, speed by fellow students from a supposedly “exclusive” school. The response from the school? “Not our problem – it occurred after school hours.” The school has no drugs awareness program. They have lied to the press about that. The two students who supplied Melanie with the drugs have wealthy parents. They will not be expelled. Instead, they are offered counselling to help them “cope with” Melanie’s death. Both these spoilt little brats have shown no remorse – indeed, they are bragging on the internet chat rooms that “it will all blow over in a week”. They will both graduate and claim the prestige of the school as their own.

My Melanie will never graduate. Where is the Justice?

Good question — and one that unfortunately doesn’t have an answer.

He later posted this clarification:

I am pleased to report that the orginal information I had received was incorrect. The school has now taken appropriate action and has reviewed it drug awareness education program.

That’s good, but it’s awful that a student had to die before they thought to review the program.

Posted in Alcohol, Cocaine, Marijuana, Prescription drugs | 4 Comments »

Here’s “The Love Drug” Again

Posted by Childress on July 5, 2006

Ecstasy mixed with alcohol has once again been proved the be a dangerous combination.  AP reports from Kansas City MO:

Craig O. Johnson Jr. grew up as a polite boy who finished high school with good grades and sang in a church choir, his family testified. But then he developed a taste for ecstasy and alcohol.At his sentencing Friday, his attorney said that the Kansas City man was drugged and drunk when he killed a man and shot a woman in the eye. But that didn’t matter.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Edith Messina sentenced Johnson to life plus 25 years.

Johnson, 23, pleaded guilty in May to second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault and three counts of armed criminal action.

He was one of up to five armed, masked men who stormed into the Kansas City home of Jason Smith looking for money on Feb. 20, 2005. He shot Smith to death there in the 5400 block of Park Avenue and wounded Smith’s girlfriend, blinding her in one eye.

After that, Johnson and the others went to the home of Smith’s mother a few blocks away, demanded money and pistol-whipped her.

On Friday, Leeunice Smith was in court for the sentencing and spoke during a break.

The masked men kicked in her door, she said. “Somebody was yelling, ‘Kill her, kill her’ while they tore up my house,” she said. “I’m lucky to be here.”

From church choir to prison — with drugs in a leading role.

Posted in Alcohol, Charges & Trials, Ecstasy | 4 Comments »

A Pharm Death In Australia

Posted by Childress on July 5, 2006

“Pharm parties,” where young people take prescription drugs and wash them down with alcohol, have claimed another young life.  From the Townsville (Australia) Bulletin:

A dangerous new party game is sweeping Townsville — and your kids could be playing.

Local teens have been concocting their own party drug, mixing a potentially lethal combination of alcohol and prescription drugs.

A concerned father alerted the Townsville Bulletin to the deadly new fad sweeping teen parties.

The father, who would not reveal his identity to protect his teenage daughters, said local teens were playing with fire and all parents and teachers should be made aware.

The father said he learned of the terrifying new trend as he spoke to his daughters, trying to shed light on the senseless overdose death of Townsville teenager Melanie Boyd last week.

”We spoke to many parents and friends over the weekend to try and help the girls come to terms with this. I learned some things and every parent needs to know what’s going on out there,” the father wrote.

He said ‘Pharm’ or pharmaceutical parties were common among many Townsville teens.

He described the party as follows:

”Each attendee brings a ‘pill’ from home. They are crushed up, mixed together and all placed in a bowl. Each child takes a dose and washes it down with a shot of alcohol. The winner is the first to throw up.

”Welcome to the real world. Have you got any prescription tablets missing from home?”

By all accounts, Melanie Boyd was a good kid at a bad party.  Parents and kids need to get up to speed fast on pharm parties, because the risk they pose is so profound.

Posted in Alcohol, Prescription drugs | 3 Comments »

No Jail Time In Driving Deaths

Posted by Childress on July 5, 2006

The headline in London’s Daily Mirror says it all:  “Driver kills a teenager, flees in his wrecked van and is tested positive for drink and drugs. So how could a judge set him free?”

But that’s what happened:

The family of a girl killed by a hit-and-run driver spoke of their anger and dismay yesterday as he walked free from court.

Mark Hambleton ran into 17-year-olds Natalie Glasgow and Stephanie Taylor as they walked home from a party, leaving Natalie dying and her friend gravely injured. Witnesses claimed he had been driving without lights and when he was arrested the following day police found traces of alcohol, Ecstasy, cocaine and cannabis in his blood.

But prosecutors accepted Hambleton’s account that he took the drugs after he arrived home. They said there was not enough evidence to charge him with causing Natalie’s death by dangerous driving a charge which carries a maximum 14-year term.

Instead he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of dangerous driving, failing to stop and report an accident, driving with no headlights and possession of Ecstasy and cannabis.

His sentence:  100 hours of community service. The tragedy of the accident and the tragedy of the sentence may serve a purpose:  Parliament is considering a bill to make it easier to bring strong charges against people who kill while driving under the influence of drugs — and Hambleton’s sentence may help bring about the kind of law that will keep such a miscarriage of justice from happening again.

Posted in Alcohol, Charges & Trials, Cocaine, Ecstasy | 1 Comment »