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.


    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 ‘Cocaine’ Category

Deadly Cocaine in Newcastle?

Posted by Childress on October 9, 2006

This post will generate many comments demanding that drugs be legalized; I will post none of them because the purpose of The Drug Report is to alert people of drug dangers, not to discuss drug policy issues.

According to the Newcastle (England) Evening Chronicle, drug users in the Newcastle area must be on the alert — there may be a batch of deadly cocaine in the city. 

Tests are being carried out today to discover if killer drugs are for sale on the streets.

It’s feared a rogue batch of cocaine is to blame for the death of a teenager and has left a woman fighting for life.  Mark Brown, 18, died in Newcastle General Hospital, his death comes as it emerged a person is being killed by drugs in the North East every week.

Mark, of Dove Close, Killingworth, North Tyneside, was one of three people admitted to hospital over the last few days showing similar symptoms of drugs misuse.

A 27-year-old woman, also from North Tyneside, is in a critical condition and a 22-year-old from Hebburn, has been discharged from hospital after treatment.  All three were initially admitted to North Tyneside General.

Police said initial drugs analysis had proved inconclusive and further tests will be carried out today.  It is understood Mark had suffered delayed signs of paralysis as aresult of the adverse reaction to the drugs.

Please be careful!


Posted in Cocaine | 1 Comment »

Drug Mix Kills Teen

Posted by Childress on October 4, 2006

A tough life has ended in a tragic death:

A Probe into childcare services at a county council is under way after a teenager in care died from a drugs overdose. The body of Miles Shanks, 15, was found on a derelict industrial site, close to Northampton town centre, on June 17.

The teenager, said to be from Erewash but whose family lived in Old Basford until earlier this year, had been placed in foster care by Derbyshire County Council. …

A pathologist report, which is likely to be a key focus of the council’s inquiry, revealed Miles Shanks died from choking on his own vomit and the toxic effects of drugs MDMA, ecstasy and cocaine.

At the time of his death, Miles was living with a foster family in West Hunsbury, Northampton. He had spent a large part of his life in care.

The report is from the Nottingham Evening Post, whose reporters apparently don’t understand that MDMA is ecstasy.

Posted in Cocaine, Ecstasy | 4 Comments »

Stoned Man Forgets Murders

Posted by Childress on September 12, 2006

Dustin Paul admits to smoking a lot of pot and snorting a bunch of cocaine at a couple parties one night.  It’s the next day he has more trouble remembering.  Here’s the story, from the Canadian Press:

PENTICTON, B.C. — Dustin Paul shot five people and then slit his own throat after hearing a voice inside his head at a creek-side party, he told a B.C. Supreme Court jury Tuesday.

Paul, 26, was testifying in his own defence at his trial on three counts of second-degree murder and two of attempted murder in connection with the Oct. 30, 2004 shooting deaths of Damien Endreny, Robin Baptiste and Quincy Paul. Tommy Lee Gabriel and Billy Louie were wounded in the attack.

Paul told the court he could only recall shooting Louie.

When asked by co-defence counsel Chris Johnson if he shot the others, he replied: ”I must have.”

Paul’s voice was low during much of the testimony. At times, he seemed contemplative but showed little emotion until asked how he now felt about shooting the five men.

”I feel terrible,” he replied, breaking into tears.

Phew. What can you say?

Posted in Cocaine, Marijuana | Leave a Comment »

Pot + Crack + Car = Death + Jail

Posted by Childress on September 12, 2006

Jeremia D. Spotts will spend the next 2 1/2 to 6 1/2 years in prison for a moment of bad judgment. And he’ll spend the rest of his life thinking about the husband and father he killed in a drug-induced car crash.  From the Lancaster (PA) Intelligencer Journal:

Melissa Wagner stood beside her daughter Thursday and sobbed as she admonished the man who killed her boyfriend, Thomas J. Mahan, in a car crash last year.

“The song I wanted to play at our wedding was played at his funeral,” she told Jeremiah D. Spotts. “Tom was my best friend. I go to bed alone looking at his picture and holding his shirt. He was my rock, and now he’s gone.”

Following the testimony of Wagner and other family members, Lancaster County Judge Michael J. Perezous sentenced Spotts, 28, of Peach Bottom, to 2½ to 6½ years in state prison.

Spotts pleaded guilty to felony homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence, possession of a small amount of marijuana and two traffic offenses. He also must pay $8,251 for Mahan’s funeral expenses and complete drug and alcohol counseling.

According to police, Spotts smoked crack cocaine and marijuana and was speeding when the 1985 Pontiac Trans Am he was driving on Route 272 in Pequea Township crashed into a tree shortly after 8:30 p.m.

Mahan, Spotts’ friend for 15 years, was ejected from the car and died from his injuries.

The article points out that Spotts hit a number of curbs and cars before the crash — plenty of warning for a rational person to realize he should be anywhere but behind the wheel. But drugs can be the enemy of rationality.

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

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 »

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 »

More on Erica Hicks Sentence

Posted by Childress on August 17, 2006

The judge sentencing the teen boy who gave Erica Hicks a lethal cocktail of drugs, including ecstasy, meth and cocaine, will walk out of jail soon, following seven months of incarceration.

The judge told Hicks’ parents he had no choice but to let the boy go — but he applied one smart provision and one creative one to the boy’s sentence.

  • Smart:  Judge Craig Croon ordered the boy to undergo substance-abuse treatment and counseling. He will be subject to random drug tests and warrantless searches, and he will have a curfew during the first month of probation.
  • Creative:  According to the Raleigh (NC) News-Observer, Judge Croon ordered, “From September 30 to October 3, he will serve four days [in custody].  September 30 is when all this started, and it came to an end on October 3 when they shut off the life support. In other words, you can use those four days to think. And, sir, I’ll be quite honest with you: If your probation ends up getting extended, the same thing will happen next year.”
  • Posted in Charges & Trials, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Meth | Leave a Comment »

    Why High-Crime Drugs Must Stay Illegal

    Posted by Childress on August 11, 2006

    Frequent commenter Dodgy made a strange statement in a comment I am not going to post because of what he’s advocating.  Here’s the statement: 

    The vast majority of drug related crime occurs simply because of prohibition i.e addicts having to fund their habit.

    Excuse me?  I confess: I have a habit.   It’s expensive, powerful cars.  But I don’t satisfy my habit by stealing.  I work hard and succeed in my work so I can afford them.  I expect no one to subsidize my fondness for big German V-8s.

    Others like to buy $100 bottles of wine or hundreds of pairs of designer shoes.  Like me, instead of stealing to support their habits, they go to work every day, save up their money (or use up their credit) then buy their satisfying fix.

    The big crime drugs — heroin, meth, crack — debilitate many of their users so profoundly that they become fundamentally unemployable in any legit business.  So they become hookers, dealers or thieves.

    And society is to bless this by providing them for free the drug that so debilitated them?  Or legalize the drugs so they can debilitate even more people?

    If society’s goal is fewer abortions, you don’t open up free abortion clinics.  If society’s goal is fewer burglaries, you don’t make lock picks legal.

    Society’s goal must be to protect as many as possible from the dangers and debilitation of drugs like heroin, meth and crack.  You do not let the few, the addicted, the debilitated set social policy for the many, the healthy and the innocent.

    Posted in Cocaine, Heroin, Meth, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

    Erica Hicks’ Murderer Sentenced

    Posted by Childress on August 7, 2006

    A teen who was convicted of manslaughter for killing South Carolina teen Erica Hicks by giving her Ecstasy, cocaine and heroine, has been sentenced:

    A Cary teen found responsible for giving a fatal dose of drugs to a friend will have to help pay for her funeral, face at least a year of probation and possibly undergo drug and alcohol treatment under a sentence handed down in a Wake County courtroom Friday.

    The court also plans to appoint an advocate from the county’s guardian ad litem program to monitor the youth’s progress when he returns home and ordered the teen’s father to enroll in a parental responsibility class.

    The 16-year-old boy was found to have committed involuntary manslaughter in the death of Erica Hicks of Garner, who died in October after ingesting cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy. The Cary teen, who was accused of supplying the drugs to Hicks, also was found to have possessed ecstasy with the intent to sell it.

    Wake County District Court Judge Craig Croom ordered the boy to pay $1,000 to Hicks’ father to help cover funeral expenses. Croom also required that the boy be evaluated to determine whether he needs drug and alcohol treatment.

    Sorry, but I think this kid needs jail time to make the consequences of his action hit home.  I’m afraid that unless he is more mature than his actions indicate — especially the fact that he kept medical help from responding — he will feel he got away with this crime.  That has two possible negative outcomes:  He’ll not be able to process his guilt appropriately and it will mess up his life, or he will become even more reckless since he got away with this crime.

    Posted in Charges & Trials, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Meth | 5 Comments »

    Gangs Suspected in Pieper/Veluz Murders

    Posted by Childress on August 5, 2006

    Police now suspect that a local gangster, Jeremy Hanson Henry, may be responsible for the deaths of Raymond Veluz and Derek Pieper, which I posted on a couple days ago.  Here’s a report from the Tampa (FL) Tribune:

    Long before Jeremy Hanson Henry became the suspect in the brutal shooting deaths of two teenagers in Trilby, he was a wanted man.

    Dade City police have been looking for the 21-year-old reputed gang leader since early May, when he reportedly crashed through bushes outside a KFC in a rented car and led police on a high-speed chase for several blocks before he disappeared.

    At the time, Henry was suspected of planning to rob the restaurant at gunpoint.

    He’s been on the run ever since.

    On Wednesday, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office identified Henry as a “person of interest” in the slayings of Raymond Veluz, 18, and Derek Pieper, 17, whose bodies were found early July 28 on a secluded country road in Trilby. Sheriff’s office spokesman Doug Tobin said Henry is a suspect in the slayings.

    That morning, neighbors in the rural community northwest of Dade City told investigators they heard what sounded like firecrackers going off about 5 a.m. The bodies were discovered a short time later, side by side in the road.

    Perhaps, as some commenters have said, these unfortunate kids were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It still hasn’t been reported why they went there at 5 a.m.  I’ll follow the story and provide updates.

    Posted in Charges & Trials, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Marijuana | 6 Comments »

    Erica Hicks’ Killer Found Guilty

    Posted by Childress on August 2, 2006

    The trial of a 16-year-old boy for killing Erica Hicks by providing her a lethal stream of drugs has ended with a guilty verdict.  The Myrtle Beach (SC) News Post reports:

    The 15-year-old boy, whose name was not released because of his age, was found guilty Monday in Wake County District Court of involuntary manslaughter in the death of 16-year-old Erica Hicks of Garner. Hicks died in Oct. 3, two days after ingesting a mix of methamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy at a birthday party, according to an autopsy.

    Judge Craig Croom also found the boy guilty of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and deliver. Defense attorneys planned to appeal the ruling. Sentencing was scheduled for Friday.

    During the hearing, the judge reserved his harshest words for the parents of the boy and Hicks.

    “This case is about parental responsibility,” Croom said. “As I listened to the evidence, I realized these kids were basically doing what they wanted to do.”

    I am not familiar with this case, so I will not judge the parents’ behavior. However, many parents depend on schools to teach their kids about drugs, and that’s foolish.  Parents need to take the lead responsibility for teaching their kids about the risks of drugs, and for keeping a watchful eye on them.

    A story in the Raleigh (NC) News Observer is worth reading in its entirety because it gives more detail on the parents’ involvement in this case.  If the story is true, these were parents that turned their backs on obvious problems — and even did drugs with their kids in some cases.  Here’s an excerpt:

    There’s the father of the defendant, who had to know his son was at least doing drugs, if not dealing. His son had been busted for possession at school; his room contained scales, drugs and paraphernalia.

    This is the father whose girlfriend brought marijuana into their home. I’m sure the defendant never picked up on that. (Yeah, right.)

    There are the parents of Erica’s best friend, a girl who shared drugs with Erica and others during her father’s 40th birthday party on the day of Erica’s death. The father is now apparently concerned that testimony at the trial might reflect poorly on his mortgage and insurance business.

    Talk about watching out for one’s own heiney.

    But of course, the person whose role in all of this is most perplexing is that of the woman who probably loved Erica best: her mother.

    Kim Hicks admits that the day before Erica’s death, she and Erica, as well as the defendant, smoked pot together. According to Erica’s friends, her mother also handed out prescription Xanax and served alcohol.

    Hicks denies that she ever shared her Xanax and says that she only smoked marijuana with her daughter that one time. She testified that she didn’t know about her daughter’s picture on — with a bong.

    As a parent, I know how tough it is to raise kids.  But you have to do better than this!

    Posted in Charges & Trials, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Marijuana, Meth | 1 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 »

    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 »

    A Different Kind of Drug Abuse Death

    Posted by Childress on July 15, 2006

    Most of the drug deaths I write about deal with deaths that come quite quickly as a result of bad reactions or overdoses.  Here’s one that’s very different, from the Scunthorpe (England, I suppose) Evening Telegraph:

    A long-term drug user died of acute bronchitis and drug abuse, an inquest heard yesterday.Marie Ann Clay (33), of Digby Street, Scunthorpe, was pronounced dead at the flat which she was sharing with her partner and a friend on January 12, this year.

    The mother-of-four was discovered by her partner Jonathan Owen Kirk.

    Deputy coroner Andrew Pascoe heard Mr Kirk saw Miss Clay asleep in the bedroom on a number of occasions during that day.  She lay on the floor snoring but he said he left her because she was too heavy to lift onto the bed.

    But he went to check on her later that day and discovered she was cold and called an ambulance.

    In a statement read out in court, Mr Kirk explained Marie had a history of drug taking over a number of years.  Her habit had included ecstasy, crack cocaine and heroin abuse. …

    Pathologist Dr William Peters said Miss Clay’s drug history and the post mortem report found she had died of ‘respiratory trapped infection possibly from the debilitating affects of drug use’. …

    He said: “The post mortem report confirmed Marie Clay died of acute bronchitis and that with drug abuse caused her death.”

    As I read this, I think it must have happened to someone much older than 33.  But excessive drug use can break down a body quickly. Not everyone is Keith Richards.

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