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

North Korea Feeds Asia’s Drug Appetited

Posted by Childress on September 25, 2006

The Australian ran an interesting story last Tuesday about the growing appetite for drugs in Asia, and North Korea’s role in feeding it:

WHEN the North Korean ship the Pong Su mysteriously appeared off the Victorian coast in 2003 to dump its deadly haul of heroin here, authorities hoped it was a one-off crime, a brazen act by a desperate nation.

That now seems unlikely. A significant new report, obtained exclusively by The Australian, shows Australia is almost certain to be targeted by other heroin ships.

What’s more, it reveals there is a ghostly armada of Pong Sus out there today, plying the waters of Asia and the Pacific carrying drugs to unsuspecting victims around the world.

In one of the most chilling studies of its kind, the Australian National Council on Drugs, the principal advisory body to the federal Government on drug policy, has taken a rare and comprehensive snapshot of the Asia-Pacific region. Its 215-page report finds that, despite record numbers of drug-related arrests, the region is awash with illicit drugs, from heroin to amphetamines to schoolyard glue.

The report goes on to describe increased use of Ecstasy, meth and ketamine in cities throughout Asia, and the authorities’ struggles against the rising tide.

”The numbers of people using and dependent on illicit drugs run into the millions across the region. Issues of such magnitude challenge the capacity of developed nations, let alone those that are attempting to hasten social and economic development, often from a low base,” says the report, Situational Analysis of Illicit Drug Issues in the Asia-Pacific Region.

My fear is that use of the drugs is increasing exponentially faster than education about them.  Usually, it takes a number of tragedies before the media wakes up to a problem.

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Posted in Ecstasy, Ketamine, Meth | Leave a Comment »

Pieper, Veluz Case Suffers Setback

Posted by Childress on August 19, 2006

The man wanted for questioning in the deaths of Derek Pieper and Raymond Veluz, whose deaths I’ve written about several times (here, here, here), has been found shot to death in Florida.

The violent death of Jeremy Henry may make it impossible to ever learn what led Pieper and Veluz so far from their homes at 5 a.m. the morning they were killed. Initial reports hinted that Pieper’s use of drugs might have been involved, but many friends and family members have written me saying it wsa just a case of “being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The comments I’ve received about Raymond have been particularly glowing, so no matter what it was that got these two in the wrong part of town at the crack of dawn, it’s a shame.

Here’s the update, from The St. Petersburg Times:

Jeremy Henry was a mystery in life: a man who could be vicious to enemies yet also bought ice cream for neighborhood children, according to friends.

And the 20-year-old, who was gunned down early Sunday on a Dade City dirt road, left a mystery in his death: What happened to him? And what might Henry – wanted for questioning in the July 28 shooting deaths of two Wesley Chapel teens – have been able to tell authorities?

The county Sheriff’s Office had little to say on the case Monday, aside from listing the items in Henry’s pockets when he died:

The key to a mobile home near where his body was found. Marijuana. Methamphetamine. And a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun. …

Friends confirmed Henry stayed in the Dade City area, despite rumors he had fled the state.

But he was paranoid and not sleeping well.

“He was planning to turn himself in,” said his cousin, 24-year-old Bryan Wright. He said Henry was saving money, in anticipation of having to pay a jail bond, and a lawyer.

Henry has an extensive criminal history, dating to age 11. He was arrested most recently in March, charged with aggravated battery in a shooting that injured a Dade City man. The charges were dropped.

The Sheriff’s Office says he was the leader of a gang called Jeremy Henry’s Posse. Family members adamantly deny that.

“I know for a fact that this kid was no head of no gang, he was no part of no gang. He hung by himself,” said Catherine Wright, the aunt who raised him.

The Sheriff’s Office said Henry’s death is a setback in the investigation of who killed Derek Pieper, 17, and Raymond Veluz, 18, the Wesley Chapel teens found slain last month on a remote road in Trilby. Henry was never called a suspect but was wanted for questioning.

Pieper’s brother, Bryan, was unaffected by the news of Henry’s death: “I really don’t care. Sorry.”

Meth, marijuana, a gun, a cloud of suspicion and an early death. Jeremy Henry’s life may not have been a glamorous drug life, but it was a drug life.

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

“Actress” Uses Ecstasy, Meth to Lure Away Minor

Posted by Childress on August 19, 2006

Here’s an unusual crime involving ecstasy and meth, which occurred in California’s Bay Area near San Francisco, as reported by the Contra Costa Times:

The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office is filing charges against an adult film actress accused of having sex with a De Anza High School student.

The charges against Genevieve Elise Silva, 21, include one felony count of statutory rape, one felony count of furnishing Ecstasy and methamphetamine, and one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, said deputy district attorney Dara Cashman.

“The only thing unusual is the reversal of the sex,” Cashman said. “That’s not a factor for me. … It’s a 20-year-old having sex with a 15-year-old.”

The victim, an El Sobrante teenager, ran away from home in the summer of 2005 to live with Silva, police said. They eventually moved to Oklahoma to stay with Silva’s mother, police said.

Actually, stories like this are getting less unusual. Perhaps it’s the pervasive sex in our society; perhaps it’s the drugs; but we are seeing more cases of women molesting boys.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Ecstasy, Meth, Uncategorized | 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 »

    Breast Milk Meth Death Mom may be Retried

    Posted by Childress on August 15, 2006

    Prosecutors will try a third time to successfully convict Amy Leanne Prien of murder in the death of her 3-month-old son Jacob Smith.

    Prien’s first conviction was overturned; her second trial ended in a mistrial.  The Riverside (CA) Press-Enterprise reports:

    “It was abundantly clear to the court that the cause of death of the victim was due to methamphetamine intoxication,” Judge Patrick Magers said.

    The judge stressed that his ruling was based on the evidence presented during Amy Leanne Prien’s 2006 retrial, which ended in a mistrial because the jury was deadlocked. A key issue for that jury was how 3-month-old Jacob Smith could have ingested the drug.

    Prien, 34, was convicted in 2003 of murder for the January 2002 death of her son. A state appeals court overturned the murder conviction in 2005, but it allowed prosecutors to retry her.

    After the judge rejected the defense request to dismiss the murder charge, Supervising District Attorney Allison Nelson and defense lawyer Stephen Yagman said they were ready to proceed to a third trial.

    After the hearing, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Ingrid Wyatt said a decision on whether Prien will be tried a third time has not been made by her office. She said the scheduled hearing is the next step in the legal process.

    The deadline for Prien’s third trial to start is Monday.

    All this legal wrangling occured because of one simple investigative mistake: Police siezed Prien’s blood — which tested way positive for meth — but did not test her breast milk. Her lawyers have used that error to keep her free of murder charges. If Jacob found the meth and took it himself — this is a 3-month old, remember! — it’s not murder.

    But thankfully, she is not free.  She’s serving a 10-year sentence for child endangerment, a conviction the defense couldn’t overcome.

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

    So Whacked Out, He Killed Her

    Posted by Childress on August 13, 2006

    Cliffton J. Brownlee, 25, who prosecutors called “a walking time bomb” because of his drug use, was sentenced last week to 25 years in prison followed by 20 years of extended supervision for the brutal stabbing murder of his wife in 2005.

    At his sentencing, Brownlee told the court, “”The incident wouldn’t have taken place if I had not done drugs … it isn’t easy to stop (using drugs) when you’ve started.”

    The incident was one of the most bruttal investigators in Woodman Iowa had ever seen, according to the Dubuqu IA Telegraph Herald, but for some reason, Judge George Curry cut Brownlee some slack:

    Despite calling the killing “a very vicious, homicidal attack” and saying the “brutality of the act is indescribable,” Curry ignored prosecution and pre-sentencing recommendations for a stiffer sentence. Pre-sentencing recommended 40 years in prison plus 20 years of extended supervision; Grant County District Attorney Lisa Riniker sought 30 years confinement and 20 years of extended supervision.

    Why did Brownlee stab his wife 20 times?

    “There was no reason to stab somebody 20 times,” Curry said, noting Brownlee was high on drugs at the time of the killing. “You had an opportunity to stop. All you had to do was call 911. Instead you finished her off.”

    According to testimony, both Brownlee and [his wife] Brownlee-Reynolds were frequent drug users. Blood and urine samples taken from Brownlee the day of the crime included amounts of THC, amphetamine and methamphetamine.

    Brownlee-Reynolds had amounts of ecstasy, THC, and OxyContin – a pain reliever – in her system at the time of her death.

    “They got themselves so whacked out, they couldn’t comprehend what they were up to,” Day said, adding the OxyContin made Brownlee-Reynolds “impervious to pain.”

    I’m speechless.  What a sad, sad story.

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

    Breast Milk Meth Death Trial Drags On

    Posted by Childress on August 12, 2006

    The legal wranglings in the Amy Leanne Prien murder trial in Riverside, CA drag on and on.  Prien has been convicted of second degree murder and four counts of child endangerment in the death of her 3-month-old son Jacob W. Smith, by feeding him breast milk after she had gotten high on methamphetimine.

    Now a defense motion to dismiss the murder charge has been heard by the Superior Court, which sent the motion to the trial judge, asking for a ruling. 

    So far, Prien’s been convicted, overturned, re-tried, had a hung jury and may be tried a third time for murder.  Attorneys are even arguing over who should sentence her on the child endangerement convictions that still stand.

    Poor little Jacob must not be lost in all these legal arguments.  He died terribly and far too young.  Please remember him.  And if you’re a meth user and a young mother, please, please, please remember this story and protect your child!

    Posted in Charges & Trials, 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 »

    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 MySpace.com — 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 »

    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 »

    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 »

    An Ecstasy Excuse in Murder

    Posted by Childress on July 15, 2006

    Joseph Harrison, 29, is charged in Aberdeen courts with strangling to death Susan Third, then had sex with her — after she was dead.

    Sated, he stuffed her lifeless body into the trunk of his car, and dumping it in a field.

    His excuse? To quote the Aberdeen Evening Express:

    The High Court was later told he suffered from either schizophrenia or drug-induced psychosis. Harrison had talked about hearing alien voices and believed he was an observer on Earth. He was also said to have been a heavy user of amphetamine and ecstasy. Psychiatrists were asked to determine the nature of his illness and the part illegal drugs may have played in his condition.

    OK, so did the drugs make him crazy, or did his craziness make him do drugs?  We don’t know enough of Harrison’s mental and drug use history to draw a conclusion from this article … but one thing is certain:  If Harrison were not a drug user, Susan Third would still be alive today.

    Harrison’s sentence is pending.

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

    Ecstasy … the Love Drug?!

    Posted by Childress on June 29, 2006

    Ecstasy’s reputation of making people feel all lovey-dovey sometimes is proven wrong, very wrong:

    Prosecutors said Monday they will seek the death penalty against a transient accused of decapitating a 91-year-old retired screenwriter and stabbing his neighbor to death.  …Special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder during torture and burglary were included in the case.

    Keven Lee Graff, 29, is accused of killing former screenwriter Robert Lees at his Hollywood home in June 2004. …

    Police said that after the killing, Graff took the man’s severed head, climbed a fence and stabbed to death Dr. Morley Hal Engelson, 69.Graff, a former Marine, was living in his pickup truck and on the streets in Hollywood before his arrest one day after the deaths, authorities said.

    Graff told the Daily News of Los Angeles that he was high on methamphetamine and ecstasy at the time of the slayings and doesn’t remember anything about that night.

    “If I really did this, man, I just want to say I’m sorry,” he said.

    Unbelievable.  Any of you pro-drug people want to defend this guy?

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

    Born Stoned

    Posted by Childress on June 29, 2006

    Troubling news out of Scotland, from the Scottish Daily Record and Mail:

    MORE than one in eight Scots babies are born with illegal drugs in their systems.The horrific news was revealed in a study yesterday.

    It indicates that as many as 7000 of the 54,000 children born each year in Scotland are drug affected.

    The most common drug found was cannabis – but heroin, cocaine and ecstasy traces were also discovered. Experts say the research highlights how mums-to-be are putting their children’s lives in danger by continuing to take the drugs while pregnant.

    Children born to drug users stand a higher risk of being stillborn, premature or victims of cot death.

    They can also go on to develop health problems such as lung illness and learning difficulties.

    A study of more than 400 births at a Glasgow hospital found 71 newborns with drugs in their bodies.

    Tests showed traces of cannabis in 53 babies – more than 13 per cent.  Cocaine was found in 11 cases and amphetamines in seven.

    Of course, lots of morphine type drugs also were found, but researchers had no way of differentiating whether it came from illicit drug use or hospital-prescribed painkillers.

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