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.

Methadone Named in Celebrity Death

Posted by Childress on September 30, 2006

Daniel Smith, the son of glitter-gal Anna Nicole Smith, reportedly had methadone and two anti-depressants. AP reports:

Anna Nicole Smith’s 20-year-old son died from a lethal combination of methadone and two antidepressant drugs, a U.S.-based pathologist who conducted a private autopsy said Wednesday.

Toxicology tests showed Daniel Smith had methadone, Zoloft and Lexapro in his system when he died Sept. 10 in a hospital room in the Bahamas where his former Playboy playmate mother was recuperating from giving birth to a daughter, according to Cyril Wecht.

“The fact that we have these drugs and the levels of the drugs overwhelmingly and most logically point to this being a tragic, accidental, drug-related death,” Wecht told The Associated Press from his home in the Pittsburgh area.

Wecht said it was impossible to tell which of the drugs actually was responsible for Smith’s drug. He called the death “a ‘classical’ combination of the drugs which had a lethal ‘cumulative effect on the central nervous system.'”

“Coroners working around the country, we see this in people taking two or three drugs or more,” he said. The low levels of each drug suggest he did not die from an overdose, he added.

Posted in Methadone, Prescription drugs | Leave a Comment »

A GHB Murder in South Dakota

Posted by Childress on September 28, 2006

From the Aberdeen (SD) American News:

A Northern State University student who was found dead last week in Pennsylvania was strangled after rejecting sexual advances from a sales manager for the company he was interning for, authorities have said.

Jason Shephard, 23, was found bound by belts and wrapped in sheets in the basement of William F. Smithson’s home in Thornbury Township, Pa., according to court documents. The Delaware County Times in Pennsylvania also reported that the basement contained a couch, mirrored ceiling and video equipment.

The 40-year-old Smithson, who worked in the Philadelphia office of the Brookings-based Daktronics Inc., was arrested and charged with first-, second- and third-degree murder, attempted rape, abuse of a corpse, aggravated assault, unauthorized administration of an intoxicant and tampering with evidence, a court official said Monday. Shephard, who was interning in Brookings, was in Pennsylvania on a three-day business trip.

According to reports from the Associated Press, Smithson allegedly slipped the date-rape drug GHB into Shephard’s drink during dinner Sept. 18 and then the next day reported him missing. Authorities found Shephard’s body around 6:30 p.m. Thursday after getting a tip from a former lover of Smithson’s.

Those who think only women have something to fear from drug-assisted rape, think again. GHB and its chemical brothers are frequently used against men — all too often with results like this.

Posted in Charges & Trials, GHB | 11 Comments »

Don’t Huff and Drive

Posted by Childress on September 28, 2006

From the Louisville Courier Journal:

Twice this summer, police in Kentucky and Southern Indiana said drivers in serious accidents had been inhaling from compressed- air cans used to clean keyboards and other items.

In July, 10 people were hurt when a teenager accused of huffing drove his car through a crowd at the Madison Regatta in Indiana.

The next month, a 20-year-old driver from Guilford, Ind., died and three others were injured in a car crash on Interstate 275 in Kentucky; police said the Indiana man had been huffing.

And from the Fresno Bee:

Two Fresno police officers suffered minor injuries Tuesday afternoon when a motorist slammed into a parked van outside a convenience store, pushing it into the officers as they sat on motorcycles, police said.

Mark Feathers, 18, was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence, hit and run, being an unlicensed driver, reckless driving and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, said Sgt. Dave Gibeault. …

Gibeault said Feathers had been “huffing,” or inhaling fumes from an aerosol can, and was involved in a hit-and-run collision at Cedar and Highway 168 seconds before the collision with the officers.

Posted in Huffing | 1 Comment »

Robotripping, Skittles and 3Cs

Posted by Childress on September 28, 2006

On the Dr. Phil show yesterday, “Generation Rx” was the topic — kids who use over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to get high. Three stories were told:

  • A boy who started smoking marijuana at 10 and by 12 was dealing pot and OTCs. At 14, he was using alcohol, cough syrup, whatever he could find, to get high.
  • A 21-year-old woman, Christina, who drinks a couple bottles of Robotussin a day and has for four years. She looked horrible — wan, her once-thick hair thin and scraggly, weak. If she doesn’t get clean, I’d guess she has less than a year to live.
  • Another boy, 13 I think, who also uses OTCs and alcohol. He did not want to be on the show, and was taken to a recovery program immediately after the taping.

If you go to the message board on the show, you’ll find more than 30 pages of messages — many of them from parents who are worried sick about their kids. These medications are a terrible blight on our young ones — be on the watch, and if you find out your kids are doing it, deal with it firmly and immediately.

If you’re using these drugs, understand the risks. Read the message boards and understand that a lot of kids have died from these medications — especially after prolonged use, or if they mix them.

That’s not always the case. One parent tells of her daughter who took 12 cough medicine tablets, had to be hospitalized, was released — and went into a coma and died three days later because of the damage done to her liver.

Posted in Over-the-counter | Leave a Comment »

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.

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

Sex And Violence At Raves

Posted by Childress on September 22, 2006

Some pro-drug people who attack this blog claim that there is no violence at raves.  I offer this point of view as an alternative view, from the Hong Kong Standard:

A former drug abuser who identified herself as Ah Sze said once she entered a disco she felt compelled to take drugs.

“The atmosphere made me want to take drugs. Even if I didn’t want to take drugs for some days, when I went in and saw everyone having drugs, I felt that I wanted to join them,” the 20-year-old said. …

She said Ecstasy cost HK$100 a pill, and ketamine HK$150 a packet. Friends spent up to HK$1,000 a night on drugs, but she spent HK$200. …

The drugs exposed girls to the risk of sexual assault, she said, resulting in her being molested.

“Once I was touched by many boys. I knew that, but I didn’t know how to resist. I had no strength. I couldn’t even move my legs. Once I got up, I fell down immediately.”

She said that discos were also a place for brawls, each night seeing one or two fights.

Don’t be fooled into thinking is always lovely with club drugs.

Posted in Ecstasy, GHB, Ketamine | 2 Comments »

Two More Club Drug Comas

Posted by Childress on September 22, 2006

I don’t know when this occurred; it’s from the New England Medical Journal, quoted in the Toledo Blade:

The girl found her boyfriend and his pal unconscious during a college party with plenty of alcohol. Instead of letting them sleep it off, she called 911.

“Drunk,” was the EMTs first thought. En route to the hospital, however, the boys slipped into a coma, and by arrival they didn’t even respond to pain.

The boys looked healthy. Blood and urine tests showed no common drugs or large amounts of alcohol. Then they stopped breathing, and were put on respirators. If the girlfriend had left them to “sleep,” they would have been brain dead in about 6 minutes.

Next day they regained consciousness and walked out of the hospital – unable to remember anything from the night before.

This is why spend time on this blog instead of with my family — in the hope that someone will read a story like this and think to call 911 because they understand the risk, and save the life of someone they love.

Posted in Ecstasy, GHB, Ketamine | 5 Comments »

Club Drug Coma In Maryland

Posted by Childress on September 18, 2006

Here’s a story out of Maryland that’s a bit unusual:

A little over a week ago, 18-year-old Kimberly Davis was working two jobs and had aspirations of becoming a cosmetologist, but those dreams may never come true.

One night of drug use left her clinically dead for 10 minutes and unconscious for three days, according to her family.

“She could have brain damage for the rest of her life” Malorie Davis said of her sister who awoke from a coma earlier this week. “We don’t know what’s going to be wrong with her but we know she’s going to be alive and that’s all that matters.”

What happened to Kimberly is not unusual, unfortunately.  As any emergency room worker can tell you, 18 to 25 year olds with drug overdoses show up with depressing regularity.

What’s unusual is that Kimberly’s story was told in a newspaper.  If every coma and near-death experience suffered by a young person from drugs were told, there would be greater understanding of the risk, and fewer would show up in the emergency room.

Posted in Ecstasy, Ketamine, Prescription drugs | 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 »

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 »

The Aging Drug Death Demographic

Posted by Childress on September 9, 2006

Here’s a story that’s worth pondering:

The Arizona Department of Health Services said that over the past decade, the per capita rate for fatal, accidental poisoning by drugs and alcohol among Arizonans ages 45 to 64 has multiplied to 250 in 2005 from 39 in 1995.

Experts say baby boomers, now ages 42 to 60, are particularly susceptible to drug abuse in middle age and beyond.

“Drug addiction is so often talked about as a disease of our youth, but for so many people, it catches up with them when they age,” said Dr. Marvin Seppala, a national expert on drug abuse and chief medical director at Hazelden, a substance-abuse treatment program in Minnesota.

Seppala, a recovering drug addict, said he saw a dramatic change in the drug culture when the pain reliever OxyContin hit the market in 1995.

Here’s what this story tells us:  We have a demographic group that has been taking drugs steadily since they were young in the 1970s.  Every year, a few more die as their bodies get less able to protect themselves from the drugs.

Then oxycontin came out, and they started dropping like flies.

Posted in Prescription drugs | Leave a Comment »

Ecstasy, The Love Drug

Posted by Childress on September 9, 2006

Obviously, this guy has problems way bigger than ecstasy use … but you have to wonder if this crime had occured if the perp weren’t on a drug that loosens sexual inhibitions.

An 18-year-old man told police he took ecstasy and looked at a pornographic magazine before raping a 2-year-old that he believed to be the son of a man who had robbed him, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

Rodney Redell Jett, of the 3400 block of N. 17th St., was charged with three counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child, each of which carries a maximum possible penalty of 60 years in prison.

Source:  Milwaukee Journal

Posted in Ecstasy | Leave a Comment »

Clinic Busted in Drug Death

Posted by Childress on September 9, 2006

Is someone who supplies drugs responsible  responsible for deaths caused by drugs?  If there ever was a case to make the cause, this is it, from the St. Petersburg (FL) Times:

Jason Fulford died in this bedroom eight months ago, a troubled young man who took too many pills.

His death has led the Sheriff’s office to make an arrest in an ongoing investigation into prescription drug abuse.

Sally Jane Medina, 45, was arrested on several charges related to improperly practicing medicine and trafficking in narcotics.  Authorities said she was working as a physicians assistant at the Doctors Urgent Care Clinic in January when she supplied Fulford with prescriptions for Xanax, Oxcodone and Percocet.

Fulford, 33, died as a result of taking the drugs he obtained with those prescriptions, the Sheriff’s office said.  Medina admitted to seeing Fulford and writing the prescription, according to an arrest affidavit. …

“They gave him enough pills to kill a healthy person,” said Fred C. Fulford, 35, Jason’s brother.  “My brother didn’t have to show proof of anything.  He had no X-rays, no note from a doctor. He had nothing.”

Prescription drugs require prescriptions for a reason — they are dangerous and require the monitoring of a medical professional.  And medical professionals who become drug dealers deserve jail time … lots of jail time.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Prescription drugs | 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 »