March 20, 2011 at 2:15 am Comments (0)
Police and parents were surprised that a student in Thomson Elementary School in Washington D.C. was able to bring cocaine in campus and shared it with other students. Four students were hospitalized after ingesting the drug. Thomson School has students from pre-kindergarten up to the fifth grade.
A teacher alerted the police after students, complaining of being sick, were evaluated by the school nurse and were found to have ingested a substance. Authorities were able to determine the substance as cocaine.
School officials admit to dealing with different problems and emergencies within the campus, but this is their first drug problem. With involved students so young, this incident stunned parents when they received reports from school authorities during afternoon pickups.
School authorities and police are still trying to determine how the student got the drug. They did not disclose the age of the child who brought the cocaine.
Principal Albert DuPont has expressed his sentiments towards the incident. In his letter to the parents, he assured a serious investigation on the incident. He has advised parents to tell their children not to accept food or any other substances from strangers or from other students, and to instruct their children to tell school authorities or adults around if they see or hear anything about drugs.
While drug use is common among teens, it is very rare among elementary school students. Although rates of use have increased, cocaine still ranked far from the most common drug abused; marijuana and over-the-counter and prescription medicines are on top of the lists.
March 7, 2011 at 5:04 am Comments (0)
New Port Richey Police reported that an officer stopped 27-year-old Stevenson Papin for having a headlight out, but later found that he had a bag of crack cocaine hidden inside a Girl Scouts cookie box. He was charged with possession of cocaine.
New Port Richey Police stopped his car Saturday on Main Street and noticed an empty box of Girl Scout cookies next to his leg. The box has a small plastic baggie containing white rock-like substance inside. A field test on the substance identified the substance as cocaine.
According to his arrest report, Papin said, “I ain’t going to say it’s mine, but I ain’t going to make your jobs harder. Take me to jail.”
Florida Drug Screening
February 19, 2011 at 7:12 am Comment (1)
A Manhattan judge has denied a petition from a probationary cop, who tested positive for cocaine, to have his job back, according to a report on The New York Daily News.
Alvaro Casado filed suit to challenge the decision of the NYPD to terminate him, claiming that he may have tested positive for cocaine after drinking Mate de Coca tea, given to him by his girlfriend’s mother.
Supreme Court Justice Saliann Scarpulla ruled that Casado had no case, citing the fact that probationary cops could be terminated without the benefit of a hearing, provided that the act was not done in bad faith. Scarpulla wrote: “ Here, Casado fails to point any competent evidence demonstrating that NYPD’s determination to terminate his employment was in bad faith, for an impermissible reason, or in violation of statutory or decisional law.”
Casado claims that he was given the coca tea to drink after being in a car accident in October, 2009. He said that he did not know that the tea had a connection to cocaine, a story that was accepted by the Air National Guard. The senior airman did not face disciplinary action for a positive drug test, owing to the fact that he “did not knowingly ingest an illegal substance.”
This is not the first time that an NYPD officer has blamed a positive drug test on unusual situations. There was a cop who claimed that his wife had spiked meatballs with marijuana, and another who claimed that he had unwittingly ingested cocaine through his girlfriend, who had used the drug.
New York Drug Screening
July 29, 2010 at 4:31 am Comments (0)
Congress is about to pass a new bill that would narrow the gap between crack and powder cocaine sentencing. While the legislative body does not equalize the amount of each substance to trigger the minimum prison sentence, the bill was still supported by the Congressional Black Caucus and was considered to be a step in the right path.
The bill will replace the guidelines for the minimum prison sentence for a simple possession of crack cocaine, which is the only drug that leads to a prison stint by just having it. It would give an 18-to-1 ratio for crack and powder cocaine as far as sentencing is concerned.
In the present system, the law states that a person in possession of five grams of crack will have the same prison sentence as a person found carrying 500 grams of powder. In drug-trafficking offenses, there must be at least a hundred times amount of powder cocaine as crack to gain the mandatory prison sentence. This has affected the majority of the African-Americans, which have strongly rallied for this bill.
The difference between crack and powder cocaine was last tackled in the 1986 Congress, when members of the House concluded that crack is more addictive than powder cocaine. It was only revised when Rep. Robert C. Scott, D-Va. emphasized to the legislative body that there really isn’t any pharmacological difference between the two forms of cocaine. Why is there a need then to have different guidelines for sentencing a person in possession of the said substances?
It has been months of talks led by Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, and the bill’s sponsor, Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill before the new measures have reached this point in the House.
March 19, 2010 at 11:18 am Comments (0)
Over 3% of sudden death in the region of south-west Spain have been linked to cocaine use by forensic pathologists. These findings can be extended to most of the rest of Europe as well, demonstrating that cocaine use is a growing public health problem in Europe and that no amount of the drug can be considered safe. The study carefully investigated all the conditions surrounding a successive string of sudden deaths between 2003 and 2006. The pathologists tested blood and urine for traces of toxic substances post mortem, and studied the organs, focusing on the cardiovascular system and toxicological analysis. Information was also gathered on substance abuse prior to death, the circumstances of the death and death scene investigations.
There were 668 sudden deaths during the study period, 21 of which were related to cocaine use; of these, all occurred in men between 21 and 45, and most of the cocaine-related deaths were due to problems with the heart and its related systems.
“Our findings show that cocaine use causes adverse changes to the heart and arteries that then lead to sudden death.” Said Dr Joaquín Lucena, MD PhD. “Any amount of the drug can be considered to have the potential for toxicity due to the fact that some patients have poor outcomes with relatively low blood concentrations, whereas others tolerate large quantities without consequences.”
81% of the men who died after cocaine use also smoked, and 76% had drunk alcohol. Ethanol, the inebriating ingredient in alcohol, increases the “high” cocaine gives while reducing the subsequent “low”. Both of these habits are associated with heart disease and Dr Lucena said: “The combination of cocaine with either or both of these habits can be considered as a lethal cocktail that promotes the development of premature heart disease.”
March 15, 2010 at 7:51 pm Comments (0)
Extended exposure to cocaine can actually cause permanent changes to how genes are switched on and off in the brain and the finding could help lead to effective addiction treatment according to the same research. Ian Maze of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and colleagues established their finding utilizing mice. In the study it was found that continual cocaine dependence prevented a specific enzyme from shutting off other genes in the pleasure circuits of the brain causing the mice’s craving for the drug to increase.
During the study the group gave one grouping of young mice frequent doses of cocaine and another group repeated doses of saline, then a single dose of cocaine. This lead to the discovery that cocaine alters the reward circuits in the brain by inhibiting gene 9A, which makes an enzyme that plays a critical role in switching genes on and off. This isn’t the only study to link cocaine to gene changes and intensified drug addiction symptoms but it is the first time that the way these changes occurred could be documented.
The study also lead to the discovery that the effects could be reversed by increasing the activity of gene 9A. The increase completely reversed the effects of chronic cocaine use in the test mice, leading to the belief that the same method could help human addicts of the drug and could even help with other forms of addiction including nicotine and alcohol.
March 10, 2010 at 8:50 pm Comments (0)
The majority of cocaine coming over the US border is diluted with a livestock drug commonly used for the purpose of de-worming animals like horses and which can result in severe illness and death in humans. There have already been 8 cases of illness caused by the drug levamisole in San Francisco, one of a handful of cities in the US where the reaction has been found. The cases in San Francisco involved women who used either crack or powder cocaine to get high.
Agranulocytosis, the condition caused in humans who consume levamisole significantly reduces the number of white blood cells in the body. The resultant symptoms include fever, swollen glands, painful sores in the mouth and anus, and an infection that won’t go away. The San Francisco, patients with levamisole poisoning also are getting serious skin conditions that make their skin look black.
“The big question we have right now is, if 90 percent of cocaine users in San Francisco are positive for levamisole and are being exposed to this compound, then why aren’t 90 percent of them in the emergency room with these side effects?” said Kara Lynch, associate chief of the chemistry and toxicology lab at S.F. General.
Cocaine is often cut with other drugs or chemicals both to increase its weight and to add to or reduce its potency but public health experts don’t know exactly why levamisole has been added to cocaine. 69 % of cocaine recently seized in the United States had been tainted with levamisole, and illness from exposure to the drug has been found in at least four states.
“We need people to know that you’re not getting pure cocaine anymore. You’re exposing yourself to the effects of an anti-parasite drug instead of cocaine,” said Dr. H. Westley Clark, director of substance abuse treatment with the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “You’re not getting high off of cocaine, you’re getting sick off of levamisole.”
San Francisco Drug Screening
February 4, 2010 at 4:52 pm Comments (0)
The wife of South Africa’s intelligence minister had been arrested for on the charge that she conspired to bring cocaine into the country. Sheryl Cwele, the 50-year-old wife of Siyabonga Ms. Cwele was charged with securing a woman to gather drugs in Turkey and getting another woman to smuggle cocaine from Brazil. Ms Cwele shares these charges with Frank Nabolis, a Nigerian national who was arrested in South Africa in December. For the moment she’s still in police custody awaiting a bail application hearing.
Cwele’s arrest followed that of Tessa Beetge, a South African woman who was arrested in Brazil in 2008 with 22lb of cocaine hidden inside of her luggage. Beetge was sentenced to eight years in prison for her part in the drug smuggling. Several reports linked Ms Cwele to Ms. Beetge before she went on leave in from her job as director for health and community services at the Hibiscus Coast Municipality in December. She’d returned to work and was arrested at her office before she appeared at Pietermaritzburg High Court. The National Prosecuting Authority in South Africa states that Ms. Cwele faces one count of dealing in dangerous dependency-producing drugs and two counts of incitement to dealing in dangerous dependency-producing drugs, dating back to as far back as May and June 2008. Mr. Cwele has told local media that he was unaware of his wife’s alleged drug dealings.
November 16, 2009 at 9:58 pm Comment (1)
The toll of stress in the average Australian housewife’s life is causing her to turn lose and abuse drugs to get through her days according to the findings from Queensland’s Crime and Misconduct Commission on illicit drugs. When energy levels leave them feeling tired and out of sorts the drug is often a tool in making them feel more energizes and active. Cocaine use has trickled down from the socialites to middle class suburbia with many women in some wealthy suburbs becoming consistent abusers.
Substance abuse is a growing problem in many walks of life but the affluent families are much more likely to be able to afford the high cost of a drug habit than others. While once cocaine was a drug for the moneyed now it’s a drug for all ages and walks of life. Currently the drug costs about $350 Australian dollars per gram, while ecstasy costs as much as $40 a tablet. The study lends credence to the idea that housewives of all walks of life are turning to drug abuse to get through all manner of stress and anxiety in their lives. Little regard seems to be given for the consequences of this substance abuse.
October 30, 2009 at 5:39 pm Comments (3)
Recent information about a shot that can help cocaine adducts break the habit and the HPV drug Gardasil have kicked off an interest in the possibly of treating addiction with medication and now the U.S government would like to see drug companies make many more of these treatments for addiction. Drug companies were already very drawn to the idea of such drugs due to the major success of Gardasil despite recent deaths and illnesses associated with the vaccine. The government wants to encourage real growth in medicine that fights disease and encourages successful research into disease treatment over time.
Among these treatments currently being researched is a new nicotine addiction vaccine called NicVAX which works by stimulating the immune system to make antibodies against nicotine much like the cocaine addiction treatment that is receiving such buzz. In fact the vaccine for cocaine was developed by the same doctors that made the tobacco vaccine. This new wave of vaccines and treatments are expected to be able to help addicts if they get through the studies that often make or break such drugs. It’s thought that the government is backing such medication development to get pharmaceutical companies to pay for the trials themselves and feel motivated to pursue them. If this effort pays off we may have some real progress in treating addiction of several forms, something that could save billions worldwide every year.