Testing It Up » September 2010

Monthly Archives: September 2010

Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Woman Killed in Crash While Rushing Home to Prep for DUI Class

Published by:

It is certainly sad and disheartening that a woman due to attend a DUI class met an untimely death on a California freeway – in an alcohol-related accident.

A feature on KTLA.com shared the story of 24-year-old Lidia Kopach, who figured in a fatal car accident last Thursday morning. Her passenger, 24-year-old Daniel Martinez, survived the accident with minor injuries, and shared a few details regarding what they had done before the incident.

drunk drivingMartinez shared with police officers at the scene that he had met up with Kopach at a bar in Monrovia for drinks. The Pasadena Star News reported that they drank two vodka drinks and shared two pitchers of beer. Martinez then said that Kopach had revealed that she needed to get home immediately to rest because she was due to attend a court-mandated DUI class later in the day. It was revealed further that Kopach had been convicted of DUI at West Covina Superior Court on September 30, 2009.

Unfortunately, as Kopach and Martinez were racing home at around 2:00 in the morning, she lost control of her car, and slammed into the center divider on the freeway. The vehicle then rolled over, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Jim Frausto.
Another young life cut so short, no thanks to alcohol.

Incidents such as these ought to serve as a reminder of the very real dangers of drinking and driving; when going out for drinks, it may be a good idea to simply leave the car at home and take a cab. If you decide to bring a vehicle, there should be a designated driver who will stay away from the booze.


Paris Hilton to Enter Guilty Plea, Avoid Jail

Published by:

Three weeks ago, heiress Paris Hilton ran afoul with the law again, getting caught with cocaine in her purse. Despite the all the denials that followed that incident, Ms. Hilton is reportedly entering a guilty plea – and is expected to avoid jail time.

Paris HiltonA report on CNN revealed that Paris Hilton is scheduled to appear before a judge in Las Vegas, Nevada, Monday. She is expected to accept a plea deal for the charges of cocaine possession leveled against her; this is reportedly based on information from the prosecutor, District Attorney David Roger of Clark County, Nevada. Confirmation was also received from an unnamed source close to the defense.

Instead of a felony drug charge, Ms. Hilton will plead guilty on two misdemeanor counts. She is supposed to get two six-month jail terms, both of which will be suspended according to the agreement, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. She will also serve one year on probation. The plea deal, Roger said, will provide prosecutors with “complete control over her future.” Roger said further: “If she does not toe the line and stay out of trouble, she will do one year in the Clark County Detention Center.”

Paris Hilton and her boyfriend, Cy Waits, were stopped by police on August 27 after officers noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the Cadillac Escalade that they were riding in. While trying to get a tube of lip balm from her purse, police discovered a small plastic bag of cocaine. She had initially said that the purse she was carrying – and by extension, the cocaine that was in it – was not hers.

Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Man Calls 911 for Theft – of Cocaine!

Published by:

The last thing that someone who has a stash of cocaine would want is to have the police breathing down his (or her) back. But what if that stash gets stolen from right under your nose? What would you do?

911For a man from Chicago, the answer to the question is – call 911.

A feature on NBC Chicago shared the story of Steven Dragon, with details from an unsealed federal complaint that chronicles an undercover sting operation against the Two-Six street gang.

Dragon was reportedly driving a car that authorities were watching out for on January 14. He was pulled over near Broadway and Belmont; a detective then searched the vehicle, while Dragon talked to a police officer. The search subsequently yielded drugs, which were confiscated.

Upon his return, Dragon noticed that the drugs that he left there were no longer in the car. At this point, he was said to have called 911, and started “running and pacing in the area in a frantic manner while appearing to talk on his cellular phone.” Here’s an excerpt of their conversation:

Dragon: “When the cops took me down the street to get okay’ed, my car got f****** robbed.”

Dispatcher: “The police had you and someone broke into your car and took your keys?”

Dragon: “Yeah.  The police had me…. and when they had me somebody f***** me over.”

Based on the conversation it looks like Dragon is accusing the police of stealing his stash; apparently, the police can question him but are not supposed to take the cocaine from his car. Does it make sense?


Chicago Drug Screening


Health & Wellness

Cannabis Ice Cream on Your Dessert Menu

Published by:

This is definitely not your usual dessert fare. Crème De Canna on Soquel, Los Angeles, is offering a range of ice cream flavors infused with pot, as shared in a feature on the Daily Mail. The ice cream is offered in half-pint tubs, and comes in such flavors as Straw-Mari Cheesecake, Bannabis Foster, and Triple Chocolate Brownie. That is just the tip of the ice cream-berg, however, as there are more flavors in the works, according to Crème De Canna owner Jonathan Kolodinski.

cannabis ice creamThe most common method of using marijuana – even for medical purposes – is by smoking it, but not everyone is partial to that idea. By coming up with pot-infused ice cream, Crème De Canna is able to offer an alternative way of getting a dose of marijuana; his end goal, Kolodinski mentioned, is to help patients. And the product is reportedly doing quite well.

Kolodinski shares: “Everybody who’s tried it has said they absolutely love it. A lot of people come back for seconds, thirds and fourths.”

Each half-pint tub of Crème De Canna ice cream costs $15, and contains two to four doses of cannabis. This means that the marijuana in there is the same amount found in eight joints. With that much marijuana, this ice cream is certainly not for everybody, and Kolodinski shared that “”We very explicitly label all our products with a marijuana leaf that says “Keep out of reach of children”. We have been very mindful.” Those who purchase the product are not allowed to eat the ice cream at the dispensary.

Los Angeles Drug Screening

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Heartburn: Triggers and Prevention

Published by:

Many have felt that sensation at one point or another: a painful, burning sensation in the middle of the chest, which usually begins at the end of a meal. More than sixty million Americans, according to a feature on WebMD, experience this sensation at least once a month: heartburn.

heartburnHeartburn may be the result of a faulty valve in the esophagus, called the lower esophageal sphincter. The food that we eat travels down the esophagus into our stomach; the sphincter, a valve-like ring of muscle, opens and lets the food in. Ideally, this valve should close in order to prevent stomach acids from sliding up into the esophagus.

In some people, however, the sphincter does not work as well as it should, resulting in the seepage of stomach acids into the esophagus, a condition called acid reflux. Once in the esophagus, these stomach acids can cause pain and irritation.

Technically, anyone can develop heartburn, but there are lifestyle factors that affect how well the sphincter works. Those who are overweight, eat large meals, wear tight-fitting clothes, and smoke are more prone to developing heartburn.

So how does one manage heartburn? Making little changes to one’s lifestyle can do the trick. One way is to eat smaller meals, and seeing to it that one finishes dinner three to four hours before heading off to bed. That being said, late-night snacks should be avoided.

What you eat can also trigger heartburn, so it is best to make small dietary changes as well. Steer clear of foods that may bring additional acid to the stomach; some foods to avoid are tomatoes, onions, garlic and chocolate.

Early Disease Detection

Scientists Develop Blood Test That Can Predict Diabetes

Published by:

A feature on Telegraph.co.uk shared that a test that can identify an estimated half of those who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes ten years before the onset of the disease has been developed.

This was revealed by researchers at the British Science Festival in Birmingham.

blood testThe test works by detecting the levels of a genetic molecule in blood, called the microRNA (MiR) according to the feature. In addition to predicting diabetes, it could also potentially help in identifying those who are at risk for heart and artery disease.

Dr. Manuel Mayr from King’s College, London, served as lead scientist for the effort. He shared that he envisions the use of the MiR test in conjunction with other conventional tests, and pointed out that the biggest advantage of the test lies in the fact that it directly evaluated the damage that diabetes was causing to a patient’s blood vessels.

Dr. Mayr said: “It’s very important for doctors to define those diabetic patients that are at the highest risk of developing cardiovascular complications… We hope that this new class of blood markers may give additional insight that we’re currently not getting from other clinical tests.”

The research was funded by the British Heart Foundation. The Foundation’s associate medical director, Professor Jeremy Pearson, said: “This is important because right now there is no quick and simple way to monitor blood vessel health… Problems go unnoticed until symptoms appear, and the first symptom could be as serious as a heart attack.”

The research was published in the journal Circulation Research.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

September 26 Is World Heart Day

Published by:

September 26 is World Heart Day, and in honor of the observance, CanolaInfo, a source of information regarding canola oil for consumers, health professionals, chefs, media, and educators, has struck up a partnership with the World Heart Federation towards the promotion of global heart health.

In a press release, CanolaInfo shares a collection of heart-healthy recipes; these recipes may serve to urge people to lead healthier lifestyles, which will, in turn, lead to the prevention of heart disease.

healthy heartThe World Heart-Smart Recipe Collection was created for CanolaInfo by six culinary experts of cuisines from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, China, and India, bringing with it flavors from all over the world. The creation of the collection is supported by the World Heart Federation.

The culinary experts who contributed to the collection are Carla Hall, a finalist on Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 5; Mairlyn Smith, a cookbook author from Toronto; Alfredo Oropeza, the host of “Al Sabor del Chef” and cookbook author, from Mexico City; Stella Fong, a food writer from Billings, Montana; Gene Kato, the executive chef of Japonais Restaurant in Chicago; and Raghavan Iyer, a cookbook author from Minneapolis.

All the recipes in the collection are made using canola oil, which has the least saturated fat among cooking oils and is free of trans fat and cholesterol.

World Heart Federation Senior Science Officer Kathryn Tauber, Ph. D., shared: “It’s easy to forget that heart disease is not just a problem in one’s own country but also around the world… Diet plays a significant role in protecting or predisposing people to heart disease, so we hope to inspire them to eat more healthfully and make simple changes that may reduce their risk of the disease.”

Chicago Health Screening

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day

Published by:

In a previous post, we shared with you some secrets, in observance of the celebration of Healthy Aging Month. One of the health concerns that affect people who age are memory-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

dementiaIn 1994, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) initiated the observance of September 21st as World Alzheimer’s Day, at the beginning of its annual conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, in an effort to raise awareness about the impact that the disease has on families. This year, the theme of World Alzheimer’s Day is “Dementia. It’s time for action,” as shared in a feature on The Tampa Tribune’s Hernando Today. The feature also mentioned that as the years went by, more countries are becoming involved in the observance of World Alzheimer’s Day.

In the Florida area, World Alzheimer’s Day is being celebrated through Memory Walk ’10, organized by the Alzheimer’s Association. The event is scheduled for Saturday, October 2nd, at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. The length of Memory Walk is one mile; those who are interested in participating can do the walk, or simply immerse themselves in pre-walk activities scheduled to start at 8 in the morning.

There are also other events planned for other locations. In New York, it has become a tradition to light the top of the Empire State Building purple and white, the colors for Alzheimer’s. There are also other Memory Walk events organized in other states across the country. A relay bike ride that began in July in San Francisco will end in Washington D.C. on World Alzheimer’s Day; the relay is in support of the passage of the Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act.

San Francisco Health Screening

Substance Abuse

Smoking May Be Banned in NYC Parks

Published by:

The City of New York may ban smoking in city parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas, according to a report on USA Today. The proposed ban was announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, on Wednesday.

The list of places where smoking may be forbidden consists of 1,700 parks and 14 miles of beach, including Central Park, Coney Island, and the new pedestrian plazas in Times Square.

no smokingMayor Bloomberg has been a staunch advocate of placing restrictions on smoking in public; he mentioned the dangers that inhalation of second-hand smoke can bring to non-smokers. During the announcement, Bloomberg said: “When you breathe secondhand tobacco smoke, you’re inhaling a bouquet of … toxins and carcinogens.” He added that once the ban is in place, New Yorkers and visitors alike who head off to the City’s parks and beaches for a bit of fresh air will get what they came for.

Present smoking prohibitions are already enforced in playgrounds, in outdoor sports events and concerts, and in bars and restaurants in New York City. The implementation of smoking bans in beaches and parks is not something that is happening first in NYC; Los Angeles and Chicago have already implemented such prohibitions.

Mayoral spokeswoman Jessica Scaperotti clarified that smoking on the sidewalk is alright; however, once one enters into the pedestrian plaza, the area will become a no-smoking zone. Those who light up in the plaza will risk a $50 ticket.

Tim Tompkins, president of the business owner group Times Square Alliance, said that the ban will result in cleaner streets and a cleaner air for Times Square.


New York Health Screening


Substance Abuse

FDA Decides Against Placing Restrictions on Cough Medicines

Published by:

At the end of August, the Food and Drug Administration released a review of dextromethorphan, an ingredient that is commonly found in cough suppressants. The fact that the ingredient is accessible through over-the-counter medications, according to the review, made it attractive to abusers. As a result, the FDA looked into the possibility of restricting access to cough medicines, at the behest of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Restrictions on such medicines as Robitussin and Nyquil, it was hoped, could curb abuse of cough suppressants.

cough syrupAt that time, it was revealed that the FDA will seek the assistance of a panel of outside experts in evaluating whether dextromethorphan should be among the drugs that will require a prescription.

A feature on WebMD shared that the advisory panel, whose advice was sought by the FDA, has chosen to reject the proposal to impose restrictions on dextromethorphan. While the FDA commonly heeds the recommendations of advisory panels, it is technically not required to do so.

The Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee arrived at the conclusion that, despite the risks posed by dextromethorphan abuse, the substance does not need to be restricted under the Controlled Substances Act.

Had the committee decided to vote otherwise, cough medicines may have been accorded Schedule V status, which means that access to these medications can only be through pharmacies, as opposed to its current availability in convenience stores or supermarkets.

A spokesperson for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), a trade group that represents manufacturers of cough suppressants, said, however, that cough medicines had a “low potential for abuse.”