Thursday, May 31, 2012

'Bath salts': Officials say the synthetic drug in disguise was behind recent ‘cannibal’ attack


Dangerous drug mimics the effects of cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine

Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 3:12 PMBY MEGHAN NEAL / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Read more:
Containers of ‘bath salts,’ a dangerous synthetic drug sold under names like ‘Ivory Wave’ and ‘Vanilla Sky.’


This combo photo shows Rudy Eugene, 31, left, who police shot and killed as he ate the face of Ronald Poppo, 65, right, during a horrific attack in Miami Saturday.

The “cannibal” attacker who chewed off another man’s face in a gruesome crime in Miami Saturday is suspected to have been under the influence of a dangerous drug sold under the innocuous name “bath salts.”

The victim of the attack, a homeless Miami man, was in critical condition Monday after 75% to 80% of his face was chewed off, CNN reports. Police said the attacker, Rudy Eugene, 31, exhibited “insane” behavior similar to other violent incidences linked to bath salts.

Eugene was shot and killed by police during the attack.

Bath salts, also known by street names like “Ivory Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” “Bliss,” and “Purple Rain”, made headlines last year after a rush of emergency room visits, thousands of calls to poison centers and several deaths. The man-made, synthetic drug is made from amphetamine-like chemicals and causes a unique combination of effects on the brain.

“If you take the worst attributes of meth, coke, PCP, LSD and Ecstasy and put them together, that’s what we’re seeing sometimes,” Mark Ryan, the director of the Louisiana Poison Center, told the New York Times.

The powdery substance comes in a small packet, and can be inhaled, swallowed or injected, according to a report from the National Institutes of Health.

The drug is manufactured by street chemists and sold in convenience stores or online, often legally. Sellers were able to sell the drug legally since its emergence in 2009 by marketing the substance as either bath salts or “plant food” or “insect repellant,” and stipulating “not for human consumption” on the label.

A 50-milligram packet usually sells for $25 to $50, reports say.

Use skyrocketed throughout last year, mostly by teens and young adults, until in October the DEA banned three chemicals used to make the drug.

Several states have issued a ban on the drug but no federal ban exists.

Users experience a mix of physical and psychological symptoms. The stimulant can cause excited delirium and severe hallucinations. Users can become violent and suicidal. People often experience a super-human strength, and long-lasting euphoria or paranoia, reports say.

The health consequences, like high blood pressure and rapid heart rate, can be fatal.

Because of the nature of the symptoms the drug has been linked to many violent and crazed crimes and deaths like the recent “zombie” attack.

Last year, a man in Indiana climbed a flagpole on the side of a road and jumped into traffic. Another man in Pennsylvania broke into a monastery and stabbed a priest, and a woman in West Virginia scratched herself 'to pieces' because she thought there was something under her skin, the New York Times reported.

Nudity is common because the drug causes body temperature to rise so fast and so high people feel like they're burning up and take off their clothes, reported the Daily Beast.

The powerful stimulant can cause super strength and in many cases hospital officials or police say it takes several people to hold down a user, the Times reported. The person often won’t respond to a stun gun or taser, the paper said.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has classified bath salts as a Schedule 1 drug, labeling it as highly addictive and illegal. The agency banned mephedrone, MDPV and methoyne, the common ingredients in the drug.

The ban is in place for a year while the DEA studies whether it should be made permanently illegal.

However, banning synthetic drugs if often ineffective, experts say. Bath salts are a designer drug, meaning the chemical concoction can be tweaked slightly and classified as a new drug, making it easy to skirt around the law.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Video Game Trains Doctors to Fight Prescription Drug Abuse

By Join Together Staff | May 29, 2012 | Leave a comment | Filed inHealthcare, Prescription Drugs & Prevention

A new video game helps doctors learn how to determine if patients asking for painkillers truly need them. The game is part of an effort at Northwestern University in Chicago to help physicians fight prescription drug abuse.

The game trains doctors to identify deceptive behavior by patients who are likely to abuse prescription painkillers, according to The New York Times. The technology is similar to what the FBI uses to train agents in interrogation tactics, the article notes.

Doctors are taught to look for warning signs of drug abuse, such as a history of family problems. They also learn to observe signs of nervousness, such as fidgeting, finger-tapping and breaking eye contact.

The game is in its final phase of testing. It is designed for primary care and family doctors, who often are not comfortable evaluating patients’ need for painkillers, according to the newspaper.

“This isn’t something medical students have traditionally been trained for,” said Dr. Michael F. Fleming, whose research was used to design the game. “These are hard conversations to have.”

The game will soon be available online to medical schools and health care providers, for a fee. The game includes about 2,000 statements by a patient. Doctors can select from more than a thousand possible responses. The dialogue is based on interviews with more than 1,000 patients who received opioids for pain.

Weather: No Rain!  Outlook: a Fantastic
8th annual outdoor event promises good roads for the bikers and lots of fun on campus
Last-minute Registration open til 6PM Saturday
Bike Line-up
Sunday June 3rd
NJ-PA Motorcycle Poker Run
Family Pig Roast Picnic
Live Music, Children's FunReserve Tickets Now
Event Registration
Open til Saturday 6PM
Ride / Picnic Registration - $20 *
Second Rider - $10
Picnic Only - $10 *
* Children 12 and under free
  Click on the Event Registration (top right in this email).  
Bike Ride
Win a Harley-Davidson Wide Glide
      (or $7,500 cash option)
Plus $1,000 & $500 prizes
Tickets $10
     at the Store

Rock Band playing at Ride for Recovery
All proceeds from the Ride for Recovery benefit patient programs and charitable care at Livengrin, for people working hard to recover their physical health, emotional strength and ability to make the right choices for their future. 

  Great Ride Shirts and Hoodies Available Now

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

National Inhalant Prevention Coalition: Stop Encouraging Kids to Huff Helium

By Join Together Staff | March 16, 2012 | 1 Comment | Filed in Advocacy,Parenting, Prevention & Youth

Huffing helium is not safe, and adults must stop encouraging children to do it, according to the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC), a group that promotes awareness and recognition of inhalant use.

“Unknowing adults demonstrate and often provide helium to kids at parties, or science teachers use it in classes to demonstrate the effects of a gas on vocal cords,” Harvey Weiss, Executive Director of NIPC, said in a news release. “For years I have heard ‘everybody does it,’ and sure enough parents do it as well as Scout leaders, science teachers and even youth pastors. This normalizing of huffing needs to stop and all of us can play a role in that. We must be advocates for children.”

Weiss spoke about the dangers of helium at a press conference in advance of the 20th Annual National Inhalants & Poisons Awareness Week, which runs March 18-24, 2012.

Helium can displace the oxygen in the lungs, leading to oxygen deprivation, according to The Washington Times. This can cause symptoms that range from dizziness to blacking out to cardiac arrest.

Weiss said retailers can reduce helium abuse by placing tanks of the gas higher up on shelves, so they are out of the reach of children. He also called on adults to be more aware of the dangers of huffing helium.

Brian Dyak, President of Entertainment Industries Council Inc., which encourages the media to address social and health issues, called on the entertainment and news industries to educate people about inhalant abuse. The group says inhalant abuse should not be portrayed as glamorous or socially acceptable.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Driving Loaded? There’s an App for That

Senators were shocked to learn that dozens of applications allow the intoxicated smartphone owner to avoid user-reported speed traps and radar-equipped patrol cars.
Share on facebookShare on twitter|More Sharing Services Share

Think what Hunter Thompson could have done with one of these babies. There’s an app for mixing cocktails, and an app for finding bars on the road, so it’s not surprising to discover there’s an app for intoxicated drivers. Four U.S. Senators--Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY),Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Tom Udall [D-NM--have all expressed concern over smartphone applications that allow drivers to avoid DUI checkpoints, and have called for their removal from app stores. The indignant senators sent letters to the head of Apple's iPhone software group, Scott Forstall; Google's CEO Eric Schmidt; and Research in Motion's (RIM) co-CEOs, James Balsillie and Michael Lazaridis, Computerworld reports. The senators identified only one application by name—PhantomALERT--butComputerworld says there are dozens of apps designed to warn drivers of user-reported speed traps, roving radar-equipped patrol cars, and accidents. Many integrate the smartphone's integrated GPS feature to display police and accident locations. "Giving drunk drivers a free tool to evade checkpoints, putting innocent families and children at risk, is a matter of public concern," the senators said in a letter to the executives. "We hope that you will give our request to remove these applications from your store immediate consideration." In 2010 alone, 10,839 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, and over a quarter of a million people are injured in drunk-driving accidents each year.

Caron Werner Pennsylvania!

Caron Pennsylvania 3 stars
Caron's hilltop HQ treats teens and adults in a New England boarding school atmosphere—discipline included. But if evangelical rallying cries and impromptu stage shows prove too much, a free cocktail is just a stroll away.
Caron Treatment Center Pennsylvania

For those wanting a traditional 12-step approach to recovery in a strictly controlled environment,Caron Pennsylvania, a venerable 110-acre institution that’s been around for over 60 years, provides a firm but caring framework for recovery. The stately old Keystone State campus—where the ambiance is decidedly “New England boarding school”—occupies an historic resort in the rolling hills of rural Wernersville, and the architecture is symbolic of the center’s time-tested approach to recovery. (Caron’s young adult program serves 18-to-25-year-olds who, says one grad, “in spite of their trust funds, all seem to want to be rappers.”)

The Caron rehab facilityenforces a rigid separation of genders, and insists on a no-nonsense treatment regimen. Caffeine and non-recovery related books are banned as well, and smokers can puff only at designated times. Caron’s time-tested treatment plan generally eschews trendy fads like yoga, art, and equine therapy that pervade more recent rehabs. Clients cough up cell phones and MP3 players immediately upon check-in, and use of the landline requires a “phone pass” reluctantly doled out by a counselor.

Life at Caron starts early and is highly structured—clients are up by 6 am and engaged in treatmentprograms until 10 pm—and there’s little autonomy (everyone must traverse the campus in groups of threes). The stiff institutional atmosphere makes the Caron rehab facility feel “like a cross between a dormitory and a hospital,” says one grad. “They want you to feel like you're in treatment—not at a luxury resort.” While some alumni rave about the staff, others complain. “It doesn’t seem like they get rock star techs and doctors,” notes one grad. “It’s a lot of church lady women that have been there for 30 years.”

The Caron treatment center facility is clean and attractive, but not overly grand. Residents are required to do their own laundry and make their beds every morning, which might not exactly come as second nature to the majority of the clientele—largely white, upper-middle and upper class patients that include hedge-funders, politicians, and occasional celebs (Liza Minnelli and Steven Tyler among them).

Adults dig into a buffet offering standard fare—meat and potatoes, a vegetable, and a salad bar. The on-site adolescent unit—catering to youngsters aged 13–19, complete with its own grownup-free group meetings —serves clients in a separate dining facility with a more restricted (i.e., sugar-free) menu.

During their limited free time, clients have the option to pump iron at the gym, shoot hoops, or run on the treadmill. Less athletic sorts can stroll around the scenic campus or make jewelry. Those in the adolescent unit take retreats off campus, go camping, and watch a steady stream of PG movies.

A mandatory campus ritual is the Sunday morning “chapel” meeting led by a quirky Catholic priest and former army chaplain named Father Bill Hultberg, who serves as Caron's in-house "spiritual advisor." “Father Bill does this same schpiel week after week,” says one alum. “It’s kind of like an evangelical rally—he preaches passionately about God and recovery. Then he plays rap music and Britney Spears.” At the conclusion of every performance, Father Bill invites select clients to join him on stage before the 400-person campus and perform a song, play the guitar or express their gratitude to the Caron staff. Most are happy to indulge him—including Tyler and Minnelli, who reportedly entertained their peers with a few tunes.

But Caron offers far more than just music and the facility’s rigid structure often serves as an effective antidote to the freewheeling lifestyle many of its clients indulge in until they arrive. “They really helped me pull myself together," says one enthusiastic alum. "I needed the discipline and their firm hand. I would definitely go back if I relapsed.” The Caron rehab center actually boasts a specialized relapse program where people that have already endured the initial 28-day program—and memorized all the talking points on addiction and recovery—can pick up where they left off; an in-depth exploration of the mechanisms of relapse is an integral (read: mandatory) aspect of the relapse program.

And the special few who can't make it through the program receive a kind of booby prize upon their departure: a bar at the base of the mountain-top drug rehab facility in Pennsylvania offers relapsing clients a free cocktail in exchange for their Caron sobriety chip.

Rehab Reviews
The Fix staff

Commentary: Breaking the Cycle of Drugs, Alcohol and Crime

By Susan Richardson | May 4, 2012 | 4 Comments | Filed in Community Related,Drugs, Legal, Recovery, Treatment & Youth

Almost two million American youth need treatment for alcohol and other drug use or abuse. But only 1 in 20 will receive treatment.

Research shows that teens with substance abuse problems are more likely to break the law, behave violently or drop out of school. In fact, 4 out of 5 young people in the juvenile justice system commit crimes while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Young people need to be held accountable when they break the law. Unless they receive treatment for a substance abuse problem that helped them get in trouble in the first place, they will often find themselves back in juvenile court again and again.

That’s where Reclaiming Futures comes in. By connecting juvenile courts with treatment providers and community members, we help teens overcome drugs, alcohol and crime.

We accomplish this by creating teams of juvenile court judges, probation officers, substance abuse treatment professionals and community members. Using an evidence-based six-step model, the team works together to ensure that teens get the treatment and services they need, while tracking their progress and identifying service gaps.

So how does the model work?

Step 1: Initial Screening: As soon as possible after being referred to the juvenile justice system, youth are screened for possible substance abuse problems.

Step 2: Initial Assessment: Teens with possible substance abuse problems are assessed using a reputable tool to measure their use of alcohol and other drugs, individual and family risks, needs and strengths. This allows the team to measure the severity of the problem, which informs the treatment plan.

Step 3: Service Coordination: The team designs and coordinates an intervention plan that is family driven, spans agency boundaries and draws upon community-based resources.

Step 4: Initiation: Treatment begins.

Step 5: Engagement: The team engages both the teens and their families and follows up with them during treatment.

Step 6: Transition: Teens transition out of agency-based treatment services. The team makes sure that kids and their families have community resources and support in place, in order to lower the risk of relapse and recidivism.

It’s essential for the family and community to be involved throughout the process because almost every young person who appears in juvenile court eventually returns home. In order to stay drug and crime free, teens need positive mentors and caring adults in their lives. They also need help with completing school and finding a job, which is why Step 6 is so important – troubled young people need help transitioning from the juvenile system to a happy and productive adult life.

We’re not the only ones who understand the importance of connecting teens with quality treatment and care. The ObamaAdministration’s 2012 National Drug Control Strategy prioritizes treatment and coordinated care to people struggling with addiction. As part of the Strategy, we are working with the Administration to spread our model throughout the United States to improve treatment for youth involved with the juvenile justice system. We believe we are a solution for the entire nation.

To learn more about Reclaiming Futures, please

Susan Richardson, National Executive Director for Reclaiming Futures

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Beware of Drunk Drivers on Memorial Day Weekend

By Join Together Staff | May 24, 2012 | Leave a comment | Filed in Alcohol &Prevention

Drunk drivers are a threat on the road during Memorial Day weekend, warns Fox Business. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 397 people died over the three-day weekend in 2010, the latest year for which data is available. Of those crashes, 40 percent were alcohol-related.

In 2010, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes—one every 51 minutes, notes the NHTSA. The agency has found fatal crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver are more likely on weekends and at night, the article notes.

Alcohol interferes with a person’s coordination, driving skills and judgment. Drinking can cause people to lose control and become aggressive, which can in turn affect driving skills.

Drinking can affect the brain for hours, and may even influence a person’s driving the next morning, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Caffeine won’t help to reduce the effects of alcohol on the body.

The NIAAA pamphlet, “Rethinking Holiday Drinking,” recommends that people who do decide to drink should not have more than one drink per hour. Make every other drink a nonalcoholic one, and pick a designated driver to get you home safely. A designated driver should be someone who has not had anything to drink, not just the person in your group who had the least to drink.

U.S. Looks to Other Nations for Addiction Treatment Ideas: Kerlikowske

By Join Together Staff | May 23, 2012 | 5 Comments | Filed in Addiction,Drugs, Government & Treatment

The United States is looking to other nations for ideas on how to treat addiction as a disease, the U.S. Director of National Drug Control Policy said Tuesday. Gil Kerlikowske, who spoke during a visit to London, said the Obama Administration wants to speak to drug addiction experts in other countries to learn whether elements of their programs could work in the United States, according toReuters.

Kerlikowske has visited Portugal, Italy, Mexico, Colombia and other South American countries to see different types of drug treatment programs, the article notes. He said the approach to drug addiction in Portugal was somewhat successful. Since 2001, authorities in that country have focused their efforts on prevention messages and treatment, and stopped arrests, trials and imprisonment of people who carry a personal supply of drugs.

He said the U.S. is taking a more balanced approach to substance use, with an emphasis on treatment instead of law enforcement. He urged the international community to work together on substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, to stop the cycle of drug use, criminal acts, imprisonment, release, and re-arrest.

Last week, the Office of National Drug Control Policy released a report that it said showed the importance of addressing the nation’s drug problem not just as a criminal justice issue, but as a public health issue.

The report showed a decline in cocaine use since 2003, which indicates that law enforcement efforts and public educationcampaigns may be having an effect. Illegal drug use overall has decreased about 30 percent since 1979.

An average of 71 percent of men arrested in 10 U.S. metropolitan areas in 2011 tested positive for an illegal substance when they were taken into custody, the study found. The rates ranged from 64 percent in Atlanta, to 81 percent in Sacramento, California. These rates were higher for almost half of the collection sites since 2007.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Never Fear, the New D.S.M. Won’t “Create More Addicts”

Last week’s New York Times article, “Addiction Diagnoses May Rise Under Guideline Changes,” offers a sadly pejorative take on the proposed changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or D.S.M.—the go-to manual for mental health (including substance use disorder) diagnoses. The reporter writes that the rewritten D.S.M. “could result in millions more people being diagnosed as addicts.”

There are a couple of problems with this speculation. First, people are not diagnosed “as addicts.” This is because there is no diagnosis of “addiction”—not in the current DSM or the revised version. To characterize the diagnosis of substance use disorders this way simply shows the extent to which stigma and depreciatory attitudes about this illness remain.

Second, the new D.S.M. would do one important and enormously beneficial thing: it would allow problematic and/or harmful drug use to be identified and diagnosed earlier. This is the first time Medicaid/Medicare have reimbursed effective services for people who misuse substances—not just for folks who qualify as chemically dependent. This is where programs like Phoenix House’s SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment) come in. These programs, along with the new D.S.M., will help us catch and treat substance use problems before they become life-threatening—and before they require the expensive treatments that the Times article references. The fact that SBIRT is now available and funded is no small feat; to quote Dr. Keith Humphreys, former drug control policy adviser to the White House, this is in fact “the single biggest expansion in the quality and quantity of addiction treatment this country has seen in 40 years.”

Third, the article paints a ridiculous picture of the guys who wrote the new D.S.M. They aren’t money-grubbing evil scientists who take money from pharmaceutical companies to support an elaborate research ruse. I know many of these researchers—they’re passionate about the cause, and the D.S.M. is their labor of love. They put in a great deal of work with their efforts to better characterize the DSM categories, which will allow more people to get help. Why would The New York Times be so one-sided in criticizing these efforts? In reality, these researchers are the ones who want to help people the most.

So never fear, the new D.S.M. will not cause more people to be diagnosed with addiction. Instead, more people who may not yet be addicted (but whose drug use is nonetheless problematic and unhealthy) will be able to access very inexpensive but proven effective treatment earlier and easier. Treating these folks is no different from treating those in the early stages ofdiabetes—it requires minimal professional help, some education, and simple lifestyle changes. We wouldn’t wait until a pre-diabetic started experiencing the symptoms of full-blown diabetes before we offered him or her help. Instead, we would intervene early in hopes of preventing such a difficult future. The same should apply for those with early substance misuse.

Deni Carise, Ph.D.
Chief Clinical Officer
Phoenix House

Recovery Advocates to Be Recognized at National Event

By Join Together Staff | May 17, 2012 | Leave a comment | Filed in Addiction& Recovery

Four activists and a grassroots community organization will be recognized for their work as recovery advocates by Faces & Voices of Recovery. The addiction recovery advocacy organization will present the awards Wednesday, June 27 in Washington, D.C.

The awards honor the recipients’ contributions to advocating for the rights of people and their families in or seeking recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

Recipients of the award are Rev. Dr. Robert Gilmore, Sr., of Real Urban Ministry in Houston; Walter Ginter of the National Alliance for Medication-Assisted Recovery in New York; Rosemary Tisch of Celebrating Families in Saratoga, California, Jeff Blodget of St. Paul, Minnesota, and the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery in Boston.

To read more about the awardees and the event, visit the Faces & Voices of Recovery website.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Commentary: 6 Tips to Protect Your Child From Online Drug Threats

By David Festinger, PhD | April 17, 2012 | 1 Comment | Filed in Alcohol, Drugs,Parenting, Young Adults & Youth

Many people in Philadelphia were stunned by a recent report thatstudents in one community had been depicted on YouTube drinking and taking other drugs.

It’s not entirely clear what people were most shocked by – the realization that kids abuse drugs and alcohol, that videos glorifying the use of drugs and alcohol appear on the Internet or simply the fact that this was done by local students.

The fact that kids abuse dangerous substances is definitely not new. Findings from the Monitoring the Future Study (2010) indicated that in the prior year alone, 1.8 million kids under the age of 18 reported using drugs for the first time – that’s almost 5,000 kids each day. In addition, 48 percent used illicit drugs. What’s more staggering is that these estimates do not include alcohol.

The existence of online media that promote drug and alcohol use is also not a recent phenomenon. Research conducted by our team at the Treatment Research Institute has catalogued hundreds of YouTube videos, chat rooms, social networking venues and other online sites that extol the virtues of drugs, provide information about how to use drugs “safely” and even teach kids how to manufacture and sell drugs.

Although most of us are aware of the influence that friends, peers, television and movies may have on our children’s perceptions of drug and alcohol use, many people are not aware of the incredible prevalence of pro-drug use propaganda and misinformation available on the Internet.

The fact that this happened in someone’s backyard may have been the thing that caught local attention, but the prevalence of these online drug threats are the issues – at the local level and nationally – that we should be most concerned about. Similar to strategies taken to safeguard our children against online predation, there are many ways to protect them from these pro-drug and alcohol use influences.

The Treatment Research Institute has developed a training program for parents that provides practical recommendations to help them defend their children from these online drug threats. Some of the most basic recommendations include:

• Setting limits on Internet use and availability depending on the age and maturity of the child. (These limits need to be discussed with the child – see below.)
• Monitoring your child’s Internet use and making use of commercially available parent controls. Placing the computer in a central area of your home can make this easier.
• Having a formal or informal contract with children about the proper use of the Internet and making clear the consequences for misuse. (Be sure to follow through with those consequences when misuse occurs.)
• Having children walk parents through the places they go online, and who they communicate with (their contacts).
• Discussing your house rules related to Internet use with the parents of the friends your child visits. Make sure that your child is not able to engage in unmonitored or inappropriate Internet use while at their friends’ homes.
• Remaining calm and having a plan as to what to do if you discover inappropriate use. (Keep in mind that children are naturally curious and there can be many reasons why they happen upon a particular website. Don’t overreact!)

Technology has made many things possible. While the Internet serves as an amazing tool that can greatly benefit our children, we must also be conscious of its potential dangers.

The writer is a Senior Scientist at the Treatment Research Institute, an independent, nonprofit research and development organization dedicated to science-driven transformation of treatment, other practice and policy in substance use and abuse.

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Steps Pediatricians Can Take to Reduce Teen Substance Use

By Celia Vimont | May 18, 2012 | 2 Comments | Filed in Alcohol, Drugs,Healthcare, Prevention, Young Adults & Youth

Teens who complete a five-minute computer screening program that includes six questions about alcohol and drug use, and who talk with their pediatrician briefly about the results, reduce their risk of drinking up to one year later, according to a new study.

Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital studied more than 2,000 teens from New England and the Czech Republic. The teens completed the screening program, which asks six questions about alcohol and drug use, and then presents a score and risk level. The teens read through 10 pages with facts and stories that illustrate the serious health effects of substance use.

The teens’ doctors receive a report with the results, and a list of talking points for a two- to three- minute conversation about the risks involved in alcohol and drug use. They tell the teens it would be best for their health not to use alcohol or drugs at all.

The study found that after using the program, teens’ risk of drinking dropped almost in half for three months, and by about one-quarter one year after the doctor’s visit, the researchers report in the journal Pediatrics.

Screening and brief intervention has been shown to be effective in emergency departments and college campuses, but this is the first study published in an English language journal to demonstrate it is effective in adolescent primary care settings, according to senior author Dr. John R. Knight, Director of the Center for AdolescentSubstance Abuse Research at Boston Children’s Hospital. “It’s important to get pediatricians involved, because we know 70 percent of high school seniors have started to drink, and almost 60 percent have started to use drugs, but there are few specialists available to deal with early intervention with teens,” he said.
Dr. Knight noted that teens generally see their primary care physician for a yearly physical. “Kids know they can tell the truth to their doctor, and it won’t get back to their parents. They really listen to their doctors’ advice,” he said. “Since substance abuse kills more teenagers than infectious disease, parents should view this screening as another important vaccination.”

Two key factors may prevent a teen’s doctor from asking about drug and alcohol use, and this program addresses both, Dr. Knight says. One is time constraints. “Doctors are pressed for time, and they have a lot of things they need to screen patients for,” he says. By having patients complete the screening before the visit, doctors have more time to interpret the results and discuss them.

The second factor is that doctors who do screen teens for substance use don’t always know what to say to those who admit to using drugs or alcohol.

The screening program is based on the CRAFFT test, a behavioral health screening tool for use with children under the age of 21 that is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Substance Abuse for use with adolescents.

Last fall, the AAP and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism unveiled a new tool designed to help pediatricians talk to teenagers about alcohol use. The “Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner’s Guide” provides doctors with basic questions about whether and how much a patient drinks, and how much their friends drink.

“Our program takes a similar approach, but by using a computer, we are saving the doctor time,” observes Dr. Knight.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

As Summer Approaches, Experts Warn Alcohol is a Key Factor in Boating Accidents

By Join Together Staff | May 18, 2012 | 1 Comment | Filed in Alcohol &Community Related

Intoxication is a key factor in many boating accidents, experts say, as boating season gets underway. In Texas, almost 100 people died in boating accidents over the last three years, and alcohol use was the leading contributor, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Not wearing a life jacket also plays a role in many boating-related deaths, the article notes.

“It’s unfortunate that there’s probably a boating culture out there … a little bit different from driving your car. When you get into the boat, you’re going to have fun,” Game Warden Capt. Ron VanderRoest told the newspaper. “Not being able to drink or having to wear life jackets are not the most fun thing to do, but it’s a whole lot better than someone losing their lives.” The article notes 820 Texans were citing for boating while intoxicated from 2009 to 2011.

The Coast Guard announced the start of National Safe Boating Week, May 19 to 25, reminding the public that boating under the influence (BUI) or boating while intoxicated (BWI) is just as deadly as drinking and driving.

In a news release, the Coast Guard states, “It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state. Penalties for violating BUI and BWI laws can include large fines, suspension or revocation of boat operator privileges and jail terms.”

Friday, May 18, 2012


The original Stand Down for homeless veterans was modeled after the Stand Down concept used during the Vietnam War to provide a safe retreat for units returning from combat operations. At secure base camp areas, troops were able to take care of personal hygiene, get clean uniforms, enjoy warm meals, receive medical and dental care, mail and receive letters, and enjoy the camaraderie of friends in a safe environment. Stand Down afforded battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health and overall sense of well-being.

That is the purpose of the Stand Down for homeless veterans, and achieving those objectives requires a wide range of support services and time. The program is successful because it brings these services to one location, making them more accessible to homeless veterans.

In July 2002, the founders of Stand Down – Robert Van Keuren, Dr. Jon Nachison and Vietnam Veterans of San Diego – asked the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) to become the “keeper of the flame” and provide national leadership for the movement. Since the first Stand Down in San Diego in 1988, the program has become recognized as the most valuable outreach tool to help homeless veterans in the nation today.

Stand Down Guide
Information about the history of Stand Down, essential program components, event classifications, and how to organize and develop a Stand Down program for your community.

2012 Stand Downs
The National Registry of scheduled Stand Down programs and contact information for event coordinators.

Stand Down Information FormTo include your Stand Down event in the national registry and NCHV’s newsletter and website, please complete the Stand Down Information form and return it via fax or mail to NCHV, attn: Samira Denardo.

2012 After Action ReportOnce your event has concluded please fill out the after action report.The information on this form is used by NCHV and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to compile an annual report on Stand Down programs that provide outreach and supportive services to homeless veterans. If you have questions or need assistance with this report, contact Samira Denardo at 202-546-1969 or by email at


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Eminem's Addictions: I Was Taking Up To 90 Pills A Day

In Celebs by Jeffery


"The Bigger The Crowd, The Bigger My Habit Got"

Eminem does not want another Encore. The rapper reveals in a new interview the drugged-up lows he went to while producing the critically-panned album, as well as the extreme measures he took to get back on top.

Read: Eminem Shoots Himself In The Head In Music Video

Talking to GQ, Eminem says he began developing an addiction to prescription painkillers and sleep medication during the recording of 2004's Encore. The rapper says at one point he was taking up to 90 pills a day, including Valium, Vicodin, Ambien, and the anti-schizophrenia drug Seroquel.

"Five or six songs leaked from the original version of Encore," he says. "So I had to go in and make new songs to replace them. In my head I was pissed off: 'Oh well. Songs leaked. Fu** it. I'm just going to take a bunch of fu**ing pills and go in there and have a party with myself.' I'm sure the more pills I took, the goofier I got."

Eminem would eventually go to rehab. But for a celebrity of his stature, it was not an easyplace to be.

"Look," he says, "every addict in rehab feels like everyone's staring at them. With me? Everyone was staring at me. I could never be comfortable. There were people there that treated me normal. Then there were a bunch of fu**ing idiots who aren't even concentrating on their own sobriety because they're so worried about mine. They're stealing my hats, my books -- it was chaos. Everything was drama in there. And at the time, I didn't really want to get clean. Everybody else wanted me to. And anyone will tell you: If you're not ready, nothing is going to change you. Love, nothing."

Read: Eminem's Daughter Offers Advice on Twitter

While he might not have been ready to get clean, there was one event that forced Eminem to seek out real treatment: in 2005 he almost died of an overdose.

"I came to in the hospital and I didn't know what the fu** happened," he says. "Tubes in me and sh*t, fu**in' needles in my arms. I didn't realize I had [overdosed]. I wanted my drugs -- get me the fu** outta there! I think I was clean for two weeks. I was trying so hard -- I was trying to do it for my kids -- but I just wasn't ready."

Eventually Slim Shady took his health seriously, went back to rehab and kicked his habit. But he still takes his addiction as a lesson into the recording studio.

"The thing sobriety has taught me the most," he says, "is the way I'm wired -- why my thought process is so different."

"I've realized that the way I am helps with the music. Sporadic thoughts will pop into my head and I'll have to go write something down, and the next thing you know I've written a whole song in an hour. But sometimes it sucks, and I wish I was wired like a regular person and could go have a fu**in' drink. But that's the biggest thing about addiction: When you realize that you cannot -- for fu**sake, you can NOT -- fu** around with nothing ever again. I never understood when people would say it's a disease. Like, 'Stop it, . It's not a disease!' But I finally realized, Fu**, man -- it really is."

Read: Eminem is Most Popular Member on Facebook

Read More About EMINEM »

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Christian Life Prison and recovery Ministry Bucks Co. Pa.

From the Director...

Following the Vision

"Where there is no vision, people perish." (Proverbs 29:18)

CLPRM's vision statement says:"Helping those incarcerated and in recovery develop as productive citizens, and giving them a biblical understanding of God's purpose for their lives."
This vision guide all we do as a ministry. As a result, in 2011-2012 the Lord allowed us to go deeper into all three areas of our ministry -- prison, recovery and the coffee house -- in ways we never imagined. And it's because of volunteers and supporters like you that our vision is becoming reality.

In the past year CLPRM:
Added volunteers in all phases of the ministry.
Increased the number of volunteers who regularly preach and sharetestimony at prison church services and Road to Recovery meetings.
Introduced a quarterly recovery worship service and luncheon at Woodside Church.
Designed and launched an all-new CLPRM website.
Guided so many men and women to know Jesus Christ at the Friday night Road to Recovery meetings.
Created an Inmate Release and Recovery Scholarship to assist newly-released inmates find housing and transition into society.
Expanded the inmate Pen Pal Ministry.
Helped place those with addictions in short- and long-term recovery programs, housing, treatment facilities, and provide other support to help them to help them break the bondage of drugs and alcohol.In the coming year we plan to expand our current outreach as the Lord leads. Plus we've set our sights on new projects like:
A Recovery Scholarship Fundraising Concert with Dave Pettigrew on November 17, 2012
The first-ever Conquering Grounds Music Fest -- a full day of music, ministry, food and fun for all ages in fall of 2013.Our long-term vision is to open a facility that provides housing and structured Christ-centered programs for the prison and recovery community. We plan to call it The Sanctuary: A Place of Refuge and Restoration.

Will you pray that The Sanctuary becomes a reality; and that all areas of CLPRM continue to bring hope, healing and the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ to the recovery and prison communities?

In all you do remember, "Where there is no vision, people perish."

In His Service,

Bob Sofronski

Chairman and Director, CLPRM

Want to know what makes a great leader?

Read Bob's devotion: Thinking Like a Leader

New Website Launched!

Visit us at our new home

As the ministry has grown, the website needed to keep up! After months of work we proudly unveil our improved and updated website. It's filled with up-to-date information and news about the ministry. Our web address remains the same, but now you'll find things like:

Upcoming performances at Conquering Grounds Cafe
Road to Recovery updates
Addiction, rehab, recovery and inmate resources
Calendar of coming events
Stories and testimonies
Links to the CLPRM's Facebook page and YouTube channel
Online donations (coming soon)
And much more!

Check out the all-new face of

Thanks to Costco in Warminster for their generous donations to Conquering Grounds Cafe!

Costco will attend Conquering Grounds Cafe on May 12. Become a new Costco member and receive up to a $20 Costco Cash Card.

Recovery Ministry Announces Worship Service & Luncheon

Each quarter CLPRM will join with Woodside Church and Addictions Victorious to host a recovery worship service and luncheon. The first service, held in February was such an amazing worship experience for all involved that we can't wait for the next one. Will you join us ... and invite your friends, too? Here's the details:

Road to Recovery is open to men and women, and meets every Friday night at 7pm at Christian Life Center in Bensalem.

Cardinal Health Shipments Suspended Under Agreement with DEA

By Join Together Staff | May 16, 2012 | Leave a comment | Filed in Community Related, Government & Prescription Drugs

Drug wholesale company Cardinal Health said Tuesday it will suspend shipments of controlled substances from a warehouse in Florida for two years, under an agreement with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Reuters reports the company also agreed to work to improve security procedures at its distribution center in Lakeland, Florida, to ensure that opioids are not diverted into the wrong hands. The company is not shutting down the facility, and operations there will continue, according to Cardinal Health.

“This agreement allows us to put this matter behind us, and just as important, will clear the way for a more productive dialogue about how we and others in the health care and regulatory community can work together to prevent the abuse and misuse of prescription drugs,” George Barrett, Chairman and CEO of Cardinal Health, said in a statement. The company noted the DEA confirmed it is planning no further administrative actions at other Cardinal Health facilities.

Earlier this year, the DEA charged Cardinal and four pharmacies with violating their licenses to sell controlled drugs. The DEA said Cardinal had an unusually high number of shipments of controlled painkillers to four pharmacies. The agency suspended Cardinal’s controlled substance license at its distribution center in Lakeland. The centerserves 2,500 pharmacies in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. After the DEA suspended the company’s license, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order against the DEA’s suspension order.

A federal judge then ruled that drug distribution companies must “self-police” to track unusually big drug shipments that might be used improperly. The ruling allowed the DEA to halt shipments of oxycodone and other controlled medications from the Cardinal Health distribution facility.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Some Question Fairness of New Jersey Drug Treatment Plan

By Join Together Staff | May 15, 2012 | 1 Comment | Filed in Addiction,Community Related, Drugs, Funding, Government & Treatment

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s plan for mandatory treatment for all low-level drug offenders could reduce treatment slots for people who seek treatment voluntarily, but don’t have the money to pay for it, critics say.

The governor’s plan, which would make New Jersey the first state to require treatment for nonviolent offenders who are addicted to drugs, has been praised by addiction experts, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Some providers point out that the plan would give priority to criminals, some of whom do not want treatment. Providers say that their centers often have waiting lists, and state money to pay for those who cannot afford treatment sometimes runs out before the end of the year, or is frozen.

Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for Governor Christie, disputed the claim that the governor’s plan takes away services from others. “What we’re attempting to do is to address a very serious societal problem,” he said. “In doing that, we are not diminishing the addiction services outside the criminal justice system.”

The system that would require drug treatment for low-level offenders, called drug court, could cost up to $35 million, the article notes. The mandatory program would double the court’s current 4,000 participants. Governor Christie has proposed spending $2.5 million for fiscal 2013 to create the mandatory program.

Binge Drinking Can Complicate Recovery from Burn Injuries, Study Finds

By Join Together Staff | April 30, 2012 | Leave a comment | Filed in Alcohol &Research

Binge drinking may complicate recovery from burn injuries, according to a study presented at the American Burn Association Annual Meeting.

The study compared burn patients who were intoxicated above the legal limit, with burn patients who did not have any alcohol in their blood, according to Medical News Today. The researchers, from Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois, found that although binge drinkers’ injuries were much less severe than other burn patients, they experienced similar rates of sepsis, a life-threatening bloodstream infection, as well as pneumonia. Both groups of patients spent similar amounts of time on a ventilator, in the intensive care unit, and in the hospital.

The median hospitalization cost for binge drinkers who were burned was $221,000, almost as high as the cost for non-drinkers who had much worse burns.

“Among binge drinkers, even relatively minor injuries can result in serious complications and prolonged hospital stays,” study author Elizabeth J. Kovacs, PhD, said in a news release.

Study co-author Christopher S. Davis, MD, MPH, said there are several likely reasons why binge drinkers may have difficult recoveries from burns, even though their injuries may be relatively minor. Intoxication weakens the immune system, which slows healing and makes patients more at risk of infection, he said.

Davis also pointed out carbon monoxide poisoning levels in burned binge drinkers were more than four times higher than the levels in burn patients who did not drink, probably because it took binge drinkers a longer time to escape the fire. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause effects including brain damage, which can complicate recovery, he said.

Revised Definition of Addiction Could Lead to Millions More Being Diagnosed

By Join Together Staff | May 14, 2012 | 2 Comments | Filed in Addiction &Mental Health

A proposed revision to the definition of addiction by mental health specialists could lead to millions of additional people receiving an addiction diagnosis, The New York Times reports. The changes could lead to big consequences for both health insurers and taxpayers, according to the newspaper.

The revisions are being proposed for the new edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), scheduled for release in May 2013. The manual would enlarge the list of recognized symptoms for drug and alcohol addiction, and reduce the number of symptoms needed for a diagnosis.

The new manual would include gambling as an addiction for the first time, and may introduce a category called “behavioral addiction—not otherwise specified,” that some public health experts say might be used too often to diagnose various addictions, including shopping, video games, sex or the Internet.

The DSM is important because it determines whether insurers, including Medicare and Medicaid, will pay for treatment, and whether schools will finance specific special-education services. The court system uses the DSM to evaluate whether criminal defendants are mentally impaired. Drug manufacturers rely on the manual when making decisions about research.

Some economists predict the new definition of addiction could add 20 million people, leading to additional costs running into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The chances of getting a diagnosis are going to be much greater, and this will artificially inflate the statistics considerably,” Thomas F. Babor, an editor of the journal Addiction, told the newspaper. He said many people receiving a diagnosis of addiction under the new guidelines would have only a mild problem, siphoning off scarce drug treatment resources in schools, prisons and health care settings.

While the American Psychiatric Association scientific review panel has asked for more evidence to support the revisions on addiction, several researchers involved with the manual noted the panel is unlikely to significantly alter the proposed revisions.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


  We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity!
   Scripture from (BIBLE) to back this up!
   GOD is working in you ,giving you the desire to do what pleases HIM!(Phillipians 2:13 see also
   Romans 4:6-8 , Ephesians 1:6-8 ,Colosians 1:21-22 ; Hebrews 11 :1-10)

   We were given from our creator a 2,000 page plus instruction manual for living. Imagine putting together an entertainment center , you open the box and before you is a pile of parts as you look through the parts you realize there are no instructions for assembly. The smart thing to do is put parts back in the box and return it to the store. Most of us including myself will attempt to piece it together , and after many frustrating hours ,I just give up.Sounds like a life in addiction.We fumble through life and no matter how hard we try to put our lives together we stumble fall and give up.Without the instruction book (BIBLE) , we will wind up like that pile of parts with no idea on how to get it  together . That's  why step 2 is so important! Life without GOD is frustrating painful messy and impossible.My advice , Surrender and ask GODS only son JESUS to come into your heart and life!  JESUS was sent to help all of us , HE lived and died for you!He is waiting for you to ask HIM for help!  
I invited JESUS in and my life is not perfect but I am 8 years clean went from living under a bridge to living in a home with a brand new family!With JESUS there's hope!With JESUS it is , I can , and I will make it!

Rockers In Recovery 2nd Annual Memorial Day Concert and Picnic

RIR Band Live - 2nd Annu

al Memorial Day Free Concert and Picnic

Ricky Byrd and The Recovery Rockers- CC Rider

Rockers In Recovery All Star Band Featuring: Ricky Byrd ,Richie Supa ,Kasim Sulton , Liberty DeVitto ,Mark Stein and Christine Ohlman

Tell the Truth - NYC Hit Squad with Richie Supa and Woody

little Queenie- Ricky Byrd, Kasim Sulton and Richie Supa

Rockers In Recovery Band (RIR Band)

Rockers In Recovery

2nd Annual Memorial Day Concert and Picnic

May 26, 1PM-6PM EST

Need To Go Bigger:

New Venue

Pavilion 10 at Quiet Waters Park:

401 S. Powerline Rd., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442- Call 954-826-4920

RIR would like to welcome our special guest Broward County Drug Court.

Event Sponsor- Treatment Solutions Network

Food Sponsor- Miami Subs and Grill

Venue Sponsor- 1ST Step Sober House

No Alcohol or Drugs Allowed Violators Will Be Asked To Leave..

RIR Band Featuring:

Musical Director: Ricky Byrd ( 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominee with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)

Richie Supa (Aerosmith and Richie Sambora)

Muddy Shews (Southside Johnny)

Liberty DeVitto ( Billy Joel Band)

Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge)

Christine Ohlman (SNL Band)

Meet The Event Sponsor

Click Banner

Meet The Food Sponsor
Click Banner

Meet The Venue Sponsor
Click Banner
1St Step Sober House

Since 2008, the mission of Rockers In Recovery has been to lend support to musicians and music lovers who are in recovery, or support recovery If you would like more information go to
or call 954-826-4920 .

Friday, May 11, 2012

New Type of “Bath Salts” Reported in Virginia

By Join Together Staff | May 8, 2012 | 1 Comment | Filed in Community Related & Drugs

A new type of “bath salts” called “Amped” is being used in Virginia, poison control officials there report. The drug, sold as a ladybug attractant, is likely also being used in other parts of the country, according to ABC News.

Dr. Rutherford Rose, Director of the Virginia Poison Center, said at least six cases of people ingesting Amped have been reported in the state.

Amped and other bath salts have amphetamine-like qualities. Common effects are teeth grinding, jerking eye movements, profuse sweating, high blood pressure, high body temperature, fast heart rate, anorexia, diminished thirst, paranoia, hallucinations, seizures, significant violent outbursts, self-injurious behaviors and suicidal thoughts and acts. Deaths have been reported as the direct result of the abuse of these drugs.

“Despite laws that have outlawed certain chemicals within these drugs, chemists easily change a chemical or molecule within the compound to give it a similar or more potent property, and, because it is a different chemical entity, it is no longer illegal,” Dr. Rose said. “These drugs are a time bomb. It’s like playing Russian Roulette.”

The drugs carry labels warning against human consumption. TheAmerican Association of Poison Control Centers reports that in 2011, there were 6,138 calls regarding bath salts, up from 304 in 2010. As of March 31, poison control centers received 722 calls about bath salts so far this year.

Facebook Can Negatively Affect Teens’ Substance Use Treatment, Study Suggests

By Join Together Staff | May 9, 2012 | Leave a comment | Filed in Advocacy,Drugs, Marketing And Media, Treatment & Youth

Using Facebook and other social networking sites can negatively affect teenagers’ treatment for substance use disorders, a new study suggests.

Researchers administered a 20-question survey to 37 teens who were receiving substance abuse treatment at a behavioral health center in Los Angeles. Most reported marijuana as their drug of choice, followed by Ecstasy and methamphetamine, Psychiatric Times reports.

Almost all of the teens engaged in online social networking, with the majority using Facebook. While 44 percent of the teens said they posted drug-related content on the sites, 94 percent said their friends did, and 97 percent said their social networking friends used drugs.

Lead researcher David Tran at University of California, Los Angeles said 66 percent reported that drug-related content on Facebook, Twitter or MySpace made them want to use drugs. “While these are preliminary data, they indicate that online social network sites may negatively influence treatment outcomes for adolescents,” he said at a news briefing at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, where he presented the findings.

Only 22 percent of the teens posted or accessed recovery-related content through social networking sites, the study found. “Our next step is to implement an intervention at the substance abuse treatment center to use along with their treatment plan,” Tran said. “We are planning to establish a Facebook group as an intervention. In this way, we can engage youth and enable them to access educational information anytime and anywhere.”

He said he does not recommend blocking teens’ access to social networking sites, since they will most likely find a way to use them.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


The purpose of America's Keswick is to model and teach Biblical victorious living in Christ Jesus, to provide an environment in which Biblical life transformation takes place and to foster active personal involvement in the local church.
MissionAmerica's Keswick is multi-generational, cross-cultural ministry where biblical teaching leads to deeper personal relationships with Jesus Christ and transforms lives. We serve people with excellence through addiction recovery, conferences, retreats and outreach.
General InformationAmerica's Keswick is a ministry that teaches and models the Victorious Christian Life message through Addiction Recovery for men and their loved ones, through Christian Conferences, Concerts, and Events, through Training and Resources, and by providing rental facilities and service to other like-minded organizations.

The Colony of Mercy is a 120-day residential addiction recovery program for men

Men in the Colony of Mercy program participate in group and individual counseling, Bible studies, work therapy, church-type services, and Scripture memory.

There is a $240 application fee, and the rest of the program is FREE!

Programs for the wives and children of the men in the Colony program are available as well.

Addiction Recovery/Colony of Mercy/Pre-App Screening

Pre-Application Screening Form   When you're finished filling out this form please mail too:   America's Keswick 601 Route 530 Whiting New Jersey, 08759-3599   Click here to...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Marijuana Cultivators Buy or Rent Foreclosed Homes to Use as “Grow Houses”

By Join Together Staff | May 7, 2012 | 2 Comments | Filed in Community Related & Drugs

Marijuana cultivators are taking advantage of depressed real estate markets to buy or rent homes, and turn them into “grow houses.” The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says an increasing number of these houses are in high-end neighborhoods.

The New York Times reports that grow houses are equipped with high-intensity lighting, and air filtration and watering systems, all of which are needed to produce potent, high-quality marijuana.

These houses often do not attract attention until there is a fire, usually caused by unsafe electrical wiring. DEA spokesman Rusty Payne told the newspaper, “They’re buying them in places like Northern California, where the real estate market’s really taken a turn for the worse.”

Grow houses have been found in suburban, residential streets in Northern California, the article notes. More than 70 percent of all marijuana plants confiscated nationwide in 2010 were found in California.

Local police forces, which have been downsized due to financial problems, do not have resources to go after grow houses. Law enforcement officials say California laws have created an environment that is tolerant of marijuana growing.

“Ten years ago if there was a grow house, we’d seize all their equipment and lamps, and they would be prosecuted,” Sergeant Jeff Bassett of the Vallejo, California, Police Department, told the newspaper. “Now the chances of being caught, or of being prosecuted if you are, are substantially less than they were 10 years ago.”