Emerging Drug: “Bath Salts”

February 28, 2011

You won’t find these “bath salts” in with Calgon or Epsom Salts. For that matter, you won’t find them in any grocery store. As you can see from the picture above, $27.99 worth wouldn’t be enough to soak your big toe if it were legitimate.

That’s because they are actually designer drugs, sold as “not for human consumption” and ingested by smoking, snorting, injecting or rectal insertion.

The drug is MDPV and is referred to as “Synthetic Speed”. It’s packaged with names like Ivory Wave, Blue Wave and others.

It’s just now starting to appear on our radar here in the northwest, but it has the potential to bloom quickly.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 251 calls related to “bath salts” to poison control centers in the first month of 2011. This number already exceeds the 236 calls received by poison control centers for all of 2010. Doctors and clinicians at U.S. poison centers have indicated that ingesting “bath salts,” containing synthetic stimulants, can cause chest pains, increased blood pressure, increased heart
rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and delusions.

Other than Louisiana the stimulant uncontrolled in US -It is already banned in UK, Finland, Denmark & Sweden.

This past October the Oregon Pharmacy Board listened to prompting from Oregon Partnership and other concerned groups and banned the sale or possession of so-called “synthetic marijuana”. They need to quickly enact the same ban on “synthetic speed” or “bath salts”.

Quick action is that “ounce of prevention” you’ve always heard of – “worth a pound of cure”.

– Tom

Prevention Wins In 2010 Election

November 3, 2010

I was heartened to see the outcome of several ballot measures that could have had a serious negative impact on teen substance abuse.

In Oregon, voters rejected Ballot Measure 74, which would have created a system of unlimited dispensaries for medical marijuana. Proponents said it would help patients get their marijuana. Opponents said it would raise the prices for patients significantly, exempt dispensary operators and their staff from any prosecution, create major money generating operations, all the while it would increase the availability to vulnerable youth.

California voters on Tuesday rejected a ballot measure that would have made it the first state to legalize the personal use and possession of marijuana.

In Washington state, the voters look to have turned down two initiatives that would privatize liquor sales and overhaul beer- and wine-distribution rules. Had they passed, the number of alcohol outlets in the state would have increased ten-fold.  Again, the issue is ready availability to youth as well as problem drinkers.

A defeat for those measures is a win for our youth and a win for prevention.

– Tom

Showdown Looming for Long Overdue Boost in Oregon Beer Tax

June 5, 2009

For the first time in 32 years, the Oregon Legislature appears serious about the beer tax.

The Oregon beer tax – less than a penny a glass – is effectively the lowest in the country and hasn’t been raised in more than three decades.

As the current session of the Oregon Legislature winds down, House Bill 2461 would raise the state’s beer excise tax from less than eight-tenths of a penny per glass to fifteen cents per glass.   At this late date, the bill is still alive and may be gaining support from legislators interested in attacking the state’s $4-billion budget deficit.

It is projected the tax increase would raise about $165 million per year. Oregonians currently pay more than $3 billion a year for alcohol-related crime, violence, lost productivity, and health costs.

“Most Oregonians feel it is realistic and efficient to fund prevention and treatment services with revenues from the sale of the product that creates the problem,” says Judy Cushing, President/CEO of Oregon Partnership.

“More than 90 percent of the tax revenues will come from the major out-of-state producers who have been getting what amounts to a free ride for their product sold in Oregon.”

Cushing has also termed “preposterous” the notion that the Oregon craft brew industry will be losing jobs and that beer prices will skyrocket.

Surveys have consistently shown that Oregonians would support a beer tax increase to pay for prevention and recovery programs.

The latest survey conducted this past February by Moore Information, Inc. found that 61 percent of Oregonians favor increasing the beer tax, while 65 percent oppose making significant cuts to substance abuse and treatment programs, even in light of the state’s budget woes.

“Beer’s Fair Share,” a coalition of supporters joining Oregon Partnership, has been educating legislators about the benefits of a beer tax increase.

Time Has Come for Hike in Oregon Beer Tax!

February 18, 2009

Beer Tax Hearing Monday, February 23rd

The time is now and long overdue for an Oregon beer tax! It’s been 32 years since there’s been an increase in one of the nation’s lowest taxes on beer.
Please come out and support HB 2461! The hearing by the House Revenue Committee will take place on Monday, February the 23rd from 8:00 am – 10:00 am.
 It is the only bill being heard!
The more than $300-million raised would fund addiction prevention, treatment and recovery – programs that have been slashed across the state with frightening results.

Click here to download talking points and hearing information on HB 2461.

Click here to download HB 2461.


Portland City Council Unanimously Approves City-Wide Drug Strategy

February 27, 2008

The Portland City Council today unanimously endorsed a sweeping blueprint for a five year, city-wide drug strategy designed to provide a “better life for all of Portland’s children and families, neighborhoods, and businesses.”

“The culture of tolerating drugs needs to change,” said Portland Mayor Tom Potter in touting the plan that he helped initiate.

The plan is designed to change the public’s knowledge and attitudes about the abuse of drugs and alcohol and would set the stage for taking direct action that would prevent substance abuse and change lives.

“It all begins with us,” said Patrick Donaldson, Chairman of CARSA (Community Action to Reduce Substance Abuse), who presented the strategy to the City Council, along with Judy Cushing, President/CEO of Oregon Partnership.  “Portland is passionate about taking on serious issues. And with this one, it’s all about including many diverse groups and community leaders.”

The strategy’s sectors of focus include drug prevention, treatment, law enforcement, public education, financial support and evaluation of impact.

“We need to work with school officials to obtain the support necessary to implement effective and evidence-based drug prevention curriculum K-12,” said Cushing. “We need to change the social norms that accept the abuse of alcohol and other drugs.”

In October 2007, the City of Portland issued an RFP and selected Oregon Partnership to develop a city-wide drug strategy.

City Commissioners echoed Donaldson and Cushing by saying that more needs to be done to improve access to treatment services and to help those who want to enter treatment, but can’t afford it.

Click here to download a copy of the City-Wide Drug Strategy.

Congressional Hearing Should Lead to Better Prevention Efforts

February 14, 2008

Today’s Congressional hearing featuring Roger Clemens and his accuser, Brian McNamee on whether the star pitcher used steroids and human growth hormone (HGH) probably didn’t settle which one of the two is perjuring himself,  but it was one more high-profile chapter in the sordid story about illegal drugs in America.

Should Congress be spending its time on more pressing issues than whether Roger Clemens is telling the truth? Most would probably say yes, but the hearings serve as another vital wakeup call.

The more publicity the Mitchell Report receives and the more attention steroids in sports receives, the more hope there is that the health dangers of these substances come to the forefront in communities all over the country.

It even came up again and again during today’s hearing:  Children, parents, coaches and athletes must get educated about steroids and performance enhancing drugs.  It looks like baseball is finally taking action.  Now it’s up to all of us to start zeroing in on prevention.