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

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500 Dead in Oregon

December 9, 2010

That’s a headline that would certainly get your attention. If it were mass murder it would get wall-to-wall press coverage. But it doesn’t.

Sadly, it happens every year and goes largely unnoticed. And it’s preventable.

500 is the number of Oregonians who kill themselves each year.

Suicide.

At Oregon Partnership we get 18,000 calls a year to our Lifeline at 800-273-TALK. Many are people who feel the pain in their lives exceeds their coping resources. Our dedicated volunteer staff listen compassionately and connect callers with resources that can exceed their pain.

Suicide is preventable.

Call us.

-Tom


Getting Rid of Unneeded Prescriptions Safely

November 29, 2010


Recently my father-in-law passed away after a long illness, and one of the tasks associated with taking care of family business was to get rid of all his prescription medicine. As he had been in poor health for several years, we packed up a cardboard box full of pills, inhalers and other prescriptions, and set about finding how to get rid of them safely.

As a start, I called the Los Angeles County Public Health Department; they referred me to the LA County Sheriff’s Office. I called the number on their website. They referred me to a local Sheriff’s Station in East Los Angeles. I called this office, and after a couple of transfers I was speaking with one of the deputies. She told me that they had a safe disposal box in front of their station.

A few minutes later, I drove to the station and sure enough, there were two bins: one marked for “illegal drugs” and one for prescription drugs. I disposed of my father-in-law’s vast collection (including some morphine) in the prescription bin, wondering as I did so who would come to dispose of illegal drugs in the other bin.

Even though it took me a few phone calls to get the right information, this was a simple process. I was informed that many, but not all, of the Sheriff’s Substations in Southern California have these disposal bins conveniently placed near their entrances.

This seems like a good idea! Perhaps we could start a campaign to make this happen in Oregon. What do you think?

-Peter


Military Family Month

November 23, 2010

President Obama has proclaimed November Military Family Month, noting that military family members “serve,” too, and also require community support.

“I call on all Americans to honor military families through private actions and public service for the tremendous contributions they make in support of our service members and our nation,” the President said in his proclamation.

Experts in both the military and civilian sectors found that the U.S. will be facing increasing addiction and mental-health problems among returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghan war. All returning veterans face adjustments, but for some, dealing with traumatic experiences can lead to diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, substance abuse and addiction. These problems not only affect the individual, but can have a profound impact on families and communities.

The Military Helpline is here for military families to use as a free, confidential resource. Not only for dire needs, such as suicide or PTSD, but for assistance in navigating the system so that families can get the benefits and support they’re entitled to.

We are so thankful for the freedoms we enjoy because of the sacrifices of every person who has served – either as a member of the military or of the family that serves as well. Make sure they know assistance is available by spreading the word about this 24/7 service. 888-HLP-4-VET (888) 457-4838 – or on the web at http://www.militaryhelpline.org.

-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


Suicide – A Surviving Son’s Story

October 12, 2010

(Editor’s note: 23 years ago Nick’s father chose to kill himself. That decision has left permanent heartache and trouble for all those left behind. Here is Nick’s story)

When I was almost 3, my father killed himself. Although I have come a long way since then, his loss has been a constant uphill battle that unfortunately will always be part of my life.

When I was younger, I was never really able to deal with my emotions of anger, sadness, and loneliness in a healthy way. I grew up an angry kid; I would get into fights and punch holes in walls and although my mom constantly tried to get me help, I was never able to really deal with the true pain I felt inside. Even to this day I could never truly understand how a father could leave behind three boys, my two half- brothers and me, all of whom were talented, funny, and bright. Besides relying on one another, we all turned to sports as a way of coping and to this day it infuriates me that my dad never once saw me play ball.

Another situation that used to bother me was spending time at my friends’ homes and watching their interactions with their fathers and realizing that this would never be me. One situation that has stayed with me was a time when I was interviewing for application to a private school; during the interview I totally disengaged. On the way home my mother asked what happened and I told her that every kid there had their mother and father to support them and I didn’t feel like I fit in.

I truly never understood how a person could take his own life until I was 15 and all my feelings of anger, frustration, and abandonment resulted in my own attempt at suicide. Fortunately, my mom got me the help I needed and I was able to move on in a positive manner.

Growing up without a father was never easy and there were times in my life that I felt so much pain I couldn’t bear it. This situation has forced me to become an extremely strong person. I’m independent and have worked hard to accomplish goals in my life.

Although I have a great relationship with my mother and brothers, it will never compensate for the pain I have experienced growing up without a dad.

– Nick


Rutgers Student’s Suicide a Call to Action

October 1, 2010

The death of 18-year-old Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi has become a clarion call to all of us about the real dangers of bullying. He was outed as being gay on the internet and he killed himself.

This clip from Ellen deGeneres is far more eloquent than anything I could write: View Ellen’s Message

If you are struggling with bullying, questions about sexuality or any other issues, call us on the Oregon Partnership Help Line: (800) 923-HELP. The Youth Line is (877) YOUTH 911. Our suicide hot line numbers are (800) 273-TALK or 800 SUICIDE.

Make sure the people you know have these numbers.

There is help and hope.

-Tom