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Bong Ban in Virginia Outlaws Paraphernalia

Bong Ban in Virginia Outlaws Paraphernalia

Author: Justin Mckibben

There are all types of strange and inventive contraptions out there that have been creatively and craftily designed, labeled for ‘tobacco use only’ as some stores claim, but are ultimately used for smoking marijuana and other drugs. They come in all shapes and sizes, and are sometimes even made to be concealed and disguised as other objects.

Paraphernalia does not just mean those bongs or ‘water pipes’ that you see in head-shops. The term also applies to other accessories and instruments used for the transporting or consumption of illicit drugs. In a lot of cities these days you can find a shop selling these products around almost any corner, but it seems that one part of Virginia in particular is going to extreme lengths to make sure their shelves are not stocked with the tools of the drug trade.

Princeton Paraphernalia Crackdown

The City of Princeton in the state of Virginia recently took what some would see as an astonishing action toward ridding the area of drug abuse with a new ban on all drug paraphernalia and drug concealment novelties, which is sure to put a hurting on their local head-shops.

The new law defines paraphernalia:

“as any legitimate equipment, product, or material that is modified for making, using, or concealing illegal drugs such as cocaine, cocaine-based derivative, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine and includes certain pipes, smoking masks, bongs, cocaine freebase kits, marijuana grow kits, and items such as hollowed out cosmetic cases or fake pagers used to conceal illegal drugs and dealer-specific products used for preparing illegal drugs for distribution at the street level such as scales, vials, and baggies.”

Being in possession of any of these articles of paraphernalia is officially considered a misdemeanor offense under this new legislation, but not every is happy about the implications or confident in the specifics.

Summary of Banned Items

By city ordinance, Princeton has banned number of specific utensils for drug use, especially marijuana accessories such as:

The new law also prohibits items that have traces of illegal drugs, such as:

  • Scales
  • Vials

The law prohibits the use of any items designed to conceal illegal drugs as well, including:

  • Hollowed out cosmetic cases
  • Fake cans of soda with hidden compartments
  • Fake shaking cream bottles with hidden compartments

A lot of times these hidden compartments are made from all types of everyday items you would find in any grocery store or in the home of any modern family, so while they may be a little harder to spot there was once a time where they were available at most shops specializing in ‘water pipe’ and bong sales.

Ironic those devices designed to hide things from the police were regularly being sold right out in public.

Future of Enforcing the Ban

Police Chief J.W. Howell in Princeton made the announcement this past December the ordinance would take effect at the beginning of this month on January, 1, 2015. City Counsel had approved the ban at the end of 2014, and the call to get enforcement started was so police officers could become familiar with the distinctions between legal devices and what is now illegal. Police Chief Howell stated,

“My officers see, almost on a daily basis, needles, crack pipes, marijuana smoking pipes, just all kinds of paraphernalia so this will be a big aid to them as well,”

During a public hearing before the vote, several individuals voiced concerns about electronic cigarettes or vaporizers, and whether or not these devices would be criminalized, or could be considered part of the laws designation. This concern does not go unwarranted what considering the detailed nature of the law, and it is a fact that vaporizers and e-cigarettes have been used to smoke illicit drugs. Will this cause problems for the Princeton vape community?

Either way this whole idea seems strange given the status of a lot of new opinions on such a prohibition-style on drug policy, and the impact the midterms had on marijuana reforms that are still working their way through the nation. Parts of Virginia seem to be set on taking steps in the opposite direction so far.

This just goes to show that some people have very different views of drugs, and how the drug problem in America should be handled. Regardless of politics, an addict should always know that they have an opportunity to avoid being trapped in a life-style dependent on drugs. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

In The News: Michael Phelps Apologizes for DUI Arrest

In The News: Michael Phelps Apologizes for DUI Arrest

photo via-
http://commons.wikimedia.org/

Author: Justin Mckibben

Michael Phelps is pretty well known for his record-breaking accomplishments as an American Olympic swimmer, for being the most decorated Olympian of all time with a total of 22 medals, 18 of which are gold which is double the runner up, and for massive amounts of effort put forth into his philanthropy endeavors to passionately support the success of those around him. Unfortunately, as of this past week Michael Phelps is facing a second DUI charge that when coupled with other past problems with substances and drunk driving may cost him quite a bit, but hopefully it is waking him up to the realities of substance abuse.

Phelps Past DUI and Pot Problems

This is already Phelps second DUI, the first being back in 2004 when he was 19 years old. Back at the time of this original offense he struck a plea deal with the state prosecutors and pled guilty in exchange for 18 months of probation. This came before his athletic career as an Olympian had even begun to make headway, so there was not much coverage about the story. It was dealt with accordingly, and Phelps went on to serve his probation and take part in the games later down the line.

During the 2008 Olympics, Phelps was questioned by the press as to suspicions that perhaps his amazing accomplishments were actually “too good to be true”, and referred to unsubstantiated gossip that Phelps might be taking performance enhancing drugs. But Phelps met these accusations in good form, and reminded reporters that he had signed up for Project Believe, a venture by the United States Anti-Doping Agency in which the U.S. Olympians were given an opportunity to volunteer to be subjected to drug testing in excess of the World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines, so he had signed up and went out of his way to be tested for drugs more than the average athlete. During the Olympic Games, Phelps passed all nine tests that were administered to him.

But that would not be the last time he had to face allegations and bad press over substance use. Michael Phelps is also known for the ‘water-pipe scandal’ from back in 2009 when a photo surfaced of him holding a pipe used for smoking tobacco or marijuana, and he admitted to the authenticity of the photo and apologized publicly.

Maryland Files Multiple Charges

Media sources indicated through reports that Phelps was hauled off to a Maryland police station this past Tuesday where he was booked for another DUI. Phelps was eventually released, but so far those charges have stuck. Police officials stated that Michael Phelps was charged with multiple offenses including DUI, excessive speeding and crossing double lane lines.

According to sources in the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, Phelps was arrested at approximately 1:40 a.m. Tuesday and charged with driving under the influence after an officer clocked Phelps’ white 2014 Land Rover speeding through a 45-mph zone at the excess of 84 mph. Police said that while driving he crossed double yellow lines inside the Fort McHenry Tunnel on northbound Interstate 95, which was just one indicator he was intoxicated. It was also stated that he completely bombed his field sobriety test, and upon further inspection the officer found his Blood Alcohol Content (B.A.C.) was almost twice the legal limit!

Phelps Issues an Apology

 

Michael Phelps has officially issued a statement on his DUI arrest in Baltimore, Maryland, saying he takes “full responsibility” and is sorry he let everyone down. The following are the posts that Phelps put up on his Twitter that make up the statement he issued to the public Tuesday:

“Earlier this morning, I was arrested and charged with DUI, excessive speeding and crossing double lane lines.”

“I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility.”

“I know these words may not mean much right now but I am deeply sorry to everyone I have let down.”

With this Phelps seems to be making an attempt at picking up the pieces again after a scandal involving him and substance abuse. Phelps had announced in April that he was coming out of retirement to compete for Team USA in 2016 Summer Games, but many are beginning to wonder if he will be losing out on more sponsorship now that he is in the news again. He had lost his previous pay-roll with Kellogg’s after the whole ‘water-pipe’ incident, and many are debating whether more companies will jump ship to avoid being associated with his brand. Others however insist that 22 medals for America is more than enough to sweep these 2 strikes under the rug. But should it be? Or should more be done to make sure these issues are taken more seriously?

Olympic Athlete or not, someone who has found themselves in trouble for DUI’s more than once should probably consider taking a real look at their drinking, and possibly drug use if that is a factor for them. Putting lives at risk, others and you own, in order to drink and use drugs is just one indicator of a more serious problem, and hopefully you get the help you need before it is too late. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.

 

10 Celebs Who Were Arrested for Drug Possession

10 Celebs Who Were Arrested for Drug Possession

via Reuters

The fall from grace is that much harder when you’re famous. Many, many celebrities have been busted with drug possession and other drug-related offenses. Here are just 10 celebs who were arrested for drug possession.

#1. Fiona Apple 

10 Celebs Who Were Arrested for Drug Possession

via Getty Images

She’s a singer and songwriter, who’s probably best known for her songs Shadowboxer and Criminal, for which she won the Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.  Apple was arrested for possession of marijuana and hashish on Sept. 19, 2012.

#2.  Robert Downey Jr. 

10 Celebs Who Were Arrested for Drug Possession

via Getty Images

It’s quite well known that RDJ has struggled with drug addiction and the law quite a lot in the past. Although the actor has been arrested multiple times on drug-related charges that involved cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, today Downey is thriving in his program of recovery and his career.

#3. Snoop Dogg (aka Snoop Lion)

10 Celebs Who Were Arrested for Drug Possession

via www.dailymail.co.uk

In 1990, was convicted of felony possession of drugs and possession for sale. Snoop was even once on trial facing murder charges but it never stuck. Snoop an avid pot-smoker and advocate, was again arrested two more times in 2012 for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

#4. Tom Sizemore

10 Celebs Who Were Arrested for Drug Possession

via www.splashnews.com

Sizemore was arrested on May 8th of 2007 for possession of crystal meth. This happened while he was already on probation for a previous drug conviction.

#5. Yasmine Bleeth

10 Celebs Who Were Arrested for Drug Possession

via http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/37336856.html

She’s best known for her Baywatch bod but, at the height of her addiction, Bleeth says she would go on benders where she wouldn’t sleep for up to five days. She went into rehab in 2000 for cocaine and meth addiction. In 2001, Bleeth was arrested after her car pulled off the highway and wound up on a median. Police found four syringes with an injectable form of cocaine in them.

#6. Craig Robinson

10 Celebs Who Were Arrested for Drug Possession

via http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/37336856.html

Perhaps best known for his role on the hit sitcom and mockumentary The Office, Robinson was arrested on June 29, 2008 for possession of meth, coke, and ecstasy.

#7. Matthew McConaughey

10 Celebs Who Were Arrested for Drug Possession

www.wifflegif.com

Well known actor McConaughey (Dazed and Confused, Magic Mike, Wolf of Wall Street) was arrested for marijuana possession back in 1999. You can see that it didn’t hurt his career at all.

#8. George Michael

10 Celebs Who Were Arrested for Drug Possession

www.wifflegof.com

Back in 1988, George Michael shocked his fans when he was arrested for engaging in a lewd act in a Beverly Hills park, and was also busted for possession of crack.

#9. Gary Dourdan

10 Celebs Who Were Arrested for Drug Possession

via TMZ

Back in 2008 one early morning, the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation star was found by police passed out in his car in Palm Springs, California. He was arrested on suspicion of heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and prescription drugs. Cops found “suspected cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, miscellaneous prescription drugs and paraphernalia” in his possession.

Dourdan was again arrested in 2011 after crashing into two parked cars, at which time he was charged with drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.

#10. Paris Hilton 

10 Celebs Who Were Arrested for Drug Possession

via Las Vegas Metropolitan Police/AP

Back in 2010, hotel heiress Hilton was arrested on suspicion of felony cocaine possession.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Sources:

http://www.examiner.com/slideshow/celebrity-drug-charges-arrests-and-mugshots#slide=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/

http://radaronline.com/photos/the-20-most-shocking-celebrity-arrests/

 

The World’s Worst Places for Addicts: China

The World's Worst Places for Addicts: China

Here in the United States, if you get busted for drugs it feels like it is the absolute most awful thing that could happen to you (for some of us). In other countries they have much worse consequences to being caught with drugs or even with drugs in your system. In China they have a zero tolerance standpoint on drug use. Approximately anywhere from 2,000 to 15,000 people a year are executed in China for assorted drug offenses.

China was the first country in the post- World War 2 period to implement the death penalty for drug offences. The first ever yearly overview of national drug control legislation, prepared for the 1948 session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, recognizes a range of capital drug offences in Chinese legislation, including for manufacturing, planting, transportation and sale, and relapsing drug use. Additional death penalty offences are given if the people involved in drug activities are civil servants or other public officials. China is the only member state acknowledged in the report as having the death penalty for drug offences. Despite the fact that the report describes the legislation as ‘a temporary emergency measure’ after the war, China remains the leading global executor for drug crimes today.

Drug-related crimes are escalating in China. Chinese law enforcement establishments have minimal tolerance for illegal drugs, and they occasionally conduct extensive sweeps of bar and nightclub districts, targeting narcotics suppliers and drug users. China guards its death penalty as a state secret even though the usage of capital punishment is commonly thought to dwarf the collective total of the rest of the world. It is estimated that there were as many as 7,500 executions in 2006, anywhere from 2,000 to 15,000 in 2007 and at least 1,718 people in 2008. China declines to expose how many people have been sentenced to death each year.

The amount of executions for drug offences is unknown. It has been claimed that the courts handled 14,282 drug-related cases between January and May of 2009 and registering 6,379 convictions with severe consequences alternating from imprisonment to capital punishment; according to the Vice President of Supreme People’s Court in China, Zhang Jun. China’s criminal law makes it a potential capital crime to traffic, create or transport more than 50 grams of heroin or 1,000 grams of opium. Since 2007, the Supreme People’s Court has been authorized with final judicial review of all death sentences, which may lead to a reduction in the number of people executed.

Even for more minor drug offenses, the penalties are harsh. Chinese authorities incarcerate drug users in compulsory drug detention centers that deny them access to treatment for drug dependency and put them at risk of physical abuse and unpaid forced labor. Half a million people are confined within compulsory drug detention centers in China at any given time, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The minimum stay is two years, and you can be sent to these centers simply for failing a random drug test.

Detentions are meted out by the police without trials, judges or appeals. Created in 2008 as part of a reform effort to grapple with the country’s growing narcotics problem, the centers, lawyers and drug experts say, have become de facto penal colonies where inmates are sent to factories and farms, fed substandard food and denied basic medical care.

Meals consist of steamed buns and, occasionally, cabbage-based swill. Showers are allowed once a month. Heroin withdrawal is treated with a pail of cold water in the face. Inmates are forced to work up to 18 hours a day without pay. The minimum 2 year stay can be extended by 5 years if authorities so decide.

Even when you get out, the nightmare is not over. Those arrested for drug offenses are branded addicts on their national identification cards, which makes applying for jobs and welfare benefits acts of futility. And because the local police are automatically notified when former offenders check into hotels, traveling often involves impromptu urine tests and the possibility of humiliation in front of colleagues. At least 98 percent of those who leave the drug detention system relapse within a few years.

Researching all of this information about China and how it is for drug addicts there made me SO grateful to live in the United States. Can you imagine what it would be like if they implemented the death penalty for drug use here or used labor detention camps for treatment? We would have a much lower population rate, that’s for sure. It is so nice to live in a country where if I am having an issue with using drugs or caught with drugs I can ask for, and get, real help. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.

Sources:

http://www.hrw.org/news/2010/01/07/china-drug-rehabilitation-centers-deny-treatment-allow-forced-labor

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/08/world/asia/08china.html

http://www.ihra.net/files/2010/06/16/IHRA_DeathPenaltyReport_Web1.pdf

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1089.html

In the News: Is US Involvement in Mexico’s Drug War Making Things Worse?

US involvement in mexican drug war

The Mexican government is losing the drug war. That’s why the Obama administration is now sending U.S. security forces directly into the war zones in Mexico, as never before.

The increasing involvement of the United States in Mexico’s drug war is only going to make a bad situation worse.

It will likely lead to more deaths. It will be a drain on our treasury. And it’s unlikely to stem the flow of drugs. This is because the U.S. intervention ignores the root causes of the drug trade and the spreading international character of the cartels.

The Merida Initiative

Also called Plan Mexico by critics, the Merida Initiative is a security cooperation agreement between the United States and the government of Mexico and the countries of Central America, with the declared aim of combating the threats of drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and money laundering. The assistance includes training, equipment and intelligence.

U.S. involvement began with the “Merida Initiative,” a $1.9 billion aid package signed by President Bush in 2007 to provide training and equipment to Mexican drug enforcement efforts. It coincided with Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s initiation of a military offensive against the drug cartels.

President Obama then expanded the scope of the Merida Initiative in 2009, emphasizing coordination and information sharing, including the establishment of joint command and control centers in Mexico. This has led to the training of thousands of Mexican agents, the transfer of high-tech weaponry, the deployment of unmanned drones within Mexico and now the direct involvement of Drug Enforcement Administration and CIA agents, U.S. military personnel (from the Pentagon’s Northern Command) and private contractors.

Since the launch of Calderon’s military operation, an estimated 35,000 people have been killed. And the death rate has been increasing for each year of the conflict.

Fallout

Mexico has now surpassed Colombia in kidnappings and has seen a dramatic spike in assassinations of journalists and political figures. Corruption has exploded, as drug money has been poured into politics to subvert the war effort from within. Six out of every 10 municipal governments in the country are infiltrated by drug dealers. Mexico’s Department of Public Security estimates that 62% of police nationwide have also been corrupted by drug money.

Rather than suppress the drug trade, the war has driven it deeper into the social and political fabric of Mexico and has spread it to other countries in Central America.

 

Implications for the U.S.

U.S. society is intimately tied to the Mexican drug trade. Earlier this year, for instance, 34 U.S. citizens and legal residents were convicted of running weapons to cartels from Arizona. According to a 2010 Washington Post report, more than 60,000 U.S.-origin guns have been linked to drug violence in Mexico. Some U.S. banks have been implicated in laundering drug money. And according to Justice Department statistics from 2010, the cartels now operate in 231 U.S. cities, taking in nearly $40 billion in annual sales from within our country, as the consumption of illegal drugs in the United States is increasing.

What to Expect

No one had come up with a quick, realistic alternative to Calderon’s novel use of the Mexican military with U.S. support. But stopping the cartel violence had become newly elected Mexican President Peña Nieto’s top priority during the campaign. The U.S. administration didn’t know what that meant. Some fear that this means a scaling back of united efforts and instead, a willingness to trade the relentless drive against cartel leaders for calmer streets.

The new administration has shifted priorities away from the U.S.-backed strategy of arresting kingpins, which sparked an unprecedented level of violence among the cartels, and toward an emphasis on prevention and keeping Mexico’s streets safe and calm, Mexican authorities said.

Some U.S. officials fear the coming of an unofficial truce with cartel leaders and therefore mass corruption. The Mexicans see it otherwise. “The objective of fighting organized crime is not in conflict with achieving peace,” said Eduardo Medina Mora, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States.

If you or someone you love is in need of drug addiction treatment, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.

 

 

 

Sources:

http://progressive.org/

http://www.washingtonpost.com

www.wikipedia.org

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