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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.

 

In The News: Drug Law For Pregnant Women Gets First Arrest

In The News: Drug Law For Pregnant Women Gets First Arrest

New Drug Law For Pregnant Women in Tennessee

New Tennessee pregnancy law has apparently claimed its first violator. This month the state of Tennessee has issued a new law allowing for a pregnant woman to be prosecuted for assault for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant if her infant is harmed or addicted to the narcotic upon delivery. A drug addiction mother can also be charged with homicide if the baby dies at any point.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed the new piece of legislation back in April, and the governor said himself that the intent of the new law is to give local law enforcement and the district attorney’s office another powerful tool to address the growing concern of illicit drug use among pregnant women through giving them the necessary access to drug treatment programs. The new law is supposed to be designed to allow any woman charged to enter into a substance abuse treatment program before giving birth as a defense, and hopefully she will be able to successfully complete the program afterward.

Republican state Representative Terri Lynn Weaver sponsored the new law. When the bill was first being brought to fruition he was quoted as saying,

“It would just seem to me that any society that puts value on life would agree that these defenseless children deserve some protection and these babies need a voice.”

But perhaps what Weaver is unaware of in the vast amounts of fear and stigma surrounding mothers who struggle with substance abuse while pregnant, and how hard it can be to seek treatment.

The First Arrest

Just recently local deputies in Tennessee said they received a call from the Department of Child Services after a baby girl was born at UT Medical Center and after being tested she came up positive for meth. The 26-year-old mother was arrested, and informed of her charges as she was actually being discharged from the hospital.

The young mother is Mallory Loyola. Loyola has had a history of meth-related arrests in the past, and now she is the first woman to be charged with assault under the new Tennessee law that is directed at mothers who take drugs while pregnant. Mallory Loyola was released later on a $2,000 bail, and has been charged with a misdemeanor.

The Sheriff of Monroe County Bill Bivens stated recently that Mallory Loyola had later admitted to smoking meth just days before she had gave birth to her daughter. Sheriff Monroe insists that he hopes the arrest will set a tone for the future in the area. Officials and law enforcement expect it will deter other women from committing the crime and endangering the lives of their children who have not yet been born. The sheriff was quoted as saying,

“Hopefully it will send a signal to other women who are pregnant and have a drug problem to seek help. That’s what we want them to do.”

Opposing Opinions on the Effects

As good as the intentions may be, not everyone in Tennessee believes that this is the best course of action for the war on drugs to take. The law recently came under fire with local and national critics claiming it would have the opposite effect of what lawmakers are hoping to accomplish. Those opposing the new bill say it will greatly deter and intimidate drug-addicted pregnant women from getting the help they need.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee has stepped up to lead the efforts in combating the legislation. Tennessee ACLU challenges the law, which they said raises “serious constitutional concerns regarding equal treatment under the law.”

Thomas Castelli is the legal director of the ACLU of Tennessee, and in a statement to the presss he had expressed a strong opinion on the opposition of this new policy,

“This dangerous law unconstitutionally singles out new mothers struggling with addiction for criminal assault charges. By focusing on punishing women rather than promoting healthy pregnancies, the state is only deterring women struggling with alcohol or drug dependency from seeking the pre-natal care they need.”

So at this point, the law has already taken effect, and surely there are more arrests on the way, which brings the question as to how will this affect the mothers who currently struggle with substance abuse? Will they feel more prompted to seek help and medical treatment, or will they become more terrified of the implications of seeking treatment? Will this new law truly be making a positive change in the way substance abuse and addiction is being addressed in Tennessee, or will there only be greater complications as a result of these scare tactics?

Mothers and fathers battling substance abuse and addiction experience the suffering in different and intense ways, and so do the children of addicts or alcoholics. But that suffering can be avoided and recovery is possible with the right treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

In the News: Colleges Crack Down on Drugs and Alcohol

In the News: Colleges Crack Down on Drugs and Alcohol

College: a time during which certain rights of passage occur, namely, binge drinking and experimenting with other drugs. Of course, it doesn’t have to be but, for many Americans, their times spent on college campuses is one filled with books and booze (and some other substances in the mix, too).

For this blogger, that was certainly the case. I started out with alcohol and weed in high school and, by the time I got to college, I was trying out many different things: mostly designer drugs, such as Ecstasy, Special K (ketamine), and LSD. Weed was always my constant, though, and I began to drink less and less.

That was in the early 2000s. More recently, colleges and universities have begun to take alcohol and other drug use on their campuses more seriously.  Alcohol and drug offenses are being more aggressively pursued and punished. And this even as the rate of serious crime on college campuses has dropped, according to a government report released Tuesday.

A federal law known as the Clery Act requires colleges and universities to report crime data, however, compliance is inconsistent across the board, and those who advocate on behalf of victims of campus crime say that many institutions of higher learning are either disorganized or intentionally misleading with their reporting.

The annual report from the Education and Justice Departments found that in 2011, colleges and universities started disciplinary proceedings for alcohol or drug offenses against 162 of every 10,000 students, not including those who were arrested. That was up from 132 in 2001.

Over that same interval, the rate of students being arrested on campus for alcohol- or other drug- related crimes was pretty consistent at 35 per 10,000 in 2011. The report did not differentiate between arrests by campus police officers and by outside law enforcement agencies, or indicate how often colleges called in outside police officers.

S. Daniel Carter, of the VTV Family Outreach Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to campus safety said that the increase in disciplinary actions “doesn’t reflect actual increased offenses; it’s about stepped-up enforcement. Typically, when something gets to the point of a liquor law violation being enforced, it’s not just a kid having a beer in his room — it has escalated to something bigger.”

According to statistics, there was a sharp decline in reports of serious crimes on campuses but, campus safety specialists cautioned that, while there had been somewhat of a drop, the figures shouldn’t be taken at face value. In fact, according to these specialists, much of the decline was a result of new guidelines from the Education Department on how to define the most common of the serious crimes, which is burglary.

The reported rate rose in just one category of serious crimes, forcible sex offenses — from 1.9 in 2010 to 2.2 per 10,000 the following year. Specialists attributed this increase to victims being more forthcoming with being victimized and making reports.

Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, which is a major organization of colleges and universities said, “I think it’s very difficult to look at all of these numbers and draw really precise conclusions.” He added that the exception is that “college and university officials are paying more attention to alcohol and 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: Maine Governor Says Heroin Overdose Antidote Gives Addicts “An Excuse to Stay Addicted”

In the News: Maine Governor Says Heroin Overdose Antidote Gives Addicts “An Excuse to Stay Addicted"

Much like the argument against teaching and promoting safe sex in schools – “if you hand out free condoms, you’re encouraging kids to go have sex” – there’s an argument against making naloxone (the generic name for Narcan) more widely available. Naloxone is also known as the ‘overdose antidote’ as it is a quick response treatment given to someone who is in overdose from opiates such as heroin or prescription painkillers.

Already across the country, in places such as New Jersey and Ohio, first responders (police officers, EMTs) are now carrying the antidote with them because of the current heroin scourge that’s taking lives at an astonishing rate.

Maine is poised to vote on whether to make Narcan more readily available but, it’s not so cut-and-dry for “The Pine Tree State.”

According to its governor, Paul LePage, who vetoed a naloxone bill that passed in 2013, says that he plans to veto it again in early March, calling naloxone an “escape.”

And, although it passed in 2013, the naloxone bill widened the gap along party lines, with the Democrats voting for it and the Republicans, of course, voted against it. Democrats proposed a new bill this past January.

Le Page went on to say that passing such a bill and making the opiate overdose reversal drug more accessible was like giving addicts “an excuse to stay addicted,” and instead proposes a crack-down that’s more heavily dependent on increased law enforcement. This ‘solution’ is clearly oriented from the draconian ‘war on drugs’ approach, which has failed miserably as an answer to the so-called drug problem in this country.

Maine Gov. LePage might be part of a dying breed of politician, however. According to the Network of Public Health, as early as 2001, the state of New Mexico became the first state to amend its laws to make it easier for naloxone to be prescribed, dispensed, and administered without fear of legal repercussion. And, as of May 15, 2014 NY, IL, WA, CA, RI, CT, MA, NC, OR, CO, VA, KY, MD, VT, NJ, OK, UT, TN, ME, GA, WI, and OH and the District of Columbia have all made similar changes to their laws, for a total of 24 states in the ranks.

LePage needs to look at his state’s numbers when deciding something that could determine the fate of Maine’s public health and safety. Currently, Maine’s overdose rate hangs around the middle of national numbers. As of the most recent data, which was back in 2012, 140 of the 163 overdose deaths were related to prescription drugs, with oxycodone being the leading factor in fatal overdose cases, according to the Department of Health. Heroin deaths are on the rise in Maine.

Naloxone has been standard in emergency rooms since the 1970s. Distribution of the opiate antidote among drug users, that is, underground then burgeoned with the first official take-home program starting in Chicago in 1996. In 2012, the American Medical Association endorsed widespread access of naloxone, in response to the number of overdoses surpassing car accidents as the number one cause of accidental death in America.

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

In the News: Another Broward County Judge Arrested for DUI

In the News: Another Broward County Judge Arrested for DUI

Yet another Broward County judge has been arrested for DUI after she crashed her BMW into a parked Broward Sheriff’s Office vehicle. Judge Lynn Rosenthal is now out on bond. Rosenthal, 56, was appointed to the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida by Gov. Rick Scott in 2012. She previously worked as a federal prosecutor.

Rosenthal’s black BMW sport utility vehicle was seen crashing into a parked BSO cruiser in the parking lot of the Broward County courthouse shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday. Deputies arriving on scene as a result of a call regarding the collision then placed Judge Rosenthal under arrest.

Rosenthal was given a Breathalyzer with the results of .000, meaning that no alcohol was detected. The judge admitted to having taken Ambien, a powerful sleeping pill the night before, however.

The police report stated that, “She last took Ambien CR at approximately 10 p.m. Monday” and that Rosenthal “appeared unsteady on her feet” and her “speech seemed slow and mumbled.”

Ambien can have very similar effects to alcohol on the central nervous system, effects that mimic acute alcohol intoxication,” said Dr. Randy Katz, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Memorial Regional Hospital.

According to sources, blood was drawn from her on the scene.

Deputies also noted that Rosenthal’s car also struck two yellow pillars near the gate of the courthouse parking lot, before hitting the parked BSO unit. Rosenthal told the deputies she wasn’t injured in the crash with the cruiser “or the crash from earlier in the morning,” the report stated.

Rosenthal went on to tell the deputies about a crash she was involved in on 595 that same morning, before arriving in the courthouse parking lot and hitting the patrol cruiser. Rosenthal then stated she had recorded it on her cell phone’s camera and explained how the incident was caused by another vehicle that ran her off the road.

However, when she showed the deputies the video, they concluded that she appeared delusional, as they said there was no other car in the video and that she clearly could not maintain her lane as she drove down the highway. The video showed Rosenthal swerving off the shoulder and hitting a side wall or median. “If this is true, it’s really quite ironic and quite sad,” said attorney Bill Gelin.

Rosenthal’s arrest makes is the third arrest of a Broward County judge on charges of DUI in last six months. In November, Judge Cynthia Imperato faced DUI charges in Boca Raton. A month earlier, Imperato, was seen driving erratically and nearly hit another vehicle in Boca Raton. Then, earlier this month, Judge Giselle Pollack was also arrested on DUI charges.

Pollack was arrested after she was in a crash that involved another vehicle. The incident resulted in the other driver being transported to the hospital with a neck injury. Judge Pollack suffered a burn on her arm but was not transported.

According to police reports, several alcoholic beverages were found in Pollack’s trunk. Officers also found an empty plastic cup next to her seat.

Pollack failed a field sobriety test after she refused to take a Breathalyzer and was taken into custody.

Judge Pollack has talked candidly about her addiction-related problems prior to the incident and even took a leave of absence from the bench in order to get help for her addiction.

Rosenthal is campaigning to reclaim her seat on the bench in this year’s election.

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

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