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Crazy News Stories: Meth Smuggling Monk, Bad TSA Employees, And More

Crazy News Stories: Meth Smuggling Monk, Bad TSA Employees, And More

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Guess what’s back? Back again? Crazy news stories, of course!
The year 2017 is still fresh, but some of the stories to come out recently are so crazy, we just had to talk about them. We hope these stories give you some insight into addiction and remind you why it is so important to reach out if you need help in your recovery.

Here are some crazy news stories stemming from the New Year:

  • Woman in Labor Demanded Friend Inject Her With Heroin and Meth

This story is both ridiculous and just plain sad. Most women in labor want support from their friends and family.  Felicia Farruggia, 29, wanted drugs. Farruggia went into labor at her home and demanded her friend inject her with heroin and methamphetamines before the firefighters and ambulance arrived. The even crazier part of the story is that her friend actually gave them to her.

Her friend, Rhianna Frennete, 37, was arrested for obliging with the request. Both face charges of felony reckless conduct. Frennete faces a misdemeanor count of the same offense. Police arrested Farruggia this week, and the baby is currently in state custody.

“This case is just, honestly, absolutely appalling in my mind,” Lieutenant Sean Ford said. “No one died, but the risk to that child and to the mother. … This stuff is just getting out of control.”

Police state Frenette used an unsanitary syringe to inject Farruggia at least once before she was successful. Following the injection, Farruggia’s boyfriend called 911. Shortly after firefighters arrive, Farruggia gave birth while entering the ambulance.

  • TSA Employees Arrested for Cocaine Smuggling in Puerto Rico

TSA employees are responsible for ensuring our safety while flying. However, over a dozen TSA employees in Puerto Rico were more concerned with smuggling cocaine.  It was a massive operation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

The defendants are accused of helping to smuggle close to 20 tons of cocaine through Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport over the course of 18 years, from 1998 to 2016. The investigation was launched by the TSA in an effort to target employee misconduct and reduce insider threats. The investigation discovered that employees would smuggle suitcases through TSA checkpoints at the airports and onto flights.

  • Buddhist Monk Busted For Hiding Over 4.2 Million Meth Pills In Monastery

The country of Myanmar is cracking down on drug trafficking, and not even monks are safe.  While Myanmar is one of the most Buddhist nations in the world, it is also Southeast Asia’s largest narcotics producer. Therefore it should not be too shocking that the two come together every now and then. Last month, police discovered a stash of more than four million methamphetamine pills hidden within the inconspicuous Shwe Baho monastery.

How it happened: After receiving a tip, police found Monk Arsara, a respected leader at the monastery, driving towards Bangladesh transporting some 400,000 meth tablets, as well as hundreds of dollars’ worth of local currency in his car. The police then visited the monastery and discovered another 4.2 million pills, along with a grenade and some other ammunition. The pills are worth more than $4 million USD on the street.  That’s not very monk-like to me. Can you say Na-meth-tay?

  • Neanderthals may have self-medicated long before pills existed

Finally, we will end on a throwback. Like wayyy back. Turns out, Neanderthals were not so different from us after all.  A new study found that when they were in pain, they also self-medicated. Researchers found evidence that a Neanderthal treated a dental abscess with medicinal plants, highlighting an ability to seek pain relief long before pills came into existence. The researchers specifically study Neanderthals in Spain. One of the two Neanderthals from Spain appeared to have used plants to treat his painful dental pain. Plaque from his teeth showed he was eating poplar, which contains the active ingredient of aspirin. These findings contradict past studies which suggested Neanderthals had a very simple existence.

Can you blame them, though? Dental pain is the absolute worse!


So there you have it, folks. Crazy news stories are fascinating and sometimes funny, but they also highlight how insane addiction can be. What story stood out to you? If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Could Creatine Help Treat Meth Addiction?

Male athlete holding protein drink

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Could a workout supplement help treat meth addiction? According to recent research, this may be a real possibility. Researchers at Montana State University just launched a study to determine if the supplement creatine monohydrate could treat dependence to meth.

Creatine is an insanely popular muscle building supplement well-known in the fitness industry for its ability to help with gaining muscle mass. Creatine works by allowing the body to produce more energy rapidly. With more energy, you can train harder and that produces faster results.

It was interesting to read that a supplement so popular in the fitness community could be beneficial for meth addiction. Furthermore, Tracy Hellem, PhD, an assistant professor of the College of Nursing at Montana State led the study to examine the amino acid’s efficacy in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in meth users.

Participants in the study were male and females between the ages of 18 and 59 who had symptoms of depression and anxiety. They were given eight weeks of treatment with creatine and two follow-up visits. The results were positive.  Participants who suffered from mental illness and used meth found that the drug helped them by boosting their energy levels and decreasing their appetitive. The drug was also able to create the need to sleep. However, consistent use also led to feels of depression which increased the user’s intake of the drug.

Hellem first thought of the idea of treating meth addiction with creating when she was finishing her studies at the University of Utah. During her studies, her professor of psychiatry, Dr. Perry Renshaw, had used magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to determine that people with mood disorders and substance abuse issues actually had deficiencies in their brain cell production. As a result, both Renshaw and Hellem hypothesized that creatine used by athletes to build body mass and strength, as well as energy and stamina, might also reduce the depression and anxiety in these individuals.

The study was initially successful in producing favorable results which prompted more studies like this one just released. The current study included patients with anxiety disorder as well as addiction to methamphetamine.

“This will be the first study of creatine that includes a triple diagnosis: depression, anxiety, and methamphetamine dependence,” said Hellem.

Creatine is one of the most researched sports supplements and has gained immense popularity over the few years as more fitness professionals are recommending the supplement for its muscle building potential. Creatine has been proven to work for activities like weight training, sprinting and other sports. It is effective in helping build muscle fibers in those who combine the supplement with exercise. Some side effects ranging from cramping to kidney problems have occasionally been reported however for most people, creatine is very safe to use.

Overall, creatine could be an effective supplement to use to help aid with meth addiction; however it is not a cure, simply a treatment option. There are a lot of nutritional options to help with rebuilding energy depletion when overcoming symptoms of withdrawal. It seems as though the supplement would benefit with treating symptoms of withdrawal and dependence due to its energy lifting properties. The more healthy a person feels, the better chance they have of a full recovery.

Still, it is only one part of the equation of treatment and a person with a meth addiction should treat their condition in s trained professional atmosphere with careful monitoring.  Still, learning different options that can aid with the recovery process is very beneficial as a whole. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Author: Shernide Delva

Drug Implant Could Save Australia’s Meth Addiction Crisis

Drug Implant Could Save Autrailia's Meth Addiction Crisis

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Hundreds of addicts from Australia are turning to an unconventional and controversial treatment to try to cut their addiction to methamphetamines, or “ice”. The treatment has a 70 percent success rate but addictive medicine specialists are warning that it is not the answer.

The treatment involves surgery to have the drug naltrexone implanted in meth addicts to cut their craving. In Australia, meth is the most commonly used drugs next to marijuana. Each year, more than 300 people with drug problems consent to receive the naltrexone implant from the Fresh Start clinic in the city of Perth. The clinic is run by George O’Neil, one of the few doctors in the area who is willing to install the device. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that has been proven to reduce the reward associated with drug use.

“With amphetamine addicts, it just isn’t as enjoyable as it used to be,” on naltrexone. “And so the reward is reduced,” Dr. O’Neil said.

However, naltrexone treatments often run into problems. Drug users intentionally skip doses in order to get high or stop taking the treatment all together.  Essentially, the drug addict who desires to get high knows if they stop taking the drug, they can go back to using and feeling high again.

Now, with the implant, this will not be possible. The implant would be surgically placed into the patient’s abdomen which would remove the problem of compliance by slowly releasing naltrexone into the bloodstream maintaining an effective dose at all times.

Many believe the implant has not been proven effective. However Dr. O’Neil argues that is one of the more effective treatments. He argues that the implant has a bad reputation because other clinics provide inferior devices which dispense incorrect doses.

In 2012, three patients addicted to heroin passed away after getting naltrexone implants at a Sydney clinic. The danger of naltrexone is after it is used for a lengthy period of time, a user’s tolerance for opiates will be significantly reduced. When that happens, the chances of an overdose become much higher.

The Jury is Out

So far, The National Health and Medical Research Council’s position on the implants is that further research is needed before a statement on safety can be confidently made. A small study by West Australian addiction expert Gary Hulse is promising. Hulse studied 44 of Dr. O’Neill’s patients and found that 75 percent were not using methamphetamines after 12 to 14 weeks.  Hulse believes that the use of naltrexone for meth addicts is sound. However since there has not been any large scale studies, it is still uncertain how effective the implants could be.

Regardless, anything that could be effective in increasing the chance of recovery for addicts is worth examining further. According to a 2013 Nation Drug Strategy Survey, 7 % of the Australian population aged 14 years or older have reported using meth at least once in their lifetime.

Even in the states, meth has become a huge epidemic. People are creating meth in homemade labs. The meth crisis has resulted in many severe injuries, even death. The meth industry has become so huge all over the world that many are resorting to treatment facilities. A Thailand temple offers free treatment to addicts and its patients are most commonalty meth addicts.

Overall, the meth problem needs to be tackled. For many, it is a consuming addiction that takes over their life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or alcoholism, please call toll-free 1-561-221-1125

 

Thailand’s “Vomit Temple” Offers Free Treatment for Drug Addicts

Thailand’s “Vomit Temple” Offers Free Treatment for Drug Addicts

Author: Shernide Delva

There’s a temple called Wat Thamkrabok in Thailand that operates as a no-cost drug rehabilitation center. The temple, run by Buddhist monks, has garnered the name “Vomit Temple” and it’s not for the faint of heat.

Every day, patients at the center are told to consume a “secret” cocktail made of 120 herbal ingredients which makes them vomit. They must continue the treatment for at least five days. The process is believed to cure addiction by purging out their demons. You only get one chance to get clean.

So what happens if you don’t? Well, you’ll be cursed for eternity, of course. Patients must vow to stay off a list of drugs and are threatened with a curse if they break those vows.

The Sacred Vow: Sajja

As soon as you arrive you must take a vow known as the “Sajja.” In Thai, the Sajja means you are making a commitment to yourself. The vows are told to you by a monk and you must say them out loud in front of the founders, the monk and the temple. It’s the ultimate commitment to get clean.

The belief in Thailand is that breaking the Sajja is really dangerous.  Breaking the promise means you’ll be back to your old path that this time will lead to your demise. It’s free to come here but you only get one shot. There are no second chances. If you decide to come here, you are making a commitment to give up drugs for the rest of your life.

Of course all treatment centers want you to commit to a lifestyle of sobriety however one has to wonder if the intense nature of the vows produces a stronger commitment and prevent relapses.  It definitely seems like an “ends-all- be-all” way of approaching treatment that could be successful.

History of the Temple Thamkrabok

The temple Thamkrabok started functioning as a rehab center back in 1959 and now attracts foreigners from across the world.  Recently the temple has gained media attention as a subject for a new documentary about Australians who are turning to Thamkrabok to treat their meth addiction.

Meth, known overseas as “ice,” has become a huge problem in Australia where over 70,000 people are estimated to be dependent on the drug.

The temple has been functioning as a rehab center since 1959, attracting numerous foreigners from across the world. It has gained media attention as the subject of a new documentary about Australians who are turning to Thamkrabok to treat their meth addiction. Meth, known overseas as “ice,” is a rising problem in Australia, where over 70,000 people are estimated to be dependent on the drug.

In the documentary, it discusses how Australia has failed to address the ice epidemic driving increasing numbers of addicts to a place like Thamkrabok for an alternative form of treatment.

The documentary claims that the country has failed to address the problem, driving increasing numbers of addicts to places like Thamkrabok seeking an alternative form of treatment. Once patients arrive, they are in for a grueling daily routine.

“The routine at the temple involves going out to the yard to help with daily tasks, meals and then, of course, there’s the vomiting,” says Steve, a patient from Perth featured in the documentary. “Vomiting is at 3pm every day. Foreigners must vomit for the first five days. The vomiting is intense.”

Last year, an estimated 1,300 foreigners traveled to Thailand to go to rehab for treatment from all sorts of addictions like drug and alcohol addiction to eating disorders and even depression. There are other rehab options available like the renowned Hope Rehab which is a high-end luxury rehab that attracts famous clientele from all around the world. At the center, patients pay $10,000 for beach views and activities like horseback riding. And unlike Thamkrabok, they are not forced to drink a vomit-inducing potion every day.

Still, for those desperate to seek treatment for their addiction who can’t quite afford other options, Thamkrabok is a more than ideal option. Since rehabs in the United States can run close to 30,000, the fact that the temple is free is a huge reason why the temple is so popular with westerners.

Since often insurances cover the expense of rehab, it would be best to check into that before taking a more extreme option like traveling across the globe. Insurance could be able to cover your expenses for months rather than just a few short days. Still, it’s encouraging that options like this exist for those who desperately need it.

If you are falling into the path of addiction, get help immediately. Time is of the essence. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Meth Lab Injuries on the Rise

Meth Lab Injuries on the Rise

Author: Shernide Delva

According to a new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Meth lab injuries are on the rise.

Unlike drugs that come from plants like Marijuana and Cocaine, Meth is made from other chemicals often in makeshift home laboratories. Fires, explosions, injuries and environmental contamination can occur in these labs putting the public at risk.

Data collected from five states — Louisiana, Oregon, Utah, New York, and Wisconsin have shown that meth related chemical incidents have increased from 2001 to 2004 when the drug reemerged in popularity.

There was a decline from 2005 to 2007 as lawmaker’s limited access to the drugs needed to make meth.  From 2001 to 2012, there were a total of 1325 meth-related chemical incidents. The most common reported injuries were respiratory irritation, burns, eye irritation, and skin irritation.

Recent Meth Lab Injuries:

  • In Eastern Wisconsin, a 35 year old man was treated for burn injuries after investigators say was a meth lab explosion.
  • In Louisiana, a woman was seriously injured in what investigators determined was a “rolling meth lab fire. “
  • In Daytona Beach, Florida, an 8 month old and four adults were injured when a meth lab exploded early this year.
  • Last month, an explosion in Maryland was blamed on a meth lab established in a government building. A federal security officer who was injured was blamed and charged in the case. The officer resigned his position a day after the explosion.

The CDC stated the new method of making meth called the “shake-and-bake” method is the reason for the increasing injuries being reported. The “shake-and-bake” method involved shaking chemicals in a 2-liter plastic bottle. The bottle can frequently burst causing burns and injuries.

Law enforcement officials make up a large percentage of meth-related injuries. Forty-two law enforcement officials were injured in meth lab injuries. The most common injury is respiratory irritation.

To reduce injury, researchers suggest law enforcement officials increase training in order to recognize risk as well as using personal protective equipment. Researchers cautioned that a state-by-state approach to meth production may not be effective.

For example, in 2010, Mississippi introduced “prescription-only” laws for ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. While the law resulted in fewer meth labs seized in Mississippi, meth related incidents increased in neighboring state Louisiana.

Dangers lurk even after the meth lab is closed down because people can still come in contact with the leftover hazardous materials.

“Employees working as cleanup contractors, or in housekeeping, patient intake and other high-risk occupations should be alerted to the dangers,” the study authors said.

The implementing laws limiting access to the meth chemicals tracking people buying the chemicals with electronic monitoring, and maintaining a database of the offenders.

The study concludes by noting that public health is urgently needed to protect those who are most injured in meth incidents children and law enforcement officials.

Meth labs are seriously dangerous to the general public. Because of the increasing popularity of meth use, meth lab injuries are on the rise. The hope is that new policies are implemented that prevent these incidents. 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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