Author: Justin Mckibben
That’s right, you read the headline correctly. Law enforcement could soon be giving heroin to addicts, for free, in an attempt to fight addiction. While harm reduction is an admirable concept to preserve the lives of those suffering from addiction, this is a hard bit to chew.
Various countries are working to drastically reform drug policies. Some states in America have even started to pursue expanding access to naloxone, needle exchange programs and even safe injection sites. Other countries around the world have gone to new lengths in decriminalization, while others go to new extremes in the War on Drugs. Yet, despite all this variations of progress, giving away heroin seems like the most abstract idea yet.
Police in Durham, a city in northeast England, are planning to offer free heroin to drug users. Why? They say the objective is actually to reduce both crime and addiction.
The Free Heroin Plan?
Durham Police and Crime Victims Commissioner Ron Hogg spoke recently on his logic for providing heroin to addicts. In his statement he said,
“The aim would be to enable people who have become addicted to heroin to follow a program that would stabilize their addiction in a controlled environment, and reduce their dependency on heroin until they stop taking it,”
The idea isn’t just to give addicts free heroin and let them loose, but to create a very distinctive atmosphere of support in hopes of inspiring recovery. The proposed free heroin program would work in combination with a traditional substance abuse support program, and the users would be monitored on use and tapered off. According to the Independent newspaper, the free heroin clinics could be established in the Durham area before the end of this year.
What do Police Think of Free Heroin?
It seems the police department is hoping that if drug users have access to free heroin then they won’t have to resort to crime to support their addiction. While they are aware of how this idea might seem strange, the idea is that they may be able to further decrease all other devastating results of addiction on the community. Crime, spread of disease, overdose death and more.
According to the Independent newspaper, Durham Chief Constable Mike Barton also says the initiative would take away from drug dealers’ profits. With drug users having access to free heroin they hope it will cripple the trade on the illicit drug market. Barton states:
“We need to get over our moral panic about giving people heroin as part of a treatment plan,”
“Our primary concern is to prevent crime. If we’ve got people who are addicted to Class A drugs committing crime, it makes good sense to get that person off drugs.”
Commissioner Hogg also goes on to say,
“The aim of the initiative is to save the lives of addicts, shut down drug dealers and reduce acquisitive crime,”
“It would also reduce demand on police time, and the courts, and I believe it should also help lower the prison population.”
The impact of heroin on the U.K. should of course be noted as a cause for desperate measures.
- 2015-2016 statistics show there were 149,807 people receiving treatment for opioid use disorder in England
- Between 2012 and 2015, heroin-related deaths doubled from 579 to 1,201 deaths in England and Wales
So of course, as the opiate epidemic rattles countries all over the world, a few have decided to react in very different ways. Apparently, some parts of the U.K. are moving toward a very, very liberal stance.
Fix Rooms and Safe Injection Sites
England is not alone on this. Let us also note that Switzerland has actually offered a free heroin maintenance program since 1994. Other governments in the U.K. have approval for similar safe injection initiatives, including:
- The Netherlands
Last October, Glasgow, Scotland became the first city in the U.K. to approve plans for “fix rooms”. These are sites where people will be provided medical-grade heroin and clean syringes with the intent to contain the heroin epidemic.
The free heroin program in Switzerland began in Zurich. It is now credited with decreasing crime in the area. Information indicates this program has expanded to 23 clinics. But it isn’t just free heroin in these locations. These “fix rooms” also provide counseling and support.
Harm Reduction… or Reorganizing?
Now, we have to ask, is this as crazy as it sounds? While the police in these areas seem to be openly admitting that giving away free heroin is indeed enabling, they seem very convinced that things have gotten so bad this is the best they can hope for at the moment. Again, they are hoping to contain the fallout of heroin abuse in their communities and provide information and treatment resources. The idea sounds pretty intense, but some would say desperate times call for desperate measures.
So is this harm reduction, or just reorganizing? Is this tactic set to prevent even more suffering and destruction, or is it a feeble attempt to make some semblance of order out of the chaos of the opiate crisis?
From a personal opinion, as an addict in recovery, I can say I honestly don’t know. It sounds incredibly dangerous and almost irresponsible to say that law enforcement will provide free heroin. Yet, I have to try and understand their logic; that it might be able to prevent some crime. It might take a nice piece of money out of drug dealer pockets, and it might preserve lives long enough to convince them to get treatment. Then again, an addict like me might just take advantage of the free heroin program and get more off the street while also getting free, government funded drugs too.
Past data might show some support to this innovation. I guess we will just have to wait and see what becomes of this. Until then, there should always be an emphasis on the possibility of effective and comprehensive treatment. Even with the free heroin program, the idea is to get people the treatment they need.
We want to know what YOU think.
Addiction and drug abuse have become relevant in every aspect of American life. Police, politicians, educators and community leaders are trying to create radical changes in perspective. Not every perspective is easy to understand, but the common goal is inspiring lasting recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free.
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Author: Justin Mckibben
Well the weather man might not get the joke, the truth is the New York City Police, working alongside federal law enforcement agents, have recently made a bust that will cancel the white Christmas in NYC. According to Police and federal agents who broke the story, this week they have seized what they described as a “staggering” cargo of cocaine in the Bronx.
2 Names Making the Naught List
Apparently this massive shipment of cocaine had been shipped from Massachusetts, and in the course of the bust two men from Puerto Rico were arrested in connection to the bust. The two are allegedly part of a major drug trafficking network, and now they are definitely making the naughty list this holiday season for their involvement with this immense amount of illegal drug possession. Those two men were:
- Mark Soto
- Xavier Herbert-Gumbs
So far these two men have each been charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Brand Name Bust
The sleigh-ride for these traffickers was cut short when a joint operation with New York Police Department detectives and Homeland Security Investigations agents stopped their cars this past Thursday evening. The law enforcement officers then discovered brick-shaped packages of cocaine pressed into bundles and marked with brand names in the vehicles.
According to local new networks in the area authorities stopped a rented vehicle around 6:15 pm, finding 110 pounds of cocaine inside. 24-year-old Herbert-Gumbs was reportedly a passenger in the car and confessed to the authorities that he had placed the box holding the cocaine bricks in the vehicle.
About an hour later, authorities stopped 23-year-old U.S. Army Reserves private Mark Soto as he was taking a duffel bag out of the trunk of a different vehicle. The new report claims that these authorities found 26 pounds of cocaine inside the bag.
After the hauling the two into custody the officers took their inventory and according to the court records, the defendants were allegedly transporting 136 pounds of cocaine, worth an estimated $3 million! New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said during a statement concerning the case,
“The sheer amount of cocaine seized in this case is staggering. This is the largest seizure of cocaine being transported in the region that our office has handled in recent years.”
But there was even more gifts to be unwrapped by the officers, because following the arrests investigators claimed they also seized $6,000 and a U-Haul equipment contract in the name of “Mark Gomez,” an alias they said Soto used, after officers had searched an apartment Friday evening on the block where Soto had been stopped.
Reports have also shown that police found identifying documents belonging to Herbert-Gumbs inside the vehicle Soto was using when he was arrested, suggesting it is evidence that the two were working together in some capacity while trafficking their respective bricks of “cheer” for special delivery. Glenn Sorge, acting special agent in charge HSI New York, stated:
“The violence associated with cocaine trafficking and the illicit proceeds poses a major threat to our communities’ welfare. HSI remains at the forefront of combating criminal organizations that threaten our homeland by smuggling drugs into the United States.”
Soto and Gumbs were arraigned the following day in Manhattan on charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance. Bail was set at $400,000. Looks like a lot of people won’t be getting cocaine for Christmas, but there might be a few extra lumps of coal for these two behind bars.
Drug policy and reform are changing the game for the cartels and drug traffickers, while law enforcement is taking a stand against the availability of drugs in response to mounting overdose deaths in America. For those suffering from drug addiction these reforms also mean change in a compassionate approach to help them the choice to get help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Shernide Delva
When tragedy strikes, most people will run away from it. Only a select few are trained to run towards danger. They are first responders: Firemen, police officers, EMT, and combat veterans deal with death and violence on a daily basis. Seeing horrific images and pain is all parts of a day’s work. They are the first to respond. They are our first and only hope.
So it should come to no surprise that first responders often suffer from PTSD, addiction, depression and mental illness. Imagine doing everything you could to save someone’s life and they did not make it. Imagine gunshots, blood everywhere. You only have seconds to react and save a life. Sometimes you may have to save yourself. After a longs day work, your job is complete for the day. You go home. Then what?
Despite the traumatic work that first responders deal with on a regular basis, they often are the last ones to talk about the psychological impact of their occupations. Experiencing terrible accidents day after day can lead first responders to addiction. They seek solace by using substances and abuse alcohol and drugs. If untreated, some can go further down a path of destruction. Most are too afraid to ask for help so they keep their problems locked up inside. Many feel there is no hope for them. They fear showing weakness so they mask it with strength while self-medicating.
After witnessing terrible incidents day by day, first responders may seek solace through abusing substances even if they had no addictions prior. If they do have issues with drugs and alcohol, many times their profession makes their condition worse.
Many articles are recommending that first responders receive specialized treatment options tailored to their needs. There are treatment centers that offer specialized programs for first responders that combine peer support with clinical evidence-based treatment.
Some departments offer mandatory debriefings but many do not provide any support at all for those suffering. It is recommended that first responders seek a solid support group even if they are not consumed by addiction. Most first responders do not feel comfortable with outsiders because they feel admitting to help will result in losing their profession.
Clare Seletsy is the clinical coordinator for the First Responders Addiction Treatment Program at Livengrin Foundation. Her treatment center approaches first responders in a specialized way. She believes that there are many reasons that deter first responders from receiving treatment:
“In addition to the stress and trauma on the job, lack of trust in mental health professionals, their training to never surrender, hyper-masculinity and the drinking/enabling culture, there is also the heightened potential for physical injury on the job. “
Prescription drug abuse is major problem among first responders. Because first responders often get injured from their duties, doctors are easy to prescribe pain killers. They often acquire easier access to drugs due to the regard they receive in their position. Even when first responders are prescribed drugs to take as needed, they are very prone to start abusing that medication.
Alcohol abuse is also extremely common in the field. Alcohol is used by first responders to deal with the emotional trauma experience when handling tragic situations on a daily basis. The fear of losing their jobs prevents most from seeking help from their addiction.
When looking for an effective treatment program for addiction, first responders should ensure there are:
- Thorough physical and psychological evaluations
- Medically supervised inpatient detox
- Specialized rehab options for first responders broken into select programs depending on their profession
- Aftercare and professional and disciplinary assistance
- PTSD therapy
- Anger management
The tough guy persona that first responder’s feel they must adhere to is deterring many from seeking treatment. Here are some shocking stats:
- Firefighters: Up to 29% if firefighters engage in alcohol abuse.
- Police: 25% believe drinking to be part of the norm yet 25% have been affected negatively by the drinking of other coworkers.
- EMTs: EMTs have the highest rate of alcohol and drug abuse. It’s been revealed that 40% engage in high risk alcohol abuse and close to 20% experience PTSD.
As you can see, alcohol and drug abuse is a serious issue affecting the first responder’s profession. There are many ways you can help.
Palm Partners has decided to sponsor The Harringan Foundation in its efforts to help first responders with addiction and mental health issues. The First Annual Run to the Rescue 5K and Walk will occur on February 6, 2016. Proceeds from the race will benefit the treatment of first responders suffering from addiction and/or trauma disorders. If you would like to participate or find out how you can donate to the cause, check out the race’s official Facebook page.
No first responder should have to stop doing their job because of the disease of addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Here’s the latest volume of our Crazy News Stories of the Week. Enjoy!
#1. Quadruple Amputee “Sole Person of Interest” in Parents’ Double Murder
A 30-year-old man who lost all four limbs to bacterial meningitis when he was 16 is the sole person of interest in the deaths of his parents.
Sean Petrozzino is not exactly a suspect at this point but is the only person the police are looking to question in the double-homicide. It’s odd to think that someone without hands and feet could not only kill two people but also elude police but, so far that might just be the case.
You might think it would be difficult for a quadruple amputee to murder his parents, much less make an escape, local sheriff’s spokesperson Jane Watrel states that he is still the only person of interest on their list, so it appears it is not an impossible scenario to consider.
And you’re probably wondering whether a quadruple amputee – who’s missing both hands and feet – can fire a gun – and that answer is yes. According to chief executive officer of ABC Prosthetics and Orthotics in Orlando, Jerry L. Saunders, there are special devices that allow people without hands to fire guns.
#2. Man Claiming to Be “Gator Whisperer” Arrested
Apparently swimming with dolphins and manatees is out and swimming with alligators is in.
A man in West Palm Beach who calls himself the “Gator Whisperer” was offering encounters with alligators for $250, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
Investigators found Hal Kreitman in the water with some customers while swimming with gators, an official said.
According to wildlife officials, this kind of interaction is considered harassment of a protected species and therefore illegal.
FWC arrested Mr. Kreitman; he was booked into the Monroe County Jail.
The alligator encounters took place in the southern Everglades.
#3. “Love Thy Neighbor” Lost On Homeless Man as He Attacks Fellow Parishioners
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office records show that a transient man in Melbourne, FL head-butted one parishioner and pushed another while outside of Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church after he became agitated during church services.
Patrick Rimides, 33, was then arrested and charged with two counts of battery.
Prior to the attacks, Rimides had been asked to leave the church service because he had had repeated outbursts with cursing and obscenities, according to the arrest report.
Brevard County Judge Stephen Koons barred Rimides from returning to the church or contacting either of the victims. Bond was set at $500 for each count, and Rimides was still listed as a Brevard County Jail Complex inmate Wednesday morning.
Rimides was assigned a public defender, and he will be arraigned Dec. 4.
#4. Man Calls 911 for a Date and Gets One – With a Judge
A Naples man was arrested for calling 911 three times and asking the dispatcher if she would go on a date with him.
Stephen Ramsey, 45, was arrested by Collier County deputies at his home for misuse of the 911 system. According to deputies, Ramsey asked the dispatcher how she felt about handcuffs. He then laughed before finally hanging up the phone.
“When somebody misuses the system it does get very frustrating for everybody because we are here to serve the public and we have a hard time doing that when someone misuses the system,” Bill Rule, commander of communications at the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said.
“Somebody could conceivably be injured and needing our assistance, but we are further away because of the false 911 call,” Rule said.
Ramsey admitted to deputies that he has a drinking problem and was looking for an escort service to help him “pass time.” Indeed, Ramsey spoke with slurred speech when he was arrested, according to the arrest report.
Deputies said the six minutes dispatch spent on the phone with Ramsey could have been spent helping people.
Ramsey is in jail on a $2,000 bond.
#5. Woman Claims Aging Disease While Posing as Her Daughter During Traffic Stop
During traffic stop, a Florida mom told the officers that she suffers from aging medical condition when trying to convince them she was actually her 22-year-old daughter.
The 43-year-old claimed that she has “a medical condition that makes her age faster” and that’s why she didn’t look like she was really half her age, police said.
Jennifer Crosby was found driving on a suspended license in Indian River County Saturday when an apparent moment of desperation led to her making up the crazy story.
When asked for her license and registration, the Vero Beach resident claimed to have forgotten her purse, license and registration at home.
After pressed for a name, she identified herself as Christina R. Topp, while successfully rattling off Topp’s 1992 birth date and social security number.
“Immediately I was suspicious because the driver appeared significantly older than that,” the officer noted in the arrest report obtained by the Smoking Gun.
When the officer pulled up a photo of Topp, Crosby finally admitted to being the young woman’s mother.
Crosby was then arrested for driving on a suspended license and providing a false name to police.
This is her second arrest since June when she was arrested for possessing crack cocaine, which she painfully hid inside of her vagina.
“Ouch,” an officer reported her as saying during its removal. “The foil is hurting the inside of my vagina.”
These crazy news stories of the week are meant for entertainment purposes. What isn’t of a laughing matter is substance abuse and addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free to speak with an Addiction Specialist at 1-800-951-6135.
It’s Friday and that means your next edition of Crazy News Stories of the Week is here! Enjoy!
Testicle-eating Fish Found in Florida’s Sun Coast
A fisherman in Florida’s Gulf side made quite the surprise catch; he recently caught a pacu, a fish that’s closely related to the piranha and that has a very unsettling.
Rigby was fishing Phillippi Creek with a shrimp when his line took off. After a long fight, he was able to bring the fish aboard the boat. “I got out my fish ID chart and go through all of the species. I can’t see anything that looks like the species.”
After snapping a photo of his catch, he released it back into the water.
After consulting Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, the fish was quickly identify as a pacu, a freshwater species native to South America.
“I’m looking at all of the teeth, saying this thing can do some serious damage to another fish or something.”
Well, that “something” will make men everywhere cringe at this thought: “I found out it has a reputation for going after men’s testicles [and] I was just worried about it biting my finger.”
That reputation has been investigated for years, even by Animal Planet‘s extreme angler Jeremy Wade, the host of the hit show River Monsters.
Yet, there have never been any confirmed cases of the pacu’s unusual appetite.
Mr. Rigby says next time that he’d keep it if caught again. “It was quite an adventure; pretty cool to catch and it’s out there somewhere still looking for lunch.”
The mystery remains: how did this flesh-eating fish end up in Sun Coast waters? Most likely, it was someone’s pet at one time that outgrew its aquarium and was released into local waters. Scary.
Ocala Police Become Fashionistas
The city of Ocala has finally made it happen: they’ve passed an ordinance that allows city police to also play the role of fashion police and bust you for the crime of wearing baggy pants on their property.
The Ocala City Council voted 4-0 to pass an ordinance that prohibits anyone on city property from wearing their pants two inches – or further – below their natural waist and that exposes their underwear or bare buttocks. If caught, the offender faces up to a $500 fine and six months in jail.
City Attorney Patrick Gilligan said, “We are not looking to charge people. If they don’t comply, I think the chief will tell police officers to take your phone out and take a picture.”
He suggests that the judge can make a decision from looking at the picture. The offense would be a second-degree misdemeanor.
“If it’s a close call, they get acquitted,” Gilligan said.
Gilligan said the city of Ocala has the right to make sure people are not naked and believes that same goes for people who wear sagging pants.
When asked what would happen if someone goes to a park or swimming pool in a bathing suit that may be as revealing, Gilligan said, “If that becomes a problem, we will start dealing with that. Right now, it’s pants on men or women.”
image: Jill Hansen, Courtesy Honolulu Police Department
Pro Surfer Arrested for Attempted Murder of Elderly Woman
Jill Hansen, a professional surfer and model with her own line of swimsuits, is now in police custody in Hawaii after being charged with attempted murder for allegedly ramming her car into a 73-year-old Hawaiian woman.
Hansen, 30, is being held on $1 million bail.
The victim, Elizabeth Conklin, told ABC News, “I parked in my normal parking place, and I got out and all of a sudden I woke up in an ambulance.”
Apparently, Hansen waited until Ms. Conklin got out of her car in the parking lot of the Diamond Head apartments in Waikiki before driving into her. A bystander witnessed this first part of the attack and bashed in Hansen’s rear window to prevent her from striking Conklin again, according to the police report.
Hansen had reversed her vehicle after the initial strike in an attempt to hit Conklin again; the victim was at this point already lying on the parking garage floor from the first attack.
Hansen fled the scene but was soon tracked down by police. Investigators have not released a possible motive.
Juvenile Joy Rider Strikes Again
Last month, 12-year-old Michael Propst allegedly went for a joy ride after stealing a school bus. He was given the equivalent of a slap on the wrist – authorities had ordered him held by the Department of Juvenile Justice for 21 days – and everyone in the county of Franklin thought it was just kind of funny.
However, Propst is in the news again for doing the same thing, the very next day following his release from the Department of Juvenile Justice. “He was released from custody Tuesday and stole another bus,” Bay District School Security Chief Mike Jones said.
“[Police] said, ‘Mike, we got another bus missing.’ I said, ‘Please tell me it’s not the little boy again.’ That’s exactly who it was.”
After receiving multiple calls regarding an erratic school bus driver, Franklin County Deputies pulled over the bus and found Propst behind the wheel. Jones said, “He told him that somebody had loaned him the bus or gave him the bus. That was the story last time. One of my friends gave me the bus. Twelve years old, it’s hard to believe. He was in trouble last time, but he’s in serious trouble this time.”
Americans are the Worstttt When it Comes to Geography
Justin Gray, who works for Channel 9 and is a resident of Washington D.C. – our nation’s capital – found out that, unfortunately, not everyone knows this bit of American history and culture.
Gray was flying out of Orlando International Airport when a TSA agent stopped him, saying that his District of Columbia driver’s license wasn’t a valid form of identification. Gray pointed out that his license was, in fact, legal and up-to-date, but the TSA agent didn’t seem to know what the District of Columbia was when Gray arrived at the security checkpoint. LOL. SMH.
When Gray handed the agent his driver’s license, the agent said he didn’t recognize the license and demanded to see Gray’s passport.
Gray told the agent he wasn’t carrying his passport and asked why he needed it. Gray also then agent the TSA agent if he knew what the District of Columbia is, and after a brief conversation, realized that the agent has no idea.
After getting through security despite having an “invalid” ID, Gray made a complaint with a TSA supervisor.
The TSA certainly has a its share of critics but they point to the incident with Gray as an indication of much bigger problems than TSA agents not knowing their geography.
“They simply have not been either applying or maintaining standards for good personnel,” said Douglas Kidd, with the National Association of Airline Passengers.
A spokesman for the TSA said, “Officers are trained to identify fraudulent documents, which can potentially deter and detect individuals attempting to circumvent this layer of security.”
“It makes you wonder what’s going on with their training and their policies,” said Kidd.
A TSA spokesman contacted Gray to confirm that a D.C. ID is in fact a valid form of identification and that all of Orlando TSA agents are now being shown copies of the District of Columbia’s driver’s license.
These are just some of the Crazy News Stories of the Week that really happen in our country. But, you know what’s not crazy? Someone who might be acting out in their active addiction or substance abuse. They might seem crazy but it’s really a result of their disease. If you suspect that your loved one is struggling in this way, there is hope. Our Addiction Specialists can answer your questions and share resources with you around the clock. Please don’t hesitate to call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135.