June 29, 2001 was like any other summer day. My husband had a business outing, my two sons were up at the crack of noon and went to work, my daughter was gone at summer camp, and I had my usual housework and errands to run. After work, my 16-year old son was going with a friend to hang out at another friends house. My husband and I went to dinner, had a couple of drinks, and on the way home stopped at a neighbor's house, had a couple more drinks, and were home by 11 P.M.

Curfew for the boys was midnight. They both made it home on time. My husband and I were sleeping by then but as was customary, the boys checked in with us, letting us know they were home. My 16-year old had a friend that was spending the night. They were going to watch a movie in the basement recreation room.

At 4:30 A.M. the phone woke us up; my husband answered it. It was the hospital. They informed him that our son had been in an auto accident and was in the emergency room, and we needed to there immediately. We thought they were mistaken because he had checked in already. We checked his room and found it empty. His friend and my older son were sleeping in the basement, but there was not sign of my 16-year old. His truck was gone. We put on some clothes and rushed out the door.

Less than half a mile from our house we came upon the crash site. Police cars with lights flashing were everywhere. We saw our son's truck, barely recognizable, with the entire right front end pushed into the cab. We pulled over next to the other vehicle, which was upside down, smoldering and being worked on by firefighters. There was a blanket covering the driver's side. I will never forget what I saw that morning.

As we pulled over, a police officer quickly came toward us telling us to move along. We identified ourselves and he confirmed that our son was in the emergency room and told us to proceed to the hospital. We asked about the other driver, and the officer told us that he was dead. The five-mile ride to the hospital seemed to take forever. We didn't know what we would find there. I was crying and shaking. My husband was in shock - he kept saying over and over, "the other man is dead?!"

Before I go on, I will tell you a little about my son. He was a sophomore in high school, an honor roll student who loved to play sports. He played soccer, football, track, and was good at all of them. His room was full of trophies and ribbons. He's a good-looking kid who got along with most everyone. He held a part time job scooping ice cream. He loved little kids and was good with them, too. He had plans for going to a big name university and was well on his way. He knew right from wrong, had good manners (outside the home anyway, and had no previous involvement with law enforcement. He didn't even have a traffic ticket.

We arrived at the hospital and went into the emergency room. Before we got to his room, we could hear him screaming. We rushed into the room and his face was still covered in blood. His femur bone was protruding through his jeans and the artery in his leg was damaged. His arm was broken and had nerve damage, as well. He had not received any pain medication, yet. The smell of alcohol was obvious and strong. He started to cry and apologize when we approached him. He did not know, yet, about the man he had killed. We later found out that our son's blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.18, over two times the legal limit.

Doctors, nurses and police swarmed the room. Police were asking questions, asking for blood and urine, asking our son to sign forms. My husband called a lawyer and upon his advice, my son refused blood and urine samples. The police took them anyway saying that they had a right to take them. I was angry, confused, sad and most of all, scared.

Surgery took eight hours. My son was in intensive care for two days. He had lost a lot of blood and the titanium rods put in his femur and humerus bones increased the risk of life threatening blood clots. Nurses tended to him around the clock. He was put in the pediatric unit for three more days. The day he was to be released to go home, the police informed us that he was being arrested and put in jail unless we posted $50,000 for his $500,000 bond. By the Grace of God, we were able to borrow the money from our local bank and keep him out of jail, take him home and continue caring for him.

We started to piece together the story. His friend had acquired the beer from someone of legal age. They went to a girl's house to drink it. The girl was my son's girlfriend. The mother of the girl was home and allowed a group of teens to drink at her house that evening in their basement and around their pool. They each had six beers at the house and came home at midnight. Unknown to us, they continued to drink in our house. My son got a call from his girlfriend and he sneaked out of the house and returned there at about 1:30 A.M. The beer ran out. The mother broke out a bottle or orange vodka to keep the party alive. They were now sitting in the kitchen drinking with the mother and her friend, also an adult.

He left the party about 3 A.M. He got home again, but a couple of girls walking around the neighborhood called him on his cell phone and asked if he would drive them home. He did. He never made it home a third time. And a 37-year old husband never made it to work that day, either.

While in the hospital, my son was visited by the minister of the deceased's church. He told us about the man. He was a good husband, father, son, and friend. My husband attended the memorial service. The minister came to our house a few days later and gave him a video of the service to share with our son and me. It tears my heart out to think that a wife lost her husband, three kids under age nine lost their dad, a dad lost his son and an employer lost their employee as a result of my son's drunk driving accident. I cannot imagine what it must be like for them.

I do know that for my son and my family, life will never be the same. After almost a year of physical therapy, doctors, psychologists, insurance companies, medical bills, lawyers, newspaper articles, court hearings, sentencing, etc., my son wanted it all to end. He attempted suicide once by trying to hang himself with an extension cord in the back yard on a tree. He wanted the uncertainty about his future to end.

Fed up with the uncertainty and the hiding being continuances in the courtroom, my son pled guilty to reckless homicide without a trial, without a plea bargain. He put his fate in the hands of God and a fair judge. The state asked for 8-12 years in state prison. The judge sentenced him to 365 days in county jail, to be served during summers and weekends while he finished his high school. Four years of intense probation requires that he be in the house each evening at 7 P.M. and the probation officer stops by every evening. He has community service of 200 hours, to be served at the local food bank, and he speaks with AAIM (Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists) at Impact Panels, trying to reach out to others that think they can drink and drive. He also speaks at high schools attempting to let kids like him know that they are not invincible.

His junior year in school was almost impossible for him and our family to bear. His grades went down and he dropped or didn't finish many classes. He could not focus and could not sleep at night, constantly waking with nightmares. He can't play sports anymore. He can't even go to football games on Friday nights. Instead, he checks into jail for the weekend. No homecoming, no senior trip, no prom and so on.

I am sharing this story because like a lot of parents out there, I used to think kids will be kids and adults will act responsibly. I wasn't naíve I knew my teenager, who was in with the popular crowd, went to parties now and then. He knew right from wrong - he had lost his vehicle for a few weeks for having it at a party, not even driving it just a few months before. At that party the parents took the keys and he was trying to get them back. That's when we showed up. He knew he could call us anytime, anywhere, with no questions asked for a ride home if he was ever in that situation. In retrospect, that message was wrong for our son mistakenly took that as a license to drink, and to drink too much. So, what message are we trying to give our children? That it's OK to drink if there's a consenting adult around because they will know better? I hope my story shows you this message has a dangerous assumption to it. Not all adults are responsible enough to take the keys away or call the parents.

This past summer, rather than holding down a summer job, my son was in jail. He slept on a mat on the floor in an overcrowded county jail. We were allowed to visit for 30 minutes per week, speaking to him on a jail phone, talking through Plexiglas. We could not even touch. It was painful on both sides of the glass. Somehow, he endured. He no longer takes for granted being alive, having a family, having a meal on the table at night and clean clothes to wear. He is grateful for every day. And, I am grateful for getting my son back.

My son lost a year of his life but another man lost the rest of his life. A wife lost her soul mate, three children lost their dad, a father lost his son, a best friend lost theirs, and humanity lost a good man. My life and my family's life is forever impacted as well.

My son takes full responsibility for his actions and is owning-up to the consequences as best that this young adult, now 18, can. Today, he is abstinent from all drugs and alcohol and is trying to have a positive impact on the people around him. His message to adolescents and young adults is simple and straightforward.

  • Don't drink and drive.
  • It happened to me and can happen to you.
  • No one is invincible.

Kids will be kids. But the operative word is kids, and we parents still must look out for them. Know where your kids are. If it's Friday or Saturday night and you think your kid is with the "in-crowd," have a talk with him or her, every weekend if you must. Kids have short memories when it comes to rules. They need to be reminded often of the rules that count. Remind them of my son's story. Remind yourself of my story.

- A Mom's Story

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Illinois House of Representatives -- House Resolution HR157

House Resolution HR157

RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED FIRST GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we urge lawmakers to slow the process of legalizing recreational marijuana in Illinois, so that lawmakers, stakeholders, and experts alike have the chance to consider the societal impact of legalization and examine all of the data from other states that have passed similar legislation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That lawmakers should not rush irresponsible legislation purely for tax revenues but should consider the health and safety of Illinoisans as their first priority when considering the question of legalization; and be it further.

RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be presented to the Governor’s Office and the Clerk of the House.

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House Bill 902: Rep. Carol Ammons, D – Urbana, has introduced a bill that is drawing attention Illinois lawmakers soon expected to turn attention to marijuana

Rebecca Anzel and Peter Hancock, Daily Chronicle, February 12, 2019

Two key Chicago Democratic lawmakers, Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, have met with interested groups around Illinois and are expected to introduce legislation soon.

Meanwhile, however, Rep. Carol Ammons, D—Urbana, already has introduced a bill that is drawing attention. It would open the door to a much more expansive legal pot industry than most others have envisioned.

Ammons’ bill, the Cannabis Legalization Equity Act, would allow anyone age 21 or older with valid identification to buy or sell marijuana. Driving under the influence of the drug still would be illegal. And the legislation makes specific mention that only “legitimate, tax-paying business people” would be permitted to sell cannabis.

Under the measure, Illinoisans could possess as many as 224 grams, or about a half-pound, of marijuana at time. It also would allow individual to grow as many as 24 plants in their own homes for personal consumption, and it would provide for the licensing of cultivation facilities and retail dispensaries.

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New School Resource Officer data shows increase in teen use marijuana

Press Release, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, December 13, 2018

New data shows a troubling increase in teenagers’ use of marijuana in Illinois, and a significant increase in vaping by teenagers. Those are two major results from the second annual survey of School Resource Officers, who are police officers with primary responsibilities in schools throughout Illinois.

In the first survey, nearly 60 percent of respondents said that marijuana was the primary drug facing schools. Then, 30 percent of respondents had seen an increase in marijuana-related incidents. Since then, new reports show about an 8 percent increase in the number of school resource officers that say more students are abusing the drug.

In October of this year, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, the School Resource Officers Association and Illinois Partners/Educating Voices, conducted its second annual statewide multi-disciplinary study on the impact of marijuana on the health and safety of Illinois residents. More than 100 of the state’s School Resource Officers answered survey questions and recorded a variety of case examples of drug-related incidents that occurred in their schools.

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At least 5 Florida middle school students taken to hospital after eating marijuana-laced gummy bears

 Janelle Griffith, U.S. News, November 29, 2018

A 12-year-old boy allegedly handed out gummy bears ingested with marijuana during the school’s gym class. He faces felony charges of one count of possession of THC or marijuana resin, six counts of distribution of THC within 1,000 feet of a school and possession of paraphernalia.

Marijuana ingested in an edible manner can have a stronger and more prolonged effect, especially in children under the age of 12, according to Children’s Hospital Colorado.

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'Something wasn’t clicking’: WSU study shows offspring of pregnant rats exposed to THC have impaired development

 Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, November 20, 2018

The offspring of lab rats that were exposed to marijuana smoke during pregnancy took longer to learn and comprehend tasks than rats whose mothers weren’t exposed to THC, researchers found.
At Washington State University, researchers placed pregnant rats in a small transparent chamber, and 60 times a day, for 2 minutes at a time, the moms-to-be got hit with a blast of vaporized cannabis extract.
Photographs show the white haze, sometimes shooting right at the nostrils of the curious animals, sometimes engulfing their tiny heads. The female rats began getting stoned during the week of their mating period, and then for the 21 days of gestation.

The results were another warning for mothers-to-be who like to light up. The offspring of the rats that ingested marijuana during pregnancy showed slowed development. Or, in layman’s terms, “It was like something wasn’t clicking with them,” explains Ryan McLaughlin, an assistant professor in WSU’s Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience.

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Parents Opposed to Pot, October 25, 2018

Chicago is the most corrupt city in the country and Illinois is a pay-to-play state. Billionaire JB Pritzker hopes to become the next governor of Illinois. When he talked to young voters at Northwestern University, he highlighted a plan to legalize marijuana. But do these students know the true dangers of the drug? Do they know that the marijuana industry is Big Tobacco 2?

Illinois has budget woes, but legalization of marijuana will bankrupt the state even more. The relatives of billionaire Pritzker invest in marijuana companies and donate nationwide to legalization campaigns. Their companies contribute to the politicians in California with its burgeoning marijuana industry. (See chart below from CALMatters.org.)

Imagine how the legalization of marijuana will add to the crime in crime-ridden as Chicago, while auto insurance rates rise 27% as they did in other states. In Washington State, marijuana figures strongly in the crimes the teens commit against each other. Amazingly, Pritzker said that marijuana is part of his crime-fighting plan. “We don’t need more studies on this. We need to act.”

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Driver’s marijuana, sedative use led to crash that killed 13 in Texas church bus, NTSB says

Claire Z. Cardona, Dallas News, October 17, 2018

A driver’s marijuana and prescription sedative use led to the head-on crash that killed 13 people on a church bus last year, the National Transportation Safety Board determined …

Toxicology test showed Jack Dillon Young had marijuana and clonazepam, a sedative used to treat seizure and panic disorders, in his system. Young also said he took twice the prescribed dosage before the March 29, 2017, crash, according to a summary of the NTSB report.

Young’s truck crossed into on U.S. Highway 83 … and slammed into the bus carrying members of First Baptist New Braunfels.

Unsmoked and partially smoked marijuana cigarettes, drug paraphernalia and prescription and over-the-counter medication were found in Young’s truck.

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It’s Legal. In Canada, Recreational Marijuana Gets Green Light

 Emily Sullivan, NPR, October 17, 2018

The sale of recreational marijuana begins in Canada following a law passed over the summer.

The law says anyone in Canada over the age of 18 is allowed to possess marijuana, provided it’s less than 30 grams – just over an ounce. Canadians can also grow up to four marijuana plants in their home and buy from a provincially regulated retailer.

Keeping the drug illegal in the years prior "has allowed criminals and organized crime to profit, while failing to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth," the government said in a news release last year. The Canadian Department of Justice says historically, the majority of police-reported drug offenses have involved marijuana.

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Teen Cannabis Use Tied to Lasting Cognitive Changes

Judy George, MedPage Today, October 3, 2018

EVI Editor Note: Canada legalized cannabis on October 18, 2018.

Cannabis use was tied to concurrent and lasting changes in adolescent cognitive functions, according to a study that tracked Canadian high school students.

“The question has been highly controversial, because of concern that legalization will place more cannabis in the hands of more juvenile users,” Moffitt told MedPage Today.

While adolescent use of cannabis and alcohol was tied to generally lower performance in all cognitive domains, “of particular concern was the finding that cannabis use was associated with lasting effects on a measure of inhibitory control, which is a risk factor for other addictive behaviors, and might explain why early onset cannabis use is a risk factor for other addictions,” said Patricia Conrod, PhD, of the University of Montreal CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center in a statement.

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Medical cannabis legalization and state-level prevalence of serious mental illness in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) 2008–2015

International Journal Review of Psychiatry, July 16, 2018

Lauren M. Dutra, William J. Parish, Camille K. Gourdet, Sarah A Wylie & Jenny L Wilie

A higher prevalence of serious mental illness is linked to the states having legalized marijuana. This is the first analysis of the relationship between medical cannabis legalization and mental health. The results of this analysis suggest that, at a population level, medical cannabis legalization is associated with a higher prevalence of serious mental illness, and cannabis use somewhat accounts for this association.

Similarly, research should continue to investigate the relationship between medical cannabis legalization and specific psychiatric disorders. Mental healthcare providers should continue to assess cannabis use among patients to understand its potential role in patients’ symptoms and treatment.

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FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy

US Food and Drug Administration — FDA News Release — June 25, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on June 25, 2018 approved a new drug, a derivative from marijuana, to treat patients with two forms of epilepsy. GW Pharmaceuticals developed Epidiolex, made from cannabidiol or CBD, a marijuana component that does not cause “highs.” The drug was shown to decrease by 40 percent the number of seizures in patients with Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.

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A Perplexing Marijuana Side Effect Relieved by Hot Showers

 Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times, April 5, 2018

By the time Thomas Hodorowski made the connection between his marijuana habit and the bouts of pain and vomiting that left him incapacitated every few weeks, he had been to the emergency room dozens of times, tried anti-nausea drugs, anti-anxiety
medications and antidepressants, endured an upper endoscopy procedure and two colonoscopies, seen a psychiatrist and had his appendix and gallbladder removed.

The only way to get relief for the nausea and pain was to take a hot shower.

He often stayed in the shower for hours at a time and could be in and out of the shower
for days.

When the hot water ran out, “the pain was unbearable, like somebody was wringing my
stomach our like a washcloth,” said the 28-year- old, …

It was nearly 10 years until a doctor finally convinced him the diagnosis was cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, a condition that causes cyclic vomiting in heavy marijuana users and can be cured by quitting marijuana.

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Study: Marijuana Smoke 3 Times Worse For You Than Tobacco Smoke

Alexa Lardieri, U.S. News and World Report, March 20, 2018

Exposure to marijuana smoke is three times more harmful than exposure to tobacco smoke, new research suggests.

Matthew Springer, a professor at University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, studied the effects of smoke on rats and found exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke makes it harder for arteries to expand and allow a healthy flow of blood.

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Pot shops face bans in most of Mass


Boston Globe, Dan Adams and Margeaux Sippell, March 17, 2018

Marijuana companies will be banned from a majority of cities and towns in Massachusetts when recreational sales begin this summer, a Globe review has found, the latest indication that there will be fewer pot stores in the early going than many consumers expected.

At least 189 of the state’s 351 municipalities have barred retail marijuana stores and, in most cases, cultivation facilities and other cannabis operations, too, according to local news reports, municipal records, and data collected by the office of Attorney General Maura Healey.

Fifty-nine of the local bans on marijuana businesses are indefinite. The remaining 130 are temporary moratoriums designed to buy local officials time to set up marijuana zoning rules. Many expire on July 1, and the rest are due to end later this year.

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Sessions reverses Obama-era policy on marijuana, unleashes prosecutor

Adam Shaw and Jake Gibson, Fox News, January 4, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back an Obama-era policy that allowed legal marijuana to thrive without federal intervention.

The move effectively unleashes federal prosecutors to consider bringing marijuana cases, while stopping short of ordering them to do so. “U.S. attorneys need to make decisions in these cases as they do in other drug cases,” a senior DOJ official told Fox News.

“I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana – so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful,” he told law enforcement officials in march. “Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”

In a letter to congressional leaders in May, he asked them to ditch language that prevents the DOJ from spending money preventing states from implementing their own laws on medical marijuana.

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Proof cannabis DOES lead teenagers to harder drugs: Study finds users are 26 times more likely to turn to other substances by the age of 21

Steve Doughty and Ben Spencer, Daily Mail, June 8, 2017

The study of the lives of more than 5,000 teenagers produced the first resounding evidence that cannabis is a gateway to cocaine, amphetamines, hallucinogens and heroin.

Teenagers who regularly smoke cannabis are 26 times more likely to turn to other drugs by the age of 21.

It also discovered that teenage cannabis smokers are 37 times more likely to be hooked on nicotine and three times more likely to be problem drinkers than non-users of the drug.

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Teens rescue girl from horrific crash that killed her pregnant mother

 Dana Rebik, WGN 9, July 6, 2017

A man, arrested for driving under the influence and possession of marijuana, hit a car killing a mother who was six months pregnant and leaving a 1-year-old daughter hanging out the front of the car with one arm hanging out and the other hand reaching back grabbing the baby seat.

The driver, Jacob Kaminski 23 from Marseilles, went on to hit a Toyota Camry carrying three people. They were not hurt.

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2 Kids Die In Hot Car After Mom Locked Them In As Punishment: Cops

 Inside Edition, June 25, 2017

A Texas mother of two was jailed after she left her kids in a hot car where they died while she went inside to smoke marijuana. Cynthia Randolph locked 1-year-old Cavanaugh Ramirez and 2-year-old Juliet Ramirez in a vehicle at as temperatures soared to the mid-nineties. Juliet was unable to escape the car with her brother.

According to police Randolph acknowledged that she left her children in the car intentionally. She found the kids playing in the car and, when the 2-year-old refused to get out, she shut the door to teach her a lesson in the belief that her daughter could get herself and her brother out of vehicle when ready.

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Weed pizza? Massachusetts dispensary offering THC - infused pies

 Fox News, June 9, 2017

Ermont Inc., a dispensary in Quincy, Mass., has created a new pizza sauce infused with 125 milligrams of THC and they’re using that sauce to top their homemade personal pizzas. The THC-content of the pizza is far too high for a single serving. The suggested dosage is 10 milligrams of THC every two hours, not 125 milligrams in the time it normally takes to consume a 6-inch personal pizza.

The pizzas are baked and frozen on-site in Ermont Inc.’s kitchen.

But, for dispensary visitors, these weed pizzas might be too good to be true. There are some downsides to the THC-infused snack, the biggest of which may be the high cost. The personal weed pizzas will cost $40, they cannot be delivered and in order to purchase one of these pizzas, a valid Department of Public Health-issued patient or caregiver card is necessary.

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Horror in New York’s Times Square as car rams into pedestrians killing one and injuring 22

 Anthony Bondpatrick Lion, Mirror, May 18, 2017

Driver ran into pedestrians in Times Square high on marijuana

A car rammed into pedestrians in New York City’s busy Times Square, with one person dead and 22 injured.

Richard Rojas, 26, of the Bronx, was named as the man who drove a maroon sedan at pedestrians, knocking them over near the intersection of 45th street and Broadway.

Rojas, who had two prior arrests for drunk driving, was reportedly high on marijuana after telling officers he had smoked the drug earlier today.

Witnesses said the vehicle drove against traffic and on to the sidewalk about noon after entering the district around 42nd street and driving north.

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Workplace drug testing finds cocaine, marijuana use at 12-year high

Quest Diagnostics, May 17, 2017

Employees increasingly are testing positive for marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines at work, driving the rates of positive drug tests in the United States to the highest level in 12 years.
Illinois' positive drug test rate matched the national average, though employees' drugs of choice vary widely in different parts of the state.

Cocaine is big in Chicago's south suburbs while opiates dominate at the southern end of Illinois, according to a local breakdown based on the first three digits of the ZIP codes. Heroin is concentrated around Rockford.

Marijuana, the most common drug for which workers test positive, has a steady presence throughout much of northern and central Illinois but leads to a particularly high positive rate in Sangamon County, home of the state capital.

Illinois has nearly double the national rate of positive heroin tests — 0.055 percent versus 0.028 percent — and the rate is even higher south of Chicago around Will and Kankakee counties. The rate of positive heroin tests is highest around Rockford, where it exceeds 0.12 percent.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions issues charging and sentencing policies for drug crimes.

 Note: A bill in the Illinois legislature would raise the amounts of all drugs constituting an offense while decreasing penalties for all drug offenses (HB3235).

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Delivers Remarks at Sergeants Benevolent Association of New York City Award Presentation
Department of Justice, Friday May 12, 2017

In 2015, more than 52,000 Americans died from a drug overdose. According to a report by the New England Journal of Medicine, the price of heroin is down, the availability is up and the purity is up. We intend to reverse that trend. So we are returning to the enforcement of the law as passed by Congress – plain and simple. If you are a drug trafficker, we will not look the other way. We will not be willfully blind to your conduct. We are talking about a kilogram of heroin – that is 10,000 doses, five kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. These are not low-level offenders. These are drug dealers. And you're going to prison.

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Scientists Expose Colorado’s Marijuana Problems

Letter to Governor John Hickenlooper, March, 2017

We are a group of scientists from Harvard University and other institutions acutely concerned about the impact of marijuana on youth, and among drivers, employees, parents, and other members of society.

The only representative sample of teens ever conducted in Colorado, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), shows that Colorado now leads the nation among 12 to 17-year-olds in (A) last-year marijuana use, (B) last-month marijuana use, and (C) the percentage of people who try marijuana for the first time during that period (“first use”).
Youth use has risen since statewide since the legalization of marijuana.

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Mysterious illness tied to marijuana use on the rise in states with legal weed

Jonathan Lapook, CBS News, December 28, 2016

There is a disturbing new illness resulting from heavy, long-term marijuana use that causes nausea and vomiting. Hot showers and baths are the only thing that seems to relieve the symptoms. It is cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS.

For more than two years, Lance Crowder was having severe abdominal pain and vomiting, and no local doctor could figure out why. Finally, an emergency room physician in Indianapolis had an idea.

“The first question he asked was if I was taking hot showers to find relief. When he asked me that question, I basically fell into tears because I knew he had an answer,” Crowder said.

Dr. Kennon Heard, an emergency room physician at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado co-authored a study showing that since 2009, when medical marijuana became widely available, emergency room visits diagnoses for CHS in two Colorado hospitals nearly doubled. In 2012, the state legalized recreational marijuana.

“It is certainly something that, before legalization, we almost never saw,” Heard said. “Now we are seeing it quite frequently.”

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Elephant tranquilizer carfentanil causes first death in Chicago area

Dina Bair, WGNTV.com, December 9, 2016

There is a new opioid, a fentanyl synthetic called carfentanil that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. A 35-year- old Lake Zurich man became one of its first victims.

Drug dealers are manufacturing their own version of a painkiller used by veterinarians to immobilize elephants. In people, it leads to instant death.

“It’s really like a ticking time bomb because it’s so potent. If someone thinks they are getting something else, like just straight street heroin for example, its being so much more potent, they’re likely to stop breathing and die,” Dr. Steven Aks, Stronger Hospital, Emergency Medicine and Toxicology.

In an effort to save lives naloxone has been made available by prescription. If administered immediately after an overdose of heroin, for example, it can completely reverse an overdose. But carfentanil may be too strong for naloxone.

“The problem with carfentanil is because it is so potent, we are not sure how effective it is going to be,” Aks said.

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Quotes and Facts

"The best policy to protect the public health is one that reduces, not increases, marijuana use. There are reasons why employers, including the U.S. government, prohibit marijuana use by employees in the workplace. There are reasons why marijuana emergency room admissions are reported at the rate of 1,250 a day and 455,000 a year and why highway crashes double for marijuana users. Crime rates in Denver have gone up 7% this year."
Peter Bensinger - Former Administrator, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration & Robert L. DuPont, M.D. - Former Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse