Whitney Houston’s Death: Hallmarks of a Battle Against Addiction and Overdose

By Maia Szalavitz

Whitney Houston Battle of AddictionPop legend Whitney Houston was apparently found unresponsive in her bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, with bottles of prescription sedatives in her room. The cause of the singer’s death at age 48 has not been confirmed as an overdose — and the results of a toxicology report may not be available for weeks — but it bears many of the hallmarks of such a death.

Like most overdose victims, Houston had a long history of addiction. Her ongoing and distressingly intense battle with cocaine had received extensive media coverage. She had tried rehab at least three times; her latest stay was in May. Like her, the majority of overdose victims have typically attempted rehab previously.

Victims of unintentional overdose also or show clear signs of drug misuse before or at the time of their death. In a 2008 study in West Virginia — a state with a high rate of overdoses — researchers found signs of drug misuse, including shooting drugs intended to be taken orally or drinking alcohol while taking depressant drugs like Xanax, in 95% of the deaths.

Full story at Time

Key Democrats backing Christie’s ‘second-chance’ laws

By Bob Jordan

Chris Christie Second Chance LawsTRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie, in his State of the State address last week, called for “second-chance” laws, giving substance abusers an opportunity for treatment ahead of jail time. The Republican governor received support from key Democratic lawmakers Monday.

Sens. Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, and Sandra Bolden Cunningham, D-Hudson, announced a package of bills they’re sponsoring to reform segments of the state’s criminal justice system and provide for rehabilitation of offenders.

One of the bills (S-881) amends the existing statute to give judges and prosecutors additional discretion to admit certain offenders into a “drug court” program to emphasize substance abuse treatment over incarceration.

Full story at My Central Jersey

Art, awareness and prevention keep teens above the influence

By Charlotte Tallman

Unified PreventionThe Unified Prevention! (UP!) Coalition for a Drug-Free Do a Ana County is bringing art, awareness and prevention together through the Above the Influence (ATI) Art Project-a project asking teens to create their own visual expressions of the Above the Influence symbol.

Parents, organizations and schools are encouraged to include the ATI Art Project as an activity for teens, bringing both awareness to ATI and substance abuse prevention. Once teens submit their own unique ATI symbol, entries will be reviewed by an independent panel of judges from UP!. Top selections will be picked based on originality, art content and design, inspirational content and media potential. Entries should not have profanity, corporate logos or name brands or symbols of violence including guns, gang signs or symbols. Student’s name, grade, participating school/organization, mailing address, email and phone number must be placed on the back of the artwork, which will not be visible at any point during the judging. Pre- and post-activity surveys must accompany each entry as well as a signed copy of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) “Permission to Use” form. The ATI Art Project Toolkit can be found at www.unifiedprevention.com.

Full story at Las Cruces Sun News

Safe drug use, college experimentation and Krystle Cole

By Greg Gonzales

Krystle Cole Drug ExperimentationKrystle Cole has tried more psychedelic drugs than all of the Beatles combined, personally knew the operators of the biggest LSDlaboratory in history and lived through some of the most profound and darkest experiences a human being can have, such as run-ins with the law and bad trips. A native of Kansas and former Tucson dweller, Cole is a pursuing a master’s degree in psychology from Capella University. Through her experience, she became an expert in psychedelics and safe drug use, penned a book called “Lysergic” and founded Neurosoup.com, a website that focuses on trying to educate people on responsible drug use.

Daily Wildcat: Could you tell me a little about your education? You dropped out of high school at 15?

Cole: It just wasn’t working out for me, so I went for the first semester of high school, and that was it. So after that, I went to college and I got my associate’s degree by the time I was 18. And then I kind of started making some bad decisions … big decisions that greatly impacted my life.

Full story at Daily Wildcat

Study into cannabis withdrawal drug

Health Canal

NCPICIn a world-first, researchers from the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC), based at UNSW, are leading a study to determine whether the pharmaceutical drug Sativex can help people better manage cannabis withdrawal symptoms as a platform for ongoing abstinence.

It is estimated that there are at least 200,000 people dependent on cannabis in Australia, with one in ten people who try the drug at least once in their lifetime having problems ceasing use.

“One of the major barriers for regular cannabis users when they try to quit is withdrawal,” said NCPIC director Professor Jan Copeland. “Withdrawal symptoms may include sleep difficulties, cravings and mood swings and although these are not life threatening, they are significant enough to cause marked distress and lead people to go back to using the drug.”

“There is currently no targeted drug available to assist with cannabis withdrawal. Tobacco smokers have nicotine replacement therapies to assist them when they stop cigarette smoking and opiate users have synthetic opioids like methadone. This study will investigate whether a pharmaceutical preparation of botanical cannabis known as Sativex has the potential to help cannabis users in a similar way.”

Full story at HealthCanal