Category Archives: Drugs

The Seldom Mentioned Side Of Opioid Addiction

.jpg photo of woman in labor
Number of Opioid-Addicted Women Giving Birth Quadruples

Number of Opioid-Addicted Women
Giving Birth Quadruples

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

The number of pregnant women addicted to opioids as they give birth has more than quadrupled since 1999, a disturbing new report shows.

In 2014, for every 1,000 hospital deliveries, 6.5 were mothers who arrived at the hospital with opioid use disorder, up from 1.5 per 1,000 in 1999, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers found.

This increase is likely linked to America’s ongoing opioid epidemic, said study co-author Jean Ko, an epidemiologist with the CDC’s division of reproductive health.

“With the opioid overdose epidemic, it’s natural to see increases in opioid use disorder among the general population,” Ko said.  “Our data tell us that women presenting for labor and delivery are no different.

Opioid use during pregnancy has been tied to maternal death during delivery, stillbirth and preterm birth, the CDC researchers noted.

Even babies born healthy might have to go through opioid withdrawal, a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

Babies with NAS can experience tremors, convulsions, seizures, difficulty feeding, breathing problems, fever, diarrhea and trouble sleeping, according to the March of Dimes.

The CDC study used data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, focusing on 28 states with at least three years of data available for analysis.

Between 1999 and 2014, all 28 states saw significant increases in opioid-addicted pregnant women entering labor.

Vermont and West Virginia had the most cases of opioid-affected pregnancies in 2014.  Vermont had 48.6 cases for every 1,000 deliveries; West Virginia had 32.1 cases per 1,000.  On the low-end, Nebraska had 1.2 cases per 1,000 and the District of Columbia had 0.7 per 1,000.

The average annual rate increases were highest in Maine, New Mexico, Vermont and West Virginia.  Those states all had growth of more than 2.5 cases per 1,000 each year — six times higher than the national average of 0.4 cases per 1,000.

The states with the lowest increases were California and Hawaii, with fewer than 0.1 new cases per 1,000 each year.

The new information “is very alarming and is a call to arms regarding this national health crisis,” said Dr. Mitchell Kramer, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Huntington Hospital in Huntington, N.Y.

“We are well aware of the association of opioid exposure and abuse with adverse pregnancy outcomes including preterm labor and delivery, stillbirth, neonatal withdrawal syndrome and maternal mortality,” he said.

But Ko said concerns about babies with NAS should not dissuade pregnant women from taking medicines appropriately prescribed to treat chronic medical disorders, or from taking medications like methadone or buprenorphine that aid in addiction treatment.

The CDC recommends a number of strategies for countering this dangerous trend:

  • Making sure opioids are prescribed appropriately.
  • Strengthening state-level prescription drug monitoring programs.
  • Requiring substance abuse screening at the first prenatal visit, as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
  • Ensuring that pregnant women with opioid use disorder have access to addiction therapy, and that new opioid-addicted mothers receive postpartum care that includes mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Kramer pointed out that “the implications of this startling CDC data are that coordinated national, state and provider efforts are necessary to prevent, monitor and treat opioid use disorder among reproductive-aged and pregnant women.”

The report was published in the Aug. 10 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Neither Snow, Rain, Heat, Nor Trafficker

.jpg photo of postal worker and young girl he saved
Crystal Allen, 16, gave postal worker Ivan Crisostomo a warm hug when she saw him Thursday.

Postal worker rescues teen who managed
to escape hands of sex traffickers

SACRAMENTO, CA  –  A California teenager had the opportunity to reunite with her unlikely hero — the postal worker who saved her from sex trafficking.

Sixteen-year-old Crystal Allen gave postal worker Ivan Crisostomo a warm hug when she saw him Thursday, but the first time they met, Allen feared for her life.

Allen’s mother Stacy Ohman said her daughter met a “friend” who had lured her to Sacramento, where she found herself trapped in a world of drugs and sex trafficking.

“I was kidnapped, and held captive, and abused and stuff,” Allen said.

One day, she found the opportunity to escape.  Allen was inside her captors’ car in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood when she heard them discussing a crime.  She then jumped out of a car, grabbed one of their phones and ran for her life.

That’s when Crisostomo found her.

“I heard this crying when I came out of the vehicle, so I approached her and I asked her.  She was afraid, she didn’t want to talk,” he said.

Eventually, he convinced the terrified teen to call her mother.

“She was frantic.  I didn’t know what was going on,” Ohman said.  “I couldn’t even understand her she was so upset and that’s when I told her she had to reach out to someone for safety and she gave the phone to Ivan and he instantly kicked into gear and told me that he would save my daughter.”

Crisostomo let Allen sit in his postal truck until police arrived on scene.

“He stepped up where a lot of people would have just kept driving down the road. He made a huge positive impact in this young girl’s life,” said Deputy David Cuneo of Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

Crisostomo said he’s just happy Allen is safe.

“The way I see her, she has a wonderful future ahead.  She’s doing so well.  I’m happy. I’m really happy,” he said.

Lies And The Hypocrite’s Oath

.jpg photo of My Brother's Keeper Blog Logo
My Brother’s Keeper

Playing GOD While Killing Your Neighbor

I turned the knob and the door cracked open, suddenly the all too familiar smell was all around me, and on me.  As I finished opening the door, the smell of my 3rd son drew closer around me, holding to me tightly.

The next afternoon I turned the knob, and as I opened the door and held it, my Mother looked  into my eyes and nodded, then my Niece did also, as they proceeded into the big room, moving to the chairs I had marked with my eyes.

The table was filled with gamblers, all holding the winning hand, including the nurse at the far end of the table; she knew her part by heart, and in fact was certain of an academy award, until she looked into the eyes she knew so well….

These people had lied to me since the day before, and evidently thought we were dumb as dirt.  Never in my life had I ever imagined the day when the people I respected so much would instead prove to be as low as the most evil criminals.

I listened as each one at the table had their say, then, while slowly standing up, I looked from one, to the next in turn all around the table.  I explained the difference in  “no activity” with a swollen head, and a “brain stem test”, then I looked into each set of eyes, and said NO ONE WILL BE TURNING MY SON’S VENTILATOR OFF TODAY, NOR EVER.

My Brother called me 3 years ago, and told me to hurry.  When I got to the place, he met me at the door, and we went to the young Lady’s room.

Nurses were all standing around staring at the relative, as my Brother asked my opinion.  I said heroin????  NO WAY, maybe PCP, but you remember when I was in the hospital and went out of my head 2 different times????  He said that’s why I called you.

When I said, “considering how hard she fell when she was blind-sided, I would have to believe bone marrow was in her system and going to her brain, but apparently she didn’t break nothing”.  The nurses looked like I had slapped them.

These people failed to X-Ray this young Lady, missed a broken hip, then left the illicit drugs misdiagnosis on her record to cover their incompetence.  The sad part of this is that she had been in the hospital for nearly 3 full days.

My Little Brother was the victim of a poorly trained  employee at Insurance Market Place.  We got their attention by contacting Our Elected Officials.

However, while filing an appeal, I had to rush My Brother to the ER. Later he was diagnosed with pancreatitis, but sent home without a Doctor doing anything.

To say he was in agony, is like saying a blow torch is warm, because Our Circle on Google had told me so.  After over a month, we won his appeal, and he was checked into Parkland Hospital, where he stayed for 4 days then released.

All this time He has been losing weight, and still hurting badly almost all the time.

This week I went with him to his appointments, before Chemo, and for whatever reason, between our questions, it fell out of these people’s mouth that he hasn’t been getting any real treatment due to the drugs in his system.

I believe my Brother got their attention by telling them between Parkland Hospital and Insurance Market Place, they were responsible for him losing nearly 40 lbs and everything else, plus knowing the pain he was in, yet not prescribing him anything.

But now I don’t mind telling everyone that I got my Brother the medicine for pain.  I am unable to take anything like this and muscle relaxers, so I didn’t know….

I’m sorry Little Brother, and I have to admit this to all of you, I knew how he was hurting, and I knew his stress and depression first hand, yet I made him even more miserable because I kept thinking I was going to go wake him up one day and he wasn’t going to wake up.

SO, this is for all of you….

First, I checked if anything had turned up on the VA Hospital Drug Thefts, and oddly enough nothing has been posted since roughly the end of May.

BUT, I did come across some very interesting facts:

Doctors and Nurses are more likely than other occupations to form a substance addiction.

Studies suggest that Medical Professionals are more likely to misuse prescription drugs than their patients.

Substance Abuse is grossly unreported in medical community by an estimated 50% and most likely much higher.

*15% of all physicians and nurses will experience substance abuse issues, although this number could quiet possibly be as much as 50% higher

**20% of all physicians and nurses will experience substance abuse issues, although this number could quiet possibly be more than 50% higher

*   Results indicated serious engine filtering
** Adjusted engine results

Kentucky Officials Site Drug Use For Increase

.jpg photo of CASA Children's Advocacy Logo
Court Appointed Special Advocates For Children Logo

County sees rise in Child Abuse, Neglect cases

HARDIN COUNTY, KY  –  Hardin County has seen a recent increase in cases involving child abuse and neglect, with a significant amount of those cases related to substance abuse, officials say.

Family Court Judge Pamela Addington has presided over family court cases for more than 13 years.  She said from mid-June 2004, when was elected to the bench, to December 2004, she handled 423 neglect and abuse cases.  For the whole year in 2005, that number was 739.

In 2015, there were 810 cases and in 2016, there were 860.  This year, Addington and fellow Family Court Judge Brent Hall, who has been on the bench for 10 years, are on track to have more than 900 abuse and neglect cases combined, Hardin County Attorney Jennifer Oldham said.

From Jan. 1 through Aug. 14, Addington said she and Hall have had 759 child abuse and neglect cases.

In 2016, total family court filings reached 2,698 cases.  Addington said the total cases of what they have done this year already is more than 2,000 and “we’re just a little over halfway point.  We’re probably going to be really closely double.”

“We’ve had a significant amount of cases,” Addington said.

Hall said Hardin County’s numbers for Family Court filings have increased more than any other county in the state of Kentucky.

“Our numbers for family court filing have gone up.  We’re the highest in the state as far as increase,” he said, noting the state average for increase is about nine percent, while Hardin County is about 40 percent.  “It’s a huge increase in the case load.”

Assistant Hardin County Attorney Dawn Blair said she suspects a large contributor to the increase in family court filings is substance abuse.

“My gut is drugs,” she said, noting nearly 70 to 75 percent of all cases have substance abuse involved.

Oldham agreed.  She said officials are “finding at the heart of many of our cases is drug use, drug addiction.”

Hall said “you can’t parent well and be on drugs.”

“We’ve known it has been the majority of our cases for a lot of years,” Hall said.  “It’s sad.  Our case numbers are going up because, probably, our drug numbers are going up.  … It’s really disheartening to see our numbers go up like this.  It’s really disheartening to see the same faces over and over again.”

Ashely Purcell, a local foster parent, said since March 2016 she has had 13 different children in her home, with the stay ranging from 48 hours to much longer.

“The majority of children we’ve had in our home were because of addictions,” she said.  “I know from everything I’ve read, the drug addiction and opioids, meth all of it is just on a horrible rise and it is our children ultimately paying the price for it.  And whether they are born being exposed to it, drugs, or addicted or born in an environment around it, they are still victims of drug use because it affects them long-term.”

Blair said the impact of drugs on children is well documented.

“There are all kinds of studies on adverse childhood experiences. Those have all shown to have negative impact on kids in the long run,” Blair said.

With the rise in these cases, it also means there is a rise in the number of children who are entering the foster care system.

David Vice of CASA of the Heartland said although the number of children being removed from homes has gone up, on pace to exceed last year’s total, the number of social workers, CASA volunteers or attorneys representing those cases has not increased.

CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court and other settings.

At 18, children have the choice to leave the state’s care or recommit to the state.. If they choose to recommit, they have the option to stay in a foster home or live in a dorm or apartment. .If they recommit to the independent living program, they still have rules to follow, which includes maintaining enrollment in school or employment. .They are able to stay in the independent living program until they turn 21.

“A lot of kids will do that and go and those are the success stories we love to hear about,” Blair said.

Hall said of those who emancipate themselves with no permanent place­ment, within a year, about two-thirds will be dead, homeless or in jail.

One way to potentially help keep families together and possibly avoid those statistics is family drug court, Oldham said, noting no county in Kentucky has family drug court.  She said the ultimate goal is to “reunify families and get people clean.”

Oldham said local officials are looking into revenue options to start a family drug court in Hardin County. .According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, it “is a juvenile or family court docket of which selected abuse, neglect, and dependency cases are identified where parental substance abuse is a primary factor. .Judges, attorneys, child protection services, and treatment personnel unite with the goal of providing safe, nurturing, and permanent homes for children while simultaneously providing parents the necessary support and services to become drug and alcohol abstinent. .Family dependency treatment courts aid parents in regaining control of their lives and promote long-term stabilized recovery to enhance the possibility of family reunification within mandatory legal time frames.”

Oldham said she expects a family drug court to cost about $200,000 a year.

With this drug court, Oldham said “when children are in foster care because their parents are drug addicted,” they would have something “set up for actual treatment and actual monitoring through intensive drug screening and intensive management to get these families back together.”

“Right now, we have the concept, but need the money,” she said.

Blair agreed, saying family drug court would be “phenomenal,” in addition to more money for social services.

“The more barriers we can remove to help these families become self-efficient, the better off we’re all going to be,” Blair said.

Texas CPS: New Look, Actions Impressive

.jpg photo of men arrested for falsifying drug tests
Shawn William Franklin, 28, and Walter Allen Williams Jr., 29

CPS ‘suspends’ relationship with West Texas
Rehab after 2 arrested for falsifying drug tests

ABILENE, TX  –  Child Protective Services has suspended its relationship with West Texas Rehabilitation Center in Abilene in the wake of two former rehab center workers being arrested for falsifying drug tests in exchange for personal and sexual favors.

CPS has used West Texas Rehab to drug test parents as part of that office’s abuse and neglect investigations.

“As soon as CPS became aware of the allegations against these two West Texas Rehab employees, we immediately suspended our relationship with West Texas Rehab and stopped using their facility for drug-testing,” said Marissa Gonzales, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Gonzales said her agency has taken steps to “ensure that no children were placed in an unsafe situation as a result of incorrectly administered tests.”

“CPS has completed nearly 150 safety checks of children who may have had contact with a family member who took a drug test at this facility,” Gonzales said.  “We are confident no children were harmed.”

Asked if CPS had severed ties with West Texas Rehab, Gonzales said: “At this point, it’s accurate to say that CPS business dealings with West Texas Rehab are ‘suspended.'”

Arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in the case were two Abilene men – Shawn William Franklin, 28, and Walter Allen Williams Jr., 29.

On Wednesday, West Texas Rehab officials told KTXS that they learned of the allegations on Aug. 4 and immediately fired Franklin and Williams.

Gonzales said CPS learned of the investigation during the first week of August.

West Texas Rehab officials said they were “devastated by the news” and “felt betrayed.”  They also said this is the first time anything like this has happened in the center’s 64-year history and that they’re reevaluating hiring practices as a result.

They said they had no additional comments to make Thursday.

In July, CPS expressed concern to Abilene police about how some parents’ drug tests were being handled at West Texas Rehab.

During a police interview, Franklin admitted being friends with a woman who was working with CPS to get her children back.  Text messages between the two revealed the woman would send pictures – “sexual in nature” – to Franklin.  In return, Franklin would allow the woman to bring in someone else’s hair to send off for testing.

“Franklin would even look for ‘clean hair’ himself to be submitted on (the woman’s) behalf,” the documents indicate.

Franklin told police he advised the woman to use shampoo and vinegar on her hair to help with her test results.  When the woman tested, Franklin said he smelled the vinegar in her hair but still accepted the sample knowing it had been altered.

According to the detective, Franklin and Williams admitted allowing friends to bring in clean urine samples rather than urinate on site. Williams also said he knew some of the samples were “synthetic urine.”

In addition, Williams admitted to accepting a hair follicle from a woman who told him she would be bringing in “someone else’s hair,” the documents indicate.  Williams said he knew she needed a clean drug test for CPS, and during May, he accepted false hair from the woman in exchange for oral sex.