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U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan addresses increased synthetic drug use at schools

From The Times Herald:

U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan hosted a forum Tuesday at the Upper Merion School District Administration Building about the rise in synthetic drug use in local area high schools.

Though some synthetic drugs are illegal in Pennsylvania, not all of them are, and many are not banned federally, making it easy to purchase the drugs in other states or online.

Barry Logan, National Director of Forensic Services at NMS Labs said synthetic marijuana and bath salts are constantly changing, making it extremely difficult to detect them and to create laws to stop their use and production.

He said a major problem with the drugs is the extreme symptoms they cause. He said synthetic marijuana causes panic attacks, paranoia seizures and convulsions that real marijuana doesn’t typically cause. He said bath salts are like ecstasy and amphetamine and sometimes cause hallucinations, delusions and seizures.

Logan said since the drugs are constantly changing, users really do not know what they are consuming and how much of it they are taking in.

Kathleen Houston, Division Director of Health Services at Gaudenzia, said a major problem with synthetic drugs is that when someone who has consumed them is taken to the hospital, most times the drugs are undetected.

Because of this, medical officials are “blind sighted” by the way some patients act, which could cause harm to those who are treating the person.

She said she is also concerned for law enforcement officials because people who are on synthetic drugs sometimes experience paranoia, which is heightened when they are stopped by a police officer.

“This is horrific stuff,” Houston said. “It’s like nothing we’ve seen in a very long time.”

Posted: 5/30/2012 9:30:00 AM

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Miami’s Memorial Day weekend cannibal crime: What you should know

From The Examiner:

Miami’s Memorial Day weekend cannibal crime should make every person who ever considered using a synthetic drug, like those sold at gas stations for example, reevaluate that thought very very very quickly.

Rudy Eugene, a 31-year-old black man was allegedly so messed up on a tanked up version of bath salts (referred to by some as bad LSD or a new form of it) that he got naked and violent in such a way that police had to put him down like you would a rabid dog. And it may eventually lead to the death of his victim, if he doesn't survive the vicious attack.

Fatal shots had to be fired to save the victim's life, and one would suspect even the officers if truth be told. And the worst thing is that the Miami-Dade County brutality that occurred this Memorial Day weekend isn't the only such incident there or elsewhere that has occurred recently.

In fact, the use of bath salts like "Ivory Wave" or "Vanilla Sky," which are sold in gas stations and other convenience stores, are playing a role in violent crimes and deaths around the country.

In Muncie, Indiana police believe synthetic stimulate use may have been a factor in the death of a motorcyclist going at excessive speed before crashing. Their follow-up investigation suggests that these synthetic stimulants being sold as "bath salts" or "plant food" may have contributed to that fatality, as well as one other.

In Columbus, Ohio there have already been two police shootings due to "bath salts," with one resulting in the death of the 28-year-old man who held a knife to his girlfriend's neck before police had to shoot him in order to save her.

"These drugs, even on first use, can dramatically change a person's perception of reality," said Paul H. Coleman, who happens to be the president of a facility which treats drug and alcohol dependency in the state. The salts, according to Coleman can "make a person feel everyone is out to get them."

Posted: 5/29/2012 2:42:00 PM

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Lead poisoning guidelines revised; more considered at risk

From USA Today:

Up to 365,000 more children across the USA will be considered at risk of lead poisoning under new guidelines released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In an important shift, the CDC cut in half the amount of lead that will lead to medical monitoring and other actions in children ages 1 to 5. It's the first time in more than 20 years that the CDC has revised its action level on lead poisoning.

Children can be exposed to lead from a variety of sources. While lead-based paint is the best-known source, a USA TODAY investigation last month revealed the danger posed by lead-contaminated soil around forgotten factory sites that spewed lead particles into neighborhoods for decades before closing in the 1960s or 1970s. Other sources of exposure include soil contaminated from years of leaded gasoline emissions.

Lead exposure is especially dangerous in children 6 years old and younger because their brains are developing. It can cause cognitive and behavioral problems, learning disabilities and at high levels seizures and even death.

The new levels are important not just for children in the USA but internationally, because many nations use CDC benchmarks as their own. "Last time, the World Health Organization picked up the CDC standards, and it became the global standard," Gottesfeld says.

Posted: 5/16/2012 3:30:00 PM

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