Category Archives: Marijuana Death

Marijuana and Deadly Car Crashes

Marijuana use confessed by driver in Times Square incident

Yesterday afternoon a man in Times Square drove his car for three blocks on the sidewalk killing one young adult and injuring 22 others. The driver was Richard Rojas, a Navy veteran who lived in the Bronx.

Richard Rojas-Times Square- Marijuana

When he was arrested there was suspicion of either DUI or DWI given his arrest history which is rather extensive. He was arrested just over a week ago for a menacing charge as well as criminal possession of a weapon which consisted of him pulling a holding a knife to the throat of a 45 year old man on May 11.

He was also arrested on 4/23/15 for DWI to which he pleaded guilty to “Operating Motor Vehicle While Impaired by Alcohol.” In 2012 he was arrested for suspicion of battery after he attacked a cab driver, refusing to pay the $44 fare. Rojas was also arrested 8/26/08 for another DWI in Queens.

In 2014 he was, “Other than honorably discharged” from the navy due to his actions.After the crash yesterday he was taken to check for drugs and alcohol in his system and it was reported that PCP, K2 (synthetic marijuana), and marijuana were all found in his system.

Out of the 22 people who were injured, four of those were labeled as “critical” one of those being the deceased’s younger sister.  Rojas has been charged with murder, 20 additional counts of attempted murder, along with aggravated vehicular homicide. See CNN article, New York Times Square Driver Charged.

Woman drives car into Las Vegas Strip

Unfortunately this scene is all too familiar as last year in Nevada a homeless woman drove her car into countless people on the strip while her three year old daughter was in the back seat. The suspect, Lakeisha Holloway, “went up and off these streets, two or possibly three times.

Lakeisha Holloway- Las Vegas Strip- Marijuana intoxication

The subject then allegedly drove off before being apprehended outside the Tuscany Casino. She left her child in the car, approached a valet and told him, ‘she ran over some individuals on Las Vegas Boulevard’.” She is accused of killing one person, 32 year old Jessica Valenzuela, and injuring an additional 37 people.

She picked up 71 different charges, most of them being for attempted murder and battery with a deadly weapon.  After a toxicology report was performed, it was determined that marijuana was in her system but prosecutors said it was unlikely that she would be charged with driving under the influence.

According to Prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo, “The amount of marijuana and marijuana metabolite does not appear to be enough to affect her mental state at the time of the crime, she intentionally drove into the crowd.”  The 3.5 nanogram per milliliter of marijuana in her blood were above the 2-nanogram limit in Nevada and the 23.6 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana metabolites in her system were above the 5-nanogram state limit.

Needless to say it is rather clear that this woman was seriously impaired and she should not have been driving. During an examination after her arrest it was also reported that, “she appeared to be under the influence of a stimulant.”

Driving stoned is never a good idea as these two stories suggest. It does not matter if you think you are able to drive, the drugs can always have a weird effect on your impulse control and decision making.

Neither of the two drivers were injured in the crashes which just reinforces that regardless of whether you are behind the wheel or not you should always be careful when you are out and about. Marijuana should not be used at all, especially now that we are seeing that its use can cause death. Our thoughts go out to the victims and their families.

Marijuana Drivers Deliberately Aim to Kill?

Above are just a couple of examples that have happened recently.

Another eerily similar incident in Oregon is featured in a recent blog on Poppot.org.  A man in Salem Oregon smoked pot and then deliberately mowed down a man in his car, killing him.  See the Poppot.org article, Legalization Prioritizes Profits Over Human Life.

Here is a story on Momsstrong.org which describes a marijuana impaired driver deliberately trying to run over a squirrel. Instead, he lost control of the car and killed his best friend. Read The Deadly Consequences of Marijuana Use.

 

Confessions of a former marijuana user

Page Johnson’s Testimony

When I was using medicinal grade marijuana from dispensaries, I defended the drug vigorously–even though I knew it was negatively impacting my quality of life. Though I could still function, and my productivity was not significantly impacted, my ability to fluidly process information and communicate slowed.

I developed rings under my eyes, my eyes were always dry, my heart frequently palpitated out of sync, and most importantly I showed signs of pre-psychosis such as mania (getting over-the-top hyped about various ideas), paranoia (I feared a home invasion and went crazy with security measures), and my mind was often saturated with morbid thoughts (which I fixated on and couldn’t shake for days at a time). What kind of thoughts? Dark thoughts that became so frequent that I actually begin to think I might be going crazy.

While this was happening I was on social media defending the drug against critics, sharing its many medicinal benefits, and downplaying its dangers by comparing it to alcohol and tobacco.

marijuana-testimonyI was rolling along in that state of dishonesty and hypocrisy when suddenly my cousin, a lifelong marijuana user, shot himself to death, leaving behind a beautiful family, a successful business, and a trail of pain and sorrow. I quit cold turkey when I learned that a psychologist had previously told him to stop using marijuana because it was causing psychosis.

After I quit, my health and outlook improved dramatically within days. I then began researching the relationship between marijuana and psychotic episodes and was astounded by what I found. I am now standing firmly against marijuana and doing everything I can to make people aware of its dangers. Thanks for reading. Feel free to share my story. It might save someone’s life.

Shared by Page Johnson

Marijuana Related Celebrity Deaths

George Michael and Carrie Fisher’s Deaths Have Marijuana in Common

Two recent untimely marijuana related celebrity deaths are a wake-up call about drug use. Both Carrie Fisher and George Michael were addicted to drugs, and both appear to have a problem with marijuana, in particular. Current scientific research is showing that marijuana is hazardous to the heart, and both of these famous people died of cardiac arrest.

The Carrie Fisher story began when her actress mother encouraged her to smoke pot at age 13. Carrie was an avid smoker for 6 years before moving on to cocaine and LSD. She ended up with full blown mental illness. Carrie suffered from bi-polar disorder, which is characterized by wild swings from mania to depression. The actress suspected her father was bi-polar as well.  She may have inherited his predisposition for the disorder. Yet heavy marijuana use, and use at young ages, increases the likelihood of triggering the disorder.

It is believed that Carrie Fisher was clean from drugs long before she died.  However, having used marijuana, followed by lots of cocaine, would have done considerable damage to anyone’s heart.

From the Washington Post article about her death, we read: “I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital,” Fisher said to Sawyer. “I used to think I was a drug addict, pure and simple — just someone who could not stop taking drugs willfully. And I was that. But it turns out that I am severely manic depressive.”

Marijuana and Bipolar Disorder

According to Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana does cause chemical imbalances, it overrides our naturally created feel good chemicals and suppress the body’s ability to produce them. A Psychiatry Journal study, Cannabis-Induced Bipolar Disorder with Psychotic Features, says clinicians agree that cannabis use can cause acute adverse mental effects that mimic psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Margaret Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister’s wife blamed marijuana for triggering her bipolar disorder.  She said that each episode of mania she experienced came after heavy marijuana use.

Lori Robinson, founder of MomsStrong.org, wants America to Wake Up to the Looming Health Crisis. Robinson and her husband, lost their oldest son to “marijuana withdrawal suicide.”  She works in the health field and is concerned that doctors are not making the connection between mental health problems and drug use. Neither are our parents and teenagers aware that marijuana use can lead to serious problems with brain health. However, a press conference warned about the risk more than 10 years ago. Unfortunately, the Press did not adequately report it.

George Michael struggled for years to overcome his addiction to marijuana. Just a year before his death, he went to one of the finest rehab centers in Europe.  All to no avail.

What we know from press reports about pop singer George Michael is that he was smoking up to 25 joints daily before he checked himself into rehab. He had several brushes with the law while under the influence. At one point he was forbidden to drive a car for 5 years. And yet, he declared that marijuana was not “getting in the way of my life in any way.” This is what is called ‘denial’ which is a common trait among drug users.

News reports of George Michael’s death say that in the end, he was struggling with addiction to heroin, and crack cocaine. Once again, the gateway theory that marijuana addiction leads to other drugs is confirmed in his tragic case.

It would be easy to write off these few bipolar celebrities as aberrations, but there is another singer, this one Irish, whose 30 year marijuana habit was widely reported. In this blog on a treatment center website it mentions at least one doctor gave her a bipolar diagnosis.

Marijuana and Heart Attacks

Check out the DrugAbuse.gov website, see the article on Marijuana. Here is the reference to heart attack, which both George Michael and Carrie Fisher died from:

“Increased heart rate. Marijuana raises heart rate for up to 3 hours after smoking. This effect may increase the chance of heart attack. Older people and those with heart problems may be at higher risk.”

Another celebrity, Whitney Houston died at age 48 of heart disease and drowning and was found to have both marijuana and cocaine in her system when she died.

These talented individuals suffered needlessly while they were alive and their talent was lost to the world too soon.

Marijuana-Related-Celebrity-Deaths
Heath Ledger is another celebrity whose death is attributed to drug use.

It makes you wonder. Why aren’t we learning from these high profile cautionary tales? Why is marijuana use rising and why are legal strictures loosening?  We bemoan the loss of these celebrities but we need to look deeper as to why they have departed so young.