Tag Archives: Marijuana

New Discreet Cannabis Test Kit Helps Parents

Fighting the Good Fight Against Teen Drug Use

There’s no doubt that parents are the most powerful force in protecting and preparing children for the future.  But these days, that job has become exponentially more confusing with the legalization of marijuana in many states and the subsequent arrival of a much more allusive, potent and dangerous variety that’s already flooding across state boarders.  One thing has become clear: there’s no such thing as a harmless habit.

Marijuana is no stranger to most parents, but many are unaware of the way it’s being ingested these days and that it has 5x more THC than it did in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.  Recent studies have concluded that it can even cause a permanent lowering of I.Q. for adolescents, along with a host of other problems which decrease the chances of having and enjoying a prosperous future.

Ironically, this mounting evidence about pot’s adverse affects on teens comes at a time when public attitudes toward marijuana are relaxing at a phenomenal pace, and public information is being consistently and deceptively spun and politicized.

This misinformation, coupled with the difficulty in spotting or identifying pot in its new and dizzying array of forms are inspiring many concerned parents to broaden their perspective and learn more about educating their kids on the dangers, all while looking for tools to identify a problem that could be hiding in plain sight.

After all, today’s pot is being disguised in edibles like brownies, cookies and candies, along with vape pipes and a litany of other clandestine forms. And to make it worse, most are completely invisible to the eye and odorless.

Fortunately, the scientists at S2 Threat Technologies, a company outside of Denver, Colorado has just come out with a revolutionary new way to address the problem by going directly to the source.  Unlike urinalysis tests which can be invasive and put an unnecessary strain on the parent-child trust bond –  at a time when crucial – this test is discreet and can be performed without being noticed.

It can detect the presence of pot on or in just about anything in less than twenty seconds. One quick swab on the suspect material, compare it to a color card and the results are there.  It’s the only test of its kind and it’s pretty ground-breaking stuff.

MTK Cannabis Test Kit

The test is being sold under S2 Threat Detection’s new offshoot: Parents & Pot.  It’s the same test being used by law enforcement, the TSA and over 600 international airports, and it’s just become available to the consumer market.

Parents & Pot’s ambitious next focus will be to get their kits into every school across the country.  “In the years to come,” says Michael Callahan, President of S2 Threat Detection’s Parents and Pot “these kits could be as important as EpiPens in protecting our kids.”  A sobering commentary from a group of scientists at the forefront of threat and abuse detection.

But as great as these tests are, if you’re curious or concerned that your teen could be using pot, it’s probably best to first put your energy into creating a healthy relationship and encouraging non-judgmental conversations that allow your teen to be honest with you.  If that doesn’t dispel concerns, you now have the option of discreetly testing any suspicious items like those candies, baked items, waxes or vape pipes.

It’s truly a novel way to get to the root of a modern-day problem without causing unnecessary friction within the household. And a great new way to arm parents who are at the front lines, fighting the good fight.

You can get a Parents & Pot test kit or learn more at their website: www.ParentsandPot.com

New Online Course on Marijuana Use and Addiction

A Three Week Online Course:
The Problem of Recreational Drug Use and Addiction in America

Editors Note: The next offerings of the course are September  25 – October 15  and  November 6, 2017 – November 26, 2017.

by Paula D. Gordon, Ph.D., Gordon Drug Abuse Prevention, Washington, D.C. and Course Instructor for a new course on marijuana being offered beginning August 7, 2017, by Auburn University’s Office of Professional and Continuing Education

On August 7, a three-week online course will begin on the topic of “The Harmfulness of Marijuana Use and Public Policy Approaches Addressing the Challenges”. I will be teaching the course in asynchronous time which means that those taking the course can complete assignments each week when it is convenient for them to do so. It is not necessary to be online at specific times each week.

The course has been designed to help arm those who are working to stop the legalization of marijuana with the understanding and knowledge they need concerning the research findings regarding the harmfulness of marijuana and the impacts on marijuana use on society.

The course has also been designed to help expand the knowledge and understanding of those who are working to address the problem of recreational drug use and addiction in America so that they can be as successful as possible in their efforts. The course is also designed to help those in the position of public responsibility understand what policy and program options have been working and what options might be tried to achieve the hoped for outcome of diminishing the amount of recreational drug use in America.

The course, offered under the auspices of Auburn University’s Office of Professional and Continuing Education, will be repeated several times in 2017 and as many as four times in 2018.

Here are some additional particulars about the course:
Participants in the course will study material drawn from a wide range of freely accessible resources including among others, the instructor’s website, http://GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com , the PopPot.org website, the Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) website, and the website of the National Families for Action and their weekly mailer, The Marijuana Report.

Topics to be addressed include the following:

• The need to defend the brain while nurturing mental and physical well-being: The need to foster a mental and public health approach to addressing the challenges of drug use and addiction;

• An extraordinary look at the addiction cycle: A look at the lessons and insights that can be drawn from a videotaped exchange between Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Dalai Lama that took place in Dharamshala, on October 30, 2013, the morning of Day 3 of a series of workshop programs on addiction. See Dali Lama on Mind and Life, Craving, Desire and Addiction   . It is fascinating to note some of the similar take-aways that can be found in a twenty-minute video entitled “Ultra Potent Pot: Growing Risks and Impacts”. See Potent Pot video and

• Comprehensive coordinated strategies aimed at stopping the use of marijuana and other psychoactive and addictive substances in the US: Proposed comprehensive and coordinated public health-oriented strategies involving all sectors of society, including government, the justice system, and educational institutions.

The dates that the course is being offered in 2017 are as follows: August 7, 2017 – August 28, 2017; September 11, 2017 – October 1, 2017; and November 6, 2017 – November 26, 2017.

The course registration fee is $300. Participants will be eligible for 3 CEU credits. Registrants will want to check with their professional associations or accrediting institutions to ascertain the acceptability of these credits. To register, call 334-844-5100.

Information about the Course Instructor:

The Instructor for the course is Paula D. Gordon, Ph.D. Dr. Gordon has been involved in the drug abuse prevention and drug policy fields for many decades. She had a non-profit organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. That organization focused on addressing the drug problem particularly as it was affecting youth and young adults in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. At that time, she wrote a Guide to Ideas on Drug Abuse Policies and Programs. The Guide is still being distributed by the U.S. Education Resources Information Center. (A copy is accessible at http://GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com).

Dr. Gordon was a major contributor to a White Paper on the Drug Problem prepared for the Domestic Affairs Council Staff of the White House. That was at a time in the early ‘70s when there was no Federal coordinating effort overseeing drug abuse prevention programs and policies. She later served as a full-time consultant in the Office of the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, when NIMH was given initial responsibilities for overseeing drug prevention efforts, the recommendation that she had initially made to the White House Domestic Affairs Council staff. She served as the full-time staff person to the Federal Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinating Committee. She also played a role in initiating and shaping the legislation that gave rise to the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention (SAODAP) in the Executive Office of the President. SAODAP took the place of the Federal Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinating Committee. Later, SAODAP was replaced by the Office for National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

Her past experience in government has also included drug abuse prevention-related contracting and consulting roles with the Department of Justice. Owing to her efforts, a set of three Regional Conference on “Alternatives to Drugs” was held under the auspices of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. In addition, she was the major contributor to the “War on Drugs” policy paper in George H.W. Bush’s campaign for President.

A substantial website of her work can be found at http://GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com . Included among the articles, presentations, and reports is a 33-page list of references on the harmful effects of on marijuana.

Some of her work that is posted there includes the following:
• A Case for Protecting the Brain: Keeping the Federal Controlled Substances Act in Place and Providing Non-Punitive, Justice System-Based Public Health Options to Address the Use of Marijuana, Opiates, and Other Psychoactive and Mood-Altering Drugs in America. (October 14, 2016). A presentation given at the 2016 International Criminology Conference, in Washington, D.C.
• The Illegality of Legalizing Marijuana Use: An Open Plea to the President and All Other Sworn Federal, State, and Local Public Officials Concerning Marijuana Policies and Laws in the United States: What Part of “I swear to take Care that Laws be faithfully executed” or “I swear to support and defend the Constitution” Do You Not Understand? (August 4, 2014). An article published by Family Security Matters.
• The Harm Caused to Individuals and Society by the Use of Marijuana (December 29, 2009). An article also published by Family Security Matters
Articles that appeared in the Journal of Drug Education and Drug Forum, along with other presentation and reports are also posted at the website. A report on the passive inhalation of marijuana smoke is also posted there.

Dr. Gordon has developed and is offering this course on “The Harmfulness of Marijuana Use and Public Policy Approaches Addressing the Challenges” in an effort to help more fully inform policy makers and others in roles of public responsibility concerning the harmful effects of marijuana and the substantial negative impacts its use has on society. More fully informed policy makers, legislators, and others will then be far better prepared to develop and implement sound policies and programs with regard to drug abuse prevention help reverse current drug-taking trends.

Marijuana and Deadly Car Crashes

Marijuana use confessed by driver in Times Square incident

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. Rojas confessed to smoking marijuana laced with PCP just prior to the incident.

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.

 

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.