| NEWS of the Day - January 13, 2012
|on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...
We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...
From Los Angeles Times
Mother's new little helper Adderall
Stressed-out women are turning to the ADHD drugs their children take.
by Katherine Ellison
January 13, 2012
All over the country in recent weeks, mothers of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder have been scrambling to fill prescriptions for their kids' stimulant medications, due to suddenly scarce supplies.
Drug firms blame the shortage on quotas of the psychoactive ingredients, set by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to control abuse. Some DEA officials counter that the drug firms have chosen to use their limited allotments to make more of the pricey, brand-name drugs, causing a dearth of the cheaper generics.
Manufacturing issues aside, however, the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests there may be another, more ironic reason for the stimulant shortages: namely, a dramatic increase in their use and abuse by women of childbearing age.
Over the last decade, the number of prescriptions written each year for generic and brand-name forms of Adderall, an amphetamine mix that has recently become the most popular ADHD remedy, has surged among women over 26, rising from a total of roughly 800,000 in 2002 to some 5.4 million in 2010. A particularly startling increase has been for women aged 26 to 39, for whom prescriptions soared by 750% in this time frame.
Though part of this rise can be accounted for by an increase in population, officials at the National Institute on Drug Abuse are concerned that it is widening the pipeline for diversion and abuse.
Many doctors recommend stimulants for children and adults who have symptoms of ADHD, including difficulty sustaining attention and maintaining self-control. Experts in the field say they help strengthen the parts of the brain involved in these functions by improving the utilization of dopamine, a key neurotransmitter.
Yet amphetamines and other stimulants can also be abused, especially when crushed and snorted, providing a "rush" that has been compared to that of cocaine. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists warns that even when taken as prescribed, the medications can be habit-forming, and also have possibly serious side effects, including seizures, paranoia, aggressive behavior and tics. In people with preexisting heart problems, there is an added danger of cardiac arrest.
The upside of the medications their ability to help those with attention-deficit disorders to focus has nonetheless led to a continuing increase in their use, and in drug company revenue. In 2010, manufacturers sold $7.42 billion worth of the drugs, up from $4.05 billion just two years earlier.
Many of these new prescriptions are warranted. When ADHD symptoms are severe, the disorder can be debilitating for children and adults. As stigma surrounding it has abated, it's not surprising that there has been an increase in adults, in particular, seeking treatment.
The danger comes when people without ADHD take the meds to boost their productivity, a trap experts say has of late become especially tempting for young mothers. Remember that "Desperate Housewives" episode in which actress Felicity Huffman tries her kids' Ritalin and finds it's the perfect "mother's little helper" as she races to finish making costumes for the school performance of "Little Red Riding Hood"?
"Much as kids are stressed by having to go through school and all their outside activities, their moms are right there with them," says Stephen Odom, a Newport Beach addiction specialist. "She's more tired than anyone, and coffee just doesn't do it."
Like the Huffman character, many women start out by sampling their children's meds a felony, by the way. Then they get prescriptions of their own, sometimes by faking ADHD symptoms, or find the pills by more underhanded means.
This was the case for Sunny Morrisette, a 28-year-old woman in Logan, Utah, arrested last month for trading cigarettes to neighborhood schoolchildren in return for their ADHD drugs. Morrisette allegedly told police that she was under a lot of stress and had heard "good things about Adderall and wanted to try it." She was charged with several felony drug offenses and with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
"There's a lot of denial around these drugs, and the danger is easy to minimize because that prescription label can make you feel what you're doing is safe," warns Brad Lamm, the president of a New York intervention agency.
The greatest rates of abuse continue to be found on college campuses, where students use the meds to study and party harder. Dee Owens, director of the Alcohol/Drug Information Center at Indiana University, says Adderall abuse has become "epidemic among young ladies" who are trying to keep their grades up and their weight down, and to drink more beer without falling asleep.
More worrisome, and in what the National Institute on Drug Abuse calls a "cause for alarm," abuse of prescription stimulants is also becoming more prevalent in high school. An institute survey of 45,000 students found abuse of stimulants had increased among high school seniors, from 6.6% to 8.2%, just in the last two years.
Full disclosure: I've been diagnosed with ADHD myself by three different experts and I've recently started to take Adderall on occasion, with some mixed feelings. The good part of this mix is a boost in my energy and mood, which makes sense, considering that back in the 1930s many doctors prescribed amphetamines to treat depression. Yet I worry about becoming dependent.
That's one reason why, knowing just how many of my busy fellow mothers are relying on amphetamines, I've asked experts for their advice about how to watch for signs of addiction.
Here's what they tell me: Make sure you take pills only under a doctor's supervision. Don't fall in the trap of boosting your dose. And get help right away if you catch yourself lying about your use or getting prescriptions from more than one doctor.
"Just like with any drug, if you can't stop, despite adverse consequences, you have an issue," says Dee Owens, who has worked in addiction prevention for more than 20 years. "I've talked to hundreds no thousands of people, and not a single person ever meant to become an addict. They just wake up one day and there they are."
Katherine Ellison is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and the author of five books, most recently "Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention." http://www.katherineellison.com
From Google News
Natalee Holloway Declared Legally Dead
by AP / Phillip Rawls
(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) An Alabama judge signed an order Thursday declaring Natalee Holloway dead, more than six years after the American teenager vanished on the Caribbean island of Aruba during a high school graduation trip.
Judge Alan King signed the order at the close of a hearing in a Birmingham courtroom that was attended by the missing woman's divorced parents, Dave and Beth Holloway. (See "From Aruba to Lima: The Case of Joran van der Sloot.")
Dave Holloway told the judge in September he believed his daughter had died and he wanted to stop payments on her medical insurance and use her $2,000 college fund to help her younger brother. Thursday's hearing was scheduled long before a suspect questioned in Holloway's disappearance, Dutchman Joran van der Sloot, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Peru to the 2010 murder of a woman in Lima.
Natalee Holloway disappeared in Aruba on May 30, 2005. The 18-year-old was last seen leaving a bar early that morning with van der Sloot. Her body was never found and the ensuing searches for the young woman garnered intense media scrutiny and worldwide attention.
King acted on a petition by the father to have the missing 18-year-old declared dead.
The teen's mother originally objected, but her lawyer, Charlie DeBardeleben, said she subsequently changed her mind once she understood her husband's intentions. (See "Search for Woman Missing in Aruba Echoes Natalee Holloway Case.")
Natalee Holloway's parents were divorced in 1993 and Beth Holloway sat in the back row of the courtroom, mostly staring at her hands in her lap during the hearing Thursday afternoon. She declined comment, but her attorney signaled it was a tough moment for her to see a judge sign an order declaring her daughter dead.
"She's ready to move on from this," DeBardeleben added.
Mark White, an attorney for Dave Holoway, told the judge just before he announced his decision, that there was no evidence that Holloway was alive.
"Despite all that no evidence has been found Natalee Holloway is alive," he told the judge, noting that exhaustive searches, blanket international media coverage and even the offer of rewards had turned up nothing new.
King had ruled in September that Dave Holloway had met the legal presumption of death for his daughter and it was up to someone to prove she didn't die on a high school graduation trip. He had set the hearing now to allow some months for anyone to come forward. (See "Joran van der Sloot's Slow Road to Justice.")
Dave Holloway said he had expected to hear the judge would declare his daughter dead because he had no doubt about that.
"We've been dealing with her death for the last six and a half years," he said.
He added that the judge's order closes one chapter in a long story, but added: "We've still got a long way to go to get justice.
Authorities have long worked from the assumption that the young woman was dead in Aruba, where the case was officially classified as a homicide investigation.
That investigation remains open, though there has been no recent activity, said Solicitor General Taco Stein, an official with the prosecutor's office on the Dutch Caribbean island.
"The team that was acting in that investigation still is functioning as a team and they get together whenever there is information or things are needed in the case or a new tip arrives," Stein said in a phone interview Thursday.
In Peru, Van der Sloot, 24, pleaded guilty this week to the murder of a 21-year-old woman he met at a Lima casino. Stephany Flores was killed five years to the day after Natalee Holloway, an 18-year-old from the wealthy Birmingham suburb of Mountain Brook, disappeared. (LIST: 25 Crimes of the Century)
Shortly after Flores' death on May 30, 2010, van der Sloot told police he killed the woman in Peru in a fit of rage after she discovered on his laptop his connection to the disappearance of Holloway. Police forensic experts disputed the claim.
Dave Holloway said he hopes van der Sloot, who is awaiting sentencing, gets a 30-year prison term sought by Peruvian prosecutors.
"Everybody knows his personality. I believe he is beyond rehabilitation," Holloway said.
Attorneys said both parents expressed hope that van der Sloot's next stop is Birmingham, where he faces federal charges accusing him of extorting $25,000 from Beth Holloway to reveal the location of her daughter's body. Prosecutors said the money was paid, but nothing was disclosed about the missing woman's whereabouts.
"I expect to see him in Birmingham," Dave Holloway said Thursday.
New Community Policing programs in place
by Monica Lamb-Yorski
Williams Lake safer communities co-ordinator Dave Dickson proudly told city council the community provided more than 2,500 volunteer hours for a variety of programs in 2011.
In restorative justice alone, the community clocked more than 1,000 hours on 47 cases.
It's a great program and a flagship for the province. We're relied on and referred to. We have eight fully-trained trainers that go around the province, he said.
Crimestoppers, also very successful this year, garnered 49 tips, mostly around grow-ops and criminal activity.
Last year, Dickson initiated Realty Watch, where he works with realtors in town to quickly relay e-mails.
It's a very quick tool, especially with missing children, because the realtors are in the community and are very community minded, Dickson explained, adding in addition, he's in the process of partnering with the Northern Realty Team, which will mean in excess of 200 real estate agents from communities between Prince Rupert along Highway 16 to Prince George and south to Williams Lake will participate.
In addition to the success of Operation Red Nose, Block Watch, Rural Crime Watch, Business Watch, and Mounted Citizens on Patrol have also made great strides.
They put in over 520 hours patrolling, Dickson said of the horse patrol. They're amazing. They are the ears and eyes for the detachment and will go where police cars shouldn't go.
Business Watch started up last year, partnering with businesses to share information on scams and scoundrels, and has 100 people on board now.
In the future, it's hoped that Speed Watch will be up and running again, and there have been meetings around violence awareness and prevention, to create tactics and strategies for next year.
From the Department of Homeland Security
Slogans, Earthquake Safety & the Central U.S. ShakeOut
by Craig Fugate, Administrator
"Duck and Cover." "Stop, Drop and Roll." "Shake, rattle and roll." There are a lot of slogans and catchphrases out there to help get our message across to the public about how to react in an emergency (OK, the last one I mentioned isn't really an emergency management one). I wanted to share an upcoming opportunity to focus on the catchphrase for what to do during an earthquake: "Drop. Cover. Hold on." Four weeks from today, on February 7 at 10:15 am central, millions of Americans will practice those very steps by participating in the annual Central U.S. ShakeOut.
This last year was an important reminder to all of us that earthquakes, like other disasters, can strike anytime, anywhere not just on the West Coast. They come with little to no warning and their effects, such as shaking, can often be felt hundreds of miles and many states away from their epicenters. In August, when the 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Louisa County in Virginia, shaking was felt as far south as Georgia and as far north as Quebec, Canada.
Last year, over 3 million people participated in the first-ever central U.S. shakeout drill, choosing to practice earthquake safety at their schools, homes, workplaces and countless other organizations. This year, we're looking for parents, businesses and institutions to take the lead and make earthquake preparedness even more front and center.
To date over one million people have registered for the ShakeOut across the central U.S. It's a good start but we know we can get more people and communities involved. So if you haven't already do your part. Sign up to shakeout and then check out Ready.gov\earthquakes to learn how you can better prepare your home, workplace or school for an earthquake.
And remember even if you don't live in the central U.S., the Shakeout isn't about only practicing earthquake safety on one day, once a year. Take a few minutes each month to check your home, office or school to make sure these environments are as safe as possible if an earthquake would strike. And if you're a parent or educator, review earthquake safety on a regular basis if your children, reminding them of the three simple steps of drop, cover and hold on.
For businesses, schools and organizations, check out resources for hosting a ShakeOut event
Follow the Central U.S. ShakeOut on Twitter and Facebook