Drug Testing: How Urine Samples Flip Into Massive Enterprise

How much money do unscrupulous treatment providers make off urine testing?

How much money do unscrupulous treatment providers make off urine testing?

Who knew that substance abuse would create a hot, new commodity for the American market? No, it’s not a new drug. The latest money-maker in addiction treatment circles is “liquid gold.”

With outlandish markups and more than a few fraudulent practices in play, urine drug testing has become quite the profitable business.

Analyzing a urine sample for drugs sounds like it should be a fairly simple, inexpensive process. With today’s technology, you can get a $ 20 kit at the pharmacy and find out if your teen smoked weed last night. Some tests are even cheaper. Why, then, if consumers can get a urine test for less than the cost of lunch, are some labs charging upwards of $ 4,000 per test?

Because they can.

These “entrepreneurs” have found a way to make a buck (or a lot of bucks) off addiction and recovery, and they’re milking it for every possible cent.

Insurance, Fees and Double-Dipping

Insurance companies have begun to cut reimbursement rates in an attempt to moderate skyrocketing billing practices for drug testing. However, lab equipment sales reps report dozens of new facilities are popping up each month. It appears as the demand for urine drug screens grow, so do the number of unscrupulous people looking to turn a profit.

The profiteers in this business include lab owners, rehab facilities and healthcare providers. On the lab side, the site could charge as much as 25 times the government reimbursement rate for urine screens. Of course, private insurers may reimburse at higher rates, and when these carriers are willing to pay out, the cost continues to climb. Any cost not covered is then passed along to the patient. One father was shocked to receive a bill for $ 260,000 to cover dozens of drug tests performed by his son’s clinic and sober home.

It turns out, both the sober living home and clinic were sending samples to the same lab. Couldn’t these two entities share the results from one test? The bill also included charges for “confirmation” tests, which involve re-testing the urine with an additional machine to verify the absence of drugs in the sample. Was this really necessary? Often, these secondary tests look for drugs never used by the patient. At what point are labs performing analyses just for the sake of financial gain and not helping the patient?

Healthcare providers have also gotten in on this lucrative action. Keep in mind, for every test that’s ordered, a doctor must sign off on it. Some physicians bring in between $ 3,000 and $ 8,000 a month from the drug tests performed at just one clinic or sober home – and they often work with multiple facilities.

Rationalizations or Recovery?

Of course, these drug tests are more complex than the at-home kit from Walgreens. They’re more sensitive and can detect a wider variety of substances at smaller amounts. Still, something seems shady about the immense profit margin for these tests. At current rates, a single urine drug screen can cost more than a day of therapy. This structure seems broken. It raises the questions:

  • Are resources going where they will truly help people in recovery?
  • If we look at recovery solely as “big business,” how can we possibly focus on the treatment patients need?
  • Are we trying to help the millions struggling with substance abuse in this country, or do we simply want to cash in on their pain?

Additional Reading:   Medicare Forking Out Millions to Drug Test Seniors

Image Source: iStock

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Albuquerque, N.M. Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession

Albuquerque Turns into the Second Metropolis in New Mexico to Take away Felony Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Albuquerque, NM – Right now, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller signed into legislation an ordinance eradicating felony sanctions pertaining to possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia from the town’s municipal codes. The brand new metropolis ordinance makes one ounce or much less of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia a civil infraction with a high quality of $ 25. A civil infraction will not be thought-about a felony conviction. The ordinance additionally takes away the potential for jail time. At the moment, an individual can spend greater than two weeks in jail for a primary offense and 90 days for a subsequent offense. Albuquerque turns into the second metropolis in New Mexico to take away felony penalties for possessing small quantity of marijuana.  Santa Fe decriminalized small quantities of marijuana in 2014. In 2015, former Councilor Garduño and Councilor Benton sponsored an identical measure that handed the council 5-Four on a celebration line vote. Nonetheless, it was vetoed by Mayor Berry.

“Albuquerque is sending a powerful message that we shouldn’t be arresting individuals for possessing small quantities of marijuana for private use,” acknowledged Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico state director of the Drug Coverage Alliance.  “I’m very assured that decriminalizing marijuana possession in Albuquerque will take us one step nearer to reforming marijuana legal guidelines at a state stage.  As we work in the direction of making possession of marijuana for private use authorized in a taxed and controlled system in New Mexico, no person needs to be going for jail for what’s authorized for adults only a few hundred miles north in Colorado.”

Albuquerque residents voiced their help on the poll field for decriminalizing marijuana. In November on 2014, voters in Santa Fe County and Bernalillo County voiced overwhelming help for marijuana decriminalization – Bernalillo County voted 60 % and Santa Fe County voted 73 % in favor of statewide decriminalization. Greater than 50 % of Albuquerque voters in all 9 metropolis council districts voted in favor of decriminalizing small quantities of marijuana at a state stage.

“It’s time that cities resist Jeff Periods’ conflict on marijuana and stand as much as the Trump administration,” acknowledged Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico state director of the Drug Coverage Alliance. “Cities know greatest the contours of their very own issues – and are subsequently greatest positioned to craft significant options to these issues. Can we need to be the sort of society that arrests and jails adults – who’re disproportionately individuals of shade and low-income – for possessing a substance that’s unequivocally been proven to be far much less harmful than alcohol or tobacco?”

Multiple-third of the U.S. inhabitants – reside in jurisdictions the place marijuana has been basically decriminalized, which means there isn’t any jail time related to possession.

The Drug Coverage Alliance (DPA) is the nation’s main group of people that consider the conflict on medicine is doing extra hurt than good. DPA fights for drug insurance policies primarily based on science, compassion, well being and human rights.

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First-Ever Lifelike Drug Training Curriculum Piloted in New York Metropolis Excessive College

(New York, NY) — Bard Excessive College Early School Manhattan (BHSEC) is thought for its progressive curriculum. Now, they’re taking a leap the place no highschool has gone earlier than on the subject of drug training for his or her ninth grade well being college students. This month BHSEC turned the primary highschool within the nation to pilot the Security First: Actual Drug Training for Teenagers curriculum developed by the nonprofit Drug Coverage Alliance (DPA) designed as an alternative choice to abstinence-only messages, equivalent to D.A.R.E.. The 14-unit course emphasizes important pondering and wholesome decision-making, on the subject of youngsters and medicines.

“We designed this curriculum utilizing the same philosophy to fashionable intercourse training,” says Sasha Simon, DPA’s Security First Program Supervisor. “Elementary to our strategy is hurt discount, which acknowledges that as a lot as we wish for younger individuals to not use medication, we all know that a few of them will. We wish to give younger individuals correct data and concrete methods to maintain them secure.”

D.A.R.E. and different abstinence-only drug education schemes have long-proven to be ineffective.  Because the article Why “Simply Say No” Does not Work from Scientific American notes: “Merely telling members to ‘simply say no’ to medication is unlikely to provide lasting results as a result of many could lack the wanted interpersonal abilities. Applications led solely by adults, with little or no involvement of scholars as peer leaders appear comparatively unsuccessful.” Applications equivalent to D.A.R.E. deliver an out of doors teacher into the classroom, whereas the Security First curriculum was developed for well being lecturers and designed for college kids to develop sturdy analysis, communication and hurt discount abilities with their friends, “the very individuals who have the best affect on their selections round drug use,” says Simon.

The brand new Security First curriculum will assist college students: 1) Use important pondering abilities to entry and consider details about alcohol and different medication; 2) Study decision-making and goal-setting abilities to assist them make wholesome selections associated to substance use; three) Develop private and social methods to handle the dangers, advantages and harms of alcohol and different drug use; four) Perceive the affect of drug insurance policies on private and group well being; and 5) Discover ways to advocate for health-oriented drug insurance policies. The curriculum accommodates 14 classes and aligns with Nationwide Well being Training Requirements (NHES).

Each ninth grader at present enrolled in well being at BHSEC (near 90 college students in complete) will take this course as a part of their adolescent well being curriculum mandated by New York state. This pilot program began on March 5 and can finish on March 29.  BHSEC was chosen for the pilot partially due to its highschool pupil physique range (racial, gender and economical), which mirrors nationwide statistics.

“Our purpose is to check this curriculum in a number of college populations in order that we are able to proceed to refine it and ultimately make it accessible on a nationwide stage,” says Simon. “I’m personally observing these teachings within the classroom and am blown away by the considerate questions the scholars are asking. They’re hungry for details about medication, and we’re giving them instruments to make wholesome and accountable selections.”

The brand new curriculum is being rigorously evaluated to find out whether or not it has a right away impact on the ideas, emotions, attitudes and behaviors of freshman in relationship to substance use; and to check the surveys and interview guides to find out that they’re legitimate measurements of curriculum success.  Evaluators working by way of the Analysis Basis of CUNY will likely be delivering their findings this summer time, which is able to affect a brand new model of the curriculum to be launched within the fall of 2018.

The Security First: Actual Drug Training for Teenagers curriculum is the fruits of just about 20 years of labor in youth drug points spearheaded by the director of DPA’s San Francisco workplace, Dr. Marsha Rosenbaum. As a mom and an expert drug researcher, Dr. Rosenbaum wrote Security First: A Actuality-Based mostly Strategy to Teenagers, Medicine, and Drug Training to assist different dad and mom handle the problem of what to do if their little one decides to attempt alcohol or different medication, despite their recommendation to stay abstinent. This booklet, grounded within the idea of hurt discount and sincere, science-based drug training, turned the muse for DPA’s Security First: Actual Drug Training for Teenagers curriculum.

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Thursday at Midday: Public Well being Consultants Maintain Rally and Press Convention at NY Metropolis Corridor in Help of Supervised Consumption Companies

On Thursday, April 12th at midday, Housing Works, VOCAL, Hurt Discount Coalition, Drug Coverage Alliance, BOOM! Well being, the New York Academy of Medication, SIFNYC, and different teams will proceed to publicly educate Mayor de Blasio on the robust proof behind supervised consumption websites (SCS) as a public well being intervention that saves lives.

Thursday’s motion comes on the heels of a strong rally final week made up of 100 hurt discount advocates, immediately affected folks, housing activists, medical professionals, and remedy suppliers at Metropolis Corridor that demanded the Mayor takes a place on the lifesaving intervention of SCS past that they’re “complicated.” The rally, which included civil disobedience, led to a dozen protesters being dragged out of Metropolis Corridor as they protested Mayor Invoice de Blasio’s inaction on supervised injection amenities. The sit-in on the steps of Metropolis Corridor compelled the mayor to make use of a side-entrance to the constructing when he arrived.

Advocates are deeply disheartened that the Mayor and First Girl have failed to say, even as soon as, the that SCS saves lives, regardless of Well being Commissioner Bassett stating that the “public well being literature is obvious.”  The Mayor has mentioned he’s going to launch the examine this month. Nonetheless, advocates are involved that the Mayor has both not been briefed on the huge public literature on SCS, or he’s selecting to not take a place due to politics. Advocates will demand he take a place on this situation to stop extra deaths after 1000’s have already handed away.

What: Public Well being Consultants Say YES to SCS Rally
The place: Steps of Metropolis Corridor
When: April 12, 2018 at 12 pm

“In a second when New York State’s overdose disaster continues to grow–with overdose deaths killing extra New Yorkers than visitors accidents, homicides, and suicide combined–we want daring considering and motion,” mentioned Kassandra Frederique, New York State director of the Drug Coverage Alliance. “If we need to save lives, cut back criminalization, and finish racial disparities, we want complete, modern, and forward-thinking approaches like safer consumption areas. New York is in a singular place to step up and implement modern drug insurance policies rooted in science, compassion, and public well being as we did with syringe exchanges earlier than. It’s the time for New York’s elected officers to cleared the path in implementing drug insurance policies that may succeed.”

“For too lengthy, we’ve got watched our fellow New Yorkers die of overdose whereas the Mayor and First Girl bat round phrases like ‘sophisticated,’ ‘complicated,’ and ‘quickly,'” mentioned Robert Suarez, Group Chief at VOCAL-NY. Safer Consumption Areas have been confirmed to avoid wasting lives and join folks to care, and within the over 30 years that they’ve existed, nobody has ever died of an opioid overdose in a single. The Mayor must cease stalling and are available out in help of SCS now earlier than extra lives are misplaced.”

Particulars:

Each seven hours, somebody dies of a drug overdose in New York Metropolis.

Practically 100 safer consumption areas exist all over the world. They’ve been rigorously evaluated and proven to steeply cut back overdose deaths, HIV and viral hepatitis infections, and public dysfunction, and to extend entry to drug remedy and different healthcare. Thousands and thousands of injections having taken place at a few of them, but not one overdose dying has been documented in these amenities.

Momentum for safer consumption areas is constructing throughout the nation, with officers in Philadelphia asserting their plan to create Complete Person Engagement Websites (CUES), successfully safer consumption areas, at a press convention on January 23, 2018. Final yr, San Francisco’s metropolis well being officers mentioned they may doubtlessly open secure injection websites inside Eight-12 months. Kings County in Washington State has been accepted to open an SCS. Maryland, Vermont, California, Maine and Massachusetts have all launched laws to approve the websites. Past educational analysis, a rising physique of editorial boards and opinion items have highlighted the necessity: New York Occasions, Washington Put up, USA At present, US Information, Huffington Put up, Baltimore Solar, Seattle Occasions, Bloomberg Information, LA Occasions, The Nation, and the Boston Globe.

The American Medical Affiliation (AMA) voted to help the event of pilot safer consumption areas. The New York Academy of Medication and Massachusetts Medical Society additionally each publicly help safer consumption areas, and the Journal of the American Medical Affiliation revealed a assessment of analysis supporting safer consumption areas. In April 2017, greater than 100 New York Metropolis healthcare professionals signed an open letter in help of safer consumption areas, urging elected representatives to undertake them as a public well being intervention to stop overdose deaths.

Regardless of elevated spending on remedy, in New York State deaths from drug overdoses elevated 71 p.c between 2010 and 2015. From 2013 to 2015, 7,213 New Yorkers throughout the state died of overdose. New York Metropolis noticed greater than 1,300 overdose deaths in 2016 alhttp://sifnyc.org/one–a 46 p.c enhance from 2015 and the sixth straight yr of elevated overdose fee.

For extra background on the marketing campaign for supervised injection amenities, go to www.SIFNYC.org

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Albuquerque New Mexico to Finish the Metropolis’s Asset Forfeiture Program

SANTA FE, NM— On Friday, as reported by the Abq Report, a spokesperson from Albuquerque Metropolis Mayor Tim Keller’s Administration introduced the Metropolis can be ending their asset forfeiture program, which means that police will now not be allowed to grab property except there’s a legal conviction.  This choice brings the Metropolis in compliance with New Mexico state legislation and comes on the heels of a call by a US District Court docket Decide James Browning that stated that “the town’s ordinance violated federal due course of protections and the 2015 state legislation which stated authorities’s cannot seize an individual’s property except there’s a legal conviction within the case.”

“Ridding our state of unconstitutional municipal civil asset forfeiture packages is only one extra essential step in direction of repairing a few of the harm the drug conflict has inflicted upon our society and system of justice,” stated Emily Kaltenbach, State Director for the Drug Coverage Alliance’s New Mexico workplace.  “Mayor Keller is main on this difficulty and setting the proper instance for different municipalities throughout the state.”

In 2015, Governor Susana Martinez signed Home Invoice 560 into legislation, ending the observe of civil asset forfeiture in New Mexico. Civil asset forfeiture, also referred to as “policing for revenue,” permits legislation enforcement officers to grab private property with out ever charging—a lot much less convicting—an individual with against the law. Property seized by this course of usually finds its method into the division’s personal coffers. HB 560 handed unanimously within the legislature, changing civil asset forfeiture with legal forfeiture, which requires a conviction of an individual as a prerequisite to dropping property tied to against the law. New Mexico has the strongest protections towards wrongful asset seizures within the nation.

Nevertheless, after the 2015 state legislation went into impact, many dwelling rule cities with their very own asset forfeiture packages, like Albuquerque, refused to observe state legislation.  They continued to grab property, primarily car from DWI suspects, no matter whether or not the particular person was responsible or owned the automobile.  DWI suspects normally don’t drive their very own vehicles and harmless homeowners are those that get their vehicles seized and forfeited.

Previous to this choice, the Albuquerque program car seizure program made no distinction between a suspected particular person below the affect and an harmless third get together.  The system imposes steep prices on harmless residents who must pay for the privilege of a listening to to show that the property is theirs along with typically paying every day parking charges that may add as much as 1000’s of . In April 2015, the Albuquerque Journal reported “the town scheduled 14 hearings in a single week for homeowners whose automobiles had been just lately seized below the ordinance. Of these circumstances, 10 homeowners weren’t driving the automobile on the time it was seized. In a few of these circumstances, the homeowners stated the automobiles had been stolen or taken by a relative with out permission, in accordance with metropolis paperwork.”

 “Like different drug conflict packages, civil asset forfeiture is disproportionately used towards poor folks of colour who can’t afford to rent attorneys to get their property again,” said Emily Kaltenbach, State Director for the Drug Coverage Alliance’s New Mexico Workplace.

Though there’s rising momentum behind reforming civil asset forfeiture legal guidelines in state homes and metropolis halls throughout the nation, reforms have stalled at a federal stage. In 2015, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) within the Senate and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) within the Home launched the Fifth Modification Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act. The FAIR Act eliminates policing for revenue and will increase the federal authorities’s burden of proof in civil forfeiture proceedings. Sadly, this bipartisan effort has been placed on the again burner through the Trump Administration with Legal professional Common Session’s releasing a directive increasing the Federal authorities’s use of asset forfeiture.

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Thursday: Metropolis-Huge Coalition to Collect on the Steps of Metropolis Corridor in Response to Mayor de Blasio’s Silence on Safer Consumption Areas as a Life Saving Intervention

New York, NY: Housing service suppliers, medical professionals, remedy suppliers, and Metropolis Council Members will be part of hurt discount activists at Metropolis Corridor to demand the Mayor takes a place on the lifesaving intervention of SCS past that they’re “advanced.” Audio system will illustrate the various intersections of the overdose disaster and the pressing must implement SCS all through New York Metropolis.

Advocates are deeply disheartened that the Mayor and First Girl have failed to say, even as soon as, the that SCS saves lives, regardless of Well being Commissioner Bassett stating that the “public well being literature is evident.”  The Mayor has mentioned he’s going to launch the examine this month. Nonetheless, advocates are involved that the Mayor has both not been briefed on the huge public literature on SCS, or he’s selecting to not take a place due to politics. Advocates will demand he take a place on this concern to stop extra deaths after 1000’s have already handed away.

What: Safer Consumption Areas Rally and Press Convention
The place: Metropolis Corridor steps (map)
When: April 5, 2018 at 12 pm

“In a second when New York State’s overdose disaster continues to grow–with overdose deaths killing extra New Yorkers than site visitors accidents, homicides, and suicide combined–we want daring considering and motion,” mentioned Kassandra Frederique, New York State director of the Drug Coverage Alliance. “If we need to save lives, scale back criminalization, and finish racial disparities, we want complete, modern, and forward-thinking approaches like safer consumption areas. New York is in a novel place to step up and implement modern drug insurance policies rooted in science, compassion, and public well being as we did with syringe exchanges earlier than. It’s the time for New York’s elected officers to paved the way in implementing drug insurance policies that may succeed.”

“For too lengthy, we’ve watched our fellow New Yorkers die of overdose whereas the Mayor and First Girl bat round phrases like ‘difficult,’ ‘advanced,’ and ‘quickly,'” mentioned Robert Suarez, Group Chief at VOCAL-NY. Safer Consumption Areas have been confirmed to avoid wasting lives and join individuals to care, and within the over 30 years that they’ve existed, nobody has ever died of an opioid overdose in a single. The Mayor must cease stalling and are available out in help of SCS now earlier than extra lives are misplaced.”

Particulars:
Each seven hours, somebody dies of a drug overdose in New York Metropolis.

Almost 100 safer consumption areas exist world wide. They’ve been rigorously evaluated and proven to steeply scale back overdose deaths, HIV and viral hepatitis infections, and public dysfunction, and to extend entry to drug remedy and different healthcare. Hundreds of thousands of injections having taken place at a few of them, but not one overdose loss of life has been documented in these services.

Momentum for safer consumption areas is constructing throughout the nation, with officers in Philadelphia asserting their plan to create Complete Person Engagement Websites (CUES), successfully safer consumption areas, at a press convention on January 23, 2018. Final 12 months, San Francisco’s metropolis well being officers mentioned they may probably open protected injection websites inside Eight-12 months. Kings County in Washington State has been authorised to open an SCS. Maryland, Vermont, California, Maine and Massachusetts have all launched laws to approve the websites. Past tutorial analysis, a rising physique of editorial boards and opinion items have highlighted the necessity: New York Instances, Washington Submit, USA As we speak, US Information, Huffington Submit, Baltimore Solar, Seattle Instances, Bloomberg Information, LA Instances, The Nation, and the Boston Globe.

The American Medical Affiliation (AMA) voted to help the event of pilot safer consumption areas. The New York Academy of Medication and Massachusetts Medical Society additionally each publicly help safer consumption areas, and the Journal of the American Medical Affiliation revealed a evaluation of analysis supporting safer consumption areas. In April 2017, greater than 100 New York Metropolis healthcare professionals signed an open letter in help of safer consumption areas, urging elected representatives to undertake them as a public well being intervention to stop overdose deaths.

Regardless of elevated spending on remedy, in New York State deaths from drug overdoses elevated 71 p.c between 2010 and 2015. From 2013 to 2015, 7,213 New Yorkers throughout the state died of overdose. New York Metropolis noticed greater than 1,300 overdose deaths in 2016 alone–a 46 p.c improve from 2015 and the sixth straight 12 months of elevated overdose fee.

For extra background on the marketing campaign for supervised injection services, go to www.SIFNYC.org.

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Albuquerque Metropolis Council Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

Albuquerque Turns into the Second Metropolis in New Mexico to Take away Legal Penalties for Marijuana Possession
 
Greater than 50 P.c of Voters in Each Albuquerque Metropolis Council District Assist Decriminalizing Possession of Small Quantities of Marijuana

Albuquerque, NM – Late final evening, Albuquerque Metropolis Council members voted 5-Four on a celebration vote to take away prison sanctions pertaining to possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia from the town’s municipal codes. The measure now heads to Mayor Keller’s desk for signature.
 
The proposed ordinance makes one ounce or much less of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia a civil infraction with a superb of $ 25. A civil infraction shouldn’t be thought-about a prison conviction. The ordinance additionally takes away the potential for jail time. Presently, an individual can spend greater than two weeks in jail for a primary offense and 90 days for a subsequent offense. Albuquerque turns into the second metropolis in New Mexico to take away prison penalties for possessing small quantity of marijuana.  Santa Fe decriminalized small quantities of marijuana in 2014. In 2015, former Councilor Garduño and Councilor Benton sponsored an identical measure that handed the council 5-Four on a celebration line vote. Nonetheless, it was vetoed by Mayor Berry.
 
“It’s time that cities resist Jeff Classes’ conflict on marijuana and stand as much as the Trump administration,” acknowledged Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico state director of the Drug Coverage Alliance. “Cities know finest the contours of their very own issues – and are due to this fact finest positioned to craft significant options to these issues. Can we need to be the sort of society that arrests and jails adults – who’re disproportionately folks of shade and low-income – for possessing a substance that’s unequivocally been proven to be far much less harmful than alcohol or tobacco?”
 
Albuquerque residents voiced their assist on the poll field for decriminalizing marijuana. In November on 2014, voters in Santa Fe County and Bernalillo County voiced overwhelming assist for marijuana decriminalization – Bernalillo County voted 60 p.c and Santa Fe County voted 73 p.c in favor of statewide decriminalization. Greater than 50 p.c of Albuquerque voters in all 9 metropolis council districts voted to decriminalize small quantities of marijuana. On March 2nd, the Albuquerque Journal reported that Shaun Willoughby, the president of the Albuquerque police union, helps the laws.

“This decision is a crucial step ahead in ending the devastating impression that marijuana arrests have on folks’s lives,” acknowledged Ana Moran, Subject Organizer with the ACLU of New Mexico. “The present regulation has needlessly entangled folks within the prison justice system, has had a disproportionate impression on communities of shade, and comes at an amazing human and monetary price.”
 
In February, the Jackson, MS metropolis council voted unanimously to decriminalize marijuana. Jackson joined Atlanta, Memphis and New Orleans as marijuana reform picks up momentum in southern municipalities. Multiple-third of the U.S. inhabitants – dwell in jurisdictions the place marijuana has been basically decriminalized, that means there isn’t any jail time related to possession.

“The folks of Albuquerque have clearly demonstrated that they need a extra simply society,” acknowledged Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico state director of the Drug Coverage Alliance.  “I’m very assured that this measure will take us one step nearer to that purpose and I stay up for working with elected officers and Mayor Keller to carry sensible marijuana reform to Albuquerque.”

The Drug Coverage Alliance (DPA) is the nation’s main group of people that imagine the conflict on medication is doing extra hurt than good. DPA fights for drug insurance policies primarily based on science, compassion, well being and human rights.

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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Publicizes Enlargement of State Medicinal Marijuana Program

Suggestions Embrace Including New Qualifying Situations, Increasing Variety of Different Remedy Facilities, Permitting Entry to Edible Medical Marijuana Merchandise

Advocates Applaud Murphy Administration for Appearing Rapidly to Broaden the Lengthy-Stalled Program

Trenton, NJ— At the moment, Governor Phil Murphy introduced steps to increase New Jersey’s long-stalled Medicinal Marijuana Program. The Governor acted shortly after taking workplace, issuing an government order mandating the Division of Well being to evaluate this system and make suggestions for enchancment. The announcement immediately is the results of this government order.

The modifications embody:

  • 5 new qualifying situations, together with power ache associated to musculoskeletal issues, power ache of visceral origin (regarding the abdomen), migraines, nervousness and Tourette Syndrome;
  • Different Remedy Facilities (ATCs) at present working will be capable of open satellite tv for pc places and an extra develop website with the intention to improve the availability of medical marijuana;
  • Registration charges can be decreased from $ 200 to $ 100 for a medical marijuana card;
  • All sufferers will be capable of entry edible types of marijuana;
  • The month-to-month restrict can be raised from 2 ounces to four ounces;
  • Sufferers will be capable of register at multiple ATC.

Advocates applauded the Division of Well being and Governor Murphy for the short motion.

“We need to thank Commissioner Elnahal and Governor Murphy for shifting so shortly to increase the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act,” stated Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey state director of the Drug Coverage Alliance. “This motion will assist hundreds of sufferers for whom medical marijuana is the most suitable choice for relieving their struggling and enhancing their high quality of life.”

The Drug Coverage Alliance led the marketing campaign to move the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act and has continued to work to see this system successfully carried out. The Drug Coverage Alliance submitted a petition to the state’s Medicinal Marijuana Evaluation Panel in assist of including power ache to the checklist of qualifying situations.

The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was signed by Governor Jon Corzine proper earlier than he left workplace in January 2010 resulting from advocacy by the Drug Coverage Alliance and companions.  Then incoming Governor Chris Christie was charged with implementing the regulation. Sufferers and advocates have criticized the sluggish implementation—eight years later the state has solely 5 Different Remedy Facilities the place sufferers can entry medical marijuana—and the burdensome rules the Christie Administration promulgated.

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Consultants React to Trump’s Plan to Escalate Drug Warfare and Impose Dying Penalty for Drug Offenses

In New Hampshire right now, President Trump introduced a plan for his administration’s response to opioid dependancy and overdose. Trump steadily characterised his plan as “getting powerful” on medication and reiterated requires drug battle methods that proof has proven fail to discourage drug promoting or drug use – together with ramping up felony punishment for drug regulation violations and resurrecting disproven “simply say no” campaigns aimed toward youth. Trump additionally repeated his assist for imposing the loss of life penalty for individuals who promote medication. Whereas Trump’s plan consists of some modest efforts to increase entry to naloxone and medication-assisted remedy, any progress could possibly be derailed by a rise in drug enforcement efforts.

Earlier right now, the Drug Coverage Alliance hosted a tele-press convention with consultants on human rights, regulation enforcement, drug coverage and felony justice reform. A recording of this tele-press convention is out there right here.

The next are statements from the audio system who participated in right now’s name:

Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, govt director of the Drug Coverage Alliance:
“President Trump’s proposed response to the overdose disaster right now— with its name for the loss of life penalty and harsher sentences, and its demonization of immigrants—can be each merciless and ineffective. It’s a cynical attraction to the worst instincts of his base. As a substitute, it ought to function a name to motion to everybody who cares about well being, life, and trustworthy authorities, to demand actual options to overdose. Trump’s failure to put money into hurt discount methods that work, or to place sources behind evidence-based remedy, reveal a profound disdain for the many individuals now struggling resulting from this disaster.”  

Nicole Austin-Hillery, Government Director of US Packages, Human Rights Watch:
“President Trump’s proposal for addressing the opioid disaster emphasizes the identical rights-abusing enforcement and excessive sentencing we witnessed within the 80s and 90s”, mentioned Nicole Austin-Hillery, govt director of the US Program at Human Rights Watch. “If Trump have been actually critical, he would give attention to increasing confirmed well being interventions and supporting sentencing reform, as Congress has been doing with bipartisan success. As a substitute, he continues to revive the drug battle, now utilizing the loss of life penalty, which Human Rights Watch vehemently opposes and which is at present being questioned for its inhumanity and waning assist. Merely put, use of the loss of life penalty is a disproportionate strategy that can have zero influence on trafficking or dependancy.”

Main Neill Franklin (Ret.), Government Director, Legislation Enforcement Motion Partnership:
“Because the opioid disaster destroys much more lives, we should reject any coverage that doubles-down on the failed methods that created this drawback within the first place,” mentioned Main Neill Franklin (Ret.), govt director of the Legislation Enforcement Motion Partnership. “I condemn prolonged jail sentences and the loss of life penalty for drug traffickers as a result of there is not any proof they cut back dependancy or overdose deaths. However, public well being methods, akin to syringe trade applications and protected consumption websites, are confirmed options backed by years of success.”

Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, The Management Convention on Civil and Human Rights, Former Head of the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Civil Rights Division:
“The opioid disaster is a nationwide tragedy.  Sadly, the Trump administration is utilizing the identical failed, damaged playbook on felony justice. They’re looking for a decidedly punitive strategy to the nation’s drug drawback – one which seeks to extend already disproportionate sentences for drug offenses and make use of the loss of life penalty. That is greater than only a felony justice concern – it’s a public well being concern. We can not enact cynical coverage that has purely rhetorical attraction. We can not simply do what feels good, or sounds good. We should take an evidenced-based strategy to ending the opioid disaster.”

Marc Mauer, Government Director, The Sentencing Undertaking:
“Imposing harsher penalties for drug sellers is hardly a brand new concept. The US has a long time of expertise using punitive ways to confront medication which have had a restricted influence on substance use. With the intention to obtain a greater stability in our strategy to medication we have to make investments extra in confirmed strategies of prevention and remedy.”

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Teleconference 1:30 PM (ET) Immediately: Consultants Reply to Trump’s Anticipated Proposal on Dying Penalty for Drug Offenses

Immediately, President Trump is anticipated to announce a plan for his administration’s response to opioid dependancy and overdose. As an alternative of specializing in confirmed overdose prevention measures, the administration is reportedly planning to name for the loss of life penalty for individuals who promote medication.  The plan additionally requires ramping up the already extraordinarily harsh federal sentences for drug legislation violations.

Be part of us in the present day, Monday, March 19 at 1:30pm (ET) / 10:30am (PT) for perception from:

  • Nicole Austin-Hillery, Government Director of US Packages, Human Rights Watch
  • Main Neill Franklin (Ret.), Government Director, Regulation Enforcement Motion Partnership
  • Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, The Management Convention on Civil and Human Rights, Former Head of the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Civil Rights Division
  • Marc Mauer, Government Director, The Sentencing Venture
  • Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, Government Director, Drug Coverage Alliance (Moderator)

HOW: Contact Tommy McDonald for call-in information. 510-679-2311

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Monday: Trump Anticipated to Suggest Dying Penalty for Drug Offenses in Lengthy-Awaited Response to Overdose Disaster

Administration Embracing Discredited Drug Struggle Insurance policies Confirmed to Worsen Each Mass Incarceration and Overdose Deaths
 
Assertion from DPA: As a substitute of Losing Assets on the Dying Penalty, Administration Ought to Concentrate on Steps That Work

On Monday, President Trump is predicted to announce a plan for his administration’s response to opioid habit and overdose. As a substitute of specializing in overdose response measures which can be recognized to work, the administration is reportedly planning to name for the dying penalty for individuals who promote medication.  The plan additionally requires ramping up the already extraordinarily harsh federal sentences for drug legislation violations.
 
“Fairly than serving to folks susceptible to overdose and their households, Trump is cynically utilizing the overdose disaster to enchantment to the worst instincts of his base, and pushing for measures that can solely make the disaster worse,” Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, govt director of the Drug Coverage Alliance. “If this administration desires to avoid wasting lives, it must drop its obsession with killing and locking folks up, and as an alternative focus sources on what works: hurt discount methods and entry to evidence-based remedy and prevention.”

A few of the measures Trump has endorsed up to now embrace steps to extend entry to remedy and the overdose reversal medicine naloxone, which might be useful if carried out with a give attention to evidence-based remedy and placing naloxone within the arms of people and neighborhood teams. However in observe he has completed little to supply a public well being response to the disaster. Nor has he endorsed efficient measures just like the institution of supervised consumption websites, drug checking companies, syringe entry packages, 911 Good Samaritan legal guidelines, or evidence-based drug schooling. Moreover, the administration’s efforts to intestine the ACA and limit Medicaid will dramatically scale back entry to efficient remedy.

In the meantime,  the administration has been escalating the struggle on medication and embracing discredited insurance policies confirmed to worsen each mass incarceration and the overdose disaster. President Trump has repeatedly expressed help for “sturdy legislation enforcement” approaches to coping with drug habit. Lawyer Basic Jeff Periods has pursued a hardline agenda on drug coverage. Harsh sentencing legal guidelines have already been in place for many years, and have confirmed wholly ineffective at lowering drug use and habit, whereas having devastating results on folks of colour and different marginalized communities.

Proof-based prevention, remedy, and hurt discount interventions may help to stem the tide of opioid overdose fatalities. The Drug Coverage Alliance has detailed particular coverage proposals in a latest report, A Public Well being and Security Plan to Tackle Problematic Opioid Use and Overdose. The plan provides greater than twenty coverage proposals that, if carried out, will enhance entry to efficient remedy, develop hurt discount companies, forestall additional opioid misuse, scale back the position of criminalization and reduce incarceration, and reduce racial disparities.  
 
“Any significant plan to deal with opioid overdoses has to start with recognizing how the drug struggle has set the stage for this disaster, by driving drug use underground, depriving folks of primary details about how you can scale back the harms of drug use, and failing to spend money on and overdose prevention and efficient remedy,” added Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno.

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Fuel Station Loos Use Blue Lights to Cease IV Drug Use

Will blue lights put an end to IV drug use in gas station bathrooms?

Will blue lights put an end to IV drug use in gas station bathrooms?

Gas station bathrooms have become a common place for IV drug users to shoot up. They’re often unlocked, can be accessed without making a purchase, and provide a place out of sight from police.

For the homeless, gas station bathrooms are one of the few places where it’s considered “safe” to inject.

Casting a New Light on IV Drug Use

In New Kensington, Pennsylvania, 174 overdose deaths occurred in 2016; the numbers are expected to be much larger this year.

Those numbers led several New Kensington gas stations to take action against bathroom drug use in an unusual way: instead of lighting their bathrooms with regular lights, they installed “blue lights” – the kind of glow-in-the-dark lights you’d expect to see in a haunted house, but not necessarily a gas station bathroom.

The reason behind this “blue light special?” It makes it much more difficult for IV drug users to see their veins.

According to a CNN article, Sheetz gas stations’ public relations manager, Nick Ruffner, said that the blue light strategy is “designed to help our customers and employees avoid dangerous situations.”

Their perspective is understandable – using a public restroom where dirty syringes could be left on the floor or where someone could overdose would be dangerous to the public and gas station employees alike.

A Rising Death Toll

As IV drug users lose their homes or can’t find shelters to accept those who are still using, they become more desperate to find “safe” places to use. Rural areas where there are fewer shelters and social services or harm reduction services, such as needle exchanges or safe injection sites, are seeing more overdoses in public places because homeless drug users have nowhere else to go.

The effect on the non-using population can be extremely upsetting. Sean, who grew up in Huntington, West Virginia, a town that experienced 26 overdoses in less than four hours back in 2016, recalls the day his sister found a person who had overdosed in a gas station bathroom. He said,“You feel like you’re not safe anywhere.”

Compassion or Scorn?

Is the danger real or is it simply fear of the stereotypical addict? And is it reasonable to expect that making it harder for drug users to see their veins will cut down on drug use? Or is it more likely the blue lights will just drive users to further injure themselves by trying to shoot up in virtual darkness?

Safe injection sites, social service programs, and decriminalization of drug use could save lives, reduce harm, and protect the public from dirty syringes. And gas station customers could use the bathroom in regular light.

Additional Reading:   Does Data Show Supervised Injection Sites Save Lives?

Image Source: iStock

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Saturday three/17: Free Expungement Truthful at Los Angeles Commerce–Technical School for Individuals Clearing or Decreasing Marijuana Data

In an effort to assist folks cut back or clear their legal data, the Drug Coverage Alliance is internet hosting a sequence of 4 free report expungement gala’s within the Better Los Angeles space. These occasions are a sponsored challenge of MedMen Enterprises.

The primary honest on this new sequence will probably be Saturday, March 17th, at Los Angeles Commerce–Technical School close to Downtown Los Angeles.

California’s marijuana legalization regulation permits folks to retroactively cut back or clear marijuana convictions for exercise that’s now authorized or much less severely punished since Proposition 64 handed in 2016. The expungement gala’s will present free entry to attorneys and paralegals from partnering organizations to assist those that have been impacted, and are a part of a broad array of providers being supplied, together with employment, well being care, immigration session, and voter registration.

What:             Free Expungement Truthful for Individuals with Felony Data
When:            Saturday, March 17th, 2018, 10am – 2pm PDT
The place:           Los Angeles Commerce–Technical School
                       400 West Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90015

Attorneys and paralegals from the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Workplace will probably be on web site offering free post-conviction reduction for anybody with an eligible Los Angeles County legal conviction. Different attorneys will probably be on web site to help individuals who have convictions outdoors of Los Angeles County. Members will be capable to discover out if they’ll take away their conviction from their report or if it may be decreased to a decrease penalty and can obtain direct help in doing so.

“Doing this work is about defending folks from the results of our outdated, failed drug legal guidelines,” stated Eunisses Hernandez, a California coverage coordinator for the Drug Coverage Alliance. “Prior marijuana convictions can create obstacles to housing, employment, and even make folks a goal for deportation, principally impacting poor communities and communities of colour. California’s historic marijuana legalization initiative has already helped 1000’s clear or cut back a marijuana conviction from their report, however we have to get the phrase out to the lots of of 1000’s of different Californians who may gain advantage from this groundbreaking provision.

Adam Bierman, CEO of MedMen – a Los Angeles-based hashish firm with services and operations in three states – commented, “It’s a accountability we’ve got as leaders of the brand new, authorized trade, to assist reverse the devastation attributable to selective enforcement skilled throughout the failed warfare on medicine. It is a new lease on life for these people which in flip begins a course of to re-strengthen households and communities.”

Within the state of California, there are four,800 obstacles to housing, employment, and citizenship that exist for somebody with a legal report. Decreasing or expunging prior convictions, together with prior marijuana convictions, removes 1000’s of obstacles that enable folks to totally reenter their neighborhood and society. It’s not straightforward to deal with decreasing or expunging your report with out authorized assist, so these free gala’s are essential for serving to attain extra individuals who want help.

The retroactive penalty discount provisions of Prop. 64 had been a precedence for the Drug Coverage Alliance when the initiative was being drafted. DPA and its companions have hosted dozens of expungement gala’s like this and have already helped lots of of individuals get their data modified. These gala’s have generated in depth media protection throughout the state of California – and even nationally within the Los Angeles Instances and Washington Submit – and have helped this situation acquire momentum on a systemic stage. Earlier this 12 months, San Francisco’s district legal professional introduced that the town will clear or cut back 1000’s of marijuana convictions relationship again a long time. Seattle then made the same announcement the next week, and final week the Sonoma County district legal professional’s workplace stated it’s going to start clearing or decreasing practically three,000 marijuana-related convictions.

Individuals searching for extra data on how you can get their data decreased or expunged can discover out extra on the Drug Coverage Alliance’s web site.

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Do You Drink Or Use to Repress Your Rage?

Many people mistakenly believe substance abuse helps them get rid of anger.

Many people mistakenly believe substance abuse helps them get rid of anger.

Women in general are trained not to show anger – Southern women especially. I grew up in the South in the Reagan years, the daughter of a divorced mom. I was close to my dad, step-mother, step-brother, and grandparents.

No one ever argued; no one ever fought. The one or two times I said something in anger, I was swiftly and harshly reprimanded.

Nice Girls Don’t Get Angry…Right?

I learned to repress all anger, any rage. Eventually, in my late twenties, I discovered an easy way to get rid of the anger: wine! Family holidays became fun as the wine and margaritas and Bloody Mary’s flowed freely. I would sometimes throw up in the morning, but I was always so nice – never feeling any anger or really much of anything at all.

Later on, when I was in a long-term relationship and owned a house with my boyfriend, I would get drunk and finally vent my anger at him over things I couldn’t talk about sober. One night I even threw a full glass of wine across the kitchen. It made a terrible mess, leaving shards of glass all over the floor (and making me realize that, if you’re going to throw a glass of wine, it should be white, not red).

The angrier I got – at my job, my boyfriend, even my family – the more I drank. I didn’t know how to communicate or negotiate, I only knew how to smile politely when sober and either drink to the point of almost passing out at the local dive bar or get drunk at home and throw a fit.

5 Ways to Release the Rage

In sobriety, I had to learn how to confront the rage in a healthy way. With the help of my therapist and a few close friends and family, here’s what I learned.

  • Keep Communication Open

    If you’re angry at a friend or family member, find a quiet time. Ask if they are open to talking about what’s bothering you. That keeps those emotions from getting repressed.

  • Find Healthy Ways to Get the Negative Energy Out

    Run, do yoga, even just take a walk.

  • Plan Ahead

    When you know you’re walking into a situation that will make you angry, have a strategy for how you handle it.

  • Talk to Someone Uninvolved

    A therapist is a great person to talk to, or a trusted friend who isn’t embroiled in the situation.

  • When You Do Feel Rage, Forgive Yourself

    It’s a natural human emotion. Don’t beat yourself up for being angry. Let yourself off the hook. I used to feel so guilty the morning after a fight with my ex. I’d grovel to him, then resent the groveling.

Remember, anger is normal. Repressing it can be a quick way to relapse. Protect yourself and your loved ones by finding healthy ways to let it out!

Additional Reading:   Clean, Sober and Totally Pissed Off: A Bad Trifecta

Image Source: iStock

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Free Expungement Gala’s to Take Place Throughout Los Angeles County for Individuals Clearing or Decreasing Marijuana Data

In an effort to assist folks cut back or clear their prison data, the Drug Coverage Alliance is internet hosting a collection of 4 free report expungement festivals within the Higher Los Angeles space. These occasions are a sponsored venture of MedMen Enterprises.

California’s marijuana legalization legislation permits folks to retroactively cut back or clear marijuana convictions for exercise that’s now authorized or much less severely punished since Proposition 64 handed in 2016. The expungement festivals will present free entry to attorneys and paralegals from partnering organizations to assist those that have been impacted and are a part of a broad array of providers being provided, together with employment, well being care, immigration session, and voter registration.

The primary truthful on this new collection will likely be Saturday, March 17th, at Los Angeles Commerce–Technical School close to Downtown Los Angeles.

Attorneys and paralegals from the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Workplace will likely be on website offering free post-conviction aid for anybody with an eligible Los Angeles County prison conviction. Different attorneys will likely be on website to help individuals who have convictions outdoors of Los Angeles County. Individuals will have the ability to discover out if they will take away their conviction from their report or if it may be diminished to a decrease penalty and can obtain direct help in doing so.

“Doing this work is about defending folks from the implications of our outdated, failed drug legal guidelines,” stated Eunisses Hernandez, a California coverage coordinator for the Drug Coverage Alliance. “Prior marijuana convictions can create limitations to housing, employment, and even make folks a goal for deportation, principally impacting poor communities and communities of shade. California’s historic marijuana legalization initiative has already helped 1000’s clear or cut back a marijuana conviction from their report, however we have to get the phrase out to the a whole bunch of 1000’s of different Californians who may benefit from this groundbreaking provision.”

Adam Bierman, CEO of MedMen – a Los Angeles-based hashish firm with services and operations in three states – commented, “It’s a accountability we now have as leaders of the brand new, authorized business, to assist reverse the devastation attributable to selective enforcement skilled through the failed conflict on medicine. This can be a new lease on life for these people which in flip begins a course of to re-strengthen households and communities.”

Within the state of California, there are four,800 limitations to housing, employment, and citizenship that exist for somebody with a prison report. Decreasing or expunging prior convictions, together with prior marijuana convictions, removes 1000’s of limitations that enable folks to totally reenter their neighborhood and society. It’s not straightforward to deal with lowering or expunging your report with out authorized assist, so these free festivals are essential for serving to attain extra individuals who want help.

The retroactive penalty discount provisions of Prop. 64 have been a precedence for the Drug Coverage Alliance when the initiative was being drafted. DPA and its companions have hosted dozens of expungement festivals like this and have already helped a whole bunch of individuals get their data modified. These festivals have generated intensive media protection throughout the state of California – and even nationally within the Los Angeles Instances and Washington Put up – and have helped this situation achieve momentum on a systemic stage. Earlier this 12 months, San Francisco’s district lawyer introduced that town will clear or cut back 1000’s of marijuana convictions courting again a long time. Seattle then made the same announcement the next week, and final week the Sonoma County district lawyer’s workplace stated it would start clearing or lowering practically three,000 marijuana-related convictions.

Individuals on the lookout for extra info on the right way to get their data diminished or expunged can discover out extra on the Drug Coverage Alliance’s web site.

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