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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Blind Face of Addiction

Did the death of Amy Winehouse cause you to think that addiction does not know its user?

Addiction doesn't discriminate against  race, gender or wealth. It affects everyone. Celebrities struggle with addiction. Musicians have tragically become members of  the '27 Club'. Unlike many others, they have the wealth and resources to receive what many would call "the best help there is". However, addiction is not overcome by wealth. It is only persuaded when the user chooses help.

People die every day from addiction. We only hear about the celebrities. We don't hear about women who work the street, die on the street, either from violence or the addiction. Surprisingly, incarcerated women have higher drug use than incarcerated men. Men are affected also; imprisonment for drug offenses is the most common charge among men.

News shows follow the downward spiral of  the celebrity- show the videos, the crazy behavior and pay people for the uncensored shot of the celebrity. We even have reality TV to document the addiction. Most people don't get this attention. Addicts live in an very isolated world. If they don't get help, they end up on the street, in jail or dead. Addiction rarely finds the grey area.

Those who know an addict share something in common. Russell Brand, no stranger to addiction himself, summed it up well in his own blog:
When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. We all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call. 
It is an great post. Worth a read.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

The Drug DWI/DUI

The Charlotte Observer ran an article over the weekend about marijuana and possible effects on a person's ability to drive safely. There is a difference of opinion as to whether marijuana can impair a person's ability to drive safely. Scientific opinions greatly differ on how long marijuana stays in the system and whether it impairs a driver.
So much of dwi/dui research is based upon controlled studies. Most people have seen different controlled studies on investigative programs on TV: a group of people agree to drink alcohol and then drive a car in a supervised area. Very few of these studies have been done with drugs since they are illegal in most states.  However, with some states now allowing marijuana for medicinal uses, such controlled studies are being conducted.

Disagreement in the scientific community does not change the fact that the District Attorney will prosecute dwi's/dui's that involve drugs. Also, many people are shocked to learn that the District Attorney will pursue cases when there is an alcohol result less that .08. This is an interesting topic with more research coming. In the meantime, cases will continue through the court system.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Caylee's Law

With the controversial verdict from Orlando this week, a group has started a petition for a new federal law that would punish parents who don't report their children missing within 24 hours. The overview of the law on the website states:
Caylee's Law: There should be a new law created called Caylee's Law that will make it a felony for a parent or guardian to not notify law enforcement of a child going missing in a timely matter. Let's keep another case like Caylee Anthony out of the courts. 
Criminal blogs are raising some valid questions- Josh Blackman's Blog writes:
 Would Casey Anthony really have been deterred by a federal statute punishing failure to report a missing child. Of course not..... So let me be really cynical here. How would this keep a case like Caylee's out of the courts. If a parent actually killed her daughter, do you think she would tell the police so as not to violate some random federal statute. The purpose of this law, much like laws requiring the polices about the notification of lost guns, is to allow the police to easily arrest someone, without sufficient cause to show they committed the underlying offense- whether it is a gun crime or murder..

Simple Justice has equal skepticism:
..If a parent was inclined to murder her child, would fear of a prosecution under this law stop her? Would the sentence be death plus a year? This compulsion to avenge a tragedy involving a child by crafting yet another law to deal with a situation already covered (as in murder) has produced a basic rule that any law named after a dead child is invariably a bad exercise of legislative fiat. It's not the intended consequences I fear, but the unintended ones. And there are always unintended ones. 

 What are your thoughts?

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Sober or the Slammer

Today's Charlotte Observer had a short article  about the 'crackdown' on DWI arrests this fourth of July weekend. Describing the weekend as "It's sober or the Slammer", the Commander of the Highway Patrol predicts that more than 2000 will be arrested this weekend  for drunk driving in the Carolinas. State Highway Patrol will work concurrently with Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department's "Booze It or Lose It" campaign to crack down on DWI arrest and speeding.

Have a good Fourth of July and drive safely.

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