Methamphetamine, an illegal drug that sends the body into overdrive, is surging through the United States. Federal drug data provided exclusively to NPR show seizures of meth by authorities have spiked, rising 142% between 2017 and 2018.
“Seizures indicate increasing trafficking in these drugs,” says John Eadie, public health coordinator for the federal government’s National Emerging Threats Initiative, part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program. “So if seizures have more than doubled, it probably means more than double trafficking in methamphetamines. And with that go additional deaths.”
Overdose deaths involving meth and other psychostimulants did rise last year — by 21% (to 12,987 from 10,749 in 2017) — according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths from cocaine and fentanyl were up too. But overdose deaths dropped overall because of a decline in the number of fatalities tied to pain pills.
For decades, meth has been associated with working-class Americans trying to hold down two or more jobs and has been popular in some gay communities, but it hasn’t been widely available in every region of the country. Now that’s changing too. Seizures of meth are up, sometimes dramatically, in pockets of nearly every state in the U.S., based on data collected in 32 High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas.
The American Probation and Parole Association is pleased to announce the election of new officers and members of its Board of Directors. The newly elected officers are Brian Lovins, Susan Rice, Thomas Gregory, and Joe Russo. As such, officers of the Board of Directors for the next two-year period (effective at the closing of the Annual Institute) will be:
Tim Hardy, Director, Yuma County Juvenile Justice Center (Arizona)
Brian Lovins, PhD., Principal, Justice System Partners (Texas)
Susan Rice, Chief Probation Officer, Miami County Probation Department (Indiana) Continue reading →
An Indiana sheriff’s office took a “bite out of crime” Monday when they caught a woman wearing a set of dentures “that clearly were not hers” at her own probation meeting.
Earlier that day, someone reported that a woman, identified as Joann Childers, from Jennings County, stole her teeth and accused her of wearing them around.
A probation officer who later met with Childers said she noticed she was wearing the set of pearly whites, which “may be the stolen teeth.”
On Wednesday, officials spoke to Childers about the alleged denture theft. The sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook that while speaking with Childers, a deputy saw the dentures in “plain view” inside her home — and they were even reportedly labeled with the alleged victim’s name on it.
The sheriff’s office also appeared to see the funny side in the incident, with a series of hashtags accompanying the post including, “#caughtwithoutmyteethin #takingabiteoutofcrime #gumdecision #illhavejailsoup #shesnotthetoothfairy”.
Childers was charged with theft, according to officials, who added that the dentures were recovered.
Indiana Public Media on 7/12/2019 by BENTE BOUTHIER
Opioid drug abuse continues to plague the state, particularly with populations who are or have been incarcerated.
Nearly 20 percent of people sentenced to state prison or jail report regular opioid use according to the Substance Abuse and Mental health Administration.
This is dangerous because people’s tolerance to opioids goes down while they are incarcerated, says Tisha Wiley, chief of The Services Research Branch at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
“So if they do go back to the community and seek out opioids, that makes them especially vulnerable to relapse,” she says.
Because of these risks, jails are being pressed to provide treatment before people are released from custody. Some states like Washington, Rhode Island and Maine have passed legislation requiring treatment be available.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois’ new governor delivered on a top campaign promise Tuesday by signing legislation legalizing small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, the 11th state to do so and the first to implement a comprehensive statewide cannabis marketplace designed by legislators.
Legalization in Illinois also means that nearly 800,000 people with criminal records for purchasing or possessing 30 grams of marijuana or less may have those records expunged, a provision minority lawmakers and interest groups demanded.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, whose election last year gave Democrats complete control over state government again after four years under GOP predecessor Bruce Rauner, signed the bill in Chicago amid a bevy of lawmakers and pot proponents.
Under the measure, residents can purchase and possess up to 1 ounce (30 grams) of marijuana at a time. Non-residents could have up to 15 grams. The law provides for cannabis purchases by adults 21 and older at approved dispensaries, which, after they’re licensed and established, may start selling Jan. 1, 2020. That means possession remains a crime until Jan. 1, a spokesman for Senate Democrats said.
Pritzker’s successful campaign for governor capitalized on growing public sentiment that law enforcement has better things to do than chase pot-smokers and that state government could benefit by regulating and taxing the product as it does alcohol and tobacco.
He claimed that, once established, taxation of marijuana could generate $800 million to $1 billion a year in taxes. He initially estimated that in the budget year that begins July 1, dispensary licensing would generate $170 million, but Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, both Chicago Democrats who have been advocating legalization for at least four years, were forced to lower that estimate to about $58 million in the final proposal. Cassidy added that the fully implemented program might generate only $500 million annually within five years.
The marketplace portion of the Illinois law also addresses what critics have complained is the decades-long war on drugs’ disproportionate impact on minority communities. State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, a Democrat from Olympia Fields, said it’s a generally accepted statistic that blacks are 4 ½ times more likely to be convicted of low-level pot offenses, but she didn’t know if Illinois’ numbers are higher than typical.
In addition to providing criminal-record scrubbing for past low-level offenders, the law gives preference to would-be marijuana vendors in areas of high poverty and records of large numbers of convictions. And portions tax proceeds must be reinvested in impoverished communities.
Police organizations are wary, concerned about enforcing driving under the influence laws and arguing technology for testing marijuana impairment needs more development. Law enforcement organizations were successful in killing an earlier provision that would have allowed anyone to group up to five marijuana plants at home for personal use. Police said they’d have difficulty enforcing that, so the bill was amended to allow five plants to be maintained only by authorized patients under the state’s medical marijuana law. They previously could not grow their own.
Ten other states and the District of Columbia have legalized smoking or eating marijuana for recreational use since 2012, when voters in Colorado and Washington state approved ballot initiatives. Vermont and Michigan last year were the latest states to legalize marijuana. Vermont did so through the Legislature, the first time it wasn’t done through a ballot initiative, but didn’t establish a statewide marketplace as Illinois did.
Other initiatives have failed. Promising proposals in New York and New Jersey fizzled late this spring. Despite a statewide listening tour on the issue by Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor last winter, the idea never took flight.
Despite recent changes to the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct meant to aid pro se litigants’ ability to be heard in court, an appellate panel ruled Friday that an inmate’s suit against a judge, a clerk and others was so confusing and repetitive that it was rightly dismissed.
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the Sullivan Circuit Court’s dismissal of Kevin Martin v. Hon. Hugh Hunt, et al., 18A-CT-2595, noting Kevin Martin’s handwritten complaint at some points was barely legible, and his arguments were even less decipherable.
After Martin had a disagreement over a copying request with Indiana Department of Correction librarian Brenda Hinton, he sued her, DOC employee Charles Dugan, Sullivan Circuit Judge Hugh Hunt and court clerk Peggy Goodman, demanding to be released from prison due to his pain and suffering. After the defendants moved to dismiss, Martin filed an amended complaint.
“On August 29, 2018, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint, arguing Judge Hunt had judicial immunity; the court lacked jurisdiction to release Martin from prison as requested; the same case was pending before the Indiana Court of Appeals; and the action was contrary to public policy,” Judge Melissa May wrote.
Special Judge Christopher Newton dismissed Martin’s case from Sullivan Circuit Court on those grounds while also finding “the same case was pending before the Indiana Supreme Court on a petition to transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals; and ‘[b]ecause the plaintiff is engaging in serial litigation, suing those involved in orders in previous cases with which he does not agree, this action is contrary to public policy and must, for that reason, be dismissed,’” May wrote.
The COA affirmed the dismissal in a six-page order Friday, concluding, “Based on Martin’s multiple violations of the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure, we are unable to ascertain his argument in this matter, and thus any issues he has attempted to present are waived.”
The panel noted Martin failed to make a cogent argument, and in a footnote pointed to revisions to a May amendment to Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 2.2, which gives judges discretion to facilitate litigants, including those representing themselves, to be heard. “Unfortunately,” May wrote, “…the deficiencies in Martin’s brief are so numerous and egregious that we are unable to ascertain his argument.”
The panel also found Martin’s case was rightly dismissed under I.C. 34-58-1-2, governing dismissal of suits that are frivolous, present claims upon which relief may not be granted, name those immune from liability or other reasons.
BOONE COUNTY, W. Va. (WFLA/CNN) – Police in West Virginia say they’re seeing a dangerous trend in Boone county.
Authorities say some drug abusers are using wasp spray as an alternative form of meth and the practice may have contributed to several overdoses.
On Friday, stores in Boone County reported selling nearly 30 cans of the spray.
Physical effects of using wasp spray include erratic behavior and extreme swelling and redness of the hands and feet.
“From what we’re being told, if you use it, you know, you might use it one or twice and be fine, but the third time when your body hits that allergic reaction, it can kill you,” Sgt. Charles Sutphin said.
The challenge is how to treat these symptoms and prevent the use of this legal, cheap product for harm.
“It’s a cheap fix, and you don’t know what their overall result of their usage of this is going to be,” Sutphin said.
A convicted robber whose community corrections placement was revoked was denied due process because a court failed to consider his competency after evaluations had been ordered, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled
FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Victims of domestic violence often have little more than a piece of paper to protect them from their attackers.
But some local agencies — like the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office — are working to change that.
Flagler County has been using a GPS ankle monitoring system for domestic violence offenders since last November. A judge can make wearing the monitor a condition of a suspect’s release on bond, and the rules of the monitors are designed to protect accusers.
Roy Carlisi landed himself in an ankle monitor last month after he was charged with domestic battery and assault. Deputies said he attacked his wife, knocking out some of her teeth. Continue reading →
A new report said Indiana’s numbers are down more than 35% since 2013. Nationally, that average number is only at 33%.
INDIANA, (WLFI) – After years of a constant uphill battle against the opioid epidemic, Indiana is seeing some positive change. New numbers from the American Medical Association show Indiana’s opioid prescription drug rates are going down faster than the national average.
The report said Indiana’s numbers are down more than 35% since 2013. Nationally, that average number is only at 33%.
“It’s a very exciting thing for me to see that Indiana has had a higher impact than the national average in the last few years,” said Tricia Lohr, Pharmacy Manager at IU Health Frankfort.
“Governor Holcomb called for an all hands on deck response to this,” said Indiana’s Drug Czar, Jim McClelland. His job is to lead the state against substance abuse. He was the first person appointed to this new position created by Governor Holcomb in 2017.
He said just in 2018, Indiana had a healthy decline in opioid prescription rates.
“In 2018 we saw a 12% decrease in the number of opioid prescriptions dispensed,” he said. “We also saw a 23% decrease in the number of opioid pills dispensed, which means less of these pills are floating around.”
Something that both Lohr and McClelland agreed is a big source of fuel to the flame that is the opioid epidemic. McClelland said doctors have gotten in the habit of prescribing too many opioid pills.
“A friend of mine had an 18-year-old daughter get her wisdom teeth out and the dentist routinely prescribed 30 pills,” he said. “My friend said he thinks she only took two and she didn’t need anymore.”
It’s those extra pills laying around that often times end up in the wrong hands.
“Just as a parent, the decrease in opiate prescribing to me is also very important,” said Lohr. “A lot of kids that get started on drugs, the way they get it the first time is from a friend or a parent’s medicine cabinet.”
She said IU Health Frankfort has seen its own successful progress in reducing these numbers. The hospital has seen a 90% decrease in opioid prescriptions coming from their emergency room doctors.
“They’re prescribing less and less for something like your wisdom teeth removal and other surgeries because they don’t want people to have leftovers in their cabinets,” she said. Continue reading →
Across the country, the number of youth who are incarcerated is down.
In 2017, 43,580 minors were incarcerated, a 4 percent drop from 2016. Compare those numbers with 2001, when 104,219 juveniles were detained – 58 percent more than in 2017.
Juvenile incarceration peaked in 2000, according The Sentencing Project, and has been on a downward decline nationally since. Indiana is following the trend, now housing fewer than 1,600 juveniles in residential facilities, compared to more than 3,200 in 2001, according to the Department of Justice.
This decline, juvenile justice experts say, represents both a policy shift and a shift in mindset. The latter actually came first – stakeholders began thinking of juvenile justice as a public safety issue, and that has translated into policies designed to rehabilitate young offenders rather than punish them.
Of course, advocates say there are more reforms they’d still like to see. But they’re also applauding this mindset shift as positive for juveniles and for the public welfare.
The decline in juvenile incarceration aligns with recent research showing detaining juveniles does more harm than good. Most literature now accepts the proposition that human brains are not fully developed until the mid-20s, so detaining minors can have a negative impact on their minds, especially for young people who have mental illnesses.
Indeed, during the 2019 session of the Indiana General Assembly, lawmakers attempted to pass legislation that would allow children as young as 12 to be waived into adult court for attempted murder. The legislation came in response to the May 2018 shooting at Noblesville West Middle School – where the 12-year-old shooter could not be charged as an adult for wounding a teacher and a classmate – but the legislation received serious opposition from juvenile justice advocates. Eventually, it was defeated. Continue reading →
VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) – Officials in Porter County and 10 other Indiana counties are testing a risk-assessment program to determine whether people who have been arrested should be required to post bail while awaiting trial.
Melanie Golumbeck, Porter County’s chief adult probation officer, said Indiana’s pretrial release program that launched in March 2017 evaluates jail inmates’ ability to pay. The program is part of a nationwide effort to decrease legal inequalities that allow people with money to bond out of jail, while those of limited means remain behind bars. The evaluation determines the likelihood the inmates will return to court for hearings or reoffend during the pretrial period, she said.
Douglas Lang, supervisor of the Porter County pretrial program, said the assessments usually occur within 24 hours of arrest.
The program is set to go statewide next year.
Porter County conducted around 600 assessments during each of the pilot program’s first two years, and has conducted 390 assessments so far this year, Golumbeck said. People accused of misdemeanors and felonies are considered by the program, the (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.