Drug Has Taken Deadly Toll, And Left Health And Law Enforcement Officials Scrambling

first_imgVials of a confiscated synthetic amphetamine called flakka that killed 61 people in Broward County in a little more than a year. States have been reworking drug laws to make it easier to classify synthetic drugs as illegal.It’s been four months since anyone in Broward County, Florida, has died from an overdose of alpha-PVP, known as flakka, a crystal-like synthetic drug meant to imitate cocaine or methamphetamine. But the drug has already taken a deadly toll, and left health and law enforcement officials scrambling to stem a new public health crisis.In small doses, flakka elicits euphoria. But just a little too much sends body temperatures rocketing to 105 degrees, causing a sense of delirium that often leads users to strip down and flee from paranoid hallucinations as their innards, quite literally, melt. If someone survives an overdose, they are often left with kidney failure and a life of dialysis.Flakka is among a growing number of addictive and dangerous synthetic drugs being produced easily and cheaply with man-made chemicals in clandestine labs in China. But because the drugs were largely unregulated when they first hit the market, some states have struggled to combat them. Now legislators, health professionals and police are trying to eradicate the drugs by making it easier to qualify them as illegal and ramping up the criminal penalties for selling them.Since 2010, when synthetic drugs started becoming popular in the U.S., 32 states have passed laws to make it easier to classify synthetic drugs as illegal. This year, the District of Columbia and Florida passed similar measures, and in at least 10 other states, changes to controlled substance laws took effect, according to the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws (NAMSDL).Among the most popular synthetic drugs in the U.S. are synthetic cathinones, known commonly as bath salts, and synthetic cannabinoids, essentially smokable imitation marijuana products, which are sold in stores using kid-friendly branding like Scooby Snax.It had been difficult for states to classify synthetic drugs as illegal, a process known as scheduling, because drugs are typically banned based on the compounds they contain. Under that system, manufacturers can change a molecule of an illegal synthetic drug, essentially rendering it legal.“It does seem to some extent that everybody’s a step behind what’s being produced,” said Jonathan Woodruff, an attorney with NAMSDL.While the federal Drug Enforcement Administration is working to permanently add 10 synthetic cathinones, including alpha-PVP, to its list of scheduled drugs, some states have also been moving to modify how they schedule drugs.This year, Florida and the District of Columbia enacted laws that change the way they schedule synthetic drugs. Rather than making the drugs unlawful based on their chemical makeup, the new laws classify drugs based on the type of drug and the reaction it causes.The approach means that any drug that mimics an already illicit substance will automatically be illegal. The change will enable Florida to quickly prosecute drug cases and stomp outbreaks of new drugs, said James Hall, an epidemiologist with Nova Southeastern University.“It bans substances before they appear or before we even know about them,” Hall said. “So it breaks this vicious cycle of a new drug appearing, finally getting it scheduled or banned and then another one rushing in to takes its place.”These laws alone won’t stop the spread of synthetic drugs. But public health advocates are hopeful the Florida law will help prevent another flakka, from which 61 people in Broward County died between September 2014 and mid-December 2015.In the District of Columbia, where in September 603 people were taken to the hospital after ingesting synthetic cannabinoids, the new law, which went into effect this month, is also expected to make it easier for police and prosecutors to charge and convict drug dealers.Chasing SyntheticsIn DeKalb, Illinois, one of the first places to adopt a similar law in 2012, City Attorney Dean Frieders said flakka and other synthetic cathinones like bath salts haven’t taken hold there. (A statewide law in the same vein was passed in 2015.)But the city of almost 44,000 people, which is home to Northern Illinois University, did face a growing problem with retail sales of synthetic marijuana products, which are said to elevate mood and relax the user but have also been known to cause extreme anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations, as well as rapid heart rate, vomiting and violent behavior.The ordinance not only banned the synthetic substances, but allowed city officials to suspend or revoke the tobacco and liquor licenses of businesses that sold the drugs, which Frieders said was effective.“A business just can’t relocate to a different corner,” he said.States are also sanctioning businesses for the sale of synthetic drugs to cut down on sales and adverse health reactions, Woodruff said.The District of Columbia has shut down four stores that sold the fake marijuana products, which has led to a substantial decline in people needing medical attention after injecting them, said Robert Marcus, communications director for the District attorney general. The number of people transported to hospitals in the city after consuming synthetic marijuana dropped to 110 in February, down 82 percent in five months.What’s Next?Broward County officials say they expect the new scheduling of synthetic drugs to be helpful, but they relied on a different approach to largely eliminate flakka: working with the DEA to pressure the Chinese government, which last fall made it illegal to produce it and 115 other synthetic substances.Heather Davidson, a prevention specialist for the United Way in Broward County, said officials in South Florida are at a “resting point” with flakka-related emergencies. But, she said, some dealers are passing off real methamphetamine and cocaine as the synthetic drug, even though those drugs are more expensive and have been around longer, because flakka has become so popular.Broward’s flakka problem came to a head last year when county hospitals saw 360 cases related to the drug in one month. By December that number had dropped to 54, an 85 percent drop in five months.“We still hear anecdotally that people are searching for flakka, that users are still wanting to find it,” Davidson said. “And I believe that another synthetic drug or synthetic compound will take its place.”One of those compounds might be synthetic opioids, which are gaining popularity as it becomes more difficult to get prescription opioids like oxycodone and morphine in the wake of the nation’s painkiller- and heroin-addiction crisis. Those drugs, largely produced in Mexican labs, are made with fentanyl, a synthetic drug that is a hundred times more powerful than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. Davidson and others worry they will be behind the next epidemic.Already nine people have died from fentanyl-based drugs this year in Pinellas County, Florida.“Heroin you need to cultivate. You need fields, you need workers, you need labor,” Davidson said. “With something like a synthetic drug, you just need a laboratory and chemical compound and a base and you’re able to create it very cheaply.”FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

No Personal Target at Russia 2018

first_imgOne of the players Nigeria will bank on for the Super Eagles to make an impact at the World Cup in Russia next month, Alex Iwobi, says he is not setting a target for himself. He’s content appearing at the Mundial for the first time. In a chat with Kunle Adewale, the Arsenal player’s decision to play for his country even when the opportunity to star for England beckoned and his time with Arsene Wenger As the kick-off of the 2018 World Cup draws nearer, Arsenal and Super Eagles midfielder, Alex Iwobi, is hoping that Nigeria would make an appreciable performance just as he expressed delight to be play for the Super Eagles at the Mundial.“We hope to do well at the World Cup, though I am not setting any personal target for myself but rather excited at playing in the Mundial for the first time,” Iwobi said.His father, Chuba, corroborated his opinion, saying there was no set target for his son to meet: “I am not setting a target for him, but I am convinced he would go out there and do his best. He won’t come back from the World Cup with any regret or look back and say I could have done more. He is going to bring success to the team. I believe Nigeria has a good team and will do well.”Iwobi indeed expressed his regret that the tenure of his mentor-Arsene Wenger at Arsenal had come to an end. He stated that he was emotional after his side defeated Huddersfield Town1-0 in their last Premier League fixture which was also Wenger’s final game in charge of the Gunners.Iwobi who was named in the starting line up as in Wenger’s last game and was in action for 72 minutes before he was substituted said: “I feel depressed that Wenger was leaving the club after 22 years in charge. I had exciting moments with him but I am also looking forward to working hard with whoever is coming to take over from him.” Iwobi was, however, not bothered by league finish as he took to his official Twitter account stating his disappointment at the departure of the manager who gave him an opportunity in the first team: “Good to end the season with a win! Emotional and knowing it’s the boss’s last match, was only right it was a win. Love to our fans for all your support this season.”Expressing the same view, his father said: “Every good thing has an ending. Wenger had been there for 22 years, he is a remarkable manager. As a family, we are very grateful because he gave Alex his first opportunity at Arsenal. Going forward however, the reality is gone and what Alex is trying to do is work with the new manager. He’s gotten the natural talent and the ability to play the arsenal way. I’m very confident that he would still be relevant to the team.”Chuba, however, regretted that his son and indeed Arsenal would not be playing in next season’s UEFA Champions League.“I feel bad that my son would not be playing in the Champions League next season having failed to book a top-four place in the premier league but I believe strongly that the new season would be better for the Gunners,” Chuba said.On when he really realised that his son could really make a career in football, Chuba said he started taking Alex to the field to train as early as when Iwobi was 18 months, adding that his son showed great promise of becoming a great footballer at a very early age.“I grew up in a footballing environment. My dad, my uncle and my whole family love football. I played with a local team named Chuba Akpom; so I grew up with a footballing life,” Iwobi said.Against the backdrop that Iwobi’s decision to play for the Super Eagles as against the Three Lions of England was influenced by his uncle and former national team captain, Austin Okocha, Chuba said Alex’s decision to star for Nigeria was strictly his.He said Alex’s decision to dump England for Nigeria was strictly his own decision. “All I did was to support him, and I believe he took the right decision,” Chuba said.Iwobi admitted that deciding to play for Nigeria and not England was not an easy one considering the fact that he had lived in England for almost all his years, but said it was strictly his own decision really without any external influence.Iwobi, who was born in Nigeria, said: “Ordinarily I would have loved to play for England since I have played for all the under-aged teams up to the U-19. My dad also told me a lot of things about the honour and pride that goes with playing for Nigeria. So I thought a lot about this and decided to play for Nigeria,” he said.Iwobi was last Saturday unveiled as the brand ambassador of LG electronics on a three year deal, at the company’s showroom in Lekki, Lagos.“LG would not have beckoned Alex if they didn’t think he would add value and I’m assuring them that they’ve made the right decision. He has been given the platform to contribute his quota, which is sending message to the youths in the country and making them know that every dream is achievable,” Chuba said.Iwobi was honoured at 2018 Best of Africa Awards held in London in April. BoA is an award to honour and celebrate the philanthropic endeavours and achievements of African-born football players.When he moved from the Arsenal Academy to play among Emirates big boys, some felt he was just riding on the back of his uncle, Austin Okocha’s name and the legacy left behind at the club by former Super Eagles star, Nwankwo Kanu during his time at the north London club. However, Iwobi has proved doubters wrong as he did not only become one of the fans favourites at the Emirate Stadium, but was singled out for praise by Coach Arsene Wenger on several occasions.Iwobi has been right in the mix for the Emirates Stadium side having made an impression in his breakthrough season.“I saw in him quality of vision, quality of give and go, of movement. He can break the lines with a pass and individually as well, so there’s a lot in the locker. Overall, he’s only 22 years old so you could see that he has gained in confidence now. He can take people on much more and he has gained power as well. It’s interesting what he has done. Throughout every age group he’s played, he’s been far and away the best player and sees Arsenal as more or less a continuation of that. He feels very comfortable in his surroundings and seems to have an innate sense of how he can influence matches,” the French coach had told the club’s official website.Continuing, Wenger said, “What I like is his love for the game, his passion for the game and his hard work. Those things together, in our world, are a big quality and so I think he has interesting ingredients.”Iwobi made his official debut for Arsenal in their Capital One Cup fourth round tie against Sheffield at Hillsborough Stadium two years ago.He had earlier had a taste of first-team football during the tour of Singapore and made the bench for the Capital Cup One clash with Tottenham Hotspur in the third round. Omeruo Celebrates’Taste the Goal’ with Football FansThe Sports Center of Yaba College of Technology in Lagos hugged the sporting limelight last Sunday and the feelings will linger in the minds of several football fans who had a rare opportunity to meet one-on-one with World Cup-bound Super Eagles’ strongman in the defence line, Kenneth Omeruo. In this report, Femi Solaja writes on the nostalgic feelings of most of the youths at the ‘Taste the Goal’ project. It was a unique privilege to play against the Chelsea Loanee!Get Past Kenneth to Taste the GoalWith the World Cup fever already gripping the Nigerian populace, leading pizza brand, Domino’s Pizza had announced the launch of a consumer engagement campaign tagged ‘Taste the Goal’ to excite, inspire, and sensitise its teeming consumers and fans of the Nigerian national team towards the Mundial in Russia.The weekend programme was planned to coincide with exactly one month to June 16th World Cup opening match between Nigeria and Croatia.The event which had several youths in attendance was aimed at inspiring optimism among consumers and fans of the national team. But more importantly, put them in right frame of mind to support the team in the first three group stage matches and perhaps as the tournament progresses with Nigeria still in the race for the converted trophy.Several young ambitious youths were delights to watch as they engaged the defender who is, aiming for his second World Cup appearance after the Brazil 2014 debut. The Kasimpasa Football Club defender, engaged consumers in a series of experiential and activation games to inspire consumers and fans to anticipate a successful outing of the national team at the world cup.Top of the games is the pitch-planned ‘Get Past Kenneth to Taste the Goal’ game in which consumers are given the opportunity to dribble Kenneth Omeruo to score a goal and get rewarded by Domino’s Pizza! It was a tall order as many failed but few made it.All the participants and spectators had a wonderful evening but the organisers assured consumers that ‘The Taste the Goal’ campaign would run from now till after tzhe World Cup. “I am delighted to be associated with this campaign which is aimed at sharing the excitement of football with family and friends with a fresh Domino pizza,” he remarked.Kenneth Omeruo would be championing the campaign with several activities such as Meet & Greet at some viewing centres, mystery delivery of pizza to fans, day out with two fans, and special appearances on radio programmes.World Cup Goal As Omeruo looks set for second appearance at the World Cup finals with Russia 2018, he assured Nigerian football fans that the priceless World Cup trophy was within the reach of the team should Nigeria start the campaign against Croatia on a positive note.According to him, ” everywhere you go, people talk about Messi, Modric, Aguero and Rakitic but nobody is talking of the components that made the present crop of Super Eagles players. I think it’s a huge advantage for us as a determined side and to the best of my knowledge, Nigeria will be the talking point after the group stage matches all through to the last phase of the tournament,” Omeruo assured.In his pre-tournament assessment, the FC Chelsea Loanee analysed that ” the most important match of Super Eagles is the opening tie against Croatia and not the last match with Argentina.“The moment we get the results in our first two matches with Croatia and Iceland, we will be going into the final group match against Argentina with lots of confidence and perhaps repeat the last result we secured against them in the friendly match late last year. “You will recall that we had already qualified for the World Cup as at the time we faced them in the last friendly match and we all know the outcome of the tie right there in Russia late last year. The logic is that the moment we pick maximum points in the opening games, it will spur the team to greater height.“Since Super Eagles debuted in 1994, I want to say the other generations of the team had laid a solid foundation and have taken us away from being mere participant or second round qualification bar, but real contender for the trophy,” he assured.The defender, who hopes to return to England next season form Turkey commended the technical crew for the harmony that had existed within the team in the last few years.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Curtains for Corbyn? Paddy Power cuts odds on Jezza’s 2018 resignation

first_img Paddy Power raises awareness of Missing People with Motherwell ‘silhouette’ stand August 7, 2020 Submit BGC: Government must ‘act fast’ and extend furlough scheme August 11, 2020 Paddy PowerIt appears that the Labour Party cannot escape charges of antisemitism, as this week Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu released pictures of party leader Jeremy Corbyn ‘supposedly’ attending a wreath-laying ceremony for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games terrorists in 2014.The Labour Party has defended Corbyn’s position, stating that its leader was ‘visiting a Tunisian cemetery to honour innocent victims killed in a 1985 Israeli military air strike’.The event has seen Corbyn face a week of opposition attacks and internal criticisms, as Labour continues to be marred by antisemitism allegations.Updating its UK political markets, Paddy Power makes it 3/1 (from 8/1 last week) – ‘that Jezza leaves before the end of 2018’, as Labour’s leader continues to face questions as to why he visited to an event at a Palestinian Martyrs Cemetery in 2014.Furthermore, Paddy Power Politics has lengthened the odds on Corbyn becoming next PM, replacing to Theresa May from 9/2 to a 6/1, becoming second market favourite behind former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (currently 5/1).Updating the media, Spokesman Paddy Power said: “As pressure mounts on Corbyn again over antisemitism claims, our traders think he will be laying a wreath on his own leadership career before the end of the year, and have been forced to cut the odds.“But doing or saying something questionable hasn’t impacted on Boris Johnson’s popularity – he’s still our most popular selection to take over from May, though Corbyn has slipped down the betting.”Paddy Power Jeremy Corbyn Specials3/1        Corbyn to leave before the end of 20185/1        Boris Johnson to be the next Prime Minister6/1        Corbyn to be the next Prime MinisterCease to be  Party  Leader First:1/3        Theresa May3/1        Jeremy Corbyn Related Articles StumbleUpon Share Share Flutter moves to refine merger benefits against 2020 trading realities August 27, 2020last_img read more