Co-Morbidity

 

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In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king

According to SAMHSA’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) (PDF | 3.4 MB) an estimated 43.6 million (18.1%) Americans ages 18 and up experienced some form of mental illness. In the past year, 20.2 million adults (8.4%) had a substance use disorder. Of these, 7.9 million people had both a mental disorder and substance use disorder, also known as co-occurring mental and substance use disorders.Various mental and substance use disorders have prevalence rates that differ by gender, age, race, and ethnicity. 

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Those are the American figures, now take a look at some British ones, in 2014/15 there were 8,149 hospital admissions of drug related mental health and behavioural disorders that’s 14% higher than the previous year. There were also 14,279 hospital admissions for poisoning as a consequence of drug use, that’s 57% up on 2003/4. 

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24% of those arrested by police for assault later tested positive for drugs, in 12% of those cases the drug of choice was cannabis. More British people than ever are taking drugs but to all intents and purposes we’re not addicted, even with a surge in drug abuse brought on by a recession, austerity and economic uncertainty. Despite this lack of addiction there’s been an increase in comorbidity ( mental illness coinciding with drug use), an increase in drug driving, and an increase in assaults (how many of those involved in the perpetration of knife & gun crime would have been found to have used drugs if they’d been caught at the scene?).

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There’s been an increase in parents attending their own children’s funerals, an increase in police attending teenage crimes scenes, an increase in community concerns about the increasingly violent ways in which teenage members of their communities are meeting their end. The only thing that hasn’t increased is governmental concern about what’s going on, the kind of concern that could lead to an increase not a decrease in policing numbers and police budgets. British police have form when it comes to targeting big time drug dealers and the havoc and mayhem they create in Britain’s cities. Out of control children (black and white) are running around with guns and knives and pockets stuffed full of cash and besides being bemused, the government has cut policing budgets time and again and chosen to do nothing.

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The stats on Cannabis farms make for astounding reading, that’s thousands of suburban terraced homes in which plants and not people are being housed. The police used to raid thousands of these properties a year, returning the homes to estate agents who could then arrange for them to be filled by real people with real housing needs. However, the number of cannabis farm raids has dropped, the reason? A cut in policing manpower and budgets.

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Tied to the issue of cannabis farms is modern slavery, the enslaving of homeless people for the sole purpose of cultivating the cannabis crop. According to Teresa May (she who has declared Eritrea a ‘safe haven’ for returning refugees) ‘Britain leads the world in its efforts to tackle modern slavery’ but not it would seem in eradicating homelessness or cannabis farming. 

Reasons Not To Privatize The Feds: Part Two

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Going Country

More and more, city gangs are sending young runners out into the sticks to sell crack and heroin. We spoke to dealers, sex workers and police to get a better understanding of how the whole thing works.

As commuters arrive into Britain’s major cities from their homes in the shires, a different kind of commuter is travelling the opposite direction. They’re more likely to be young and wearing trainers, tracksuits and puffer jackets. Most of them generate more cash each day than their city-bound counterparts. The tools of their trade are a cheap mobile phone, a bag of class A drugs and a knife.

Last week, the National Crime Agency released its second report into the growing phenomenon known as “going country” – city drug gangs sending young runners to sell crack and heroin in market or coastal towns. The report found that these were no occasional day trips: over 180 urban drug dealing gangs have expanded into the jurisdictions of three quarters of British police forces.

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Going country, or “OT” (out there), is not an entirely new phenomenon. Gangs from the big four UK drug hubs – London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool – have been sending dealers to sell in less crowded areas since the rise of the highly profitable crack selling business, and of mobile phones, in the 1990s. The drug trade in Ipswich, Suffolk, for example, has been dominated by London gangs since 2003.

 HAINE, LAYet, in the last decade, across Britain the trickle has turned into a flood. Using motorways and trains, city gangs have expanded their reach far and wide, beyond the commuter belt, from Devon and Gloucestershire to Humberside and Scotland. London gangs – the most prolific of them all – have taken over the trade across the south of England: in west country towns such as Swindon, Melksham, Aylesbury, Bournemouth and Yeovil; in southern towns such as Hastings, Eastbourne, Worthing, Tunbridge Wells, Margate and Brighton; and in the east, in Colchester, Cambridge, Norwich, Leiston and Bury St Edmonds.

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What’s more, the dealers are getting younger, with children as young as 11 being found selling drugs in areas a world away from the inner city zones they call home. Meanwhile, as the newcomers increasingly discard the old school criminal code of local drug markets, rivalry, enmity and violence intensifies.

Despite recent police and media reports about this phenomenon, little is known about how these gangs operate and the impact they have on “host” towns. In truth, it’s a story about a collision point: where people’s desperation to escape poverty and pain meets head-on with the cold, hard economics of the drug trade.

G4s have demonstrated to the general public just how adept they are at managing national events and the probation service, they clearly aren’t. So where would they find the money for the kind of policing work that throws up this research data? Policing cuts have consequences.

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Tony Blair admits he is baffled by rise of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn

Tony Blair has said he is struggling to understand the appeal of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn because both are hampered by “the question of electability”.

The former British prime minister, a supporter of Hillary Clinton, admitted that he is finding it hard to grasp popular movements in both Britain and the USfavouring mavericks who will “rattle the cage” and which reflect a loss of faith in the progressive centre.

In a joint interview with the Guardian and the Financial Times in Washington, he emphasised that Americans must make their own decision but made clear his scepticism about Sanders, the leftwing senator whose challenge to wealthy eliteshas energised young supporters.

“It’s very similar to the pitch of Jeremy Corbyn,” Blair said. “Free tuition fees: well, that’s great, but someone’s going to have pay for it. An end to war, but there are wars.” But not wars with quite the ramifications of the Iraq war eh Tony?

Legal Highs – HMP Winchester, but not as you’d recognise it!

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THE use of ‘legal highs’ in Winchester prison has become so rife that three inmates were rushed to hospital in just one day after consuming a potentially deadly substance, the Chronicle can reveal.

Toxic drugs are being smuggled into the prison and have become “a new currency” an MP has warned – with guards and dogs struggling to detect them because of the chemicals they contain.

The epidemic at the Romsey Road jailhouse can be revealed as the Prison Officers Association warned that the problem of new psychoactive substances readily available and used by prisoners nationwide is getting “out of control”.

At Winchester three inmates were taken to hospital on the same day in September after taking a toxic concoction known as ‘spice’.

The revelations at the Winchester Road prison comes after Rev Graham Topping, a former chaplain at the jail, spoke out about how alleged bullying, secrecy and rock-bottom morale is affecting officers.

As previously reported, the prison has had five deaths in custody since July and a source at the prison said the impact they have on inmates is the most “destructive” he has ever seen.

Winchester MP Steve Brine is demanding action over New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) in prisons and has helped move an amendment to a new blanket ban on legal highs to make possession of the substances inside the prison a criminal offence.

The problem at the jail has led to inmates turning violent suddenly without warning.

A source close to Winchester Prison said one prisoner under the influence of spice went on the roof of the prison, and another inmate attacked prison staff with a mop.

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The synthetic cannabis has worrying side effects such as vomiting, seizures, psychosis and, in some cases, death.

A source told the Chronicle how the drugs are now infiltrating the prison and are affecting inmates, resulting in several needing emergency medical treatment.

He said:“Legal highs are probably the biggest threat to prisons. There are a number of difficulties with legal highs, it is very difficult for dogs and staff to detect them due to the chemicals that are in them.

“It makes it easy to get them the drug dogs because of this.”

“I was there for years and I have never seen a drug have such a destructive affect.

“People who take them can go from being perfectly polite to then going completely nuts.”

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“I do not think Winchester has it worse than any other prison, but it makes what is a bad situation a hundred times worse.”

The problems are revealed after damning statistics showed that prison deaths across the country are at the highest level for a decade and the Prison Officers Association (POA) have said the issue is “out of control” across prisons in England.

A statement issued by the POA on its website said: “Members of the POA have consistently challenged budget cuts, staff shortages and the serious increase in prison violence and suicides but no one appears to be listening.

“There have been seven apparent homicides in prisons in the last 12 months and the use of legal highs is clearly out of control.”

In a debate on the Psychoactive Substances Bill in Parliament, Mr Brine expressed his concerns about legal highs which he said are being used as the latest “currency” inside jails.

Mr Brine said: “Reports given to me by HMP-YOI Winchester confirm the use of legal highs inside its walls is now widespread.

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“Winchester now has trained drugs dogs, but there are a variety of compounds used in NPSs, so if the core compound is not the same as the dog has been trained for, it simply misses the substance.

“It seems the new currency inside our prisons is not tobacco or cannabis, but the NPS known as Spice.

“It is a lethal substance existing under the brand names Herbal Haze, Damnation and Space Cadet. The governor told me that on one day last month there were three ambulances in the prison yard, after three prisoners had taken Spice.

Tougher measures to tackle legal high substance are set to be introduced when the new psychoactive substances bill is put through parliament.

 

Police in Suffolk & An Old Warning Issued Over Legal Highs

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Emergency services were called to a shop in in Chichestera at around 4pm on Tuesday (October 21) where a man was acting strangely and saying he felt unwell.

He then began damaging the shop, Eddie’s Convenience Store in Millfield Close, before running away and climbing a tree in Baxendale Road. Thankfully the man, a 26-year-old, didn’t do himself any serious damage; however it is believed he had taken so-called legal highs. He was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and was later bailed until November 7 while investigations continue.

Another man was also taken to St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester suffering the effects from what is thought to be a legal high drug. He has since been released.

Police in the area are warning about legal highs after two men were also taken to hospital in Bognor Regis on Tuesday (October 21).

Police were called around 2.15pm to reports of two men taken ill at a property in Stocker Road. The men, both 19, were taken to hospital, but were discharged later that evening.

Detective Inspector Dave Grover said: “We believe all of these men may have taken some type of legal high which made them all very unwell. We urge people to take caution as legal highs often have great health risks. Just because a substance is legal to possess, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. In addition, other damaging health issues have been experienced including paranoid states, psychosis, hallucinations, comas and seizures.”

Police advise that there is a range of people to talk to and there are services available that offer support. They are there to listen to concerns, whether they be from the enquirer or someone they know. These include the NHS website www.nhs.uk and www.talktofrank.com

‘Legal highs are gateway drugs linked to crime’

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Police incidents in Hampshire involving legal highs – also called new psychoactive substances – have shot up from 63 to 403 in just three years, and that is expected to rise as they become more widespread and available to buy.

The message is loud and clear – people of all ages run the serious risk of death or causing permanent damage to their body and health if they buckle to peer pressure and continue to consume these ‘toxic cocktails’.

Doctor Jane Boskovic, who specialises in substance misuse at The Baytrees drink and drugs treatment unit, in Milton, Portsmouth, said: ‘Legal highs are incredibly dangerous and devastating. Having seen some of the devastating results of people taking legal highs, people should be absolutely terrified of taking these drugs. They are equally as dangerous as classic drugs, if not more.

‘Maybe it’s an exciting thing to try these drugs, but people really are playing Russian roulette with their lives.

‘The reason for that is …with legal highs, we don’t know the effect they all have on people’s bodies. They are very addictive in very vast quantities.’

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While some legal highs have been banned under the Misuse of Drugs Act – such as meow meow naphyrone, BZP and GBL – many alternatives are still legal to buy and we are seeking for a blanket ban to be rolled out by the government.

It comes as Portsmouth City Council launches a drive, supported by The News, aimed at increasing awareness of the risks associated with legal highs.

Packs containing posters and postcards are being sent to all secondary schools in the area and specialist training sessions are being held for staff and pupils. Pubs and clubs are also being sent posters, banners and leaflets.

And plans are moving forward to ban legal highs in Portsmouth’s public spaces.

Hampshire police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes, who has campaigned hard on the issue, said: ‘I am totally supportive of The News’ campaign against legal highs.

‘I hope it raises awareness of the very real danger they pose to the public and deters people from putting their lives at risk by using them.

‘For a long time, I have been calling for either a complete ban, or regulation, of all mind-altering substance.

‘Recently, I was very encouraged to hear the police minister say in parliament that he too would like to see a blanket ban on all new psychoactive substances and that we cannot – and should not – tolerate the open sale on our high streets and over the internet of these substances.

‘I intend to continue lobbying the government to do everything possible to prohibit the sale of these toxic cocktails and I look forward to collaborating with partners and the public to limit the harm they cause – particularly to our young people.’

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Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond, who has worked with affected families and campaigned against the rise of legal high ‘head shops’, said: ‘You are putting your life in the hands of a small drug – it could kill you the first time you take them.’

AIMS OF THE CAMPAIGN

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* To ensure the government delivers on its pledge to impose a complete ban on the production, distribution, supply and sale of legal highs by formerly adopting the Psychoactive Substances Bill.

* To raise awareness of the lethal dangers of legal highs, especially among teenagers.

* To ensure other authorities follow the efforts made by Portsmouth City Council to come up with a comprehensive action plan detailing how the ban will be enforced, and who people should contact if they think someone is under the influence or suffering from the effects of legal highs.

* To ensure the government delivers on its pledge to impose a complete ban on the use and sale of legal highs by formerly adopting the Psychoactive Substances Bill.

* To raise awareness of the lethal dangers of legal highs, especially among teenagers.

* To ensure other authorities follow the efforts made by Portsmouth City Council to come up with a comprehensive action plan detailing how the ban will be enforced, and who people should contact if they think someone is under the influence or suffering from the effects of legal highs.

Legal highs and sick rape porn led North Tyneside decorator to tie up and molest customer

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A decorator tied up and molested a terrified customer after going to her house to discuss doing work.

Graham Stevens, never in trouble before, suddenly pounced on the mum as they talked about the work, tying her up with masking tape and subjecting her to a serious sexual assault.

A court heard the usually respectable 53-year-old’s mind had been distorted by legal highs, pornography and rape fantasies.

He grabbed the woman from behind, tied her wrists behind her back, forced her upstairs, taped her mouth and subjected the crying woman to a serious sexual assault in an hour-long ordeal.

The terrified victim, who said he seemed to have been enjoying the attack, said he then suddenly stopped, saying “I can’t do this, I can’t rape you”, before apologising and freeing her.

Stevens was then followed by police as he drove to Holy Island to kill himself but was stopped on the causeway and arrested.

As the attacker, a regular cannabis smoker who spent the night before looking at porn taking legal highs, was jailed for false imprisonment and sexual assault, a judge said he had tried to carry out his sick fantasies.

Judge Brian Forster QC said: “The explanation for what took place appears to be you had been taking drugs and had an interest in pornography.

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“That interest, by reason of your consumption of substances, has led you to carry the fantasy into the reality of your life.”

The court heard Stevens knocked on the victim’s door in North Tyneside one morning in April.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister said: “They were chatting generally and, without warning and completely unexpectedly, he grabbed her from behind.

“He told her to shut up and do as she was told, pushing her to the floor and restraining her with his elbow or knee on her back.

“He had masking tape with him and put her arms behind her back and taped her wrists then lifted her to her feet and forced her to go upstairs, where he covered her mouth with masking tape, despite her struggling and bleeding.”

Stevens then began to molest the woman, who feared she was going to be raped.

Mr Pallister said: “Then all of a sudden he stopped it and took out a spliff and started to smoke it.

“He said ‘I can’t do this, I can’t rape you’.

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“He apologised and she asked him to take off the tape, which he did then left the house.”

Stevens then returned to his home, told his wife she deserved better and said he was going.

After the victim rang police, they spotted him heading north on the A1 and followed him up to the causeway at Holy Island, where he stopped.

He was arrested and admitted the attack, saying he had been smoking legal highs and watching pornography the previous night while his wife was working a night shift.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said the attack has had a significant detrimental affect on her life.

She said in a statement to the court: “What he did has impacted on many aspects of my life and has changed the way I live my life.

“He physically hurt me but far greater than the physical impact was the psychological impact.

“It took place in my home, a place I was happy and secure in.

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“I don’t sleep properly, have hot sweats and nightmares and flashbacks about what happened and I find it difficult to be in the area on the landing where this took place. I’ve even redecorated the area to try to change the way I feel about this area of the house.”

Stevens, of West View, Earsdon, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and sexual assault and was jailed for five years and four months and ordered to sign the sex offender register for life. He was also banned from going within 100 yards of the victim’s home or contacting her as part of a sexual offences prevention order.

Nick Peacock, defending, said Stevens was usually a hard-working family man who was respected in his community and had a reference from his local vicar.

Mr Peacock said: “He is devastated and horrified by what he has done and he accepts the victim must have thought the worst when this began. He wishes through me to apologise to her.”