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Article published by the the Marin
Institute, on Recovery and Prevention Pioneers in Louisiana, Sharon
Ayres of the Louisiana Alliance & Samantha-Hope Atkins
Recovery Rally April 23rd, Article focused on Youth
in Recovery, and the ongoing need in Louisiana!
Alcohol, drug addicts gather at State Capitol
your feedback and comments
Talk about Youth Risks/Alcohol
Economic Report-Problem Drinkers, Underage
consumption---Good customers for the Alcohol Industry!
Alcoholism is an
illness that affects 14 million Americans each year, and accounts for
$185 billion in costs
U.S. Enforcement agency phone numbers for underage drinking laws.
The highest prevalence of both binge and heavy drinking
in 2002 was for young adults aged 18 to 25, with the peak rate of both
measures occurring at age 2.
Read State Policy news page
Landmark report and call for action by the NAS 9/03 read overview here
Children of Addicted
Alcohol is a drug or it isn't!
Read outrage on Alcohol being
excluded from the "Drug Policy" efforts
Alcohol is consumed more frequently than all other illicit drugs
combined and is the drug most likely to be associated with injury or
Source: U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and
Alcoholism. (2001, January 1). Alcoholism: Getting the Facts (NIH
Publication No. 96–4153)[Brochure]. Washington, DC: U.S. Government
Between 50 percent and 60
percent of the people who are alcohol dependent have a blood relative
who was also dependent on alcohol.
The single drug linked to the
largest percentage of state costs is alcohol. We were able to identify
$9.2 billion in state spending linked to only to alcohol CASA-Shoveling Up the Costs Substance Abuse.
37% of 8th graders who drink heavily attempt
suicide, while 11% of non-drinking 8th graders attempt suicide.
-Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Nearly one-fourth of all persons admitted
to general hospitals have alcohol problems or are undiagnosed alcoholics
being treated for the consequences of their drinking
(NIAAA, Eighth Special Report,
op. cit., p. xi).
Online News Sources
ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT
DERIDDER BEAUREGARD NEWS
DESOTO PARISH NEWS
HOUMA DAILY COURIER
LEESVILLE DAILY LEADER
LIVINGSTON PARISH NEWS
MONROE FREE PRESS
NEW ORLEANS CITY BUSINESS
RED STICK POLITICS
THIBODAUX DAILY COMET
MY WAY NEWS
AP VIDEO NEWS
AP ON THE HOUR
AP/REUTERS PHOTO WIRE
by Samantha-Hope Atkins
Crime and untreated, unidentified or poorly responded to substance
Louisiana incarcerates more people per capita than all other
states, most of these are for alcohol/other drug and addiction
related crimes. If incarcerating more people worked to reduce
violent crime then surely we would not continue to see results of a
finds homicide rate high:
Louisiana had the nation's second-highest rate of black homicides,
with 29.48 deaths per 100,000 black residents. That's only a few
percentage points behind Pennsylvania, where there were 29.52 deaths
per 100,000 black residents, says the Violence Policy Center, which
conducted the study. The national rate of black homicides was 18.71
per 100,000 and 2.97 deaths per 100,000 for white homicides.
Tests Positive for Cocaine, Grandmothers Charged
Zero Medical Detox Beds more than one year after the
storms-Surreal to realize addicts can't get help
for their illness, but can get very long jail terms.
Crime is a real concern in New Orleans, they have had the National
Guard, State Police, and even a "Crime Summit" step up to assist the
city in finding a safer community in the rebuilding process.
The criminal justice system in the city is said to be near a
breaking point, a large number of poor people without means to pay
for legal counsel has become very apparent in the Post Katrina world
we live in.
We should give thanks to all willing restore the communities
impacted by the storm.
Focusing on public safety and working to end the violence is
one step in the right direction. The question still remains,
will we take all the steps necessary to reduce addiction
related crimes? All of the law enforcement efforts may
help control the availability of addictive drugs, but sadly, will do
little to cure the long standing neglect to the disease of
To be fair, it is unreasonable to expect Law enforcement, and a very
overburdened Criminal Justice system to treat the disease of
addiction, quite simply that is not their job, they are unqualified.
We must see real vision for repair of the miserably broken system of
response to addiction related illness in Louisiana. Trauma
spurs heavier drinking and drugging for many to simply "cope", and
often leads to the uncontrollable outcomes of full blown addiction.
These increases were predicted by many right after the storms, and
obviously the numbers who need help are rising, while the services
remain absent from the community.
Clearly with alcohol/other drugs widely available in the city there
is an urgent need for medical detox, treatment, and recovery support
services. Zero beds, yes that is what is available for
those in need of medical detox in the Greater New Orleans area.
It is very hard to understand how this continues to go on and we are
working collectively with a group of concerned citizens and
professionals to find solutions outside of waiting for the vanished
services to be replaced. As one woman said to me "when it is
your kid in need and they won't help you find treatment, but can
somehow find a jail cell it makes you wonder about what is really
The need is obvious, both in the private and public sector- If
you want to get involved in reaching out to those in the Storm
Impacted areas by working together to create real and effective
solutions for the future of the city and state related to
alcohol/other drug use, abuse, addiction, please
New York Times Article on Louisiana's Incarceration Labor Pool-
Benefits for Local Communities
seems to clarify how/why so many inmates are kept in parish prison?
The challenge is seeing that those in these local jails can get
treatment and recovery services when alcohol/other drug use and
abuse and addiction were the root of their criminal actions in the
first place. Rehabilitation, or "Correcting" behavior must
include comprehensive treatment and recovery support services, if we
are are to ever end the cycle of addiction in our state and all the
obvious and related social ills.
experts say that only Louisiana allows citizens to use inmate labor on
such a widespread scale, under the supervision of local sheriffs. The
state has the nation's highest incarceration rate, and East Carroll
Parish, a forlorn jurisdiction of 8,700 people along the Mississippi
River in the remote northeastern corner of Louisiana, has one of the
highest rates in the state.
As a result, it is
here that the nation's culture of incarceration achieves a kind of
ultimate synthesis with the local economy. The prison system converts a
substantial segment of the population into a commodity that is in
desperately short supply — cheap labor — and local-jail inmates are
integrated into every aspect of economic and social life.
National Research further supports call for change--
Researchers getting the word out- Alcohol the drug of choice for youth.
A Pire Research report has
been released this month bringing more clarity to the role alcohol has
played with youth and substance abuse. The study also indicates
that more federal funding is directed to prevent illicit drug use/abuse.
This is an obvious truth to many of us, the real question remains will
we get honest with the American people and force lawmakers to do the
"More young people drink alcohol than use illegal drugs; in fact,
alcohol kills 4 times
more kids than all illegal drugs combined. However, federal funding
for preventing drug use is
about 25 times greater than spending on underage drinking prevention."
Cash and Alcohol Profits?
What is so interesting is the costs and revenue both the industry and
state tax coffers are seeing as a result of gross indifference to
underage alcohol use. Could this indifference be as a result
of the revenue generated and the silence that money buys? The
study provides factual information that in my opinion draws a clear line
connecting profit to priority. Our kids need the truth, about the
real risks, and possible lifelong damage they are exposing themselves
too, instead we have a virtually unregulated alcohol industry, allowed
to market and promote their products with little regulation.
The study estimates that underage drinking generates $18 billion in
sales of beer, wine
and liquor for the alcohol industry each year.
Sales of alcohol consumed by minors provide $2 billion in annual tax
At least 16 percent of all alcohol sold – a conservative estimate,
according to Miller – is consumed by underage drinkers.
Recovery for New Orleans Louisiana now has a much greater distraction
demanding "recovery" - the storms of 2005 have virtually swallowed up
the language we often relate to alcohol/other drug problems and
Making the connection, Alcohol and Violence
2/16/06 Shreveport Case Managers site Addiction/Mental
Health issues as "Triage" with storms displaced population
Volunteers of America North
Louisiana is providing case managers for hurricane evacuees through
a contract with the state's Louisiana Family Recovery Corps and a
grant from United Methodist Committee on Relief. "We're sort of
working triage right now. We're meeting the critical needs first and
moving on from there," said Brandy McNeill, vice president of
Children, Family and Senior Services at VOA. "We've had some mental
health issues and drug addiction issues we needed to handle first."
more from Shreveport Times
Katrina, Rita, Hurricane Season brings much pain and struggle to
the gulf coast in 2005.
Months Later Deaths, Suicide, and Overwhelming struggle continue
plaguing our people.
When we look at the landscape of addiction in Louisiana, and the
unbelievable experiences of people suffering trauma, there can be no
question about the need for real prevention, treatment, and recovery
support services. For too long we have seen gross neglect of
the very issues that prevent people from gaining and sustaining the
ability to live healthy and safe lives. Much must change in
the days ahead, and I have been contacted by countless people and
organizations who are organizing to help us evaluate the failings of
days gone by and focusing efforts on steps to improving a
system that simply has failed to effectively meet the needs of
people impacted by addiction related illness. If you are
interested in joining this group of "pull your sleeves up" folks to
help in moving forward contact us!
Research continues to support advocacy focused on both alcohol
related genetics and
genetically influenced, with genes explaining about 60 percent of
the risk, and the environment explaining about 40 percent. People,
however, don't inherit an alcoholic gene, in all likelihood, they
inherit genes that relate to characteristics that increase or
decrease the overall risk for alcoholism," he said.
Read the whole story
St. Bernard is a Pro-Recovery Parish, and totally focused on working
on real solutions for substance abuse problems.
Regulating the Pill Mills...
Dan Schneider, a real gift to the parish of St. Bernard and
those in our state concerned about the impact of addiction did a
great job along with others in holding a town hall meeting this
week. I was invited to speak, and was grateful to do so, as an
advocate for treatment and recovery. Thank you's to our
members that also attended, and of the 75 or so from the community.
It is very clear what "real" people know too well the need for real
solutions to alcohol and drug problems, and many of the community
leaders in St. Bernard are working with these folks to bring real
hope for effective, available treatment and recovery support
2005 Nightmare Legislative session for those concerned about the
impact of addiction on our communities. Leading the nation in
the highest rates of incarceration, and finding a solution that both
protects the health and safety of all people, only to kill it, makes
-SB 157 signed into law, now
DWI offenders have little or no
hope for help. We should never have to fight to save treatment
in this state, yet year after year
MADD opposes the treatment
mandate (not any other mandates like fees, fines or gadgets not
proven to be as effective as treatment and are by far the norm)
The Lobbying by MADD, the DA's Association, and the
Louisiana Department of Highway Safety all pushed to remove the
treatment mandate, despite proof it is working and the fact that
National Directives (MADD even has a call to action asking people to
write and ask congress to support DWI mandates) call for treatment
mandates. We have had many people write in with horror stories
about the lack of treatment and recovery support for those with alcohol
problems who get arrested for DWI. I am outraged that we
continue to see so much resistance to change in this state.
Three or more years ago I spoke to the DWI task force, a shocking
experience to say the least. Alcoholics have an illness that
is responded to by those unqualified, uneducated, and incapable
organizations and people regarding the solution.
"We're taking on all of the very strong interest groups," she
Blanco defends' sin tax' budget proposals-4/26/05 Times Picayune
Mr. Duffy, Rep. Sharon Broome- Discuss Need and Possible Revenues from the
Alcohol Excise Tax
Written about the need for Alcohol Tax to be used for Urgent
More on the Costs of Alcohol Costs In Louisiana
The National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) in
10th Report to Congress on Alcohol and Health [June 2000] estimated
cost of alcohol abuse in Louisiana at $2.989 billion in 1998. The
report broke costs down into direct economic costs related to
services received and
indirect economic costs related loss of productivity and future earnings:
Legislative Bill List
Alcohol Excise Updates-
Toll Free Alcohol Help Line Legislation - In memory of Corey Domange.
Truth--Video -Corey Domangue
Direct Costs - $814 million:
$120 million for health care costs for treatment, prevention, and
$305 million for the medical consequences of alcohol consumption
$254 million for ancillary services at motor vehicle crashes
$102 million for alcohol-related crime
$25 million related to fire destruction
$7.8 million for social administration
Indirect Costs - $2.166 billion:
$1.414 billion related to loss of productivity due to
$589 million related to loss of future earnings due to premature
$163 million related to loss of productivity due to alcohol related
The excise taxes paid to the state by the alcohol industry defrays
about $50 million of the $800+ million in direct economic costs of
alcohol abuse. That leaves Louisiana taxpayers footing the bill for
the remaining $750 million in medical and social services related to
To re-coup these costs, LSU Health Sciences researcher Richard
Scribner, MD, MPH, has estimated that the alcohol tax would have to
be raised from its current rate of about 3 cents a drink to about 40
cents a drink.
The last time the excise tax rate was raised for beer was 1948. The
rate for wine was increased in 1956; liquor went up in 1970. To put
the alcohol “sin tax” in perspective, you would have to buy over 100
bottles of wine to pay the same amount of excise tax charged for one
carton of cigarettes.
Odinet's Law is Working-Here we go AGAIN....
TP Article totally discounts 68% of 3rd and 4th offenders sentenced
under a 2001 law mandating Treatment/House Arrest for DWI, is working.
LSU and Underage Drinking...Still
a Serious Problem
Talking about Alcohol Excise Tax for Teacher Pay Raise
Salter said he would like to see an increase in the taxes on liquor and
beer, which have not been increased in more than 50 years. Given the
reluctance of lawmakers to raise taxes, Salter said a pay raise for
teachers will "depend on the teachers to sell it" to the Legislature and
2005-Chance to Reduce underage
support state with needed dollars-Treatment and Recovery spending is
Beers- Same size milk...$1.39 ?
Alcohol consumption has a cost to our states health and safety.
Research shows that illegal underage drinking, is reduced when the price
of alcohol increases. People who need help with Alcohol Problems
who get help; reduce the costs to our state both in lives and
dollars. The Alcohol Lobby Group has been a barrier to the citizens
voice in our state on this issue. We need those who want to reduce
these problems, increase support for prevention, treatment, and recovery
support to act now. The 2005 session is a "Fiscal" session which
means "fee bills" can be brought up, our this happens every two years,
but do to changes in the timing of these session we have had to wait 3
last effort in 2002, met strong opposition by the Alcohol Lobby.
Despite the fact that Louisiana has a public health and public safety
interest in increasing this tax, the Alcohol Lobbyists with alcohol
donations, and other monetary influences been more successful in killing
community efforts in the House Ways and Means Committee which is where
this legislation must start in the process to become law. Clearly
their role is to protect the sales and profits of this industry.
The Alcohol Excise Tax is effective in reducing underage illegal
drinking, which makes up some 20% of all alcohol sales.
More on Louisiana Alcohol Excise tax ....Alcohol Excise Update
In court for DWI go free
Taser Guns, Alcohol and other Drugs--Toxic Combo
See Louisiana 3
Alcohol-Other Drug Related Taser deaths
Louisiana like other states, see Taser Deaths Increase
In their recent report
warning of risks, Amnesty International stated in late November that 74 people in
the United States and Canada died since 2001 after being shocked with
these stun guns. Taser International, Inc. officials say their product
doesn't directly cause death, but there are many who disagree,
especially physicians. The use of drugs, alcohol and certain medical
conditions can cause a severe negative reaction when combined with the
shock caused by a Taser.
Power of Stun Gun Used By Police to be Increased by Taser Manufacturer
12-29-2004 Tasers not as safe as
Slidell Police Officer Injured, discovers he is not alone-- AZ
article on problems with injury during law enforcement training.
"I am really appalled at how departments around the world are taking
Taser blindly at their word that the (Taser) is safe, with only the
scant testing done," says C. Samuel Babin, a Louisiana sheriff's deputy
who is on medical leave with a condition he believes is Taser related.
Babin, a 17-year law enforcement veteran in Slidell, La., says he heard
from a dozen police officers after posting a message on a police
magazine Web site asking officers about injuries. "I really
believe officers need to be made aware of the potential danger before
subjecting (themselves) to the training," he says.
Gambling Addiction Recovery with DA's -OAD working to support effective
intervention and treatment services.
Many disagree with gaming being on demand in our state, they site
the societal costs, harms of addiction, criminal costs to the state.
The discussion is no longer about legalized gaming. The one
thing very different about the gaming industry, from other addictive
industry, is that they set aside monies from dedicated state revenues
for problem gamblers, and have worked to create a public awareness
campaign to discourage denial, and promote recovery. No other
addictive industry in our state has taken such a bold approach to
addressing social problems head on as the gaming industry.
Gambling addiction, like any other addiction, brings great
consequences to the individual, family, often employers, and of course
the community. Recognizing the opportunity to intervene, and
support an individual with treatment, and recovery support, is one way
to reduce these consequences. We get a great deal of e-mail from
those looking for various services and support, many looking for "drug
court" like intervention for problem gamblers. Until this program there
was nothing available in Louisiana. Like other addictions, their are no
winners with gambling addiction. Recovery is a winner for
everyone, and this is a real positive step in addressing the root of the
problem, with an effective solution.
the story in the Advocate
Louisiana voters are split
on whether they favor
church-based groups receiving tax dollars to provide social services,
according to a recent poll.
Louisiana, End Addiction, Support Recovery!
See the April '04 Recovery
2004 Video! (will take few minutes
to download !)