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 '03  News Archives

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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

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Gambling Problem?
 Call 1-877-770-STOP

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.
SAMHSA 2003


Louisiana Resource

Read State Policy news page

Landmark report and call for action by the NAS 9/03 read overview here

Children of Addicted Parents-must read!

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 death.
 
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 Printing Office.

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).

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Louisiana
News&Commentary
  by Samantha-Hope Atkins 


Crime and untreated, unidentified or poorly responded to substance abuse:
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 broken system:

January 2007-Study 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.

10-Year-Old 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 addiction. 

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 going on".  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 contact us.



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.

National prison 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 same?

"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 revenues.


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 addictions.

Making the connection, Alcohol and Violence


Voting updates:


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 environmental risks
"Alcoholism is 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 services.

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 no sense.

-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.

http://www.hopenetworks.org/la_leg_2004/alcohol_solutions_dwi.htm


"We're taking on all of the very strong interest groups," she said.
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
Article Written about the need for Alcohol Tax to be used for Urgent Treatment Need

More on the Costs of Alcohol Costs In Louisiana

The National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) in their
10th Report to Congress on Alcohol and Health [June 2000] estimated the economic
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:
2005 Legislative Bill List               

Alcohol Excise Updates

Toll Free Alcohol Help Line Legislation - In memory of Corey Domange.
Absolute Truth--Video -Corey Domangue

More on 2005 Session

Direct Costs - $814 million:

$120 million for health care costs for treatment, prevention, and support services
$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 alcohol-related illness
$589 million related to loss of future earnings due to premature death
$163 million related to loss of productivity due to alcohol related crime
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 alcohol abuse.

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 taxpayers. Article


2005-Chance to Reduce underage drinking, support state with needed dollars-Treatment and Recovery spending is hoped for!

.89 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 years.

Our 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

2/20/04
 5 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.

1-24-2005 Power of Stun Gun Used By Police to be Increased by Taser Manufacturer
12-29-2004 Tasers not as safe as first thought

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.  Read 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.

 


Save Louisiana, End Addiction, Support Recovery! 
See the April '04
 Recovery Rally 2004 Video!  (will take few minutes to download !)
 

 


 

 
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