Extra Extra : Drugs

Extra Extra Monday: High-poverty schools, the troubled VA healthcare system, medical examiner accuracy

Fatally flawed: Truth gets buried under broken rules | The Charlotte Observer

In a five-part series launched Saturday, the Charlotte Observer reveals that N.C. medical examiners routinely fail to follow crucial investigative steps, raising questions about the accuracy of thousands of death rulings.

The living face the consequences. Widows can be cheated out of insurance money. Families may never learn why their loved ones died. Killers can go free.

After a medical examiner concluded David Worley died in a Harnett County car wreck last July, a funeral home discovered what the examiner missed: four stab wounds in his back. His ...

Read more ...

Long wait for death certificates makes tracking overdose deaths difficult

"A death isn’t officially ruled an overdose until the state medical examiner’s office says so, usually after an autopsy and tests to confirm the presence of drugs in the person’s body. And getting those results can take months or even years, a Patriot Ledger review of death certificates on file in Quincy, Weymouth and Braintree has found. And that can make it difficult for law enforcement officials and organizations looking to combat the growing problem of opiate abuse to track its toll."

Read the Patriot Ledger's story here.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation probes former Douglas County district attorney

According to WAGA - Atlanta, acting Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner didn't take long to clear the air and clear the decks. On his second day on the job, Fortner fired office manager Tammie Agan, her sister, her son, and another legal assistant.

An earlier I-Team investigation showed how former District Attorney David McDade used seized drug money to provide perks, high-paying second jobs and internships for Agan and her family.

McDade has always said he has done nothing wrong. Fortner says he expects “further action” in the ongoing Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe into how McDade spent seized ...

Read more ...

Increase in heroin use brings longer waiting lists for addiction treatment centers in New York region

Today, the recovering addict climbs into a taxi cab at 5 a.m. every weekday for a 60-mile drive to Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, where he receives methadone treatment. And that came only after a two-month delay on the program’s waiting list, which is now often nine months or longer.

Across the Southern Tier, getting hooked on heroin is easy. Getting unhooked — in itself an onerous regimen — can be impossible because of the shortage of medication-assisted treatment programs.

Extra Extra Monday: Medicare billing, police chauffeurs, judicial ethics, patronage jobs

Dangerous Minds/Insane System | The Virginian-Pilot

But what happened in Apartment 433 was more than just another murder.

It was a window into today's mental health care: a system as dysfunctional as the clients it serves. So gutted it has little power to put away even the most dangerous for any real length of time – and almost nowhere to keep them, even if it could.

Last year's tragedy in Sen. Creigh Deeds’ family inspired at least 60 mental health bills in the General Assembly.

Nothing emerged that will keep anyone any safer from someone like Bruce Williams.

 

Police ...

Read more ...

Overdose deaths increase with sales of painkillers

Several hundred Iowans have died in recent years from overdoses involving prescription painkillers. The U.S. has seen a surge of such deaths in the past decade as sales of prescription painkillers have exploded.

The issue of painkiller abuse has come into sharp focus in Iowa recently with the filing of criminal charges against several medical professionals.

Massachusetts struggling to deal with increase of drug-dependent infants

Extra Extra Monday: The billion-dollar trophy deer industry, election spending, missing radon tests

Trophy deer industry linked to disease, costs taxpayers millions | Indianapolis Star

In less than 40 years, a relatively small group of farmers has created something the world has never seen before — a billion-dollar industry primarily devoted to breeding deer that are trucked to fenced hunting preserves to be shot by patrons willing to pay thousands for the trophies.

An Indianapolis Star investigation has discovered the industry costs taxpayers millions of dollars, compromises long-standing wildlife laws, endangers wild deer and undermines the government's multibillion-dollar effort to protect livestock and the food supply.

More than 100 publicly funded charter schools fail ...

Read more ...

Mexican cartels shipping, selling heroin in Minnesota

Deangelo Curtis measured his life’s work in kilos and ounces, and the year he turned 27, the scales were turning in his favor. The young St. Paul gangster sat atop a multimillion-dollar heroin boom sweeping Minnesota — the point man for an international drug cartel that linked the poppy fields of Mexico with the streets of the Twin Cities.

He called himself “King Kong.” 

To the agents watching from the shadows, Curtis was also a case study in the economics of Minnesota’s new heroin trade: A highly structured trafficking operation that has spawned a new market of middle-class suburban ...

Read more ...

Mothers in Kentucky passing drug addictions to fetuses during pregnancy

Trinity is part of a heartbreaking surge in babies born dependent on drugs because of their mothers’ addictions — which continues to escalate unabated despite Kentucky’s crackdown on prescription-drug abuse.

The state has seen hospitalizations for drug-dependent newborns soar nearly 30 fold in a little more than a decade — from 28 in 2000 to 824 in 2012, according to a recent drug report from the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center. Preliminary figures suggest that number will surpass 900 in 2013, according to state officials.