Drug Awareness

New Potentially Lethal Synthetic Drug

The Georgia Department of Public Health has been tracking a new trend in synthetic drug use. The Wisconsin Department of Public Safety felt it important to pass this information along: The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has become aware of a dangerous, potentially lethal substance surfacing in convenience stores and smoke shops. When ingested or inhaled this neurotoxin can render a person motionless and/or unconscious and cause severe cardiac problems. In the last 24 hours, at least eight patients in Southeast Ga. have been hospitalized; some patients have been admitted to intensive care and are on life support. Two patients have been intubated.

The substance is marketed as "herbal incense," bath salts, or "roll-your-own" tobacco - similar to what public health and law enforcement have seen before containing cannabinoid receptor agonists (THC homologs), but there are now indications the chemicals or ingredients have been altered.

First responders have reported unusual strength, agitation and combativeness in some persons followed by sudden hypokalemia, flaccid paralysis, severe hyporeflexia and unconsciousness. Symptoms may present almost immediately after ingestion or inhalation, or may be delayed as users ingest more of the product. Mild to moderate intoxication can result in alterations in mood and perception, reddened conjunctiva, nausea, vomiting, xerostomia, weakness, cardiac abnormalities, hypertension, disorientation and an increase in pulse rate, similar to marijuana (THC).

DPH is working closely with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency to collect these products and remove them from store shelves. Samples of the product have arrived at a secure laboratory and testing to identify the toxins is underway. At this time, lab tests are continuing and the composition of the product is unknown. Clinicians are advised to treat symptomatically as no specific treatment has been identified.

Brand names include Crazy Clown and Herbal Madness Incense.The products are typically sold at convenience and tobacco stores and may display a clown or "joker face" with the character's tongue out and/or "5X" in product labeling.

Clinicians requiring toxicology assistance should phone the Georgia Poison Center at 800-222-1222.

Thank you for all you do.

Very truly yours,

Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. Commissioner

Status of Drunk Driving Penalties Legislation

I recently received an email on the current status of drunk driving penalties legislation from Health First Wisconsin.  Please read below for information and links to the bills.  It is important to know what is happening in our state!

Hello fellow advocates and friends,

It is always important to us to keep everyone informed of the current status of legislation here in Madison.  Today, three of the bills put forward by Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Representative Jim Ott (R-Mequon) will have a public hearing.  You can get more information on each of the bills from the links below.  All of the bills aim to curb drunk driving by addressing the penalties for drunk driving.

Health First Wisconsin focuses on evidence-based policies that will impact the alcohol issues faces Wisconsin.  Penalties alone will not solve the problem.  That said, stronger penalties can be part of the solution and this is why we will continue to monitor these bills and continue to let everyone know where they stand.

AB 69 – Sets minimum sentences for causing injuring due to OWI

AB 70 – Sets minimum sentences for homicide due to OWI

AB 71 – Makes a 3rd OWI a felony

Paul Krupski

Policy Director- Alcohol Prevention

Health First Wisconsin


(608) 268-2620

Prescription Pain Relievers and Heroin Use

A few days ago, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shared an interested article.  The article focuses on how using prescription pain relievers nonmedically contributes to a higher risk of starting heroin.  There are many statistics which state how heroin use is steadily rising; we have seen this happening in our area and other areas nearby.  For more information, please read the article below.

SAMHSA News Release

Date: 8/22/2013 12:05 AM Media Contact: SAMHSA Press Office Telephone: 240-276-2130

Nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers may raise the risk of turning to heroin use

Report shows rise in the overall use of heroin as well as shifts in initiation patterns

A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that people aged 12 to 49 who had used prescription pain relievers nonmedically were 19 times more likely to have initiated heroin use recently (within the past 12 months of being interviewed) than others in that age group (0.39 percent  versus 0.02 percent). The report also shows that four out of five recent heroin initiates (79.5 percent) had previously used prescription pain relievers nonmedically.

While the report shows that people using prescription pain relievers nonmedically were at greater risk of later starting heroin, it also shows that the vast majority of people using prescription pain relievers nonmedically did not start using heroin. In fact, only 3.6 percent of the people who initiated the nonmedical use pain relievers went on to use heroin within five years.

“Prescription pain relievers when used properly for their intended purpose can be of enormous benefit to patients, but their nonmedical use can lead to addiction, serious physical harm and even death,” said Dr. Peter Delany, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. “This report shows that it can also greatly increase an individual’s risk of turning to heroin use – thus adding a new dimension of potential harm.”

The report’s examination of the association between the nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers and the initiation of heroin use is part of SAMHSA’s efforts to identify some of the factors which may explain the rise in the rates of heroin use, dependence and initiation that have occurred in the past few years.

The number of people reporting that they have used heroin in the past 12 months rose from 373,000 people in 2007 to 620,000 people in 2011. Similarly, the number of people dependent on heroin in the past 12 months climbed from 179,000 people in 2007 to 369,000 people in 2011. The number of people starting to use heroin the first time in the past 12 months also increased from 106,000 people to 178,000 people during the same period.

The report also found significant shift between 2008 and 2011 in heroin initiation levels and patterns. For example, although overall heroin initiation rose among all 12 to 49 year olds, these increases were only seen among adults aged 18 to 25 and 26 to 49, with no change in the rate among youths aged 12 to 17.  Heroin initiation among people with annual incomes less than $20,000 or $20,000-$49,999 also increased during this time period.

Past-year heroin initiation rates went up sharply in all regions of the nation during this period except the South where the rate stayed lowest in country. Heroin initiation rates were also lower among Blacks than among other racial and ethnic groups.

SAMHSA funds projects which focus on preventing prescription drug misuse and abuse. For example, SAMHSA’s Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace provides work-based educational materials and other resources and supports to preventing drug misuse and abuse.  SAMHSA also offers a number of web-based and print materials to educate patients, the public, and providers about prescription drug abuse, including the Not Worth the Risk, Even If It’s Legal campaign and the Prescribers’ Clinical Support System for Opioid Therapies , which provides support, training, and mentoring services to a variety of healthcare providers on the safe and appropriate prescribing of opioids.

The report, Associations of Nonmedical Pain Reliever Use and Initiation of Heroin Use in the United States, is based on data from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), covering the period of 2002 to 2011. NSDUH is  a national survey of over 67,500 people age 12 and older. The complete report findings are available on the SAMHSA web site at:


For more information about SAMHSA visit: http://www.samhsa.gov/

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

What is Teens' Perception of Marijuana?

A few months ago, this article was sent to LCAT from Lisa Lee, a parent in the Lodi community.  The article is titled, "Turns Out Teens Know Smoking Kills, but They Don't Know Jack About Weed."  A recent survey pointed out that "teens get that tobacco is bad, but they don't feel the same about pot."  Teens may not know the risks of using marijuana and that it can hurt their learning and memory.  Read this interesting article to find out more about teens' perception of marijuana. Source: http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/04/10/teens-getting-wise-dangers-smoking-tobacco-not-weed (sent from CADCA)

Date of Article: April 10, 2013

Author of Article: Shari Roan

Talking with Your Kids About Drugs

How do you talk with your kids about drugs?  This can be one of the hardest conversations you will have with your kids.  It's an extremely important conversation that needs to happen, but the thought of bringing it up can be overwhelming for parents.  You may wonder if you are saying the right things or how much information you should share.  Also, do you talk about your past if you have tried drugs? I recently stumbled across an article that talks about this issue.  The article suggests telling your kids the truth if they ask about your past but not to volunteer the information.  Make sure to point out the consequences of drug use and let them know you do not approve of using drugs.  To read the article, click here.  

Video - Columbia County Drug Task Force - Part 2 The Problem

This is the second video from the presentation given by the Columbia County Sheriff's Drug Task Force at the March Community Conversations meeting.   In this video, Det. LT. Roger Brandner discusses the extent of the drug problem in Lodi and the resources applied to address the issue.  Be sure to check back for more videos from this great presentation.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Recently, I came across an interesting article about a team of sailors in Japan who went alcohol-free on April 5-7.  April is Alcohol Awareness Month which is a nationwide campaign.  During the alcohol-free weekend, the sailors discovered there are several alternatives to drinking. LCAT supports ways to work together to create a healthy environment for our youth.  What do you plan to do to support Alcohol Awareness Month?  To read this article, click here.


Raising the Beer Tax - Let's Look at the Facts

The last time Wisconsin’s beer tax was raised, Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon. Wisconsin’s beer tax is the second lowest in the nation. A few years ago when Rep. Terese Berceau (D-Madison) asked lawmakers to consider supporting a bill to raise the beer tax in Wisconsin, it received little support, opposition stating that raising the beer tax is unlike when we raised the cigarette tax because there isn’t a public health risk to someone enjoying a beer. Hmmm. According to Sunday’s Wisconsin State Journal, excessive alcohol use in Wisconsin in ONE SINGLE YEAR results is: *1,529 premature deaths *48,578 hospitalizations *60,221 arrests *5,721 motor vehicle crashes

I would agree those numbers do not represent a public health risk...no, in fact what it does represent is a public health crisis. Add to that greater health care costs, substance abuse treatment, law enforcement, incarceration and other expenses and Wisconsin has a public health risk that is costing our state government nearly $3 billion per year. I applaud the Wisconsin State journal for bringing the article to our attention. Let us know what you think; should the state raise its tax on alcohol to help combat the causes and effects of alcohol abuse?

To view the article, please visit http://bit.ly/X5qj8L Article courtesy of the Wisconsin State Journal, Sunday Opinion column, March 24, 2013

Toward a Smarter Drug Policy

Recently, I came across an article titled "Toward a Smarter Drug Policy" from the Office of National Drug Control Policy at www.whitehouse.gov. The article challenges how we think in America about our nation's criminal justice and drug control policies. The article points out some interesting statistics about incarceration for drug arrests that should not be taken lightly. There is also a true story featured in the beginning that explains how a man who suffered with a substance abuse disorder and many other issues was given a second chance by a judge in Los Angeles. The man was able to turn his life around in to something positive.

To read the full article, please click here.

Talking with Your Kids about Alcohol Use

As a parent of five girls, between the ages of 5 and 15, I find myself thinking very often about how I am communicating with my children about the things in life that matter the most. I also seem to be thinking back a lot to my own childhood, and reflecting on the ways that my parents communicated with me and my sisters as we were growing up. One issue that has become clear to me is that when I was a teenager, my parents were very involved in my life and I knew that they loved me, BUT they never once told me to avoid underage drinking or warned me of the dangers of drinking alcohol. What their avoidance of this topic caused for me was a sense that I had permission to take part in drinking with my friends in high school and college.

I remember my parents telling me stories of their drinking parties in college, BUT they never once told me that it was wrong and that they regretted it. Highlighting these memories is not for the purpose of criticizing my parents, but rather to remind me of what happened in my life because of it. It also encourages me to be incredibly mindful of the influence of what I say and don't say to my own children.

With all of our daughters, my husband, Mike, and I have been trying to have open communication, and sharing insights from our own growing up years as honestly as possible. It can sometimes feel awkward to approach challenging topics, but the advice I seem to hear often is that the more you can make an attempt at talking with your kids, the better.

Here are some tips from a website, www.parentfurther.com, which is a great resource for research-based advice and tools for parents on a wide range of topics.

Lisa Lee

Talking with Your Kids about Alcohol Use

It’s important to start communicating with your child about your values and beliefs as early as possible. By maintaining open and honest communication, you can help your children feel comfortable talking with you about difficult issues, such as alcohol use and peer pressure.

Don’t wait for your children to bring up alcohol—use advertisements, news stories, or personal incidents to raise the issue before it becomes a problem. Ask your child what he thinks about the alcohol use he sees on TV, in movies, or among his friends. Point out advertisements that target teens. Talk about your views on underage alcohol use and ask your child what he thinks about it as well.

During the high school years, many kids begin to think they’re old enough for sex, drugs, or alcohol. Talk to your child about how she defines maturity and when she thinks individuals are old enough to engage in these activities. Be clear about why you think she should wait until she’s older and which values your opinions represent.

Talk to your kids at least weekly about the peer pressure they experience or see at school and in their social groups. Some children are more comfortable talking about what they witness, so be patient if your child doesn’t want to talk about his experiences right away. It’s much easier for some kids to talk about what they see before they talk about what they experience.

If you consumed alcohol as a teenager, be honest with your children if they ask about it. Tell them about the consequences you faced.

Talking with your kids about alcohol use isn’t always easy. But it’s important to start the conversation early so you can teach your child the necessary skills to resist alcohol when he or she is faced with a tough decision. Begin talking today so your child’s first lessons about alcohol are from you—and not her or his friends.

Underage Drinking 2013: The Good News and That Other Stuff

At the end of November 2012, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius released a new Report to Congress on the Prevention and Reduction of Underage Drinking. Her message at the beginning of the report begins: “In 2010, alcohol was once again the substance of choice among American youth. In fact, a greater proportion of American young people use alcohol than use other drugs or tobacco, and this use of alcohol by youth under the legal drinking age of 21 has profound negative consequences not just for underage drinkers, but also for their families, their communities, and society as a whole. Despite the modest progress made in recent years, underage drinking remains a serious public health and public safety problem.”

To read more of this article and find out what the "good news" and "the other stuff" is, please visit: https://www.stopalcoholabuse.gov/TownHallMeetings/resources/full-alert.aspx?ID=52

Sober Saturday Night on Jan. 26

The Lodi High School Leadership Council is putting on their first ever “Sober Saturday Night” on January 26, 2013. The event will be held from 7:00 to 11:00 PM and is for Lodi High School Students. The purpose of the night is to offer teens a fun alternative to drinking. There will be a volleyball tournament where kids can create teams and compete, both male and female. In addition, there will be cards played in the commons, a movie showing, and the athletic boosters will have their concession stand open.

Finally, every Lodi high schooler that comes will be entered into a drawing for door prizes which include: a $50 dollar Visa gift card, different $25 gift cards, and Sober Saturday Night t-shirts.

Most importantly, the entire event is completely free! If you have any questions regarding the event, please feel free to contact Megan Dorsey during school hours at 608-592-3853 ext. 4414 or email at dorseme@lodischoolswi.org.

Alcohol Demerit System Passed!

After many months of hard work by parties on all sides the Lodi City Council Passed the Alcohol Demerit ordinance in an unanimous vote on Tuesday night.  The process that was undertaken to get to this point was an example for all on how the democratic process should be undertaken.  It started with Paul Fisk presenting an ordinance adopted by other municipalities as a recommendation for adoption by the Lodi City Council.  The council decided to conduct a public hearing before making any decisions.   At the open hearing there were local citizens and business owners who all provided very good input.   Through this hearing several issues with the ordinance as presenter were found and the council sent the ordinance to committee.  Again, the committee meetings were conducted in a very open and fair manor.   The end result of many committee meetings is an ordinance that we believe is fair for all. Lodi can truly say that we want the best for our kids and we are willing to make some hard decisions to get there.   Thanks especially to Paul Fisk, Paula Enger and all those that wrote letters to the paper and add ended various meetings to make this happen.   I would also like to thank the owners of Dolphin's and Lloyd's for the time and attention that they gave to this ordinance.   I believe that their input made this better.



Lodi Hearing On Alcohol Ordinances

On Tuesday November 1st the Lodi City Council held an open hearing on two Odinances under consideration. A Social Hosting Ordinance that addresses hosting Alcohol related events at your place or residence and a Demerit system to help regulate Alcohol License infractions. There was a lively discussion on both sides and some good points were made about the current wording of the ordinances. Both Ordinances were referred to the HR Committee, chaired by Karla Schultz. All alcohol license holders have been invited to participate in the rewording, so if you would like your voice heard, please contact Karla Schultz through the Lodi City Hall.

You can find the current wording for both ordinances here - Lodi social Host and Demerit ordinances.

City Council Takes up Social Hosting

On Tuesday June 21st Paul Fisk will be presenting the proposed Social Hosting ordinance to the City Council.  This is a very important issue in the fight against Teen Access to Alcohol and we need your  support.   Please plan on attending this important meeting to show your support for this ordinance and the children of Lodi.  You can find the proposed ordinance here. Columbia County Connects will be sending a representative to discuss social hosting issues and the Lodi Police Department will also be there in support of this ordinance.   However, we need to show the city council that the citizens of Lodi are behind this as well.  If you have any questions feel free to contact me at sricks@mac.com or at 608-566-5614.

Please Plan to Attend

Tuesday June 21st at 7:00 PM at the Lodi City Hall

City of Lodi Passes Resolution

The City of Lodi passed Resolution 11-06 A Resolution In Support Of The Lodi Community Action Team last Tuesday February 15th.  The resolution proposed by Council President Paul Fisk provides that the City of Lodi will support LCAT in its quest for Federal Funding which will enable the community to create a drug and alcohol free environment for the youth of Lodi. You can read the full resolution here.  Resolution

Janesville Bans Synthetic Marijuana - Madison News Story - WISC Madison

Janesville's Common Council voted Monday night to ban the sale of synthetic marijuana. The vote wasn't expected until Jan. 24, but Janesville on Monday became the latest city to ban the substance.

"Milton's banned it; Clinton's banned it; Milwaukee's banned it; Eau Claire has banned it and La Crosse," said Frank Perrotto, a member of the Janesville Common Council.

Read More >> Janesville Bans Synthetic Marijuana - Madison News Story - WISC Madison.