The name of Thomas Kinkade, world renowned painter, has been added to the list of those who have lost everything to substance abuse.
On April 7th, news media around the world reported on the death of Thomas Kinkade, the painter who created peaceful scenes with cottages, rivers, landscapes and religious figures. At first, his death at age 54 was reported as being from natural causes. But the coroner’s report in early May 2012 showed that it was actually caused accidentally by “acute intoxication” from alcohol and Valium. The painter had struggled with alcoholism for several years. (1)
This event provides even more proof that abuse of alcohol, prescription drugs and illicit drugs can be deadly at any time. Families who have a loved one who is abusing or addicted to these drugs know this in their hearts – as they live every day in fear of receiving a phone call that tells them of an overdose.
But according to the Associated Press, while these drugs were the only ones involved in Mr. Kinkade’s death, he also had traces of other anti-anxiety drugs and the club drug GHB in his system when he died. GHB, a central nervous system depressant, is dangerous in combination with alcohol, where it can “result in nausea, loss of muscle control and difficulty breathing… and may also produce withdrawal effects, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating,” according to The Partnership for a Drug-Free America. “As the dose increases,’ their site says, “the sedative effects may result in sleep and eventual coma or death.” (2)
His body showed signs of healing from a bad fall in the not-too-distant past: healed ribs that had been broken, a bruise on the abdomen and healing injuries to his head. Was this injury also drug or alcohol-related?
The New York Daily News reported that Mr. Kinkade’s brother said the artist had only just relapsed into alcohol use shortly before his death and that he had been drinking through the night before he was found unresponsive. (3)
Narconon Drug Rehabilitation Program Helps Thousands Avoid this Fate
Every year in the US alone, more than 37,000 people die from drug overdoses or other drug-related causes. More than 25,000 people die from alcohol-related causes, as reported by the LA Times. (4) And around the world, more than two million people each year lose their lives due to alcohol overdose, alcohol-related accidents or illnesses caused by alcohol, per a report from the World Health Organization. (5)
“These statistics and Mr. Kinkade’s terribly tragic death reinforce our awareness of the deadliness of drug abuse, excessive alcohol consumption, or worst of all the combination of the two,” said Clark Carr, president of Narconon International, a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating substance abuse and addiction through rehabilitation and prevention. “At Narconon rehab and prevention centers around the world, we work every day to save those who have reached out to be saved from this fate.”
Mr. Carr noted that the long-term Narconon rehab program, which is residential in most locations, helps addicts overcome the three most common factors that keep them locked in addiction: cravings, guilt and depression.
“News reports on Mr. Kinkade’s death have remarked on his recent separation from his wife, the bankruptcy of one of his companies, and the difficulty he had in dealing with critics who disapproved of his style of art, despite his great success,” stated Mr. Carr.
“Factors like these have driven too many persons to alcohol or drugs as a toxic solution,” Mr. Carr added. “But at Narconon rehabs, we teach those in recovery how to resolve such life problems so they are not drawn back into substance abuse. That’s why seven out of ten of out graduates often find lasting recovery at a Narconon center.”
Narconon rehab centers are located across North America and in South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. This rehab program uses no drugs in treatment but instead provides a thorough detoxification step that helps reduce cravings, and extensive life skills training to enable graduates to live a sober life from then on.
“Mr. Kinkade’s name has been sadly added to the list of bright lights we have recently lost, including Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse,” said Mr. Carr. “At Narconon, we will continue to offer our help to minimize the damage that addiction can do to our artists, performers and other good citizens.”
For more information on the Narconon drug addiction program or prevention activities, call 1-800-775-8750.
Holidays, birthday parties and other celebrations that often include use of alcohol can present special dangers to young people who are inexperienced in drinking. They may not have developed good judgment on when to stop drinking and thus may consume such an overdose that they never wake up from that alcohol-induced stupor.
There may be no death in the world that is more preventable than an alcohol poisoning death. But media records show that the alcohol poisoning deaths keep occurring.
Young people, in particular students on college campuses where the local culture seems to demand drinking, kill themselves every year just from overdoses of alcohol. But if you add those killed in alcohol-related accidents or injuries, the numbers get even higher.
Like Jason Wren of the University of Kansas. In March, 2009, Jason went to dinner with friends and consumed several pitchers of margaritas, then went to his fraternity house where he drank as many as 12 beers. His fraternity brothers put him in bed to sleep off the drunk but he never woke up.
And there was Samantha Spady of Colorado State University. She started drinking before a big football game and then continued drinking at a fraternity house. After her death, her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tested at .436 percent. (The legal driving limit is .08 percent.)
As for alcohol-fueled accidents, there’s almost too many to choose from. The accident can be as simple as Jeremy Stoltzfus’s fall after attending the Gator Bowl in 2010. After drinking heavily during the game, his life ended when he hit his head after a fall in the street. And there’s Devon Arnold who went to a Denver Nuggets game in 2010 and apparently decided to hop aboard a train afterwards. He died next to the railroad tracks.
Birthdays and holidays can be prime time for alcohol overdoses. Steve Saucedo lost his life after a drinking contest during Spring Break. And Adam Boncela of Ohio State died on his twenty-first birthday, due to a .37 percent BAC. According to a guide from the State of California, death can occur anywhere between .35 percent and .5 percent.
Young people around the drinker may not know about alcohol poisoning and may just think that the person is drunk. “Sleeping it off” can lead to an alcoholic coma and death, either death from the suppression of breathing or death because the person vomits while unconscious and inhales the material.
The best way to avoid death or injury from alcohol poisoning is to not drink too much. The amount of alcohol the average body can handle of course depends on a number of factors including how much food was eaten and the person’s overall health. But generally, four standard sized drinks will bring a 150-lb. male to the legal driving limit. (A standard sized drink is one shot of liquor, one beer, one glass of wine, etc.)
A person begins to lose driving skills even before the legal limit is reached, especially an underage person who may not have a lot of experience driving. Please note that in many states, the tolerated BAC for an underage driver is NONE.
When alcohol is drunk rapidly, as may happen is a party atmosphere or when pledging a fraternity or on a dare perhaps, a person can drink far more than they can handle without realizing it. It takes a while for the alcohol to hit a person’s bloodstream so a young person could down a few shots and then decide to down a few more because they feel no effects. When all the alcohol makes its way to the bloodstream, that person could get very ill.
Anyone who is going to a place where drinking will occur should know what to look for and what to do when those signs are observed. Watch for these signs:
- Stupor, coma, unresponsiveness.
- Slow (fewer than eight per minute) or irregular breathing.
- Low body temperature, cold or blue skin, lips or nails.
- Person can’t walk or can barely move.
These can be signs of alcohol poisoning.The person must be rushed to the hospital or emergency medical services should be called. Don’t ever leave them alone. This can be a matter of life or death. Simply putting the person to bed or arranging them in some “safe” position is completely inadequate.
A person who drinks to excess and can’t control the habit has crossed the line to alcoholism. The key factor is this: Are they experiencing damage to relationships, goals, health, life or in other areas but they keep on drinking? This defines dependence on alcohol. To break this destructive habit, an effective rehab is needed.
At the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers around the world, people of all ages learn how to enjoy themselves and achieve goals without the use of alcohol. It’s not Narconon offers a complete course of detoxification to assist in healing the body and life skills training to help the person build a new, sober life.
Call a drug rehab counselor today.
When someone you care about needs help recovering from alcohol dependence or addiction, contact the international offices of Narconon at 800-775-8750 to find out how lasting sobriety can be achieved.
The Narconon Drug Education approach has for decades enabled teens to stand up to peer pressure when faced with offers to take drugs. Never has the challenge been greater than today. In addition to teen parties, mini (2000)and mega raves (200,000) often lasting more than 8 hours and even multiple days act like magnets that attract the 18 year-old and older set into packed venues and easy access to drugs.
Lehigh University, a four year private college in Pennsylvania was the subject of headlines on Dec. 5, 2011. “At least 44 (later corrected to 35) from Lehigh U. rave party taken to hospitals for drugs and alcohol – Incident is being called ‘mass casualty’ event that burdened emergency responders. The event was the rave Dayglow.
The event venue was Phillip Rauch Field House, which bears signage: “Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in any Lehigh athletic facility.” Yet all ambulance incidents were reported as alcohol and substance abuse related by campus police.
Rave promoters generally seek to play down in the media that illegal drugs are part of the rave scene, but the premise is preposterous, if only because human stamina requires drugs to keep up the 128 beats per minute pulse of typical house music. Parents of 18 year olds may hope the draw is just the music, but evidence is clearly otherwise. Today’s public rave concerts are big business. Like any business they do what is required to protect their market share and adhere to their successful formulas – including an unspoken invitation to get very, very high.
“Law enforcement officers can do little to curtail drug abuse that takes place at raves. Promoters set minimum age for their events at 18 hoping to escape fault, but the ambulances roll and in the wake of events lives can be ruined and sometimes lost,” says Bobby Wiggins, senior Drug Prevention Specialist at Narconon International. “Promoters generally shrug off responsibility, apologize or offer condolences as required of them when incidents occur.”
There is a further factor of risk beyond emergency room incidents that Narconon® has addressed for decades – serious addiction. Studies show that the tendency for teens to use drugs is laid in years before they enter their first rave. As stated in the white paper, Non-Medical Marijuana III: Rite of Passage or Russian Roulette? (first issued in 1999) by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, these are facts:
- Most illicit drug users begin their illicit drug use with marijuana; their use of this drug usually is preceded by the use of alcohol and nicotine.
- Research indicates that the earlier drug use is initiated, the higher the risk for abuse and dependence. In 2006, for adults 21 and older who first tried marijuana at age 14 or younger, 10.4 percent were classified with illicit drug abuse or dependence compared to 2.0 percent of adults who had first used marijuana at age 18 or older.
Wiggins says that Narconon Drug Prevention services are available to youth throughout their school experience, but there is a crucial time. “You want to focus your most diligent drug education at or before kids are considering experimenting with drugs. We understand the mindset that it is important to a pre-teen to be accepted by peers, which means peer pressure has to lean heavily against drugs for that child to be safe. The Narconon approach accomplishes that by giving very real and very accurate information that can actually turn most children totally off to drugs. It really can be done.”
In an effort to reach students on the brink of their partying years, Friends of Narconon, a sister organization of Narconon International raised funds to produce Xstasy the Real Story Parts 1 and 2. “We wanted to present information about ecstasy (MDMA) in particular because of its direct association with the rave scene, and we wanted young people to be able to relate to the actual situations they could be facing,” says Wiggins. “Hundreds of 1000s of kids have seen the film and they really get the picture. I feel confident we have prevented a lot of ruined lives, but much more needs to be done.”
Narconon Drug Education presenters are a ready resource to parents who are concerned about whether their sons or daughters are prepared for the tough choices that lie ahead of them. Contact Narconon International to be put in touch with the most immediate resource to your area schools.
Narconon International Urges Alertness to the Capacity of Fine Festive Wines to Intoxicate
Going home for the Holidays can be a fun time with family, friends, nostalgia, and gifts. Unfortunately it can be a disaster when people forget that even the finest vintage beverage can turn deadly when mixed with driving.
“It is all too likely that blood alcohol content (BAC) of guests following holiday parties where alcohol has been served will be well above the limit where it is safe to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive home,” says Bobby Wiggins, senior Drug Prevention Specialist at Narconon International.
Quality expensive wines are often relied on to be traditional harbingers of holiday good cheer. The doorbell rings, the host answers and is handed a gaily wrapped bottle of wine. All the guests assembled anticipate the moment it will be uncorked and the first glasses poured. The furthest thing from anyone’s mind is that this could be the advent of a tragedy that plays out only hours later when guests leave for homes near and far.
Driving fatality statistics confirm that people who decide to drive even though their blood alcohol content is over the limit are putting themselves and others at risk on the highway. The Centers for Disease Control reports that every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes.
In Europe, trends are monitored by the European Transport Safety Council. Per a 2010 report, drunk driving remains one of the top three causes of road deaths throughout the 27 countries of the European Union. The council states there is “massive underreporting” in this area and estimates that alcohol related deaths make up to 25% of all road deaths (11.5% per statistics).
We haven’t been hanging out at a bar. We are not staggering or even from our point of view even tipsy. No one is urging us to take a cab for our own safety. We simply enjoyed a fine wine with the sumptuous dinner that was prepared and a few merry toasts poured throughout the evening. However, Wiggins tells us there is a factor that is often overlooked by hosts and guests alike.
“People who drink fine wine do drink it for the buzz as much as any of its other qualities. Experiencing that buzz equates to reduced faculties. It doesn’t matter whether the alcoholic beverage used to get the buzz was a can of beer, distilled liquors mixed or straight , cheap or the fanciest of wines,” says Wiggins.
There is no dispute of this. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Departments of Transportation (DOT), Health and Human Services (HSS), National Consumers League, and the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, to name a few, all strive to end the myth that some alcoholic beverages can get you more drunk than others. The fact is that the quantity of alcohol is the same whether it is found in a glass of white or red wine, a bottle of beer, or a shot of whiskey or other distilled spirits, straight or in a mixed drink. The size of the container varies, but the alcohol content remains about six-tenths of an ounce of pure alcohol in each case. The potential for getting drunk is the same.
Wiggins points out that often we have to suddenly maneuver our own car to avoid a “crazy (out of control)” driver for whatever the cause. We, not the other driver, are able to avoid the eminent crash. We have full control of our vehicle, but with a few glasses of wine in the picture it could end very differently.
Wiggins says, “We urge everyone to be alert to the intoxicating properties of their favorite wines and to take precautions to ensure that impaired drivers stay off our streets and highways. We also know that amongst those who drive under the influence are habitual users, and we sincerely hope that those who suffer from alcohol addiction are able to find a way to restore happiness in their own families this holiday season.” Narconon International with its worldwide network of rehabilitation centers is ready to help if you or anyone you love are alcohol dependent or struggling with dependency on any street or prescription drug.
A Holiday Message to Families Struggling with Elder Alcoholism and a Reminder that there Is Hope
The holidays are a time when thoughts turn to family – when we gather together hoping to share precious moments and celebrate long-held traditions that bind us and fill us with joy. “At this special time, it is a terrible tragedy when the dignity of those in their elder years is marred by cravings they have no control of,” says Narconon® spokesperson, Bobby Wiggins. “Too many families make a very false assumption that there is nothing they can do for their addicted elder family member, and nothing is further from the truth.”
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Addiction and Alcoholism (NIAAA ) the likelihood of the onset of alcoholism amongst seniors, meaning those over 65, has been increasing in more recent years even as attention seems riveted on adolescent and college-aged binge drinkers.
NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Addiction and Alcoholism) has issued an alcohol alert based on extensive research into the area of elder alcohol abuse. The findings more than suggest on many counts that it is important not to look the other way when a senior family member has an alcohol dependency problem. The very fact that in many cases such persons do not drive and often are no longer employed makes the detection of drinking problems far less likely through usual channels. Further, they often drink at home when alone and only alert family members become aware that the problem exists. So hidden is the problem of alcohol abuse amongst elders, according to the NIAAA study, problems are sometimes mistaken for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease by medical personnel. However, in time, the truth is revealed that the health problems are due to alcohol or in some cases drugs.
Persons age 65 and older constitute the fastest growing segment of the American population. Although the extent of alcoholism among the elderly may be a matter of debate, the study predicts that diagnosis and treatment of alcohol problems are likely to become increasingly important as the elderly population grows.
According to former NIAAA Director Enoch Gordis, M.D., it is a mistaken belief that older persons have little to gain from alcoholism treatment. Dr. Gordis ends the study by stating that each stage of life has “its own rewards for sobriety,” that they are all valuable – including seniors.
“It is too bad when families do not reach out to help an elder loved one who has succumbed to addiction,” says Wiggins. “Through Narconon recovery is possible. It begins with medically supervised withdrawal to ensure maximum safety and is then followed by Narconon’s entirely drug-free program. More good news for our older recovering addicts is that they will always be treated with the utmost dignity throughout their stay at a Narconon facility because of the unique way that the Narconon Rehabilitation Program is structured.” The alternative to failing to reach out to our addicted senior citizens can mean needless health complications that can cut their lives short and also involve costly medical complications according to the NIAAA alert, including these findings:
- The incidence of hip fractures in the elderly increases with alcohol consumption. This increase can be explained by falls while intoxicated combined with a more pronounced decrease in bone density in elderly persons with alcoholism compared with elderly nonalcoholics.
- An elderly driver with alcoholism is more impaired than an elderly driver without alcoholism after consuming an equivalent dose of alcohol and has a greater risk of a crash.
- Alcohol-medication interactions are especially common among the elderly, increasing the risk of negative health effects and potentially influencing the effectiveness of the medications.
- Among persons older than 65, moderate and heavy drinkers are 16 times more likely than nondrinkers to die of suicide.
“No one wants to think about the very real consequences of allowing alcohol dependency to go unaddressed, but unless we do we may not see the actual danger that our elder family members are in. There is that regrettable possibility that we may not get them safely into a rehabilitation situation that will save them,” Wiggins. If this is your situation, there are Narconon specialists who can help and who are standing by.
Contact Narconon at 1-800-775-8750 or send your email to email@example.com.
Narconon® staff regularly encounter teenage enrollees whose lives have gone awry due to addiction. Enrollments include a steady flow of young people who have fallen into unhealthy patterns of using and abusing drugs and alcohol according to Bobby Wiggins, director of Drug Prevention at Narconon International.
When looking for causes, a significant contributor to increased addiction amongst adolescents turns out to be parents who are not paying enough attention. “Assuming that sons and daughters are not at risk of succumbing to the drug culture when they are actively engaged in social media is not a safe assumption,” says Wiggins.
The latest CASA (National Center on Addiction and Drug Abuse) at Columbia University study concludes that parents bear the burden of “preventing drug and alcohol abuse among their children and teens” – including staying on top of social media activity of their teen age children.
The 16th annual National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse: Teens and Parents reports on yet another source of peer pressure that pushes young people toward drug and alcohol use. Findings state, “American teenagers who spend time on social networking sites are more likely to smoke, drink and use drugs. Compared to teens that spend no time on social networking sites in a typical day, those who do are five times more likely to use tobacco; three times more likely to use alcohol; and twice as likely to use marijuana.”
The CASA report further reveals, “Seventy percent of teens report spending time on social networking sites in a typical day compared to 30 percent of teens who say they do not.” The study of 12 to 17 year olds shows that by far the largest majority are engaging in a freewheeling exchange of opinions, ideas and trends. “40 percent of all teens surveyed have seen pictures on social networking sites of their peers “getting drunk, passed out, or using drugs.” Half of teens who have seen these images on social networking sites first saw such pictures when they were 13 years of age or younger; more than 90 percent first saw such pictures when they were 15 or younger.
The CASA survey underscores the importance for any parents or caregivers of children to not only be alert to what is transpiring on the computer screen or hand held devices, but also that they must be on the same page about the messages they send to teens. One of the findings states: “Teens whose parents don’t agree completely with each other on what to say to their teen about drug use are more than three times likelier to use marijuana, and three-and-a-half times likelier to expect to try drugs in the future, than teens whose parents agree completely on what to say about drug use. Teens whose parents do not agree completely with each other on what to say to their teen about drinking alcohol are twice as likely to use alcohol as teens whose parents agree completely on what to say about drinking.”
“The loss to the nation’s bright, young people who get caught up in drugs is one of the biggest tragedies we allow”, says Wiggins. “In our centers, we see that these same teens caught up in adolescent use of marijuana and other drugs once they complete the Narconon Drug Rehab Program exhibit qualities of leadership and high creativity any parent would be proud of. We see that parental pride when their sons or daughters graduate.”
Adolescent drug abuse is a growing problem. It can be handled.
For more information on the Narconon programs, please visit http://www.narconon.org/.
Narconon International Urges U.S. Teens and their Parents to Demand Zero Tolerance of Alcohol as Top Priority for Driver Safety
AS U.S. National Teen Driver Safety Week approaches 16 – 22 October, Narconon International Senior Drug Education Expert, Bobby Wiggins, reminds us that teens are at far greater risk of death in an alcohol-related crash than the overall population. The irony is that allowing teens to purchase or publicly possess alcohol is illegal in all states, making any instance of a teen driving under the influence of alcohol a secondary crime to the original crimeallowing the teen access to alcohol.
“Whatever actions we take to educate new drivers, whatever programs are organized that graduate teen drivers so they become responsible operators of vehicles, if we don’t address the devastating outcome of driving under the influence of alcohol, teens will continue to become traffic fatalities at a rate that outstrips the general society,” says Wiggins.
Part of the problem is parents who consider that alcohol is the acceptable addiction. Beginning in 2008, the National Highway Traffic Administration began focusing their efforts to stop alcohol getting into the hands of teens by launching campaigns to knock out parental attitudes leading to teens having access to alcohol. Some parents in efforts to keep their teens at home, host house parties where parents supply the alcohol. In doing so, they are culpable by law for any consequence of doing so, including vehicular homicide.
“Many parents are still oblivious to the dangers they put their teen children in when they allow them access to alcohol. When they turn a blind eye to parties where alcohol is available, they risk being wakened from sleep to tragic consequences that they will never be able to set right,” added Wiggins.
Case in point as reported in the Douglas County Sentinel is the seventeen year old son of a Georgia couple was sentenced to 15 years in prison for causing the death of a 16 year old passenger in his car. He survived when he flipped the Chevy Blazer several times before it crashed into a U-Haul trailer, but his friend did not. Authorities also charged 10 people with helping to supply alcohol at two parties the teens attended prior to the crash.
According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTA) teens are at far greater risk of death in an alcohol-related crash than the overall population, despite the fact that they are below the minimum drinking age in every State. Among 15- to 20-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2006, 31 percent of the drivers who were killed had been drinking and 77 percent of these drivers were unrestrained.
The California Administrative Office of the Courts reports that car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens in the U.S; Teens are four times more likely to die or be injured in a car crash than older people.
During 2006, 7,643, 15 to 20 year-old drivers and motorcycle operators were involved in fatal traffic crashes of which 1,377 (18%) had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that alcohol generally affects the central nervous system and in large enough quantities can create alcohol poisoning.
“Couple the physical effects of alcohol with impaired judgment and sheer lack of driving experience, when a teen that has been drinking gets behind the wheel of a car they are an accident waiting to happen. One of the most important steps any parent can take is to take a stance of zero tolerance when it comes to underage drinking. They will have help. The law is totally on their side,” says Wiggins.
For information on alcohol detox, please visit www.narconon.org.
For immediate assistance call 1-800-775-8750.
When Americans enjoy extended weekends, such as the recent Labor Day Celebration, the usual mix of news stories across the nation is laced with stories about law enforcement officers moving out in force on the lookout for motorists driving under the influence of alcohol.
Generally such reports also include listings of the locations where their sobriety checkpoints will be set up and the times they will be operational, which would seem to defeat the purpose – or does it?
“Not so,” Wiggins of the international network of Narconon Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers. “Narconon® has been picking up the pieces of lives ruined by alcohol dependence for decades, but heartbreaking alcohol-related deaths that occur when innocent people fall victim to the irresponsible acts of those under the influence, are pieces we can never pick up,” says Wiggins.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found after numerous field studies that the number of DUI arrests made by roving patrols is nearly three times the average number of DUI arrests made by officers at a sobriety checkpoint. However, police officers counter that roadblocks are effective, even if drunk drivers get around them, because they show the public that driving under the influence is not tolerated.
Through sobriety checkpoints authorities say they can make it clear there is “no tolerance” for driving under the influence. Joe Farrow, Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol concurs: “. . . There is no excuse for driving while intoxicated . . . Designate a non-drinking driver before you head out.”
Farrow went on to remind motorists to call 911 if they see a suspected drunk driver any time. An option for California drivers since December 2007, any motorist can use their local 911 emergency dispatch system to report drunk driving and many California highways display electronic signs reminding drivers to make the report. “Clearly, the objective is to keep intoxicated drivers off our highways,” says Wiggins.
Factually, only eleven states do not support sobriety checkpoints, which is no surprise given the information gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes.The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $51 billion.
Figures for 2009 went like this. 10,839 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (32%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. Over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. But the target of sobriety checkpoints, 147 million people admitted they drove while alcohol-impaired.
“We have a choice. We can stand by and wait for 147 million people who know they are driving when they should not be to encounter their first irrevocable tragic event, or reduce that number substantially by a simple strategy like sobriety checkpoints that could very well prevent someone from getting behind the wheel of a car when they have engaged in social drinking,” says Wiggins.
Starting in 2003 in the UK, Amy Winehouse began to publish a series of albums that would bring her awards, riches, accolade and millions of fans. But after a few years in the limelight, Amy began also to struggle with cocaine, heroin and alcohol abuse that took her to the edge of illness and self-destruction time after time. Finally, on 23 July 2011, she lost the struggle, with the final condition that caused her demise being undetermined as of a week later.
Over the course of this eight years, Amy’s struggles were highly visible, as she appeared at concerts unable to stand steadily or perform up to her usual standard. In 2007, a concert tour was cut short after a disastrous appearance in London in which she arrived nearly an hour late and walked off the stage at one point, leaving her backup singer performing for her.
Amy had a stormy marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil who himself admitted that he introduced Amy to heroin and cocaine. In 2007, Fielder-Civil reported that Amy went into seizures and stopped breathing after a three-day celebratory bender on alcohol, heroin and cocaine. Fortunately, she recovered from that bout and continue to perform and record. Early in 2008, she attended a rehab program for two weeks but then relapsed after discharge. In paparazzi photos, Amy’s appearance varied between a dangerous scrawniness and a healthier look, like the one she displayed while staying in Saint Lucia in early 2009. While in Saint Lucia, Amy claimed that her whole marriage to Fielder-Civil had been based on drug-taking but that she was clean again. However, later in 2009, Amy’s father reported that she was again in rehab.
In June 2010, she was again in rehab but left after a week. Video footage of her performance in Belgrade soon after she left rehab showed a star who was utterly unable to perform, to sing, even to hang onto a microphone.
At the end, her family stated that it might have been a total alcohol withdrawal, decided on by Amy after a doctor warned her to cut out alcohol abuse, that triggered a physical firestorm that she could not survive.
Narconon® drug educator and spokesperson Bobby Wiggins explained how alcohol withdrawal could have caused her death: “A body subjected to a heavy, daily burden of alcohol adjusts to the continuous presence of alcohol,” he explained. ‘The body’s adjustment to alcohol or drugs is referred to as tolerance, and is marked by the need to take more alcohol or more of a drug to get the same effect as before. The sudden cessation of alcohol consumption can trigger life-threatening symptoms such as high fever and seizures.”
These symptoms are referred to as delirium tremens or DTs, and also include severe tremors, hallucinations and confusion. The death rate from DTs runs from 1 percent to 5 percent, which is why those who have been severely alcoholic go through the initial steps of rehab under close medical supervision. “It is obvious that Amy should have had professional help and supervision to recover from her addiction to alcohol and her periodic use of drugs” Mr. Wiggins added. “At Narconon drug and alcohol rehab centers, we know that a safe, long-lasting recovery depends on choosing a drug rehabilitation facility with an excellent record of success.”
Even a person headed for one of the scores of Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers around the world may need to detoxify under close medical supervision before they actually start their rehabilitation program, if they have been drinking heavily beforehand. But then once they are through that step, they have a chance at lasting sobriety by participating in the long-term, residential, holistic program that is characteristic of all Narconon centers. No substitute drugs are ever prescribed; in fact the only drugs on the premises are the ones needed for medical conditions. Only nutritional supplementation, counseling and life skills training in communication, decision-making, safe lifestyle choices and personal moral codes are used to bring about a recovery.
“The Narconon program is effective because we help each person, in their counseling and one-on-one work with the staff, get to the root of the problems that led them into addiction,” Mr. Wiggins commented. “At Narconon, we know it takes longer than one-week or one-month terms of rehab to rebuild a life that has been destroyed by drugs. If Amy had made the choice to stay in rehab for three months or longer, she might have had a chance at recovery that could have saved her life.” The Narconon drug and alcohol recovery program has been saving lives from drug and alcohol addiction since 1966.
For more information on Narconon, contact 1 800-775-8750.
Helping Kids Understand What Drugs Are Is Key to Keeping Kids Off Drugs
Narconon International publishes the educational booklet, 10 Things Your Friends May Not Know About Drugs. Presented as a series of “true false” questions based on common confusions a young person might have about drugs, the booklet offers 10 perspectives that set the record straight in easy to understand terms. “We have been publishing this booklet for more than a decade”, reports Bobby Wiggins, Drug Education Specialist of Narconon International. “We know it has helped 100s of thousands of kids avoid the trap of drugs during their formative years”, he added.
A fundamental point of the booklet is all drugs are basically poisons. Poisons are capable of killing a human being because they contain chemical substances that the body cannot distinguish from natural chemicals, but which when used by the body bring about a fatally destructive result. Drug intoxication is the subjective experience of the body in a poisoned condition. In the case of a lethal dose of cyanide, there is little subjective experience, as the fatal result is near instant. But in the case of narcotics and hallucinogens, intoxication can be prolonged and the subjective experience can vary greatly person to person – mind-altering enough to cause insanity or seductive enough to induce powerful cravings.
But lest we forget, and as we find out in our 10 Things booklet, all intoxication is the result of ingesting poison, which includes ethyl alcohol, found in all alcoholic beverages.
Most people are surprised to learn that alcohol poisoning can be fatal, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. All it takes is binge drinking, or consuming five or more drinks in a row over a short period of time. A recent survey showed that more than 44 percent of full-time college students reported consuming five or more drinks on the same occasion at least once in the past 30 days.
That is the dose of alcohol (not taking into account the proof of the beverage) leading to most instances of alcohol poisoning according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). When consumed at high rate, the poisonous chemical cannot be kept from brain cells where the trouble begins. Ethyl Alcohol once introduced into the chemical processes of the brain can slow the heart and lung function down to dangerously low levels. The gag reflex, which would normally prevent a person from choking, is also depressed so victims can choke on their own tongue or vomit should they drop into unconsciousness.
Death from alcohol may be far less likely than death from cyanide, which simply blocks one of the enzymes involved in the electron transfer chain which interrupts cellular respiration causing instant suffocation, but the agent in both cases is poison. 10 Things Your Friends May Not Know About Drugs is broadly distributed by Narconon ® centers and groups. Download the 10 Things Your Friends May Not Know About Drugs booklet for free.