Club Drugs Sidetrack Youth

Club Drugs Sidetrack Youth
Posted by FoM on March 09, 2000 at 08:36:44 PT
By William Canterbury, Beacon Journal Staff Writer
Source: Akron Beacon Journal
Against a backdrop of increasing use of club drugs and heroin, Akron's Community Drug Board is opening a new prevention and treatment center for youth.The Community Health Center, as it will be called, will provide complete medical and social services for adolescents with substance-abuse problems and their families in Summit and Portage counties.
Ted Ziegler, the board's chief executive, and Summit County Sheriff Richard Warren were to announce plans for the center at a press conference today. It is expected to open on July 1, in a building at 725 E. Market St., to be renovated by the drug board.Cost of the center, which was not disclosed prior to the press conference, will be paid by the drug board without the need for new taxes, Ziegler said.Warren specifically underscored the threat of ``the increasing attraction of what we call the club drugs.'' He said five illegal drugs, including ecstasy, which are popular in adult dance clubs, are now being used by teen-agers.Warren cited the New Year's Day death of 18-year-old Heather Woodard of Rootstown. Summit County Medical Examiner Marvin Platt ruled that Woodward died of an accidental drug overdose after she took ecstasy and became sick the night before at a party in Akron.The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently reported to Congress on the ``alarming increases in the popularization of some very dangerous substances known collectively as club drugs.'' In addition to ecstasy, these drugs include LSD and methamphetamine, whose use federal drug experts said has increased dramatically among adults in the greater Akron area.Addressing The Problem:Club drugs in company with the ``continued use of marijuana, cocaine and the increasing usage of heroin have placed our kids in danger as never before,'' Warren said. ``Yet with all that we know of this threat to teen-agers, the treatment that we have been able to offer to date has been limited.''Ziegler said that in terms of treatment in Ohio, ``the emphasis has been on the adult population.'' There are about 96,000 people in treatment programs in the state, but fewer than 10 percent are 12 to 17 years old, he said.``When one compares that statistic to the fact that adolescents use 35 percent of illicit drugs sold in this country,'' he said, ``the tremendous need for effective adolescent treatment is obvious.''Although statistics on the use of heroin by young people in the Akron area are not readily available, the drug's use among adults has risen steadily over the past five years, federal and local narcotics investigators said.``We're seeing an increase in heroin-induced deaths,'' said Capt. Craig Gilbride, head of the Akron Police Department's narcotics unit.Platt said locally heroin probably induced eight of nine deaths by accidental overdose from opiates in the last quarter of 1999 -- a sharp increase from the five recorded in the last three months of 1998. Heroin shows up in the body as morphine, of which it is a derivative.``Most people who die with morphine in their system have probably used heroin,'' Platt said. ``You get too much (morphine) in your system in a given time or moment . . . you stop breathing.''Potent, Dangerous Trend:Experts said it is likely that with an influx of heroin in the area, a purer form is now available. That can make the drug much more potent and dangerous to take, according to Gilbride and Jim Hummel, the agent in charge of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's Cleveland office, which covers the Akron area.Hummel said as the market for heroin increases, its price goes down and the quality goes up -- its purity has increased from about 5 percent in the 1980s to about 40 percent today.Its use also is becoming more socially acceptable.``In the old days we thought just of some junkies using it,'' Hummel said, ``and now movie stars and other celebrities use it, so it increases the problem.''Ed Carter, a spokesman for the Community Drug Board, said the use of all drugs runs a broad spectrum of class and age.He noted that the number of persons treated by the drug board for heroin addiction has risen rapidly over the past four years -- from 45 clients in 1995 to 320 today.``Statistics say your clinics will treat about 15 percent of the population of users,'' Carter said, ``and I've been saying for the past year we have a silent heroin addiction in the county. It doesn't get a lot of notice.''He cited national studies that found that ``the majority of the people who are taking on heroin as a drug of abuse today are in the ages of 14 to 17.''Spokesmen for Edwin Shaw Hospital and Oriana House, which operate treatment centers for adolescent drug abusers, said they have not seen young people with major heroin problems at their facilities.``The main drugs of choice for kids (are) marijuana and alcohol,'' said Carol Simpson, Edwin Shaw's director of chemical dependency.But Edwin Shaw has seen an increase in adult heroin addicts being admitted for detoxification.These adult heroin users may be driven to treatment due to a breakdown in their personal lives, such as loss of jobs or children due to neglect, Simpson said, ``or sometimes bad heroin gets into the area and they aren't getting the same effect from the drug they used to get and they come in to be detoxed.''This group of drug users normally doesn't want to be completely rehabilitated, she said.``They come in to be detoxed just to feel physically better -- then they go back out after a number of days and weeks and start using again,'' she said. ``It's a powerful, powerful drug and addiction.''Bill Canterbury can be reached at 330-996-3719 or by e-mail at:bcanterbury thebeaconjournal.comPublished Thursday, March 9, 2000in the Akron Beacon JournalRelated Articles:Liquid G, Other Designer Drugs Becoming Popular NIDA On New Campaign Against Club Drugs
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