when you chose to “fly blind”… you could die

Heroin users are cutting their heroin with a deadly chemical in hopes of bringing themselves 'as close to the line as possible'

Heroin users are cutting their heroin with a deadly chemical in hopes of bringing themselves ‘as close to the line as possible’


There is an alarming new trend among heroin users.

They’re mixing the drug with the synthetic opiate fentanyl — an anesthetic that is 30-to-50 times more potent than heroin, and infinitely more deadly.

“The big thing with heroin users now is finding heroin laced with fentanyl,” explains Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Spokesperson Matthew Braden to Business Insider. “Fentanyl to the touch in its pure form will kill you by touching it.”

Braden recalls an addict who used heroin laced with fentanyl explaining his decision:

The junkie said, “Hey, ya know what? We all know that it could very well kill us, but that is exactly what we are looking for. To get as close to the line as we can possibly get,” Braden said.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate analgesic that is 80-to-100 times more potent than morphine.

It is used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery. Street names for the drug include Apache, China girl, China white, dance fever, friend, goodfella, jackpot, murder 8, TNT, as well as Tango and Cash.

It works by binding to the brain’s opiate receptors to drive up dopamine levels and produce a state of euphoria and relaxation. The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that cutting fentanyl with street-sold heroin amplifies its potency and potential danger. Effects can include drowsiness, respiratory depression and arrest, nausea, confusion, constipation, unconsciousness, coma and, as Braden notes, death.

“It takes very little for someone to overdose on it, to cause the level of respiratory depression that would cause you to die,” DEA spokesperson Barbara Carreno told Reuters.

Mexican cartels produce a variant called acetyl fentanyl and smuggle it into the United States for distribution, according to an NPR report. The DEA warns that all around America, drug dealers are cutting heroin with acetyl fentanyl to drive up the potency of their product.

If you make that right mix, everyone loves your stuff,” Angelo Alonzo, a recovering addict who tried heroin laced with fentanyl, told NPR. “But, you know, that right mix might kill some people, too.”

NPR adds that heroin laced with acetyl fentanyl can fetch a higher price on the street, and the DEA says it is not included in many screens for toxic drugs.

In a period from late 2013 through 2014, federal officials estimate that there were at least 700 fentanyl-related deaths nationwide. More recently, reports of fentanyl overdoses have spread like wildfire.

This week, Maine Gov. Paul LePage convened a summit to address the heroin crisis in his state, calling on the National Guard to aid in efforts to thwart drug traffickers.

“In July alone, we suspect that approximately one death a day in Maine was due to a drug overdose of some sort,” Maine Attorney General Janet Mills told NPR. “We are confirming this with laboratory testing, but a substantial number of those involved fentanyl.”

While Braden calls the issue “maddening,” the bitter irony is that addicts want heroin laced with the deadly chemical.

“The sad thing is that when people hear that people are dropping or dying out there, that is usually when an addict wants that specific stuff,” Alonzo told NPR.

“They think that the high is unbelievable. And they want it, and you can understand why. But that is a tough call, you are playing with your life.”


FDA now allows “poor quality” manufacturers to produce your meds ?

Government wants to grade drugmakers, but keep grades secret


Federal regulators want to grade drug companies on the manufacturing quality of their product or factory, but don’t want to share that grade with the public.

Patients have become more empowered in their healthcare decisions, using websites like Yelp to determine the quality of a doctor or hospital. There are some tools for evaluating the quality of a drug maker. The Food and Drug Administration posts warnings to companies for egregious offenses and some inspection reports of facilities on its website.

But agency officials have said there isn’t a good picture of quality of pharmaceutical manufacturing as a whole, let alone where an individual drug maker fits in that picture.

The agency hopes to change that by implementing its quality metrics program.

The goal of the program is to help the FDA sort out the high-quality manufacturers from the poor quality ones. By doing so, the agency would be able to inspect the low-quality manufacturers more than the ones that don’t need as much oversight.

In July, the agency announced it intends to require four types of quality metrics from manufacturers and three optional ones. It held a meeting to get industry feedback on the metrics on Monday.

Each metric is intended to evaluate a specific part of how the drugs are made. For instance, one proposed required metric is the number of complaints a company has received about a specific product. Another is the number of batches of product that were rejected due to failing quality tests.

The agency would collect that data each year and give each manufacturer a grade that encompasses how they are on all the metrics. What the company does with that grade is up to them.

There is no plan to release the grades to the public, said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. A big reason is context.

The metrics “certainly could be misinterpreted,” Woodcock said. “Because they can be gamed and are not straightforward to understand it would be a disservice to release them to the public.”

Take biologics, which are drugs made from a living organism. One example of a biologic is a vaccine.

A biologic differs greatly from a traditional drug, which is made up of chemicals rather than living organisms. Therefore a biologic can be harder to produce than a traditional drug since they are more susceptible to heat and contamination.

A biologic drug maker may have a higher score on a certain metric but that may not mean they are a poor-quality manufacturer, Woodcock said.

“If they have a higher [batch] rejection rate does that mean they are a bad production line or a good production line?” Woodcock said. “The public isn’t in a position to interpret all of that.”

Another reason is the agency itself needs to understand what these metrics mean. Woodcock said that a final list of metrics won’t be published this year and even then drug makers will need time to collect and report the data and the agency to analyze it.

“We have to understand them and give companies a chance to work with [the metrics],” she said.

Woodcock downplayed drug quality as a safety issue in the U.S.

“It is not common at all for a drug that somebody takes to have a quality problem,” she said. “Having a safety problem is usually an adverse event that is the inherent property of the drug or maybe it doesn’t work very well.”

Those issues are more of a problem with the design of the drug, and not the manufacturing of it, she said.

Though she said quality problems among regulated drugs are uncommon, there is still a problem with substandard products and counterfeits. There have been highly publicized incidents of counterfeit drugs reaching U.S. patients in the past couple of years, most notably involving fake botox and even some cancer meds.

Woodcock recommended that patients not buy any pharmaceuticals online unless they are from a certified online pharmacy or an insurer’s distribution network.

“We have had consumers given labels in Turkish,” she said. “You know that didn’t go through U.S. distribution channels.”

She added that sometimes a website will say they are peddling drugs from Canada but they may actually be counterfeit.

A 2013 law required the FDA and industry to set up a system to electronically track and trace pharmaceuticals as they go from the manufacturer to the pharmacy. The goal of the system is to ensure there is no chance of counterfeit drugs getting into U.S. markets.

Experts say that the FDA could provide more information on drug quality.

“The FDA is opaque,” said Roger Bate, a scholar with the think tank American Enterprise Institute. “There are numerous data that are important and I accept that much is proprietary to companies, but much is not and is still not disclosed.”

Bate gave an example of data that is supposed to show that a generic drug is equivalent to the brand-name drug it is copying.

“Showing where your product might be slightly different to another generic is important for doctors to know, since it is quite possible that a generic is bioequivalent to the innovator but two generics are not bioequivalent to each other,” he told the Washington Examiner Monday.

Corrupt cops in the news

This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories


More jail guards in trouble, a DEA agent gets popped for child porn, and a Mississippi cop gets fired after getting caught in a major marijuana deal. Let’s get to it:

In Hattiesburg, Mississippi, a Hattiesburg police officer was fired last Wednesday amid allegations he is a target of a state and federal drug investigation. Officer Thomas Wheeler got canned after he was caught making a 600-pound marijuana deal earlier this month. Wheeler has yet to be charged, and his case will likely go before a grand jury in October.In McAllen, Texas, a DEA special agent was arrested last Friday on child porn charges. Special Agent James Patrick Burke had been the subject of a February raid in which FBI agents seized his laptop and discovered he was viewing and downloading child pornography. It’s not clear exactly what he’s been charged with, but he’s now on administrative leave from the DEA.

In Mobile, Alabama, a Mobile County jail guard was arrested Tuesday for allegedly selling drugs. David John Black Jr. is charged with four counts of distribution of marijuana, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office said there was no evidence he was dealing drugs at the jail.

In Memphis, four Shelby County jail deputies pleaded guilty last Thursday to trying to smuggle prescription drugs into the jail. Torriano Vaughn, Brian Grammer, Anthony Thomas and Marcus Green had participated in a scheme to smuggle what they thought were OxyContin pills into Shelby County Jail on multiple occasions between May and December 2014. But it was a sting, and the four have now pleaded guilty to attempted possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute. They’re looking at up to 20 years.

I hope that the “desperate robbers” can read signs

New safes installed in Walgreens stores to prevent pharmacy robberies

MILWAUKEE (TMJ) — Pharmacies have long been targets for criminals and drug addicts looking for their next fix. That has often put employees at risk of being robbed and customers in the crossfire.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Wisconsin ranks just behind Indiana for the most pharmacy armed robberies in the nation this year. The majority of those took place in Milwaukee County.

Walgreens has a new tool to combat these pharmacy robberies and help improve the safety of customers and employees. They’re called “time delay safes” and they’re being installed throughout Wisconsin.

The new safes will be used to secure opiates and narcotics.

They’re designed to remain locked for a period of time before a pharmacist can open it: this takes away immediate access of drugs. The program has been successful in other states and now the technology is coming to Walgreens pharmacies in the greater Milwaukee metro area.

The program could be expanded to other drug stores in the future.

“Once activated by a pharmacist, the safe is designed to remain locked for several minutes,” said Telly Knetter, an asset protection manager. “Our safes will be used to secure commonly controlled substances that are often targeted by criminals.”

Walgreens corporate offices said there’s been a decrease in pharmacy robberies in retail stores since these safes have been installed.

Fined $20,000 by DEA for sloppy record keeping… no controls missing

Lanier Treatment Center responds to fine, DEA oversight

Department of Justice alleges narcotic treatment program kept incomplete records


Administrators of a Gainesville narcotic treatment program responded Wednesday to concerns that methadone was leaving the door unchecked.

The program, Lanier Treatment Center was fined $20,000 to settle allegations about not keeping complete and accurate records of the drugs sold and received. The center is an accredited agency specializing in opiate treatment.

According to a Department of Justice news release Tuesday, the center did not comply with regulations on controlled substances.

“Accountability audits conducted by the (Drug Enforcement Administration) revealed overages and shortages of methadone in 2010 and 2013,” according to the news release.

The center will have additional DEA oversight as a result.

“We completely agree with the DEA that the opiate epidemic has caused such heartache and pain to families in Georgia,” Matthew Mote, clinic administrator said in a statement. “We are glad to work with the DEA since clerical errors were brought to our attention.”

But it was an implication that treatment drugs might be “falling into the hands of dealers and addicts” that drew a response from the center.

“The diversion of prescription narcotics and painkillers feeds the market for abuse and addiction, and Georgia is experiencing an epidemic of prescription drug abuse,” Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn said in the news release.

Mote said the recordkeeping mistakes presented no danger of methadone and other treatment drugs going untracked.

“At no time has diversion ever been suspected, and we have been able to account for all medication,” Mote said. “We are always very cooperative with the multiple government agencies that help regulate our facility.”

Mote said the center is proud to continue its work locally. It is the only opiate treatment center of its kind in Hall County and the center regularly works with local hospitals, clinics, law enforcement and other agencies to educate about “evidenced-based practice with medication-assisted treatment.”

“We strive to work with not only the government agencies but also with our local community,” Mote said.

22 veterans commit suicide EVERY DAY.. no headlines here ?

Two people may have committed suicide after Ashley Madison hack: police


How many chronic painers commit suicide every day from DENIAL OF CARE ? NO ONE keeps tracks.. because NO ONE CARES ?

At least two people may have committed suicide following the hacking of the Ashley Madison cheating website, Toronto police said on Monday, warning of a ripple effect that includes scams and extortion of clients desperate to stop the exposure of their infidelity.

Avid Life Media Inc, the parent company of the website, is offering a C$500,000 ($379,132) reward to catch the hackers.

In addition to the exposure of the Ashley Madison accounts of as many as 37 million users, the attack on the dating website for married people has sparked extortion attempts and at least two unconfirmed suicides, Toronto Police Acting Staff Superintendent Bryce Evans told a news conference.

The data dump contained email addresses of U.S. government officials, UK civil servants, and workers at European and North American corporations, taking already deep-seated fears about Internet security and data protection to a new level.

“Your actions are illegal and will not be tolerated. This is your wake-up call,” Evans said, addressing the so-called “Impact Team” hackers directly during the news conference.

“To the hacking community who engage in discussions on the dark web and who no doubt have information that could assist this investigation, we’re also appealing to you to do the right thing,” Evans said. “You know the Impact Team has crossed the line. Do the right thing and reach out to us.”

Police declined to provide any more details on the apparent suicides, saying they received unconfirmed reports on Monday morning.

“The social impact behind this (hacking) – we’re talking about families. We’re talking about their children, we’re talking about their wives, we’re talking about their male partners,” Evans told reporters.

“It’s going to have impacts on their lives. We’re now going to have hate crimes that are a result of this. There are so many things that are happening. The reality is … this is not the fun and games that has been portrayed.”

The investigation into the hacking has broadened to include international law enforcement, with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security joining last week. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Canadian federal and provincial police are also assisting.

Evans also said the hacking has spawned online scams that fraudulently claim to be able to protect Ashley Madison clients’ data for a fee.

People are also attempting to extort Ashley Madison clients by threatening to send evidence of their membership directly to friends, family or colleagues, Evans said.

In a sign of Ashley Madison’s deepening woes following the breach, lawyers last week launched a class-action lawsuit seeking some $760 million in damages on behalf of Canadians whose information was leaked.

Evans said Avid Life first became aware of the breach on July 12, when several employees booted up their computers and received a message from the infiltrators accompanied by the playing of rock group AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.”

The company went to police several days later, he said, while the hackers went public on July 20.