Special Alert: 1-20-2008



Special Alert: 1-20-2008
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THURSDAY, JANUARY 3, 2008 (202) 395-6618

(Washington, DC) –  The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is warning public health and safety leaders across the country about a dangerous new drug threat coming from Canada. Ecstasy laced with methamphetamine (meth) has been entering the United States illegal drug markets, particularly in northern border states. Intelligence reports indicate that once smuggled into the U.S., the meth-laced Ecstasy is then being distributed throughout the country.

The dangerous poly-drug combination of methamphetamine and Ecstasy can have severe health consequences, especially as both drugs have toxic effects on the brain. They both can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature, leading to sharp increases in body temperature (hyperthermia), which can result in liver, kidney, and cardiovascular system failure and death. The potential for a life-threatening or fatal overdose is also increased when meth-laced Ecstasy is combined with alcohol. Recent laboratory research suggests that Ecstasy and meth combinations may produce greater adverse neurochemical and behavioral effects than either drug alone.

John Walters, the Nation’s “Drug Czar,” said, “This ‘Extreme Ecstasy’ is a disturbing development in what has been one of the most significant international achievements against the illicit drug trade. Historic progress against Ecstasy availability and use is in jeopardy of being rolled back by Canadian criminal organizations. Desperate to develop their client base, they are dangerously altering a product for which demand by youth and young adults had plummeted, and are exploiting vulnerabilities along our shared border. This is alarming for the youth of both Canada and the United States.”

Ecstasy use in the United States rose in the late 1990s with the rise of the ‘Rave’ culture, however due to the well-coordinated national and international response - Ecstasy use in the U.S. diminished in the early 2000s. In fact, the U.S. witnessed a 54 percent reduction since 2001 in the number of United States teens using Ecstasy in the past month, however recent data show progress against the drug has ebbed. The number of people in the U.S. who reported that they tried Ecstasy for the first time during the past year increased 40 percent between 2005 and 2006 – from 615,000 to 860,000. One-third of these new users in 2006 were under age 18 when they started using Ecstasy.

And while still lower than its peak in 2002, past-month Ecstasy use has been increasing over the last two years among young adults aged 18-25. An estimated 326,000 young adults reported past-month Ecstasy use in 2006, compared to 231,000 in 2004. These increases coincide with increased trafficking of Ecstasy from Canada. Additionally, the latest Monitoring the Future Study, which tracks teen attitudes and behavior with respect to drug use, found decreases in the perception of risk of taking Ecstasy occasionally among 8th and 10th graders (-7% and -4%, respectively). After years of increased perception of risk for Ecstasy use, today’s young people are not getting the message that Ecstasy use is dangerous and potentially deadly.

Prior to 2003, Europe (primarily The Netherlands and Belgium) was the predominant source of Ecstasy consumed in the United States. Increased cooperation among U.S. and European governments, combined with improved law enforcement operations and mass media reports, effectively dismantled the European – U.S. Ecstasy trade. However, U.S. and Canadian intelligence reports indicate that Canada-based drug trafficking organizations are attempting to fill the supply void, and have drastically increased their Ecstasy production and trafficking.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) estimates that the current combined production capacity of Canadian Ecstasy laboratories exceeds 2 million tablets per week. Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies along the U.S. – Canada border report large increases in the flow of Ecstasy from Canada into the United States. In 2003, 568,220 dosage units of Ecstasy were seized federally in the ten Northern border states; in 2006, 5,485,619 dosage units were seized.
Alarmingly, more than 55 percent of the Ecstasy samples seized in the United States last year contained methamphetamine. Cutting their product with less-expensive methamphetamine boosts profits for Canadian Ecstasy producers, likely increases the addictive potential of their product, and effectively gives a dangerous “face lift” to a designer drug that had fallen out of fashion with young American drug users.

Federal law enforcement officers are working with the RCMP to put greater pressure on Canadian Ecstasy producers through increased intelligence sharing and coordinated enforcement operations, and RCMP officials are focusing their efforts on the importation of precursor chemicals used in drug production. In the meantime, Director Walters is urging State and local public health officials to reinvigorate their prevention efforts, to enhance educational outreach to youth, parents, school systems, emergency departments, medical examiners, poison control centers, and law enforcement agencies regarding the hazards of Ecstasy and methamphetamine, to shore up treatment systems to look for and address the unique and well known challenges of meth addiction.

“We cannot allow our young people to once again be victimized by the ‘Rave’ culture, ‘designer’ drugs, or the myth that drug use is safe,” said Director Walters. “We cannot afford to be complacent with the progress made against Ecstasy since 2001. Just as we must teach new generations of children to read, we must continue to educate new generations of young people on the harms of drug use.”


Why do we allow businesses to promote and profit from drugs and drug names? - Part 2 

Again, I am writing to ask you to THINK; Take A STANCE; Be More PROACTIVE!

Hershey’s Ice Breakers Pacs are dissolvable pouches that look like the packaging many drug dealer’s use, (very small heat-sealed bags) when selling Cocaine, Heroin, or most powder drugs.  Pacs, which hit the stores in November of 2007, are Hershey’s newest line in Ice Breakers mints.  The package on the right is candy.  Fox 29 News

They are similar enough to drug packets that a child familiar with the candy could mistakenly swallow a heat-sealed bag of drugs, Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector William Blackburn told the Philadelphia Daily News for an article published Friday. (11/30/07)

The pouches are so realistic they even fooled Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector William Blackburn. "Being in narcotics the majority of my career, I thought it was the real stuff," said Blackburn.

What if children use them and subsequently stumble upon and ingest a real bag of drugs?

What if a drug dealer mixed some in with real street drugs and sold them to an unsuspecting buyer?

What if a teenager took them to school how would a teacher differentiate it from drug packets?

 A spokesman for the company pointed out that each pouch - made by two dissolvable mint strips - bears the Ice Breakers logo. Even though each pouch has a small Ice Breakers logo on it, it should be pointed out that drug distributors too will often brand their drug so it is recognizable to the users.

Judge Dumas Brooks can imagine another scenario: the undermining of drug busts made on visual observation of money changing hands for colored packets of powder.

"This potentially could give them a legal out," said Judge Dumas Brooks. "It's terrible. It's terrible."

Family Court Judge Dumas Brooks wanted to make sure she wasn't overreacting.  So she held the small blue packet of powdered substance in her palm and showed it around at work yesterday.

Everyone asked the same thing:

What was she doing with cocaine?

"I thought she confiscated it in the courtroom," said Administrative Judge Kevin Dougherty.

"I think some strong community groups, groups with parents that have lost a loved one should unite together and petition this company and demand that this product be taken off the market," Chief Inspector Blackburn said.

Every community; the people, the businesses, the schools and political leaders need to join together to end this type of marketing.  We need stores, media companies that advertise these products and the businesses themselves to realize that society will NOT engage in their businesses if they continue to glamorize drugs and their usage.

I have included a picture of Cocaine and Crack packaged in normal size drug trafficking bags.  I have also included pictures of Heroin, powder and with packaging.  The last two pictures are of Pacs and an unknown drug.

Written by:  Dr. Ellen E. Vachon, NYSCASAC

Jill Porter-Philadelphia Daily News

Dr. Ellen Vachon-EV Trainings

Fox News Philadelphia

My Fox Philadelphia

Jack Salley- PHX News

ABC News 




cocaine photo                                         

      DEA- Photo of Cocaine                                   DEA Photo Crack

                                                                                                                DEA – Photos of Heroin


Hershey’s Ice Breakers Pacs

                                                Candy or a powered drug?

                                                     Police say they cannot tell! –   Can You?

                                                                (The right side is a candy.)


Why do we allow businesses to promote and profit from drugs and drug names?


I am writing to ask you to THINK; Take A STANCE; Be More PROACTIVE!

I am writing in regards to two companies in particular.  They both have opened within the past six months.  They both use dangerous drugs names to promote their products.  They seduce their users into using - from the promises that the drug is known to enhance. 

The two companies I am writing in reference to are:  Meth Coffee and Redux Beverages. 

Redux Beverages started producing an energy drink that is labeled “Cocaine” (9/06), it comes in a red can with white lettering- (perhaps a marketers’ idea of a representation of the powder form of Cocaine- the drug.)  Meth Coffee is a brand new company (1/07) out of S.F. California.  The company sells hyped up coffee (coffee with yerbamate added- which is a natural stimulant and antioxidant) over the Internet and in some well-guarded locations along with merchandise to promote Meth Coffee. 

These products only promote the continued use of these drugs.  They suggest that it is okay to use drugs, that it is cool! and glamorize their use. If society, particularly: teens/twenties believe it is okay to use these products and look for the enhancing effects of the drugs they will inevitably link the two acts together.  They will look for the drug induced pleasure, their association with the drug while consuming these drinks.

Both Meth and Cocaine are highly addictive drugs- stimulants.  They are drugs the entire country/world is fighting.  Every community can attest to the devastating affects drugs has had on it.  They can speak of health issues, increasing crime rates, an explosion in STD or HIV/AIDS, cost of living, the list goes on and on.

To allow business’s to promote their products at the cost of our children/society is not acceptable to this writer or to the Southern Tier of NY Methamphetamine Prevention Program.  I am asking you to participate, and send this email endorsing that you are against such practices.  http://americansfordrugfreeyouth.org/

These businesses advertise mainly to the young consumer (teens/twenties).  They pitch their advertisements to appeal to the law-abiding citizen.  Maybe, someone who is familiar with drugs- Meth/ Cocaine or the youngster who is thinking I might be cool if I used drugs.  According to an interview given to the Associated Press, Hannah Kirby, wife of Redux Beverages founder James Kirby, said   “ We knew kids would find it cool, but we also wanted to stress the idea that it's an energy drink -- you don't need drugs".  Last I checked caffeine is a drug and Cocaine has 280 milligrams of caffeine per can,

Examples of the advertisements are: 

With the case of Cocaine – the liquid energy drink, the company and founder (James Kirby) says: “the company has added an ingredient that would slightly numb the throat in order to add an oral sensation like the drug cocaine”.   Marketed to give the user a “ High” coupled with a tingling euphoria; that will arrive within five minutes.”  On their website the headlining is “Cocaine-Instant rush-No Crash!” “Cocaine is a legal alternative”- to a class A drug.  Distributors are referred to dealers, the advertisements warn the buyer to “use at their own risk”, some show buyers purchasing from the backs of cars.

With the case of Meth Coffee – The website reads: Mental clarity! Mind-altering euphoria! Nail you’re a** to the chair with Meth Coffee, a smooth, rich roast supercharged with maximum caffeine and dusted with yerba mate, a powerful natural stimulant. “Listen here, friend, I can sell you ten ounces, but I am warning you, this is powerful sh**.
If you're just trying it for the first time, don't throw back five cups like regular coffee. Ease into it. Have a little. Feel the rush, the euphoria, the smooth-edged high. Then go for more, if you want.
Yeah, get into it. Make a dance up...program in assembly language...write your first novel...plot to overrule the planet. I'm telling you, this sh** will nail you’re a** down like the sole of a boot!

Employees go by code names like "The Roaster" and "The Driver," and use a "dealer" system to help sell their stash

This raises the question of the limitations of the law.  Politicians, Substance Abuse professionals, and parents are up in arms over the sale and marketing of these products.  7-11 stores have responded to the outbursts and NO longer offer Cocaine- the energy drink. The sellers do not seem to argue that they are targeting anybody other than the youth market. 

Mission District resident Jeremy Leaird-Koch posted before-and-after pictures of one Meth addict on his online journal. "I wholeheartedly agree that there is some 'powerful shit' going on here, but it's not the effects of the coffee," he wrote. "It's this recent scourge of marketing amphetamines as a fun, hip product."  He calls the marketing tasteless and clueless — and says any company based in a city with a longtime Meth problem should know better.

New York Councilman James Sanders, Jr. had this quote in the New York Times:
“There are only two reasons that you would seek to use this infamous and insidious name to market your so-called energy drink – either you are woefully ignorant of the horrors of cocaine addiction, or your god is the dollar bill, and not even human life is more sacred.”

Joseph Califano Jr. chairman and president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University said: “putting a product on the market that glamorizes an illegal and addictive drug like cocaine is irresponsible and reprehensible.”  Cocaine is a life destroying addictive illegal drug, and has over two million Americans addicted to it.

UC Davis nutritionist Dr. Louis Grivetti said, "Personally, I would not support the suggestion that an energy drink be marketed with this name [Cocaine]. What kind of stupid message does the name send to university students and to the general public?"

Health Hazards: Cocaine contains 280 milligrams of caffeine per can. To put that in perspective, caffeine per ounce in a Starbucks double-shot coffee is 20 milligrams. In Cocaine, it's 30 milligrams.    In an interview with the Associated Press, Dr. Danielle McCarthy of Northwestern University said caffeine that is taken to stay awake is having harsh consequences. "Young people are taking caffeine to stay awake, or perhaps to get high, and many of them are ending up in the emergency department,'' she said. "Caffeine is a drug and should be treated with caution, as any drug is.'' The high amounts of caffeine in Cocaine have opposition groups worrying that overuse will contribute to long-time health hazards.

Meth coffee contains 99.99% Arabica coffee beans and yerbamate.  It is certified organic. (Yerbamate)- An August 11, 2005 United States patent application (documents #20050176777, #20030185908, and #20020054926) cites yerba mate extract as an inhibitor of MAO activity; so there is information that suggest yerbamate has a calming effect.

The U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine   noted that yerbamate can cause high blood pressure when used in conjunction with other MAO inhibitors (such as Nardil and Parnate).

Side effects of:

CaffeineCaffeine is mildly addictive and linked to a number of health problems if drunk in excess. It can inhibit the absorption of vitamins and minerals and increase their excretion from the body. This removes vital nutrients from the body and impacts on their critical role in the body's metabolism.
Caffeine over stimulates the central nervous system thereby increasing heart rate and blood pressure. In addition it has an impact on the body's energy levels; following the initial energy surge your levels fall due to the lowering of blood sugar. It can also irritate your stomach and cause headaches and insomnia.

Cocaine: Cocaine reaches the brain within seconds, resulting in a sudden and intense high.  However, the euphoria quickly disappears, leaving the user with an enormous craving.  The user usually increases the dose and the frequency to satisfy this craving, resulting in addiction and physical debilitation. 

Cocaine's effects appear almost immediately after a single dose, and disappear within a few minutes or hours.  Taken in small amounts (up to 100 mg), cocaine usually makes the user feel euphoric, energetic, talkative, and mentally alert, especially to the sensations of sight, sound, and touch.  It can also temporarily decrease the need for food and sleep.  Some users find that the drug helps them to perform simple physical and intellectual tasks more quickly, while others can experience the opposite effect.


Users often report feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety and cocaine can trigger paranoia.  Users also report being depressed when they are not using the drug and often resume use to alleviate further depression.  In addition, cocaine users frequently find that they need more and more cocaine more often to generate the same level of stimulation. 

Meth: Long-term methamphetamine abuse has many damaging effects, including addiction., chronic abusers exhibit symptoms that include violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, and insomnia. Meth abusers also display a number of psychotic features, including paranoia, auditory and visual hallucinations, mood disturbances, and delusions i.e. -"formication” the sensation of insects creeping on the skin.  The paranoia can result in homicidal as well as suicidal thoughts.

Cocaine –the energy drink as well as Meth Coffee, have expanded across the Internet, occupying myspace.com accounts and websites –drinkcocaine.com and methcoffee.com

The people of every community, the businesses, the schools and political leaders need to join together to end this type of marketing.  We need stores, media companies that advertise these products and the businesses themselves to realize that society will NOT engage in their businesses if they continue to glamorize drugs and their usage. 

Written by:  Dr. Ellen E. Vachon

References:   ABC News, CBS News, News.com, EV Trainings, Wilipedia- Encyclopedia, Dailymail.com, L.I. of B. (10/06)


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