Sunday, February 23, 2014

Example Olympics: A Gold Medal Night

Saturday's Example Olympics began with a presentation from Dave Winowiecki of Families Against Narcotics. Dave explained his son's descent into drug use, his near death from an overdose of heroin and the danger and confusion of legalizing marijuana.  Example is thankful Dave and F.A.N. possess such a passion to inform and explain the dangerous consequences of drug use.

The fierce competition took the chill out of the arctic air once the events began.

The first Example Olympic event took place under the stadium lights.  Olympic athletes battled the deep snow and each other as they raced from one end of the field to the other.

Next up was the Human Luge.

The Biathlon required Example Olympians to combine brute force... 

...with impeccable accuracy.
The last event of the 2014 Example Olympics was hockey.
Each goalie donned impaired-vision safety goggles while opponents fired shots like it was their job. Which it was.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Harming Our Communities and Children

Recently, on his radio show, Morning in America, Dr. Bill Bennett interviewed  Dr. Bob DuPont. They discussed the dangers of marijuana and why legalizing it will result in more harm to our children and our communities.

If you disagree with Dr. DuPont you need to listen to the interview.
If you agree with Dr. DuPont you need to listen to the interview.
If you have children you need to listen to the interview.
If you are in high school you need to listen to the interview.

Truly, you need to listen to the interview.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

What do you think you know about heroin?

Angela Haupt, editor with the Health and Wellness section at U.S. News wrote the following article and we wanted to share it with our Example community.
On the day Philip Seymour Hoffman died of an apparent heroin overdose, so did roughly 100 other Americans – 100 lives claimed by heroin or some other drug.
“Everyone’s talking about him, and we want to know whose phone numbers were in his cellphone,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Partnership at “All of that’s important, but in Washington, in San Diego, in Chicago and in Vermont, people died. And that’s the nature of this. People say he was a smart guy, that he should have known it was bad. Of course he knew it was bad – the problem is, his brain was constantly telling him that some heroin would be a very good idea."
Hoffman’s death highlights a steep increase in drug overdoses. Consider that in 2010, there were 38,329 such deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s more than double the 16,849 fatal overdoses recorded in 1999. Overdosing is now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., ahead of traffic fatalities and gun homicides. And health officials warn that we’re in the midst of a new heroin epidemic that will only get worse before it gets better.
“It’s not that Hoffman overdosed on heroin – it’s that he was using heroin in the first place,” Pasierb says. “Like there’s some safe level. Like if only he would have taken less, then somehow this would have been OK.”
Aside from the obvious truth that no amount is safe, here's what you need to know about the drug:
It’s a depressant. Heroin – a white to dark brown powder or tar-like substance – is a highly-addictive opioid drug extracted from poppy plants and synthesized from morphine. It’s a downer, which means it's a depressant that slows messages traveling between the brain and body. When it enters the body, it’s converted back into morphine, and users feel a rush of euphoria. “You have an extraordinary sense of well-being,” says Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “It’s bliss. It removes any sense of discomfort.” Once the brain discovers that effect – that powerful high – it begins to crave it again and again. “And if you don’t have that drug onboard, you feel awful,” Volkow says. “Things that in the past would produce pleasure no longer do.”
It’s linked with prescription drug abuse. The No. 1 sign that someone will use heroin, Pasierb says, is that he or she abused prescription painkillers like Vicodin and oxycodone. “Where I am in NYC, I’m looking out at Madison Square Park,” he says. “I can probably go out there and find an oxycodone for about $40. I could go down to Washington Square Park and get five envelopes of heroin for $40.”Those are the “economics of what’s driving the increase in heroin use,” Pasierb says.
There are signs that someone is using. When someone is abusing heroin, he or she may suffer from shortness of breath, dry mouth, a droopy appearance and cycles of hyper alertness followed by sudden drowsiness. Their pupils will likely appear small. Users may also show sudden changes in behavior or actions. “At one moment, they may be extremely friendly and sociable and very happy, and then they may be the opposite – very aggressive,” Volkow says. She adds that as heroin starts to leave the body, a person’s heart rate will spike, he or she will begin to sweat and the user might even experience seizures. “It’s a very severe withdrawal,” she says.
There are multiple ways to use it. Twenty or 30 years ago, heroin was 6 to 10 percent pure, Pasierb says – so if people wanted to get high, the only choice they had was to inject it. These days, heroin is 50 to 60 percent pure, so most users start by snorting it, then gradually progress to smoking and injecting it. “Maybe you’ve taken a couple oxycodones, and you’re now dependent on them, and you say you’re never going to put a needle in your arm,” Pasierb says. “So you grind up some heroin and snort it, and that actually works for a little while.” But then you build up a tolerance, so in pursuit of a better high, you decide to smoke it. That works for a while, too, until you again become tolerant. “And lo and behold, the only way to capture that high is to inject it into your arm,” Pasierb says.
There’s such thing as “bad heroin.” A batch of so-called “bad heroin” has been making headlines across the East Coast, reportedly killing 22 people in western Pennsylvania over the course of a week. It’s mixed with the prescription narcotic Fentanyl, which is up to 100 times more potent than morphine. Dealers use fentanyl to spike heroin as a “product marketing” tactic, Pasierb says – it provides a more powerful high than standard batches. “The problem is, these guys mixing it into some of the heroin they’re selling aren’t mixing the right amount, and they’re killing their customers.” Fentanyl-laced or not, he cautions: “The key thing about heroin is you don’t know what you’re getting. Buying a bag on the street is Russian roulette – open the chamber and see what you get."
Withdrawal is brutal. Imagine that you haven’t eaten for three or four days, and then food is withheld for another three days. You’ll become psychologically and physically distraught. “You’re in agony,” Pasierb says. “Your body is craving the thing you're refusing to give it. It’s a very tough, hard thing, and your body goes into a full-out revolt.” That’s why, even when people are determined to kick their habit, they often fail to do so without strong professional help.
It makes your body forget to breathe. Every time someone injects heroin, they’re risking an overdose. Most often, “it kills you because you stop breathing,” Volkow says. We typically don't need to think about breathing, because it's an automatic behavior driven by centers in the deep parts of our brain, and regulated by multiple neurotransmitters. But heroin inhibits the brain centers that control breathing, and after making someone feel calm and sleepy, the respiratory drive will simply shut down. Short of death, heroin can cause an array of serious health conditions, including hepatitis and HIV. Chronic users may suffer from collapsed veins, infections of the heart lining and valves, liver or kidney disease, and pulmonary complications like pneumonia.
[Read: Cory Monteith's Death Highlights Addiction 'Crisis'.]
No one is immune. Heroin affects all demographics and professions; men and women of all ages in all parts of the world. “It reaches everybody,” Volkow says. “That’s the case for addiction in general – you can have it in very rich people, in very poor people, in people who are 20 and people who are 64. It doesn’t discriminate.”

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Don't Be That Friend

Two Lutheran North students and members of Example created and submitted this video for the Courageous Persuaders public service announcement contest.  Kristin and Sonnet, thank you for your willingness to make a difference in the people God has placed in your lives.

"My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent... My son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their path." -Proverbs 1:10,15

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Heroin, Macomb County & Today's Youth

The following article is from the February 5, 2014 issue of The Detroit News

 Heroin addiction hits hard across Michigan

Sunday’s death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from an apparent heroin overdose underscores a disturbing trend in Michigan and across the U.S.
Use of the illegal drug has skyrocketed in five years, as an alternative to higher-priced prescription drugs. And heroin has gotten more lethal, as it’s mixed with dangerous additives.
“It is horrible that someone like Hoffman died, but this is commonplace,” said Lou Katranis of Oakland County, who lost his 21-year-old son, Christopher, to a heroin overdose four years ago.
“I go to a lot of meetings, I speak at treatment centers and we barely flinch, because it happens so often.” Katranis also has battled drug and alcohol addiction.
Heroin use nationally increased 79 percent from 2007-12; 669,000 people reported they used the drug, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health released in 2013.Heroin overdose deaths went up 45 percent between 2006 and 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There were 158 heroin-related deaths in Michigan from 2007-11, the most recent figures available, according to the Michigan Department of Community Health.
The rising costs of frequently abused prescription drugs, such as Vicodin, has pushed some drug addicts to turn to heroin, which is cheaper, to get the high they crave.
Heroin, which is in abundant supply, also can be snorted, making it more appealing to users who don’t want to use syringes that could leave behind tell-tale scars.
“There’s not a community in southeast Michigan that hasn’t been hit hard with opiate use, overdoses of heroin and prescription painkillers,” said Special Agent Rich Isaacson, with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Detroit Division.
Randy O’Brien, director of Macomb County Community Mental Health’s office of substance abuse, said one pill can cost up to $80 on the street, while heroin can go for $5.
Kathy Forzley, Oakland County Heath Division’s manager and health officer, said there was a 9 percent increase from 2012-13 in admissions for treatment due to heroin use. Over the past five years, she said, heroin has been the reason for 25 percent of admissions for treatment.
Macomb has also seen a rise in heroin use, O’Brien said, and there’s always been a steady population, he said, partly because of the proximity to Detroit at the Eight Mile divide.
“The last three years, there has been a much greater demand based on the admission we get for treatment,” he said.
“The pattern right now, 42 percent of admissions are heroin, based on 1,886 people in 2013. Ten years ago it was 25 percent.”

A dangerous additive

O’Brien said opiate use, including heroin, has gone up each year.
“In 2004, 25 percent were opiates admission like oxycontin; now it is up to 54 percent for all opiates. This is like most of the nation,” he said. “Hoffman quit drinking and using drugs when he was 22. He just started up again in 2009 or 2010 and ended up in rehab and it still didn’t take. It speaks to the power of the addiction.”
And as if heroin isn’t dangerous enough, fentanyl, a synthetic morphine substitute roughly 100 times more powerful than morphine, is being mixed with or substituted for heroin.
Recent deaths in Pennsylvania and New York have been attributed to heroin and fentanyl blends.
Mary Mazur, Wayne County medical examiner’s spokeswoman, said heroin is an issue in the county as well, and fentanyl was involved in a number of cases in 2007.
But, she added, it’s hard to get statistics without talking to every person who ends up in the hospital for drug use.
“There is no such thing as safe heroin,” said the DEA’s Isaacson.
“Any heroin user is playing Russian roulette.”

Highly addictive drug

Tests by federal health officials on current heroin have shown the drug now being peddled on the street is 60 percent to 70 percent pure, an increase from 5 percent seen in the 1970s.
When potency was much lower, people chose to inject the drug to get high.
“Once the heroin purity went up, that allowed people to snort the drug and get high, therefore making it seem more acceptable to many segments of our society,” Isaacson said.
Heroin use, he said, has increased in part due to the rise in prices for prescription drugs.
“People will start abusing opiate painkillers, whether they are hydrocodone or the oxycodone products,” he said. “They get hooked on those pills, which are very expensive when you buy them on the street and people who can no longer afford that addiction will typically switch over and start using heroin because they can buy hits of heroin for much cheaper.”
Raj Mehta, a recovering heroin addict and an interventionist at Serenity Therapy Center in Rochester Hills, said heroin is one of the most difficult drugs to kick.
Twenty-five percent of people who try it once become addicted, he said.
“A majority of people are afraid to confront somebody that is using drugs or alcohol,” Mehta said.
“They don’t want to get involved in someone’s personal business or make them angry. They all become enablers, covering up instead of helping him.”
Isaacson said heroin use is found in every age group, but in recent years ages 15-39 have had more overdose deaths than other groups.
“I have done talks to parent groups in some of our nicer suburbs and it is surprising to hear that people who have attended their high schools have died of heroin overdoses,” he said.

From The Detroit News: