Salisbury Post Special section on drugs Sept 20,2000

Lead pic on front page! Editorial too!

September 20, 2000
New highs, old perils: Waging a war against the perils of drugs


Mike Jones prayed every day that his
19-year-old son would stay alive long enough to go to jail.

“I wanted him to go to jail,” says Jones, owner of Granite Knitwear. “I hoped jail would be a safe haven where he could air out and think about what he was doing.

“I didn’t know what else to do.”

Tommy Jones didn’t go to jail.

He died three days before he was scheduled to appear in court on a probation violation, where his father had hoped the judge would incarcerate him.

He died after completing three treatment programs for drug abuse, including a month-long stay at a facility to fight a heroin addiction.

He died alone in the parking lot of a Charlotte gasoline station, a needle still protruding from his arm when police found him.

Three years later, the story of Tommy Jones is still hard to believe.

How did a popular honor student at South Rowan High School end up overdosing on heroin?

Jones wrestles with that question and all its possible answers.

It wracks him with guilt. It keeps him up at night. At one time, it even made him consider suicide.

“Right after Tommy died, a little thing that I read stuck with me: ‘The only reason that evil triumphs is because good men do nothing,’ ” Jones says. “That was almost my epitaph there for awhile.”

Jones thought about all the good men who did nothing while Tommy slowly killed himself with a three-year drug habit.

The neighbors who silently watched a notorious drug dealer get him hooked.

The friends who said nothing while Tommy fell deeper and deeper into his dark hole.

The law enforcement officials who, Jones believes, could have put the dealer out of business before he lured Tommy into his illicit world.

Then, Jones saw the quote from Edmond Burke in a different light.

Perhaps Jones was a good man who could prevent evil from triumphing. Perhaps he could do something while others did nothing.

“Now, it’s my reason for being,” Jones says.

Personal crusade

Jones has become a crusader in the war on drugs, or the war on substance abuse, as he calls it.

When he’s not working at Granite Knitwear, he lives and breathes drug abuse prevention. For about three hours a night and six hours on the weekend, he reads, researches, writes, speaks and prays about the plague that claimed his first-born son.

“It would have been easy to just walk off a cliff,” says Jones, who has three other children. “This has helped.”

His greatest achievement so far may be the web site, an exhaustive source of information on drugs for parents and teen-agers.

“I hope I’m doing some other parent a favor,” he says.

He wants to repay the parents who also lost a child and shared their stories, inspiring him with their strength in the face of tragedy.

And he hopes to encourage those grieving parents still immersed in anger, guilt and despair after losing a child to drugs.

“We can make a difference,” Jones says. “People react in different ways. Some help in their own way, not publicly. Some just crawl up under a shell and are waiting to die. There is no worse thing for a parent, but you’ve just got to fight it.”

‘It’s everybody’s child’

Jones readily admits the mistakes he’s made and will share the heartbreaking story of his son’s demise with anyone who will listen.

“If I have to be the poster child for parents who lose a child to drugs, then so be it,” Jones said.

He’ll do whatever he can to keep other children and their parents from falling into the trap that took Tommy and left his family devastated. “Everybody is at risk,” Jones says. “I know before Tommy got into drugs, it was, ‘Not my child.’ ”

Then, as Jones discovered more about his son’s addiction, he realized, “It’s not only my child, it’s everybody’s child,” he says.

Three other South Rowan students became addicted to heroin with Tommy, Jones says.

One is sober now. The other two have been in and out of treatment programs, he says.

Since only one in 10 heroin addicts can kick the drug that’s more addictive than cocaine, Jones fears the odds are against Tommy’s friends.

“Parents are very naive, but having been there, I know why it’s hard to face,” Jones says.

Shortly after Tommy died, Jones flew to Texas on business. He picked up a newspaper and saw his son staring at him from the pictures of seven white, well-off teens who had recently died from heroin overdoses.

The story told of drug dealers moving into small Texas communities to peddle highly addictive heroin to young adults with money. Small communities where grieving parents never expected to find a drug they considered only a problem of the inner-city poor.

To Jones, it sounded all too familiar.

Cycle of abuse, treatment

Tommy started abusing prescription pills in 1996.

Later that year, a drug dealer from Kannapolis introduced Tommy to a type of heroin that could be snorted or smoked with the promise of no addiction, Jones says.

Soon after, Tommy was hooked.

By May 1997, he wasn’t showing up for work at Granite Knitwear. He stayed out all night and slept all day.

Tommy asked to join his father on a beach trip. There, he revealed his addiction but only to narcotics.

“I was shocked,” Jones says.

They made a father-son pact that Tommy would stay off pills. Now, Jones knows that was woefully inadequate.

Tommy spent five days at Amethyst treatment center in Charlotte, where Jones was not satisfied with his care. The center has since closed.

When Tommy came home, the dealer started calling him, Jones says. Soon, he was using again.

It wasn’t until Tommy went to a second detox program in July 1997 that Jones learned the extent of his son’s drug use. Pot, heroin, Ecstasy, LSD, mushrooms, Ritalin, Tommy had tried them all.

When he was released, Tommy stopped at his mother’s house with Jones to pick up some things. They were on their way to an intensive treatment center in Dobson called Hope Valley.

While Jones and his ex-wife talked, Tommy slipped out of the house.

He was gone all night, then called his father the next morning and said he couldn’t find any drugs.

“He said he didn’t score, and maybe that was a sign,” Jones says.

Tommy entered Hope Valley’s month-long treatment program, his only sincere effort at kicking the habit, Jones says.

And it worked.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself up here. I seemed to have changed,” Tommy wrote to his sister just before coming home. “I’m thinking clearly for the first time in a long time.

“I’ve learned that if I want to be sober, I have to live by spiritual principles.”

But he worried about seeing his friends again and facing old temptations.

“I’m scared to leave,” he wrote. “I don’t want to go back to that life.”

Jones keeps a photo in his office of Tommy leaning on the wooden Hope Valley sign. It was taken the day he completed his treatment, Aug. 27, 1997.

Smiling confidently and looking healthy, Tommy “was alert, clear, talkative, positive and apparently happy with himself,” Jones wrote in his journal that day.

Jones had set many ground rules for his son’s return. He must obey a curfew, hold down a job, do his own laundry and not steal, lie or use drugs.

But within three days, Tommy was looking for heroin.

That’s when Jones prayed for jail.

Two weeks later, his son was dead.

“There is some truth that time heals all wounds,” Jones says. “I know he’s OK. I know he’s with God and when it’s my turn, I’ll see him.”

Symptom of other problems

Jones says he now knows that Tommy had an addictive personality and, like most addicts, his drug habit was a symptom of other problems.

“To cure it, we must address the physical, emotional or spiritual problems that make them want to get high,” he says, “that make them want to decrease the pain.”

Although the drug dealer is dead, shot in the chest in
1998, Jones knows heroin is still available in Rowan County.

So he continues his crusade in the face of statistics that say more teens are smoking, drinking and abusing drugs.

“It is very discouraging, “ he says. “It’s hard to make an impact.”

First, Jones tried holding a drug symposium at the Civic Center.

“That was a dismal failure,” he says. “It just killed me to see so little participation.”

So he tried a new approach, working through the Elks drug awareness program.

He and other Elks members set up a booth at the Rowan County Fair each year to pass out information and buttons that say “Remember Tommy” with his picture and the Web site address. Jones has passed out about 1,000 buttons in two years.

“They ask about the button and they’re a little taken aback, but they appreciate it,” Jones says. “It’s a good way to start a conversation.”

During Prom Promise activities at South Rowan High School, Jones sets up a table display that asks, “Who said drugs don’t kill?”

Covered with newspaper articles about teens who have died after sniffing, snorting, swallowing or injecting drugs, the display gets a quick glance from many students, Jones says. But some take a closer look.

“It makes them think. At least I hope it does,” he says. “Kids think that drugs don’t kill. Well, I can prove to them that they do.”

September 20, 2000

Local News

County needs single source in the fight against drugs


Rowan County’s best hope against drugs is a proposed coalition, says Mike Jones, who has campaigned for awareness about drugs ever since his son died of a heroin overdose.

“If the statistic is true that 80 percent of crime is related to substance abuse, then why is there not one single organization or person dedicated to coordinating all the activities and resources this county has?” he asks.

After meeting for more than a year, the Rowan County Substance Abuse Prevention Committee has proposed forming a coalition to do the following:

n Increase public awareness of substance abuse resources. n Help parents talk to their kids about drugs. n Advocate for more drug abuse treatment and prevention services. n Promote education and training programs for public officials and professionals.

In its proposal to the United Way, the committee has recommended hiring someone to lead the coalition, says Jones, a committee member.

“Hopefully, we’re getting funded by the United Way for a kind of ‘drug czar’ for the county,” he says. “That would be one of best things this county could do.”

United Way Executive Director Bob Lippard said the United Way board has endorsed the idea of a anti-drug coalition of community groups but has made no decision on how it would operate and whether to hire a coordinator.

Lippard said the United Way wants “to continue the good work of this committee.” The coalition would include any agency touching on drug abuse — from criminal prosecution to rehabilitation — as well as neighborhoods and “grassroots efforts by citizens of the community,” he said.

A drug czar would help, Jones says, but in the long run, parents themselves have the best chance to influence their children’s choices.

“Statistics show, if you just talk to them and express your concerns ...” he says. “Read the paper and pick out someone who’s gotten in trouble from substance abuse and talk to them about it.”

If they start abusing drugs, get help and don’t unintentionally support their habit, Jones says. Don’t cover for them when they miss work. Don’t clean up after them, fix their meals or do their laundry. Don’t bail them out of jail.

Tell them how much they hurt you.

“Keep hammering away at them,” he says. “Kids are going to act like they don’t hear you, but they do.”

Police, schools and churches can’t take the place of a watchful, concerned and educated parent, Jones says.

“We’ve got a tough fight for a long time,” Jones says, “until ... until I don’t know when.”

Alcohol still the drug of choice


Alcohol is the most commonly used and widely abused psychoactive drug in the country, and in 1998, 30.6 percent of the teen population admitted drinking alcohol.

That number is equivalent to 10.6 million people 12 to
20 years old, and half of those, 5.1 million, fit the description of “binge drinkers.”

From beer to wine to liquor, all types of alcohol have been steadily used by teens for the past four years.

Are these numbers representing just 18-, 19- and

No. Studies show that in 1998, approximately 113 million teens, as young as 12-years-old, were “current users” of alcohol.

Studies of teen drinking define a “current user” as someone who has at least one drink per month but include binge drinkers — five or more drinks on the same occasion at least once in the past month — and heavy drinkers — five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least five different days in the past month.

In 1998, Rowan County Alcoholic Beverage Control officers began to tackle the problem of minors’ easy access to alcohol.

That year, in undercover stings, six out of every 10 businesses sold alcohol to an underage teen working undercover for the Control Board.

The ABC agency’s campaign seems to have worked. On similar stings so far this year, only two of 10 stores sold to the undercover teens, most of them 15 or 16 years old.

“Lately, our complaints that we receive in our office involving minors obtaining alcohol involve: young employees selling alcohol to their friends and parties at private residences that kids advertise with flyers in school,” says Ray Shuler, ABC enforcement chief.

Youth risk more than adults

Young people generally risk more than adults when they drink alcohol because they often try to drink too much too fast.

Adolescent treatment specialists find teens use drugs for the sole purpose of “getting wasted.”

Thus, chugging, drinking games and binge drinking are more common in younger drinkers, and this kind of behavior leads to addiction and overdoses and poisoning.

Younger drinkers may pass out and end up choking on their own vomit.

Though alcohol is usually separated from typical street drugs — for example the motto, “Say no, to drugs and alcohol” — more substance abuse counselors are leaning toward incorporating alcohol into the group of dependency drugs.

“People get addicted to getting high so it doesn’t make a difference what wrapper it is in,” says John Hunter, director of The Majors, an outpatient program for 12-to
17-year-olds developed by Piedmont Behavioral Health Care.

Alcohol is considered a drug because its main ingredient, ethanol, acts as a central nervous system depressant, similar to a sleeping pill.

Rowan County statistics, using the 1998 population of
124,717 people, found 12,260 people were dependent on alcohol.

Specialists project that those drinkers “affected” 61,298 people, including 12 people who died in alcohol-related traffic accidents, in Rowan County alone.

The Rowan County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council recently chose the threat of drugs and alcohol as the top community risk to youth — more than community crime and violence, availability of guns and the presence of gangs.

Hunter says alcohol is a major threat because teens don’t see it as a threat. They think “alcohol is socially acceptable.”

Fighting society’s message

Alcohol has both short-term and long-term effects on the body. In high doses, alcohol can work like an anesthetic. In lower doses, it works as a behavioral stimulant.

The effects of alcohol depend on a variety of factors, including the drinker’s size, weight, age and sex, as well as the amount of food and alcohol consumed.

“The disinhibiting effect of alcohol is one of the main reasons it is used in so many social situations,” according to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

“It is unrealistic to expect that teen-agers won’t drink in a society that glorifies the drug in an atmosphere of accessibility,” Dr. Mark S. Gold wrote in his book, “The Facts About Drugs and Alcohol.”

“Parents must be acutely aware of the signs of heavy drinking among teenagers — withdrawal from family activities, depression, noncommunication, drop in school grades and a tendency to become secluded or secretive.”

Moderate alcohol consumption can also provoke disabling side effects like dizziness and talkativeness.

Hangovers are usually the next-day result after consuming large amounts of alcohol. A hangover, which is usually the result of dehydration, can cause headache, nausea, thirst, dizziness and fatigue.

But if a teen consumes a lot of alcohol, the result could be slurred speech, disturbed sleep or insomnia, nausea and vomiting.

Continued use of alcohol can lead to addiction, and when paired with poor nutrition, as it usually is, alcoholism leads to permanent brain and liver damage.

A person can become tolerant to alcohol, like any drug, meaning the regular drinker has to consume more to achieve the same feeling.

What are some ways to differentiate casual drinking from alcoholism?

“Does it cause problems for you and you continue to use it?” Hunter asks when inquiring about alcohol dependency.

If alcohol causes legal, financial or family complications, then drinking may be a problem for you, especially if you hide or lie about it.

“I like green beans. I like green beans a lot, but I don’t lie about green beans and I don’t hide green beans,” he said.

Tougher laws save lives

Statistics compiled by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) indicate three out of every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives.

In 1997, there were 16,189 alcohol-related fatalities, averaging one every 32 minutes across the nation.

An alcohol-related crash is defined as one where anyone involved in the accident has a blood alcohol concentration of .01 or greater.

The legal blood-alcohol limit for N.C. drivers 21 or older is .08.

But some may not realize that North Carolina is one of
12 states and the District of Columbia that has a “zero tolerance” for alcohol in the blood of drivers under 21.

The law, enacted in June 1998, set a country-wide maximum level of .02 for drivers under 21.

California and New Jersey have a .01 blood alcohol limit. The remaining 36 states enforce the .02 limit.

In 1975, a few states increased the minimum drinking age from 18 to 21-years old and by 1987, all 50 states began enforcing the 21-year-old limit. Researchers estimate that the higher drinking age has saved the lives of 18,220 drivers 18 to 20 years old from fatal crashes since 1975.

Though many groups, like Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, supports the minimum drinking age, not all activist groups agree.

“Eighteen to 20-year-olds can pay taxes, adopt a child, be drafted into the military and own firearms but are not considered mature enough to drink alcohol,” according to the Realistic Alcohol Laws for Legal Youth Web site at .

Researchers argue that teens drink more because they feel it makes them “grown up” or that they are already mature enough to handle the situation.

“One reason teens drink, even though they may be below the legal drinking age, is peer pressure,” Dr. Gold noted in his book.

“Most adolescents are, if not shy, at least awkward during this strange period of hormonal explosion,” Dr. Gold wrote. “Drinking can lessen the inhibitions they may feel in peer-group situations.”

Studies indicate the higher the level of educational achievement, the more likely a young person is to use alcohol.

So what resources are available to help kids and parents deal with alcohol temptations and use?

The National Youth Anti-drug Media Campaign sponsors the Web site, which gives teens straight-forward answers to common questions.

“What about alcohol and sex?” the Web site asks, for example.

“Because it gets in the way of your ability to make smart decisions, you’re much more likely to participate in risky sexual behavior when you’re drunk and less likely to worry about using protection or getting pregnant,” the Web site responds.

And teens can also read accounts written by other teens on how they deal with alcohol-related situations.

Alcohol, along with cigarettes and marijuana, has been dubbed a “gateway drug,” one that leads to harder, more addictive drugs.

Since it is easily accessible and relatively cheap, alcohol still reigns as the drug of choice among America’s youth.

Editor’s note:

Information for this article compiled from the following sources:

Mothers Against Drunk Driving at .

Realistic Alcohol Laws for Legal Youth at .

Alateen and Al-Anon at .

National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign at

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the Partnership for a Drug-free America at .

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. at .

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at .

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at .

The Office of Applied Studies at .

This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from

September 20, 2000

Local News

Marijuana remains a plague across nation


It’s the same old story with the same old drug.

Reefer, pot, doobie, weed, dope, Mary Jane, herb, hash, ganja, skunk, boom, kif, gangster, chronic, blunt and sinsemilla, just to name a few.

Marijuana continues to be a nationwide epidemic and the most often used illegal drug in the country.

On Sept. 8, N.C.Department of Motor Vehicle officer Terry Siler discovered $2-million worth of the drug in a tractor-trailer hauling limes down Interstate 85.

Seizures like this put a small dent in the growing supply.

Though the number of teens smoking marijuana continues to decrease, more than one in 20 of today’s high school seniors still admits to being a daily user.

Usually a green or gray mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the plant, marijuana can be compared to the appearance of oregano.

A “nickle bag” of marijuana goes for $5 and a “dime bag” for $10.

Marijuana seeds are small and round.

Paraphernalia commonly used with marijuana includes rolling papers; hemostates, or scissors with clip-type ends used to hold small marijuana cigarettes, which are called roaches; plastic bags and scales.

Most commonly, marijuana is rolled into a cigarette, or joint, and smoked. But people smoke the drug in water pipes, called bongs; mix it into food, such as brownies; or brew tea.

Recently, users have been smoking the drug by emptying the tobacco from cigars and refilling the casing with marijuana. The cigar is called a blunt, because a popular brand of cigar used is “Phillies Blunts.”

In the short-term, marijuana can interfere with memory, learning, thinking and problem solving. Motor skills are often impaired, and users often complain of a dry mouth.

As with any drug, all of the effects of marijuana are greater when mixed with other drugs.

In the long term, marijuana smoke contains some of the same cancer-causing compounds as tobacco, sometimes in higher concentrations, but there has been no direct connection made because many marijuana users also smoke cigarettes.

Studies have shown that marijuana affects hormones. Heavy doses of the drug may delay the onset of puberty and affect sperm production in males.

In females, the drug can disrupt the menstrual cycle and inhibit ovulation.

Someone who smokes marijuana regularly may have many of the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers. They have symptoms of daily cough, chronic bronchitis and more frequent chest colds.

Researchers disagree about the dependence or tolerance of long-term users.

Is your teen using?

Someone high on marijuana may seem dizzy and have trouble walking. The user can act giddy or very mellow.

Their eyes may appear red and bloodshot and he or she may have a hard time remembering things that just happened. After the early effects fade, sometimes a few hours later, the user can become sleepy.

Parents should be aware of traces of marijuana, marijuana paraphernalia or the odor on clothes and in the bedroom. Watch for teens’ use of incense, other deodorizers and eye drops and clothing, posters, jewelry and other items promoting drug use.

Information for this article was collected from the following web sites:

Partnership for a Drug-Free America at

The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign at

The U.S. Department of Justice — Drug Enforcement Administration at

The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at

This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from

New wave of hallucinogens provide ‘out of body high’


With an increasing amount of expendable income and more freedom, young Americans are experimenting with a variety of drugs.

Teens find themselves the prime target of a host of Internet chat rooms and Web sites promoting drug use,

Unlike LSD and PCP, the more old-fashioned hallucinogenic drugs of the ‘60s, these new wave drugs supposedly provide an easier “out of body high” experience, earning them the nickname “soft hallucinogens.”

Rohypnol — the date rape or the forget-me drug — has made headlines for its role in numerous sexual assaults. But GHB, Ketamine and Ecstasy circulate commonly in clubs and raves, the all-night dance parties.

Most of the soft hallucinogens only intensify reality, letting the user still maintain a certain amount of control.

The Internet is full of sources for information about drug use, from health to legal risks, pro and con.

Supportive Internet sites offer “trip” chats. Anyone can log on and share their experiences and opinions. You find comments like:

“They” say drugs are the road to no where. Maybe “they’re” right, but at least I’m taking the scenic route.

I say “no” to drugs, but they just don’t listen.

Couple these with information about how to get the best high and how to fool parents. It’s just a Web site away.

Testimonies from 15- and 16-year-olds describe how they talk about using drugs in front of their parents — without their parents knowing.

Ecstasy code: “Have you seen Elizabeth?” Ketamine code: “Let’s go visit Katherine.”


GHB is colorless and odorless, and to mask its salty taste, a user might slip it in unusual mixed drinks such as Oatmeal Cookies, Long Island Ice Teas and Margaritas. Goldschlager, a strong cinnamon flavored liquor, is a favorite.

In some cases, people add GHB and offer it as an “energy drink.” It may still have a noticeably salty taste, but the victim is less suspicious.

GHB — gamma hydroxy butyrate or gamma hydroxy butric acid — is similar to Rohypnol in that both cause amnesia-like symptoms, but GHB is better known for its intense intoxication and enhancement of sexual interest, making it a common drug used in sexual assaults.

While other “soft hallucinogens” can be used without immediate risk of death, GHB, especially when mixed with alcohol or other drugs, can prove very harmful, even in small amounts.

When used with methamphetamines, a person has a greater risk of seizure. Using it with alcohol, a common practice, can result in nausea and difficulty breathing.

Parents should be alerted to any container capable of holding liquids that seem out of place: children’s bubble containers, pill bottles, spice bottles and medicine bottles with eyedropper lids.

Be aware of slang terms: G, Liquid X, Liquid Ecstasy, Grievous Bodily Harm, Georgia Home Boy, Scoop, Great Hormones at Bedtime, Salty Water, Water, Everclear, Aminos, GH Buddy and Blue Monster.

It comes in powder, liquid or capsule and is often manufactured in homes with recipes and kits purchased on the Internet.

The first initial reaction after consumption is a relaxed feeling. The user feels calm and a little euphoric.

After 15 minutes, however, the user may become nauseated, drowsy or dizzy and have difficulty breathing.

Coma and seizures can follow, and GHB users may suffer withdrawal effects, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors and sweating.


Known best as the “date rape drug” or “forget me drug,” rohypnol has a paralyzing effect.

The drug usually comes in a small white or tan pill that can be crushed and stored in a powder form, so it is easier to slip into a drink or snort.

Rohypnol, as compared to GHB, is more inhibiting, making it the “preferred” drug for sexual predators.

About 10 minutes after ingesting the drug, a woman may feel dizzy and disoriented, simultaneously too hot and too cold, and nauseated. She may experience difficulty speaking and moving and then pass out. Such a victim will have few or no memories of what happened, possible flashes of images even as she is raped.

Effects can last four to six hours.

It is difficult to determine the number of “date-rape drug” attacks because victims often don’t provide a urine sample for 72 or more hours after the assault.

Like other sex crimes, victims may be ashamed to report the crimes. Most victims are so uncertain about the chain of events they are hesitant to report anything at all.

Rohypnol is the brand name for a drug called Flunitrazepam, which is a powerful sedative. Rohypnol is not legally available for prescription in the United States but is legal in 60 other countries for treatment of insomnia.

Street names for the drug include roach, roofies, the forget pill, rophies, lunch money drug, ruffies, R2, roofenol, la roche and rib.

“Rope” is a combination of the drug and marijuana. And using the drug is called “getting roached.” The pills are generally packaged in blister packs like Benadryl and bring anywhere from $1 to $10 a pill.

The pill is sometimes taken to enhance a heroin high or to mellow or ease the experience of coming down from a cocaine or crack high.

If taken over a long period of time, Rohypnol can produce physical and psychological dependence.


A fairly new drug to people, Ketamine is a rapid-acting general anesthetic.

Ketamine hydrochloride has sedative-hypnotic, analgesic and hallucinogenic properties. It is marketed in the U. S. and a number of foreign countries for veterinarians to use as a cat tranquilizer. It was also the most commonly used anesthetic during the Vietnam War after being approved for human use in 1970.

Hospitals normally keep the drug in a liquid injectable form, but dealers often convert it to a white powder and sell it in sealable sandwich bags or capsules. A dose, or bump, can cost as much as $20.

Slang terms for the drug are Special K, Vitamin K, new Ecstasy, psychedelic heroin, Ketalar, Ketaject, Super-K and breakfast cereal.

The K-hole is where you go while using, a K-head is a user and Calvin Klein is a combination of Cocaine and Ketamine. Product 19, on the other hand, mixes Ecstasy and Ketamine.

Effects can last 18 to 24 hours, and police report an increased use of it. “Flashbacks” are more common with this drug, of all the hallucinogens.

The drug reproduces the feeling of traveling through a tunnel. Many users say they see a light and exchange with an entity usually identified as “God.”

Other effects, however, include delirium, impaired motor function, potentially fatal respiratory problems, convulsions and vomiting, especially when mixed with alcohol.

Ketamine is generally snorted but is sometimes sprinkled on tobacco or marijuana and smoked. Special K is frequently used in other drugs, such as Ecstasy, heroin and cocaine.

Information for this article was collected from:

March 6, 1999 and January 19, 1999 reports by former Los Angeles narcotics detective Trinka Porrata.

The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at

National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign at

The Thermal Outreach Belt Ministries sponsors the
24-hour Teen Education And Crisis Hotline (TEACH). Teens who need to discuss issues of alcohol, drugs, depression, child abuse, loneliness or suicide can call 1-800-367-7287.

How parents can help prevent drug abuse


National institute offers parents tips

The National Institute on Drug Abuse offers 10 tips to parents on how to help prevent teen drug use:

Develop healthy family communication so your teens know that they can talk to you about anything. Set limits and consistently enforce them. This makes it easier for teens to say “No” when pressured by peers. Help your teens feel good about themselves; build up their self-esteem with support, praise and love, so they respect themselves and want to reach their dreams. Serve as a good role model. If you have a substance abuse problem, get help for yourself Help teens make wise decisions based upon their own beliefs. Encourage them to say “No” and avoid unhealthy situations Keep you eyes open. Watch for the signs of drug use in your family Encourage teens to choose positive friendships Give teens the support they need to do their best in school Help teens deal with failure so they learn to cope without wanting to escape with drugs If you have problems knowing what to do, attend local lectures, support groups of parenting classes that are offered.

Local agencies that can provided help on drugs and alcohol:

The 24-hour Teen Education and Crisis Hotline (TEACH) is sponsored by the Thermal Belt Outreach Ministries, 1-800-367-7287. Al-Anon meetings are held for family members of alcoholics at 11 a.m. Tuesdays at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 1908 Statesville Blvd.; and at 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays at First United Methodist Church, 217 S. Church St. For information call 636-1361. Alateen meetings are held at 7:30 Mondays at the Salisbury YMCA for youths 8 to 18-years-old. For information call 636-4642. Various meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous are printed in Friday’s or Saturday’s editions of the Salisbury Post. Cocaine Anonymous, 6 p.m., Sundays, Salisbury VA Medical Center, Building 4, second floor. Information call Ron Glover at 638-9000 ext.
3184. Co-Dependents Anonymous, 7 p.m. Tuesdays, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 1908 Statesville Blvd. Information, 279-7100. Aftercare…How It Works, 12 steps to freedom from abuse, addiction, domestic violence, divorce and other family issues, 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Classes for drug treatment are Monday and Tuesdays. The Next Step, 135 Mocksville Ave. Information 637-0052. Narcotics Anonymous has a number of meetings that are printed in each Sunday’s Salisbury Post. For more information, call the Narcotics Anonymous helpline 1-704-639-8010,
1-800-428-4236 or 1-800-876-5985.

Tips provided by the National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Service, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1-800-843-4971.

This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from

Coalition is a start: Time to attack drug
A date-rape drug slipped into a drink. A mysterious pill swallowed just to see what it will do. Marijuana repackaged in a fat cigar wrapper. And the old standbys: beer, liquor, wine.

These are just a few of the forms drugs take in the world of teen-agers and young adults today. Some of the substances have new, exotic-sounding names, like Ecstasy and GHB. But they lead to the same old problems, only magnified: abuse, addiction, victimization, even death.

New Highs, Old Perils, a special section in today’s Post, takes a look at the drug scene and efforts schools and counselors are making to help teens stay on the right course. But the Just-Say-No forces may feel like a puny David against an attractive, well-financed Goliath, for the message young people get from their music, their movies — and sometimes even their parents —is that drugs are not just OK. They are cool.

Still, many parents are completely shocked the first time they learn young people at a party with their own children have been found drunk or high —in middle school. The problem gets rediscovered every year or two, setting off new waves of parent meetings and soul-searching.

Enough reacting and hand-wringing. It’s time for Rowan County to kick into action

A committee looking at the problem of drug abuse here has recommended the creation of a coalition to work on issues of awareness, training and treatment. Some have even advocated that Rowan have a “drug czar” to head up the effort.

For a community hoping to guide its young people to a healthy, productive future, the importance of this step is second only to providing them with a strong education.

Mike Jones of Granite Quarry may feel like an unwelcome prophet of doom. He’s learned the hardest way possible how pervasive and dangerous drugs have become: His son died three years ago of a heroin overdose. But Jones’ warnings and other headlines of the past several months — teen drinking parties, underage drinkers involved in fatal car accidents —speak loud and clear. Drugs are draining away much of the energy and potential of our up-and-coming generation. The community cannot afford to look the other way.

Numbers of teens drinking


Surveys of eighth-grade students showed:

24 percent reported using alcohol during the past
30 days in 1999, compared to 23 percent in 1998.
18.5 percent reported being drunk during the past year in 1999, compared to 17.9 percent in 1998.
9.4 percent reported being drunk within the past
30 days in 1999, compared to 8.4 percent in
15.2 percent reported consuming five or more drinks in a row within the last 2 weeks in 1999, compared to 13.7 percent in 1998.

10th Grade Students

70.6 percent reported using alcohol during their lifetime in 1999, compared to 69.8 percent in
63.7 percent reported using alcohol during the past year in 1999, compared to 62.7 percent in
40 percent reported using alcohol within the past
30 days in 1999, compared to 38.8 percent in
40.9 percent reported being drunk during the past year in 1999, compared to 38.3 percent in 1998.*
22.5 percent reported being drunk within the past
30 days in 1999, compared to 21.1 percent in
25.6 percent reported consuming five or more drinks in a row within the last 2 weeks in 1999, compared to 24.3 percent in 1998.*

(*The highest percentage since nationally representative samples of 10th grade students began to be collected in

12th Grade Students

80 percent of 12th grade students reported using alcohol during their lifetime in 1999, compared to
81.4 percent in 1998.
73.8 percent reported using alcohol during the past year in 1999, compared to 74.3 in 1998.
53.2 percent reported being drunk during the past year in 1999, compared to 52 percent in 1998.
30.8 percent reported consuming five or more drinks in a row within the last 2 weeks in 1999, compared to 31.5 percent in 1998.

For more information on the “Monitoring the Future” study, visit www. or contact the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 1-800-729-6686.

South Rowan leads CHOICES for students


LANDIS — Rowan County’s largest high school has taken an unusual approach to drug prevention.

Last year 509 — nearly a third of all students — voluntarily signed up to take a bus to a local doctor’s office, pee in a cup and have their urine screened for drugs.

Spreading word about the drug prevention program through freshman orientation, open house and homeroom teachers, the school has already recruited even more students so far this school year.

“I think this year we’re going to try significantly harder at marketing it,” said Karen Peck-Harris, South Rowan High’s intervention specialist. “Kids don’t really want to have to sign up every year. So this year we’re really going to concentrate on the ninth-graders.”

There are some enticing incentives: several local businesses are offering the students discounts, and students get to leave class for the randomly announced tests.

Called CHOICES, for Caring How Our Influence Changes Every Student, the program offers bargains ranging from 10 percent discounts to buy-one-get-one-free deals. They can be found at restaurants and shops: Applebee’s, Ci Ci’s Pizza, Dale’s Sporting Goods, Hardee’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Sno Shed and Subway.

Most students interviewed, however, say they undergo the testing not for the incentives.

They do it to make their parents proud.

“If you take that home and sign it, that makes them feel good about you,” sophomore Ashley Duffell said.

When South Rowan High Principal Dr. Alan King initially proposed the program to the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education, he wanted to require students participating in extracurricular activities to sign up for the CHOICES program. If a student tested positive, the school would bar that student from extracurricular activities and notify the parents, King suggested.

But the school board thought that went too far, and the school developed voluntary plan.

If a student ever tests positive, he or she loses the CHOICES discount card for 10 days, and school officials notify parents. Students aren’t punished under the Code of Conduct.

“I think it makes a big difference,” said Tina Laben, a registered nurse and teacher at the school. “Any chance we get to talk about this, it opens the doorway that much more.”

The school randomly selects and tests five students every two weeks. They ride together to the office of local physician Dr. Eric Troyer, who provides screenings at no charge to the school system.

So far, all tests have shown up negative.

And here’s the part that might surprise teens at other area schools: Participating students say they don’t often hear criticism from their classmates.

“We do have some students who kind of turn up their noses,” Duffell said. “Sometimes they’ll say, ‘Oh, that’s so dumb.’ ”

“ ... (But) you have to do what’s right for you.”

Observed King: “I’ve had several students in trouble in the past come to me and say, ‘You’re going to be real proud of me. I’m going to sign up for the CHOICES program.’ ”

Harris and King say the CHOICESprogram dispels the popular notion that all high school students use drugs regularly — or even try them.

“Students will say everybody’s using marijuana, but statistics show that less than half have used marijuana,” King said.

“This gives us an opportunity to talk about it and get the word out,” Harris said. “A lot of kids get really angry when they hear all kids do drugs. They really want a chance to say, ‘No, I don’t.’ ”

Ecstasy, the love drug, lures younger generation


Ecstasy, a heart-pulsing, mildly psychedelic drug, is gaining popularity and popping up in casual conversations among teen-agers more often.

Teen-agers — especially, the club goers — are the target market for this drug that has many nicknames — E, X, roll, magic beans, cloud 9, XTC, the hug drug and the love pill. And the list grows.

Like marijuana, Ecstasy has multiple advocacy Web sites that encourage “responsible” Ecstasy use. Most Web sites offer tips for better highs, ways to make sure the drug purchased is pure, ways to elude legal prosecution for possession of the drug and personal accounts of “rolling.”

“I once read somewhere that E was bad for you, so I did the smartest thing, I gave up reading,” one teen wrote on an Ecstasy-based Web site.

Ecstasy has gained popularity mostly because of its lack of noticeable side effects and the erotic sensations it may provoke.

In 1998, 8 percent of high school seniors, 6 percent of
10th graders and 3 percent of eighth graders admitted to using the drug at one point.

From 1998 to 1999, use increased 38 percent among
12th graders.

Though it is possible to overdose on the drug, it has relatively less-serious short-term dangers than crack or heroin. Dehydration is the main side effect.

And when they are “rolling,” users say the rush is indescribable.

Legal for years

Though often combined with other drugs, pure Ecstasy pills are intended to replicate MDMA or 3-4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine.

MDMA is chemically related to amphetamine and mescaline. It was first synthesized in 1912, but big experimentation with it didn’t begin until the ’70s, when some psychologists used the drug for therapy.

By the early ’80s, the drug — still legal — was sold openly in bars and clubs.

But at the time, a scientific debate had begun — and continues today — about whether MDMA can cause long-term brain damage.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) outlawed MDMA in 1985 because of its high potential for abuse, lack of medicinal use and safety concerns.

A group of therapists sued, but after a three-year court battle, the law enforcement agency won.

Ecstasy is a synthetic drug with hallucinogenic properties.

Users sometimes take Ecstasy pills at at late-night “raves,” to keep on dancing and enhance their mood.

Users say that swallowing the pills is less “painful” than chewing.

“I’ve never spewed because I’ve never chewed,” one teen confessed on-line.

Critics say the drug has its effects short- and long-term.

Short-term effects include psychological difficulties — confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, severe anxiety and paranoia. Sometimes weeks after taking the drug, a user can suffer muscle tension, nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, faintness and chills or sweating.

One of the most noticeable side effects of the drug is teeth clenching or biting on cheeks. Teens often suck on pacifiers to avoid grinding their teeth, making pacifiers part of the drug paraphernalia associated with Ecstasy.

Some users favor Tootsie Roll lollipops, and some people have been found putting the pills inside individually wrapped Tootsie Rolls or bags of candy, such as Skittles.

Recent research findings link MDMA to long-term damage to parts of the brain critical to thought and memory.

Chronic use of MDMA was found, first in laboratory animals and more recently in humans, to produce long-lasting, perhaps permanent, damage to the neurons that release serotonin, a chemical essential to memory.

Less mess

E is cheap to make, easy to distribute and less troubling to consume — no dirty syringes or coke spoons. And worse, it has a reputation for being fun.

Ecstasy comes in a tablet form that is often branded with a logo like the “Nike swoosh” or a popular name, including Playboy bunnies, CK, candy canes, smurfs, clovers, tulips and Mitsubishis, which grew in popularity because of the additional speed in them.

Domex is a combination of PCP and Ecstasy, and Draf is a combination of Ecstasy and cocaine. “Candy flipping on a string” refers to combining or sequencing LSD, Ecstasy and cocaine.

And the street names continue to multiply as new drug cocktails make the circuit.

Web sites advocating Ecstasy even suggest using test kits to make sure you’ve got the real thing. There are no illegal drugs in the test kits, making them completely legal.

Law enforcement agencies are drowning in the more “old-fashioned” drug cases, like marijuana and crack, and trendy drugs like Ecstasy can slip through, until they cause enough problems to draw attention.

Nationwide, U.S. Customs officers have already seized more Ecstasy this fiscal year (nearly 3.3 million hits) than in all of last year; in 1997, they seized just 400,000 hits.

Rowan County Sheriff’s Department officials made the first Ecstacy bust in Rowan County in 1999.

“I talked to a couple of detectives who have been in our special investigative unit for some time, and none of them remembered an arrest that involved this drug,” Sheriff’s Department Lt. John Sifford said in June 1999. “We all know the drug is out there, but this is the first time we’ve encountered it during an arrest.”

Investigators found 148 Ecstasy pills at a residence on Yates Road. Two people were charged with possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver MDMA.

A Rockwell man was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver Ecstasy and maintaining a vehicle to store a controlled substance on June 22,

The suspect was apprehended with 18 Ecstasy pills in his possession. Investigators believe the suspect was selling Ecstasy from his car.

In a more recent incident, Detective Gleen Hinson arrested a Charlotte woman for possession of numerous Ecstasy pills after he stopped her for speeding. Hinson said the woman threw a bag of 32 pills from the car as she pulled over.

Investigators have found that their 21-year-old undercover officers, the youngest ones legally able to make drug buys, have “aged out” of the Ecstasy crowd.

With Ecstasy circulating among raves, the midnight to 6 a.m. parties for underage teens, users are more commonly 14 to 16-year-olds.

Ecstasy use is difficult to detect. Users don’t display the red eyes and slurred speech detectable with alcohol and marijuana. But investigators are finding paraphernalia that may hint at use.

Users carry glow sticks or put glow disks in their mouths to increase the euphoric effect.

Also surgical masks lined with a menthol-decongestant oinment product increase the sensations of the drug and helps ease the problems of dehydration.


Information for this article was collected from the following web sites:

May 26, 1998 report by former Los Angeles narcotics detective Trinka Porrata.

Partnership for a Drug Free America at

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration at  and www.

The Office of National Drug Policy at

School counselors want to help


Most parents have trouble accepting that their children might use drugs.

That only widens the chasm that keeps teens and their parents from talking, says Linda Freeze, who oversees drug prevention in Rowan-Salisbury Schools.

“Everybody always thinks, ‘Not my child. Maybe my neighbors’ child,’ ” she said. “Sometimes, we’re our own worst enemy.”

Local school counselors say they often have the difficult task of calling parents at home to tell them that their son or daughter brought a bag of marijuana to school in a bookbag. They constantly urge parents to use common sense when approaching their children about drugs — whether looking for beer cans in their car or getting to know their friends.

“I think parents are more likely to come across the paraphernalia than school employees,” said Karen Peck-Harris, a counselor at South Rowan High School. “But I know a lot of students have these really elaborate, colorful glass pipes and they like to show them off. And many parents may not even know what they are.”

“A lot of this is just common sense stuff. Get in the cars and look what’s in them,” said Linda McGroary, a counselor at West Rowan High School.

Today, pipes for smoking marijuana and other drugs come in many forms. Peck-Harris once found a car cigarette lighter that unscrews and turns into a pipe. Tery Holt, the assistant principal at South Rowan, said he once found a green ink marker that works — in two ways. The bottom end screws off to make a pipe for smoking.

“I think kids now, they’re smarter,” Freeze said. “We’re going to have to find other means to detect it.”

Pills are easier to conceal — and harder to identify when found. Fortunately, counselors say, they’re far less prevalent than tobacco, alcohol and marijuana.

“A lot of these new drugs are slipping by because they’re just pills.” McGroary said.

Some illegal drugs come from legal materials, including glue, nail polish and hair spray. One such experimental drug, GHB, is a mild sedative made from paint thinner.

A problem of a different sort that teachers and administrators find — particularly in middle schools and even upper elementary school grades — is “psuedo” drugs. Children crush something as innocuous as aspirin or sheetrock and pretend it’s cocaine just to appeal to friends. Parsley from the kitchen cabinet or even dried lawn grass can pass as marijuana to those who don’t know the true drug’s smell or appearance.

That happens more among middle school students than high-schoolers, Peck-Harris said.

In high school, on the other hand, students who brag about using drugs usually are, Peck-Harris said.

McGroary acknowledges that constant searches of bedrooms and cars can make teens lose trust in their parents and feel violated. But too many parents come to her to talk after their children are suspended or arrested — instead of when suspicions of drug abuse first arise.

“Ihave some parents who do not let their kids breathe, and that just pushes them away further,” she said. “How do we differentiate privacy and responsibility? It’s a very fine line. My best advice is to use your gut feeling.”

Many schools have intervention specialists who work with families of students involved with drugs, pregnancies and other matters.

Here’s a complete list: Jill DeBose, North Rowan High,
636-4420; Nancy Foxworth, Southeast Middle, 633-6714; Bridgette Goodine, Knox Middle, 633-2922; Rodney Goodine, West Rowan Middle, 633-4775; Ann Heard, East Rowan High, 279-5232; Patsy Iossi, North Rowan Middle, 639-3018; Sharon Mault, Erwin Middle,
279-7265; Linda McGroary, West Rowan High,
278-9233; Dr. Carol Meeks, Henderson Independent,
639-3134; Patricia Reece, China Grove Middle,
857-7038, and Corriher-Lipe Middle, 857-7946; Karen Harris, South Rowan High, 857-1161; and Michelle Gilespie, Salisbury High, 636-1221.

This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from

This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from