Being Adept

Len Bias: A Cautionary Tale

Len Bias was a First Team All-American player for the University of Maryland and the 2nd overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft. Arguably,  Len Bias’ death triggered public shock and outrage that contributed to the declaration of the “War on Drugs”.

Generations have come and gone since 1986, but for those unfamiliar with Len Bias, this passage from the 1995 Boston Phoenix sums it up. “On June 19, a week after blowing Houston off the Garden parquet for the NBA title, the Celtics selected Len Bias from the University of Maryland. Around the NBA, shoulders sagged. An explosive forward with no weaknesses, Bias was actually dubbed ‘a taller Michael Jordan’ by NBA scouts. It seemed almost unfair.”[1]

Hailed as a player who would continue the Boston Celtic’s dominance over the NBA, Len Bias’ story was tragically short. He ended up being a Celtic for only 2 days—at a going away party he overdosed on cocaine.

After the incident, doctors found that Bias died directly from an unusually pure dose of cocaine,  “which interrupted the normal electrical control of his heartbeat, resulting in the sudden onset of seizures and cardiac arrest.”[2] More alarming is the fact that Bias’ autopsy revealed that he was a very healthy individual and did not appear to have used cocaine before. This suggests that Bias died the very first time that he used cocaine.

Being Adept, a Bay Area drug and alcohol curriculum, hopes that parents will use the example of Len Bias in order to inform their children of the dangers of drug use. Because of ambiguity of dosing, cocaine has the potential to be lethal, the very first time it is used.



[1] Simmons, Bill. “The Curse of Len Bias”. The Phoenix. December 1, 1995. http://thephoenix.com/boston/recroom/131380-curse-of-len-bias/.

 

[2] Schmidt, Susan. Kenworthy, Tom. “Cocaine Caused Bias’ Death, Autopsy Reveals : Dose Said to Trigger Heart Failure; Criminal Inquiry to Be Pressed.” Los Angeles Times. June 25, 1986. http://articles.latimes.com/1986-06-25/sports/sp-20106_1_len-bias.

“Glee” Star’s Death Highlights Increased Use of Heroin | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

 

The death of “Glee” star Cory Monteith from an overdose that involved heroin highlights the growing use of the drug, ABC News reports. The suburbs are being especially hard hit by heroin use, according to law enforcement officials.

via “Glee” Star’s Death Highlights Increased Use of Heroin | The Partnership at Drugfree.org.

Biogenesis Supplied High Schoolers with Steriods

Anthony Bosch, founder of Biogenesis, is facing federal scrutiny for supplying minors with performance enhancing drugs.

Two weeks ago, Being Adept ran a series on the effects of performance enhancing drugs and the dangers they pose to athletes, particularly adolescent athletes. It appears that the information may be even more pertinent than we originally thought, given today’s headlines.

The Miami Herald reports that the Federal Government is now getting involved with the Biogenesis saga, because it has come to light that the “anti-aging clinic” was not only supplying PED’s to high-profile major league baseball players, but also to high schoolers. Whistle-blower Porter Fischer alleges that that Anthony Bosch, the founder of Biogenesis, often was “injecting minors with steroid concoctions.”[1]

The implication of these reports are that not only are high school athletes being modeled poor behavior, but predatory sports clinics, like Biogenesis, are more than willing to supply them with such drugs.

Being Adept, a drug and alcohol curriculum working in several schools in the Bay Area, is very concerned with the implications of steroid use (see articles on hGH, Anabolic Steriods, and EPO) for adolescent athletes, and encourages parents to take a proactive approach to educating their children about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs.



[1] Brown, Julie K. “Feds now zeroing in on Biogenesis.” Miami Herald. July 31, 2013. http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/07/31/3534955/feds-now-zeroing-in-on-biogenesis.html.

Hidden America: Heroin Use Has Doubled, Spreading to Suburbs – ABC News

Cory Monteith, the clean-cut star of the hit TV show “Glee,” shocked fans earlier this month when he was found dead in Vancouver of an overdose involving heroin and alcohol – but he has quickly become the new face of the next generation of users of the highly addictive drug…

via Hidden America: Heroin Use Has Doubled, Spreading to Suburbs – ABC News.

Being Adept, a Marin based Drug and Alcohol awareness curriculum, is dedicated to providing up to date information on drug trends in the United States and globally.

California Colleges Drug and Alcohol Policy Rankings

The Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), an international non-profit based in Washington D.C. has recently released a “grade book” for the top 100 schools’ Drug and Alcohol Policy. SSDP describes its mission as:

Students for Sensible Drug Policy is an international grassroots network of students who are concerned about the impact drug abuse has on our communities, but who also know that the War on Drugs is failing our generation and our society.

SSDP mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in the political process, pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future, while fighting back against counterproductive Drug War policies, particularly those that directly harm students and youth”

As part of this mission, the SSDP has released the 2013 Campus Drug and Alcohol Policy Grade Book, which can be found here at this link.

Several California Schools were ranked as a part of the Grade Book.

School Drug/Alcohol Policy Grade
Biola University C
California Institute for Technology B
California Lutheran University C+
California Poly-Tech-San Luis B
Chapman University C
Claremont Mckenna C
Harvey Mudd C
Loyola Marymount A
Mill College C
Mount St. Mary’s College B
Occidental College C
Pepperdine B
Pitzer College C
Pomona College A
Saint Mary’s College of California B
Santa Clara University A
Scripps College B
Stanford C
The Master’s College D
Thomas Aquinas College F
UC Berkeley C
UC Davis C
UC Irvine C
UCLA C
UC Riverside C
UC San Diego C
UC Santa Barbara C
UC Santa Cruz D
University of La Verne C
University of Redlands B
University of San Diego C
University of San Francisco A
USC C
Westmont College B
Whittier College A

For more about how the rankings were decided, visit: http://ssdp.org/school-policies/grading-rubric/

Being Adept, a Bay Area Drug and Alcohol Awareness Curriculum, encourages colleges and universities to pursue the most comprehensive and safe drug and alcohol policies.

Drug Use and Crime: A Not So Shocking Correlation

Its common knowledge that drug use and crime are tightly correlated, but it is somewhat alarming how correlated they are.

The National Institute of Justice collected data and found that of all male arrests in 24 cities in 1992, the percentage testing positive for drugs ranged from 42% to 79%. The range for females was 38%-85%. This statistic is alarming because it suggests that essentially half of all crimes are committed while under the influence of some sort of drug. (US Department of Justice)

Not only does being under the influence of drugs or alcohol increase the likelihood of crime, but a host of other crimes are committed in order to fund drug habits. National surveys indicate that 17% of incarcerated inmates in 1991, and 13% in 1989, committed crimes in order to get more money to buy drugs. (US Department of Justice)

The US Department of Justice is quick to point out that it is hard to pin down an exact causal relationship, and many factors go into crime and drug use. Despite this caveat, the figures are still quite alarming. Being Adept, a Marin based drug and alcohol curriculum, is dedicated from preventing teens and young adults from going down a path that might lead to drugs and crime.

A whopping 78%…

“As a result, the 78% of people aged 16-59 who took drugs in the past year who admitted to consuming cannabis at least once in their lifetime did not need to fear prosecution for their crime – and nor did the 41% of those who took cannabis in the past year who admitted to using it regularly.”

via How many Britons have taken illegal drugs and who are they? | News | theguardian.com.

Being Adept, a drug and alcohol awareness campaign based in Marin County, finds this trend disturbing, especially given the long-terms effects of frequent marijuana use.

Cocaine on the Decline?

Cocaine has a long history in the United States, dating all the way back to the Coca-Cola company, which at one point included coca leaves in their beverages. In the 1980’s, a cheap derivative of cocaine, “crack” became extremely popular within the inner city poor. Meanwhile, powder cocaine became popular with the rich and affluent, and earned the reputation of a “party drug”, because of its stimulating properties, and euphoric effects.

 

But how does cocaine create this effect? Here’s a quick video by the BBC that sums it up.

Essentially, cocaine alters the brain’s dopamine network so that more dopamine is released. It also prevents the dopamine’s natural “reuptake cycle”, meaning that the dopamine flows throughout the brain for longer, leading to a euphoric feeling.

 

Since the 1980’s, cocaine has become extremely popular in the United States. However, a recent reports find that cocaine is becoming less and less popular. The Christian Science Monitor finds that there has been a 40% drop in cocaine use in the U.S. since 2006, a drop from 2.4 million users to 1.4 million users.[1]

 

Analysts attribute several factors to this drop, including a partnership between the U.S. and Columbian governments to crackdown on processing infrastructure for the drug in Columbia, a strategy that has led to a 41% drop in production capacity.[2]

 

The U.S’s internal strategy has shifted as well, away from strict enforcement, and more towards treatment, prevention and intergovernmental cooperation. In the words of Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, “It has more of a public health focus, he says, with collaborations across agencies and levels of government.”[3]

 

Another more troubling theory is that American’s appetite for cocaine has simply been satiated by prescription medications, which have become more and more popular.

 

Regardless of the cause for the decline, Being Adept, a Marin based Drug and Alcohol curriculum, is encouraged by the news, but also reminds parents to talk to their teens about the dangers of cocaine abuse.



[1] Khadaroo, Stacy Teicher. “Cocaine use: Will the factors behind its steady decline continue?” Christian Science Monitor. July 12, 2013. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2013/0712/Cocaine-use-Will-the-factors-behind-its-steady-decline-continue

[2] NPR Staff. “How Americans Said No to Cocaine.” NPR. July 28th, 2013. http://www.npr.org/2013/07/27/206148964/how-americans-said-no-to-cocaine-after-years-long-addiction

[3] NPR Staff. “How Americans Said No to Cocaine.” NPR. July 28th, 2013. http://www.npr.org/2013/07/27/206148964/how-americans-said-no-to-cocaine-after-years-long-addiction

Education | The drug and alcohol scene: what a parent can do | Seattle Times Newspaper

“It’s time to get the ‘high’ out of higher education …. In this world of fierce global competition, we are losing thousands of our nation’s best and brightest to alcohol and drugs, and in the process robbing them and our nation of their promising futures.” — Joseph Califano, Jr., chairman, National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse

via Education | The drug and alcohol scene: what a parent can do | Seattle Times Newspaper.

Being Adept endorses this story by the Seattle Times.

What Role Does Alcohol Play in College Culture?

According to the British newspaper, The Guardian, college culture is now inextricably tied to alcohol, a point summed up by their headline “College culture? An alcohol-fueled frenzy of sexual harassment.”

Its a theme all to familiar now, that alcohol has become the gateway to “hook-up” culture, which has created disturbing sexual harassment trends. One statistic now cites that 1 in 4 college women will be raped or escape an attempted rape.

It is a culture that has been explored by the New York Times as well, in their article “Sex on Campus”.

Dancing like that felt good but dirty, and like a number of girls, Haley said she had to be drunk in order to enjoy it. Women said universally that hookups could not exist without alcohol, because they were for the most part too uncomfortable to pair off with men they did not know well without being drunk. One girl, explaining why her encounters freshman and sophomore year often ended with fellatio, said that usually by the time she got back to a guy’s room, she was starting to sober up and didn’t want to be there anymore, and giving the guy oral sex was an easy way to wrap things up and leave…

via Sex on Campus – She Can Play That Game, Too – NYTimes.com.

Being Adept, a California based Drug and Alcohol Curriculum, encourages teens and college students be mindful of their consumption of alcohol and its effects on the frontal lobes-portions of our brains that are responsible for judgement and decision making. Alcohol can also have severe effects on brain development in adolescents and teens, remember our brain’s don’t stop developing until our mid-20’s!