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Opioid drugs claim childrens’ lives

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 3:12 PM


            CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

The opioid epidemic ravaging Ohio’s adult population has also claimed hundreds of thousands of children and adolescents as victims, based on a new study that found poison centers across the country receive an average of 32 calls a day about youths who have ingested prescription opioid drugs.

Children age 5 and younger who swallowed prescription medications, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, accounted for about 60 percent of the 188,468 calls tracked from 2000 through 2015, according to the study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

RELATED: Workers under employers watch for opioid use

Young children were less likely than teenagers to be admitted to a hospital for opioid poisoning, according to the study. But children are perhaps most vulnerable to the potentially lethal consequences of prescription opioids, which have accounted for tens of thousands of adult deaths in Ohio over the past decade, coinciding with a dramatic increase in the number of prescriptions written for opioids, according to Henry Spiller, director of the poison center, and one of the studies authors.

“If you’re an adult who weighs 200 pounds, a single prescription opioid tablet may make you drowsy. But if you only weigh 22 pounds, like an average 1-year-old, it could be fatal,” Spiller said, referring to the increased toxicity of opioid exposure for people with smaller body masses.

RELATED: Pill bags let users dispose of prescription drugs safely

Overall, there were 175 fatalities in children and adolescents under age 20 across the U.S. during the study period, according to data analyzed from the National Poison Data System.

All of the child victims ingested opioids by “just going out and putting things in their mouths,” Spiller said, while teenagers were more likely to take the drugs intentionally.

“The teenagers knew where the drugs were available in the home, and they ended up either stealing them for abuse or to commit suicide,” said Spiller, who noted the rate of prescription opioid–related suspected suicides among teenagers increased by 52.7 percent during the study period.

RELATED: County strained by efforts to curb drug deaths

As dire as the situation may seem, policies aimed at fighting opioid addiction, including Gov. John Kasich’s efforts to shut down so-called “pill mills” in Ohio, have had a positive impact in recent years, Spiller said.

According to the study, the annual number and rate of opioid exposure for all youth under age 20 began to decline from 2009 to 2015 — when many state and federal opioid drug policies and prescribing guidelines were implemented — after surging by 86 percent in the prior decade.

But the study also uncovered disturbing trends that continue to threaten the lives of young children, in particular.

For example, contrary to trends for other prescription opioids, exposure to buprenorphine, otherwise known as Saboxone, increased rapidly in the final three years of the study.

And children age 5 and younger accounted for 90 percent of exposures to buprenorphine, a less potent opioid prescribed to ween addicts off more powerful opioids, such as Vicodin and Percocet.

“That really stood out to us,” Spiller said. “Almost all of the exposure to buprenorphine was in children, and we don’t know why.”

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Family returning from Disney desperate to find lost teddy bear along I-77

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 7:11 AM

FILE PHOTO (Alvimann/Morguefile license: https://morguefile.com/license)
Alvimann/Morguefile
FILE PHOTO (Alvimann/Morguefile license: https://morguefile.com/license)(Alvimann/Morguefile)

A family from New York driving home from a trip to Disney World is desperate to find their little girl's teddy bear, and think it may have been lost in the Charlotte area.

The family was driving along Interstate 77 in Rock Hill on April 13 when they think the stuffed animal fell out the window.

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The girl’s mother, Amy Earley, said in a Facebook post that the bear means the world to her. That post has been shared hundreds of times and has dozens of comments.

Earley said her 3-year-old daughter has never gone a day without the bear and is completely heartbroken.

The family went on a Disney vacation in Orlando, and in photographs from the trip, the little girl is seen holding the bear everywhere the family went.

The family stopped in Rock Hill on the way home and stayed at a Comfort Suites. They think the bear may have fallen out the window of their car on I-77 northbound, between the hotel and exit 30 in Davidson.

Earley is pleading for help and has offered a $500 reward.

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Judge forces David Copperfield to reveal 'Lucky #13' magic trick

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 7:09 AM

David Copperfield was ordered by a judge to reveal the secret of his signature Lucky #13 trick.
Christian Alminana/Getty Images
David Copperfield was ordered by a judge to reveal the secret of his signature Lucky #13 trick.(Christian Alminana/Getty Images)

David Copperfield was forced to shatter his most famous illusion.

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The famed magician was ordered in court Tuesday to break the Magicians Oath in court Tuesday, the BBC reported. A judge ordered Copperfield to explain one of his most famous tricks -- the Lucky #13 -- during a trial involving a man who claimed he was injured during the stunt.

British tourist Gavin Cox, 58, filed a negligence lawsuit against the illusionist, Time reported. Cox claimed he fell while participating in the Lucky #13 trick at the MGM Grand Resort and Casino in Las Vegas in 2013, the BBC reported. In the trick, Copperfield makes 13 audience members, chosen at random, disappear on stage and then reappear at the back of the room, the BBC reported. 

Cox told NBC News that he has suffered chronic pain and brain injury and has spent more than $400,000 on medical bills.

Copperfield’s attorney argued that revealing the secret would be financially detrimental, but a Las Vegas district court ruled against the magician

A Las Vegas district court rejected Copperfield’s defense, which argued that disclosing the secret behind the trick would be financially detrimental to him. He was ordered to explain how the trick was done.

Spoiler alert: Copperfield’s executive producer testified that when the curtain falls, the 13 volunteers are taken through passageways that circle the MGM building. They exit the building and then re-enter at the back of the theater, Time reported.

“There was a duty by the defendants to provide a safe environment to the audience participants,” Cox’s lawyer, Benedict Morelli, said in the opening statements.

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What does '420' mean? Here are 10 things you may not know about the term

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 7:06 AM
Updated: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 7:06 AM

Five Fast Facts: Marijuana

You may not realize it, but Friday is a holiday, of sorts.
On April 20 – or 4/20 – marijuana advocates around the world gather to celebrate, in a variety of ways, the cannabis plant. Last year, thousands gathered in cities across the United States to consume marijuana in places where it is legal to do so, as well as places where it isn’t.

If you are not familiar with the term “420” as it is used in the marijuana culture, here’s a look at its origins and its meaning.

1. The term “420” was first associated with marijuana use in 1971.

2. It was the time of day when a group of California high school students who called themselves the “Waldos” decided to meet to hunt for a rumored abandoned stash of cannabis. The students would meet at 4:20 p.m. near a statue of Louis Pasteur on the grounds of San Rafael High School to go to search for the crop. If one of the Waldos called for a “4:20 Louis” it meant that everyone was to meet at the statue to search for the marijuana.

3. Eventually, “4:20 Louis” became just “4:20,” and the number was recognized not as a call to hunt for the abandoned cannabis, but as a code word for smoking pot.

4. The members of the band the Grateful Dead moved to the San Rafael area from San Francisco in 1970. They had connections to some of the parents of the Waldos, and eventually picked up the phrase and began using it.

5. The term spread past San Rafael with the help of the Grateful Dead and after a story about the Waldos appeared in “High Times.” Another story in the magazine suggested that 4:20 was an “accepted” hour to use cannabis.

6. April 20 is observed around the country and around the world as a time to gather together to smoke pot. In places where it is illegal to sell it, it is often given away on that day.

7. Some believe that the number 420 refers to the anniversary of the deaths of Bob Marley or Jimi Hendrix. It does not. Neither died on April 20.

8. It is not a police code for someone smoking marijuana, either.

9. Snapchat may allow users to display a 420 graphic on Friday.

10. Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream and Sour Patch Kids candy were the top two requested “munchies” delivered by goPuff in 2016. The on-demand delivery company saw an 80 percent increase in orders for food such as chips, cookies, candy and beef jerky on April 20, 2016, according to company officials.
 

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'National School Walkout’: Everything you need to know about Friday’s event

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:52 AM

The Worst School Shootings in US History

Thousands of students across the country are set to walk out of class on Friday, the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

More than 2,500 groups have signed up for the “National School Walkout,” a student-led protest aimed at bolstering the discussion about gun-control measures.

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Lane Murdock, a high school sophomore who started a Change.org petition suggesting the walkout, said keeping the momentum of the national “March for Our Lives” movement strong was important to her and that, “Our generation is demanding change and won't be ignored or swept under the rug." 

March for Our Lives grew out of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people died in the Feb. 14 shooting.

Murdock told National Public Radio that the protest is “not conservative or liberal. It is just about making sure our children don't get harmed in school and we don't live in a community and in a country that has institutionalized fear. I think we're all sick of it. That's why we're doing this."

Murdock goes to a Connecticut high school about 20 minutes away from where Sandy Hook Elementary School once stood. The Newtown, Connecticut, school was the site of a mass shooting in 2012 where 26 people – mostly 6- and 7-year-old children – were killed.

Here’s what you need to know about Friday’s National School Walkout.

When is the National School Walkout?

The walkout is set for Friday and starts at 10 a.m.

What is the walkout about?

Students are protesting “congressional, state, and local failures to take action to prevent gun violence,” according to the National School Walkout website. They are asking lawmakers to support:

  • Legislation to strengthen background checks.
  • Legislation to allow family members to request the issuance of a gun violence prevention warrant for those they fear may pose a danger to themselves or others. 
  • Bans on bump stocks.
  • Raising minimum age to 21 to buy an assault rifle like the AR-15.

What will happen?

Students across the country will walk out of their schools at 10 a.m. local time and pause for 13 seconds of silence – one second for everyone killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999.

After that, organizers are encouraging students not to go back to school, but to stay out the entire day. They are telling students to hold rallies and letter-writing campaigns or other activities around the day.

How do you participate?

Since organizers are suggesting that students walkout of school for the day, the event is geared more toward high school students. More than 2,500 schools in the United States have registered their intention to participate in the walkout. Not all groups registered are high schools. 

Organizers have compiled a guide with suggestions for activities and a link to resources including legal rights and safety tips.

FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2017, file photo, shooting instructor Frankie McRae demonstrates the grip on an AR-15 rifle fitted with a "bump stock" at his 37 PSR Gun Club in Bunnlevel, N.C. The largest manufacturer of bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like automatic firearms, announced Wednesday, April 18, 2018, that it will stop taking orders and shut down its website next month. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed, File)(Allen G. Breed/AP)

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