Cannabis Abuse 'May Be A Factor Behind High Crime Rate'
CANNABIS abuse could be one of the factors behind the high rate of crime in the Bahamas, according to a local psychiatrist. Dr Kirk Christie, of the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre, said taking into account the disinhibiting effects of cannabis and the fact that its use is widespread, the drug could be fuelling deviant behaviour. In a meeting with Social Service Hotline councillors yesterday, Dr Christie stressed the dangers of substance abuse, and in particular cannabis abuse. He said the fact that cannabis is culturally and socially accepted, cheap and readily available in the Bahamas, encourages the false perception it is not a dangerous drug.
However, Dr Christie said despite the "general overvalued idea that there are no effects of cannabis use," like any other form of substance abuse, it is "a health nightmare." He said studies have shown that abuse of the drug can have very serious consequences. Physiological effects of cannabis use include: hypertension (high blood pressure), shortness of breath, decreased co-ordination and reaction times, ataxia, impaired memory and perception, sensory distortion such as hallucinations, paranoid disorders, mood alteration, and depersonalisation. In men, it can also cause a decrease in libido (sex drive), lower testosterone and sperm counts, and shrinking of the scrotum. One study, performed in the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre among 120 patients in the substance abuse treatment programme, found the median age for the onset of cannabis disorders was 21, and usually ranged between 17 and 26.
Dr Christie added that a new study completed in Europe found marijuana use makes a person seven times more likely to lose touch with reality. The treatment programme for substance abuse normally lasts about two years and includes detoxification, rehabilitation, relapse prevention and maintenance. Dr Christie stressed the importance of education and relaying of correct information. "The aim of education is to provide students, teachers and families with accurate information about drug abuse and addiction and the association with high-risk sexual behaviour," said Dr Christie. "Those under the influence take more irresponsible risks." While not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted, for many what starts as casual use leads to drug addiction, he added.
Man checks into jail with joints sewn in underwear, police say
Drugs Found After Car Stopped On M1
Drugs with a street value of more than three-quarters of a million euro have been seized on one of the country's busiest motorways. Detectives uncovered the cannabis in a Northern Ireland-registered car stopped on the M1 near Drogheda. The driver and only occupant were arrested and is being held at Balbriggan Garda station under the Drug Trafficking Act.
The arrest was part of a joint Garda and PSNI operation into drug trafficking. Detectives from the Garda National Drugs Unit stopped the car as it was travelling northbound near the Drogheda toll plaza. Some 30 kilos of cannabis herb and 75 kilos of cannabis resin have been sent for forensic analysis. The haul is believed to have a street value of 810,000 euro.
1970s Marijuana Kingpin Arrested at Seniors Community
A key member of a Miami-based marijuana-smuggling ring was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service on Thursday, more than 31 years after skipping out of a federal trial. Mark Steven Phillips, 62, was arrested in his apartment at Century Village, a seniors community where he had been living in recent months, according to a press release by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Along with 13 others, Phillips was charged in May 1979 in what was then the country's largest marijuana importation prosecution in history. The ring, known as the "Black Tuna Gang," derived its name from the radio moniker for the group's Colombian source for marijuana. Phillips, who faces sentencing for a racketeering conviction and adjudication of fugitive charges, told U.S. Magistrate Edwin Torres that he has no property, $600 in a bank account and receives $667 in monthly Social Security benefits, the Miami Herald reported.
According to the U.S. Marshals Service, Phillips was sleeping when deputies went to his apartment on Monday and was told the "judge wants to see you, Mark" by the lead deputy marshal. "The judge wants to see me from 30 years ago," Phillips replied. Authorities estimate that the ring smuggled 500 tons of marijuana into the U.S. in the mid-'70s.
California woman gets Nebraska prison time for pot
LINCOLN, Neb. -- A 63-year-old California woman has been given three-to-eight years in a Nebraska prison for the 66 pounds of marijuana found in the back of her sport utility vehicle.
Cynthia Bruckner, of Fountain Valley, Calif., was convicted of a drug-delivery charge in November. The Lincoln Journal Star says Bruckner was sentenced on Thursday.
She had sworn she didn't know the marijuana was secreted in the SUV she was driving along Interstate 80 last February when it was pulled over. A drug dog soon led state troopers to the hidden pot.
Troopers arrested Bruckner and her son, who was traveling with her. He is 43-year-old Scot Christensen, and he lives with her in Fountain Valley.
Christensen was convicted earlier this week and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 31.
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