How Much Will A DUI Cost You?

March 21, 2018 by  
Filed under Laws and Legalization, People and Culture


144793If you take the risk of drinking and driving, you run the risk of getting arresting for driving under the influence (DUI). You also run the risk of getting into an accident and hurting yourself or others. Either way, DUI can cost you in major ways. For those who do not know, if your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is greater than .08, you are considered legally intoxicated and can be arrested.

Financially, a DUI charge can cost anywhere from $4,000 to about $24,000. This might seem like a huge amount of money for a conviction (and it is), but the authorities are serious about cracking down on drunk drivers. There are innocent people injured and killed all the time by intoxicated drivers, so the fines and penalties are steep and hopefully deter people from drinking and driving.

Other Problems and Jail Time May Occur

Apart from paying the fine, there is also a big chance for jail time, especially if the driver has had earlier DUI arrests or is in possession of drugs. The jail time will vary, but many people can get out within a couple of days and await their trial.

Getting arrested for DUI can affect various areas of your life. You may lose your license, which means you may not be able to keep your job. No job means no money and that poses a large problem. You may also suffer relationship, mental, and emotional problems. If people at work hear about your conviction, you may not be looked upon favorably by management and get passed up for promotions. The bottom line is that one DUI can radically change your life.

It Can Get Very Expensive

For the first offense, with no injury and no damage, it is still possible to pay a huge amount of money. Once arrested, the individual in question would have to pay an amount starting from about $4,000 up to $20,000 depending on what state they are in.

Court costs will cost you anywhere from around $250 up to $1,500. Then you will most likely want to hire a lawyer, which can range anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. Granted, you can opt to have no lawyer present, but it’s in your best interest to have a good lawyer beside you to increase the chances of a better outcome for the DUI charge.

Other Expenses

Other expenses that could be incurred will include license reinstatement, which can run into hundreds of dollars depending on the state you live in. Also, the judge can order you to obtain substance abuse counseling and rehabilitation classes, which can run you upwards of $500. Additionally, some repeat DUI offenders are commanded to install an Ignition Interlock System on their vehicles, which means they cannot start their car without breathing into a breathalyzer to be sure they are free from alcohol. This can cost them an additional hundreds of dollars and a rental fee of between $50 and $100 per month.

As you can see, one DUI can really set you back thousands and thousands of dollars and cost you a lot more than just money. The real harm could be to yourself or others physically. When you drive intoxicated, you tend to lose your sense of control and you can easily wreck your car, hit other cars or people, and end up injuring yourself and others. Approximately 16,000 people are killed each year in crashes related to intoxication. This number ought to be reason alone to not drink and drive, so if you or your friends are drinking, take a cab or rely on a designated driver. Think safety first!

Dominica Applegate has a BS in Psychology, an MA in Counseling and has worked in the mental health field for 12 years before launching her own business as a writer. Specializing in addictions, relationships, codependency, fitness and health, Dominica’s work is ultimately about helping people remove blocks that keep them stuck, because everyone can really create a life that they love.

Many Prescription Drug Users Not Aware of Driving-Related Risks

February 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Laws and Legalization, People and Culture


The numbers are simply staggering. CDC data reveals that over 48 percent of Americans have used at least one prescription drug in the past thirty days. And approximately 4.45 billion prescriptions are issued every year in the United States. That’s a lot of pills and medication for a lot of people.

Sedatives, narcotics, even stimulants, and antidepressants can all affect an individual’s capacity for safe driving. Driving under the influence of prescription drugs has become a growing concern. There is substantial evidence that a shift from illegal to prescription drugs may be the reason behind many fatally injured drivers in the United States.

The Effect of Medications

It can be difficult to measure how many crashes are caused by drugged driving, but a National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) study found a startling 18 percent of drivers killed in a crash also tested positive for at least one drug.

A nationwide study of deadly crashes found that about 47 percent of drivers who tested positive for drugs had used a prescription drug, and the most common prescription drugs found were pain relievers.

For example, antidepressants can cause drowsiness and a slow reaction time in some patients. Those two or three extra seconds for braking could mean all the difference in having an accident. Antidepressants are some of the most popular drugs in our society with 12.7 percent of Americans taking an antidepressant within the last month. Other medications, such Prozac, can cause insomnia, which will make you tired and slow during the day.

There is ample evidence that the use of different types of psychoactive drugs significantly increases the risk of injury including situations that involve automobile accidents.

Prescription anti-anxiety agents and muscle relaxants such as Valium and Xanax may have a tranquilizing effect which can impair judgment and reaction times.

Many believe a stimulant drug that perks you up would be good to take before driving. But the truth is that they make you less likely to pay attention to fine details and affect the ability to concentrate.

You may be surprised to learn that although legal in many states, marijuana is the drug most often found in the blood of drivers involved in crashes.

Several studies have shown that drivers with THC (marijuana’s mind-altering ingredient) in their blood were roughly twice as likely to be responsible for a deadly crash or be killed than drivers who hadn’t used drugs or alcohol.

It is important to remember that medications interact with one another; the more medications we take, the greater the chance for interactions that may influence our driving.

The Law

While laws differ from state to state, you can be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if caught driving hazardously while taking prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, even if your doctor wrote the prescription.

Unfortunately, there is very sparse data available as to whether the people who use prescription drugs are aware of the danger and hazards while driving.

According to new research, patients taking prescription drugs that affect driving may not be aware they could potentially be driving impaired. This topic has not been clearly studied. “We were very surprised that our study was the first we could find on this topic,” said the lead researcher. “It’s a pretty understudied area, and prescription drugs are a growing concern.”

The Latest Study

After Tiger Woods was arrested in a state of confusion while driving in May of this year with five drugs in his system, he stated that he had “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.”

He is not alone in his lack of understanding of how medications can affect the ability to operate a motor vehicle.

Nearly 20 percent of people in the latest research reported recent use of a prescription medication with the potential for impairment.

But shockingly, many said they were aware that the medication could affect their driving, despite the potential for receiving warnings from their doctor, their pharmacist, or the medication label itself.

The medications involved ranged from sleep aids (i.e. Ambien) to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications.

In the study, participating drivers believed that sleep aids were the most likely to affect safe driving, followed by morphine/codeine, other amphetamines, and muscle relaxants. ADHD medications were viewed as least likely to affect driving risk.

Take Precautions

It is useful to understand the danger of drugs and their effect on driving. There are free online tools, such as AAA’s Roadwise RX, that allows you to record your prescription and over-the-counter medications, and to receive personalized feedback about how drug side effects and interactions between medications may affect your ability to drive safely.

The Implications

The most recent study strongly suggests that for all drivers using prescribed medications there are considerable improvements that must be created and implemented to warn of the potential for serious automobile accidents.

“The vast majority of drivers who are recent users of prescription drugs that have the potential for impairment have come into contact with a physician, a pharmacist, and a medication label,” researchers stated in in November 2017 public release. “There’s an opportunity here that’s not being leveraged: to provide people with accurate information about what risks are associated with those drugs. People can then make informed decisions about whether they’re able to drive.”

There is also the need for improved labeling on medications that are likely to impair driving.

In the meantime, if you have the slightest concern about your medications and their impact on your ability to drive, consult your physician or healthcare professional. We live in a world where you do not have to take chances on the road with your life or the lives of others. Simply call a taxi, take Uber or call Go Go Grandparent (at any age). It may just save a life—your life.



4 Legal Suggestions to Prevent Marijuana Use Among Minors

September 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Laws and Legalization


As marijuana reform spreads throughout the country, a growing number of communities are legalizing or decriminalizing this increasingly popular drug.

One of the more serious issues that continue to arise is how best to keep these “adult” products out of the hands of children and minimize access to marijuana from those under the legal age of 21 years.

Many experts believe that reviewing the regulations and lessons learned from tobacco and alcohol regulations, which have proven very difficult to change, can provide a useful roadmap in protecting underage adolescents from gaining easy access to legalized marijuana.

Prominent researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggest four strategies to prevent marijuana use among minors.

1. Pricing.

The study suggests that regulators should use tax policies to keep prices high, using tobacco reports as a guide. “Research has shown that young people are particularly price sensitive and tend to reduce cigarette use at higher rates than adults after price increases,” stated one of the key researchers.

2. Retail Regulation.

Data reveals that “despite age-limit restrictions, many teens are able to obtain (illegal substances) in stores. This could be mitigated by stronger enforcement of existing laws, (increased) compliance audits and stiffer penalties. States should also regulate locations of marijuana retailers, such as keeping them away from playgrounds and schools, which research has shown can reduce risk of youth use.”

3. Product Design.

According to the authors, “… (in order) to prevent the harms of accidental ingestion by children…regulating the appearance of foods containing marijuana and reducing the amount of THC (marijuana’s main mind-altering ingredient) in these foods (is needed).”

Child-friendly food formats, such as candy, bars, cookies and other “treats” are being sold with marijuana content. The potency and danger in these commonplace items varies considerably and may inflict detrimental consequences, especially in adolescents who are drawn in by the packaging or form of the product. The authors also call for childproof packaging to prevent accidental ingestion.

4. Marketing Restrictions.

Countless studies show that exposure to alcohol and tobacco advertising is associated with increases use by our kids. Limits on how and where marijuana products can be viewed and publicized should be controlled from the onset. A growing body of scientific researchsuggests that when adolescents are exposed to alcohol marketing with familiar imaging, it affects (increases) their drinking behavior.

The authors conclude with a thought shared by all of us, “Our number one priority has to be to keep our children safe.”




Audrey Beim holds two advanced degrees from major universities, including a Master’s Degree in Psychology. She has over 20 years of experience in the health, wellness, nutritional and fitness categories and has used her expertise to write articles for media outlets such as Linfield Media and

A Closer Look at Welfare and Substance Abuse


In recent years there has been a large push from conservative state legislatures to implement drug testing for those applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Already 12 states have passed laws allowing for drug testing of TANF applicants, and 12 more have filed drug-testing proposals awaiting federal approval.

The effort undoubtedly centers upon the stereotypical notion that drug and alcohol abusers make up the most poverty-stricken demographics of the American population. Since it is largely assumed that they are already using drugs and alcohol, hence their current situations, citizens feel that they have the right to decide whom their tax dollars should be spent on.

In order to show the “supposed effectiveness” of this new push for drug and alcohol screening, Tennessee, which implemented their screening law in 2014, will be analyzed as a case study. Of the 16,017 total applicants, 37 applicants confirmed their own use of use of drugs and thus were ordered to take a drug test. All 37 were found to have drugs in their systems making them ineligible for benefits.

Just in case you’re wondering, 37 applicants testing positive for illegal substances out of 16,017 in total comes out to 0.23 percent. Not only do these numbers sufficiently prove the outrageousness of the laws premise, moreover it cost taxpayers nearly $6,000 to implement the program.

It is essential to understand that so far TANF has been the only program to be targeted for drug screening, since it is on the state level. Federally funded programs have yet to implement such laws, which would affect a vastly larger amount of citizens. Currently only 3.4 million American receive TANF on a yearly basis, compared to 46 million Americans who qualify for food stamp benefits.

While TANF is the first program to be hit, it will likely not be the last if conservative lawmakers are able to follow through with their aims. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has publically stated that he wants to expand drug tests to unemployment insurance and other state funded programs.

Texas is another state that has sought to broaden the scope of drug testing social welfare applicants. The Texas Legislative Budget Board estimates that the law expansion would cost the state around $30 million annually, due to a federal block of applicants being charged for their own drug tests. States are forced to pay for their own tests, which range from $25 to $75 per person.

When asked about the “successfulness” of Tennessee’s new testing policy Rep. Glen Casada told the Tennessean, “That’s 37 people who should not be receiving taxpayer subsidies, because they are not behaving as they are supposed to. If the taxpayers are going to support you there are certain criteria you need to adhere to. This is a good use of taxpayer money.”

It will be interesting to hear from Texas citizens if they too believe that a $30 million witch-hunt is a “good use of taxpayer money.”

CBS Denver recently published an article regarding El Paso County’s new law that will call for drug testing of TANF applicants. The article begins, “People who are on welfare in El Paso County and abuse alcohol or drugs need to be ready to get treatment.”

Although there is no cited author to the article, one might inquire where exactly the TANF applicant is going to get the money to pay for rehabilitation. Naturally, CBS Denver is unaware of the actual costs of admitting ones self into rehab. Additionally, one of the stipulations of receiving benefits is that the individual is required to participate in 30 hours per week of job training programs, which would be impossible if the individual is in rehab.

In short, the new legislative attempts to curve state tax dollars away from supposed drug abusers are straying off in the wrong direction. With little to no resources or options for rehabilitation, states are condemning drug abusers without offering any support or alternative measures.

While no one condones drug abuse, those who suffer from addiction should be offered help instead of condemnation by their elected officials. The new laws are completely backwards, focusing on punishment rather than recovery. If states want to require clean drug tests then also must offer affordable rehabilitation options for those who suffer from the disease.

Why Cigarettes Seem More or Less Harmful in Various Countries


A recent episode of John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” took a major jab at tobacco industry giant Philip Morris. According to Oliver, the large corporation uses unsavory tactics to make sure that citizens of various countries are not exposed to tobacco warnings, like the photographs found on some cigarette packaging that depict diseased lungs and other negative side effects tobacco use can have on the body. Oliver pulled up legal documents between the company and Togo””a small and poor country compared to the business””that were unsettling. According to Oliver, Philip Morris has threatened to sue Togo, as well as Australia, for attempting to use visual methods of warning consumers about the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.

Cigarettes are notoriously addictive and deadly. The tobacco industry is also notoriously manipulative and reckless with their marketing, advertising, and, apparently, their legal actions. When a person is addicted to tobacco and nicotine, his or her life is indisputably in danger. And this kind of addiction isn’t small change””according to the CDC, more people in the USA are addicted to nicotine than any other drug. The CDC also officially warns that quitting smoking is universally difficult, often leading to many failed attempts. Much of the attention in the effort to lower the number of smokers in the USA and worldwide is turned toward making sure people don’t start smoking to begin with, since quitting is such an obstacle. But how successful can those endeavors be if cigarette producers themselves have a say in a country’s marketing and advertising laws in regard to warning labels? How is it possible that the tobacco industry has a voice in this issue at all? It’s hard not to wonder how many fewer smokers we might have across the globe right now were it not for the deceptive intervention of tobacco producers.

Indeed, cigarettes might seem more or less harmful in various countries depending largely on what kind of warning labels are presented to consumers and, perhaps, whether or not a tobacco corporation like Philip Morris had any role in creating or upholding the marketing laws that allow or ban explicit warning labels. Pictorial warnings on cigarette packaging are useful. Various focus groups as well as scientific studies have revealed to us that pictorial warnings on cigarette packaging can be significantly more effective in conveying the danger of cigarettes and other tobacco products to consumers, even enough to sway some consumers toward not making the purchase.

Since we know tobacco products are highly addictive and dangerous in myriad ways to general health, there shouldn’t be any limit to the type of warnings our government or any other government would like to provide its citizens with in an effort to reduce tobacco use. The number of people diagnosed with diseases directly related to or otherwise complicated by tobacco use is staggering. Something clearly has to change and Oliver is not mistaken to point his finger at a company like Philip Morris because the first thing that should be changed in an effort to resolve this issue is, perhaps, the influence the tobacco industry appears to have on tobacco warnings and the general public perception of the safety of tobacco products.

Elizabeth Seward has written about health and wellness for Discovery Health, National Geographic, How Stuff Works Health, and many other online and print publications. As a former touring rock musician, Elizabeth has firsthand experience with the struggles of substance abuse and the loss of loved ones because of it. She believes in the restorative power of yoga, meditation, talk therapy, and plant-based diets and she is an advocate for progressive drug policy reform.

Understanding Blood Alcohol Content: Zero Tolerance for Drunk Driving

May 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Laws and Legalization


73419Whether you drink or not, getting a better understanding of blood alcohol content (BAC) can be beneficial for you, as many people have never really given much thought to the topic. BAC is simply the concentration of alcohol that is in your blood. When you drink, that alcohol goes right into your bloodstream and ends up traveling to the brain, causing various cognitive and behavioral changes.

One very important reason people should get familiar with their BAC is because there are so many drunk driving accidents related to having a high BAC. In fact, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that one person dies every 45 minutes due to an automobile accident in which someone was intoxicated. It’s a statistic that law enforcement officials are working hard on decreasing by cracking down on drunk or buzzed drivers.

Your BAC level is measured as mass per volume. This means that if you have a BAC of 0.04%, you have 0.04 grams per 100 grams of your blood. It might sound a bit complicated, but there are some great charts and online BAC calculators that help you understand this better.

What is a typical drink?

A half ounce of alcohol equals one drink. So this means that for each shot, 5 oz. glass of wine, or 12 oz. beer one drinks, you are getting .54 ounces of alcohol.

What kinds of things affect a BAC?

There are various factors that can change your BAC, including how many drinks you have in one sitting, how fast you drink them, whether you are a male or female, your weight, tolerance, and whether you’ve eaten anything or not. It’s important to know the varying factors. For example, if you’re a female and weigh 120 pounds and you hardly ever drink, drinking 2 drinks in 2 hours may put your BAC above the legal limit for driving. On the other hand, if you’re a woman weighing 170 pounds and you drink frequently, 2 drinks in 2 hours will probably not put your BAC over the limit.

How do you know when you’re too buzzed or drunk to drive?

It’s not an easy call. You may feel like you’re fine to drive, yet your BAC could be over the legal driving limit. Alcohol certainly affects people’s judgment, so going with what you “feel” is not wise. If you’re BAC is between .08 and .10, you have more than 11 times greater chance of having an automobile accident if you’re a woman and if you’re a young man, 52 greater chance. That’s huge!

What BAC is considered illegal?

The states enforce a law that says if your BAC is .08 or higher, you’re driving impaired and can be arrested for driving under the influence. Police officers can also arrest you if you’re under .08 if you’re displaying characteristics that make you an unsafe driver. Some call it buzzed driving or perhaps people mix alcohol with pills or marijuana. Here is an online BAC calculator you can play around with to get an idea of what your blood alcohol would be in various drinking scenarios.

What should you do?

If you’re planning on drinking while you’re out, don’t plan on driving at all. You can have a designated driver, call a taxi or Uber, or stay overnight wherever it is you’re drinking.

Get a breathalyzer

There are some breathalyzers out there you can purchase to be sure that you are not over the legal drinking limit when you’re out and about. Here is one link for a breathalyzer that uses your smartphone screen to indicate its results. If you’re going to drink, drink responsibly.


Dominica Applegate has a BS in Psychology, an MA in Counseling and has worked in the mental health field for 12 years before launching her own business as a writer. Specializing in addictions, relationships, codependency, fitness and health, Dominica’s work is ultimately about helping people remove blocks that keep them stuck, because everyone can really create a life that they love.

Drunk Driving Decreases as Drug Driving on the Rise

March 17, 2016 by  
Filed under General Topics, Laws and Legalization


While substance abuse is directly detrimental to the specific user’s health and overall well-being, the issue becomes a societal hazard when getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.

According to the CDC, an average of 30 American’s die every day from alcohol related crashes. In 2010, 1.4 million drivers were arrested for being under the influence, which is roughly 1 percent of the 112 million American’s who self-reported that they had had an episode of impaired driving.

With statistical totals of this magnitude, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a vested interest in following the national trends of impaired driving. A recent study entitled, “2014 Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers,” found that drivers with alcohol in their systems had decreased by more than one-third since 2007, but drivers with drugs or other inhibiting chemicals in their systems had increased to a 1 to 4 ratio.

Naturally, it is extremely difficult to classify or even narrow down the wide array of ‘inhibiting chemicals’ that drivers are testing positive for. Drunk driving has rather simple symptoms that have been clearly defined. Driving under the influence of marijuana, methamphetamines, opiates, pharmaceuticals, hallucinogens or stimulants creates an impossible classification process.

Since marijuana usage is arguably the most popular and widely used substance, the NHTSA has focused recent research on correlating whether or not there is a bridge between smoking marijuana and car crashes. The study found that pot users were 25 percent more likely to be involved in a car accident than a sober driver, but upon further investigation the statistics were found to be somewhat misleading.

When researchers factored in age and gender to their statistical analysis they found that young men were the most likely group to be involved in car crashes, but also the most likely to under the influence of marijuana. The objective was to see if there was a link between marijuana and car crashes, but the demographics make it all but impossible to tell if age or substance is the major factor in the crash.

“Once we controlled for those demographic factors, we did not find a significantly higher crash risk among marijuana users as compared to those who did not have marijuana in their system,” NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge said.

The issue grows even more complex when trying to classify different levels of chemically impaired driving. A Breathalyzer test will immediately determine the severity of a person’s alcohol intake, but it is far more difficult to conclude “how high” an individual is. There are a slew of factors that go into the issue depending on the substance and the amount ingested.

Overall what can be concluded is that the recent NHTSA studies show signs of progress when it comes to impaired driving. While there isn’t necessarily a preferable chemical to be ingesting behind the wheel of a vehicle, alcohol can be looked at as having the most potential for negative impact. Since the research clearly shows that drunk driving statistics are down from their previous totals, education as well as legislation seem to be having a positive effect.

With drunk driving on the decline the NHTSA will likely continue to research and lobby for an increased focus on driving while under the influence of other chemicals. In 2007 survey research showed that 16.3 percent drivers were under the influence of a substance, but in 2014 the total had jumped to 20 percent. Drivers with marijuana in their systems also increased from 9 percent in 2007 to 13 percent in 2014.

As stated earlier, driving under the influence of anything can be extremely dangerous seeing as how thousands of pounds of metal traveling at high rates of speed possess a physics nightmare for the driver and anyone else within eyeshot. While the NHTSA research looks to be promising there is still a great deal to be done to ensure the safety of all drivers at all times.

Chad Arias has a B.A. in journalism and is a contributor for the Latino Post and Opposing Views. In his free time, Arias writes poetry, short stories and is currently working on a novel detailing his experiences with substance abuse. He is most interested on the philosophical and psychological aspects of the subject.

‘First Church of Cannabis’ Finds Asylum Under Indiana’s New Religious Freedom Law

February 4, 2016 by  
Filed under Laws and Legalization



You might have heard the news about the religious freedom law that Indiana passed recently. In fact, it was all over the media for a while. It’s been a controversial law, officially titled the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The general idea is that the state cannot impede on any individual’s religious beliefs. This law has often been applied to hot-button issues like same-sex marriage.

A pizza parlor in Indiana notoriously publicly stated that they would not ever cater a same-sex wedding to show their opposition for this law. But amid the law being used the way that the lawmakers behind it no doubt intended–for Christians to be able to uphold their beliefs even against state law and even in a place of business–people with other religious beliefs have been using this law for themselves, too.

The First Church of Cannabis made the news shortly after this law was passed. No, their church is not a joke. And while the First Church of Cannabis currently has no marijuana-related plans other than growing hemp, their organization draws a larger point about religious freedom vs. state law. Where do we draw the line? Cannabis, in the scope of drugs, is probably the least of our worries. What if someone were to start the First Church of Recreational Oxytocin Use? Their beliefs might conflict with state law, but the entire purpose of this law is to say that these conflicts can happen and that religious freedom should trump state law, which could be one big loophole for criminal activity, including substance use.

Similarly, what would this kind of law mean in other states if it were ever adopted? What else might it unintentionally mean in the state of Indiana? These are important questions to ask. Any time the separation of state and church is ignored, we take a step back in terms of progress and the door is wide open then for misinterpretation and exploitation, especially in the case of an actual law that says the separation of state and church doesn’t have to matter. That drugs are illegal is the biggest deterrent for some people. If drug use can be made to seem a part of a religious belief, this deterrent will no longer exist in a state like Indiana with a law like this.

If you live in Indiana and are unsure of how this new law might affect you for drug-related reasons or others, contact your local state representative to discuss. If you disagree with this law, let your representative know that you do and why. Although it sometimes seems that lawmakers in the government are arbitrarily making and passing laws, the voice of the public still does matter. Make your voice heard if you disagree with voiding the separation of church and state and use the First Church of Cannabis as an example of how the law can be exploited.

Elizabeth Seward has written about health and wellness for Discovery Health, National Geographic, How Stuff Works Health, and many other online and print publications. As a former touring rock musician, Elizabeth has firsthand experience with the struggles of substance abuse and the loss of loved ones because of it. She believes in the restorative power of yoga, meditation, talk therapy, and plant-based diets and she is an advocate for progressive drug policy reform.

Addictions in Iran Rise Despite Death Penalty

November 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Laws and Legalization, People and Culture


TGDG Addiction in Iran

Despite appeals to the United Nations by various human rights groups, Iran remains insistent that their drug trafficking laws will continue to be enforced via the death penalty.

In 2013, Iran put to death 331 drug offenders, an astounding number that was surpassed in 2014, all but showing that the harsh penalties for trafficking are not curving the nations drug problem.

Iran is a hot spot for opium trafficking due to its 560-mile border with Afghanistan. Afghanistan is the world’s largest opium producer, accounting for an estimated 90 percent of the worlds supply.

Faced with neighboring country and poor drug education, 2 percent of the Iranian population is addicted to opiates, making it one of the highest substance abusing countries in the world.

The obvious point is that Iran has a drug problem and they are well aware of the future implications that will occur if these trends continue. The Iranian government takes the numbers seriously, but so far their tactics have been unsuccessful seeing how each year more and more drug traffickers are being put to death.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, the secretary of Iran’s Human Rights Council, has spoken out about the harsh penalties and their obvious ineffectiveness when it comes to battling addiction. Although Larijani told France’s 24 News that, “We are crusading to change this law,” the Iranian government has shown no signs of changing their policy.

International law offers the provision that if a nation chooses to institute the death penalty, they may only use it for the most heinous of crimes. The United Nations does not include drug offenses as warranting capital punishment.

In terms of political and international pressure being placed on Iran, the issue of capital punishment for drug offenders largely takes a backseat to the supposed greater issue of Iran’s nuclear program. The overall policy seems to constitute a “lesser evil” philosophy where in which capital punishment is being ignored.

Iran’s borders are not going anywhere and despite burning over 100 metric tons of confiscated substances, drug trafficking continues to thrive. In order to combat the problem Iran seemingly must introduce new tactics such as better treatment facilities and drug education so that the nations youth can be better prepared for the society that they will engage with.

Chad Arias has a B.A. in journalism and is a contributor for the Latino Post and Opposing Views. In his free time, Arias writes poetry, short stories and is currently working on a novel detailing his experiences with substance abuse. He is most interested on the philosophical and psychological aspects of the subject.

The Impact of Marijuana in the Workplace: A Guide for Employers

November 5, 2015 by  
Filed under Laws and Legalization


Just this month, a joint report was published aimed to support employers in better understanding the implications of marijuana use on the workforce.

This study states the following: “[Marijuana] is, by a wide margin, the drug most often detected in workplace drug testing programs. With rapidly changing attitudes and laws regarding marijuana use, employers need to examine their current policies and be prepared for potential impacts on workforce as these trends continue.”

As more and more cities and states decriminalize and even legalize marijuana, employers require parameters and guidance with their employees in a number of areas such as:

  • consequences and side effects on the job
  • temporary impairment in the workplace
  • monitoring use among employees
  • risks and associated costs of adverse events related to marijuana use
  • loss of productivity
  • safety of workers and the general public

New Advice & Proposals

Employers are often put in a difficult position trying to accommodate both state laws that allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes as well as company drug-use policies.

This information offers practical steps that any employer can take to ensure their impairment and drug-testing policies are effective and that jobs are being performed safely.

The authors concluded the study with 8 recommendations for employers in developing policies regarding off-work use of marijuana.

The summary of these suggestions are:

  • For employees covered by federal drug testing regulations, marijuana use, both on or off the job, is prohibited.
  • Employees in safety-sensitive positions must not be impaired at work by any substance, whether it be illicit, legally prescribed or available over-the-counter. Employers may consider prohibiting on the job marijuana use for all employees in safety-sensitive positions, even when not covered by federal drug testing regulations.
  • Employers residing in or near states that allow the use of recreational marijuana must establish a policy regarding off-work use of marijuana.
  • In most states that allow the use of medical marijuana, employers may be able to continue policies banning the use of marijuana.
  • Most workers’ compensation statutes allow reduced benefits when a worker is under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • All employers should have clear policies and procedures for supervisors to follow regarding the criteria for identifying potential impairment.
  • Employee education is vital to ensure compliance with company expectations.
  • In states where marijuana use is permitted, employers should provide educational resources regarding the detrimental effects of marijuana use, including caution regarding dose and delayed effects of edible products.
  • This Joint Task Force report was issued by two very reputable and credible sources, namely The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

The primary point of this study is to stress that “the safety of both workers and the public must be the main focus to all workplace policies.”

Above all else, the changing environment surrounding marijuana use requires constant communication between all parties including health professionals and legal experts.

Audrey Beim holds two advanced degrees from major universities, including a Master’s Degree in Psychology. She has over 20 years of experience in the health, wellness, nutritional and fitness categories and has used her expertise to write articles for media outlets such as Linfield Media and

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