Thursday, April 2, 2009

The White Plague

As a child of the 60s I watched a lot of people dabble with drug use. Most of them got through it and now live productive lives. The pattern then was alcohol and marijuana to start with. Most people had a power fear of heroin and the drugs that lead to it. Today the trends have changed. 59% of people between the age of 12 and 25 who start on illicit drugs are starting with pain pills. Pain pills are the entry level drug of today, not marijuana. The sad thing about the statistic is that 74% of those people get the drugs from their family or friends. The alarming fact in these stats is more than half of the first time illicit drug users are starting with opiods. The road of opiod addiction go from pain pills, to Oxycontin, to heroin to death. Heroin today costs 15% - 20% of what it cost in the 1970s

Heroin is the Mexican mafia's drug of choice. It is easy to grow, transport and market. Today it is the most accessible drug on our streets. The Mexican mafia now controls the drug markets of North America. We are watching them over throw the Mexican government. Their budget is an estimated 6 times the national budget of the Mexican government. They murdered 6000 people last year. This year there has been war on the streets of Mexican cities between the drug cartels and the federals. The cartels have slaughtered many mayors and local police authorities who refuse to buckle to them.

DEA reports during budget hearings last year stated that illicit drug use in the US is down 20% and that heroin use is static. Yet the CIA said production of heroin for US consumption was up 62% the same year. The use of Oxycontin is 933% greater than the estimated use numbers projected for this period by the manufacturer, Purdue.

We are watching an epidemic sweep our country, the white plague. It is killing young people by the 1000s. People on the streets see it. But a lot of officials don't. Because the use patterns have changed. 2.4 times as many people died from drug overdose last year than from automobiles. The number is growing exponentially. Unless the trend is reversed we will see 5 and then 10 times the annual fatalities from drugs as automobiles.

You would never knowingly give a loved one a fatal illness. Do not share or sell your left over pain pills. It could be like giving that person cancer. Some people are more susceptible to opiods than you may be. If you don't want to throw away your left over pain pills, then lock them up. You can buy a locking strong box for under $20. What are your children's lives worth. We can reverse this trend.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Tough Love

After loosing the battle of addiction with Jani I have questioned and blamed myself for many mistakes and errors. When you first realize you are in a fight for the life of your little girl you turn anywhere for help or answers. The yellow pages are empty in the comfort department for the loved ones of addicts. Somehow paying the huge amounts of money the addiction specialists demand temporarily gives you a direction.

One of the biggest regrets I have as I ponder my experience during the last year of Jani's life is listening to addiction counselors about tough love. There is a fine line between facilitating an addiction and loving an addict. I do not believe this includes rejection of your loved one until they stop using.

I often wonder how many addiction counselors would follow their own advice to the death of someone they love. Refusal to accept any use or behavior that leads to use is an intense approach. But it can be done without shutting out the addict from the support system they need. This may mean not providing any housing, food, or transportation as long as your loved one is using. But they have to know you can still love them and are excited to see the old person buried by the addition.

Bill W. founder of A.A. framed a powerful 12 step process to aid in the recovery of addiction. 1. Admit you are powerless over your addiction. 2. Realize that a Higher Power can restore your sanity. 3. Turn your life and your will over to God. The addict has let the need to use replace God in their system. They have to know that God still loves them and will help them. The first way to help them to this knowledge is to help them know you love them. Like raising children, there are no hard rules that work for everyone when dealing with an addict. They can recover, don't give up.

More Side Effects

As an addict struggles through the disaster in their life left by drug use they have many obstacles. After the physical withdrawals end they see themselves scarred mentally and emotionally. Now the need to alter how they feel now is valid, instead of the contrived excuses they used during their use. Medical knowledge about this problem is limited. One side effect that receives little attention is the devastation of hormone production by the addicts system. They don't just feel broken emotionally and mentally, in a very real sense they are.

Doctors can run blood tests and do a hormone panel that shows where the levels of a variety of natural body chemicals have ended up after the addict is clean and detoxed. For instance a 25 year old recovering addict who had this done found that his testosterone levels were almost at 0. This hormone gives men and women the drive to get up and do things, (not just sexual motivation, but any kind of activity).

After having the hormone panel done bioidentical hormones can be used to supplement the addict's natural hormone production and aid in rejuvenating it. The effects of this can help in the healing process. Instead of the terrifying worry that the addict has broken their system and will never be normal again they can get legitimate help. Besides the rejuvenation of normal feelings it helps many addicts to have something to take to feel better, something that will help them instead of just numbing them.

A little doctor shopping may be necessary to find one who deals with natural bioidentical hormone replacement. A recovering addict can feel normal again. It won't happen all at once or from one pill or another, But from within, born in desire to get their life back. It can be done.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Please Get Involved

The battle against drugs rages on throughout the world. We have experienced some success here in Utah County, but there is a lot to do. The problem is growing faster than most people realize. The help of citizens throughout the country is needed to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement. The task of fighting this monster is something everyone needs to choose a side for. We would welcome contacts throughout the country to work with law enforcement in their area to channel the contacts we get to the proper authorities. Please contact us at and we will have you join us in the fight. Thanks, Lance

Our Suggestions

Many of you have contacted us asking how to know if your loved one is using drugs. We are not professional addiction specialists but have helped a lot of people with the problem. Addiction is not something that is cured. It is a lifetime battle that can be managed and controlled. Truth and knowledge seem to be enemies of addiction. On our website the get help section has some great information and tools for anyone interested in helping an addict.

First you need to know what the truth is. A simple approach is getting a piece of hair from a brush or comb and using one of the hair testing kits. This will tell you what drugs have been used for the past 4 - 6 weeks by the individual. With that information open dialog is possible. Following up with urine analysis kits administered by you anytime you suspect or get a feeling to do so will prove a deterrent. Addicts are being consumed by the instinct to use. Logic, Love, or Guilt don't do much. You are dealing with a process that overrides all these thoughts. The earlier you catch the use the better chance you have of helping. Do Not wait to be sure in may cost you a loved one.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Lance Merrill: Who am I?

Who am I ? My name is Lance Merrill. I am the father of 5 children. On September 30th of 2006 I had a dream that my sweet daughter Jani had died. Jani had walked out of a Salt Lake rehab center two days earlier. I knew the dream was a goodbye from my beautiful daughter. It took a day for her body to turn up and go through the legal process of being declared dead. After 19 short years she had lost her battle with addiction for now.

As we walked out of LDS hospital I looked at my wife and told her that I was going to start an organization to help other people fight the battle addiction. The abbreviation of DADD for Dads Against Drug Dealers seemed to describe how I felt. Jani had taken a fatal plunge into drugs. It was a short trip for her from a few pills to snorting, then shooting Heroin.

I had realized Jani was involved with drugs the winter before. I took her to a job site in my truck and talked with her for hours. I told her I knew that she was using, and I felt it was opiates, because of her behavior. She finally confirmed my worst fear, Heroin! We tried out patient treatment, with no luck. We were going to start her on a Monday in May in a full time facility in S.L.C. Sunday night she used in our home for the first time, and over dosed. She almost died. While I took her to the hospital my youngest daughter got into her cell phone and found 37 calls and text message from her dealer. He had thrown heroin and a needle through her 2nd story bedroom window Sunday night.

I called the Provo Police Dept. with his: name, address, license #, phone #s, and vehicle description. I assumed they would arrest or at least investigate him. After weeks of follow up calls I offered to give them signed statements from 3 other kids he had sold heroin to. Their only response was to warn me the 3 signing would probably get arrested. I was shocked at the fact that the Provo Police were scared to do anything about drugs in my city.

I went up the ladder to the Utah County Task force and worked with the officers in charge of drug arrests. They knew the dealer, he even had 3 outstanding felony warrants. But they just couldn't seem to make the arrest. 3 months later I put up a bounty of $500 cash out of my pocket for the person who gave the information that would lead to his arrest. 3 hours after publicizing the bounty I got a call from a friend who was helping me with the quest, Chris Cartwright was in custody.

Anyone who has tried to turn in someone who is obviously dealing drugs has probably run into the same experience. Especially in Happy Valley. DADDs has been built in an attempt to help others who are struggling with addiction, both as addicts or those who love them. We are a non profit organization dedicated to helping others beat some of the pitfalls that will come when they follow the advice of rehab professionals or law enforcement. If we could all work together we could help stem the tide of rampant drug abuse growing in our communities. I welcome the help of anyone who honestly wants to join the fight. We will continue to provide connections to those we believe are involved in the battle by passion not profit.