Saturday’s Training Session Produced 25 New Overdose Prevention/Naloxone Trainers!

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Ayahuasca: The NEW Medical Marijuana?

I know what you’re thinking. “Just what we need…another drug.” But really, “drugs” in the general sense, are everywhere. Food is a drug. Sex is a drug. Learning or working can be drugs. We are surrounded by ways to cope with our day to day, or with our deepest, darkest nightmares. If you don’t know of healthy ways to deal with those elements of life – which many people don’t have the tools to do – drugs become a very viable resource. (PS reach out to us if you are having challenges – we can help!)

ayahuasca_layering_leaf_and_vine_main_0So this new ritualistic amazonian substance, Ayahuasca (pictured below) is a Peruvian psychedelic drug. Originally intended to serve as a spiritual experience taken only by the Shaman, Americans have changed its usability:

images“Traditionally, the shaman drinks [ayahuasca], he accesses other realms of reality to find out where the dissonance is, that if the shaman corrects, will eliminate the [symptoms] — could be physical, could be emotional, could be bad luck,” Gorman explains. “[Then] we Americans come, and we said we insist on drinking the damn stuff — we want our lives changed and we want that experience, so that certainly set things right on its head.”

Here are some “need to knows” about Ayahuasca:

  1. It helps alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts and paralyzing anxiety.
  2. Veterans use it to deal with their PTSD symptoms.
  3. Lindsay Lohan has used it as a healing tool.
  4. People have died from using it.
  5. It is not approved to be used in the U.S.
  6. Groups are promoting safe use awareness and education tools in the amazon.

Live4Lali Announces Brand New Grief Support Group for Siblings of Deceased Overdose Victims

Our brand new Facebook group is intended to provide support, resources, education, news and beyond for siblings who have lost a sibling to a drug overdose. This is a place where you can bring up any feelings, thoughts or questions you may have. Feel free to suggest the group to anyone who might need us. The target age of the group is the 25-40 population but we would never turn away someone younger who wanted to be a part of the group.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/siblingsstrong/

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Tell Target to Stop Promoting Bullying!

A message from our Executive Director, Chelsea Laliberte:

I am fortunate enough to have a mother who told me I was beautiful every day of my youth, and even today. Despite her best attempts at instilling positive self-image in little me, I still was bullied at my Buffalo Grove, IL community elementary, middle, junior and high schools. I went through puberty very young and started to experience all that came with it before many of my peers. Without my knowledge, kids at my school were calling me “Smelly Chelsea” behind my back because I was unaware that I needed to wear deodorant. Instead of pointing it out to me, my peers would come up to me and tell me I was disgusting, fat and ugly. In 6th grade, I earned the nickname “Mole Girl” because of a large birthmark that I had on my jawline I was so mortified by the repeated name calling that my mom and I went to see a dermatologist about getting it removed. The red scar on my jawline will always remind me of that terrible experience.

This repetitive belittling caused depression very young. This caused me to develop nervous habits like picking at my skin, twitching various parts of my body, biting my nails, and compulsively shaking my leg. I became obsessed with how I looked and took every chance I had to look in the mirror and point out every little idiosyncrasy on my face or my body that I hated. Even today, I have to talk myself through my relationship with mirrors. So imagine what happened when I started doing TV interviews or getting photographed for promoting awareness. It all started up again. It makes me very uncomfortable being in front of cameras or even hearing the recording of my own voice. I attribute that to the negative recording in my own head that keeps playing over and over again that I have had to learn how to shut off in order to achieve my goals. If it was not for my mom encouraging therapy, I fear that those rude remarks may have lead me to a place I couldn’t come back from. A place where so many of my friends, family members, and many of you have sadly had to experience because of bullying. Things like drug use, self-harm like cutting, eating disorders, and even suicide attempts.

IMG_20141012_131716So when I was walking through the aisles today at Target, a fire lit inside of my belly when I saw a shirt that said “You CAN’T sit with us!” which is a line from the movie Mean Girls. I don’t think Target got the memo about this whole bullying problem we are having in America. These shirts are meant to target young girls in a world where youth mental health disorders and suicide is at an all time high and growing. Regardless of the movie this shirt promotes, it perpetuates the idea that some people SHOULD be ostracized and humiliated by their peers. It moves us away from kindness, compassion and acceptance, and puts us back to a place where other little Chelsea’s out there are forming self-deprecating feelings about who they are based on someone else’s opinion of their worth.

THIS NEEDS TO STOP. I want to encourage any of you who feel similarly about this issue to reach out to the Target stores in your community to ask the General Manager to take these shirts off the racks. Doing this will send the message that members of the community are concerned about the messages our young girls receive and that we will not tolerate it. Also, please take a look at Kind Campaign as they work tirelessly to promote anti girl-on-girl crime nationally and globally!

Terrorism and Drugs: A Love Story

One of the most common question we get asked is, “why can’t the DEA just shut down the heroin trade?” Well, it’s not as simple as you might think. In an industry that profits $400 billion per year on a global scale, international crime organizations are technologically advanced, incredibly savvy and are primarily interested in two things: money and power.

Find out more here: http://www.thefix.com/content/dissecting-confounding-nexus-drugs-and-terror

California: Crack and Cocaine Sentencing Will Finally Be Equal!

Let’s go back, way back to the 1980’s when when the Reagan Administration began implementing divided sentencing for cocaine possession and crack cocaine possession. Many people are unaware of the major differences between the two drugs, and the truth of the matter is…there’s not very much difference aside for two chemicals: baking soda and water (which creates the rock). Crack cocaine is the smokable version of cocaine. images2crack2

I bet you are asking yourself, “I always thought crack cocaine was worse.” One of the reasons for that mindset probably has to do with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 which basically perpetuated the myth. This law solidified that penalty for crack cocaine over cocaine charges included a minimum of a 5 year prison sentence and a 100:1 weight ratio. At the time cocaine was much more expensive which meant primarily used by white individuals while crack cocaine was primarily used by African Americans. This law created what we know today as a major racial disparity in sentencing. According to U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, “The sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine has contributed to the imprisonment of African Americans at six times the rate of whites and to the United States’ position as the world’s leader in incarcerations.”

As you can imagine, this new law equalizes the disparity which is a huge win for continued civil rights of all Americans. “The California Fair Sentencing Act takes a brick out of the wall of the failed 1980’s drug war era laws that have devastated communities of color, especially Black and Latino men,” said Lynne Lyman, state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, “we are actively dismantling institutional racism. I hope California’s action gives momentum to the remaining 11 states that still retain this unjust and irrational racial disparity in their penal codes,” Lyman concluded. Read the full story here: http://www.drugpolicy.org/news/2014/09/governor-jerry-brown-signs-california-fair-sentencing-act-eliminate-disparities-crack-a

Chicago Mayor Seeks To Decriminalize Pot and Reduce Penalties for Controlled Substances

Raum Emanuel, Chicago’s mayor has publicly recommended that the city amend their drug policies. Many say this is a political maneuver but many from across the systems affected see its value. Where do you stand? Read the Chicago Tribune article featuring comments about stigma by our Executive Director: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-heroin-penalties-suburbs-reaction-met-20140926-story.html#page=1.