Drugs raid at a suburban Philadelphia plant run by Boeing!

Boeing Raided for Drugs!

Boeing Plant Raided 37 arrested for Drugs

United States federal agents have arrested 37 people in a drugs raid at a suburban Philadelphia plant run by Boeing that makes military aircraft.

Boeing was alerted to the alleged drugs ring by members of staff. Managers then called in the FBI, whose agents worked undercover at the plant. It is alleged that those arrested were dealing and buying prescription drugs.

Following a four-year investigation, the US Attorney, Zane David Memeger said 23 people were charged with selling the prescription painkiller Oxycontin and other illegal drugs and 14 were charged with attempted possession of various drugs.

All but one of those charged is a current or former Boeing employee. Another person was expected to be arrested.

“This investigation and prosecution focused not only on the sellers, but also on the users because of the critical role that these employees play in manufacturing military aircraft,” said Memeger.

Boeing employs more than 6,000 people at the Ridley Park plant, where the V-22 Osprey vertical take-off aircraft and H-47 Chinook helicopters are produced.

The Osprey and Chinook are standard US military aircraft used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Boeing spokesman Damien Mills said the company cooperated with the investigation and made sure the employees under suspicion were in no position to compromise the safety or quality of the aircraft.

Organised raid

FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration agents launched the raid early on Thursday morning at the plant.

The raid found varied amounts of the power painkiller Oxycontin as well as fentanyl, which is sold in lozenge form as Actiq.

It also found the painkiller buprenorphine, which is sold as Suboxone, and the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam, sold as Xanax, said FBI

Boeing issued a statement saying it “commends the US Attorney’s Office and other federal law enforcement agencies for their rigorous and thorough investigation, throughout which we took appropriate steps to ensure safety of our employees and the absolute integrity and quality of the products we produce for our customers”.

If convicted, those charged with distribution face possible sentences of 10 to 260 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

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Facts about Cocaine use in the United States

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Cocaine use in the United States has an extremely broad range of characteristics. Cocaine hydrochloride was historically used for medicinal purposes. However, in the early 20th century and again in the 1970s through the 1980s it regained broad popularity for recreational use.

 The Country Profile (CP) notes that current use is largely non-medicinal, mostly in the form of cocaine hydrochloride [powder] and smokable [crack] cocaine. Hydrochloride is generally inhaled or injected. Cocaine can be smoked as crack, or hydrochloride may be mixed with tobacco or marijuana. An estimated 90% of US users inhale hydrochloride and approximately one-third smoke it.

Surveys reviewed in the CP indicate that use rose drastically in the 1970s and peaked in the middle 1980s. Use has continued to decline. The number of “occasional cocaine users” for the raid to late 1980s totaled 5.9 million and [monthly users] numbered about 2.9 minion. Users in 1992 comprised approximately 3.4 million “occasional” and 1.1 million “monthly” users. However, the total number of “frequent users” remained stable at 650 000 between 1988 and 1992. Use predominates in impoverished inner city neighbor-hoods among people between the ages of 15 and 34. Similar patterns appear for all ethnic groups although male users outnumber female users. Use declined by 63% for adolescents.

The profile reports that cocaine availability has increased and prices have substantially decreased over the last two decades. Reports indicate that high quality cocaine is now available at a lower cost than during peak use in 1985.

Consequences of Cocaine Use

 The US CP reports several areas of impact on user health. Major negative effects among heavy and chronic users were higher suicide rates, heart and lung problems and difficulty with concentration and memory. Increased sexual stimulation and sexual dysfunction were identified but research in this area is limited. The CP points out complications, caused by cocaine use during pregnancy has been exaggerated by the media. Research generally fails to support cocaine as the source of prenatal problems relative to other social factors such as poverty or poor prenatal care.

One consequence of use cited was a dramatic increase in emergency room and private physician referrals for cocaine-related health problems. This was most notable in major metropolitan areas. Most emergency room admissions were for “detoxification, unexpected drug reactions and chronic negative health effects.” Of note, 44 times the number of cocaine-related deaths occurred in 1989 (2332 reported cases) in comparison to 1975 (53 reported cases).

A social consequence reported in the CP is the connection between crime and cocaine use. It notes that two-thirds of all females and one-half of all males arrested test positive for cocaine. Increased criminal activity was noted for males with heavy use of cocaine. Crack users may also experience more violent or psychotic events.

One of the most significant health consequences posed by cocaine use is its association with increased risk for transmission of HIV/AIDS. Of concern is needle sharing among cocaine and polydrug injectors and an enhanced potential for unsafe sex, fostered by the disinhibiting effects of cocaine and by cases where sex is offered in exchange for cocaine. Harm reduction strategies, particularly needle exchanges, condom distribution and prevention campaigns, are essential to stem HIV spread through all cocaine-using populations. Cocaine use in the United States has an extremely broad range of characteristics. Cocaine hydrochloride was historically used for medicinal purposes. However, in the early 20th century and again in the 1970s through the 1980s it regained broad popularity for recreational use.

The CP notes that current use is largely non-medicinal, mostly in the form of cocaine hydrochloride “powder” and smokable “crack” cocaine. Hydrochloride is generally inhaled intranasally or injected. Smokable cocaine can be smoked as crack, or hydrochloride may be mixed with tobacco or marijuana. An estimated 90% of US users inhale hydrochloride and approximately one-third smoke it.

Surveys reviewed in the CP indicate that use rose drastically in the 1970s and peaked in the middle 1980s. Use has continued to decline. The number of “occasional cocaine users” for the raid to late 1980s totalled 5.9 million and “monthly users” numbered about 2.9 minion. Users in 1992 comprised approximately 3.4 million “occasional” and 1.1 million “monthly” users. However, the total number of “frequent users” remained stable at 650 000 between 1988 and 1992. Use predominates in impoverished inner city neighbourhoods among people between the ages of 15 and 34. Similar patterns appear for all ethnic groups although male users outnumber female users. Use declined by 63% for adolescents.

The profile reports that cocaine availability has increased and prices have substantially decreased over the last two decades. Reports indicate that high quality cocaine is now available at a lower cost than during peak use in 1985.

Responses

The CP identifies more than two million “hard-core” cocaine users in the United States. This was described as problematic since there are no standard treatment programmes for cocaine dependence. It was emphasized that intranasal users had more favourable treatment outcomes than do crack smokers. Also, females were found to demonstrate a better response to treatment than do males. Multiple drug use was common. Alcohol is the major drug used with cocaine.

The primary media responses mentioned in the profile focus on the “war on drugs” that centred on crack. However, the media offers negative, exaggerated and often racialized images of crack users. This is especially apparent for women, who are frequently portrayed as prostitutes and unfit mothers. The CP contends that media prevention campaigns are founded on stereotype and myth.

The primary political response noted in the CP is the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 which financed several programmes including research on development of medications for treatment of cocaine dependence.

About Cocaine Use and Related Problems!

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Cocaine is often used to refer to all coca products, especially when used in the phrase “cocaine-related problems”. When used with the other terms below, cocaine refers to cocaine hydrochloride, the while powder form of cocaine prepared from coca leaves. It is water-soluble and burns at a very high temperature: this allows it to be snorted, swallowed or injected, but not smoked.

Coca paste is a paste prepared from coca leaves as part of the process of manufacturing cocaine hydrochloride. It is not soluble in water, though it is soluble with kerosene or petrol, and is usually smoked with tobacco or cannabis. It is almost exclusively found in South America.

Crack or cocaine freebase is a brown or beige crystal produced by heating cocaine hydrochloride with other chemicals. It is smoked and has become very popular in North America.

Generally cocaine users consume a range of other psychoactive drugs as well. There appears to be very little [pure] cocaine use, and few people initially experiment with cocaine: most cocaine users have a prior history of drug use. Globally, cocaine users tend to smoke tobacco and drink alcohol, frequently smoke cannabis, and, to a lesser extent, take benzodiazepines and other illicit drugs. Countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Zimbabwe note the use of alcohol with cocaine either to moderate the effects of cocaine or to reduce negative after-effects. These and other countries report the use of cannabis to reduce negative cocaine reactions. Australia, Nigeria, and The Russian Federation report that alcohol and tobacco are used with cocaine to enhance the pleasurable effects of the drug.

Australia and The Republic of Korea note the use of amphetamine and cocaine together to enhance the effects of each drug, and The Netherlands reports the use of “speedballs“, a combination of heroin and cocaine injected together. In South American countries, coca paste is often smoked with tobacco or cannabis, with alcohol, and sometimes with hallucinogens. The majority of coca leaf chewers in Peru do not use it with any other substances, while about a third regularly mix it with alcohol and tobacco use.

Overall, fewer people in participating countries have used cocaine than have used alcohol, tobacco or cannabis. Also, in most countries, cocaine is not the drug associated with the greatest level of harm. Other illicit drugs viewed as more problematic than cocaine are amphetamines (Australia, Brazil, Republic of Korea, Sweden), inhalants (Bolivia, Brazil), benzodiazepines (Brazil), heroin (Egypt, the Maldives), “cheaper and more available drugs (The Russian Federation). The general public, in most of the countries surveyed are reportedly poorly informed about cocaine-related harm or drug-related harm in general: specifically, there is little knowledge about the role played by drugs such as alcohol in causing problems usually associated with cocaine use.

Low doses of cocaine are tried one to several times on an intermittent basis, often among younger people such as adolescents and young adults. Other drugs, such as alcohol and cannabis, are often tried prior to cocaine being used.

This is the most typical pattern of cocaine use, in which the drug is used as an aid in social intercourse. Acute sensations such as euphoria, enhanced self-confidence and greater energy are experienced. Negative effects may include anxiety, irritation, panic attacks, as well as accidents and injuries which may occur due to the user’s excitement and poor judgement. A mild withdrawal syndrome follows even small acute doses, usually comprising fatigue, depression and agitation. However, there are generally few problems associated with this pattern of use.

Cocaine is used to obtain a particular effect in a specific situation e.g. to focus attention or increase energy in some occupations, or to augment sexual performance. While this use is occasional, few problems are likely. But tolerance develops to the drug’s effects if it is used often, requiring larger doses to maintain the desired effect and potentially leading to more frequent use. Snorting cocaine is most identified with these first three categories though cocaine injecting and using paste and crack are also found in these types of use.

This is where cocaine use becomes an integral part of the user’s lifestyle. It is similar to the next category, but the user is able to maintain a level of control, and social functioning is maintained. Intensive cocaine users and, to a lesser extent, occasional and situation-specific users, use rituals or rules to help them control their drug use. Intensive users are often reported to start taking cocaine because of peer pressure or as an escape from unfavorable circumstances. A majority of intensive users are reported to have a poor self-image and negative view of cocaine use. Injection, crack and coca paste use are also more identified with intensive cocaine users, though some snort cocaine.

An uncommon type of use is where some intensive users’ lives become totally focused on obtaining and using the drug. High doses and routes of administration such as smoking or injecting (which can deliver a large amount of drug to the brain very quickly) combine to produce rapid and maximal effect. The drug is administered repeatedly in an attempt to maintain the initial effects of exhilaration and enhanced self-confidence.

This sequence, known as a “run”, cannot be sustained and is followed by a period of physical and emotional exhaustion (the “crash”), a prolonged period of sleep, then fatigue and depression. The user often repeats the cycle to relieve the negative feelings from the crash.