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Mini Grant Opportunity

The UN Decade of Action for Road safety is seeking applications for "creative, influential, and engaging groups of youth and adults in the U.S. to commit to take action for traffic safety on May 11th, 2011." Mini-grants of $500 will be awarded to up to 20 not-for-profit organizations and groups for "creative, visible and unique events to launch the Decade of Action on May 11th."

Read more: Mini Grant Opportunity

Bath Salts

The news media have been a buzz with stories of people using bath salts to get high.  It's important that campuses understand this new drug:

  1. "Bath Salts" are not salts you would put in your bath.  What people are using are drugs sold at smoke shops and online that are only labeled as bath salt to skirt FDA regulations.  Sold by the gram, these products are said to contain either mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) or MDPV (3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone) or perhaps both.  Retail packages however do not necessarily carry labels identifying either the drug or the dose within.
  2. MDPV and mephedrone are both stimulants with action similar to amphetamines.   Thus they appear to carry risk of addiction and complications from stimulant use including heart rate and blood pressure increases.  The drugs appear to be most commonly snorted, but may also be smoked or even injected.
  3. As of now, these two drugs are not controlled by the DEA; nor are they controlled by California law.  Thus, as long as they are not sold for human consumption, they are legal to buy and possess.  The ONDCP has issued a statement about these drugs, and it appears that the DEA is studying them as well.
  4. There are no research studies on the effects of these drugs on humans, and thus their true risks are unknown. Also, there are no reliable estimates available about prevalence of their use, either on or off college campuses. While use is probably very low right now, the current media attention being given to this class of drug may spark interest.

The public should be educated that these are potent drugs and their legal status in no way implies that they are safe.  There are numerous accounts of hospitalizations from these drugs.  Also, it's important that everyone understand that snorting actual bath salts is not what is happening.  Misunderstanding this may lead to some rather ugly poisoning cases as misinformed young people attempt to get high with the wrong type of product.  Again, it does not appear that these drugs were ever truly manufactured as a bath salt. They are sold by the gram in smoke shops, not by the pound in bath and body stores.

Hold the Date - The CSU Alcohol Conference Returns

The CSU system is planning a return of the CSU Alcohol Conference. It appears that it will be held at Cal State Dominguez Hills April 14-15.  Details about the agenda and whether it will again be open to all IHEs will be coming out as soon as available.

Upcoming HEC Webinar

The U.S. Department of Education's Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention (HEC) will be offering a free webinar, Using social media strategically for effective alcohol and other drug abuse (AODV) prevention, on Wednesday February 2, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., Pacific Time.  Presenters will be Tom Workman, Ph.D. and Rebecca Allen, M.S.W.. If you are interested in attending or would like more information visit the HEC registration site.

In 30 days, K2 and Spice will become illegal

The DEA announced today that it will be controlling five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) which are synthetically produced to mimic compounds found within cannabis. Previously these substances had not been controlled. The DEA’s action will effectively make “K2” and “Spice”-- along with other brands of “legal marijuana”-- illegal. The action is set to take effect in 30 days and will last “at least 12 months.” The chemicals will be designated Schedule I substances, putting them in the same schedule as marijuana.

It should be noted that possession of small amounts of drugs usually are prosecuted under State law, so it is unclear whether states without explicit statutes against these chemicals will enforce this action. It likely will have the immediate effect of removing these products from smoke shops, since illegal sale of Schedule I substances is a serious offense. There are some media reports of people planning to purchase large quantities prior to the 30-day waiting period's end. By taking this action, it would also appear that colleges and universities will be required to prohibit these substances on their campuses in order to comply with the Drug Free Schools and Community Act.