In case anyone believes that the use and mis-use of alcohol and other drugs is merely a minor annoyance and not a major societal problem, recent news may change your mind. In Wednesday's Boston Globe, Metro section, four of the six New England in Brief posts described problems involving substance abuse:
In Hillsborough, New Hampshire a three year old boy was struck by a drunk driver when he was leaving his childcare center with his mother. The 23 year old river, Katlynn Hollinsworth swerved off the road and up onto the sidewalk to run the boy over. He is in serious condition at a local hospital and Ms. Hollinsworth has been charged with first degree assault and driving under the influence.
In Portsmouth, Rhode Island the school committee has approved random breathalyzer tests for students at dances and other extra-curricular activities. Students who refuse the test will be sent home. The news item did not state which grade levels will be covered by this policy.
The federal government has awarded the state of Rhode Island $11 million dollars in a five year grant to 'fight the abuse of alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs by teenagers and young adults”. It is unclear if some of this money will be made available to the Portsmouth schools to purchase the breathalyzer called for in their new policy.
Last April, a driver under the influence of drugs killed one middle school student and severely injured another in Laconia, New Hampshire. 52 year old Amy Lafond, the driver was charged Wednesday with negligent homicide, second degree assault and other charges. http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/09/25/woman-charged-april-accident...
And in a story that has been covered on the front page of many local newspapers, two bicycle riders were killed and two others injured last Saturday morning when 20 year old Darriean Hess plowed into them on a bridge in Hampton, NH. Ms. Hess has been charged with two counts of negligent homicide and is awaiting the results of blood sample analysis to see if she will face additional drug charges. Cindy Sheppard, who sold Ms. Hess the powerful pain killer Fentanyl just prior to the crash has been charged with selling a controlled substance and allowing an improper person to operate a vehicle. The car Ms. Hess was driving at the time of the crash did not belong to her and, in fact she does not hold a drivers license.