10-17-2021  5:44 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Set to Expand Hotline for Bias Crime Reporting

With a rise in hate crimes and bias incidents in Oregon and nationwide the two-person office just couldn’t handle the volume.

Portland Shootings Prompt DA to Spend $1M to Handle Cases

Multnomah County plans to hire four prosecutors and two investigators to help with an increasing caseload of homicide investigations

Cascadia Whole Health Honors Community Justice Leader, Fine Artist with Culture of Caring Awards

Erika Preuitt and Jeremy Okai Davis recognized for positive contributions to community.

Salem-Keizer School Boards Adopts Anti-Racism Resolution

The Salem-Keizer school board has voted to adopt a resolution outlining the board’s commitment to equity and anti-racism.

NEWS BRIEFS

Joint Center Commends Senator Whitehouse for Hiring Monalisa Dugué as Chief of Staff

Dugué is one of two Black Chiefs of Staff in the Senate ...

FBI Offers up to $25,000 for Information in Mass Shooting Event

18-year-old Makayla Maree Harris killed and six others injured in a Portland shooting on July 17, 2021 ...

Nearly 100 Animals Seized From Woofin Palooza Forfeited to MCAS

A Multnomah County Circuit Court judge has ruled that dogs and cats seized from an unlicensed facility named Woofin Palooza are now...

City of Seattle Office and Sound Transit Finalize No-Cost Land Transfer for Affordable Housing Development

Rainier Valley Homeownership Initiative will create at least 100 for-sale homes, permanently affordable to low- and moderate-income...

Sierra Club Reacts to Rep. Schrader’s Comments on Climate Change

Schrader Calls Climate Change “biggest threat to Americans” after voting against key policy in committee ...

Risky business: Some Capitol riot defendants forgo lawyers

Some of the defendants charged in the storming of the U.S. Capitol are turning away defense lawyers and electing to represent themselves, undeterred by their lack of legal training or repeated warnings from judges. That choice already has led to some curious legal maneuvers and...

Mt. Bachelor to keep new ski pass despite equity concerns

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A central Oregon ski area operator will keep in place a new ski pass that allows people who pay more to bypass most chairlift lines despite a request from Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden to scrap the plan due to equity issues. Powdr Corp. co-Presidents Wade...

No. 21 Texas A&M runs over Missouri, 35-14

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher warned his team all week that it couldn’t afford a letdown after its upset of top-ranked Alabama. His message got through, as the 21st-ranked Aggies buried Missouri early in a 35-14 victory Saturday. “We preached it,...

No. 21 Texas A&M heads to Mizzou after 'Bama upset win

No. 21 Texas A&M (4-2, 1-2 SEC) at Missouri (3-3, 0-2), Saturday at noon EDT (SEC Network). Line: Texas A&M by 9 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Series record: Texas A&M leads 8-7. WHAT’S AT STAKE? ...

OPINION

How Food Became the Perfect Beachhead for Gentrification

What could be the downside of fresh veggies, homemade empanadas and a pop-up restaurant specializing in banh mis? ...

Homelessness, Houselessness in the Richest Country in the World: An Uncommon Logic

When and why did the United States of America chose the wealth of a few over the health, wealth, and well-being of so many ...

American Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. ...

Waters Statement on 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks

Twenty years ago today, our nation suffered devastating terrorist attacks on our soil and against our people that wholly and completely changed the world as we knew it. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Center-right parties lead in Kosovo's municipal vote

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Center-right opposition parties in Kosovo were leading in Sunday's municipal election but runoffs will still be needed to decide half of the winners, according to early results. About 1.9 million voters in the small Balkan nation were electing mayors...

Removed Robert E. Lee statue now on display at Texas resort

TERLINGUA, Texas (AP) — A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that the city of Dallas removed from a park and later sold in an online auction is now on display at a golf resort in West Texas. The bronze sculpture, which was removed from the Dallas park in September 2017,...

Texas GOP advances new maps that would tighten slipping grip

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Republicans on Saturday night closed in on redrawn U.S. House maps that would shore up their eroding dominance as voters peel away from the GOP in the state’s booming suburbs. In a key late-night vote in the Texas House, Republicans gave early...

ENTERTAINMENT

Actors of Indian descent proud to lead Broadway's 'Aladdin'

NEW YORK (AP) — As kids growing up in different states, Shoba Narayan and Michael Maliakel shared a love of one favorite film — “Aladdin.” Both are of Indian descent, and in the animated movie, they saw people who looked like them. That shared love has gone full-circle...

For Vicky Krieps, life and art blend on ‘Bergman Island’

Vicky Krieps was not Mia Hansen-Løve's first choice to star in “ Bergman Island.” She wasn’t the second, third or 12th choice either because the role of Chris, a filmmaker who goes on a writing retreat to Fårö with her filmmaker husband, already belonged to Greta Gerwig. ...

Boo! Sitcom 'Ghosts' combos misfit spirits, feel-good charm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The title seems to be a dead giveaway, but there’s more to the new comedy “Ghosts” than things that go bump in the night. “We totally think of this show as ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ meets 'Ted Lasso,” said producer Joe Wiseman. ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Louisiana gators thrive, so farmers' return quota may drop

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Once-endangered alligators are thriving in the wild, so Louisiana authorities are proposing a...

Top Democrats woo Black voters in Virginia governor's race

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams on Sunday urged Black churchgoers to turn out for...

Father of suspect in UK lawmaker's slaying is 'traumatized'

LONDON (AP) — The father of a man held for the fatal stabbing of a British lawmaker during a meeting with local...

Ivory Coast's ex-leader Gbagbo vows return to political life

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo told supporters Sunday that he'll be...

Shooting in Syria could mark new phase in Israeli campaign

JERUSALEM (AP) — The death of a former Syrian Druse lawmaker, allegedly by Israeli sniper fire, could mark a new...

Center-right parties lead in Kosovo's municipal vote

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Center-right opposition parties in Kosovo were leading in Sunday's municipal election...

Julie Watson the Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- U.S. troops are increasingly using an easy-to-get herbal mix called "Spice," which mimics a marijuana high, is hard to detect and can bring on hallucinations that last for days.

The abuse of the drug has so alarmed military officials that they've launched an aggressive testing program that this year has led to the investigation of more than 1,100 suspected users, according to military figures.

So-called "synthetic" pot is readily available on the Internet and has become popular nationwide in recent years, but its use among troops and sailors has raised concerns among the Pentagon brass.

"You can just imagine the work that we do in a military environment," said Mark Ridley, deputy director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, adding, "you need to be in your right mind when you do a job. That's why the Navy has always taken a zero tolerance policy toward drugs."

Two years ago, only 29 Marines and sailors were investigated for Spice. This year, the number topped 700, the investigative service said. Those found guilty of using Spice are kicked out, although the Navy does not track the overall number of dismissals.

The Air Force has punished 497 airmen so far this year, compared to last year's 380, according to figures provided by the Pentagon. The Army does not track Spice investigations but says it has medically treated 119 soldiers for the synthetic drug in total.

Military officials emphasize those caught represent a tiny fraction of all service members and note none was in a leadership position or believed high while on duty.

Spice is made up of exotic plants from Asia like Blue Lotus and Bay Bean. Their leaves are coated with chemicals that mimic the effects of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, but are five to 200 times more potent.

More than 40 states have banned some of its chemicals, prompting sellers to turn to the Internet, where it is marketed as incense or potpourri. In some states, Spice is sold at bars, smoke shops and convenience stores. The packets usually say the ingredients are not for human consumption but also tout them as "mood enhancing."

Service members preferred it because up until this year there was no way to detect it with urine tests. A test was developed after the Drug Enforcement Administration put a one-year emergency ban on five chemicals found in the drug.

Manufacturers are adapting to avoid detection, even on the new tests, and skirt new laws banning the main chemicals.

"It's a moving target," said Capt. J.A. "Cappy" Surette, spokesman for the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

The military can calibrate its equipment to test for those five banned chemicals "but underground chemists can keep altering the properties and make up to more than 100 permutations," Surette said.

Complicating their efforts further, there are more than 200 other chemicals used in the drug. They remain legal and their effects on the mind and body remain largely unknown, Navy doctors say.

A Clemson University created many of the chemicals for research purposes in 1990s. They were never tested on humans.

Civilian deaths have been reported and emergency crews have responded to calls of "hyper-excited" people doing things like tearing off their clothes and running down the street naked.

Navy investigators compare the drug to angel dust because no two batches are the same. Some may just feel a euphoric buzz, but others have suffered delusions lasting up to a week.

While the problem has surfaced in all branches of the military, the Navy has been the most aggressive in drawing attention to the problem.

It produced a video based on cases to warn sailors of the drug's dangers and publicized busts of crew members on some of its most-storied ships, including the USS Carl Vinson, from which Osama bin Laden's was dropped into the sea.

Two of the largest busts this year involved sailors in the San Diego-based U.S. Third Fleet, which announced last month that it planned to dismiss 28 sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.

A month earlier, 64 sailors, including 49 from the Vinson, were accused of being involved in a Spice ring.

Many of the cases were discovered after one person was caught with the drug, prompting broader investigations.

Lt. Commander Donald Hurst, a fourth-year psychiatry resident at San Diego's Naval Medical Center, said the hospital is believed to have seen more cases than any other health facility in the country.

Doctors saw users experiencing bad reactions once a month, but now see them weekly. Users suffer everything from vomiting, elevated blood pressure and seizures to extreme agitation, anxiety and delusions.

Hurst said the behavior in many cases he witnessed at first seemed akin to schizophrenia. Usually within minutes, however, the person became completely lucid. Sometimes, the person goes in and out of such episodes for days.

He recalled one especially bizarre case of a sailor who came in with his sobbing wife.

"He stood their holding a sandwich in front of him with no clue as to what to do," he said. "He opened it up, looked at it, touched it. I took it and folded it over and then he took a bite out it. But then we had to tell him, `you have to chew.'"

An hour later when Hurst went back to evaluate him, he was completely normal and worried about being in trouble.

"That's something you don't see with acute schizophrenic patients," he said. "Then we found out based on the numbers of people coming in like this, that OK there's a new drug out there."

Hurst decided to study 10 cases. Some also had smoked marijuana or drank alcohol, while others only smoked Spice.

Of the 10, nine had lost a sense of reality. Seven babbled incoherently. The symptoms for seven of them lasted four to eight days. Three are believed to now be schizophrenic. Hurst believed the drug may have triggered the symptoms in people with that genetic disposition. His findings were published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in October.

He said there are countless questions that still need answering, including the drug's effects on people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or traumatic brain injuries.

What the research has confirmed, he said, is: "These are not drugs to mess with."

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