Entries in Drugs (4)


Oregon Meth House Owners Deliver Petition to Freddie Mac

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An Oregon family who unknowingly bought a house that had been used as a meth lab is delivering a petition to Freddie Mac to require that the government-sponsored housing organization's homes be tested for methamphetamine residue before being sold on the market.

The Hankins family thought they had a good deal when they bought a foreclosed home in Klamath Falls, less than 20 miles north of the California border.  A realtor showed them the home, which was sold through HomeSteps, a listing service for Freddie Mac.  They purchased it for $36,500.

Jonathan Hankins, 32, and his wife, Beth, 29, started renovating the home in early June and moved into the two-bedroom 850-square-foot home before the end of the month.

After three weeks of living in their home, however, they started having severe headaches.  Their 2-year old son also became sick, past the point of being just a moody toddler.

"We mostly experienced extreme dry mouth and had mouth sores, making it extremely painful to even drink water," Hankins said.

The family moved out of their home and stayed with Beth's parents for six weeks before renting a property 10 blocks away from their home.

"We like to keep an eye out on it," Beth, a nurse, said of their home.

The Hankins were not sure why they were sick until neighbors told them they suspected the home may have been a former illegal methamphetamine drug lab.

The couple said they contacted contractors who advised them to have the home tested for meth residue.  They bought a kit for $50 and swabbed their home.  After submitting their results to a lab, they learned that they had 38 micrograms of methamphetamine residue.  The Oregon Health Authority's minimum to require a homeowner to clean up their home is 0.5 micrograms per square foot.

The family contacted Freddie Mac, trying to get answers about why they were not informed about the home's history.  The problem is the local authorities did not contact the Oregon Health Authority, as is customary, because there were no recent drug-related enforcement actions related to the home.

"It's kind of sad," Hankins said.  "It's a great block.  It's one of those neighborhoods that went through a rough stage and it's on the upward swing.  People are taking care of their yards and homes.  Now it's another abandoned property."

The couple started a petition on to "stop selling former meth labs to unsuspecting buyers," garnering over 200,000 signatures.

They have also been on a national media circuit since earlier this month, trying to spread awareness about an issue that homes across the country have experienced.

A spokesman for Freddie Mac provided a statement to ABC News, saying they bought the home in an "as-is" condition.

"We empathize with the Hankins but neither we nor the listing agent had prior information about the home's history," the statement read.  "If we had, such information absolutely would have been disclosed.  We strongly encourage buyers to inspect homes and to conduct any tests they want to before making a purchase decision."

Freddie Mac said it encourages "home shoppers to see if the addresses of homes that interest them are on the registries state and federal agencies keep of known clandestine meth labs."

The federal registry can be found on the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) National Clandestine Laboratory Register website.

Freddie Mac also said "concerned home shoppers can also check an address with local law enforcement."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Drug Discount Cards Help You Save on Prescription Meds

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- How would you like to save up to 70 percent on your prescription drugs?  It's possible through little-known drug discount cards, often available for free.

The website recently did a small study of prescription drug discount cards.  Founder Edgar Dworsky obtained five different cards offered through AAA, AARP, the National League of Cities, UNA Rx and Simple Savings.  The last three are available for free online.

Dworsky then took those cards to CVS, Costco and an independent pharmacy.  There, he checked the prices of four commonly-prescribed medications, two name brand and two generic.  His savings ranged from 0 to 71 percent, depending which pharmacy and which card he used.  Dworsky says the average savings was 16 percent.

Here's one example that shows the wild range of prices.  Dworsky priced Simvastatin, a generic cholesterol drug, at CVS:

  • Cash: $39.99
  • UNA Rx Card: $39.99
  • National League of Cities Card: $33.30
  • Simple Savings Card: $19.02

Dworsky says when he priced Simvastatin at Costco, the chain's regular price was far lower than any of the discounted prices he obtained elsewhere.  Costco charged him $5.90 when he paid cash and took another dollar off if he presented an AARP card or Costco's own prescription drug savings card.  

Consumer Reports has done price comparison surveys that found Costco's prescription prices are the best deal overall.  And the good news is that you can fill a prescription at Costco even if you're not a member.

Getting back to prescription drug discount cards, Dworsky said, "If you don't have prescription coverage, you would be foolish not to get one of these cards, particularly the free ones, because it is such an easy way to save money."

However, he said choosing a card is painful because no one card nets the lowest prices on all medications.  Some get you a great deal on one med but not on another.

So what should you do?  If you regularly take certain maintenance medications, it would be worth your while to obtain several drug discount cards, like Dworsky did, and conduct your own little study.  Use the card/pharmacy combination that gives you the best deal.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Steve Jobs US Files Provide New Details on Drug Use, Kidnap Worry

Tom Munnecke/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Recently released Pentagon documents indicate that in the 1980′s Steve Jobs expressed concern that his daughter might be kidnapped in an effort to blackmail him.  The documents also provide more information about the Apple co-founder’s drug use as a teenager as well as a previously unreported arrest in 1975 for having failed to pay a speeding ticket.

The new details are included in 1988 documents processed by the Defense Investigative Service that were obtained by the online magazine Wired through a Freedom of Information of Act request.  At the time Jobs had applied for a Top Security clearance when he headed up the computer firm Pixar.

The newly released Pentagon documents provide additional information to details first made public in February, when in another FOIA request, the FBI released a 1991 background check conducted when Jobs was appointed to the President’s Export Council. Those documents briefly mentioned that Jobs had a Top Secret security clearance when he headed Pixar.

According to Wired, the DOD documents don’t explain why Jobs had applied for a Top Security clearance in 1988.  However, it notes that Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs said Pixar required a security clearance because of company contracts with intelligence agencies to render information gathered by reconnaissance flights and satellites.

As part of a standard line of questioning, investigators reviewing his application asked Jobs how he might be blackmailed.  He replied that he had a daughter out of wedlock whom he felt might be the target of a kidnapping.

“The type of blackmail or threat that could be made against me would be if someone kidnapped [her],” he said.  Though he believed any kidnapping attempt would be motivated “for the purpose of money, not because I may have access to classified Top Secret material or documents.”

Jobs said that if he did receive his clearance, “there can be a possibility of blackmail and I do acknowledge this fact.”

In his application, Jobs provided precise details about his previously reported use of LSD, marijuana and hashish during his youth.

Jobs wrote, “I used LSD from approximately 1972 to 1974. Throughout that period of time I used the LSD approximately ten to fifteen times. I would ingest the LSD on a sugar cube or in a hard form of gelatin. I would usually take the LSD when I was by myself. I have no words to explain the effect the LSD had on me, although, I can say it was a positive life changing experience for me and I am glad I went through that experience.”  In a handwritten portion next to the statement, that was initialed by Jobs, he wrote, “This was the reason I used LSD.”  At the time Jobs would have been 17 to 19 years of age.

He admitted to having smoked marijuana and also to having eaten it in cooked brownies from 1972 to 1976 about once or twice weekly.  He admitted to having used hashish five times during that time frame. He told investigators that using marijuana and hashish made him “relaxed and creative.”  In another document he responded “none” to the question of intentions for future use.

The documents note that investigators asked Jobs about why he had failed to point out in his questionnaire that in 1975 he had been arrested in Eugene, Ore., for not having paid a $50 speeding ticket.

He explained that “while being questioned behind a store in Eugene, Oregon for being a minor with possible possession of alcohol, I was arrested for an outstanding warrant for not paying a prior speeding ticket.” At the time, Jobs would have been 20 years of age

Jobs wrote that because he did not have any alcohol he was “therefore not arrested for that reason."  He added, “I satisfied the warrant by paying off the fine of approximately $50.00."  He said the police review of records found an outstanding arrest warrant for the unpaid speeding ticket.  He was arrested on the spot, Jobs said he paid the speeding fine “and that was the end of the matter.”

Jobs wrote in a statement that he had not mentioned the incident because he didn’t think it was an “actual arrest” but “was only for not paying my speeding ticket which I eventually paid.”  He said he “had no intentions of falsifying” his questionnaire by not mentioning the incident and did not think about it while answering it.

Jobs died last year after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pfizer Announces Fourth-Quarter Earnings, Planning Cuts to Research

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -  Drugmaker Pfizer announced fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday and said it plans to cut research in order to maintain per share earnings for 2012.

Fourth-quarter sales in 2010 met expectations with revenues of $17.6 billion. Total revenue for the year ended at $67.8 billion. The company, however, lowered its 2012 sales forecast by three percent, or approximately $2 billion, but promised to maintain 2012 earnings per share forecasts with further cuts to research.

Pfizer plans to cut its research and development budget by roughly $2 billion dollars, down to approximately $6.5 billion from $8.5 billion.

Cuts will include closing a research laboratory in Sandwich, U.K., that employs close to 2,400 people. According to the BBC, the site performs research and development on allergy and respiratory drugs.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio