Entries in New Jersey (7)


Synthetic Marijuana: "Illegal as Cocaine" in New Jersey

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It may be marketed as fake weed, but synthetic marijuana is now subject to real drug law in New Jersey.

The state’s ban on synthetic marijuana was made permanent Tuesday, as Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced it was classified as a Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substance.  A temporary ban was enacted in February, but would have expired later this month without an extension.

The substance, which is sold under brand names such as K2 and Spice, is a mix of natural herbs sprayed with JWH-018, a chemical that mimics the effects of THC.  When smoked, it can induce euphoria – what many users call a “legal high.”

But as the small packets of herbs have become a national trend in youth culture, many states and municipalities have taken up laws against them.  Kansas was the first state to ban the substance in 2010, and many have followed suit, most recently New Jersey.

“These drugs have grown in popularity nationwide, despite their alarming and catastrophic side effects,” Chiesa said in a statement.  “Today they are permanently on record as being just as illegal as cocaine or heroin.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gov. Christie Greenlights New Jersey's First Medical Marijuana Dispensary

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MONTCLAIR, N.J.) -- The commissioner of New Jersey Department of Health announced this week that for the first time physicians can register qualified patients for the state's medical marijuana program.

It's a move that got support from Republican Gov. Chris Christie, whose face will hang in a place of honor on the wall of the first functioning dispensary in the Garden State.

"At one point we felt that the progression of the program installation was slow," according to Julio Valentin, COO of Greenleaf Compassion, the dispensary in Montclair. "But we understand that Gov. Christie and the state of New Jersey is doing the best they can to cross their T's and dot their I's to make this program as successful as possible."

Valentin, who intends to hang a framed photo of Gov. Christie on one of the walls of the dispensary, says that Christie has given them "the green light" to proceed with developing the program.

Valentin told ABC News he wants the dispensary to look like any other official government building. "I think it is respectful to hang a picture of the governor as well as other governmental officials in the store." Valentine continued, explaining that having a photo of the controversial Republican governor is not intended to be factious. "It is out of respect. We will have our certificates, an American flag and the N.J. state flag hanging inside too."

Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, however, isn't as convinced that Christie's intentions in supporting the medical marijuana project are all good. According to him Christie "begrudgingly embraced" the legislation.

St. Pierre believes that Christie is not doing this because he is a supporter; he is doing to for "political pragmatism."

Though the governor seems supportive of medical marijuana, in June he vowed to veto a bill decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Advocates for decriminalization hope that one day Republicans will see their argument from a financial point of view.

"It'll be awesome the amount of money these places will generate," according to St. Pierre.

"The most infamous dispensary in California, Harborside Health Center pulls in $60,000-$70,000 per day in cash sales. That's over 30 million dollars a year in revenue," he said. "There is a lot of money to be generated in these dispensaries. Legislators are beginning to see that money and want to get a piece of it, which is very logical."

St. Pierre hopes that once establishments get going in New Jersey they will set a precedent for other East Coast states. "New Jersey's marijuana program is the antithesis of that in California, St." Pierre said. "Everywhere and every state looks to California and says that is not the model they want to replicate." That is why Christie has made a push for the strictest possible laws.

The newly installed patient registry system allows doctors to go online and electronically sign patients up to participate in the program, allowing them to explore alternative treatments of specified illnesses through means of medicinal marijuana. The qualifying conditions required to receive a med card include terminal illness, cancer, glaucoma, and Multiple Sclerosis.

Six dispensaries have been issued permits by the state but only one, Greenleaf Compassion Center of Montclair, is set to be up and running by the beginning of September.

Though five of the six permitted dispensaries do not yet have storefront locations, the medical marijuana program has made huge strides since New Jersey's Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was signed into law by Gov. Jon Corzine more than two years ago. However, the law's implementation was delayed under the Christie administration as the state labored over regulatory details. Christie said that passing the decriminalization bill would be "contrary to the message we are sending" by establishing a structured medical marijuana program.

When asked how he felt about Valentin hanging a picture of the governor in New Jersey's first dispensary, St. Pierre responded, "In my opinion, these permits landed in the hands of political partisans. That man running that dispensary will one day be on the end of a political donation to Christie. Mark my words."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Coach Receives Miracle Organ Transplant

Keith Brofsky/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Since he was diagnosed with cirrhosis five years ago, Ed Mooney knew that if he didn’t get a liver transplant soon he’d be in serious danger. “I probably had a million people ahead of me. My sister got denied as a donor, my brother had his paperwork in and if I didn’t [find] a donor in him, I basically was going to stay on a list, and my surgeon said I’d keep getting sicker and sicker,” Mooney told ABC News.

What the 52-year old baseball coach from Bergenfield, N.J., needed was a match -- in other words, a miracle. He just never thought the miracle would come from such a tragedy.

That’s where Dan Glover comes in. The 24-year old was a former star wrestler at Bergenfield High School and a player on Mooney’s Little League baseball team. “He wasn’t a big kid, but he was all heart.” Mooney said.

Glover died last week from injuries he endured in a car crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. And thanks to an unbelievable twist of fate, his liver went to his former coach. “This makes me want to live for more than one person – for me and for Danny, and all the people who can see that miracles can happen,” Mooney said from his bed at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Mooney hopes to return home this week. When he does, he’ll finally have a chance to talk to Glover’s family, a conversation he knows will be difficult for both sides. But Glover’s sacrifice will never be forgotten by Mooney, but he knows this isn’t about him. He says, “It’s about the selfless act of a young kid who wanted to give life to others.”

Glover’s organs went to at least 50 people.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Jersey Teen Uses CPR to Revive Elderly Man

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(DENVILLE, N.J.) -- A 16-year-old New Jersey girl received a very grown-up honor this week for reviving an elderly man who suffered a heart attack in a bowling alley.

Christa Fairclough of Denville sprang into action on Dec. 9 when she saw a 75-year-old man curled on the floor in a fetal position, according to The Star-Ledger.

“I just saw nobody else was doing anything,” she told the paper.  “It was like I was the only one that noticed.”

Fairclough had recently learned CPR in a health class but didn’t receive her certificate because her hair had interfered with her ability to see the rise and fall of the mannequin’s chest.

She worried she would forget what she had learned, but that evening in the bowling alley it all came back. The man’s pulse returned after about five minutes of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compressions.

The man later died, but his family told Fairclough they were very grateful to her.

While the proper sequence of steps and number of breaths and chest compressions can be difficult to remember, a recent study found that young people are very capable of learning and retaining the basics of CPR.

ABC News’ partner MedPage Today reported that Austrian researchers reviewed data on 147 young people between the ages of 9 and 18 who had six hours of CPR training in 2006.  About 86 percent of them performed CPR correctly, but smaller students weren’t as able to compress the chest to the appropriate depth and delivered less air during the mouth-to-mouth portion.

The researchers also reported that the ability to remember the basics of CPR were “remarkably similar, if not better, than that reported in adults.”

In response to the research, Dr. Benjamin Abella of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Resuscitation Science said educating children about CPR could  be very valuable.

“We always tend to give kids too little credit regarding how much they can understand and process about serious adult issues,” he said. “Choosing the age for training is important, but teenagers are certainly eager and willing students for practical and important life training such as CPR.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hindus Sue Restaurant for Mistakenly Serving Meat

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(EDISON, N.J.) -- A group of Hindus sued a New Jersey restaurant, Moghul Express, for accidentally serving them meat during an India Day celebration.  Now, the group wants the restaurant's owner to pick up the tab for a trip to India's Ganges River, where they say they must cleanse themselves in order to save their souls after eating the meat.

In 2009, the 16 diners went to the restaurant and ordered vegetable samosas.  After the staff confirmed that the pastries were indeed vegetable, people in the group realized they had actually eaten a meat-filled version of the pastry.

Last year, the group brought the lawsuit to the New Jersey Superior Court, citing negligent infliction of emotional distress, consumer fraud, product liability and breach of express warranty, according to the New Jersey Star Ledger.

The judge dismissed the case, but the newspaper reported Tuesday that a three-person appeals jury reinstated the suit because the wait staff "breached express warranty" when they incorrectly confirmed that the food was vegetarian.

Lawyers for both parties refused to comment on the pending case.

"If you follow the scriptures, it's definitely a huge cost," Mehul Thakkar, a spokesman for the Yogi Divine Society, told the Star Ledger.  "If they are very strict about it, there definitely is a fee involved."

But other cultural groups are not buying it.

"God blesses you for forgiving someone," said Pradip Kothari, president of the Indo-American Cultural Society.  "Eating meat will not cause them permanent damage.  I'm surprised our judges entertain these types of people."

"These people should be treated like criminals," Kothari said.  "When they're putting out this lawsuit, they're committing a sin.  They're going to punish this small business owner by putting him out of business?  That would make them happy?"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Jersey, Northeast States on Alert for Measles From Sick Italian Traveler

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(CAMDEN COUNTY, N.J.) --Health officials in the Northeast are on the lookout for measles, spread by a young Italian woman who arrived from Europe by plane on April 12 and developed the telltale fever and rash the next day in Rhode Island.  A man from Camden County, N.J., already has been diagnosed with a "probable case" of measles linked to the woman.

Health officials in New Jersey have issued a public health alert for anyone who patronized several popular big-box stores and restaurants the man had visited in the days before and including Easter Sunday, when he began to develop measles symptoms.

"These infectious diseases have no borders," Dr. Christina Tan, the New Jersey state epidemiologist, said Friday. As of Friday, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services had not heard of any new cases linked to the Camden County man, she said. From April 21 to 24, days when he would have been highly contagious, the man visited a Home Depot, Kohl's, Wal-Mart, and a Toys-R-Us in the Cherry Hill area, as well as a nursery in Magnolia, a Lowe's in Lawnside, and a children's restaurant in Collingswood.

Those four days coincided with two major holidays, the Jewish holiday of Passover, April 18-26, and Easter Sunday on April 24, when the stores were filled with shoppers, many buying food, flowers, clothing and other items for family celebrations.

The state advised people who may have gone to the stores to remain vigilant until May 15 for signs and symptoms of the measles. Anyone who suspects they were exposed should call a health provider before heading to a medical office or hospital emergency room, to allow for proper precautions to reduce the chances of infecting fellow patients as well as health care workers.

The Italian traveler, described by Rhode Island health officials as in her 20s, began feeling ill and sought medical attention after arriving by car in Rhode Island on April 13. The doctor who treated her notified the Rhode Island Department of Health about the likely measles infection, subsequently confirmed with blood tests. The woman agreed to be isolated while recuperating, the health department said. The Providence Journal reported that Rhode Island hadn't had a measles case in 20 years.

New Jersey's Tan said she believed that the Camden County man was exposed in Rhode Island. The sick man, described only as being in his 30s, began developing measles symptoms on Easter Sunday, the same day that Camden County health officials said he attended a party with about 25 people.

The measles virus can hitch a ride on tiny droplets in the air when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes. It produces a telltale rash, along with fever, runny nose, watery eyes, aches, and other flu-like symptoms. Measles complications include pneumonia and dangerous brain inflammation called encephalitis. Pregnant women who become infected can miscarry or deliver a premature baby.

Because measles spreads easily in confined areas, such as airports and airplanes, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has been working with health officials in New York to identify passengers and crew who were on the same flight as the Italian woman.

On April 11, the agency recommended that U.S. families traveling or living abroad take extra precautions to make sure they're fully vaccinated. In the meantime, CDC and several state health agencies have issued public health alerts to minimize contagion when foreigners with confirmed cases of the disorder have become sick while in this country.

In another case, the New Jersey health department continues investigating potential exposures involving two French women who developed measles symptoms on April 10, three days after they arrived in the state. Both subsequently recovered, but were infectious when they attended a party on April 10 at a restaurant in Livingston, N.J. Patrons exposed on that day could develop symptoms as late as this Sunday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


New Jersey Woman Sues, Can't Fully Blink After Eyelid Surgery

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(PARAMUS, N.J.) -- After cosmetic eyelid surgery left her incapable of fully closing her eyes, Marilyn Leisz said her life has been thrown into shambles.

When the lawsuit against her New Jersey plastic surgeon was all said and done, a jury on Wednesday awarded Leisz $115,000 -- an amount she called "a joke."

"The award given to me can't anywhere touch what has happened with my eyes," said Leisz of her medical malpractice lawsuit against Dr. Paul Parker, a cosmetic surgeon in Paramus, New Jersey.

"I'm not happy with the decision," she said.  "They didn't take into consideration what I go through everyday.  I expected around $500,000.  But even with that, nothing can really make up for it.  You can't put a price on your eyes."

In a statement, Parker said, "As a board certified plastic surgeon, over the past 25 years I have performed more than 10,000 surgical procedures.  Our practice is centered on compassion, attention-to-detail and superior patient care."

"We have thousands of happy patients who voice their satisfaction through the personal letters they send us and countless, unprompted positive reviews and testimonials they post online," the statement went on to say.

Leisz has had two other eye procedures in the past.  The first was meant to fix a congenital condition known as ptosis, where the muscles are not strong enough to hold up the lid, thus creating a droopy eyelid.  The second was cosmetic. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio