Orlando VA doctor charged with DUI after crash near medical center

By Julie Gargotta, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, December 28, 2017, 5:32 PM EST

An Orlando VA Medical Center doctor was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of narcotics after he crashed a few miles away from the hospital Tuesday, records show.

  • Orlando VA hospital doctor arrested on DUI charges
  • Troopers say he was under the influence of narcotics before crash
  • VA declined to say if he arrived or left work under the influence

In an arrest report, Florida Highway Patrol troopers said that 66-year-old Dr. Charles Young seemed “lethargic” and “dazed.”

He crashed his car into another vehicle before 9 a.m. at the corner of Narcoossee and Tyson roads in the Lake Nona area, shortly after a trooper said he spotted Young driving down Tavistock Lakes Boulevard, then hit a curb and keep driving.

The accident happened a day after Young’s birthday 3 miles away from the medical center, where the Department of Veterans Affairs confirmed that Young has worked as an ophthalmologist there for almost a decade.

According to the arrest report, the other driver involved in the collision said that, “[Young] just slammed into the back of me and I have two small children in the back seat,” adding, “He could’ve killed us.” The report said there were no injuries from the crash.

Young performed “poorly” on field sobriety tests, according to troopers, but was not drunk, passing a Breathalyzer test.

An FHP dashboard-camera video shows troopers administering the test to Young.

“I want you to follow it with your eyes only and do not move your head,” a trooper is heard saying.

Soon after, a trooper says, “Turn around. I’m going to place you under arrest.”

The FHP determined that the doctor was under the influence of a depressant and narcotic pain medication and charged him with DUI and damaging property.


Dr. Charles Young, 66 (Orange County Corrections)

The VA would not comment on whether Young reported to work under the influence or whether they made him leave after arriving.

It released a statement:

“We are aware of the arrest and are investigating this matter fully, to include determining if this was a medical, alcohol or substance abuse issue. The Orlando VA Medical Center takes very seriously any allegations of alcohol or substance abuse among its clinicians. Appropriate action — up to and including termination — will be pursued if warranted. Any physicians or health care providers charged with a legal infraction involving substance abuse immediately have their clinical privileges suspended until the matter is settled, and a clinical case review is completed.

Dr. Charles Young is an ophthalmologist with the Orlando VA Medical Center and he has been employed since March of 2008.”

A few hours after his arrest, Young bonded out of jail for $1,000. According to court records, he has an arraignment hearing on Jan. 10.

 

http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2017/12/28/orlando_va_doctor_charged_dui.html

Man with green tongue can’t beat conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana

A motorist whose tongue was green when a state trooper pulled him over has failed to beat his conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana.

A state Superior Court panel made that call in upholding the DUI conviction a Lancaster County judge slapped on 33-year-old Donyai Corbett of Coatesville.

In the state court’s opinion, President Judge Emeritus Correale F. Stevens rejected Corbett’s claim that the county judge prevented his lawyer from asking a relevant question during his nonjury trial.

Corbett fell afoul of the law by failing to signal while making a turn on Nov. 16, 2015. Trooper Peter Minko pulled him over and claimed he noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from Corbett’s car.

Although Corbett registered no alcohol intoxication from a breath test, he failed field sobriety testing, and showed visible signs of intoxication, including bloodshot eyes and “a green tongue consistent with recent marijuana use,” the trooper said.

During Corbett’s trial before county Judge Margaret C. Miller, the defense attorney asked Minko whether he had asked Corbett for permission to search his car.

The prosecutor objected to that question, claiming it was irrelevant to whether Corbett was intoxicated. Miller sustained the objection.

Corbett claimed on appeal to Stevens’ court that the question was relevant in that the failure to even try to find any marijuana in his car could have bolstered his argument that he was not in fact under the influence of the drug.

Stevens didn’t bite. Instead, he found the absence of marijuana didn’t prove Corbett’s innocence, especially since physical signs of his intoxication were evident to an experienced trooper.

“The lack of contraband in a vehicle reasonably leads only to the inference that the visibly impaired driver must have ingested the marijuana at some moment before the stop,” Stevens wrote.

The state court ruling also affirms Corbett’s 72-hour to 6-month prison sentence.

https://articles.pennlive.com/news/2018/01/man_with_green_tongue_cant_bea.amp

Woman had half-empty vodka bottle in vehicle while DUI

WESTPORT — A Westport cop may have stopped a possible wrong-way crash last night when he stopped a wrong-way driver trying to get onto the Merritt Parkway while driving under the influence.

Police charged Gina Heckel, 49, of Fairfield, with driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, driving the wrong way on a highway, possession of narcotics and narcotics possession in its original container.

Around 9:15 p.m., an officer saw a vehicle — later found to be driver by Heckel — trying to get onto the Merritt Parkway at exit 41 northbound off ramp while traveling southbound. The officer turned on his overhead lights and followed the vehicle onto the ramp before cutting in front of it.

“(The officer’s) quick thinking and action prevented what could have been a tragic incident on the highway, not only for the part involved, but also for other innocent travelers,” said Police Lt Jillian Cabana in a news release.

The officer had Heckel pull into the nearby commuter lot. As he spoke to Heckel the officer said he detected a strong odor of alcohol and asked her to perform the standardized field sobriety tests, which she failed.

When Heckel was taken into custody, the officer took her cell phone and purse from the vehicle and saw a half empty bottle of vodka and loose pills — later found to be prescription pills that were not prescribed to her.

At police headquarters, Heckel was given a breathalyzer test and was found to be over the legal limit. She was released from custody after positing a $1,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 8.

http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Westport-cops-Fairfield-woman-had-half-empty-12463762.php

Drug driving arrest as tree hits car

A35 tree strike

A falling tree injured two men when it crashed through the roof of a car in Hampshire during Storm Eleanor.

The driver and passenger were travelling on the A35 through Hinton Admiral when the tree fell on to the Ford Focus shortly after 03:00 GMT on Wednesday.

Police said both men were taken to hospital.

The road was closed by the Cat and Fiddle pub for more than three hours while the tree was cleared.

Police initially reported the driver had been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.

Hampshire Constabulary later said: “We are investigating the full circumstances, but no arrests have been made.

“Apologies for any confusion after what was tweeted in the early hours of this morning.”

A35 tree strike

The Environment Agency had issued flood warnings and alerts across Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight, with coastal areas under threat from a combination of a high tide and large waves.

There were numerous reports of fallen trees blocking roads across Dorset in the wake of the high winds.

Dorset Police said there was “a morning of chaos” across the county on Wednesday.

The Met Office said gusts of up to 89mph (143km) were recorded on the Isle of Wight at about midnight.

Dorset tree downhttp://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-42551369?intlink_from_url=&link_location=live-reporting-story

Sessions’ Weed Adviser Wants Doctors to Drug-Test Everyone

A top adviser on marijuana policy to Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to see doctors make drug testing a routine part of primary care medicine and force some users into treatment against their will, he told The Daily Beast.

Dr. Robert DuPont was among a small group of drug policy experts invited to a closed-door meeting with Sessions last month to discuss federal options for dealing with the rapid liberalization of state marijuana laws. California became the sixth state to allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use on Jan. 1.

DuPont, 81, is one of the most influential drug warriors of the past century. He began his career as a liberal on drug control in the 1970s, calling then for the decriminalization of marijuana possession and launching the first U.S. methadone treatment program for heroin in Washington, D.C. in 1971. By the 1980s, he shifted to the right, popularizing the claim marijuana was a “gateway drug.”

At the Dec. 2017 meeting with Sessions, DuPont was slated to present on “the effect of marijuana on drugged driving,” a topic on which he has proposed some radical ideas.

A national model bill he helped write in 2010 called on law enforcement to test anyone stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence for all controlled substances, and arresting them if any trace at all shows up in their system—regardless of the amount. While the bill includes an exemption for drivers who consumed a drug pursuant to a prescription, it would not apply to medicinal marijuana users since doctors are not currently allowed to prescribe pot, only offer a recommendation for its use.

The bill’s language makes clear that these people will still face sanction even if they live in a state where medical marijuana is legal.

“[The] fact that any person charged with violating this subsection is or was legally entitled to consume alcohol or to use a controlled substance, medication, drug or other impairing substance, shall not constitute a defense against any charge,” it reads.

But even that’s not the worst of it.

The bill includes a section prohibiting the “Internal Possession of Chemical or Controlled Substances.”

“Any person who provides a bodily fluid sample containing any amount of a chemical or controlled substance…commits an offense punishable in the same manner as if the person otherwise possessed that substance,” it reads, adding in a footnote: “This provision is not a DUI specific law. Rather, it applies to any person who tests positive for chemical or controlled substances.”

Asked to comment on whether Sessions was aware of DuPont’s proposal to penalize drug users who may not even be under the influence behind the wheel, and if he supports it, a Justice Department spokesperson chose to focus on the dangers of driving while intoxicated.

“The Controlled Substances Act was enacted by Congress to comprehensively restrict and regulate numerous drugs, including marijuana,” said DOJ Spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam, in a statement provided to The Daily Beast. “Further, the Attorney General agrees with the Center for Disease Control that driving while impaired by marijuana is dangerous as it negatively affects a number of skills required for safe driving.”

‘Futile’ for Addicts to Help Themselves

On closer inspection, DuPont’s proposal is part of a plan to expand the use of drug testing technology to root out users, and the threat of prosecution to compel them into treatment where they will be tested even more.

Early last year, The Daily Beast conducted a lengthy interview with DuPont as he was shopping around a radical proposal to address America’s festering overdose crisis called the “New Paradigm for Long-Term Recovery.” It would include a massive expansion of drug testing in addiction medicine.

“Drug testing is the technology of addiction medicine, but it’s under-utilized,” he said. “We want [drug screens] to be routine in all medicine. The health care sector in general should approach addiction in the same way as diabetes, and that includes monitoring. Doctors already check for things like cholesterol and blood sugar, why not test for illicit drugs?”

Calling his platform “the opposite of harm reduction,” DuPont said the goal of his plan is to promote “long-term results…and greater accountability” in the treatment sector.

Among other things he proposed giving doctors the authority to compel suspected substance abusers into treatment against their will. Once in treatment, patients could face up to five years of monitoring, including random drug tests.

“People don’t understand that referral to treatment is futile for an addict on their own,” DuPont told The Daily Beast. “Right now the public really thinks that if we provide treatment the addicts will come and get well…that’s not true. So let’s use the leverage of the criminal justice system, that’s what the programs in the New Paradigm want to do.”

Turning a Profit Off Drug Testing

DuPont presents his proposal as evidence-based, but it’s hard to separate his strong promotion of drug testing from his close personal and financial connections to the drug testing industry.

In the 1970s he was the nation’s drug czar under Nixon and Ford, and was the first Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, until his increasingly radical views (he called for drug testing all parolees and sending them back to prison if they failed) forced his resignation in 1978.

After leaving federal service, DuPont joined the former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Pete Bensinger, to cash in on urine testing. The firm they founded, Bensinger, DuPont & Associates, provided drug testing services to some of America’s largest corporations.

In 1991, while running the firm, DuPont introduced the idea of mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients in a policy document published by the Heritage Foundation. DuPont recommended “not only testing the adults on public assistance but also their children.”

Later that decade, DuPont co-authored research with the founder of a firm called Psychemedics promoting the company’s new hair testing technology.

In 2000, while he was a shareholder and a paid consultant for the company DuPont testified before a Food & Drug Administration panel on drug testing where he advocated for expanding hair testing into federal workplaces. Dismissing the appearance of a “conflict of interest” DuPont told the panel: “I don’t think of myself as an employee or an advocate particularly for Psychemedics, but for drug testing generally.”

The FDA approved the company’s first hair follicle test two years later, and today Psychemedics is a multi-million dollar a year business that’s in the process of a profitable expansion into South America.

This is a running theme for DuPont. For instance, Stephen Talpins, an attorney who helped DuPont author his model drugged driving bill, formerly was a vice president at Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc., which makes the SCRAM alcohol and location monitoring system used by many courts.

Now DuPont is listed as a scientific adviser on the website of global drug-testing startup called CAM International Ventures. That company was founded in 2013 by David Martin, former president of the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association, and includes among its staff other prominent members of the drug testing industry.

Still, DuPont rejects the idea that there is any financial motivation behind his fixation drug testing.

“I find it bizarre to think that my interests after all these years were financial,” he told The Daily Beast. “I just think, there is a financial incentive in drug testing, but the reason I’m interested in drug testing is that there is an interest from the disease standpoint.”

With a dozen more states expected to consider legal marijuana measures in 2018, and even Republican lawmakers like Trey Gowdy questioning the federal government’s hard stance on the drug, it’s unlikely even a die hard anti-pot crusader like DuPont can turn back the tide, but that doesn’t mean he can’t make a few more bucks trying.

https://amp.thedailybeast.com/jeff-sessions-marijuana-adviser-wants-doctors-to-drug-test-everyone