Domestic Abuse and Repeat Offenders
Aug30

Domestic Abuse and Repeat Offenders

Domestic abuse is a thread of violence that is very often misunderstood. Abuse victims face many challenges when attempting to leave an abusive relationship. This is often-time overlooked by family members, social workers, law enforcement, and other support and advocacy systems. The role that domestic abuse plays on incarcerated, or newly-released domestic abuse victims, is just one of the many crucial aspects that we must understand in order to better serve the needs of this particular demographic.   Repeat Offenders and Assistance First off, it is important to note the relationship between domestic abuse and incarceration. The vast majority of domestic abuse victims did time for crimes related to property, drugs, and prostitution. Upon being released, they may be on probation or parole, making them vulnerable to their abuser’s threats to comply to his demands or be sent back to prison. Even so, many shelters and prosecutor’s offices may deny them protective order assistance. This type of assistance can be crucial in determining the likelihood that they will become repeat offenders. It can also help lower the level of intimidation abuse victims with a past criminal record may likely feel when being back in a courtroom again. A Vicious Circle Another factor to consider is that incarcerated, or newly-released abuse victims do not have very many social and support systems. Therefore, they may be forced by their parole officers to go back to their previous home, if it appears to be a stable environment. This is done without taking into consideration that the abuser might still be present. On top of that, if the domestic abuse victim is being released after talking fault for crimes that the abuser committed, the abuser can continue to harass the victim into a life of crime.   Why Stay? Leaving an abusive partner seems like the logical thing to do. However, many times it is easier said than done. There are many reasons why abuse victims stay. Victims on parole may have nowhere to go, few job skills, limited knowledge of resources, and may even fear for their life and freedom if they attempt to leave an abusive partner. Sometimes it can prove safer to stay until an escape plan is well-established. It is estimated that a woman who tries to flee or has fled, is 75% more likely to be murdered. Extensive safety planning is necessary before attempting to break free from an abusive relationship. Call to Action The correlation between being a repeat criminal offender and an abuse victim is too blatant to ignore. Ignoring it will surely result in more women continuing to fall prey to abusive and manipulative partners...

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Does Music Distract Drivers?
Aug29

Does Music Distract Drivers?

Before you start blaring Gangnam Style (or something similarly ridiculous) in your car, be aware that it can have an impact on your driving (not to mention your reputation!). Playing music in your car has previously been thought of as a driving distraction, much like using your cellphone. Distracted driving can prove to be dangerous, and at times even fatal. However, a new study now shows that playing music actually helps you be a better driver. Here’s how:   Monotonous Traffic and Focus A recent study conducted in drivers (between 25-35 years of age) found that listening to music while driving actually helps you focus more on the road. That’s right it helps you focus- we can pretty much dismiss the myth that listening to Metallica, or similarly loud music, turns drivers into road-rage maniacs. This works on the premise that we all need some degree of arousal to stop us from getting bored on monotonous traffic situations. Music seems to be key in keeping us alert, especially on long drives. The study asked participants to drive behind another car for 30 minutes on a quiet road. Those who were listening to music while driving actually performed better on this task, than those who drove without music. Solo road trip?-Make sure to turn on Adele.   Heavy Traffic and Music When it came to heavily trafficked urban areas, drivers had a disposition to lower the volume of the music in order to more fully concentrate on the roadways. For this study, drivers were not able to lower or turn off the music. However, drivers were able to block out the distraction to the point where they could not even remember what was playing. In these types of scenarios, and scenarios that required more concentration, such as reversing or parallel parking, safety became priority and drivers were able to block out distractions. The concrete finding was that people listening to music while driving do not drive less well in both busy and quiet traffic.   Other Factors Ayça Berfu Ünal of the University of Groningen, who led this study, went on to comment that this study did not analyze how people respond to driving and listening to talk radio. Much like talking on the phone, listening to something that really interests us makes huge mental demands on our cognitive abilities. It is also important to note your limits. Different people have different tolerance levels for loud music. The results of this study do not apply to motorists who are just learning to drive. The impact of listening to music and driving is also another area to examine in the elderly,...

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Real Life Zombies: Bath Salt Injuries
Aug25

Real Life Zombies: Bath Salt Injuries

“Bath Salts” is the street-name for a category of drugs so dangerous, they can literally cause cannibalistic attacks. The most notorious case was the face-eating cannibal attack. This happened May 26th, 2012 when a homeless man, under the influence of bath salts, attacked another homeless man and gnawed on his face, exposing bone, all the way down to his goatee. It took four police bullets to stop the atrocious attack. Although this may sound like a scene from a zombie movie, this bizarre incident was not singular. A string of related attacks continued, along with numerous emergency room visits. And, the most terrifying part is that these substances are even more accessible than cigarettes or alcohol. Pharmacology The chemical composition of these synthetic drugs is not exactly known. There are many different types of derivatives made by illegal “street-chemists.” They are also referred to as Purple Wave,Vanilla Wave,Bliss, Disco, Cloud 9, among others. They typically contain a cathinone, typically methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), methylone or mephedrone. Because the chemical composition varies widely, the precise effects they have on the brain are not clearly known. According to Narconon, even drug tests may not determine that bath salts were involved in a serious adverse effect since the newest tests only detect fourteen common chemicals used in these formulas. There are more than eighty chemicals that might be included.The one thing that is certain is that they clearly have nothing to do with taking a bath. Effects Bath salts can be snorted, injected, smoked, and/or dissolved into food or drink. These powerful drugs cause fits, hallucination, and most notably aggression. They may also cause suicidal thoughts or attempts, as well as psychotic delusions. They are also very harmful physically, and there have been many deaths and injuries caused by using bath salts. Some of the physical symptoms include rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, agitation, liver and kidney failure, seizures, heart attack, severe fever, and brain swelling. Are Bath Salts Illegal? Bath salts were readily available at convenience stores, head-shops, and online. Many states have made efforts to stave off the wave of emergency room visits and violent attacks by making them illegal in many states. However, since the chemical composition varies so much, it is very difficult to regulate. ‘Street-chemists’ are able to continually change the molecular composition so that it remains undetected. Many of the known ingredients in bath salts are now illegal. Users and Addiction Anyone can get their hands on bath salts quite easily. At about $20 a packet, they are not only affordable, but easily available in small packets at most gas stations. This new trend might stem from...

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Social Security FAQs for HIV/AIDS Patients
Aug23

Social Security FAQs for HIV/AIDS Patients

HIV and AIDS—or the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome—are serious conditions that can significantly affect the length and quality of life for those affected with the conditions. While some patients may be able to continue in their previous professions, others find that they cannot work in the roles that were once considered commonplace. Fortunately, men and women who have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS may be able to qualify for assistance through Social Security. Understanding the basics of these programs and their benefits is crucial for those living with these serious conditions.   Where Am I Covered? Learning about the programs that offer HIV/AIDS disability coverage is very important for those diagnosed with the condition. Men and women who have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS can often obtain benefits from the Social Security disability insurance program. Those who did not pay into Social Security during their working years may instead be covered through the Supplemental Security insurance program, especially if they have little income and few resources. In some cases, HIV and AIDS patients may be able to obtain assistance through both of these programs.   How Do I Qualify? So how, exactly, does an HIV or AIDS patient qualify for the programs described above? According to the Social Security Administration, the qualifiers for the insurance programs listed will often vary drastically depending on the circumstances of the individual in question. In general, applicants must have worked for at least five years during the ten years prior to being diagnosed with HIV or AIDS to qualify for social security benefits. In unique cases where the applicant is quite young and may have never held a job, additional qualifiers may be used. Those who have questions about whether or not they are eligible for social security should consult with a social or case worker experienced in their personal history.   What Will I Get? There are a number of important benefits that will be provided to patients with HIV or AIDS who have been approved for social security. Generally, patients can expect to obtain some financial assistance, which can be used for rent, groceries, utilities, or other everyday expenses. The amount of financial assistance that a patient obtains typically depends on the amount of money that they earned during their working years. After a period of time, Medicare—which covers most of the costs associated with HIV and AIDS—will begin to kick in.   Additional FAQs Navigating the ins and outs of Social Security can be difficult even for those who are experienced in the medical field—so imagine how challenging it is for men and women who are unfamiliar with the...

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