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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ph D Died After Apparently Injecting Herself With Buprenorphine

What does a drug addict look like? Society has placed stigmas and stereotypes on the appearance of addicts and alcoholics over the years. When someone utters the word "Junkie" a picture usually pops into one's head of a withering human, perhaps on their last breath who would do anything to get their fix. Unfortunately, the majority of addicts have the ability to hide their addiction from their friends and family; they hold full time jobs and it appears like they are functioning members of society. It can be hard to imagine that someone who has been successful both in education and business could be suffering from an addiction that is in many ways invisible. Doctors, lawyers, and politicians are just as susceptible to drugs and alcohol as those living on the streets. Some of the last people that you would ever think of are in the grips of a terrible drug addiction. On Sunday in Baltimore Maryland, a Ph.D died after apparently injecting herself with buprenorphine while trying to get high with her boyfriend. Carrie Elisabeth John earned a doctorate in physiology and pharmacology and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland School of Medicine studying the effects of drug addiction when she died from an overdose.

The police said, Carrie and her boyfriend Clinton Blaine McCracken grew marijuana inside their home and used narcotics purchased over the Internet from a Philippine pharmacy that shipped pills hidden inside stuffed animals. "John and McCracken led a life that the young woman's mother never saw. McCracken told authorities that he and John injected themselves with buprenorphine and morphine. Police said they had turned their unkempt house into an indoor marijuana farm, with grow lights and fans vented with aluminum dryer hoses. Police said they found pills in bags, at least 20 bongs, 30 marijuana plants growing up to two feet high and more packed and stored in Mason jars", according to the Baltimore Sun. The police are going to charge McCracken with many different charges related to everything found in the couple's home. McCracken believes that John did not overdose, rather, it was a bad batch of drugs that led to the death - toxicology reports are still pending.

Whatever the case may be, Carrie John died needlessly in the prime of her life. She never had the opportunity to seek help and no one seemed to have a clue about her struggles with addiction. It is surprising that the University of Maryland did not drug test their employees, especially the ones working in John's department; they had had constant contact with addictive drugs on a daily basis. I imagine they will start testing after this terrible incident. It just goes to show that most addicts and alcoholics go undetected through life until something horrific happens.

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