Announces Michigan MIP Class

As a recovering addict and a man dedicated to preventing others from becoming addicted to drugs, I am pleased to announce that is officially launching its new Michigan minor in possession (MIP) class.

Drugs ruin lives. As the educational director for drug classes, I see many examples of our nation's youth missing amazing opportunities and changing the course of their lives as a result of problems with drugs and alcohol. Our children are used to being overstimulated so using drugs and alcohol is a boost when they feel bored.

Drug use starts out innocently enough. They are with their friends, so it must be safe. Teenagers are naturally programmed to take risks and peer acceptance is extremely important. Many of the drugs are highly addictive but seem mild making it easy for them to keep using.

it is deeply painful and devastating to watch a young spirit with so much potential throwing it all away because they are in a bind with drugs.

What can we do to keep our children from becoming addicted to drugs? The obvious answer is to help them understand that trying drugs (innocently) IS a lot riskier than it seems. Nobody experiments with a drug thinking they will get addicted.

There are two main avenues we use to help get the message across - drug education classes and parental guidance. Both of these elements are absolutely crucial if we are to succeed. Both issues will be discussed in subsequent blog entries.

I also would appreciate any comments or experiences you have. I have attached a link to the new MIP class at Please contact us with any questions or comments.

Alcohol Awareness Education Can Save Lives

This is a series of blogs addressing the of dangers alcohol. In an effort to articulate the risks accurately, we will look at real-life scenarios.

The terrifying fact is that if you use alcohol regularly you are increasing the likelihood of dying from an alcohol-related problem. Almost 7,000 people per day die when alcohol is a factor. As reported in

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published more reports and statistics than you can imagine, to help illustrate the risks connected with alcohol, yet, more and more people are dying each year from alcohol-related causes.

In 2005, WHO statistics showed that alcohol consumption for people aged 15 years or older, was 6.13 liters of pure alcohol. They also reported that, most people do not drink. In fact, almost half of all men and two-thirds of women in 2005 did not consume alcohol.

Do you find this figure surprising? Does it relate to your experience? In my experience, most people drink, at least socially, many more are covert drinkers, and others are alcoholics.

Alcohol dependency will shorten your life. One expert estimates that people who are dependent on alcohol live about 10 years less than those who do not abuse alcohol.

A large portion of alcohol related deaths and disabilities are in the young and middle ages rather than older folks. The majority of deaths occur below the age of 60. This implies that many of the 2.5 million deaths could be considered premature.

We will continue to look at the dangers of alcohol in the next blog here at Announces Michigan MIP Class

There is no doubt that the future of this country lies with our youth. Therefore, it is my firm belief we need to thoroughly educate adolescents and pre-teens about the dangers associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs.

Like most people, I am sure you believe we are doing everything within our power to keep kids away from alcohol and drugs. You might be asking yourself why we need another minor in possession (MIP) class?

Do you really believe the message about the dangers of alcohol and other recreational drugs is working? This question is not as simple as it sounds. Given that children under the age of 18 are consuming alcohol and other drugs, mainly marijuana, in record numbers is an indicator that the message is not encouraging our kids to make better choices.

It may seem (to us) like the message is clear, but clearly it is not. If you are a resident of Michigan, I encourage you to sign up for a class. If you are a parent, it is smart to take the class together, with your child.

Role modeling, communication, and clearly defined expectations are key factors to helping our teenagers make good decisions. For more information, go to our link or contact us today.

8 Hour Alcohol Awareness Classes Save Lives

This will be the first in a series of blogs addressing the dangers of excessive alcohol use and how it can not only ruin lives, but kill.

Do you believe that all the banter about the dangers of alcohol is a bunch of hooey? Are you aware that they kind of alcohol we drink, ethyl alcohol, is toxic to the human body? If you or someone you know has consumed too much alcohol for their liver to process, you have experienced or witnessed alcohol poisoning which can be lethal.

Do you know someone whose life is or was adversely effected by too much alcohol? I meet hundreds of people every month whose lives, health and relationships have been compromised by alcoholic beverages.

Alcoholism effects people from all walks of life. It effects people from every race, religion and gender.

How Deadly?

Just how deadly is alcohol? The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that alcohol is responsible for killing 2.5 million people per year. For those of you math majors, you can figure it out - that means almost 7,000 die every single day (6,849) because of alcohol. That is almost 5% of all deaths globally that can be attributed to alcohol.

Does that make you take a second to reflect?

WHO says the harmful use of alcohol is now the third leading risk factor for illness and death from non-communicable and communicable disease.

I hope this first entry into the "alcohol kills" blog series makes you stop and consider your personal drinking habits and the habits of those around you. I would also recommend taking an 8 hour online alcohol awareness class to get really educated on the subject.

Principal Gets DUI -- Needs to Take DUI Course

Do you think the educators of our children should be held to a higher standard? I firmly believe that teachers and school principals need to set an example for our children. However, I do not believe they should lose their jobs over getting a violation for driving under the influence (DUI).

Following is a true story an elementary school principal whop should keep her job, but should be mandated to at least an online alcohol class. As reported in

The principal at a Pennsylvania elementary school was charged with DUI and allegedly begged the officer for leniency because of her job.

Holly Ann Judge, 36, was stopped at 11:30 p.m. and initially refused a Breathalyzer or blood test. There was little doubt as to her level of inebriation as she was unable to stand without stumbling during a field test.

While I believe everyone deserves a second chance, Judge’s level of intoxication is quite frightening. A blood-alcohol test determined her BAC was .33 percent, more than four times the legal limit.

Magnuson said he initiated a traffic stop after seeing a 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee pull onto South Market Street without using a turn signal, drive over the center line and continue traveling north in the southbound lane, according to the newspaper.

The officer said the driver, later identified as Judge, seemed flustered when asked questions; her eyes were bloodshot and she smelled of alcohol. Judge admitted to having a couple of drinks, but begged Magnuson to let her go because she would lose her job, the paper reported. The insurance card she presented had expired in April, police said.

Judge faces two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence, failing to drive on the right side of the road, failing to drive on the road, failing to use proper turn signals, failing to have required financial insurance and driving carelessly and recklessly, the newspaper reported. She was charged Thursday before District Judge John H. Reed, Selinsgrove.

Judge was appointed principal in October 2011. Her annual salary is $93,244. School officials withheld comment, but a special school board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at Island Park Adminstration Center conference room, according to the newspaper.

Police Officer Needs 24 Hour DUI Class

Should there be a minimum age for police officers? There is no doubt many 21-year-olds are not mature enough to handle such a stressful and important job. This is one of those instances.

A New Jersey police officer has been removed from street duty and is facing drunken driving charges after he allegedly drove a red pickup truck through three street signs, struck a building, and knocked down a neon sign. As reported in

William A. Grasso, 21, was charged with suspicion of driving while intoxicated and reckless driving. The crash occurred shortly before 2 a.m. He was off-duty at the time of the accident. Is he mature enough to be a police officer?

The officer has been taken off the street and relieved of police powers as the facts of this incident are ascertained. There exists the very-real possibility that he will lose his job if convicted. The facts make his case look bleak at best.

The accident occurred after Grasso's truck hopped a curb in the traffic circle median, struck two road signs, and went back onto the road before hopping another curb. Grasso's truck then plowed into another road sign before ramming into the liquor store sign.

After striking the sign, Grasso's truck hit part of a brick retaining wall and, finally, a tree.

Grasso was injured in the accident and was taken to the hospital bleeding and suffering from head trauma. He is also the second member of the Camden County Police Department to run afoul of authorities in Cherry Hill while off-duty. Back in May, a lieutenant who led the department's narcotics unit allegedly exposed himself at a Starbucks.

I would like to see Grasso get a second chance. Perhaps after taking a 24 hour online alcohol class, he can return to being a helpful protector of society.

Another Disney Star Headed to DUI Program

There is no denying that being in the public adds extra pressure along with notoriety for all actions. This is especially true when it comes to young actors who battle with addiction issues as well as get caught for driving under the influence (DUI).

The latest actor to get arrested for DUI is Disney star Billy Unger. Of course it happened late at night – shortly after the howling hour (midnight). The 18-year-old Disney XD “Lab Rats” star blew a .08 when police pulled him over for speeding on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California. As reported in

Unger joins a long list of former Disney stars who have struggled with alcohol and drugs, including Zac Efron, Shia LaBeouf, and Jake T. Austin.

Here’s what you should know about the child star and his indiscretion. Unger blew a .08 blood alcohol level when police administered a Breathalyzer test. In California, a .08 or higher constitutes driving under the influence, but the state also has a Zero Tolerance Law for drivers under 21 years old.

First-time offenders in California face penalties include a one year license suspension, the educational portion of DUI school and hundreds of dollars in fines.

Unger sent his first post-jail text to Josie Canseco at 3 a.m., the 16-year-old daughter of former baseball player Jose Canseco. She’s friends with Unger’s little brother Eric.

Unger has long had the reputation of being a perfect 10 in all aspects of his life. Does a DUI taint that?

Hopefully this is a one-time offense and Unger will take a professional alcohol class and realize he is a role model for many young, adoring fans.

Do 10% of All Americans Die From Alcohol Abuse?

As horrific as that headline reads, it begs to be asked – is it true?

In a study by the Centers for Disease Control, alcohol abuse causes one in ten deaths of working class adults in the United States. That makes it the fourth leading cause of preventable death. As reported in

Does that figure shock you? Even though I am the educational director for, that figure seems absurdly high.

Do you think that number might justify legalizing marijuana?

Many will argue that there is growing evidence that medical marijuana is valuable for treatment of many illnesses and injuries. There are those that will try and make you believe that there is no evidence that recreational marijuana is harmful.

Keep in mind that the American medical Association (AMA), the definitive body of medical expertise in this country, has yet to conclude there is even one ailment that benefits from smoking marijuana.

According to the CDC), excessive drinking accounted for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults in the United States. AAD rates vary across states, but excessive drinking remains a leading cause of premature mortality nationwide.

The CDC estimated excessive drinking cost the US $223 billion in 2006 alone or $766 for every person in America, including children. Perhaps because it is only roughly half of what the alcohol industry makes each year it is ignored.

While many still will try and prove that marijuana is a safer alternative, why not just be sober? When did being sober become so horrible? I am hopeful that through good classes like those at and we will encourage more people to lead a sober lifestyle.

Florida Judges Need DUI School

Lawyers gawked from office windows last month when a BMW S.U.V. swiped a parked police cruiser in the parking lot of a courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, then slammed into a gate over and over again.

A judge was at the wheel. As reported in

As lawyers used smartphones to snap pictures of the morning spectacle, Judge Lynn D. Rosenthal became the third Broward County judge in six months to be arrested on charges of driving under the influence. A colleague, Judge Gisele Pollack, had been suspended five days earlier after getting arrested on a D.U.I. charge while already on leave for taking the bench intoxicated — twice.

Even for South Florida, where absurd news events are routine and the sheriff went to prison for corruption, the spate of judicial scandals has raised serious questions about whether the arrests in Broward are a bizarre coincidence or underscore a larger systemic problem. In a county where the judiciary is known for old-school nepotism and cronyism, and judges have been caught smoking marijuana in a park and found drunk and partly naked in a hotel hallway, some lawyers find themselves wondering: At what point do isolated instances of misconduct point to something bigger?

On Wednesday, WPLG, an ABC affiliate, citing anonymous sources, reported that a Broward family court judge was under federal investigation on suspicion of allowing a now-convicted Ponzi Schemer to influence a case.

And this month, a former judge in Broward was disbarred for exchanging 949 phone calls and 471 text messages with the prosecutor during a death penalty case. Yet another judge was recommended for removal in April after being accused of cheating clients and a co-counsel in the settlement of a civil suit she handled as a private lawyer a decade ago.

As it turns out, bad behavior by judges has become distressingly common across Florida in recent months. Judge John C. Murphy in Brevard County is on leave after he was caught on video this month threatening a public defender, who later accused the judge of punching him in the head. In the Keys, a judge who was replaced on the bench after dozing off told a local news reporter that Ambien made him hallucinate about “ ‘Fantasia’ and the dancing brooms.” Another stepped down because a blogger exposed a sexually explicit profile the judge had posted on a gay dating site.

But Broward — a heavily Democratic county of 1.8 million people with many judges who are the children, spouses, siblings and fraternity brothers of other judges and some of the region’s most powerful people — seems to be ground zero for allegations of judicial misconduct. The system’s critics say that is because Broward has a highly politicized and clannish culture that is known for protecting its own, which has led some in the judiciary to feel invincible, even as they preside over a county court system that produces the state’s highest exoneration rate.

“I do think it belies an underlying systemic problem in Broward County,” said Howard Finkelstein, Broward’s elected public defender. “I don’t think this stunningly embarrassing fact of having all these charges pending at the same time is indicative of a judiciary with substance abuse problems, but I do think it is a manifestation of the greater problem of a circle-the-wagons mentality.”

Records posted online by the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the independent agency that investigates misconduct by state judges in Florida’s 67 counties, show that 17 percent of the 62 formal disciplinary cases filed against sitting judges since 2001 have been in Broward.

Those figures do not include two judges who were recently arrested or those who resigned before a case was made public, such as Judge Lawrence L. Korda, who, in 2007, after presiding over parts of the Anna Nicole Smith case, was caught smoking marijuana in a park. (Not to be confused with Larry S. Seidlin, the Broward judge who sobbed on the bench during a nationally televised ruling on where the reality TV star should be buried.)

Many judges accused of wrongdoing remain on the bench, such as the family court judge who took in a foster child who had appeared in his court, only for the teenager to accuse the judge years later of molesting him.

“Tell me one other courthouse that at any time ever had three judges pending criminal charges, a fourth judge disbarred by the Supreme Court and another judge awaiting removal,” Mr. Finkelstein said. “And that doesn’t include the naked judge!”

In 2001, a Broward County judge was arrested on charges of public intoxication after being found drunk and naked from the waist down at a resort that was hosting a state judicial conference. Mr. Finkelstein has been there: A recovering addict, he, too, was once arrested, after using cocaine and crashing into a police car.

William J. Gelin, a defense lawyer in Broward who runs a blog,, that chronicles courthouse antics and posted a photo of Judge Rosenthal’s arrest, noted that the Judicial Qualifications Commission only reveals cases that result in misconduct charges. Most complaints against judges remain secret, which he said adds to the perception that judges feel omnipotent.

“It’s time to shine a light on these individuals and their performance, as the founding fathers intended,” Mr. Gelin said.

Michael L. Schneider, executive director and general counsel of the commission, acknowledged that the recent run of Broward judges being arrested is unusual, but that the agency dealt with cases “one at a time” and not systemically.

“The commission isn’t a punishment group,” he said. “It’s designed to evaluate fitness of somebody to be a judge.”

Broward’s chief judge, Peter M. Weinstein, said the rash of arrests was an “anomaly” that did not reflect the hard work judges do every day at the courthouse.

“It’s a big court system — we have 103 people making decisions every single day,” Judge Weinstein said. “Over all, we have excellent judges, and nobody ever reads or hears anything about them.”

A lawyer for Judge Rosenthal, Brian Y. Silber, declined to comment.

Two of the arrested judges refused a Breathalyzer test, but the test conducted on Judge Rosenthal showed that she had not been drinking. She told the police that she had taken Ambien the night before, but after failing a field sobriety test, she refused to take urine or blood tests, according to the police report. The police, suspecting that she was impaired by drugs, charged her with D.U.I.

Judge Pollack was suspended without pay, despite a request from her lawyer, J. David Bogenschutz, that her alcoholism be considered a disability. She has sought treatment and hopes to return to the bench, Mr. Bogenschutz said.

“Where a judge has the same problem 5,000 other people have, it makes news,” he said. “They are not supposed to have human feelings and human failings.”

Mr. Bogenschutz, who has represented dozens of Florida judges, recently married one of his clients. His wife, Ana Gardiner, is the former Broward judge who was disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court this month for lying about an “emotional relationship” with a prosecutor during a 2007 case. (The defendant was granted a new trial and is now serving a life sentence instead of being on death row, as Ms. Gardiner had ruled.)

“You shouldn’t get special treatment because you’re a judge, and you shouldn’t be treated more harshly if you are a judge,” said Marc Shiner, who represents Judge Cynthia G. Imperato, who was arrested in November for driving under the influence. “They are trying to make an example out of her.”

Zac Efron Taking Alcohol Abuse Seriously

Zac Efron is the latest Disney star to come out that he has spent time in rehab for alcohol abuse.

Even though Efron's life seems pretty glamorous, it hasn't been entirely easy. Behind that pretty smile, the actor has had a stint in rehab and had his jaw wired shut from a fall in his home. He has grown up in the spotlight starring in Disney's "High School Musical" movie series. As reported in

The 26-year-old actor admits he was drinking way too much. Now, almost a year out of rehab he is still sober. He has sold his glamorous home in the Hollywood Hills and moved in with his brother in the Los Feliz area where he can live a little more privately.

He is seriously committed to his sobriety. He recently joined Alcoholics Anonymous and has been seeing a therapist. He admits his battles with addiction are a never-ending battle.

Many of his former friends have turned on him since he became sober, and wisely, Efron knows that he is in a much better place now.

While Zac is still working through his personal life, his career seems to be doing better than ever with his upcoming flick "Neighbors," which also stars Seth Rogen and opened on May 9th.

It is nice to see him committed to maintaining his health and abstaining from drugs and alcohol. He is a good model for all those who have addiction. They can see that through hard work and commitment addiction can be conquered, but it is truly a never-ending battle.