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June 12, 2013

U of L expert to discuss ongoing drug problem

Free event is Thursday

NEW ALBANY —

While his presentation will only last one hour, Dr. Saeed Jortani hopes his lesson will last a lifetime.

Jortani, toxicologist and associate professor of pathology and lab medicine at the University of Louisville, will discuss the trend of synthetic drugs, drugs in schools and how these drugs can hurt the body. The event is from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 13, at Floyd Memorial Hospital’s Paris Health Education Center.  

Jortani wants both children and parents to attend his presentation. He said both need to know about these drugs and the damage they can do.

“I want to increase the knowledge base of the community when it comes to these new drugs on the street, which are being introduced all the time,” Jortani said. ‘My approach is to teach children and parents in one session. They will both be in the same room receiving the same information. Parents will know what to look for ...  . This is very important.”

Jortani will talk about familiar drugs — marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines — but also the rise of synthetic drugs in recent years and the effects of a new drug called smiles.

‘It’s very dangerous,” he said. “There have been several cases of death in children using this drug. There are cases of kids hitting their heads on concrete or telephone poles over and over and suffering severe head injury. It’s very potent. It resembles ecstasy in the first few hours and then LSD after that.”

Jortani said children as young as middle school have been introduced to drugs. He said his daughter who attends a top-notch high school in Louisville believes half of her classmates smoke marijuana every day.

“This is not someone else’s problem,” he said. “I try to be a resource for them and educate them on this problem.”

He also said many times medical personnel will be baffled by a synthetic-overdose case because the drug will not show up in medical screenings.

“Someone could overdose and the physician may not know what to do because the drug screens didn’t pick it up,” Jortani said. 

The lecture is free but seating is limited. For reservations or for more information call 1-800-4-SOURCE or go online at floydmemorial.com/ events.

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