Police Psychology | Opioids and Opiates

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP

 

I live on Long Island, NY.  Last year 493 people died on Long Island from opioid and opiate overdose with Fentanyl being the worse drug for deaths.  That’s more than were killed in car accidents in one of the most heavily trafficked areas of the country.  More than gang related deaths, more than murders in general (although one could argue that a person selling opioids to another is actually committing murder).  Yes, 493 people died last year and the trend so far this year suggests we may actually be ready to beat that number.   So, I called Geisinger-Marworth Treatment Center, an awesome facility in the woods of Pennsylvania, that I refer almost any police officers from anywhere.  I asked them what is the deal with the opioid problem on Long Island and do I have anything to worry about with the nation’s cops.  Some of what I found out is a little disturbing.

Let get the vocabulary right first.  “Opiate” is a word that covers naturally occurring derivatives from the opium plant like Heroin, Morphine and Codeine.  They are the original addictive drugs and really what it was all about when the guys came back from Vietnam addicted to Heroin and Opium.  Opioids are synthetic versions of the opiates like Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Dilaudid, Percocet, Vicodin, Percodan, and Fentanyl.  Both sets are addictive, but the synthetic drugs have become a bigger problem recently and it’s not just what is being sold on the streets.  Read the rest of this entry »

Police Psychology | Parkinson’s Law

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP

 

In 1955, a year before my birth, an English historian who had worked in civil service was written up in the magazine “The Economist” about a law of nature that would control my life, in fact, controls many of us.  He said “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”   “Data expands to fill the storage available” is a corollary to the initial observation and finally “if you spend 10 hours on a project you will be twice as far behind than if you only spend five hours on the project.”  I think these were meant to be humorous, but I am not exactly laughing about them.  In fact, it may have been true back then, but now it is more like work expands to fill any time in the day, including the time set aside for relaxation and comfort, and sometimes even dinner.   

Why does this happen?  Why does it seem we are always running out of time?  Why do deadlines appear even when they are not apparent at first?  Of course, there is the obvious, that people’s natural tendency to procrastinate work causes deadlines to appear that didn’t exist before.  People want to do non-work things more than work things.  Deadlines are unnatural and imposed on us usually from outside.  Everybody gets that.  But what are the other reasons that works expands to fill the time allotted or usually more than the time allotted?  How is it that we always seem to underestimate the time needed to complete a project? Read the rest of this entry »

Police Psychology:  Divorce Part 3

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP

 

“At first I was afraid, I was petrified.  Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side.”

So starts the 70’s anthem song about the breakup.  Gloria Gaynor in 1978 found silver, gold and platinum, and became the singer of the only song to ever win a Grammy in the Best Disco Song of the Year category (it was only given one year before disco died in the charts).  It spoke to every woman “thinking how he did me wrong” and she “grew strong” and learned she had to survive.  It was excitement, passion, and most of all, something a large part of the record buying population could relate to.  And it was for men too.  Not too shabby for the “B” side of a small record by a Newark “New Joisy” girl.

Why did so many people relate to it?  It was a theme of recovery from a bad breakup and the mantra “I Will Survive” rang out for anyone who has had the experience of the severe wrenching pain when love turns into despair.  Survival is the most important thing through divorce.  Survival through terrible emotional ups and downs, through some severe depression, through grief.  What happens when you don’t survive?  You become bitter towards others.  You check out at work or overemphasize the role of work in your life, and you may not be ready for another relationship in your whole life.  Most suicides, especially in police populations, are stimulated by relationship breakups or relationship problems.  So, surviving a divorce is very important, in fact it is paramount to your future as a healthy individual.  How do you survive and how do you help your friends or a person that works for you survive during this most critical time in their life?  Let me give just a couple of principles of survival during divorce. Read the rest of this entry »

Police Psychology | Detecting Bombs

by Matthew Sharps, Ph.D. and Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP

To order a copy of Matthew Sharps Book click HERE

Police Psychology:  Can We Sense Danger?

Gary S. Aumiller Ph.D.  ABPP

 

I was working with my daughter on a science fair project for fourth grade.  She laid out five different colored pieces of paper and put a treat on each, then separately let go of our cat and dog and recorded which color they went to eat.

Human vs. Dog sight

She did that five times to see if our pets had a color preference.  In doing the research for the project, we came across pictures of what a dog sees and what a cat sees.  The dog, of course could only see the color green and some shades of blue, and the cat saw at night, but  the pictures were very blurry.  My 10-year old daughter said “wow my Fluffy and Pinwheel really can’t see me, I wonder what we can’t see.” Read the rest of this entry »