Hello everyone and welcome to the brand new year of 2014! I hope you everyone had a great holiday break and is now feeling recharged and ready to take on all of the new challenges this year will bring — I know I am. I used this break to get a little nose/septum surgery done. For the first time in years I can now breathe through the right side of my nose without worrying about ducks flocking to my familiar sound. I also slipped the surgeon $20 under the table to get the George Clooney nose; little did I know, 20 bucks only paid for the Steve Buscemi look. Well, he’s got a good personality at least…

As many of you know, one of the after effects of surgery is pain. Sometimes it’s a slightly annoying itch that bugs you for a bit, or sometimes it’s like you’re in a spring meadow with the flowers in bloom all around with guy in lederhosen shouting, “Riiiicooolaaa!” as beautiful maidens holding steins of beer riding unicorns approach. At which point it feels like the freaking unicorn is now stabbing you in the nose with its horn, over and over and over! I would say my pain was a little more towards the unicorn end of the spectrum.

But alas, behold the wonders of modern medicine: Hydrocodone, Percocet, Oxycontin and Ambien. I personally made the mistake of taking an Ambien before wrapping the kid’s Christmas presents. Apparently I fell asleep halfway through wrapping the Christmas dinner turkey for my daughter. Wow … Powerful stuff. After a couple of days it’s easy to see how people can form an addiction.

I am lucky though. After a few days, I was down to taking Advil, Tylenol and an occasional Midol. I have to admit, though, it was tempting to stick with the stronger stuff for just a “few” more days. Personally, I don’t like taking anything harder than an Advil, so switching back was not so difficult. But for some, it’s not so easy.

I’ve been taking aspirin for pain and I want to try something stronger since it doesn’t seem to help much. Could my roommate get in trouble for giving me a couple of her Vicodin?

I’ve talked before about the possession of prescription medicine without the prescription and it is a serious crime. You could get arrested if you are caught with someone else’s Vicodin. And, yes, your roommate could potentially get in trouble for supplying them to you. Both of those are bad situations, but even worse is the idea of taking prescription medicine without the advice of your doctor. The risk of mixing different meds and having a bad reaction is very real. Go to your doctor and see if there are alternatives that will help you. You may find that he agrees it’s time to switch to something more appropriate for you.

You also have to recognize there is a serious potential for addiction to some of these meds. A good friend of mine had surgery years ago and began taking some of the pain medications. He became addicted and began forging doctors’ notes to get more. Eventually he lost his job, his family suffered and he spent years recovering. He was a great police officer and it shows how addiction to these pain meds can happen to anyone.

If you have questions or think you might need some help, please take advantage of the resources at UCSB. They have doctors and counselors that can provide confidential help. Go to their webpage at http://alcohol.sa.ucsb.edu or call (805) 893-3371.

I got home from the holiday break and found someone had taken a bunch of games and other stuff from our apartment. It’s not a lot of stuff, so is it worth reporting to the police?

Yes! Absolutely, unequivocally, without a doubt, no hesitation, positively, certainly yes! Burglaries happen during the long breaks in Isla Vista because there are thieves who know everyone is gone. They take advantage of the empty apartments to do a little shopping. Over the last couple of weeks while you have been visiting your family, or riding the buffalos in Barcelona, or whatever you chose to do, the officers and deputies at UCSB and in Isla Vista have been busy tracking down burglars. We have suspects, we have property they stole and we have some of the addresses they broke into. But we still need your help. If your house was broken into, call the cops! We will take a report and you might be one of the lucky ones whose property we already have.

If we can get your stuff back to you, it’s a great day for everyone — except the crook, of course. Burglars need to go to jail for a long, long time. No bar maidens with mugs of beer on unicorns for them. Oh, maybe the unicorn.

It’s now time for me to go. I have a big week ahead of me. I am being transferred to the Isla Vista Foot Patrol and start my new shift there this week. So don’t be surprised if you see me walking around Del Playa listening to the music. I’ll be the one with Buscemi’s nose answering the question “How’s it going?” with, “It’s just another day in paradise.” Why? Because it is. Take care and have a safe 2014.

Sgt. Mark Signa hears riding the buffalos in Barcelona is lovely this time of year … but that might be the Midol talking.


If you have any questions about Halloween or other police issues, please contact the Isla Vista Foot Patrol at (805) 681-4179 or the UCSB Police Department at (805)893-3446. You can also email Question Authority at QA@police.ucsb.edu and I will be sure to do what I can to answer your questions or help you out.


A version of this article appeared in the January 6, 2013 print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.