Archive for the ‘Substance Abuse’ Category

Heroin is Back

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Heroin is making something of a resurgence lately. Especially amongst young people. Why? Because it’s cheap, and delivers an extremely powerful high. A teenager can purchase heroin on the street for about $10 for a normal dose. It’s an inviting option as it’s becoming very difficult for teens to use their preferred method of getting high; prescription painkillers. Stealing or finishing off a bottle of their parent’s oxy prescription is becoming difficult as parents are more aware of the problem, and buying them on the street is a very unreliable means to get high. Experts also believe that the cost of prescription pills and patches are simply too much for a 17 or 18 year old who may not be employed or simply don’t earn enough, and in addition to that the heroin available now is more potent than ever. This is why health care professionals are becoming concerned with the new rise of heroin in Canada and the US.

It isn’t just kids and young adults who are making the switch from oxycodone type medications to heroin. The surge in heroin use statistics has a lot to do with a new form of oxycodone that was intended to solve the issue of abuse. Many oxy addicts and abusers were crushing the pills and snorting them, as well as mixing them with water and injecting them. The pharmaceutical companies believed they had the answer by making the pills harder to crush and making sure they would dissolve much slower in liquid. The problem they have now realized is that yes their scheme has worked, in fact it’s worked so well that the prescription drug abusers are now turning to a much cheaper option, heroin.

Some experts believe that prescription drug abuse is a suburban and urban drug, and many of them develop a dependance which leads to seeking out more powerful opiates and painkillers, or if that doesn’t work or has failed to live up to expectations, many drug users will switch to heroin as it is more readily available, doesn’t require lying to the doctor, is very potent and is significantly cheaper. The problems begin to pile up, however, as heroin is exceptionally dangerous and powerfully addictive. There are a variety of ways to ingest the drug, but the most popular is using a needle, which in itself is dangerous as many IV drug users share their equipment and end up with serious diseases such as HIV/AIDS as well as liver problems and diseases like hepatitis.

Prevention is the most important and fundamental way to deal with a potential change from legally prescribed painkillers to heroin. There are plenty of bad reasons people use to lie to themselves when it comes to an addiction switch. “It saves me money”, yes but eventually the costs will grow and grow as the dependance reals you in. Pain management and recreational use are other bad reasons to make the switch to heroin. Not to mention the fact that even if you are abusing the pills your doctor prescribed, you are fully aware of what’s in the pills as well as the proper dosage and warnings on the bottle. If you’re going out to the streets to score heroin, you have absolutely no control over what you’re buying. The drug could be laced with god knows what and could land you in serious condition at a hospital’s emergency room.

If you believe you may have a problem with pain, or perhaps you’re seeing the signs that you may have a problem, it is important that you seek help before things become too serious.

VIA: CBC

A More Reasonable Approach to Spring Break

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Panama City Beach, a popular spring break destination for college students in the US has stopped including alcohol in their promotional material. The tourist hub issued ads in college newspapers across the country, but due to a reprimand from the American Medical Association, did not advertise special drink deals and promotions that some spring break destinations do include. On top of removing alcohol advertising the tourism bureau for Panama City Beach are encouraging those flocking to their city on spring break to use caution. Some of their advice includes sticking with your friends, not accepting drinks from strangers, taking a cab instead of driving and being aware that drug and alcohol laws will be strictly enforced.

Via About.com:

We hope that students take a minute to realize that their safety and fun depend on the decisions they make throughout spring break

Last year the American Medical Association released a statement saying that spring break is no longer the safe vacation from the stressful college life. They state that it has in fact become dangerous and “potentially life threatening”. These statements, while blunt, are indeed important to those planning to spend their time off at a popular spring break destination, as well as the parents of those college students who are under the legal age to purchase alcohol. The alcohol companies may also play a role in the potential danger that arises during these vacations. Targeting young people isn’t something new to big alcohol and when they advertise a beautiful beach, tantalizingly cold beers and half naked women, it’s no surprise that some vacationers fall into the spectacle and end up hurt, sick or dead.

It is important for those planning a week or two of partying over their “study week” that they ignore the special alcohol deals that some tourist destinations advertise, consult their parents if they are under 21 and exercise moderation. There is plenty of fun to be had even if you don’t go overboard, and whether it’s pressure from friends or an attempt to impress someone, it isn’t worth spending the rest of the vacation in an emergency room.

Mindfulness Showing Promise In Addiction Treatment

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Mindfulness

To some, mindfulness and meditation do not belong in the serious arena of science. Recently, however, a psychologist named Amishi Jha has been working with the US military in order to help increase mental resilience in a war zone. The results were that if the soldiers designated 12 minutes per day to “meditation” they would improve their ability to pay attention over time. In addition to helping keep the attentiveness of troops in combat, it would seem that scientists believe that mindfulness can be useful in increasing scores on standardized testing in school. Some students were to meditate for 10 minutes per day, for 2 weeks before writing an important exam. The results showed that the students who did their mindfulness training averaged a 16 percentile higher score on the verbal part of the test. And for many others, mindfulness is a way to realize what your brain is up to, and instead on focusing on the actual thoughts, you can let some of them slip away and concentrate on other things, including your physical side. Jonathan Schooler of the University of California conducted an interesting experiment that had participants conduct a task that did not require much focus. He found that the un-demanding task and mind wandering led to more creative success.

Via New York Times:

The trick is knowing when mindfulness is called for and when it’s not. “When you’re staring out the window, you may well be coming up with your next great idea,” he said. “But you’re not paying attention to the teacher. So the challenge is finding the balance between mindfulness and mind wandering.

The practice of mindfulness seems to be, in some cases, an effective way to deal with temptation and addiction. Scientists have observed that over a short period of a mindfulness approach, the addicts studies showed increased blood flow to the part of the brain that controls self-control. In addition to this test, researchers at Yale University saw that over a period of a few weeks their subjects had cut down on their cigarette intake by 90%.

Another approach to mindfulness benefiting addicts is the: Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention. The method is designed to figure out the triggers of addiction, as well as common patterns and potentially dangerous responses to mental and physical urges. MBRP is modeled after a similar technique used to combat depression, and for the most part it is intended as an “after-treatment” option that doesn’t interfere with cognitive therapy, medicine and conventional treatment options.

Do Electronic Music and Drugs go Hand in Hand?

Friday, January 31st, 2014

The electronic music scene does bring to mind a dark room, flashy lights, glow sticks and a few hundred shirtless people dancing to what may seem to many people “the same song all night”. This is especially true of the club goers/ravers of the late 80s and 90s, which many people claim were the golden years of this particular brand of music. During this musical uprising new forms of drugs were also popping up in Europe and certain North American cities. Ecstasy and meth dominated (and to a certain extent still do) the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) scene. It isn’t hard to see why clubbers and rave nuts turned to the pills. It was and still is a simple problem solved by a simple pill. “I want to stay up all night and dance to my favorite tunes, why not take this purple pill with a transformers logo on it?”

Of course there is a certain correlation between the underground club scene and designer drugs. But it is important to keep in mind that many other music scenes have brought a long their own drug culture. The Beatles, David Bowie and some of the metal bands of the 80s all brought to the table their own drug scene. There does seem to be a very common theme amongst music and their accompanying drug culture. A lot of “new sounds” or new forms of music are boosted and appreciated by youth in their teens and twenties. That age group tends to experiment with illicit substances and have disposable income and fewer responsibilities.

It may seem unfair to attack the electronic music scene because of the blatant relationship between raver and drugs, while excluding the fact that the music scene for decades has had a tight bond with pot, cocaine, acid, mushrooms and other substances. But the reality is that if you go to raves or after hours night clubs there will be drugs, and plenty of them. Luckily there are findings that many hardcore party people eventually grow out of the scene, which is no easy task as many of them not only do drugs to stay up all night, but also supplemented their intake with downers in order to sleep and more uppers to get them out of bed a hours later.

For those who can’t stop the party cycle, and the tight bond they have with designer drugs, rehab and treatment is key to ending those horrible recovery periods that can sometimes last days after an all night party. It is important to consider the negative physical and psychological damage that can be done by continuous use of ecstasy and meth, as these drugs can lead to addictive behavior that could spiral into a full blown substance abuse disorder.

“There’s ways of dealing with hardships that are healthier than going out.” – Lindsay Lohan

The Real Breaking Bads

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Arguably one of TVs most watched series Breaking Bad and main character Walter White have entertained the masses for the past few years on AMC and Netflix. But did you know there are a few real life bad breakers who have been brought to the attention of the media recently? Lets take a look.

A Montana man in his 50′s also named Walter White has been sentenced to 12 years on drug and fire arm charges for dealing what the DEA calls: an “extraordinary” quantity of methamphetamine. Oddly enough, just like the fictional Walter White, the real White said that drug dealing wasn’t something he would ever do, but once he started he became “addicted” to selling meth. Although the fictional Mr. White was a high school chemistry teacher and literally brewed his own methamphetamine, the real Walter White did not cook up his own supply, but instead dealt the drugs who were supplied to him by a counter-part in California. Upon the real Mr. White’s arrest the DEA and police found two handguns, $15,000 and four ounces of meth, which the judge involved in the case said was nothing in comparison to the 32 pounds of meth he is accused of dealing all across the state.

Via The Independent:

Judge says TV character’s namesake distributed an ‘extraordinary’ quantity of methamphetamine across Montana

Second, we meet a Mr. Stephen Doran who teaches math at the Match Charter School in Boston, MA. Mr. Doran, aged 57, has cancer, just like Walter White in Breaking Bad, but the similarities don’t end there. Mr. Doran was arrested by state troopers after they discovered 480 grams of methamphetamine in his possession which were mailed to him at his school by the US Postal Service. The police have said that Mr. Doran was in possession of $50,000 worth of meth, and after searching his home found $10,000 in cash and an additional 38 grams of meth.

Via Daily Mail:

When he appeared in court, bald-headed Doran’s lawyer said he has undergone months of chemotherapy for stage three cancer. ‘His life was on the line – literally,’ he said.

Third, we have Mr. Dicky Joe Jackson, who was spending time in jail for moving a kilo of marijuana in the late 80′s when he found out his son Cole was dying of a rare condition that required chemotherapy and eventually an expensive bone marrow transplant ($25o,000). Because the family had lost it’s health insurance, they were forced to sell off all of their possessions as well as asking friends and even celebrities for help, but in the end they were still $150,000 short of paying for the operation and the expensive treatment that would follow. That’s when a dealer Mr. Jackson knew offered to pay him to transport drugs from California to Texas for $5000 per trip. Jackson made the journeys for a year before being caught.

Via RT:

“I was desperate,” Jackson told Salon. “I had to get the money. Before I had kids, I’d never known there was a love like that. Once you have kids the whole game changes. There ain’t nothing you wouldn’t do for them especially if they’re sick.