Archive for November, 2010

Amphetamines versus Cocaine: Treatments

In previous posts, we shared with you the symptoms and effects of abusing amphetamines and cocaine. This time around, we will be sharing the treatments that are available to help abusers kick their habits.

amphetamineAn article on Testcountry shared information regarding the management of amphetamine dependency, as written by Malcolm Bruce, consultant psychiatrist in Addiction at the Community Drug Problem Service, at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. Bruce shared that management protocols are classified as follows: assessment, management of dependence, and relapse.

The treatment of amphetamine addiction fundamentally starts with assessment. At this level, the objective is to identify the experimental or recreational users of the drug. Once the level of amphetamine use is determined, psychiatrists are able to dispense appropriate advice.

There are three factors that are considered in the management of amphetamine dependence: the drug, the environment of the patient, and the patient himself or herself. If, for instance, the patient is still unable to stop using amphetamines completely, then management of dependence can be geared towards reducing the harmful effects of using the drugs. Concurrent to these efforts, though, is providing education regarding the dangers associated with amphetamine use, and what options are available for overcoming the habit.

At the relapse stage, treatment consists of raising awareness about what causes relapse, development of skills to anticipate, avoid and cope with high-risk situations that may lead to relapse, and changing one’s lifestyle.

Treatment of cocaine addiction, on the other hand, focuses on reducing cravings and managing depression. Lois White, in the book Foundations of Nursing, wrote that cocaine users experience an intense craving for the drug, and is in denial regarding its being addictive. Some patients who need to be treated for cocaine dependency may require in-patient care, while others can receive out-patient treatment.

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Country Singer Willie Nelson Arrested for Pot Possession!

Seventy-seven-year-old country music legend Willie Nelson has been arrested for marijuana possession Friday, after a routine checkpoint yielded six ounces of marijuana from his tour bus, according to a report in ABC News.

Willie NelsonThe arrest was confirmed by a spokesman for U.S. Border Patrol. The report revealed that the singer’s tour bus pulled into a routine checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Texas; a search of the bus was conducted after an officer noticed a suspicious odor in the vehicle. When the marijuana was discovered, Nelson claimed that it was his, according to Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West.

Police patrolman Bill Brooks shared three people, including Nelson, were arrested at the scene. The singer was released on $2,500 bond.

Talking to the El Paso Times, West said: “It’s kind of surprising, but I mean we treat him like anybody else… He could get 180 days in county jail, which if he does, I’m going to make him cook and clean. He can wear the stripy uniforms just like the other ones do.”

At the time of his arrest, Nelson was travelling from California to his ranch in Austin, Texas. The Associated Press tried to contact Elaine Schock, spokeswoman for Willie Nelson, but she declined to comment.

This is in not the first time that Nelson has had trouble with the law over marijuana; he is, incidentally, a staunch supporter of the decriminalization of pot. He pleaded guilty to a case involving 1.5 pounds of marijuana and three ounces of hallucinogenic mushrooms found in his bus in 2006, for which he was fined $1,024 and sentenced to six months probation.

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What You Need to Know About Hangovers

The Thanksgiving dinner is over and done with – but the weekend is just about to begin. There will undoubtedly parties and get-togethers to go to, and there may be booze waiting at the bar for you. Now is a good a time as any to give a shout out to everyone to drink intelligently, if they were to drink at all.

hangoverIt may also be a good time to talk about hangovers – that condition that is suffered by anyone who, unfortunately, overindulged on liquor after a night of partying.

A hangover may be regarded as a symptom of alcohol poisoning – it is the reaction of one’s body as it is being poisoned with more alcohol than it could realistically handle. As an up and coming yuppie, it was a stupid notion among us drinking buddies that you haven’t really had a “night-out” if you are not hung over the following morning. We foolishly talked about hangovers like they were no big deal, but rather a trophy of sorts for toughing it out while on a drinking spree.

The heavy drinking that result in a hangover attacks the central nervous system. The following day, the effects of the imbalance caused by heavy drinking is manifested by the body through the classic symptoms of a hangover: pounding headaches, fatigue, cotton mouth, queasy stomach, and a weakened immune system, as shared in a feature on WebMD.

It is, however, wrong to believe that only those who party hard and drink bottomless, straight out of a keg, can get a hangover. The amount that can trigger hangover symptoms also depend upon your specific body composition. It is therefore advisable to ensure that you are hydrated when going out by taking water in between drinks – regardless of the number you already had, or are being coaxed to have.

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Young Adults in Oregon Are Top Abusers of Prescription Painkillers

A drug abuse prevention summit in Portland, Oregon, brought to light the fact that the state of Oregon ranks fifth in the country for prescription drug abuse, and has the highest rate of prescription drug abuse among the 18 – 25 age group. This was shared in a feature on the Statesman Journal.

painkillersThe summit, which was held Monday, gathered state and federal officials, as well as doctors, pharmacists, and members of law enforcement. Tom Condon, of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, shared various statistics related to drug abuse. He shared that based on datea from 2007, there were more deaths and injuries due to drugs versus motor vehicle accidents in 16 states and the district of Columbia.

He revealed further the results from a national survey conducted in 2009, which indicated that prescription drugs surpassed marijuana as the “gateway” drug for first-time users aged 12 and older. The source of prescription pills for most of these users were people they knew. Condon referred to the situation in Oregon as an “epidemic,” as he addressed the audience at the summit.

Among those who were present during the summit were Gov. Ted Kulongoski, Oregon Attorney General John Kroger and U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton. Holton served as the meeting’s organizer.

Oregon lawmakers have already approved a prescription drug monitoring program during its last session; the said program is expected to become operational by April. It will be web-based and may be accessed by doctors and pharmacists who prescribe and dispense prescription drugs.

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Production of Four Loko, Other Caffeinated Alcoholic Drinks Stopped

All the controversy surrounding caffeinated alcoholic beverages have culminated in the stopping of production and shipment of seven products.

According to a report on CNN, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made the announcement on Wednesday, regarding the various actions that manufacturers have made in response to the warning letters sent by the agency. The FDA warned the manufacturers that caffeine was an “unsafe food additive,” and that the addition of caffeine to the alcoholic beverages was not approved by the agency.

four lokoThe announcement also came in the wake of a series of announcements from states that banned the products, which included Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Washington, Utah, and Oklahoma.

In a previous post, we already shared the action taken by Phusion Projects, the manufacturer of Four Loko. The company has opted to voluntarily stop shipments, specifically to the state of New York. Phusion Projects has stopped producing caffeinated alcoholic beverages, and it expects its products to be off store shelves by December 13.

United Brands, based in San Diego, California, also expects to have its products off store shelves by December 13.  It has stopped shipping the beverage Joose, and ceased marketing another drink, Max. Both products were listed in the warning letter sent out by the FDA.

Charge Beverages Corp. of Portland, Oregon, the manufacturer of Core High Gravity HG, Core High Gravity HG Orange, and Lemon Lime Core Spiked, has stopped producing the drinks in September. The company also stopped shipping the products in early November.
The manufacturer of Moonshot, Boston-based New Century Brewing, has stopped producing the drink as well.

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OTC Cold Medicine Withdrawal Results to Lower ER Visits of Kids

It has been three years since the withdrawal of over-the-counter (OTC), non-prescription, infant cold medicines from store shelves. In October, 2007, OTC cough and cold medicines for children under the age of 2 were voluntarily withdrawn from the market due to concerns regarding its lack of effectiveness, as well as the potential harm that these medicines may cause. A year after, the withdrawal extended to OTC medicines for 4-year olds.

cold medicineAccording to a report on Bloomberg BusinessWeek, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that the number of ER visits involving kids under the age of 2, due to overdoses or adverse reactions brought about by the drugs, have declined since the withdrawal.

The study was led by Dr. Daniel S. Budnitz, of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the CDC. Budnitz and his team tracked visits by children under the age of 12 to various ERs around the country, who were treated for “adverse events” due to OTC cold medications, 14 months before and after the withdrawal.

The results showed that while the total number of visits remained the same, visits by children under 2 decreased by more than 50 percent. Budnitz commented, though: “I think it’s good that these products were withdrawn, but it’s not going to take care of the entire problem.”

Despite the decrease in number of visits, 75 percent of the cases were due to children who took the medications unsupervised. It is also not known if these visits were due to medication for older children or adults.

Budnitz said: “The lesson for parents is, don’t give cough and cold medicines to your infants… also, keep all medicines up and out of the way of children.”

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