Archive for June, 2013

N-Bomb Abuse in North Carolina Concerns Parents

A new kind of synthetic drug is causing alarm among parents in the Old North State.

25I-NBOMe25I-NBOMe — also known as N-Bomb, 25i and Smiles —  is a potentially dangerous synthetic drug sold in pill or powder form via the Internet. Like spice and bath salts, this new designer drug targets teenagers who are looking for legal highs.

A Wake County parent sought the help of ABC 11’s I-Team to raise awareness about N-Bomb after discovering that her son was using the drug.

“I found Facebook messages that were sent by my son to some of his friends, and talking about taking this drug during school hours, during class, mentioning different periods during school,” said the mom, whose name was withheld.

The mother explained that she has heard a few things about N-Bomb and that it “can cause hallucinations, seizures, and even death.” She wants to raise awareness about the drug to save her son as well as other kids.

In New Hanover County, a 25-year-old girl died last year from N-Bomb overdose. Similar incidents were also reported in Florida, Louisiana, Texas and North Dakota in 2012.

“This particular drug, I have read, is something that can kill you in one dose,” the mother added. “So it’s very, very frightening.”

Like other synthetic drugs proliferating across the country in the recent years, there isn’t enough studies that could identify the effects of N-Bomb to users.  Thereby, making it even more dangerous for people who experiment with it.

Ann Hamlin, agent from SBI drug lab, explained that N-Bomb exhibit stimulant and hallucinogenic effects. The drug is especially worrisome because no one really knows what it can do in humans.

“The places where they are manufactured don’t have any quality control,” Hamlin said. “These kids are taking things that have not been tested and approved by anybody.”

One way kids obtain N-Bomb is by purchasing the drug through sites that can’t be access via Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. Silk Road, a site that can only be accessed by downloading the Tour Browser, allows people to purchase N-Bomb using a digital currency called Bitcoin.

As such, parents were being advised to be more vigilant in their kids’ online activities and what they do with their friends, especially now that drug dealers are becoming more sophisticated in peddling their illegal products.

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United Nations Drug Report Describes Designer Drugs an Alarming Drug Problem

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) unveiled today its latest drug report which indicates the overwhelming proliferation of new psychoactive substances (NPS).

spiceNPS are often marketed as “legal highs” and “designer drugs.” They are sold via the Internet, smokeshop, and convenience stores under the names spice, meow-meow, and bath salts.

Member States reported that the number of NPS have increased  from 166 at the end of 2009 to 251 by mid-2012. To make matters worse, the drugs can be obtained without running into legal trouble, the 2013 World Drug Report noted.

The usual target of NPS are teenagers who are easily misled into thinking that the substances are safe. However, the lack of clinical trials on NPS make public health experts agree that the drugs can be far more dangerous than traditional drugs.

“Given the almost infinite scope to alter the chemical structure of NPS, new formulations are outpacing efforts to impose international control,” the UNODC said. “While law enforcement lags behind, criminals have been quick to tap into this lucrative market. The adverse effects and addictive potential of most of these uncontrolled substances are at best poorly understood.”

In response to growing emergence of NPS, UNODC has launched an early warning system that will allow the global community to monitor the proliferation and take appropriate actions.

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Australia Bans Nearly 20 Synthetic Marijuana Products

Australia is waging war against synthetic marijuana and related substances by imposing a 120-day ban on the products.

synthetic drugsAustralian authorities have echoed their concern over the fast-moving trend of synthetic cannabis in the country, victimizing both the youth and young adults. According to Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury, nineteen synthetic drugs will be temporarily banned from sale and supply until states and territories are able to update their own synthetic drug laws.

“Synthetic drugs are dangerous substances that can kill and should not be available for sale,” Bradbury told Agence France-Presse.

Earlier this month, New South Wales imposed an interim ban on synthetic drugs following the death of a teenage boy from Sydney, who apparently took a synthetic LSD product that made him believe he could fly. Other states and territories have also imposed ban on synthetic cannabis products though the drugs are are still widely available over the Internet.

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare confirmed over the weekend that the Australian government will also develop a legislation to would ensure that unauthorized synthetic drugs won’t be allowed entry into the country.

Synthetic marijuana has become a serious problem in Australia as it is in the United States. Officials say that illegal drug manufacturers are getting smart enough to change formulation of synthetic drugs to avoid the law. Hence,  they will work on blocking the import of new drugs that are “presumed to be illegal until the authorities know what they are and clear them as safe and legal.”

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How Alcohol Affects Your Skin

Vain or not, many of us take care of our skin as if it’s the most important part of our body.  Aside from the usual soap you use every day you probably have several other skin care products at your disposal to keep your skin radiant and youthful. But did you know that your drinking habit could sabotage your daily skin regimen?

alcohol abuseExperts agree that alcohol can have both long- and short-term effects on people’s appearance, particularly on skin. Just drinking 175 ml glasses of wine every week could give you red skin and deep wrinkles in the long run, not to mention added weight.

Facial red skin is one of the earliest signs of alcohol abuse. It occurs because regulation of vascular control in the brain fails due to sustained alcohol intake.  Flushing — red blotches on the face, neck, and shoulder — is also a common skin reaction in heavy drinkers due to an inability to metabolize alcohol.

Generalized skin itching may likewise occur due to the build up of poorly metabolized alcohol that stimulate nerve endings in the skin.

Excessive drinking can also increase one’s risk of developing skin cancer. For one, it makes your skin dry which makes you more susceptible to sun damage. Similarly, it could suppress the immune system and damages adequate nutrition. Both cases lower your body’s natural defense against melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer.

In addition, vitamin deficiency can occur when alcohol replaces normal food in the diet and the digestive tract. Lack of vitamin B1, for example, can result in waxy skin. Insufficient vitamin A can lead to dry skin and rough follicles.

Furthermore, regular alcohol consumption can trigger rosacea flare ups. A survey by the National Rosacea Society found that red wine and white wine were the top two alcoholic drinks that can trigger rosacea. Other triggers include beer, champagne, vodka, tequila, rum, and scotch.

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East Tennessee State University Receives $2.2 Million Grant to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has awarded East Tennessee State University more than $2 million to launch a five-year research program aimed at fighting prescription drug abuse.

prescription drug abuseDr. Robert Pack, the principal investigator on the grant, professor and associate dean for Academic Affairs at the ETSU College of Public Health, said the research initiative will be especially relevant to the Southern Appalachia region where the Rx abuse epidemic is disproportionally high.

“Prescription drug abuse is a disease, plain and simple, and it affects people from all walks of life,” Dr. Pack said in a news release. “I would say that most everyone in our region knows someone personally – a friend or a family member – who has been caught in the grip of it, or still is.”

Dr. Pack and his team will study how improving communication among health care providers who prescribe drugs, pharmacists who dispense them, and the patients who receive them can reduce illicit use of prescription medicines. They will also study how well health care providers think that they communicate with patients about substance abuse, and how prepared they feel to intervene in cases of suspected substance abuse. The researchers will also quantify outcomes of drug take-back events and drug donation boxes where substances with potential for abuse are removed from households.

“This won’t be just an academic exercise,” Pack added. “Through our research on improving communication among providers, prescribers and patients, we intend to develop real solutions to reduce the impact of prescription drug abuse in our region.”

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Dangers and Effects of Study Drugs Ritalin and Adderall

Anyone  who’s gone to school can accurately describe the challenges of being a student. But unlike in highschool the pressures that come with those pursuing higher education are much more unbearable, prompting some college students to use certain prescription drugs to gain academic advantage.

AdderallLately, we have been hearing news about the increasing number of students who are using Ritalin and Adderall to help them study for finals week. But this problem isn’t exactly new and so are the ways students access the drugs. A 2005 New York Times report cited surveys that showed 20 percent of college students were relying on Ritalin and Adderall to study, write papers and take exams.

In 2006, another study emerged concluding that more than 75 percent of college students were using Ritalin and Adderall to boost academic competitiveness.

NPR has also run a story in 2009, highlighting the illegal use of Ritalin and Adderall, with one student confessing how Adderall makes her excited and motivated in doing her school work.

Then in 2011, CNN interviewed University of Kentucky professor and researcher Alan DeSantis who said Adderall is abused more than marijuana. He found that 30 percent of students at the university have illegally used Adderall and Ritalin  to handle academic demands. His study also showed that the use of ADHD drugs were more prevalent in upperclassmen.

But whether or not Ritalin and Adderall are effective in improving academic performance experts say their side effects shouldn’t be taken for granted. Under federal law, these drugs are Schedule II substances which means they can only be obtained with a prescription. And there is a reason for that: both drugs pose a risk of abuse despite their high level of usefulness.

Dr. Raymond Kotwicki, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Emory University’s school of medicine in Atlanta, told CNN that while Adderall or Ritalin could make a student’s life easier it’s onyl temporary. “…in the long run there are significant problems both in terms of thinking, mood problems, maybe even functionality,” he explained.

And like other stimulant drugs, the so-called study drugs could result to increased heart and breathing rates. For some students with no legitimate reason to use Ritalin or Adderall, the drugs could make them feel excited, happy, and energetic. For others, they could cause agitation, irritability, and anxiety.

Last week, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged New York colleges and universities to tighten their standards so that it would become more difficult for college students to obtain ADHD drugs, saying that at least 14 to 35 percent of college students nationwide are taking Ritalin and Adderall as a study tool.

“When used properly to treat a legitimately diagnosed attention disorder, drugs like Adderall and Ritalin can help students focus and learn, but all too often these cases are the minority on college campuses. Plain and simple: using Adderall as a study drug is academic doping, and what’s more, it can lead to abuse and serious negative effects like depression, anxiety, and in some cases, psychosis,” Schumer said at a conference call.

Other side effects of the drugs include hypertension, seizures, mydriasis,  elevate blood pressure, depression, and even psychosis. And even if the drugs are not abused common side effects include  lack of appetite, increased blood pressure, headache, dry mouth, insomnia and weight loss.

Sources:
New York Times
NPR
CNN

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