Archive for February, 2014
With the rise in popularity of synthetic marijuana even across the ranks of the military, Hill Air Force Base is now issuing a new mandate to include these new drugs in random drug tests conducted on personnel.
The new random drug testing program at the Hill Air Force Base started early this year, to replace the old practice of having to issue a request from higher officials. 75th Medical Group commander Col. Craig Rice shared that the old program was a hindrance to ensuring the prevention of synthetic drug abuse in the ranks. “Typically, that would occur during an investigation when an individual was suspected of using (synthetic marijuana),” said Col. Rice in a news release.
The change in the Air Force drug testing scheme is aligned with the zero tolerance policy issued by the Department of Defense against the use of synthetic marijuana and other illicit drugs.
Synthetic marijuana is considered illegal in the Air Force, although it’s only now that the substance is going to be included in the default design of random drug tests. In fact, the Air Force Instruction specifically states that “the knowing use of any intoxicating substance, other than the lawful use of alcohol or tobacco products, that is inhaled, injected, consumed, or introduced into the body in any manner to alter mood or function.”
Members of the military are in full support for the synthetic marijuana random drug test. Lt. Col. Tom Martin of the Army supports the government’s stand on illicit drug abuse. “The message we’re getting out now is that when you participate in our random urinalysis program, synthetic marijuana products will now be tested along with our other drugs,” Lt. Col. Martin added.
The issue on prescription drug abuse may be common to young adults and professionals, but the risk in abuse by seniors are also high due to multiple medication providers.
A new report released via HealthDay reveals that 30 percent of the total number of patients prescribed with pain medication are able to procure the said medicines from multiple sources. This issue could have probably contributed to the steady rise in prescription drug use — and abuse — for the past 20 years.
Harvard Medical School assistant professor Dr. Anupam Jena headed a team of researchers who looked into this particular issue. Their study showed that many patients are able to acquire prescriptions from more than one physician. “As physicians, we tell patients not to drive when they take opioids, but we also need to tell them that it can be dangerous to receive these medications from more than one provider,” Dr. Jena said.
The study involved an investigation into 1.8 million seniors who received at least one drug prescription in 2010 under the Medicare prescription program. The researchers initially predicted a figure of not more than 10 percent, so they were surprised with the number.
Through the study, Dr. Jena hopes that doctors will be conscientious enough to tell their patients about the risk of getting multiple prescriptions.
Twenty U.S. states and the District of Columbia have already passed their respective medical marijuana laws, but local implementation seems to be going through a tough set of loops.
The Christian Science Monitor reported that a residential neighborhood in Phoenix has lobbied for the ban of marijuana use within the area, despite the approval of medical marijuana use in Arizona. Tom LaBonte, a resident of the unidentified neighborhood, shared his frustration over the homeowners association’s plan to ban cannabis use. Because of the protest from the area’s residents, the association decided not to push through with the ban.
LaBonte, a cancer survivor, said that the association encroached on homeowners’ rights not only in the issue of medical marijuana use, but also in other personal and private matters. “They’re there to dictate things about house callers and make sure that nobody does car repairs in their front lawn and have cars up on jacks, things of that nature,” he shared.
This conflict is just one of the many confusions across the states that have just approved laws for medical cannabis. For instance, some Michigan cities were planning to ban medical marijuana, but the state’s highest court revoked the ban on grounds that it clashes with the state law.
Amidst the approval of medical pot, many people are still opposed to legalizing marijuana use. Most of the opposition groups include Republicans and senior citizens.