Archive for category Drug Addiction
It’s only a matter of time before scientists discover the cure for addictions to illicit drugs like cocaine.
A team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen’s Neuroscience and Pharmacology department claims to have stumbled upon the mechanisms surrounding dopamine, an amino acid found in the brain associated with processing motivation and addiction. Claus Juul Loland, one of the department’s associate professors and study co-author, said that this discovery could pave the way to eliminate addiction to cocaine. “If we have a better understanding of the dopamine transporter function we will become more proficient in developing an antidote against cocaine addiction,” said Loland in a news item.The research team investigated the dopamine transporter — which has the ability to control the mechanism of dopamine — and has found a way to manipulate the metabolism between dopamine and the transporter. Loland believes that by creating a mutated form of the transporter, the dopamine molecule can be “tricked” into binding with an inhibitor instead of cocaine. As a result, cocaine in the human body will not be processed and may subsequently prevent addiction to the drug. “Our objective here is that cocaine will not then work anymore as the antidote will inhibit the stimulatory response of taking this drug,” Loland added.
The study was recently published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
The latest report by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) reveals both good and bad news in terms of substance use by teenagers.
According to the annual teen tracking report by the government agency, teenage use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin has dropped this year. “Probably that relates to very aggressive campaigns for prevention,” said NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow in a news release.
In addition, the rate of teenage smoking using traditional cigarettes has also dropped significantly, as well as the rate of teenage binge drinking. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about e-cigarette use. What’s troubling for the agency is that the dangers of e-cigarettes have not yet been exposed completely. “One of the arguments has been that when you’re vaping nicotine you are not inhaling all the combustion products from tobacco leaves that you get from a regular cigarette… The problem has to do with the fact that if these e-cigarettes are improperly manufactured, then they can deliver toxins from leakage from paint or other materials that are used in their production,” Volkow said.
Illicit use of Adderall and other similar prescription stimulant drugs is also on the rise, according to the NIDA study. “The problem of using stimulant medication to study for tests is that stimulant drugs are addictive and actually they can be highly addictive,” the NIDA director added.
If you or someone close to you is currently recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, this is the perfect time to make your voices heard and make the public aware of the struggles of recovery.
September is celebrated all around the U.S. as the National Recovery Month, which provides an opportune time to highlight the importance of early intervention and preventive measures to rescue people from their addictions. This year marks the 25th time that the campaign is being held, with the advocacy stretching to the awareness of mental disorders as well.
The theme for this year is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out,” which gives recovering addicts the chance to have their voices heard and express their struggles in recovering from drug and alcohol abuse. The campaign hopes to put a positive spin on the issue by emphasizing the significance of a person’s behavior to overall well-being, as well as the benefits of prevention and immediate treatment.
Several organizations are putting their full support on the campaign, including the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
If you want to support the campaign through a monetary donation, you may send them through this page at drugfree.org. You may also find more information about National Recovery Month from the SAMHSA website.
A recent study has linked psychological disorders to a higher risk of engaging in vices.
Researchers from the University of Southern California and St. Louis’ Washington University School of Medicine jointly looked into the susceptibility of people diagnosed with psychotic disorders to a number of addictive activities such as drinking, smoking, and use of drugs.
Study co-author Dr. Sarah M. Hartz of Washington University said that contrary to popular belief, people suffering from severe mental disorders do not die because of suicide or drug overdose. “They die from heart disease and cancer, problems caused by chronic alcohol and tobacco use,” said Dr. Hartz in a news interview.
The study, published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal, monitored more than 9,000 patients with psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The cases were then compared with people without diagnosed brain disorders, and performed an assessment as to the degree of use of alcohol, drugs and nicotine.
Results showed the following findings:
- Thirty percent of people with mental disorders were engaging in binge drinking, as compared to only 8 percent for normal-minded patients.
- In terms of smoking, 33 percent of the people without psychotic issues were identified as smokers. In stark contrast, the figure for mental patients shot up to above 75 percent.
- Marijuana use was also higher in psychiatric patients, registering 50% of the study population. Meanwhile, only 12 percent of the people without mental disorders used marijuana.
To top it off, Dr. Hartz added that “these patients tend to pass away much younger, with estimates ranging from 12 to 25 years earlier than individuals in the general population.”
Celebrities are role models. But they are not perfect. Sure they look flawless and their lives seem magical most of the time, but some of them often embrace certain habits that could lead to their own downfall and sometimes demise. As we all know, drugs and alcohol are a big thing in the world of glitz and glamour. And while some stars would usually deny ever using such substances, others are brave enough to admit that they have gone astray at some point in their lives.
Here are well-known celebrities who revealed their drug use and still managed to redeem themselves before it was too late:
1. Angelina Jolie
The Golden Globe-winning actress confessed that she had tried “about every drug possible” such as cocaine, ecstasy, LSD and heroin. ” I went through heavy, darker times and I survived them,” she said during 2011 interview with 60 Minutes. “I didn’t die young, so I’m very lucky. There are other artists and people who didn’t survive certain things.”
2. George Clooney
He’s one of the most sought-after actors in his generation, but even that wasn’t enough to keep him out of trouble. In one of his old interviews, he said: “I’ve slept with too many women, done too many drugs and been to too many parties. I loved acid when I was at college. It was an escape. I liked mushrooms. They were like easy acid. I did like blow…Blow would dress you up for a party, but never take you there. You’re always like. This is going to be great! Then you’re just depressed.”
3. Drew Barrymore
She was America’s favorite child star. But unlike other kids, her past time included smoking cigarettes and marijuana, drinking alcohol, and snorting cocaine. She confessed having her first taste of rehab at 14. In 1989, she told People magazine about her first experience with pot at the age of 10. She said: “… my addict mind told me, ‘Well, if smoking pot is cute, it’ll also be cute to get the heavier stuff like cocaine.’ It was gradual. What I did kept getting worse and worse, and I didn’t care what anybody else thought.”
4. Nicholas Cage
In 2010, the National Treasure star admitted in the David Letterman Show that he once used hallucinogenic magic mushrooms with his cat. “I had a bag of mushrooms in my refrigerator. My cat used to sneak into the refrigerator and eat them. … He ate them voraciously; it was like catnip to him. So I thought, ‘What the heck, I better do it with him,'” he said.
5. Johnny Depp
He’s portrayed way too many quirky roles since he started his showbiz career. But he was no different than other boys who tried vandalism, breaking and entering schools, even experimenting with drugs. “I don’t trust anyone who hasn’t been self-destructive in some way. Who hasn’t gone through some sort of bout of self-loathing. You’ve got to bang yourself around a bit to know yourself,” he told GQ in 2011.
The death of Glee star Cory Monteith a few weeks ago in Canada brought a huge shock to many Hollywood spectators. He was young, fresh-faced, and looked perfectly healthy. For his throngs of supporters, he was a typical young man enjoying the good life. But for those familiar with the changing trends in drug abuse, he personifies the new breed of heroin users.
Dr. Richard Clark, an emergency room physician and director of toxicology at the University of California San Diego Medical Center, told NBC News that gone are the days when you can easily spot stereotype heroin users on the street. Today nearly anyone you least expect are using heroin because the drug is cheap and available in abundance. Kids, teenagers, even white-collar workers — often living in suburban or rural areas — could be using it without you suspecting.
Caleb Banta-Green, a research scientist at the University of Washington School of Public Health who frequently writes about heroin use said Monteith “is what a heroin user looks like.”
31-year old Monteith had been very open about his struggles with substance abuse, saying he started at a very young age. Despite publicly admitting his addition problems many were still incredulous when he was found dead on July 13 at Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel in Vancouver. Initial reports indicated that he was last seen partying at a club with some friends before the incident occurred. A few days later following his demise, the British Columbia Coroners Service released its report which said that the clean-cut actor died of a mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol.
“If you’re out partying at a bar, you’re most likely not doing heroin in the middle of patrons drinking socially,” Dr. Clark explained. “But you may be real mellow from the alcohol, go back to your hotel room and say, ‘Boy, it would be good to get high with heroin.’”
Dr. Clark said alcohol and heroin have different effects on the central nervous system. And when they act together, most of the danger could come from heroin. He also noted that nearly all deaths associated with heroin were because the users simply stopped breathing.