Archive for category Drug Addiction

What Is Molly And Why Are Some Teenagers Hooked On It?

Its name may sound innocent, but make no mistake about it. Molly is not a teenage kid that you want your son or your daughter be hanging around with. In fact, when you hear from your kids that they enjoyed last night’s party with Molly, you should already be concerned.

Who is Molly?

The more accurate question is: What is Molly? Commonly known in parties and raves, Molly is a loose term for Ecstasy, the deadly synthetic drug that can alter the mood and perception of users.

Its chemical name is 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA. Its other street names include: E, XTC, X, Adam, Hug, Beans, Clarity, Lover’s Speed, and Love Drug.

mdma-molly-structure

The drug causes an effect similar to what users experience when they use amphetamines, and produces psychedelic effects found in LSD. It is considered a club drug or party drug as it is very commonly used by people who frequent parties, music festivals and concerts.

MDMA falls under Schedule I based on stipulations in the Controlled Substances Act, which means that the drug has no known medical benefit and has a high potential for abuse. However, there is an ongoing research on the possibility that this drug might be helpful in treating patients who have terminal cancer and anxiety.

How Molly Is Used

Molly is commonly found in the form of capsules or tablets. These pills are produced in various colors and sometimes have cartoon images on them. Some people would take more than one pill.

The name Molly is short for molecular, which refers to the crystalline powder form of MDMA sold in capsules. The effect of this substance usually lasts from three to six hours. Once the user feels that the effect is slowly diminishing, a second dose usually follows.

ecstasy-molly-mdma-pills-party-drugs

Approximately 45 minutes after ingestion, the user may feel a “euphoric high,” together with uncontrolled movements or hyperactivity. There is also an increase in self-esteem, enhanced communication and an increase in self-insight.

Several reports in the past mentioned that some Ecstasy pills sold in the market contain other harmful and deadly substances. It was found out that drugs sold as MDMA pills do not actually contain MDMA. Most often, these substances mixed with or replaced with other chemicals such as amphetamines, caffeine, cocaine, dextromethorphan or PCP.

MDMA and the Brain

It takes about 15 minutes for MDMA to enter the bloodstream and reach the brain. The effect of MDMA is caused by the increase in activity of three neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

  • Serotonin controls our sleep, pain and sexual activity. The increase in serotonin causes a person to be hyperactive. It may also cause heightened tactile sensation. This is also responsible for the release of oxytocin, which affects the feeling of being sexually aroused.
  • Dopamine causes an emotional upsurge such as feelings of joy and pleasure, as well as an increase in energy.
  • Norepinephrine is responsible for the increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

Side effects of MDMA

MDMA users may experience the following symptoms after ingestion of the drug:

  • Agitation
  • Profuse sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Dizzy spells
  • Chills
  • Increase in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Muscle tension
  • Teeth clenching
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Blurred vision
  • Faintness
  • Sweating
  • Higher body temperature (may lead to serious heart, liver, or kidney problems)
  • Increased risk for unsafe sex
  • Distorted perception
  • Involuntary teeth clenching
  • Muscle cramping
  • Severe muscle breakdown
  • Nausea
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucination
  • Memory reduction

Once the effect of MDMA diminishes, the decrease in serotonin causes the user to go through a state of depression, confusion, sleeping disorder, anxiety and drug craving.

The effect on long term use of the drug has not yet been proven to completely damage the brain. However, it has been noticed that those who slowly gave up on using the drug exhibited signs of depression and confusion, as well as poor memory and attention.

When taken in large doses, Ecstasy can pose serious threats to the user. The same can be said when small frequent doses are consumed to maintain the “euphoric high” that it gives to the user.

When high doses of MDMA are taken, it may lead to a high risk of experiencing seizures and losing the ability to maintain the normal rhythm of the heart.

ecstasy-effects

Signs of Molly Addiction

According to research, the neurotransmitters targeted by MDMA are the same ones affected by other commonly abused drugs, leading users to have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Here are some of the common signs that a person is addicted to Molly or MDMA:

  • Lack of concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unusual behavior
  • Sleeplessness

Ecstasy Statistics Overview

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2014 revealed the following data about Ecstasy:

  • Nearly 7 percent of those aged 12 and older had used Ecstasy at least once in their lifetime.
  • Nearly 1 percent of the same population had used it within the past year.
  • About 0.2 percent had used Ecstasy within the past month.
  • Ecstasy use has remained relatively steady in the general population since 2009, with a gradual decline among adolescents. In 2013, more than 750,000 persons aged 12 or older reported using ecstasy for the first time.

Here are some statistics of Ecstasy use among adolescents (aged 12-17):

  • Roughly 0.7 percent of adolescents reported taking Ecstasy in the past year.
  • About 1.2 percent of adolescents had taken Ecstasy at least once in their lives.
  • About 0.2 percent of adolescents reported using Ecstasy in the previous month.

Young adolescents (aged 18-25) exhibited the following stats for the drug:

  • 5 percent reported using the drug in the previous year.
  • 12 percent of young adults reported using Ecstasy at least once in their lifetime.
  • About 1 percent were current Ecstasy users.

Meanwhile, among adults (aged 26 and above):

  • 5 percent of adults reported using the substance within the past year.
  • 4 percent of adults aged 26 and above reported using Ecstasy at least once in their lifetime.
  • 1 percent of adults were current users.

There were close to 22,500 emergency room visits recorded on the year that the survey was conducted. Majority of these individuals were aged 28-29 years old, and about 70 percent were male.

Is Ecstasy Deadly?

The increased release of the neurotransmitters may cause an increase in the body temperature of an individual who uses Molly or Ecstasy. When the body could not regulate the temperature, it may cause organ failure and eventually death.

Severe Ecstasy-related Illnesses

Abuse of Ecstasy may cause or increase the likelihood of the following illnesses:

  • Seizure
  • Hemorrhagic stroke
  • Metabolic disturbance
  • Hyperthermia
  • Brain Swelling

Most Common Causes of Ecstasy Deaths

The following are the causes of death by Ecstasy users:

  • Hyponatremia
  • Hyperthermia
  • Ecstasy-induced depression (suicidal incidents)

The Warning Signs That A Teen May Be Using Ecstasy

It’s unfortunate to know that parents would be the last to know about their children being hooked on drugs. Whether the parents are too busy with their jobs or they’re not as observant as they should be, their teenage kids may get away with taking the drugs especially in the company of friends.

Here are a few signs to help parents know if their children may be having some issues with regards to drug use, particularly Molly or Ecstasy:

  • Goes to parties often and comes home early morning the next day.
  • Increased number of absences in school.
  • Easily gets irritated.
  • May feel the need to use baby pacifiers to eliminate discomfort due to uncontrollable clenching of teeth.
  • Experiences sleeping problems.
  • For the parents to not notice the pills, these teen users would place the pills inside vitamin bottles to hide them.
  • Chewing or eating soft candies more often than usual. In this case, the teen user may roll the pill inside the candy.

teen-depression-drugs

Dealing with a Teen (Ecstasy) User

Just like any person during this stage of human life, practically everyone goes through episodes of curiosity, most evidently during adolescence. In the ‘70s, it was crack that was proliferating in the streets. These days, Ecstasy has made its way to the limelight. At a price between $8 and $25 a pill, teens buy more of it because it does not cost as much as other drugs.

The effect of having the unusual high may give teens the feeling of being free and somehow detached from the world. Whether they are trying to escape from their own problems or just forced to take them because most kids in school are using them, the result will always be the same: deteriorating health that can lead to death.

Here are the top reasons why teens try alcohol and drugs, based on several studies in the past:

  1. About 47 percent of teens agreed that they have been influenced by the movies where drug use and distribution are shown. They think that drug use is something “cool” and okay.
  2. Teens say that they often see people around them getting involved with smoking, drinking alcohol or using other substances.
  3. They may find drugs and/or alcohol as their companion during times of sorrow. Depending on the kind of drug that they use, they would instantly feel a different kind of uncontrollable emotion.
  4. Some teens may just have too many things to think about that not having an outlet may let them feel like they are about to explode. As a solution, they turn to drugs and/or alcohol to keep them occupied.
  5. Angry teenagers would turn to different kinds of addiction to spite their parents as a means of rebellion against them. Using methamphetamine would produce an aggressive behavior, and this lets teenagers become aggressive and uncontrollable. Meanwhile, using LSD and marijuana may lead them to be more silent than normal.
  6. The teen may feel the need to take drugs or alcohol as a form of gratification because they feel good once they take the substance, especially in large amounts.
  7. Some teens who lack self-confidence may use these substances for them to easily express themselves.
  8. There are instances when just plain curiosity would drive teens to become habitual users because they were misinformed about the dangers of what these substances may bring.

How Can Ecstasy Use Be Avoided?

It may be difficult to keep watch of our children all the time. Besides, they also need to learn independence. However, the key to how we could best prevent our children from getting hooked on any substance is to provide the right information regarding the dangers.

In addition, we should learn to have an open communication with our children so that they would turn to us if they have problems, instead of turning to their friends who may just lead them into taking the illegal substances.

We may not have a hold on the behavior of other people that our children meet every day. However, if the children grow up having the proper knowledge and living with a very loving family, substance abuse may never be a problem.

Treatment for MDMA Abuse

There is no specific kind of treatment for MDMA unlike other abused substances. The therapy provided to recovering MDMA abusers is cognitive behavioral intervention, which helps the patient cope with the right thinking and reaction to the surrounding environment.

The long-term effects of MDMA abuse may cause the user to have problems with regards to memory and recognition. Therapy sessions to restore proper brain function may take weeks to several months.

Apart from the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist, the family plays an important role in the success of the treatment. The family’s support should be a source of strength for recovering drug users for them to be able to live normal and much healthier lives.

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Mobile Apps To Help In Drug Addiction Recovery

Recovery from addiction can be a difficult process. It would need a lot of support, encouragement and even technology to help the recovering individual become successful with drug addiction recovery. In this article, we will look at some mobile apps that help in drug addiction recovery.

Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of health-related apps. Nowadays, you can find apps for breaking habits, for tracking goals, and drug addiction recovery. Technology has given recovering addicts convenient and practical tools to help them walk away from addiction. From tracking sober time, managing triggers and emotions, and finding and sharing meetings, apps for addiction recovery are aplenty whether you are using an iPhone or an Android.

mobile apps for drug addiction recovery

Today’s youth just cannot live by without their smartphones. They post and check their Facebook timelines, play games, catch up on the latest news, and send messages to friends using their smartphones. For this reason, an app that can help them recover from drug addiction can make sense.

Here are some smartphone apps that can help with addiction recovery:

Sober Grid

SoberGrid uses geo-location features to help users connect with other people who are close by. The aim of the app is to help recovering addicts strengthen their recovery networks. It also serves as a platform for users to get support when they have a feeling that they might relapse.

SoberGrid also allows users to post their pictures on their Facebook newsfeed as well as block someone from using the app. Android phone users can download the app here.

iHeal

For people who have just left a rehabilitation or recovery center, a relapse is still possible. They would need a tool that can help tell if such relapse is likely. To address this, software developers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created an app for achieving such goal.

iHeal comes with a device that is worn on the user’s arm. This gadget is designed to monitor bodily indicators such as body movement, skin temperature, and heart rate. The device also warns users if they are in the “danger zone” and adjusts itself accordingly depending on the situation.

Twelve Steps – The Companion

There are many 12-step based apps to choose from but Twelve Steps – The Companion is unlike the rest. It is both comprehensive and fun to use. It is also one of the first recovery apps that became available and has undergone several updates already.

The app’s home screen provides the user with their sobriety stats which are displayed in years, months, and years. It also has a “one day at a time” world that counts down the days of recovery until 1,000, which makes the recovery process fun and uplifting.

The app also includes the entire “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous. This feature comes in handy for traveling alcoholics who cannot carry the book all the time wherever they go. The app can be downloaded in the Apple Store as well as in Google Play.

For Android users, you can download here.

Field Guide To Life Pro

Field Guide to Life Pro is an award winning app from Betty Ford Foundation. It comes with a year’s worth of addiction recovery support. Among its main features include daily guidance, reminders and inspirations. It also includes a sober counter, a personal progress monitor, community support, and relapse prevention tools.

The app provides access to several video clips of recovery experts and people saying positive and encouraging messages to the recovering addict. App developer Hazelden was the recipient of The White House Behavioral Health Patient Empowerment Challenge Award for offering crucial first year support to recovering addicts.

For Android users, download the Field Guide to Life app here.

A-Chess

A-Chess is an acronym for Addiction – Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support system. The app comes with inputs from treatment providers, clients, family members, primary care providers, and technology experts. It comes with a bevy of features for predicting, detecting, and preventing relapse. With the app, users can connect with other members for support. It also provides the recovering addict with a platform to engage in discussion groups, and have video chat sessions with counselors.

The GPS technology that comes with the app alerts the user when they are near a high-risk location such as a liquor store. One of its most outstanding features is the panic button, which sends a text message to support prompting a response for assistance. While waiting for a response, the app will send helpful features such as relaxation guides, discussion boards, and even a recording of their own motivational recovery story. When they are in a high-risk location, the app will cause the phone to ring, and several recommended coping strategies will be displayed.

A-Chess works on smartphones running on Google Android 2.3 or higher. You can download the app here.

Friend of Bill

A simple sobriety counter can already do wonders to any recovering addict, but this easy-to-use app presents the duration of staying sober from years to as detailed as minutes. You have the option to change how this app displays the time of your sobriety. In addition, each significant statistic related to sobriety comes with a slogan to motivate you to go on.

Friend of Bill is available in iOS.

One Day At A Time

Carry the famous Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous on your mobile device. One Day At A Time contains everything that you will enjoy from the book. It contains built-in features such as keyword search, access to Daily Meditations, integration of sobriety dates of your fellow recovering addicts, and easy connection to emergency contacts.

Download this app for iOS and Android.

Ascent

One effective method of avoiding relapse is by connecting with peer-recovery experts who can guide people towards full recovery. This is where the Ascent app can provide assistance, by giving users round-the-clock access to coaches who can help them get back on track in case of a potential relapse.

Unlike other downloadable apps, Ascent comes with a package that includes a connection to a coach and a support team. Users of the app can add notes for personal motivation, play videos about recovery, and track progress. It also provides opportunities to learn more about addiction recovery through the community messaging system.

Check this download page for Ascent.


 

No Replacement For Actual Intervention

It is worth noting that these apps can never replace face-to-face interaction or counseling. According to Nancy Bartnett, an Associate Professor at the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, one of the drawbacks of these technological developments is if they could really treat a serious alcoholic. “It’s not the same as going into treatment or meeting with a counselor or getting medication,” Barnett said in a news release.

Meanwhile, Mary Andres, Associate Professor of Clinical Education at the USC Rossier School of Education, explained that these apps can never replace the real thing. “You can’t replace the value of face-to-face identification and the phenomena that happens in group.” Andres said.

Nevertheless, Bartnett believes that mobile apps can serve as bridges or as an adjunctive kind of help. “They can help people to get to treatment, help people to stay in treatment, and get them thinking about treatment,” Barnett explained.

Whether you are already in recovery or thinking about walking away from your addiction, these mobile apps may help you get to the right path and become successful with your goal of becoming finally free from drugs.

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What Is Kratom And Why Is It Dangerous?

Kratom is on the spotlight these days when it comes to alternative medicine. This plant has been touted to possess many health benefits, but some studies say that it’s harmful to human health.

kratom leavesKratom (scientific name Mitragyna speciosa) is a large tree grown in South East Asian countries. Its popularity rose when it was discovered that its leaves can be chewed or made into a tea and utilized for healing purposes. Some variants of Kratom are available in concentrated extract with synthetic chemicals incorporated to it.

Advocates of Kratom claim that it cures stress, anxiety, pain, and depression. The alkanoids contained in Kratom give stimulating, depressing and intoxicating effects. Here are some of the reported benefits of using Kratom in moderate amounts:

  • When taken in moderation, users of Kratom become more talkative, alert and energetic.
  • In tropical forest areas where they are grown, Kratom has been attested by locals to restore vigor.
  • Its leaves can alleviate diarrhea and stabilize hypertension.
  • The drug is also found to be effective in losing weight as it suppresses appetite.
  • People who are exposed to the sun can derive good protection from Kratom as it enhances production of melanin.
  • When consumed more, it creates a euphoric feeling, giving a sense of relaxation and inner calmness.

Some books mention that Kratom is less destructive than morphine and cocaine. However, claims like these on alternative medicine have not yet been proven because no extensive studies have been conducted, despite having many people attesting to its health advantages.

Below are some unwelcome consequences when a person uses Kratom. Some of these effects manifest right away and may last up to seven hours (longer if taken in high doses).

  • Nausea (can be severe and prolonged)
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Itching
  • Increased urination
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle tremors and jerking
  • Episodes of panic
  • Sudden swings of mood
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia

Kratom may be helpful physically and psychologically. However, quitting the use of Kratom may lead a person to experience typical withdrawal symptoms such as muscle pains, jerky limbs, runny nose, and even as far as being violent.

There are a number of new age alternative medicines popping up as of late. Many people want to stay away from synthetic medication and shift towards herbal and natural alternatives. With all that has been said about Kratom, studying about the plant can significantly contribute to the world of wellness. In fact, experts in the field of health and drug industry are spending time and money to conduct extensive studies for such a potential breakthrough in the medical arena.

[Image from ThorPorre via Wikimedia Creative Commons]

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Three Best Hollywood Films About Drug Addiction

Much has been depicted on the silver screen about drugs – its abuse, addiction, manufacturing and distribution. Hollywood remains tactful in touching issues about drugs because there is very little difference between glamorizing a drug and communicating the moral and legal consequences of being hooked to it.

Drug-themed movies have come out simply because of the many angles in bringing the topic into life, despite the challenge to create a film that will capture the interest of a particular audience.

Below are some outstanding Hollywood films about drugs, the wild imagery of its turbulent world, and the thrilling adventure of being involved in this illicit trade.

traffic movie posterTraffic

Traffic is hailed as one of the most excellent films about drugs. It tackles the substance (pun intended) in different angles from the source, supporters, high risks and the battle against it. It is a modern-day suspense story set in the world of drug trafficking, bringing to mind the dangers of the trade.

Practical scenarios depicted in the story expose truths such as the influence of people in public positions who support the trade. Their awareness of drug laws does not hinder them from using drugs as a lucrative source of money. The movie perfectly captures the spirit of the drug problem as a punching bag: No matter how hard you hit, it will always be there, hanging and unchanged.

Limitless

limitless movie posterThe story revolves around a wonder drug called NZT, which is said to boost the brain to perform to its full capacity as opposed to the myth that an individual can only use 10 to 20 percent of the brain’s power. Amazingly, instead of distorting thoughts, it enables the user to remember whatever he has seen and read like a reliable storage device.

An exciting and thrilling movie, Limitless is about a writer who has low self esteem after being rejected by his girlfriend who thinks that he has no future. He proves her wrong when one day he comes across NZT through a friend. His life turns right side up when a business tycoon takes notice of him because of his cleverness. The two pair up to make billions, but the protagonist faces a disturbing reality: he is running out of NZT.

Thrill and adventure emerges as he struggles to cope with withdrawal symptoms and run away from hit men who threaten to eliminate him in line with the wonder drug trade.

Pineapple Express

pineapple express movie posterNamed after a special variety of marijuana, Pineapple Express is all about a process server who witnesses a murder involving the most treacherous drug lord in the city. The state of shock in seeing the crime unfold makes him drop his stash of marijuana in the crime scene. Too disturbed that his joint of Pineapple Express is rare enough to be traced back to him, he and his two friends try to escape the bad guys who are out to kill them.

Pineapple Express is a hilarious film about the perils of drug industry.

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You might also want to read our earlier recommendations on drug-themed movies from the classics, the 1980s, and the 1990s.

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Creative Packaging For Illegal Drugs Attracts More Teens

Manufacturers of addiction-prone illegal substances keep coming up with ingenious and creative ways to lure teenagers into abuse. In popular media, drugs are also considered “cool” and are effective ways to make a person famous.

happy teenagerThis information was shared by Lynn Riemer, who works as president of ACT on Drugs, in front of students of Durango High School. “Things are changing so fast in the illegal drug industry, it’s hard to keep up,” Riemer shared via a news release.

She understands that the old approach of lecturing teenagers to stay away from drugs might not work in the current generation. “I’m not here representing the ‘Just Say No’ program because it doesn’t work… I’m not here to judge you or tell you how to live your life. I’m just going to stand here and give you factual information,” Riemer expressed. Besides, “there’s lots of conflicting information out there, you have to look for reputable scientific studies,” she added.

Previous studies have confirmed the adverse effect of abusing marijuana and illicit substances on teenage brains, and Riemer shared this information with the students. “Teen brains are more likely to become addicted, and because drugs make you feel good, unbelievably good, better than anything natural, they make it so your brain can’t uptake serotonin and dopamine and can’t naturally feel happiness any more.”

In a separate discussion with parents and members of the community, Riemer emphasized the importance of being aware and alert in terms of drug abuse by their kids. “Pay attention to what you see, pay attention to what you smell, pay attention to what you hear… And please don’t think drug dealers still look like a homeless guy under a bridge. They look like everyone in this room.”

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Here’s What You May Look Like After Drug Overdose, Says Teen Survivor

Music festivals may sound fun, but these events may be exposing your teenagers to drugs of all sorts. A recent drug overdose survivor recently shared his experience and released a photo to discourage teenagers to engage in substance abuse.

Jordan Blackburn, 20, spent three days at Cumberland Infirmary in the U.K. — and was in a medically-induced coma for some time — after taking unknown drugs at the Kendal Calling Music Festival on July 31. He recalled that he was able to take more than three kinds of drugs during the event together with his friends, including 18-year-old Christian Pay who was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

coma patient drug overdose

The photo above was released by Blackburn as a warning for teenagers to be vigilant when it comes to substance abuse in events like this. “I think at festivals especially, teenagers just want to have a good time with all their friends and they initially forget the dangers they can put themselves in by doing something stupid like we did,” Blackburn shared via BBC. “I don’t have much recollection, I think because it was such a traumatic event. It was really awful” he added.

Blackburn has already realized his mistake, and is now ready to pick up the pieces. “You never realise until it’s too late. You never think at that moment it is ever going to happen to you, but unfortunately you learn the hard way… You can never change the past, but you can always change the future. It’s just trying to make a positive thing out of something really really negative,” Blackburn expressed.

Alison Turnbull, the young man’s mother, said that Blackburn may have physically survived the ordeal, but he feels some sense of guilt over what happened. “Physically he’s fine. He’s still really tired; his body has been through quite a trauma. Mentally he’s coping OK, but I think he’s got what I would term as survivor’s guilt,” Turnbull said.

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