Archive for category Drug Facts

Nine Million U.S. Residents Engage In Drug Abuse

Despite the efforts of the U.S. government to address one of the worst issues to face the world, the latest report from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) paints a bad picture.

crowd americans drug abuseAccording to a team of researchers at the NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Rockville, MD, 3.9 percent of U.S. residents were diagnosed with a drug use disorder (DUD) within a 12-month span. This translates to roughly 9.1 million Americans who are engaged in drug abuse. On top of this disturbing statistic, 9.1 percent of Americans were diagnosed with a lifetime DUD.

The figures were based on the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III (NESARC-III) in 2012-2013, which contained drug use data on more than 36,000 U.S. adults. This particular study fixed its focus on a handful of illicit and often-abused drugs, as reported in a news item: “amphetamine, cannabis, club drug, cocaine, hallucinogen, heroin, nonheroin opioid, sedative/tranquilizer or solvent/inhalant use disorders.” The DUDs identified in the study by Dr. Bridget F. Grant and her team of researchers were based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5).

Sectors of society most affected by DUDs include the following: male, white or native American, young adults, those with low income and education, and living in the western part of the U.S. What’s worse is that only 13.5 percent of the 12-month DUD-diagnosed patients are able to receive treatment.

The study authors noted that part of the reason behind this lingering issue on drug abuse is the growing public acceptance of drugs. “DSM-5 DUD is prevalent among US adults. The public is increasingly less likely to disapprove of specific types of drug use (e.g., marijuana) or to see it as risky, and consistent with these attitudes, laws governing drug use are becoming more permissive,” the authors said. “Findings also indicate an urgent need to destigmatize DUD and educate the public, clinicians, and policymakers about its treatment to encourage affected individuals to obtain help.”

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Fun Educational Video Shows How Adderall Works

A light but highly informative video released by the American Chemical Society (ACS) discussed the famous study drug Adderall and how it works to treat narcolepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and loss of concentration.

Highlights of the video posted in the ACS YouTube channel “Reactions” are as follows:

  • More than 25 million people in the U.S. are using amphetamine, the active ingredient in Adderall.
  • The drug was first released in the market in 1933 under the name “benzedrine”.
  • Military troops across many countries have used amphetamine to boost morale and concentration of personnel. Hitler was even rumored to have taken daily shots of the drug!
  • Adderall is a study drug that stimulates the central nervous system by increasing the level of dopamine (or the reward hormone) in the body.
  • Amphetamine is the safer and much more useful cousin of methamphetamine, or meth for short.

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Recreational Use of Painkillers May Lead to Heroin Abuse Later in Life

A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) finds that people who use prescription pain relievers for nonmedical reason are at greater risk of heroin abuse.

prescription drug abuseThe Associations of Nonmedical Pain Reliever Use and Initiation of Heroin Use in the United States, which covered the period of 2002 to 2011, revealed that 12 to 49-year olds who had used pain relievers without a doctor’s prescription were 19 times more likely to have used heroin within the past 12 months of being interviewed for the report. It also indicated that 79.5 percent of heroin users had formerly engaged in nonmedical use of pain relievers.

“Prescription pain relievers when used properly for their intended purpose can be of enormous benefit to patients, but their nonmedical use can lead to addiction, serious physical harm and even death,” Dr. Peter Delany, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, said in a news release. “This report shows that it can also greatly increase an individual’s risk of turning to heroin use – thus adding a new dimension of potential harm.”

Even though the report said that only 3.6 percent of those who used pain relievers without prescription went on to use heroin within five years, the findings shouldn’t be regarded very lightly given the increasing number of people, especially teens, who turn to prescription drugs to get high.

From 2007 to 2011, the number of people who reported use of heroin in the past 12 months increased from 373,000 to 620,000. Heroin dependents in the past 12 months likewise rose from 179,000 in 2007 to 369,000 in 2011. The number of people starting to use heroin the first time in the past 12 months also increased from 106,000 people to 178,000 people during the same period.

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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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Benzo Fury: An Emerging Legal Party Drug with Unknown Risks

Illegal drug makers are getting extremely creative by the day and one of their recent works is quickly gaining popularity because of its “legal” status.

what is benzo furyBenzo Fury is a colorless stimulant that contains 5-APB or 6-APB compounds. It is sold in pellet or powder form via the Internet, and typically labelled “not for human consumption,” “plant food,” “bath salts,” or “research drug.”

Last month, a study of Benzo Fury was presented at a British Neuroscience Association conference in which experts say the active ingredient of the substance acts on the brain like both a stimulant and a hallucinogen — a combination that can make the drug dangerous to users.

“We have found that 5-APB behaves a little like amphetamine – that is, like a stimulant with addictive potential – and a bit like a hallucinogen, acting via serotonin receptors. This kind of mixed properties can be found in some illegal ‘designer’ drugs,” the presenting author, Dr. Jolanta Opacka-Juffry, said in a news release.

Dr. Opacka-Juffry  is a principal lecturer in neuroscience and director of the health sciences research centre at the University of Roehampton. The co-author of the research is Dr. Colin Davidson, a senior lecturer in neuropharmacology and expert in drugs of addiction at St George’s University of London.

Benzo Fury is now considered one of the most popular “legal highs” in the United Kingdom, and it’s also sold in the United States. Both Dr. Opacka-Juffry   and Dr. Davidson recommend further studies on the long-term effects of Benzo Fury because at this point no one really knows what the drug can do to users.

Dr. Opacka-Juffry, however,  cautioned that it’s “in the combination of these stimulant and hallucinogenic properties that the greatest danger lies.”

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