Archive for category Synthetic Drugs
As the world becomes increasingly aware of the hazards of electronic cigarettes, more studies and investigations are continuing to deal with this worsening issue. This recent statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seems to support the campaign against e-cigarettes.
The agency recently released survey results saying that children in the U.S. are exposed to e-cigarette advertisements on TV. Results revealed that roughly 70 percent of kids admitted to have seen an e-cigarette ad on television. The survey was conducted with about 22,000 students in high school and middle school, who were asked if they saw an ad on e-cigarettes in TV, movies, magazines, retail stores, or online.
The agency fears that this trend may lead more teenagers to engage in e-cigarette smoking, which may also translate to tobacco use. “Unfettered marketing of e-cigarettes has the potential to compromise decades of progress,” said CDC representative Brian King in a news item.
CDC’s statement, however, wasn’t met with unanimous acceptance. For instance, the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association said that the agency’s statement shouldn’t be taken as it is. “The CDC continues to mislead the public about the benefits of vapor products as far less harmful alternatives to smoking… The CDC also fails to mention that teens are exposed to many other adult issues on the Internet, TV and movies, such as violence, sex, and alcohol,” said group executive director Cynthia Cabrera.
A synthetic drug that has been existing in the streets of Florida and other U.S. states is now being touted as the next “dangerous drug”.
According to a recent Forbes article, Flakka is a crystalline designer drug that contains a powerful stimulant called alpha-PVP, which is classified as a Schedule 1 drug banned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The effects of this compound are similar to its cathinone cousin MDPV, commonly found in bath salts. Despite the ban on Schedule 1 drugs, alpha-PVP and Flakka are both relatively unknown substances up until the DEA noticed a surge in usage over the years.
According to a news article, there were no reported cases of Flakka usage in 2010, but the number shot up to 85 cases by 2012. In 2014, the DEA has recorded more than 670 cases of Flakka use.
The stimulant compound in Flakka causes users “temporary insanity and violent outbursts,” according to experts interviewed by CBS New York. Dr. Stephen Dewey, who specializes in drug addiction, said that the effects of Flakka to the human body are very dangerous. “It’s crazy because they become so aggressive. They become aggressive and when they think they’re superhuman they act on it,” Dr. Dewey said. “Your body temperature can go up to 105, 106, and that can be lethal. You can die from cardiac arrest, you can die from arrhythmias, you can die from kidney failure.”
It sounds like a harmless product, but don’t let the heavenly name of Cloud 9 fool you.
Cloud 9 is a drug that is gaining popularity among teenagers. The product is actually bath salts mostly sold in liquid form for use in e-cigarettes. Much like any other bath salt product, Cloud 9 contains the active component methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), a substance that has exceedingly higher hallucinogenic effects than meth or cocaine.
The liquid drug is easy to procure in some retail stores, but is usually purchased online fairly easily. This convenient access to Cloud 9 bath salt poses a real danger to the young generation, based on a report by Inquisitr about more than 20 teenagers hospitalized as a result of taking bath salts within this year.
The drug’s meteoric rise to infamy stems from the fact that aside from its availability, it can mimic the euphoric effects of popular illicit drugs such as coke, meth, LSD and ecstasy. Immediate health risks arising from use of Cloud 9 and other similar bath salts include high blood pressure, irritability, nausea, dizziness, faster heart rate, and delusions. Meanwhile, some of the long-term effects are depression, neglect of commitments, and violent tendencies.
Other names of bath salts aside from Cloud 9 include Bubbles, Hookah Relax, and Purple Wave. Many of these products are sealed in packages that circumvent existing drug prohibition laws by labeling the substance “not for human consumption.”
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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.
If you are still skeptical about the risks of synthetic drug abuse, then this bit of news might make you think twice.
In November of last year, the family of Kurtis Hildreth found the 18-year-old dead inside his bedroom with a partially lit pipe containing the illicit drug Spice and a lighter nearby. According the Alaska Dispatch, the medical examiner’s office declared the cause of death as “undetermined”, much to the frustration and anger of Hildreth’s family.
Hildreth lived with his aunt, Kerri Stevens, when the incident happened. “The pipe was right there by his feet. He was a healthy kid. The lighter was right there. The pipe was right there. He never had any kind of heart problems or seizures,” said Stevens. The teenager was supposed to tour around Alaska and be presented a job offer in a commercial glass company run by his aunt’s family. With the teen’s death, the plans were all for naught.
Alaska plays host to a number of designer drugs readily available in smoke shops. These synthetic marijuana versions are packed in attractive packets, such as the brand “Mr. Nice Guy” with a dead smiley face at the front of the packaging. This particular brand was the one found in Hildreth’s bedroom where he was found lifeless.
Brandon Jenkins, the victim’s best friend, was able to talk with Hildreth moments before the teenager sniffed the controversial drug. “Life will lead you in better directions than this stuff will. Life has many opportunities, and death only has one,” Jenkins added.
The impact of outlawing the sale of synthetic marijuana and bath salts in the Sunshine State is something that can’t be ignored. Even though some clandestine sellers are still offering Mr. Nice Guy, Cloud Nine, and Maui Wowie to a select number of buyers, new data show a significant decline in the number of emergency room visits and calls to Poison Control centers due to synthetic drug use.
Around the state, calls to Poison Control centers dropped from 537 in 2012 to 109 in the first seven months of 2013. It’s been also noticeable that most gas stations and convenience stores have stopped carrying the so-called “herbal incense” and bath salts that were usually seen in fancy packages.
“The bans are working,” David Gross, special agent supervisor with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, told The Huffington Post. “They’re not nearly as prevalent and on display. The genie is out of the bottle and they know they need to conceal it or they are going to pop up on law enforcement’s radar.”
So far, more than a dozen cities and counties within Florida have banned synthetic drugs since last year. But officials warn the public, especially parents, to remain vigilant as there are others who’ll do everything to tweak the chemical ingredients of synthetic marijuana and bath salts in order to skirt the law and continue their business.
Funky Green Smoking Blend, for example, was recently seen being sold behind the counter for nearly $15/packet. It’s a fairly new brand of synthetic marijuana whose ingredients were possibly changed by illegal drug manufacturers in order to avoid the law.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has led a crackdown on synthetic drugs to keep them off the shelves for good. She continues to work with legislators and law enforcement to go after those selling the drugs as well as to identify emerging compounds and add them to the list of controlled substances.