Tag Archives: drugs

Sleep Habits May be Sign of Future Substance Abuse

Sleep and Substance AbuseWhile it has been known that adequate sleep is vital when it comes to physical, mental and emotional development, sleep patterns may also play a major role in the likelihood of future substance abuse, according to the results of new research published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Pitt Department of Psychology released a study showing a link between lack of sleep among children and future marijuana and alcohol use. They were able to analyze data gathered from studies to look into the sleep habits of 11-year-old boys. They found that the children who slept the least or had the poorest sleep quality were more likely to abuse drugs as they aged. The researchers also found that the initial use of drugs was earlier for these children.

drug and alcohol dependenceUnderstanding the link between quality of sleep is another tool that parents can use to prevent their child from experimenting with and/or becoming addicted to drugs in the future.

“Treating problems with drugs and alcohol once they exist and preventing them can be challenging, and we are always looking for modifiable risk factors. Doing what we can to ensure sufficient sleep duration and improve sleep quality during late childhood may have benefits in terms of reducing the use of these substances later in life,” explained assistant profession of psychiatry and psychology Brant P. Hasler, Ph.D., who was the lead author of the study.

While the research did not investigate the causes of the poor sleep quality, it would seem that familial stressors, school problems and any other type of instability can play a major role in poor sleep. Children that have less parental supervision are also more likely to get poor sleep.

For those that are concerned with the amount or quality of sleep their child is getting, researchers suggest discussing this with the child’s physician. Diagnosing and handling a sleep issue is likely to be much easier than addressing a drug or alcohol addiction later on in life.

Drugs and Politics – Do They Mix?

drug policyFresh off the completion of the national conventions held for both of the major political parties in the United States, among all of the chaos and rhetoric of conflicting party politics, were groups trying to gain legislative support for their causes. Interestingly, these included both an addiction caucus as well as the pro-marijuana movement.

The non-profit organization called Facing Addiction sponsored wellness rooms at both the Republican and Democratic conventions, indicating that treating and preventing addiction is one of the few common goals of the parties. This past week in Philadelphia, Facing Addiction co-founder Jim Hood told a crowd of supporters, “My oldest boy started drinking at 14, marijuana at 15 and pills at 16. It went on many years. When he had a fatal overdose before he turned 21, it was soul-crushing. I said, ‘Why the hell was it so hard to get trusted help for somebody who’s sick?'”

Meanwhile, despite marijuana being part of the problem when it comes to developing substance abuse issues in teens and young adults, the pro-pot movement also made its presence known. Led by groups such as the Marijuana Policy Project, these cannabis activists are pushing on two issues, revenue through taxation and personal choice of a substance that is arguably less harmful than others. However, despite the fact that these activists can lobby legislators with the dollar signs of a growing multi-billion-dollar industry, the bigger picture of the damage caused to youth is often ignored.

Such is the landscape of the drug and alcohol industry and the addiction treatment and prevention field – opposing views that cannot function without the other. If nothing else, these signs are a clear indication that the subject of drugs and addiction must be part of today’s political landscape.

In the treatment and recovery field, we certainly hope that more legislators focus on how to help prevent substance abuse and provide help for those who get caught in the trap of addiction. The more funding for research and rehabilitation the more we can cut down the demand for such substances, and the less the legal and illicit drug trade will continue to profit off the downfall of others.

Synthetic Drug Overdoses on the Rise

k2Law enforcement agencies throughout the country have reported that the number of synthetic drug overdoses is on the rise. Synthetic drugs are man-made substances that are created in a warehouse or laboratory, consisting of various chemicals that often have no regulation. They can be found in stores where they are packaged as potpourri or bath salts or they can be purchased over the internet from overseas. Synthetic drugs are especially tempting for young people because they are often easier to obtain.

While the drugs may claim to be similar to street drugs, the side effects are not. Synthetic drug abusers can experience extreme reactions such as hallucinations, paranoia, suicidal thoughts, seizures or brain damage. This is likely due to the mix of chemicals that they are ingesting. The FDA has worked to make the different ingredients in synthetic drugs illegal, however manufacturers are constantly changing the recipes, making it difficult for the FDA and DEA to keep up.

In addition to South Florida, another area that is experiencing a rapid increase in the synthetic drug problems is Washington, DC. According to the DC police department, they are responding to at least 20 synthetic overdose calls a day. The sheer volume of the overdose calls has required the police department to change the way they handle these types of emergencies.

“The crews are now trained to be alert for patterns of overdoses. We’ll send a battalion chief, an EMS supervisor, to establish an incident command and essentially treat it as a slow moving mass casualty event,” explained Deputy Chief Rafael Sa’adah.

Emergency crews warn that some people who overdose on synthetic drugs did not do so because they consumed a large quantity. Some people overdose simply because the chemicals are so powerful that even one hit can send them over the edge and require emergency medical attention. Some of the most common types of substances in this category include synthetic marijuana, bath salts and other similar chemicals.

Krokodil – The “Meth of Russian” spreads to the West

A new opiate-based street drug know as Krokodil (Desomorphine) has become the newest craze in Russia and now it appears has spread to the United States. This drug is an opiate (which is itself derived from codeine) much like heroin or prescription pain killers like Vicodin or Oxycontin, drugs which provide the user with powerful analgesic effects. Due to crackdowns of tradition opiate street drugs like heroin and illegal pharmaceuticals, Russia opiate users began synthesizing an opiate drug first discovered in 1932 known as Desomorphine, which is said to be ten times more powerful than morphine but with effects only lasting around 30 minutes. Harsh opiate withdrawal symptoms set in very quickly after use, causing he user to seek more of the drug and leading the user quickly into a dangerous addiction. Krokodil is relatively easy to produce using household chemicals such as codeine and iodine, which has lead some to compare it to the methamphetamine produced in homes in parts of the United States and South America.

Krokodil has come into notoriety within the last few years in Russia due to its horrific effects on its users. The fast onset and relatively short analgesic effect cause the user to become addicted quickly to this dangerous drug. The drug is often synthesized with household chemicals by users or drug “cooks” in dirty environments usually with impure ingredients. This extremely impure product is usually injected intravenously causing the injection site to become infected and often develop into an open wound or become gangrenous at the injection site. Krokodil also has the effect of drying and cracking the skin and giving it a scaly look and this is where to drug gets it name. Users often neglect their wounds and limb amputation often becomes necessary to prevent the spread of gangrene. In late 2013, Krokodil supplies were confiscated by Law Enforcement officers from users in Arizona. These sightings are the first reports of the drug being seen within the United States and no notable other sightings have occurred but hopefully these incidences are not signaling a new drug epidemic like methamphetamine has become over the last two decades.