Testing It Up

Top Cigarette Companies Issue Health Warnings on E-Cigarette Products

Here’s something you don’t see everyday: tobacco manufacturers warning their clients about the hazards of nicotine.

electronic cigaretteThe New York Times recently released a story about several cigarette companies issuing strong warnings about the adverse health effects — of e-cigarettes. Tobacco manufacturer Altria, which produces the popular Marlboro brand of cigarettes, has placed a comprehensive statement of health hazards on the packaging label of its MarkTen e-cigarettes. Here are some of the provisions in the product alert:

  • “This product is not a smoking cessations product and has not been tested as such.”
  • It cannot be used by “children, women who are pregnant or breast feeding, or persons with or at risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or taking medicine for depression or asthma.”
  • “Nicotine is addictive and habit forming, and it is very toxic by inhalation, in contact with the skin, or if swallowed.”

The warning goes on to detail the various dangers of nicotine on human health: “can increase your heart rate and blood pressure and cause dizziness, nausea, and stomach pain.”

Stanford School of Medicine professor Dr. Robert K. Jackler believes that the product warning was issued for reasons other than keeping the e-cigarette customer’s health in check. “Is this part of a noble effort for the betterment of public health, or a cynical business strategy? I suspect the latter,” Jackler stated.

The idea of electronic cigarettes as a smoking cessation method has been disproven by a recent study that said these products don’t help cancer patients quit the vice.

September 28, 2014 at 7:46 pm Comment (1)

September is National Recovery Month

Recovery from addiction is a very challenging terrain that many people are facing. It’s a daily battle of making the right choices and fleeing away from old ways.

september national recovery monthThis is the main reason why the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) is joining many organizations in declaring September as National Recovery Month. This annual observance aims to highlight the importance of support and understanding for people who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Marijuana remains one of the most common drugs that many Americans are addicted to. According to data reported by Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 78 percent of teenagers are exposed to people who use marijuana on a regular basis. What’s worse is that 90 percent of most addictions begin as children reach their adolescent years. That is why the fight for drug and alcohol intervention is being raised by several groups including NCADD.

National Recovery Month is sponsored by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, an arm of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

If you want to support the cause, you may send your donations through this link from DrugFree.org. You may also read more information about the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids campaign.

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September 18, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

Development For Portable Bath Salts Drug Test Kits Under Way

The war on drugs has just been given a major boost through a recent study involving the development of better test kits for bath salts detection.

bath saltsA news release from the America Chemical Society revealed that scientists are currently developing a portable drug test kit to detect bath salts. The illicit drug has been declared illegal in the U.S., but many retail shops and online stores are still carrying the controversial substance on their shelves. This new drug testing technology aims to provide a more convenient way to identify the use of bath salts.

While existing testing technologies that detect bath salts are already available, the equipment used in these tests are difficult to transport and carry around. One bath salt test equipment was developed for field use, but it made use of a mercury electrode, which is dangerous to human health.

The team of scientists led by Craig Banks is trying to develop a safe and convenient drug testing kit to identify bath salts. Their initial prototypes resulted in a testing method that is not only safe and easy to handle, but is also disposable, fast, and affordable. The team hopes that their discovery could be installed in modern handheld devices for better detection of bath salt compounds.

Bath salts are composed of synthetic cathinones derived from the khat plant that is abundant in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The compounds in bath salts create a euphoric feeling, which may later regress to hallucinations, seizures, and even death.

September 14, 2014 at 9:49 pm Comments (0)

Children of Dads Who Smoked Pre-Conception More Likely to Have Asthma: Study

Children are more likely to have asthma if their fathers smoked prior to conceiving them, a new German study has found. kid with asthma

The research looked at the smoking habits of 13,000 men and women who responded to survey questions, including whether they have smoked, when and for how long. They also indicated whether they stopped smoking before conceiving, according to a news release about the study, which found fathers who smoked prior to conception raised the chances of their unborn children having asthma. Fathers who had been smoking longer and fathers who began smoking before 15 were more likely to have babies born with asthma.

Mothers smoking prior to conception was not associated with increased asthma risk among the women in the survey.

It isn’t exactly clear how smoking before conception could cause asthma, but air pollution is certainly a factor, the authors said.

“This study is important as it is the first study looking at how a father’s smoking habit pre-conception can affect the respiratory health of his children,” said one of the study authors, Dr. Cecile Svanes, of the University of Bergen, Norway, in a statement. “Given these results, we can presume that exposure to any type of air pollution, from occupational exposures to chemical exposures, could also have an effect.”

Asthma is a condition that causes the airways to swell, leading to labored breathing and tightness around the lungs. At least 25 million Americans have asthma, and 7 million of them are children, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

 

September 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm Comments (0)

Prescription Drug Fatalities Drop In Medical Marijuana States

Is medical marijuana the key to addressing prescription drug abuse deaths? A study conducted by a professor from Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health seems to conclude so.

prescription drug overdoseDr. Colleen L. Barry, an associate professor in the university’s Department of Health Policy and Management, released a team study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine that links lower deaths due to prescription drug abuse in states that legalize medical marijuana. “As our awareness of the addiction and overdose risks associated with use of opioid painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin grows, individuals with chronic pain and their medical providers may be opting to treat pain entirely or in part with medical marijuana, in states where this is legal,” Barry said in a news item.

The study revealed that states where medical pot has been legalized posted a 25 percent lower mortality rate due to prescription medication overdose. The research used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between the years 1999 and 2010, which showed that the rate of fatalities arising from opioid painkiller abuse shot up within that particular time frame.

Study lead author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber from the University of Pennsylvania shared the details of the research results. “In absolute terms, states with a medical marijuana law had about 1,700 fewer opioid painkiller overdose deaths in 2010 than would be expected based on trends before the laws were passed.”

Meanwhile, the study’s proponents urged for more studies related to this topic, noting that there is a need to determine the long-term effects of medical marijuana in “both overdose deaths and the health trajectories of individuals suffering from chronic pain.”

August 27, 2014 at 9:44 pm Comment (1)

Government Tightens Restrictions on Commonly Abused Prescription Drug

Ahead of International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31st, the federal government tightened restrictions on the prescribing of hydrocodone,  the most common form of painkiller in the country.prescription drug abuse

Hydrocodone, is the most widely prescribed painkiller in the United States and is an ingredient in drugs like Vicodin.

The rule places hydrocodone in a tougher, more restrictive category. Doctors will no longer be able to call in prescriptions by telephone, and patients will not be allowed to get refills on the same prescription, but will have to return to a health care professional to get a new prescription. The drug will have to be kept in special vaults in pharmacies.

The Drug Enforcement Administration published the rule on Thursday and it will take effect in 45 days.

“This is substantial,” said Dr. Nathaniel Katz, assistant professor of anesthesia at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. “It’s a sign of a shift toward more cautious opioid prescribing. This will be an inconvenience to some, but policy is a machete, not a scalpel, and you have to figure out where to use it. I think people will be more helped than harmed.”

Abuse of painkillers now claims the lives of more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined, according to federal data, and the number of Americans who die from prescription drug overdoses has more than tripled since the late 1990s.

August 27, 2014 at 10:22 am Comments (0)

Study: Cigarettes With Reduced Nicotine Don’t Lead To More Smoking

Amidst an early hypothesis that reducing the nicotine level in cigarettes could lead smokers to puff more sticks, a new study claims that it does not.

smokingAccording to a new study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, people who smoke reduced-nicotine cigarettes did not increase the number of sticks that they consume. Research co-author David Hammond said that the participants of the study did not change their smoking habits as a result of the lower nicotine amount. “Our study suggests that smokers are unable or unwilling to compensate when there is markedly less nicotine in the cigarette and when the experience of smoking is far less rewarding,” Hammond said in a news release.

More than 70 people took part in the study, which required participants to be between the ages of 18 and 65, smoke not less that 5 cigarettes daily, and who don’t intend to stop smoking anytime soon. While regular cigarettes produce a nicotine emission level of 1.2 milligrams using nicotine and tobacco testing kits, the reduced-nicotine cigarettes contained as low as 0.05 mg.

The study proponents believe that the study could help the government establish tobacco policies and improve existing smoking ordinances to reduce the nicotine intake of smokers. “Our study may help regulators anticipate the possible consequences of mandatory nicotine reductions in cigarettes,” Hammond added.

August 25, 2014 at 12:53 am Comments (0)

What do you think the most dangerous drug in the world is?

At TestCountry, we want to hear what you think the most dangerous drug is. You can vote on this list of 10 drugs or add any that you believe should be on the list.drugs and alcohol abuse

Share in the comments section what you think makes the drug you voted for the most dangerous.

 

Most Dangerous Drugs
August 12, 2014 at 1:39 pm Comments (0)

Substance abuse largely depends on friends’ usage

In one of the least surprising conclusions ever reported in a study, researchers found that the more friends ex-inmates have who abuse drugs, the more likely they are to abuse drugs. teen substance abuse

In the study, which was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Elizabeth Malouf and colleagues at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia studied the drug abuse patterns of 322 male and female inmates of a county jail, asking them to rate their self-control prior to being released, and to report on their own and their friends’ use of alcohol and illicit drugs in a followup visit one year later.

At the followup meeting one year after release:

  • three-fourths of the ex-inmates reported that they drank alcohol,
  • one-third reported using marijuana, and
  • 28 percent reported using cocaine;
  • 43 percent reported at least one symptom of substance dependence.

And the researchers found that the ex-inmates’ levels of substance use and dependence symptoms a year after their release correlated with the number of friends they had who used substances. Participants with few or no substance-using friends reported less use than they had engaged in before their incarceration, and those whose friends mostly or all used reported increased use.

Dr. Redonna Chandler, chief of NIDA’s Services Research Branch, said inmates might get a false sense of security when leaving prison because they are getting away from an environment that facilitates addiction.

“Dr. Malouf found that prisoners’ pre-release self-assessment of their ability to use self-control to avoid drug use had only an indirect relationship to their actual drug use a year later,” she said. “The finding highlights the fact that many prisoners develop a false sense of security about their ability to resist drugs. Imprisonment removes people from the environmental cues that trigger their cravings, which can lead them to think that they are cured of their addiction. However, when they get out and encounter the cues again, they may be just as susceptible as they were before they went in.”

August 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm Comments (0)

Humor Article Exposes Dark Side of Addiction for Nurses

An article on the humor website Cracked.com sheds light on the terrifying reality of drug-addicted nurses.

Told from a first-person perspective by former registered nurse John Brooks from Monroe, LA, the article explains how it is surprisingly common for healthcare practitioners to be addicted to drugs and do them at work while they are responsible for the lives of patients.drug addiction in nurses

Brooks says in the article that nurses are surrounded by temptation everyday because they not only have access to drugs, but also clean paraphernalia for doing them. And since nurses know so much about the effects of the drugs they are taking, he says, they often believe that they can do them safely.

He talks about how he stole the drugs from patients and how the measures put in place to stop this from happening are undermined by the severe nursing shortage in the country.

It is a horrifying reminder that the temptation of drugs can be too difficult for even medical professionals to resist.

To read the article, click here.

July 21, 2014 at 7:49 am Comments (0)

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