Category Archives: Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse

Self-Medication Using Kratom Not Advisable

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With Canada on the verge of a fentanyl crisis, drug abusers are now focusing their sights on kratom as an alternative for quitting the habit.

Kratom comes from Southeast Asia but is readily available in some shops in Canada and online stores. The plant, which is dried and available in different concentrations, is said to minimize the side effects of quitting opiates as well as opioid withdrawal.

However, Alberta Health Services psychiatrist Nicholas Mitche warned on using kratom as a way to fight addiction. In a news release, Mitche bared that taking the drug can be lethal and the user may end up in the hospital with psychotic symptoms. This is because kratom contains other undesirable compounds, and the concentrations may vary from plant to plant. The effect may also be different from one person to another.

Even if kratom can be used in fighting addiction, there is still not enough research to back it up. Mitche said that there is no scientific evidence that shows whether kratom is effective. “We do not have enough scientific evidence to know if it is effective or not. If it was regulated, we need good studies on its efficacy and risk and we just don’t have those studies.” Mitche said.

The controversial substance has been firing up the news recently, especially with the recent kratom ban lift by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

[Image courtesy of ThorPorre via Wikimedia Creative Commons]

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Substance Abuse

Rate of Naloxone Use Increasing Due To More Designer Drug Overdose Cases

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Naloxone is a medication known to reverse and block the effect of opioids such as loss of consciousness, drowsiness and shallow breathing. It is popular for emergency use in treating narcotic overdose. Recently, the rate of naloxone use has been increasing steadily especially in light of more cases of designer drug overdose.

Since the beginning of September 2016, there have been more case of naloxone rescues just in New Jersey’s Cape May, according to a news item. This is in response to the new designer drugs roaming the streets of Cape May, which has already resulted to 10 fatalities.

The new street drug causing the 97 total overdoses for this year is said to be the synthetic opioid U-47700. The fatal opioid usually comes as a mixture of fentanyl and heroin, and causes the user to have an altered state of mind. The Drug Enforcement Administration has already banned U-47700 in November this year.

According to reports, Cape May police authorities have been administering naloxone, carrying multiple doses for quick deployment.

[Image by Intropin via Wikimedia Creative Commons]

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Substance Abuse

Recreational Marijuana Legalized in Four Additional U.S. States After November 8 Vote

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More states in the United States are legalizing the use, sale, possession and cultivation of marijuana, and this became more evident after the November 8 ballot wherein four additional U.S. states have voted in favor of recreational marijuana use.

Despite the inclusion of cannabis in the Schedule 1 controlled substances category, this didn’t hamper the legalization of recreational marijuana on the states of Nevada, Maine, California and Massachusetts, which voted last November 8 for the affirmative.

Here are some of the details involving the votes:

  • Massachusetts: 54 percent voted for the legalization of recreational marijuana. However, they all agreed that regularization of the drug is of utmost importance.
  • California: 56 percent voted yes to recreational pot, but legalization is limited to individuals 21 years of age and older.
  • Nevada: 54 percent voted for the legalization of cannabis for recreational use. Same as in California, Nevada is making legal the use, possession, cultivation and sale of marijuana only to people at least 21 years of age.
  • Maine: 3 percent voted for recreational marijuana use. The state of Maine only allows people over the age of 21 to use, cultivate and sell the substance.

The rest of the U.S. is waiting for the next move of the remaining states that have yet to legalize cannabis for medical or recreational purposes. Until then, marijuana remains to be illegal in these states.

Substance Abuse

What Are Study Drugs and Why Are They Abused?

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People seem to busier than usual these days, to a point when 24 hours in a day may seem too short. A lot of people in the workforce employees would drag their feet every morning to make sure that they leave the house before heavy traffic hits the streets. By the time they get to their office, tons of paper work and scheduled meetings after office hours are waiting for them.

The same is true with students who need to accomplish so many responsibilities in an out of campus. The hectic schedules and demanding commitments have led some students and professionals to resort to something that’s not legally prescribed but seems to be working for them: study drugs.

What are study drugs?

Study drugs are stimulants that are used inappropriately to help enhance mental focus such as memory, motivation, alertness, attention, concentration and productivity that helps in studying.

study-drugs

These drugs – also known as “smart drugs”, “cognitive enhancers” and “neuro enhancers” – are designed to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). When these drugs are used without any prescription, these can pose danger to an individual’s health. In fact, any substance that is taken without a medical advice or prescription is considered illegal and dangerous.

These drugs are referred to as “nootropic”, which translates to “mind affecting”. This term was coined by a Romanian psychologist, Corneliu E. Giurgea back in 1972.

How Study Drugs Affect the Brain

Stimulants have chemical structures that are similar to some neurotransmitters. When an individual takes this kind of drug, it boosts the effect of the neurotransmitters in the body and brain. Once this happens, brain activity increases which include increased focus and concentration.

The “feel good” phase persists for only a few hours. Once the effect wears off, the individual may feel disconnected, sluggish or depressed.

Statistics on Study Drugs Use

According to a 2015 study, about 17% of students are taking these ADHD drugs.  Such medications include Adderall and Ritalin, both categorized under Schedule II of the Controlled Substances which clearly shows that these drugs are within the range of substances like methamphetamine and cocaine.

These smart drugs were developed to primarily treat people with ADHD for the purpose of helping them to stay focused to be able to understand better. Being a stimulant, it has a calming and focusing effect on people having ADHD especially when prescribed to be used in a daily basis. This comes in two forms: capsules or tablets.  As the ADHD symptoms improved, people taking these drugs will show an increase in self-esteem and social interactions.

A 2011 report showed that an estimated 5% of Americans illegally used prescription psychotherapeutic drugs between the ages 18-25. While it may appear that we should not be too alarmed considering that it was just 5%, it is significantly higher than those individually illegally using cocaine and hallucinogens combined.

A survey by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids in 2014 reported that there were at least 20% among college students are engaged in prescription stimulants abuse. The most popular drug in the survey was Adderall that is used by 60% among those taking stimulants. Half of the students surveyed said that the reason why they used the drugs was for improving their academic performance.

Why Study Drugs are Abused

Misuse of these drugs are either taking them without prescription or taking the drugs more than what has been prescribed. The main reason why these are misused by some individuals is because of its supposed “positive effect” in improving academic performance.

Recreational use of ADHD medications along with alcohol prolongs the ability of an individual to tolerate alcohol, thus, making the individual drink more alcohol that he can actually handle. In doing so, the individual may not be aware that he is crossing a very dangerous line.

It was reported that the most common source of ADHD stimulants was among friends who are members of a fraternity or sorority which makes it very popular in different campuses.

Since college students may be too stressed to cope up with so many things that they need to do, that they have resorted to ADHD medications with the hope that they can easily absorb everything that they need to study.

First time users may not have the intention of getting hooked on the drug but rather just wanting to be able to cope with demands in school. However, using the drug without supervision poses a high risk of developing a problem.

The pressure that college students feel may be the reason why they resort to using these drugs. They may not be aware of its long-term effects but are just rather focused on what their current need in using the drug.

Adverse Effects of Study Drugs Misuse

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the abuse of these stimulants may lead to:

  • Hostility
  • Paranoia
  • Malnutrition
  • Cardiovascular complications, such as stroke
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Impotence or changes in sex drive
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Mouth dryness
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness

Individuals who may have just occasionally used these drugs may experience exhaustion and depression once the effect of the drug has worn off.

Consequences of Taking Unprescribed ADHD Medications

Apart from the health consequences that one may suffer from taking these drugs, the individual could face serious legal consequences such as fines, serving jail time and consequently suspension from school. In addition to taking of the drug is the increased possibility of committing a crime.

The long-term risk of taking these drugs is dependency and addiction which can lead to various health conditions and eventually can be the cause of death.

The reality in taking these drugs as an aid to enhance attention and mental focus is that those individuals who used them had lower GPAs.

Common Study Drugs

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When we talk about drugs, we would often associate them to party drugs or club drugs. But now, there are various prescription drugs that are misused hoping that it can be their solution of having concentration to boost their grades.

Adderall

This is the most famous of all study drugs. It is prescribed to individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This drug is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine that directly affects the chemicals in the brain and nerves.

Ritalin

Its chemical name is methylphenidate. It similarly acts like Adderall. It is a drug that can help increase attention span and to keep an individual more focused.

Caffeine Pills

These pills can also help boost energy that taking a cup of coffee may not be enough. It was discovered to boost long term memory and pattern separation.

Concerta

Just like Adderall and Ritalin, it is a prescription drug that is used to manage ADD and ADHD and can help increase attention and absorb information for long hours. It chemical is methylphenidate.

Adrafinil

This drug increases blood flow in the brain thereby increasing neurotransmitter activity that enhances attention and focus.

It is currently banned in France but remain unregulated in the US.

Focalin

Its chemical name is dexmethylphenidate. It is a mild stimulant that can affect hyperactivity of the brain thereby increase focus and attention similarly as Adderall and Ritalin.

Modafinil

This drug is specifically prescribed to individuals who are suffering from narcolepsy. This drug helps in increasing blood flow to the brain and makes the user alert as long as 12 hours.

History of ADHD Drug Components

Below are the list of chemical substances and how they emerged as prescription drugs to treat ADHD

Methylphenidate

As previously mentioned, this drug is known by its trade names Ritalin and Concerta. This drug was synthesized by a chemist names Leandro Panizzon in 1944 who then worked at the Ciba Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland. This drug was introduced in the US market in 1956 after it was approved for the treatment of depression, lethargy and narcolepsy by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA).

Dexmethylphenidate

This drug is known by its trade names Focalin and Attenade which contains on the D-TMP for of the drug. This means that there is just a small dose needed to get the same effect of Ritalin. This was first introduced in 2002.

Amphetamine

It was in 1887 that a Romanian chemist names Lazar Edelenau first synthesized amphetamine. Researchers did not find any practical use for this drug that it was only after 40 years that the American chemist Gordon Alles studied the same compound in the hope of developing a new asthma medication.

He tested the drug to himself by using 50g and reported to have heart palpitations, a feeling of euphoria and “sleepless nights”.

It was then proven to have no important effect with regards to asthma. Its stimulant properties were then used to treat depression, weight loss and as energizing pills of World War II soldiers.

The Adderall brand, which consists of 12 different molecular structures of amphetamine, was introduced in 1996.

Lisdexamfetamine

This was developed as an alternative for amphetamine whose effect is longer and has a lower potential for abuse. It is the newest ADHD drug in the market and has received its approval from the FDA in 2008.

Penalties Imposed on Study Drugs Abuse

Since ADHD drugs are controlled substances, those people who distribute, handle prescription drugs should secure a government license and to keep records of the drugs. Possession without a valid prescription is considered illegal.

  • 1st offense of possession – up to 1 year in prison, a $1000 fine, or both with escalating, with escalating offenses for subsequent offenses.
  • Distributing Schedule II substances, like study drugs – a fine up to $5 Million and up to 20 years in prison for first offenders.
  • Distributing drugs in or near schools and colleges could double distribution penalties.

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Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

What You Need To Know About California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act

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The passage of Proposition 215 in 1996 legalized medical marijuana. Prior to the passage of Proposition 64, possession or use of marijuana for recreational purposes was illegal.

Last November 9, 2016, the results have finally been announced: the legalization of recreational marijuana use in California. About 56 percent of almost 9 million people voted for the legalization of marijuana.

Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), also known as Proposition 64, is a law that allows adults at least 21 years of age to purchase and use marijuana for personal or recreational purposes. Smoking would only be permitted inside private homes and within businesses that have sought licenses for on-site consumption. This created new two taxes, which will be levied on cultivation and on retail price.

Highlights of the Proposition

Proposition 64 is a 62-page detailed and complicated document that clearly states how California will regulate transportation and sale of marijuana for recreational use as well as imposing higher taxes on it. However, recreational use of marijuana will not be available until stores have been provided with licenses to sell.

California has until January 1, 2018 to issue retail licenses. It will take some time to be able to develop and finalize regulations that will be applied with regards to growth, transport, tests and selling of cannabis.

Proposition 64 contains the following information:

  • This allows adults aged 21 and older to possess, transport and buy up to 28.5 grams of cannabis for recreational use.
  • Proposition 64 may have been the ‘go” signal for cannabis users to have the freedom to smoke, however, smoking in public places is not allowed. Anyone caught to be smoking pot at least 1000 feet away from school, day care centers or any other institutions where there are children will be fined. The same goes when an individual has been caught using weed while driving a motor vehicle, boat or aircraft.
  • A fine of $100 is imposed on anyone caught to be smoking pot in public and $250 fine for those smoking pot near a school and where tobacco smoking is prohibited. Minors who are caught smoking marijuana will be required to complete a drug education program or counseling and up to 10 hours of community service.
  • Proposition 64 does not encourage children in any way to purchase and smoke marijuana. They are prohibited from purchasing from retail stores. Medical marijuana can still be used, however, by people under 21. It has been strictly advised that all marijuana products should be packed in child-resistant containers and should not allow anyone under 21 years old to enter their premises.
  • Despite the legalization of marijuana use, there will never be any television or any form of advertisements. This would prevent from attracting interest among minors. Billboards that are advertising about marijuana will not be allowed along an interstate highway or state highway that crosses the border of another state. In addition, no ads will be allowed anywhere within 1000 feet from schools, day care centers and youth centers.
  • Marijuana is still considered illegal under the federal law. It will never be possible for marijuana to be advertised in any way. If there would be any change in federal law that would include a provision that may allow advertising in print and all other media, it will only be displayed where at least 71.6% of the audience is expected to be 21 years old and older.
  • The legalization of marijuana is not having the total freedom to possess it. There is a need to secure for a license if you ever want to put up a shop and sell pot. Anyone who would want to grow, process, transport or sell marijuana is required to secure a state license and pay a fee (although, that has not been set yet as of now).
  • Businesses or weed retail shops will not be permitted to sell within 600 feet from a school, day care center or youth center.
  • Not anyone who wishes to open up a pot business may be allowed to pursue with the business. Each one must undergo a background check to ensure that they are free from any felony charges that involved with violence, drug trafficking, fraud or selling drugs to minors.
  • Those who will be selling pot are required to abide by the state’s rules and regulations. The following government agencies should be taken note of:
    • Bureau of Marijuana Control (inside the state Department of Consumer Affairs): This agency is in charge of creating, issuing, renewing, and revoking state licenses for the transportation, storage, distribution and sale of marijuana.
    • Department of Food and Agriculture: This is where the license for marijuana growing must be secured from.
    • Department of Public Health: This is the government agency responsible for issuing license for manufacturing marijuana and testing marijuana products.
  • Selling marijuana without a license can result in a misdemeanor charge with penalties serving up to 6 months in jail and $500 fine. Marijuana from illegal selling could be ordered by the court to be destroyed.
  • Taxes imposed on Marijuana will be higher than tobacco and alcohol. It will be taxed by the state, cities and counties. State tax would be around 15% to levy cultivation on the retail sale of marijuana. Cultivation tax on growers will be at $9.25 per ounce for flowers and $2.75 per ounce for leaves. Medical marijuana patients would be exempted from paying state sale taxes.
  • Legalization of adult use of marijuana may mean huge amount of money coming in. State analysts estimate that state taxes on marijuana could generate up to $1 Billion annually to be used for expenses. This should cover the following:
    • Develop programs to reduce driving under the influence of marijuana.
    • Sponsor youth programs that will include drug education, prevention and treatment.
    • Further research and evaluation on the impact of Proposition 64 on issues including health and safety.
    • The state’s cost for running the program and enforcing its regulations.
    • Provide a training program for Highway Patrols to enable them to determine when a motorist is impaired with marijuana use.

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Public Opinion on Recreational Marijuana Legalization

People have varying opinions with regards to the legalization of Marijuana. For the medical marijuana users, this may put a stop on the strain that they feel from others who see them as mere users and not seeing them as their need to be able to be treated with whatever medical condition that they may have. Now that is has been legalized, their choice of using marijuana for their treatment may mean a progress towards health.

Supporters reiterated that the proposition has standards that would protect the children’s safety while allowing responsible adult use of marijuana. In addition to their argument is the decrease in low enforcement cost and be able to support programs which will be funded from the tax imposed on marijuana cultivation and sale. They see this as a good way for legislators from preventing the use of revenues from their pet projects. Also, they expect that this would decrease black market and drug cartel activity.

We may have been presented with the fact that marijuana can provide patients the needed treatment for their conditions, but there are still a lot of people that are fearful because of the legalization of recreational use of marijuana may influence innocent people and eventually might get them hooked on the drug.

While Proposition 64 may have clearly stated its limitations, still some people worry that there would be a widespread use among younger adults because their “small freedom” they will be able to purchase and use marijuana without worries. Apart from this is the possibility that there may be a corporate take-over as they see it as being a great way to drive in money, thus encouraging more people to use marijuana.

The Impact of Adult Use of Marijuana Act in California

With the legalization of marijuana in California, it would mean raking in millions of dollars annually which will be a great help to cover all the programs that are related to drug research, drug education, prevention and treatment.

Among the workplace environment, employers will be keener in checking the behavior and performance of each employee to ensure that they are giving the quality of job that is expected from each of them, as well as ensuring that the workplace is safe from “stoned” employees which may cause accidents during working hours.

Other States Where Recreational Pot Use is Legal

For many years, marijuana was regarded as a stigmatized drug. Despite the number of appeals from its medical benefits, it took some time before it was legalized. It was only last November 9 when California finally had the “yes” vote.

Below are the states where recreational use of marijuana have been legalized:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Nevada
  • Massachusetts
  • Oregon
  • Washington

The following states have already allowed usage for medical reasons:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington

The District of Columbia has legalized recreational use of marijuana. It allows residents to carry up to 2 ounces of cannabis and own 6 plants. However, it is still illegal to purchase weed in this state.

marijuana use

Conclusion

Prior to voting on whether to legalize marijuana use or not, anti-cannabis advocates may have seen the law as an effective way to keep people from taking the drug out of control since it was not allowed before. Users tend to want to get intoxicated more.

However, with the legalization, this would mean that they will be allowed to use marijuana when they need it. However, there are still rules that need to be followed.

The impact of the legalization of marijuana with regards to the revenue that it can generate will be a huge help for the state as it can start to create programs that will alleviate the government from its costs and will ultimately benefit so many people with regards to drug awareness, prevention and treatment.

Non-supporters are hopeful that by passing Proposition 64, it may be able to create responsible adult marijuana users and not walking cannabis ambassadors for children to imitate. There may be regulations with regards to marketing and advertising which ultimately should focus on protecting children rather than encouraging to take drugs and seeing marijuana as a type of candy available in stores.

Strict implementation of all the regulations with regards to the legalization of recreational marijuana use should be done in order to help protect the community and promote better health.

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Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Heavy Alcohol Consumption in Young Adults Lead To More Health Issues Later In Life

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According to earlier studies, more than half of American youth aged 12 to 20 have tried alcohol drinking and bingeing. More recently, a new study revealed that underage drinking and heavy alcohol consumption show an increased risk in developing alcohol problems and health issues in later life.

Research reported in this news article showed that young adults suffering from alcohol dependence have a high likelihood of developing two to three medical conditions by the time they reach 60 years old. Comparably, non-drinkers may suffer from only one or two medical conditions.

Moreover, heavy alcohol drinkers may also have a higher risk of depression. In a research conducted by Sean Clarkin together with Drug-Free Kids, out of 600 U.S. male veterans, roughly half of them had drinking problems when they were young. Researchers who reviewed the short-term and long-term health records of the veterans showed that there is clear evidence that a person’s life can improve dramatically when they quit on heavy drinking.

Researchers also pointed out that the health records of people who drink heavily when they were young were linked to 44 cases of heart diseases and diabetes.

The study shows an excellent point and evidence that people who suffer from alcohol dependency and alcoholism for more than 5 years may be at risk of lower immunity, which may result to various physical and mental health issues.

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Substance Abuse

All You Need To Know About Quaaludes

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You may have heard about quaaludes from a 2005 revelation by legendary comedian Bill Cosby, but there’s a need to dig deeper into this substance to understand what it is, why it is being abused, and how it is detected and treated. In this article, we will look into quaaludes and its impact on society.

What are Quaaludes?

Quaaludes are synthetic hypnotic drugs similar to barbiturates. Its chemical name is Methaqualone, and is used as a sedative and hypnotic medication.

This drug was first thought to be a non-addictive sleeping tablet but then it was later discovered that it wasn’t safe. It now falls under Schedule I of Controlled Substances, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and has no currently medical use in treatment. Other drugs under this category include heroin, marijuana, mescaline and psylocybin, just to name a few.

Quaaludes are known with the following street names:

  • Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Lemmons
  • 714’s
  • Quacks
  • Soaps
  • Furies
  • Super super
  • Disco biscuits
  • Super soper
  • Sopors
  • Happy tablets
  • Ludes

This drug was ultimately banned in the 1980s, although selling through the black market continued. Quaaludes are odorless, tasteless and inexpensive. If used recreationally, this drug is crushed with marijuana and can be smoked, liquefied or injected.

What is the Chemical Structure of Quaaludes?

The chemical name of quaalude or methaqualone is 2-methyl-3-(2-methylphenyl)-4(3H)-quinazolinone. It is functionally and structurally related to methyprylon, glutethimide and barbiturates.

How did Quaaludes become Popular?

Quaaludes was first synthesized in India between 1950s and 1960s by an Indian named M.I. Gujral to treat malaria. It was first introduced as a non-addicting hypnotic medication that was used to treat sleeping disorders such as insomnia and anxiety.

Years later, the effects of the drug were found to increase the risk of danger to an individual, leading it to become far more dangerous than the drug it was supposed to replace. It was in 1968 when quaaludes have been widely prescribed as a sedative in the U.K.

By 1972, it has become one of the popular recreational psychoactive drugs in the U.S. and Britain. This drug was categorized under Schedule II in 1973 and was re-categorized to Schedule I in June 1984 due to the increasing problems brought about by the use of the drug.

How do Quaaludes Work?

Quaaludes are similar as barbiturates, in the sense that they act as depressants. The substance is usually taken in the form of a tablet or capsule and may produce the following symptoms:

  • Light sedation
  • Euphoria
  • Sleep

When taken in higher doses, quaaludes may produce a euphoric effect and other similar effects found in alcohol. The effects may last up to 8 hours, and they include the following:

  • Heightened sensitivity
  • Loss of inhibition
  • Improved ability to deal with pain
  • Sense of well-being
  • Increased confidence
  • A feeling of relaxation
  • Increased sexual appetite

What are the Adverse Effects of Quaaludes?

It has been determined that this drug is extremely dangerous that is why it is rarely used. The potential adverse effects may include the following:

  • Addiction (within weeks of regular intake)
  • Tolerance
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anxiety and Paranoia
  • Coma
  • Convulsion
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Organ damage
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Rapid heart rate (or medically known as tachycardia)
  • Overdose (and may lead to death)
  • Withdrawal symptoms

When taken orally, methaqualone’s effect starts within 20-45 minutes after ingestion. The duration of its effect may last from 4 to 8 hours, but taking it in higher doses makes the effect last longer.

Tolerance to the drug may be achieved with just a few days of regular use. Individuals who may no longer feel happy being on that “unhappy state” may consider using other sedatives but may need to take them in higher doses to achieve the kind of high that they are looking for.

Individuals who use methaqualone may find themselves wanting to take in a much high dose each time. To eliminate the possibility of tolerance to the drug, some users spend a few days to a week off from taking the drug.

Tolerance for the drug’s unusual high effect develops more rapidly than tolerance to its respiratory depressant effect. This poses an extreme danger to the user as he would want to increase the dose to be able to achieve the same kind of feeling the first time he used the drug.

People using this drug should not be allowed to operate heavy machinery or even to drive a vehicle. The user may become disoriented under the influence of the drug, which may lead to an accident.

Some users prefer mixing quaaludes with other drugs or alcohol because they want to achieve that euphoric effect. This can be dangerous and fatal as it may lead to respiratory issues and suppression of the central nervous system.

What are the Physical Effects of Quaalude Abuse?

Inappropriate use of this drug may harm the normal function of the body’s system. The harmful effects may include the following:

  • Slowed speech
  • Cardiovascular dysfunction
  • Headache
  • Respiratory depression
  • Drowsiness
  • Photophobia or sensitivity to light
  • Paresthesia or numbing of the fingers

What are the Psychological Effects of Quaalude Abuse?

Dopamine is the hormone responsible for the happy feeling that we experience. Using drugs that get in the way of the proper production of dopamine may lead to serious psychological disturbances, which include the following:

  • Depression
  • Delirium
  • Increased anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Mood disorders

How do Quaaludes Affect Social Interaction?

The use of quaaludes may affect the user’s relationship towards family and the surrounding community. Here are some of the social effects of abusing quaaludes:

  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Increased isolation and segregation from loved ones
  • Decreased social interactions

When you happen to notice any of these symptoms from any member of your family, try to investigate further. And if your thoughts are right, there may be a need to seek professional treatment to overcome the addiction.

Are Quaaludes Addictive?

Just like any sedative drugs, quaaludes may pose great danger in getting permanently hooked when taken beyond its usage. Quaalude abuse may lead to physical addiction and psychological dependence. A dose of 600 mg of quaaludes may lead to addiction when taken regularly for just a couple of weeks.

Why are Quaaludes Abused?

It was in the 1970s when people who went to night parties and clubs would take methaqualone together with alcohol to achieve a different kind of high. It was considered a party drug back in the day, and was even referred to as “party biscuits”. During that era, quaaludes were commonly used for medical purposes but the availability of the drug eventually lead to addiction in some patients.

The unusual feeling of happiness has made individuals crave for this drug to escape their personal problems. It has also become a way to bond with friends. Unfortunately, many quaalude abusers were unaware that the continuous use of the drug makes quitting the vice too difficult to do.

How Popular is the Use of Quaaludes?

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, the popularity of quaaludes has declined over the years. However, one report revealed that airport seizures in 2014 and 2015 were traced to quaalude use.

These days, drug users prefer those that have a stronger “kick” than quaaludes. However, it is still considered as one of the choices among drug users in South Africa.

How are Quaaludes Taken?

Some users take as little as 75 mg throughout the day while others would take in 300 mg. However, those who are terribly hooked to the drug may use as much as 8,000 mg a day to achieve that euphoric effect. Many cases of ingesting more than 8,000 mg of quaaludes involved irreversible damage and even death.

What are Some Facts on Quaalude Overdose?

From an occasional user to a habitual user, tolerance to the drug may occur. Once the user crosses this line, overdose is bound to happen.

  • Quaaludes affect the brain and the nervous system, by stopping respiration and blood pressure, leading to an abnormal state of relaxation.
  • At higher doses, quaaludes may cause respiratory depression, coma, and possibly death.
  • Using quaaludes with alcohol intensifies the effect and the danger.
  • A person who overdoses on quaaludes may feel terribly drowsy.
  • With the frequent use of high doses of quaaludes, the user has a higher risk of being terribly injured but would not be able to notice it right away because of an increased tolerance to pain.

The popularity of quaaludes may be dying a slow death, but it is beneficial to know how this drug has become so infamous back in the day.

  • Quaaludes were very popular among college students in the 1970s.
  • Quaalude possession in Tennessee is penalized by a sentence of 8 years in prison and fined for $60,000.00
  • Taking in quaaludes may affect your sex life as it may cause erectile dysfunction in males.
  • It was the drug taken by the character of Leonardo di Caprio in his movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
  • Quaaludes didn’t get into the U.S. until the 1960s.

What are Withdrawal Symptoms of Quaaludes?

The long-term use of any drug may lead to addiction. Withdrawal symptoms soon happen when users finally decide to get themselves clean.

The severity of the symptom may vary according to the length of time that the user has taken the drug and the dosage. Some of the common quaalude withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Fatal seizures
  • fatigue
  • Hallucinations
  • High fevers
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle spasm
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Strange sensation in the limbs
  • Vomiting

How is Quaalude Addiction Treated?

In treating a quaalude addict, it is not enough for the user to completely stop using the drug. The high likelihood of withdrawal symptoms may require medical supervision because these effects may be sometimes daunting to the user.

Users may think that they are capable of leading a normal life with the use of quaaludes. However, once addiction steps in, it may not be as easy to have that firm grip on reality. Quaalude addiction may lead to physical and psychological dependence, and cannot be controlled by the user alone without seeking professional assistance. Fortunately, there are medical facilities that can help recovering addicts get back to their feet.

As soon as the user is admitted to the hospital, his respiration is carefully monitored. Oxygen will be administered if the user is found to have difficulty in breathing. Activated charcoal may be prescribed by the doctor to absorb any drug inside the user’s stomach. Using activated charcoal can enhance absorption and removal of the drug by as much as 60%.

The mode of treatment is primarily detoxification. In this case, the drug is slowly flushed out of the system. This may take several weeks until the user’s health becomes stable.

Treatment for quaalude users does not stop after they have undergone the detoxification process. There is a need to psychologically rehabilitate the individual and help him prepare to face the real world once again.

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Substance Abuse

U-47700 Classified As Schedule 1 Drug Starting November 14

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U-47700 may come in different forms, such as a pink pill like this one.

A little more than two months after its temporary placement into drug scheduling, the controversial drug U-47700 is now confirmed by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to fall under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

This move by DEA came after several reports of the adverse effects of U-47700 use, which led to 46 confirmed deaths, most of which were recorded in New York. The placement of the drug under its current schedule will take effect starting today, November 14, 2016, and will last for 24 months.

During this period, DEA will ascertain the correct schedule placement of U-47700, and is granted an extra 12 months to maintain the drug’s schedule until enough data has been collected and assessed.

It is under the DEA’s jurisdiction and power to implement emergency scheduling of drugs, especially those that may affect a significant portion of the society. In the case of U-47700, the sheer number of fatalities and health risks involved in the use of the substance warranted the agency to perform such action.

The questionable drug has euphoric effects that far exceed those of heroin, but some black market dealers label U-47700 as heroin to deceive unsuspecting users. What’s more dangerous about U-47700 is that it can be marketed as colorful pills, hence its street name Pinky.

During the assessment period, DEA should look into the drug’s chemical composition, its pattern and scope of abuse, and level of risk to public health.

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Substance Abuse

Kratom Ban Lifted By DEA

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The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has temporarily lifted the ban against kratom as many individuals and groups have claimed that it is a great alternative for those who need treatment but without having to worry about being addicted to the substance. Adding kratom to the Schedule 1 list would define the plant as a drug with no currently accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse.

The American Kratom Association said that the DEA was too rash in categorizing kratom as a dangerous and highly addictive drug like marijuana. DEA’s decision in lifting the ban was a move that was highly regarded by the Botanical Education Alliance because it gives room for further studies on its beneficial effects and to prove that, although it can provide similar effects as those of other opiates, it will not pose any danger with regards to drug dependency and subsequent health issues.

If adding kratom to the list is pursued, the use would consequently be limited as well as further scientific studies for medical use. This would cause banning of the plant for at least two years, according to a news item.

DEA has announced that it will wait for recommendations coming from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and from public feedback before it can finally decide on the fate of the substance until December 1 of this year.

There are only six U.S. states ban kratom and its components, all of which remain legal under federal law.

[Photo by ThorPorre via Wikimedia Creative Commons]

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Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

Recreational Marijuana Use Legalized In California After Statewide Vote

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Aside from the brimming tensions in the U.S. presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, anticipation has also reached fever pitch in Proposition 64, which aims to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state of California. As the state with the highest population in the country, California is poised to turn the tides in terms of public acceptance of recreational pot.

The votes have been cast on November 9. The verdict: Yes to recreational marijuana.

California Cannabis Industry Association executive director Nate Bradley expressed jubilation over the state support for cannabis. “Proposition 64 will allow California to take its rightful place as the center of cannabis innovation, research and development,” Bradley said in a news release.

On the other side of the fence, California Police Chiefs Association chief Ken Corney said that they will continue to fight the battle against marijuana use, especially in the recreational scene. “We are, of course, disappointed that the self-serving moneyed interests behind this marijuana business plan prevailed at the cost of public health, safety, and the wellbeing of our communities,” Corney added.

The vote turns Proposition 64 into law, legalizing the sale, possession, and use of not more than an ounce of marijuana by any person in California 21 years old or above. Individuals are also allowed to plant not more than six marijuana plants.

California now joins Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington as the U.S. states where recreational pot is legal.

[Photo by Cooljuno411 via Wikimedia Creative Commons]

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