Category Archives: Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse

Survey Reveals Lower Public Trust Over Safety of E-Cigarettes

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Recent research has proven that people’s perception of e-cigarettes as the safer one to use compared to traditional cigarettes has declined over the years.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Professor Eric Ford, the team leader of the study, said that it is a good thing that people are now more informed of the adverse health impacts of electronic cigarettes despite the lack of action from the government or public health organizations. He also said that public  awareness goes a long way in keeping an eye on the things that could result to irreversible trends on public health, like the use of e-cigarettes.

Sponsored by the  U.S. National Cancer Institute, the study made use of surveys among 3,000 respondents who were smokers, former smokers, and non-smokers in the years 2012, 2013, and 2014. While the awareness on e-cigarettes rose from 77 to 94 percent (a difference of 17 percent) between the year 2012 and 2014, people’s perception that it is safer than traditional cigarettes fell from 50 percent to 43 percent between the same time periods, as reported in a news item.

In order to regulate and discourage the use of e-cigarettes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has started to lay out their plans on regulating and prohibiting the purchase and selling of e-cigarettes especially among the youth.

Substance Abuse

Kinds of Designer Drugs

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The increasing number of designer drugs has put Americans at risk. The 2013 World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) revealed that the abuse of illicit substances continues to grow and more synthetic drugs find their way in the market. In this article, we will discuss the different kinds of designer drugs.

What Are Designer Drugs?

Designer drugs are substances that are manufactured in a laboratory. The manufacturers change the properties of a drug using the tools of chemistry. These substances may not be subjected to quality control standards or governmental oversight.

Designer drugs are manufactured in a different way other drugs are normally created. Should the government regulate an ingredient or element, the manufacturers would change things again so as not to be arrested. But just like other drugs, designer drugs are capable of altering the functions of the human brain.

Where Did Designer Drugs Originate?

Designer drugs are actually not new. Back in the 19th century, a lot of these kinds of drugs were being designed. In 1803, German pharmacist F.W. Serturner separated morphine from opium. In 1855, a chemist named Edeleano isolated cocaine from the coca bush. The isolation and combination of drugs have resulted to the production of new uppers, downers, tranquilizers, and painkillers.

Today, these substances are very common and popular. However, they were once unknown substances that no one dared to study about.

The most popular example of designer drugs is ecstasy. This substance was the result of the synthesis of MDA and MMDA, both illegal drugs. Derived from the oil of nutmeg, these two substances can have various adverse effects such as headache, dizziness, and abnormally fast heart rate, to name just a few.

After ecstasy was outlawed, a new alteration of MMDA called “eve” was born.

How Lethal Are Designer Drugs?

As new drugs are discovered, drug manufacturers will continue to change the form of the drug and the health of the public will continue to be at risk.

Take the case of fentanyl, which is also known as “China White.” This substance has around 1,400 possible chemical alterations. While some of them are used for medicinal purposes in the operating room, fentanyl used in the streets as a synthetic heroin has been linked to more than a hundred deaths on a yearly basis due to its strength. This substance is so lethal that it can be placed on the head of a pin to kill 50 people.

Another highly lethal designer drug is MPTP. This heroin-like drug has resulted to more than 400 cases of Parkinson’s disease, which can permanently disable those that are affected.

These efforts to alter the composition of a drug can produce the same effects and dangers of illegal drugs. Drug manufacturers are doing this to prevent prosecution.

The Growing Designer Drugs Menace

In July 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a law banning designer drugs to cover 26 chemicals commonly used in manufacturing synthetic drugs. Even then, designer drugs continued to become popular. In the last four years, more than 300 different designer drugs have entered the market and wreaked havoc in communities.

Most suppliers have the ability to change the chemical formula of a drug so that it will not contain illegal chemicals, thereby allowing them to sell drugs legally. Most drugs of this kind are constantly changing form and remain unregulated in the online market. It would take government initiatives in countries that manufacture drugs to stop the manufacture and distribution of these synthetic drugs.

If not regulated online, the public can easily access these synthetic drugs. Local government leaders must take the necessary steps to counter the spread of synthetic drugs. One effective measure is by educating their constituents about the dangers of synthetic drugs. They can also provide proper addiction and rehabilitation treatment, and making individuals and establishments that sell illegal substances liable.

According to recent statistics, a total of 200 search and arrest warrants related to synthetic drugs have been issued by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and from that number, 150 were arrested. Aside from that, roughly $200 million in cash and assets were seized. These figures were derived from the 2012 Monitoring the Future Survey of the Drug Abuse Network.

Who Are Prone To Abusing Synthetic Drugs?

The following people are likely to abuse synthetic drugs:

Young Teens

Teenagers aged 12 to 17 years old are susceptible to synthetic drug abuse. They are likely to try out these drugs due to their gullibility and curiosity.

Recovering Addicts

People who are recovering from drug abuse will look at synthetic versions as an alternative to illegal drugs. Given the volatile potency of designer drugs, they could be trying something more potent than what they are recovering from.

Convicted Felons

Synthetic drugs are very accessible in prison and the temptation to try them out can be very strong among convicted individuals.

Kinds of Designer Drugs

Here are some of the most common kinds of designer drugs, and how each substance can affect human health:

Synthetic Cannabinoids

Synthetic cannabinoids are falsely marketed as a safe and legal alternative to marijuana. Popularly known as Spice or K2, these substances are sold together with other tobacco products. These designer drugs also goes by popular names such as Yucatan Fire, Skunk, and Moon Rocks.

Synthetic cannabinoids are sold in huge amounts online to dealers in the United States who in turn repackage them for individual selling. This is considered the second most abused drug among high school students next to marijuana. They contain harmful chemical additives that may lead to rapid heart rate, paranoia, vomiting, hallucinations, and heart attack due to limited supply of blood to the heart.

Since they have a “not for human consumption” label, they are not covered by any legal regulations that govern drugs, even though they are more potent than illegal drugs.

All cannabinoids, which include the synthetic compounds in Spice, are classified together with marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. However, manufacturers of the drug have managed to stay legal by slightly altering the chemical structure in order to create a new compound, which has not yet been classified as illegal.

Because the chemical composition of synthetic marijuana is constantly changing, there is very little data on its effects on the human body. However, those who have abused the synthetic drug have reported various symptoms such as rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion, and hallucinations.

Aside from that, synthetic cannabinoids have also been known to increase blood pressure. In a few instances, it has also been linked to heart attacks.

Psychedelics

Chemical structure of AMT

Alpha-Methytryptamine (AMT) was first developed in the 1960s as an anti-depressant. As a psychedelic and stimulant drug, the drug is known for creating a feeling of euphoria and hallucinations just like MDMA or LSD even though the chemicals are structurally unrelated. Although still legal in Canada and the UK, aMT was permanently classified as a Schedule 1 drug. It is easily accessible online where it is being sold as a “health supplement.”

Another good example of a psychedelic drug is N-bomb, found in the drug LSD. These are lethal hallucinogens that come in either liquid or powdered form.

Synthetic psychedelics can also be inhaled, injected, or used as a suppository. Small quantities of the drug can last for more than 12 hours.

Synthetic Cocaine

Synthetic cocaine is readily available and legal in most countries. It is being sold on the Internet as a “research chemical” or as a “plant food.” It is known by several names such as Mind Melt, Amplified, or Mint Mania.

Synthetic Cathinones

Commonly known as bath salts, synthetic cathinones go by different names such as Arctic Blast, Blue Silk, and Monkey Dust. Bath salts have emerged as a serious and growing public health and safety concern.

When in crystalline form, it is similar to amphetamines and may lead to elevated blood pressure, agitation, hallucinations, and excited delirium.

Synthetic Opioids

Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and ketamine are easily accessible. They are usually injected but ketamine comes in smoke or sniff varieties. They are associated with unpredictable and more severe side effects than the opioids where they came from.

Ketamine is popularly called Vitamin K on the street.

Synthetic Sedatives

Synthetic sedatives are known by different street names such as barbies, blue devils, pink ladies, sleepers, and barbiturates. They are classified as a depressant-type drugs. They are used to alleviate symptoms of tensions and anxiety by bringing the user into a calm and relaxed state.

Synthetic sedatives are classified as Class B narcotics.

Synthetic Piperazines

Originally developed for the treatment of parasitic infections, synthetic piperazines have allegedly caused the euphoric feeling to the users just like amphetamine and MDMA. They are usually marketed as herbal ecstasy.

Synthetic Dissociatives

Dissociatives goes by many street names: acid, blotter, doses, hits, microdots, among others. LSD is a good example of this drug. It is a clear, white, odorless, and water soluble material derived from lysergic acid.

Dissociative drugs may be used as a medical anesthetic. It has euphoric properties that can make the user addicted to it. This type of drugs can be gaseous, liquid, or as a powder, and is designed for medicinal and culinary purposes.

Synthetic Androgens

Anabolic steroids may be administered through injection.

Synthetic androgens have become infamous as performance-enhancing drugs. The most common example is anabolic androgenic steroids. To veer away from prosecution, these substances are marketed as nutritional supplements.

In the absence of clinical studies, there is little information about the pharmacological effects and metabolism of unapproved steroids. Strict regulations and improved education is needed.

Synthetic Empathogens

From the name itself, synthetic empathogens produce experiences of empathy or sympathy such as oneness, relatedness, or emotional openness. They are psychoactive drugs that are different from hallucinogens, amphetamine, or stimulants.

Synthetic Nootropics

Also called smart drugs, nootropics are designed for enhancing cognitive functions, particularly executive, memory, creativity, or motivation of healthy individuals. Coined in 1972 by Corneliu Giurgea, a psychologist and chemist, nootropics came from the Greek words νους nous meaning “mind” and τρέπειν trepein which means “to bend or turn”.

In 2015, sales of cognition-enhancing supplements breached the US$1 billion mark.

Conclusion

With synthetic drug use continuing to grow, there is a need for world governments and individuals to be more vigilant. Proper education needs to be strictly enforced, and regulations needs to be put in place.

Helpful Links and Resources

http://www.houstonbehavioralhealth.com/node/1386#ixzz4UlFaXEyl

http://americanaddictioncenters.org/designer-drugs-addiction/

https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/real-teens-ask-what-are-designer-drugs

http://ncpc.typepad.com/prevention_works_blog/2015/07/synthetic-designer-drugs-affecting-our-communities.html

http://www.houstonbehavioralhealth.com/node/1386

https://www.futuresofpalmbeach.com/history/

http://www.narconon.org/history/1986/designer-drugs.html

http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/techknow/blog/2014/3/12/need-to-know-designerdrugs.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/un-designer-drug-abuse-a-growing-global-problem/

https://www.futuresofpalmbeach.com/addiction-treatment/addictions/synthetic-drug-abuse/sedatives/

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/hallucinogens-dissociative-drugs/what-are-dissociative-drugs

http://www.eurekaselect.com/126868

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nootropic

Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

Teens Perceive Less Danger in Cannabis After Recreational Marijuana Legalization

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teen recreational marijuana

While the rate of marijuana use continues to increase, its perceived danger has decreased among 8th and 10th graders in the state of Washington. This was according to a study conducted by UC Davis and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and published online in JAMA Pediatrics. The findings of the study come in the heels of the legalization of recreational marijuana.

In the state of Colorado, there was also no change in use or perceived harm among teens in similar grades. Washington and Colorado were the first two states to legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. Two years later, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington DC also legalized recreational cannabis use. Just this November, California, Massachusetts, and Nevada voted for its legalization.

The study was the first to make an assessment of the perception of teens regarding marijuana use before and after the legalization of recreational use. The findings were compared to the attitudes of teens were marijuana use is still considered illegal, according to a news article.

According to Deborah Hasin, an epidemiology professor at the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University and psychiatry at the Columbia University, the perceived danger of marijuana has seen a sharp drop in the last few years in the United States, even though there were adverse effects associated with marijuana use in some adults and adolescents. Hasin served as the principal investigator of the study.

In states where marijuana use is still not legal, the perceived harm saw a 5 to 7 percent decrease among students in the same grade levels. However, marijuana use dropped by 1.3 percent and 0.9 percent. Among older adolescents in Washington and Colorado, there were no changes in perceived harmfulness after the legalization.

Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Kratom Strains and How To Identify Them

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Kratom is a tree-like plant that is commonly found in Southeast Asia that belongs to the family of plants as coffee. It has also been used in Thailand and its neighboring Asian countries as an herbal remedy because of its opiate-like effect. It is also known to help as treatment for withdrawal symptoms associated with opiate addiction.

Kratom does not belong to the list of controlled substances and can be bought through the Internet and head shops. This substance comes in different forms such as loosed chopped, capsules and compressed tablets.

Researchers have found more than 20 biological active chemicals in the drug which can pose potential risk on drug dependency. It is now banned in some Asian countries despite its long history of use as herbal medicine due to its addictive potential.

Effects of Kratom

When taken in low doses, kratom effects may take place within 10 minutes and may last from 60-90 minutes. Most kratom users say that they feel a euphoric effect while others have reported to have experienced an uncomfortable feeling of anxiety. Its total effect is similar to amphetamine but with much less intensity. Symptoms include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased libido
  • Increased alertness
  • Increased sociability
  • Decreased inhibitions

At doses of between 5-15 mg, users may experience the following:

  • Analgesia
  • Dream-like state
  • Drowsiness
  • Cough suppression
  • Decreased in symptoms of opioid withdrawal

For those who take more than 15 mg, the user may experience extreme sedation and loss of consciousness.

kratom pills dietary supplements

Kratom Strains Based on Veins and Stems

Kratom can be categorized according to different strains, as well as the varieties of color of veins and stems. The differences of these strains provide varying effects. The strength of kratom may be identified based either on the location or its color strain.

Here are the kratom strains based on stem and vein color:

White and green strains

These strains induce energy and productivity. Leaves from white stem kratom produce more stimulating effects than the red vein variety. The green leaves varieties are believed to provide clearer thinking and endurance. This is the type of strain that most athletes prefer to use.

A number of studies showed that the green vein variety aids in treating anxiety and depression.

Red strains

This kind induces calmness, sedation and relaxation, which is the opposite of the two other strains. After the initial rush of energy, the calming effect takes place. This variety is often used to provide pain relief and as a substitute for opiate detoxification. It is said to provide a euphoric feeling to users.

Kratom Strains Based on Location

kratom abuse

Kratom strains based on location are as follows:

Maeng Da

This is one of the most well-known forms of kratom. Maeng Da literally means “The Pimp”, and was named almost 20 years ago. It was believed that this strain was genetically modified to be able to provide its effects.

It is a popular choice among working men. It has forced growers to produce exceptionally potent and stimulating kratom to be able to provide for the demanding needs of laborers. Grafting became a popular technique in some Indonesian plantations, with the goal of producing the strongest kratom.

This type of kratom has white, green and red varieties, wherein the white and green are more popular.  Maeng Da is popular with those two varieties because it provides powerful mind-boosting and energy boosting effects accompanied with analgesic effect.

This strain has mood-lifting effects. Unfortunately, individuals may develop tolerance easily because its effect builds up quickly.

Borneo

A large part of kratom supply comes from this island, second to Maeng Da in popularity. It has four strains where the red and green strains are the most popular.

  • Red Borneo: This strain has a sedating and soothing effect. It is a popular choice for pain management.
  • White Borneo: This is fairly popular to alleviate feelings of lethargy, depression, and lack of focus.
  • Green Borneo: This is the most popular of all Borneo strains because it helps enhance over-all mood to a euphoric level. It is known to remove aches and pains in chronic conditions.
  • Blended Borneo: This is a combination of all three strains. The individual effects of each strain complement one another.

Bali

This is commonly confused with Borneo kratom, which is more popular. It has three kratom varieties, with the red and green being more popular.

It is one of the most potent and cheapest strains of kratom, which makes it widespread. Some Borneo strains are shipped from the southern or western Borneo and are labeled as Bali as it would refer to the shipping hub of the strain.

  • Red Vein: This is the most popular of all Bali strains because of its effects, including analgesia, relaxation and anxiety relief, which is very similar with the Borneo strain.
  • Green Vein: Its effect is similar to the red vein variety but with less potency. This is good for those who want pain relief without wanting to have such high level of sedation.
  • White Vein: It is the least popular because of its low potency.

Indo kratom

The White Indo Kratom is the most popular among the three strains of Indo Kratom. This type of kratom can be found in Indonesia and some parts of Bali and Borneo.

There are different strains that grow in various regions with varying effects.

  • Super Indo: It is a very unique strain because it seems to retain the pain killing and relaxing effects of a red vein, as well as providing some very mild energetic effects.
  • Red Vein Indo: It has a very powerful analgesic, sedating and mood-lifting properties.
  • White Vein Indo: It is known for its “clean” analgesic effect, which helps in dealing with mentally strenuous tasks easier.

Malaysian

Malaysian strains are not as popular as the Indonesian strain because it is illegal in the country. The Super Green Malay strain is very popular for its bright green appearance as well as for proving energetic and mind-boosting effects.

  • Super Green Malaysian: It has a variety of effects and well-balanced properties such as anxiety relief, mood-lifting property, focus, pain relief, and energy boost.
  • Red Vein Malaysian: This strain provides more pain relief and sedating properties than the Super Green Malaysian variety.
  • White Vein Malaysian: It has the most stimulating and energetic effect among all Malaysian strains.

Thai

This is the less popular strain of Kratom because it is illegal in Thailand.  Most of the Thai-labeled kratom comes from Indonesia. Banning of kratom has nothing to do with its use but rather as a competition to opium business in the 1940s.

  • Red Vein Thai: This is most popular strain among all Thai strains because of its analgesic effect.
  • White and Green Vein Thai: These are helpful in treating depression.

Sumatra

This type of strain is less well-known among all strains. It is often a difficult strain to characterize by effects due to the differences in vein type effects. Among its uses are pain relief, insomnia treatment, anti-stress and mood-lifting properties.

  • Red Vein Sumatra: This variety has anti-stress properties, pain relief, insomnia relief, relaxation and a more sedating effect than the white variety.
  • White Vein Sumatra: A smaller dose of this variety will provide a stimulating and energetic effect. At large doses, it provides relaxation and pain-killing effect.

Kalimantan

It is a province located in Borneo. The difference of this strain from the Borneo kratom is not well-known.

  • Red Vein Kalimantan: This can provide a calming effect that can last for a few hours even with just a low dosage. It is one of the well-known strains that provide a very relaxing effect.
  • Green Vein Kalimantan: It is becoming a widely accepted recreational sedative, and analgesic by users in the U.S. It aids in muscle relaxation and provides energy-boosting properties.
  • White Vein Kalimantan: This is the least well-known of all Kalimantan varieties.

Bentuangie

This type of kratom is processed in a different way and because of this, it provides a different kind of flavor and an increased in alkaloid percentage.  This is a very rare strain of all varieties but is slowly gaining popularity in the market.

It is also known as the “Tropical Blend” for its calming and relaxing characteristics. It is also helping in improving sleep. Its length of efficacy is much longer compared to other strains.

[NOTE: This article is meant for informational purposes, and not a promotion of kratom or its various strains and forms.]

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Substance Abuse

What is alpha-Methyltryptamine and Why Is It Dangerous?

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Psychoactive drugs have made the news rounds in recent years, as more people get hooked on these substances. In this article, we will discuss alpha-methyltryptamine, its addictive effects, and the dangers of abusing it.

What is Alpha-Methyltryptamine?

Alpha-Methyltryptamine (α-Methyltryptamine or AMT) is a psychedelic drug that belongs to the tryptamine family. This drug is commercially known as Indopan, IT-290, IT-403, U-14,164E and 3-IT.  It is a long-lasting psychoactive drug and euphoric stimulant.  Its mode of mechanism has resemblance to that of serotonin.

This substance was developed in the 1960s as an antidepressant by workers from Upjohn but gained its popularity in the 1990s. This was legally used in Russia under the brand name Indopan until it was banned.

It was said that a 5-milligram dose of this drug can be helpful in treating depression.

History of Alpha-Methyltryptamine Development

The following timeline shows the development and rise to infamy of the controversial drug:

  • March 1968: The Bureau of Drug Abuse Control mentions in Microgramthat AMT (IT-290) is available on the street as a “new” hallucinogen.
  • 1997: AMT is briefly available for purchase on the internet through CRSB.
  • Autumn 1998: More research chemical websites emerged as AMT becomes more widely available.
  • January 2003: There was an urgency in scheduling both AMT and 5-MeO-DIPT by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
  • April 2003: Due to an increase in use and health hazard, both AMT and 5-MeO-DIPT are placed into Schedule I through the emergency scheduling procedure. This makes both chemicals illegal to buy, sell, or possess without a DEA license.
  • September 2004: AMT is placed permanently into Schedule I of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act.

Why is alpha-Methyltryptamine being used?

Just like other psychoactive drugs, its effect has been sought after by individuals especially those who might be trying to escape from their personal problems or just merely wanting to belong to a group.

These drugs have the ability to alter the thoughts and moods of an individual. Examples of most common psychoactive drugs include ecstasy, cannabis, amphetamine, alcohol, heroin and cocaine.

How is alpha-Methyltryptamine taken?

The substance is available in orange crystalline powder form, and can be dissolved in water for easier ingestion. It can be taken orally as tablet or capsule in 10 mg to 100 mg. It can also be smoked with dosages ranging from 2mg to 20mg.

Between the two methods of administration, smoking the drug can produce a faster effect than ingestion.

These drugs are often purchased from chemical companies through the internet.

How is alpha-Methyltryptamine used?

AMT is typically consumed orally up to 40 mg in dosage. It will take about 3-4 hours before the hallucinogenic effects can be felt and may last up to 12-24 hours. In some instances, when higher doses are taken, the effect may last until two days.

This drug is popular among teenagers and young adults who frequent parties, raves, concerts and music festivals where the use of club or party drugs such as MDMA or ecstasy are common.

What are the effects of alpha-Methyltryptamine?

The effect of this drug varies depending on the amount or dosage used. This means that a higher dose that an individual takes will result to increased euphoric or psychedelic effecs.

Using 20-30 mg dose, an individual may experience:

  • Empathy
  • Euphoria
  • Psychedelic effect

These effects may last up to 12 hours.

What are the side effects of using alpha-Methyltryptamine?

As the effect of the drug takes place, a user may experience the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Pupil dilation
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Jaw tightness
  • Tachycardia
  • Altered state of mind
  • Hallucinations
  • Emotional distress
  • Increased energy
  • Blurry vision
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Tension
  • Insomnia
  • Diminished inhibitions
  • Death

Why is alpha-Methyltryptamine dangerous?

When alpha-Methyltryptamine is used in conjunction with other substances, it can cause a high risk of danger to an individual. This includes other forms of substances such as alcohol or other drugs.

  • The individual may experience a negative feeling of anxiety or discomfort, which can result to have an outrage. This may last up to several days and can severely affect one’s mental state, thus leading to the inability to perceive well or to make decisions.
  • The effect of the drug can provide a euphoric effect to the user and at the same time cause harm to self and others because of disorientation. Several cases involved users forcing themselves to jump off roofs of buildings or run naked in the middle of the street without realizing what they are doing.
  • Long-term use of any kind of psychedelic drugs can lead to permanent psychosis. Those who may have a history of mental illness are more prone to succumb to such condition. In worse cases, this can also lead to death.
  • The use of psychedelic drugs can lead to several other mental conditions like anxiety, depression and depersonalization.

Over-all, the use of this psychoactive drug can affect the health of the individual as well as his social behavior wherein relationships among family members and friends are slowly being eaten away because of the effect of the drug in the user’s brain.

What is the drug’s effect on the brain?

These psychoactive drugs have the ability to alter the normal functioning of the brain wherein some drugs may mimic or block the effects of neurotransmitters.

The brain is organized into different regions that serve specific functions such as:

  • The hindbrain is responsible for breathing and wakefulness.
  • The midbrain is responsible for learning and reinforcing behaviors such as eating and drinking.
  • The forebrain is very complex. This is responsible for abstract and critical thinking.

When these regions of the brain have been affected due to use of psychoactive drugs, the normal function is altered. Too much brain activity – such as the increase in dopamine release – may lead to a euphoric effect that can be uncontrollable most especially if the user has taken in large doses. Hyperactivity or too much secretion of hormones can be fatal.

The normal functioning of the brain may no longer occur after an individual has become heavily dependent on certain drugs. For this scenario, a proper detoxification process may be used to resolve the issue.

On extreme cases, psychological conditions may be irreversible. In other words, the treatment given to a user may only be able to arrest physical or other medical irregularities.

Is alpha-methyltryptamine addictive and prone to abuse?

An individual may start out as being curious of the drug. The euphoric effect may be a welcoming feeling to the user as he feels numb or out of control without any worries or inhibitions. After some time of taking the drug, though, he may not feel the same kind of effect that he used to.

The next step would probably be taking a higher dose until the certain degree of “happiness” may be achieved. At this stage, the user may have such tolerance to the drug to a point that it leads to addiction.

Diagnosis of alpha-methyltryptamine abuse

Any form of inappropriate usage of drugs can lead to permanent mental health condition or even death. That is why it is best to intervene immediately when a person whom you know is involved in using AMT.

Early diagnosis is a move to save not only the user’s life but also the lives of people who surround him. Individuals under the influence of drugs can do drastic things without thinking of the repercussions of their actions.

If you suspect some powder in your home or location as AMT, you may use drug identification test kits to check the identity of the substance in question.

Treatment for alpha-Methyltryptamine addiction

Treatment for AMT addiction is similar to other types of drug addiction. The patient may be confined to a drug rehabilitation facility where he will undergo a medically supervised detoxification process which will aid the individual in getting rid of the drug inside his system.

After detoxification, the patient may need to undergo behavioral therapy accompanied by substance abuse counseling and therapy. The length of treatment will depend on the patient’s diagnosis and progress.

Continuous research and development of drugs designed to help people suffering from specific medical conditions is under way. However, when these drugs fall in the wrong hands, they may be prone to abuse. If you are in possession of drugs that may have a high potential for abuse, the best way to prevent recovering addicts from having access is to dispose of the drugs properly.

More than wanting to ban these dangerous drugs, there should be a comprehensive public awareness campaign about its dangers and risks to avoid future problems.

Legality of alpha-Methyltryptamine use

AMT is currently categorized under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. This means that it is illegal to manufacture, buy, possess or use this drug. It has a high potential for abuse and has no legitimate medical purpose. Other drugs under this schedule are cannabis, ecstasy, heroin, and amphetamine.

Fatality due to AMT Intoxication

The drug has become popular among high school students and young professionals. The use of this substance has become widespread since it was easily bought through the internet prior to the scheduling on April 2003.

Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department revealed one of the first known fatalities in the U.S. associated with AMT, back in February 2003. Prior to the victim’s death, he informed his roommate that he was taking hallucinogenic drugs from which he was able to “discover the secret of the universe”. Twelve hours later, the young college student was found dead lying on his bed.

There was a 1-gram vial recovered from the scene. It was sent to the laboratory and its initial screening of urine by enzyme-multiplied immunoassay technique found that it has traces of amphetamine. Further research established the definitive cause of death as the presence of large doses of AMT on different organs of the body.

This case of AMT overdose, among many others, prompted the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to have an emergency scheduling of the drug.

Statistics on Illicit Drug Use

About 200 million worldwide are known to be using some form of illicit drugs such as cannabis, heroin, amphetamines, opioids and cocaine. About 8% of youth in Western Europe and more than 20% from the USA are reported to having used at least one type of illicit drug other than marijuana.

Similarly, the increase in the number of individuals using these drugs through injection has aggravated the spread of HIV worldwide.

The exact number of AMT users has not been established as some cases may have not been properly identified due to AMT not being one of the drugs that can be determined easily through regular drug testing. Standard drug tests usually identify the following substances:

  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

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Substance Abuse

Frequently Asked Questions About Kratom

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So much has been discussed about kratom that people have been confused about its uses and legality. Kratom is commonly grown in Southeast Asian countries, and its medicinal use has become popular for years because of its opioid-like effects. It acts as stimulant, depressant and intoxicant.

Kratom is characterized by its alkaloid content, namely mitragynine and 7-hydroxymytraginine, which are the major contributors of the effects the plant. Kratom has been used as an alternative to opiates to people who are suffering from chronic pain.

In this article, we will discuss some of the frequently asked questions about kratom, and the answers that will hopefully give you an informed decision about using this controversial drug.

Is Kratom legal?

Kratom is legal in the United States, after the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has withdrawn its notice of intent to put the drug under Schedule I classification. These days, kratom may be purchased in several key places within the U.S., and even over the internet.

However, there are certain states that have implemented restrictions with regards to shipping. Meanwhile, some other countries have banned kratom because of the potential risk on individuals who take the substance.

Why did the Drug Enforcement Agency want to ban Kratom?

DEA cited kratom as an “imminent hazard to the public” because of its potential for abuse. Back in August 2016, the agency announced that it would make kratom a Schedule 1 substance, the same as LSD, marijuana, heroin and ecstasy.

The decision has been recanted by the DEA in November 2016.

Why is Kratom banned in Thailand despite the popular Maend Da strain?

In the 1940’s, the opium was very popularly shipped from Thailand to other countries. But since Kratom was inexpensive than opium, people have opted buying opium instead. When opium sales fell, this alarmed the local businesses involved with opium, which then became the reason for banning kratom.

Kratom was not banned because of its effect but because of it being in competition with opium.

What are the different forms of Kratom?

Kratom can be sold in the form of loose chopped leaves, capsules and compressed tablets.

kratom pills dietary supplements

What makes Kratom popular?

Although there is no legitimate use for kratom, it has become very popular as a recreational drug. It is said to help improve mood, relieves pain and can be an alternative treatment for those with opiate addiction.

What are the traditional uses of Kratom?

Kratom has been widely used in Southeast Asian countries. People in this part of the world have been using it in traditional medicine.

Leaves are chewed to help enhance appetite, improve energy, relieve musculoskeletal pain, and increase libido. Its leaf extracts are used to heal cuts and wounds, and as a local anesthetic.

Its prominent positive effects include:

  • Anxiety relief
  • Pain relief
  • Mood enhancer
  • Depression relief
  • Motivation
  • Increased focus
  • Opiate maintenance/transitional substance
  • Insomnia relief
  • Immune System Stimulation
  • Anti-malarial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Nootropic

Extract from boiled kratom leaves can be used to treat cough, diarrhea and intestinal infections. People exposed to strenuous activities also take them to increase their energy, enhance mood, and alleviate pain.

How long does Kratom take effect?

An individual taking kratom may feel its effect right after 10-15 minutes of ingestion. The effect may last up to 2 hours if taken in smaller doses. If large doses have been consumed, the effect may last up to 8 hours.

What is 4×100?

4×100 is the name referring to a kratom-base concoction which became popular in 2010. It is a mixture of cough syrup, kratom leaves, cola, and ice. Drinking the concoction may produce undesirable effects.

What is Kratom tea?

Kratom tea is an ancient method of preparation to administer the substance to individuals who seek to be treated or relieved with certain illnesses.

What are the adverse effects of using Kratom?

The undesirable effects of using kratom depend on the amount of kratom used.

  • 1-5 mg dose would exhibit the following symptoms: anxiety and agitation, contracted pupils, itching, nausea, loss of appetite and increased urination.
  • Doses above 5 mg can cause the following symptoms: rapid heart rate, constipation, dizziness, hypotension, dry mouth and sweating.

Is Kratom addictive?

Kratom can trigger a person’s “happy center”, which may produce an unusual high. Some reports say that kratom is taken by some athletes as performance-enhancing drug.

According to drugabuse.com, kratom has an increased risk of dependence by individuals who take the drug. In fact, one study discovered that roughly 80 percent of kratom users find it difficult to stop.

kratom-plant-ban

What happens to the individual who becomes addicted to Kratom?

Despite its positive use to some individuals, there is a risk of being addicted to the substance. Frequent use of high doses of kratom may cause weight loss, seizures, tremors and psychosis.

How is kratom used?

Kratom may be taken orally, inhaled or injected. The powder may also be mixed with water to form a solution and injected intravenously.

Why are there different kinds of kratom being sold?

Kratom is grown in different parts of Southeast Asia. Kratom is being sold under different names based on the location where the plant extract came from.

Which regions in Southeast Asia are kratoms grown?

Kratoms are grown from the following regions:

  • Thailand
  • Borneo
  • Bali
  • Sumatra
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • The Sunda Isles

How are kratoms classified?

Kratoms can be classified according to the location where it was grown or to the color of the veins and stems.

What are the classifications of kratom according to the color of the veins and stems?

All kratom leaves bear the same green color. However, there are three varieties of kratom based on the color of the veins and stems, and these are:

  • White vein
  • Green vein
  • Red vein

How do kratom strains differ from one another?

Each color strain has different effects:

  • White and Green strains help increase energy and productivity. The leaves from white stem kratom produce more stimulating effects than the red vein variety. The green leaves aid clearer thinking and endurance, and help in treating depression and anxiety.
  • Red strains promote calmness, sedation and relaxation. The effect is the opposite of the two other strains. As soon as an individual takes this strain, a calming effect takes place. This variety is often used to provide pain relief. This can also serve as a substitute for opiate detoxification. Users claim to experience a sense of euphoria.

kratom-leaf

What is the most popular Kratom strain?

Maeng Da is the most popular strain because it is believed to be “genetically modified” to provide its effect. It is commonly used by laborers who deal with heavy tasks for longer hours. It is considered to be the “powerhouse” of strong effects. The effect of this kratom strain can last for hours.

Which strain is best in providing analgesia?

Among all strains, Bali, Borneo, Maeng Da, Indo and Malaysian strain can provide the best pain relief without having to suffer with any negative effects, according to kratom advocates.

The pain relief is possible through its two components mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.

Which strains provide a sedative effect?

Kratom can act as either stimulant and depressant, depending on the strain. Kratom strains that can produce a relaxing effect are Bali, Borneo, and Indo.

Which among the kratom strains has mood-enhancing properties?

The euphoric effect is one of the primary reasons why people take kratom as a replacement for the more expensive drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

  • Maeng Da: This strain is said to have the perfect combination of the pain killing effect and stimulating alkaloids.
  • Bali & Borneo
  • Indo & Malaysian

The effect of each strain depends on the quality of how the kratom tree has been grown. For low quality kratom leaves, the effect may not be as potent as those with high quality kratom leaves.

Which strains are used to help ease opiate withdrawal?

Individuals suffering from withdrawal symptoms are given medications to counteract the undesirable effects. Kratom has been used as a substitute because of it being inexpensive and legal (for now).

  • Borneo
  • Bali
  • Indo
  • Maeng Da

The preferred vein color strain is red and should be given in moderate to high doses.

What are the psychological effects of taking Kratom?

The effects differ depending on the type of strain and one’s own personal chemistry. Kratom may be used in treating depression, but not all strains are fit for this purpose.

pregnant women depression sedentary lifestyle gestational diabetes

Strains that are effective in treating depression are:

  • Thai
  • Maeng Da
  • Green Malaysian

Kratom is also known to treat anxiety and insomnia. Strains that can be used for such conditions are:

  • Borneo
  • Thai
  • Bali

Can Kratom be used to treat immune system conditions?

Kratom is said to be effective in immune system stimulation due to the immunostimulant alkaloids found in kratom such as:

  • Mitraphyline
  • Isomitraphyline
  • Isopteropodine
  • Isorhynchophyline

These alkaloids help in suppressing cough and cold and other serious conditions that may compromise the immune system. The preferred strains are:

  • Green Malaysian
  • Borneo

The preferred strain is the green vein kratom.

How strong is the Thai Kratom compared to other strains?

The Red Vein Thai Kratom is the most popular among all varieties of Thai Kratom because of its very potent analgesic properties. Rating it from 1-10, stimulation can be rated from 8-9.5.

Which among the vein colors is the most popularly used?

Each color strain provides different effects. The Red Vein Kratom is the most popular strain because of its high level of potency for the relief of pain, sedation as well as in treating anxiety and stress.

What is an enhanced leaf?

Enhanced kratom leaf has become very popular among kratom users because of its high potency and lack of side effects. Enhanced leaf is used by taking a highly potent kratom extract. It is dissolved in a solution where the kratom powder or leaves are soaked and left to dry.

One of the most popular enhanced leaf blends is known as Ultra Enhanced Indo. Taking this may provide some positive effects like having highly analgesic effect and does not have any side effects.

However, there is a rapid tolerance for this substance. When the individual stops taking the substance, the user may experience unfavorable withdrawal symptoms. The cost for enhanced leaf is more expensive compared to the usual forms of kratom.

What are the average dosages in grams?

  • Mild – 1 to 2 grams
  • Moderate – 2-4.5 grams
  • High – 4.5-8 grams

How can you avoid having tolerance to Kratom if you use it for medical purposes?

Kratom supporters mention “strain rotation” as a way to allow users to continue using kratom as the desired potency for medical purposes without developing dependence and tolerance.

Using one strain for a long period of time may lead to tolerance to kratom. By switching strains on a daily basis, the alkaloid levels do not become stable enough to develop tolerance to the drug’s effects.

What are “wobbles”?

Wobbles is the term often used by kratom users referring to the difficulty to focus the eyes at a certain point without strain. This may lead to headache and nausea.

kratom-effects-wobble-vision

How can you avoid experiencing the “wobbles”?

According to kratom users, the only way to prevent from having the “wobbles” is to keep the dosage low.

Which strain can cause severe episodes of “wobbles”?

The Bali strain has the highest “wobble” factor, while the True Borneo strain has the least.

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We hope this comprehensive Kratom FAQ can help you understand the substance and whether it would work for you. Before taking kratom for medicinal purposes, it is advisable to ask your doctor about it, especially if you have existing health conditions. Always remember that self-medication is never a good option, regardless of the drug that you’re planning to take.

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Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

DEA Puts Marijuana Extract Cannabidiol on Schedule I List

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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified cannabidiol under the Schedule 1 list of drugs. Cannabidiol, or more commonly known as CBD, is one of the compounds that make up marijuana extract and covers the highest concentration besides tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The final rule of the DEA establishes that the drug is illegal, and is strictly prohibited by the federal government, as reported in a news article.

Drugs under the Schedule 1 List of Controlled Substances are those that have very high potential and probability for abuse, those that have no known medical treatment use, and those that are said to be very dangerous to human health. Aside from marijuana, the list also includes ecstasy, heroin, and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), among others.

Also under the same rule, CBD is now identified separately from marijuana to strictly track possible violations. The DEA has declared that all cannabis extracts, even those considered as non-psychoactive oils, are now illegal.

The current clamor of a number of states in the U.S. to push for the legalization of marijuana may be hampered by the recently approved rule of the DEA, despite the medicinal qualities of the drug. The rule is set to be effective on January 2017.

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Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Health Experts Warn Against Alcohol Consumption During The Holidays

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As people celebrate the holidays, health experts warn consumers against unhealthy alcohol consumption during this season, based on their report shared in a news item.

According to experts from UC Davis Health System in California, most people who attend parties are more likely to let loose and drink wine, which makes then more vulnerable to its harmful effects. Moreover, heavy drinkers may also use this season as a chance to drink in excess especially since it is just a one-off thing.

If you cannot do away with drinking this season, here are some of the things you need to consider to avoid high alcohol consumption during the holidays:

  • Drink in moderation so as to prevent alcohol-related injuries or any other health issues.
  • Don’t pressure anyone to drink unless you have a plan of sending him home safely or hiring cab service.
  • Make your party fun for everyone by providing both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Always ready a room to let your guests sleep in when they have had too much to drink.

It might be fun to catch up with your old friends and it might be even more fun to put your hair down and have a good time. However, you need to remember that nothing spells disaster as much as drunk guests who don’t care about safety and health.

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Substance Abuse

Teen Smoking and Drug Use Rates At An All-Time Low

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Researchers from the National Institute of Drug Abuse released some favorable results of their survey regarding teen smoking and drug use. Compared to figures from last year, there has been a significant decrease in smoking among 8th graders to 10th graders.

The decline in the number of drug users from the mentioned age group may also be brought about the decline of cigarette smoking. It is very likely that individuals who smoke also tend to do drugs and alcohol. According to researchers, it is hard to pinpoint what really caused the decline, but this is already good news by itself.

For the past months, a lot of reports have linked illicit drug use with numerous deaths. Fortunately, there has been a huge difference in the number of users from the same age group from 40 years ago. The use of drugs has declined among teens, which should be a good sign that the youth of today are becoming more cautious with their way of life.

In addition, there is a significant decline in prescription drug abuse as well as marijuana use, which continues to plague a lot of people in the U.S. and all around the world.

Here are some more results from the survey, as reported in a news release:

  • Only 1.8% among high school seniors smoke a half pack of cigarette compared to 11% from 1991.
  • The use of e-cigarettes among high school seniors has dropped from 16% last year to 12% this year.
  • Teens are getting more sober than ever, having the lowest level at 37.3% among 12th graders compared from a high of 53.2% back in 2001.

One theory for this may be brought about by the proliferation of online games that have kept children busy. Jonathan Caulkins, a drug policy researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, said that relationships between teenagers and their parents may have become better compared to relationships from the past generations.

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Substance Abuse

Synthetic Cannabinoid AMB-FUBINACA Caused New York ‘Zombies’ Last Summer

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After the scary effects of synthetic marijuana were put on full display in New York City around the middle of 2016, a group of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco discovered the exact culprit.

In a report based on the mass casualty case last summer in Brooklyn, the synthetic cannabinoid AMB-FUBINACA was identified as the chemical that led to overdose and death. The report, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, based the findings on urine and blood samples from victims of the apparent zombie apocalypse in New York City during that time. The compound is said to be 85 times stronger than the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that naturally occurs in cannabis plants.

Report co-author and University of California, San Francisco clinical chemist Roy Gerona explained that the rise in the use of synthetic marijuana may be caused by its nomenclature. “There is this false idea out there that these drugs are safe, because no one overdoses on marijuana,” Gerona said in a news article.

AMB-FUBINACA now joins the ranks of K2 and Spice in the notorious class of synthetic cannabis variants that cause heightened health risks in people. The compound was developed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which abandoned the drug without pursuing human trials.

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