Category Archives: Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse

Study Seeks To Shed Light On Marijuana Effect on Newborns

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With the legalization of marijuana in some U.S. states, there’s still relatively little research that expound on the effect of cannabis in human development.

Researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center investigated previous studies on marijuana effects, and they uncover troubling results on using animals for cannabis research. This prompted their study on the effect of cannabis to human embryos, infants and newborns, as reported in a news release.

Published in the journal BioMed Central Pharmacology and Toxicology, the study suggests that there’s an urgent need to examine the link between maternal cannabinoid use and the health of newborn babies. The study delves into explaining tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana.

THC acts on cannabinoid receptors in neurons that repress the normal release of neurotransmitters. THC is a promising chemical agent in treating cancer. Because it affects and stumps the growth of tumor, a clinical study should be done to test the effectiveness of marijuana in human development. This is especially helpful since embryo development is similar with tumor formation, which means that THC compound might affect the growth of embryo.

G. Ian Gallicano, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular & cellular biology at Georgetown and the study’s senior investigator, says that the reason why there is limited research is because marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, which is proven to be a challenge in conducting research. The study started off as a project from four Georgetown medical students – Joseph Friedrich, Dara Khatib, Keon Parsa, and Ariana Santopietro.


Substance Abuse

A Quick Fact Sheet About Benzodiazepines

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One of the most commonly abused substances in recent years is a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. In this article, we will discuss relevant information about the drug, some common names and brands of benzodiazepines, side effects, and dangers of abuse.

What are Benzodiazepines?

This drug is primarily used to treat anxiety, but can also be effective in treating other conditions. It affects the neurotransmitters in the brain that is responsible for communicating with other nerves.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter responsible for suppressing the activity of nerves. It is believed that the excessive activity of the nerves may be the cause of anxiety and other psychological disorders which benzodiazepines help in reducing the activity of the nerves in the central nervous system, thus enhancing the effects of GABA.

Benzodiazepines are used for treating anxiety and panic, seizures and insomnia. These can also be used for:

  • Panic attacks
  • General anesthesia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Depression
  • Sedation prior to surgery or diagnostic procedures
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Drug-associated agitation

Differences between benzodiazepines

There are various combinations of benzodiazepines that help in treating the conditions stated above. The difference lies on the onset of action of each kind.

  • Clorazepate (Tranxene) and triazolam (Halcion) are short-acting agents. The duration of its action is from 3-8 hours.
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin) and alprazolam (Xanax) have immediate onsets of action.
  • Oxazepam (Serax) has a slow onset.
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) and diazepam (Valium) are long-acting agents with duration of action between 1-3 days.
  • Diazepam and clorazepate usually start to effect within 30-60 minutes.

Benzodiazepines may just have one action. However, there are specific benzodiazepines prescribed depending on the condition of the patient. The most commonly used benzodiazepines to treat certain conditions are as follows:

  • Diazepam is used to relax the muscles.
  • Chlordiazepoxide is used to control agitations during alcohol withdrawal.
  • Midazolam is used in anesthesia.
  • Alprazolam and Diazepam are both used in treating anxiety disorders.
  • Estazolam and Triazolam are used to treat insomnia.
  • Chorazepate and Lorazepam are used for seizure disorders.

Side effects of Benzodiazepines

There is a need for patients to be aware of the possible adverse effect of benzodiazepines so that they will be able to know how to best handle the situation once the medication takes effect.

Here are the common side effects of taking the drug:

  • Dizziness
  • Sedation
  • Weakness
  • Unsteadiness
  • Depressive mood
  • Loss of orientation
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Memory impairment
  • Aggression
  • Excitement

Caution should be taken in taking benzodiazepines because of its addictive property. Abruptly stopping the use of this may cause withdrawal symptoms which may include agitation, a feeling of loss of worth and insomnia.

If this drug has been used for a long time and has suddenly been stopped, it may cause seizure, muscle cramping, vomiting, tremors and sweating. In order to prevent this from happening, the dose should be gradually decreased.

Benzodiazepine Reaction with other Medications

Benzodiazepines when taken with other medications may produce adverse reactions.  Reduced elimination of benzodiazepines in the liver may result in the increase in blood circulation and side effects of benzodiazepines.

Antacids may affect the rate of absorption of benzodiazepines in the intestine. However, if administered separately and in between several hours, this may prevent any interaction.

The Dangers of Benzodiazepine Addiction

Individuals who may have become dependent with the use of benzodiazepines usually take another drug to increase its potency. It is usually combined with diazepam and alprazolam due to its rapid onset. Prolonged use of these significantly increases the risk of addiction, tolerance and withdrawal symptoms.

Each year, there is a significant number of cases involving overdoses of benzodiazepines that lead to hospitalization, and in some cases even death. The antidote used for benzodiazepine overdose is flumazenil, which is injected intravenously. To help aid during withdrawal symptoms with benzodiazepine abuse, diazepam is injected intravenously.

[Image courtesy of Literaturegeek via Wikimedia Creative Commons]


Substance Abuse

Florida Attorney General Bans Designer Drug U-47700

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As if the issue on the designer drug U-47700 hasn’t been stressed enough, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi signed an emergency order to ban the illicit substance statewide. The emergency stop order aims to ban U-47700 all throughout Florida, and took effect immediately after signing on September 27, according to a news item.

U-47700 is an opioid analgesic drug that produces different side effects like euphoria, constipation and respiratory depression. It has been circulating in the news because it was deemed harmful and fatal to users. Prolonged use of U-47700 can develop tolerance and dependence, which might result to addiction.

According to officials, the federal government has a temporary ban on the opioid, which is said to be 7.5 times stronger than morphine. Persons caught with the drug will be slapped with third-degree felony charges punishable by up to 5 years in prison when proven guilty and convicted.

Officials at the news conference held at Marion County Sheriff’s Office’s Multi-Purpose Building state that the synthetic drug compound is lethal. It is already noted to be illegal in Georgia, Ohio, Wyoming and Virginia.

Meanwhile, Pam Bondi also told reporters that U-47700 can easily be mixed with other potent and illegal drugs because it comes in powder form. In Bay Country, three deaths caused by U-47700 mixed with other potent drugs were recorded.


Substance Abuse

How Does A Nicotine Patch Work?

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Smoking is considered one of the most addictive habits of our time and can be a difficult addiction to drop. An estimated 70 percent of smokers attempt to quit the practice, but do so in vain, especially when the withdrawal symptoms kick in.

For some, the nicotine patch is considered one of the best ways to kick the habit while keeping the withdrawal symptoms in check. Some smokers said that they get real relief from wearing a nicotine patch.

What is a Nicotine Patch?

There are two varieties of nicotine patches:

16-hour nicotine patch

A 16-hour nicotine patch is used for light-to-average smokers. Though it does not help quench the morning cravings to smoke, the 16-hour patch helps in preventing side effects. However, since the patch is not worn overnight, blood nicotine levels are increasingly low in the morning.

24-hour nicotine patch

Although a 24-hour patch can help you resist the urge to smoke throughout the day, there is a chance that the side effects could be greater.

Before its approval to be sold over-the-counter in 1996 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, nicotine patches were sold to smokers by prescription. Nicotine patches closely resemble an adhesive bandage and they come in a variety of sizes.

What does it do to the Smoker?

It is recommended to place the patch on a dry, clean, and relatively hairless part of the body in the morning. In between patches, switch its placement to avoid skin irritation. Once your patch is applied, wear it throughout the dosage period.

Nicotine patches work by dispensing a measured dose of nicotine into the skin. Because it comes in a variety of sizes, the nicotine doses vary per size. It takes the nicotine three hours to seep into the skin and since it delivers the dose in a slower fashion, patches are to be worn only when the craving strikes.

[Image by RegBarc via Wikimedia Creative Commons]


Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Study: Alcohol May Be Able To Help People With Clinical Depression

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Can a few bottles of alcohol help those who are suffering from clinical depression? New research seems to say so.

According to a study published in the latest issue of Nature Communications, alcohol might be the best quick fix for those who are suffering from clinical depression. They found out that alcohol can produce the same biochemistry as that of antidepressants, as reported in a news release. This means that alcohol produces the same type of neural and molecular changes evident in drugs prescribed to rapidly alleviate clinical depression.

Kimberly Raab-Graham, Ph.D., associate professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest School of Medicine and the principal investigator of the research study, stated that there is now a biochemical and behavioral data supporting the hypothesis that alcohol can benefit those with major depressive disorders.

It is important to note that the study does not suggest that alcohol should be regarded as an effective treatment for depression. Raab-Graham also reiterated that there’s a potential danger in self-medicating with alcohol because it usually leads to addiction and health complications.

The study only shows that alcohol has the same biochemical pathway as rapid antidepressants when tested in animals, which resulted to favorable response. Raab-Graham stresses that additional research is still needed in this area to further provide a biological basis for the natural human instinct to self-medicate.


Substance Abuse

DEA Warning: Carfentanil is a Health and Safety Risk

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A public warning from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was issued regarding the risk of carfentanil, a potent fentanyl derivative used as tranquilizers for large animals. Administered specifically to elephants, carfentanil was linked to several deaths in the U.S. It is approximately 100 times more potent that fentanyl, and is being sold in powder, spray, blotted paper and tablet forms.

“Fentanyl is being sold as heroin in virtually every corner of our country”, said DEA acting deputy administrator Jack Riley in a news item. The drug is believed to be produced in Mexico and may have come directly from China.

DEA is greatly concerned about the possible risk that exposed individuals may have once they come in contact with carfentanil without precautionary measures. Exposure to this drug may cause drowsiness, sedation, respiratory depression and disorientation, the effect of which is almost instantaneous.

It should also be noted that in case of accidental exposure, the individual should immediately be given medical attention. Naloxone is the antidote of choice used for opioid overdose. Immediately administering Naloxone can reverse the effect, which may take more than a single dose until the exposed individual can breathe on his own.

Carfentanil closely resembles powdered heroin or cocaine. For any suspicions of the presence of this drug or any other synthetic opioid, the agency advises the public to take necessary precautions in handling the drug and report the matter to the authorities.


Substance Abuse

N-Bomb Drug Sounds As Dangerous As Its Health Risks

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The use of illegal drugs is one of the pressing concerns of governments across nations. The impacts of drug abuse have long been a major issue in politics, economics, and even family life. While this is the case, the alarming reality stands—there is an increasing number of substances being sold, causing an increased number of drug users.

Drug abuse incidents are on the rise, causing negative impacts to communities. Crimes, for instance, have long been connected to drug abuse.

One of the latest party drugs is known as “N-Bomb”, a dangerous hallucinogen that could be fatal in the process.

Fast Facts About N-Bomb

N-Bomb (or NBOMe) is the common name for synthetic hallucinogens (25I-NBOMe, 25C-NBOMe, and 25B-NBOMe). The drug was discovered by Ralf Heim, a chemist at the Free University of Berlin in Germany. It is classified under the 2C family of phenethylamines (PEA), a class of highly potent drugs.

2C PEA, a drug prepared in laboratories in the 1970s, was useful in scientific experiments and observations of the brain activities of rats. It was observed that 2C PEA had hallucinogenic effects on rats, similar to the mind-altering conditions caused by Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD).

N-Bomb is an alternative drug to LSD, or other types of hallucinogens. It is derived from mescaline, a naturally occurring substance in peyote cactus. Of the three known types of N-Bomb, 25I-NBOMe is said to be the type that is most commonly abused, and is considered to have the most powerful effect on users.

The drug is packaged in various forms: liquid (as a spray), powder, or in paper form known as “tabs” or “blotters”.

N-Bomb belongs to substances that share a core phenethylamine structure. These substances react with serotonin receptors in the nervous system.


Other Names of the Killer Designer Drug

To date, the N-Bomb (scientific name: phenethylamine) is considered as one of the deadliest designer drugs. Just so you know, here are the other names of this drug:

  • Bom-25-CI or Cimbi-5
  • Dime
  • Legal Acid
  • Happy
  • 25B
  • 25C
  • 25I
  • New Nexus
  • Smiles
  • Smiley Paper
  • Solaris

Why Is It Being Abused?

Like any other drugs, N-Bomb is abused for a number of common reasons: to relieve stress, to escape from pain, to experiment, to fit in, to rebel, and to do something out of boredom.

Specifically, N-Bomb, a potent hallucinogen, works as a drug that changes the users’ way of seeing or feeling things. Just a tiny amount of this drug can cause significant changes in how a person’s senses work. This is probably the most common reason why the drug (or any other types of hallucinogen) is abused—it gives the user a feeling of intense elation and euphoria, an incredible sensation of “high”.

Hallucinations make a person feel that the imaginary is one’s reality. The senses go wilder, making you feel that you are mentally stimulated and powerful. Your consciousness, then, becomes more sensitive to the things that are happening. Furthermore, N-bomb has a relaxing effect on the user, causing the person to get more addicted in the substance each time, as the user considers it to be helpful in well-being and social life.

It is said that online dealers of the drug would market it through false advertising, attaching appealing phrases that would make people believe that the drug is safe, legal, and natural. This party drug, as they claim it, would provide the users a different kind of high that feels new, amazing, and wonderful.

This false advertising sparks curiosity, especially among those who are pressured by their peers to try it. The wrong information fed by dealers is the beginning of the interest to try it to experience their claims. In effect, it gets harder and harder for users to take the urge to say no, because before they know it, they are already addicted to the drug.

People rely on the use of this kind of drug, thinking that they would be saved from their problems. They fail to realize that drugs worsen the problems they are running from and create more issues,thereby affecting their health, family, career, and even their relationships.

Effects of N-Bomb

Earning the dub as the killer designer drug, N-Bomb brings about a large number of negative effects in the human body. Among these effects include nausea, loss of consciousness, muscle spasms, rapid heart rate, inability to experience physical pain, extreme high blood pressure, severe fever, seizures, high white cell count, and high acidity level in the body.

Mental effects of N-Bomb include paranoia, frequent confusion, severe auditory and visual hallucinations, agitation, difficulty of communicating and insomnia, memory loss, psychosis, irritability and worsened mood swings, violence, and schizophrenia.

In extreme cases, illnesses attributed to the use of the drug include kidney failure, heart attack, respiratory failure, and bleeding in the brain bleeding.

These symptoms are hard to recover from, because this drug is so potent that it takes a long time before the body can excrete the amount taken in. There are cases wherein long-term abusers of this drug resort to suicide because of severe, long-term hallucinations causing wild, distorted beliefs.

It should be emphasized that all these negative effects in the body may lead to comatose, that may later on lead to death.

Drug abuse, especially those substances that are highly potent, can lead to serious problems other than on one’s health and well-being. Strong addiction distorts the normal processes and functions of the brain and of the other body systems, leading to poor performance in the areas of career and relationships.

Detection and Testing of N-Bomb

Symptoms of the early stage of N-Bomb addiction include the following: rapid eye movement, dilated pupils, irregularities in the body temperature, loss of appetite, and impaired motor skills, among others.

If these symptoms are observed, be informed that there are several ways to detect drug abuse. N-Bomb, like other hallucinogens, can be traced through hair follicle testing, urine testing, and thin layer chromatography. These methods are highly recommended for most types of drugs listed under “party drugs”. Below are brief descriptions of these methods:

  • Hair follicle drug testing is a forensic analysis that has the capacity to detect possible drug abuse in longer spans of time. At an average, this method can detect drug abuse in the past ninety days. In the absence of hair strands in the head, other body hair may be used for testing.
  • Urine drug testing is known as one of the most common methods for drug substance detection. It has the ability to detect not only the presence of drug substances in the system, but also the presence of alcohol. Urine, as a body’s discharge, is a good medium to detect the presence of illicit substances in the body.
  • Thin layer chromatography is usually used to find out if drinks in a given event (e.g. alcoholic drinks served during parties, or non-alcoholic drinks given to an unknowing victim) contain party drugs such as N-Bomb. This method is considered as one of the most common separating techniques of mixture composition in chemistry as it allows the detection of possible various substances, regardless of the percentage composition in the mixture or molecular size.

Treatment of N-Bomb Addiction

Hallucinogen addiction does not have any pharmacological treatments. Once you find out that someone you know is engaged in N-bomb addiction, make sure that the person is given the right amount of time and attention to distract the person from giving in to his or her urge to use the drug one more time.

Family members of a person who has developed addiction should be patient enough in the process because recovering from the use of drugs, specifically of the use of hallucinogens, is not easy at all. Hallucinogen addicts have the worst mood swings, and so the family’s patience is really needed.

It is highly recommended that people who have N-bomb addiction be enrolled in rehabilitation program to help them overcome their difficulty. Because hallucinogens act on serotonin – a neurotransmitter of nerve impulses – sedation would usually be needed to calm the patient. Specialized facilities in this drug rehabilitation will determine the types of activities that can help divert the addiction to something useful and productive such as painting, dancing, and other forms of arts and physical activities.



N-Bomb causes a large number of negative impacts in the body. To think that it is beneficial is a bad idea for the reason that it disrupts the normal mental processes, and even those of the other body systems. While others may survive the ill effects of the drug, others may still experience its effects that may even lead to death.

What should be emphasized here is that no amount of curiosity can ever rationalize one’s interest to try something that can cause serious harm.

It is not a terrible idea to have fun every once in a while. However, the type of “fun” you wish to try and get yourself into should be well thought of. Doing drugs opens doors for bigger problems; and while some may see drugs in a positive light at first because of the feeling of “high” they cause, the long-term effects still do not get cancelled out in the process.

Simply put, illicit drugs are dangerous to health. These substances poison the body organs, causing a person to develop a large number of illnesses that may also be fatal.

Like any other advice we can give to people who have acquired a strong urge to try doing drugs, it is always best to inform yourself of the negative impacts drugs may cause. After all, it is your own body that will suffer the consequences in the long run, and not the people who pushed you to try a different kind of party, which will later probably change your life forever—albeit in a negative way.

Just because you see others do an act does not mean you should also try it with them. Learn how to protect yourself from inherent dangers by choosing the peers you spend most of your time with.

Substance Abuse

All You Need To Know About U-47700

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In July 2016, reports came out of a new drug that was found in the body of music legend Prince, who died on April this year. The investigations disclosed that while it was an overdose of the drug fentanyl that caused his death, there was a cocktail of drugs in his system that may have contributed to the fatality.

The drug cocktail included a new designer drug called U-47700. The substance took longer to be detected as it required more sophisticated laboratory equipment and testing techniques.

In other news reports, concern has been expressed over the drug U-47700, which has been the cause of about 17 U-47700 overdose cases in at least 10 states in the country since the first documented incident in Knoxville, Tennessee in June 2015.

Furthermore, it has also contributed to about 50 deaths nationwide, prompting law enforcement officers to seek an immediate ban on the substance. As of June 2016, the states of Kansas, Wyoming, Ohio, and Georgia have taken action to have U-47700 banned.

What is U-47700?

U-47700 is an opioid analgesic drug that was developed by a pharmaceutical manufacturer called Upjohn in the mid-1970s. It was derived from an earlier opioid AH-7921. It is known to have 7.5 times more potency than morphine. Some of its popular street names include Pink or Pinky.

According to Barry Logan, head of Pennsylvania-based NMS Labs forensic toxicology, U-4770 is a product of several experiments and was developed by the pharmaceutical as their analysts were looking for a synthetic alternative to morphine.  In particular, the scientists were studying the molecular activity of a number of chemical compounds that affect the opioid receptors in the brain. It was not originally intended for human consumption but for research purposes only.

Currently, the drug is produced by companies in China and is smuggled into the U.S., where it is being sold over the internet. Most buyers may not even be aware of the compounds of U-4770 or its dangers.

How Does U-47700 Work?

U-47700 works by binding to and activating the µ-opioid receptor. Like other opioids, it mimics the endogenous endorphins which are found in the body. The effect is the production of euphoria, pleasure, general excitement, sleepiness, and pain relief.  It has been said that the effects produced by U-47700 are similar to those elicited by the opioid oxycodone.

U-47700 also works as an agonist for the kappa-opioid receptor system. As a result, it has become the lead compound of some kappa-opioid receptor ligands including U-50488 and U-69,593 which also have similar structures.

Side Effects of U-47700

The physical side effects produced by the drug includes pain relief, physical euphoria that may be less intense than morphine, feelings of warmth and physical comfort, itchiness as a result of the strong histamine actions of the body, respiratory depression that tends to be stronger in comparison to that produced by other opioids such as heroin and morphine, semi-consciousness or unconsciousness, sedation, cough suppression, constipation, urinary retention, pupil constriction, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech, flushed skin, and decreased libido.

The drug also affects cognition and behavior. Some of the effects include overwhelming feelings of emotional bliss and happiness, suppression of anxiety, impaired judgment, confusion, and compulsive redosing or addiction.

U-47700 also produces after effects that occur after the peak has passed or during the “comedown” or “crash.” These effects include cognitive fatigue, thought deceleration, anxiety, depression, and irritability.

Potential for Toxicity and Long-Term Damage

Because of its potency, it can produce long-term effects that include diminished libido and memory loss.

It has the potential to produce lethal effects when used in conjunction with depressants such as alcohol and benzodiazepines.

In addition, the nasal administration (snorting) of the drug’s crystals can cause damage to the mucous membranes. If vaporized, however, it can seriously harm the lungs.

Potential for Tolerance and Addiction

Chronic use of U-47700 can lead to dependence and addiction. As with other opioids, it is considered to have a high potential for abuse and can cause psychological dependence among users. When tolerance sets in, users will have to keep increasing the dose consumed. This puts them at a higher risk of fatal overdose.

Users who develop an addiction to the substance will develop compulsive patterns and will keep seeking ways to use the drug despite knowledge of its ill-effects. When the use is stopped abruptly, they are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms.

Dangerous Drug Interactions

The use of U-47700 in conjunction with other drugs or substances can produce serious and life-threatening effects. Some of the drugs that are known to be potentially dangerous when combined with U-47700 are the following:


When U-47700 is used with depressants, there is an increased risk of developing fatal respiratory depression, muscle relaxation, sedation, loss of consciousness, and amnesia.


The combination of U-47700 and any form of dissociatives can induce vomiting during unconsciousness. This episode can trigger suffocation and death.


Generally, stimulants and depressants are dangerous combinations. When U-47700 is used in conjunction with any stimulant, there is an increased risk of excessive intoxication. Stimulants reduce the sedative effect of U-47700. However, when the effects of the stimulant wear off, the effects of U-47700 are considerably increased. This is potentially dangerous.

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

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

U-47700 Similarity to Heroin

According to the World Drug Report published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, addiction to U-47700 and other synthetic opioids in the U.S. is increasing even as these are used to replace heroin. These may be due to the availability and accessibility of U-47700 in the country.

Because U-47700 is available in both powder and granular form, it is relatively easier to use and abuse compared to other prescription opioids. This is because the latter are formulated to prevent abuse and are difficult to inject or snort. Thus, U-47700 is fast becoming a drug of choice among opioid addicts.

Some evidence suggests that the drug also induces a euphoric high that is similar to heroin although the effects last for a shorter period. This may be one of the reasons why it is also becoming an alternative drug among heroin users.


U-47700 now represents a part of the growing crisis of opioid addiction in the country. As with most synthetic drugs, law enforcers and lawmakers are struggling to cope with the developments of the drug trade in the market and are trying to pass immediate measures to classify and ban the substance.

Substance Abuse

Federal Bill Proposal Aims To Create Database of Designer Drugs

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drugs prescription pills abuse

Brooklyn Rep. Nydia Velazquez recently introduced a bill to allocate $2.5 million in federal funding to start an outreach and educational campaign, as national efforts against synthetic drugs continue to push on. The bill aims to help in the campaign to combat synthetic drug use, and develop a comprehensive database of designer drugs that will require the help of several government agencies.

In a news statement, Velasquez said that this is in response to the surge of overdose cases in July, which rendered the busy streets of New York looking like a scene out of a Walking Dead episode. In a single week, more than 130 victims have been recorded to have suffered from health problems due to the use of synthetic drugs. This prompted Velasquez to create a bill that will help in funding her cause.

This fight against the epidemic of synthetic drugs includes unregulated chemicals that can cause adverse side effects and increase danger for other users.

The bill is entitled “Synthetic Drug Overdose Prevention and Education Act”, and it requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop necessary measures and comprehensive strategies to prevent the use of synthetic drugs. CDC will have a year to come up with new strategies in the rehabilitation of the users. The proposed bill now calls for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) together with Secretary of Health to jointly develop a national database for synthetic drugs.


Substance Abuse

What is Clonazolam and Why Is It Dangerous?

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Another drug that has recently become popular among benzodiazepine users is one called Clonazolam. This is currently being sold online as a designer drug and is easily accessible through online vendors.

Various forums and threads such as those found on Reddit discuss accounts of user’s experiences when using the drug. They also exchange information as to how and where to purchase it, as well as its effects, advantages and disadvantages. Some threads also show users comparing the drug with others of the same class such as Etizolam and Xanax. The number of entries would probably surprise a reader as to the number of people who are probably hooked on benzodiazepines and are always looking for new ones that could work better than the previous drug.

What are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines, also known as “benzos” are a class of psychoactive drugs that affect the neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The drug acts as a sedative, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, and muscle relaxant. These drugs are medically prescribed for conditions such as anxiety, agitation, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, seizure control, muscle relaxation, and inducing sleep before surgical procedures.

When used appropriately and for a short duration, benzodiazepines are relatively safe. However, they have the potential for developing tolerance, dependence, and abuse. Long-term use can cause impairment and unpleasant behavioral effects such as aggression and rebound anxiety. The sleep-inducing properties of benzodiazepines have also been found to decrease in effect for users who have been taking for a relatively long time.

Some of the most familiar names are Valium, Xanax, and Ativan. While there are approximately more than 2,000 benzodiazepines that have been produced and are available in the market today, only 15 of these have been currently approved in the United States. New types, however, have come out and are sold over the internet. One of which is the drug called Clonazolam that is also becoming a trend among benzodiazepine chronic users.

What is Clonazolam?

Clonazolam, also known as Clonitrazolam is a medium-duration psychoactive drug that also belongs to the class of benzodiazepines. It produces anxiolytic, sedative, hypnotic, muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant, depressant, and amnesic effects. It is a derivative of the FDA-approved benzodiazepines clonazepam and alprazolam.

Compared to the other mentioned drugs, however, clonazolam has been reported to be more fast-acting and its effects can be felt within 20 to 60 minutes. It also has the reputation of being highly potent as it produces very strong sedation and effects even when taken in small doses such as 0.5 mg. As such, it may be more dangerous that the other benzodiazepines available in the market.

As with most benzodiazepines, abrupt discontinuation of use can pose serious threats to the frequent users including seizures and sudden death. It is medically recommended that one’s dose is tapered off gradually before it is stopped altogether. Quitting clonazolam abruptly may produce intensive withdrawal effects.

Effects of Clonazolam

The physical effects of clonazolam include extreme sedation which can result in severe lethargy. It has been reported that some users may feel extremely sleep deprived and may even feel as though they are on the verge of passing out. This forces them to avoid engaging in regular activities. This may cause them to fall into complete unconsciousness.

The other physical and cognitive effects include respiratory depression,  dizziness, muscle relaxation, seizure control, spasms control,  loss of coordination, amnesia,  impaired cognitive skills, impaired motor skills, lapses in judgement, thought deceleration, and reduced reaction time.

Long-term use of clonazolam can result in increased seizures among epileptics, aggression, increased anxiety, violent behavior, loss of impulse control, irritability, and suicidal tendencies. These effects have been observed among recreational users, people diagnosed with mental disorders, elderly patients, and those who take the drug at high doses.

Potential for Tolerance and Addiction

Compared to other benzodiazepines, clonazolam has been found to be both physically and psychologically addictive. Tolerance may develop within a few days of continuous use.

As with characteristics of other tranquilizers or sedatives, withdrawal symptoms may be experienced by the patient or user when consumption is ceased abruptly. To avoid this, users are advised to observe a gradual reduction in dosage instead of stopping the use immediately.

Because of clonazolam’s potent sedating effects, the withdrawal symptoms may be more severe. There is an increased risk for hypertension, seizures, and death. Painkillers such as tramadol should be avoided during the withdrawal period.

Potential for Dangerous Interactions

Clonazolam can be dangerous when used in conjunction with other pharmaceutical preparations. The combined effect can produce life-threatening results. Some of the drugs that may produce some dangerous interactions when used with clonazolam are the following:


The combination of clonazolam and depressants such as alcohol, barbiturates, and opioids can cause fatal respiratory depression. Depressants have the tendency to maximize the sedative and muscle relaxant effects of clonazolam. The combined effect can produce unexpected loss of consciousness when taken at higher doses. There is also the increased risk of vomiting during sedation which can lead to suffocation and death.


When combined with any form of dissociative, there arises a risk of vomiting during unconsciousness. This can also lead to suffocation and death.


It is never advisable to combine stimulants with benzodiazepines. Stimulants alter the effect of benzodiazepines by decreasing their sedative effects. However, once the stimulant wears off, the effects produced by benzodiazepines are increased. When using both cannot be avoided, users should strictly limit the dosage of the benzodiazepine.


In recent years, novel benzodiazepines have also proliferated as part of designer drugs sold online or in the black market. They are very accessible and can be bought at a minimal cost, making them very attractive to recreational users and to those who practice self-medication.

Because most of these drugs do not have recognized medical purposes and are not medically prescribed in other countries, they can cause great harm to those who use the drugs recreationally. As such, law enforcers and the public in general should be forewarned of the dangers of these substances as they have a high potential for abuse that may lead to fatal consequences.