Category Archives: Real Drug Stories

Real Drug Stories

Report Says Counterfeit Medicine is More Common Than People Think

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Incidents of counterfeit drugs being passed off as real drugs in actual medical facilities is alarmingly high, according to a recently published report in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, but even more alarming is that many countries may not even be bothering to report incidents of counterfeit medicine.

The study found that of 169 countries, 127 did not report any incidents of counterfeit medicine. Tim Mackey, director of the Global Health Policy Institute says this likely means that many of the countries studied seem to be ignoring the problem altogether.

Counterfeit drugs, the study found, have turned up in places as disparate as small town pharmacies to major clinics in the United States. From 2009 – 2011, the study found just about 1,800 different types of counterfeit medication discovered through just over 1,500 reported “counterfeit incidents” worldwide.

China reported the largest number of counterfeit incidents, followed by Peru, Uzbekistan, Russia, and Ukraine.

The study’s data emphasizes the need for a standardized procedure and system for reporting counterfeit medicine worldwide, Mackey said, especially since 53% of counterfeit drugs fall under “lifesaving-related drug categories.”

“There’s this global drug supply chain, and there’s gaps in it,” Mackey said. “We really need to make this a global priority.”

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Real Drug Stories

What does 4/20 mean and where did it come from?

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You may have heard people talking about “four-twenty” (4/20) lately. It usually comes up at this time of year. But, if you’re not familiar with the term, you may be asking yourself just what people are talking about.

It is a kind of code among people who smoke marijuana (although it is well-known among non-smokers, too) to reference marijuana and things associated with it. The term “4/20 friendly” means a person or establishment is accepting of marijuana.

In recent years, 4/20 has been associated with the date April 20. It can also be said in reference to the time of day, 4:20 (usually pm). The number combination, especially in reference to the date, has become synonymous with marijuana culture and the marijuana legalization movement.

On that date, it is common for people to gather in a designated spot and smoke marijuana in mass numbers. Even in places where marijuana is illegal, these types of mass demonstrations almost never result in any arrests because they are usually peaceful and it would be cumbersome for police to try and arrest so many people at once.

If you hear people talking about “going to 4/20” they are almost certainly talking about attending one of these demonstrations in their respective communities on April 20. But, 4/20 can also be used in reference to marijuana in general at any time of the year or any time of the day.

Where is it from?

One common misconception is that the date 4/20 has something to do with late reggae singer and marijuana enthusiast Bob Marley. Typically, it was said to either be his birthday or the date of his death. However, Marley was neither born nor did he die on April 20.

On the Wikipedia page for 4/20 [420 (cannabis culture)], the origins are said to go back to a small group of teenagers in San Rafael, California who, back in 1971, met at a designated spot at 4:20 pm each day to search for an abandoned marijuana crop they had heard about.

The teens would talk to each other about their meetings and hunts for the crop (which they apparently never found) with the phrase “four-twenty.” This eventually became a phrase for them that signified marijuana smoking in general. The phrase was eventually picked up by High Times magazine (a popular cannabis culture magazine) and spread through that media. It was also apparently adopted by followers of the band The Grateful Dead.

Exactly how the date April 20 got connected with the phrase is unclear, but it is now an international counter-culture holiday with unofficial events held across North America and in several countries around the world.

This, of course, makes 4/21 unofficial national “random” drug testing day.

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Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Designer Drug Flakka Latest Scourge to Hit Cities

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A designer drug known as Flakka that has been around for a few years is gaining prominence, particularly in Florida, although it has also been seen in Texas and Ohio recently and officials believe it will start popping up in other cities soon.

According to the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Flakka cases have increased from no reported cases in 2010 to 85 cases in 2012, and now greater than 670 in 2014.

Flakka contains MDPV, a commonly abused cathinone and has similar effects on people as bath salts.

Flakka comes in crystalline rock form and can be swallowed, snorted, injected, or used in an e-cigarette and vaped. The duration of the effects of the drug can last as few as three to four hours, but can also linger for several days. It is highly addictive, both from a physical and a psychological perspective.

Efforts to fight the new drug include the Fort Lauderdale Police Department creating a specialized task force loosely known as the “Flakka Initiative” to work with local agencies as well as the DEA, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, about the increasing use of the drug.

The Palm Beach County Substance Abuse Awareness Coalition is also launching a special website next month called dontbeaguineapig.com that will be an educational portal about the potential effects of using such designer drugs.

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Drug Testing Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Investigators Try to Track Down Source of Deadly Synthetic Marijuana

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Investigators in Jackson, Mississippi are trying to track down the origins of a deadly batch of synthetic marijuana or “spice” that sent more than 30 people to the hospital and is suspected in the death of one.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center treated almost three-dozen people since last week for overdose symptoms, hospital officials said. One person died prior to reaching the hospital.

The synthetic marijuana that is suspected of causing the sickness and death is 100 times more potent than pot, authorities said, and is sold under brand names like K-2, Moon Rocks and Snooby Snax.

In addition to the Jackson-area cases, state health officials have also received reports of synthetic marijuana overdoses in Meridian, Philadelphia and Monticello.

All of the patients treated for overdose symptoms have been released from UMMC, hospital officials said.

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Addiction Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Indiana Dealing with HIV Outbreak Due to Prescription Drug Abuse

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Indiana has called in federal experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help with an HIV outbreak that has swelled to 55 confirmed cases and 13 other preliminary positive cases, the Indiana State Department of Health said.

“We are engaging local, state, and national partners to determine where we can most effectively focus our efforts,” Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams said in a news release. “Extra care is being taken to invest resources in getting people off drugs and into treatment, since drug abuse is the clear driving force behind this outbreak.”

Most of the infected people had shared needles while injecting the painkiller Opana, a prescription drug that’s more potent than Oxycontin, the agency has reported, while some of the HIV cases have been linked to unprotected sex.

Indiana’s health department said it has created a public awareness campaign dubbed “You Are Not Alone” that provides information on drug abuse, safe sex, needle disposal and HIV testing and treatment. The three-month campaign began recently and will include radio, digital and social media ads and billboards along Interstate 65.

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Health & Wellness Home Health Hazards Real Drug Stories

States Continue to Ban Powdered Alcohol

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Photo credit: Liberal America

Powdered alcohol seems to be moving in the opposite direction of marijuana these day, with a total of five states having banned the substance, according to the Alcohol Justice website and 25 more having introduced legislation to do so.

Among the states that have passed legislation to ban powdered and crystalline alcohol products, are: Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts has issued a regulatory decision that powdered alcohol is not legal in the state and the Pennsylvania liquor control board voted unanimously to keep powdered alcohol off of its product lists.

Among the reasons for the bans and potential bans are concerns that the powder can be easily accessed and hidden by youth and the packets are also similar to nonalcoholic children’s drink packets. People could also easily combine the packets, mix the powder with liquid alcohol, mix it with energy drinks, sneak it into venues where alcohol is not allowed and potentially snort it.

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Medical Marijuana Real Drug Stories

Study Says Medical Marijuana Smokers Use it to Replace Prescription Opioids

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The majority of qualified patients in Rhode Island who get their medical marijuana from a state-licensed dispensary report that they use it instead of taking regular prescription drugs, particularly prescription opioids.

The revelation comes from a demographic review of patient characteristics published in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents used cannabis to treat chronic pain and 56% said they had used marijuana as a substitute for pharmaceutical drugs, according to researchers at Brown University in Providence and the University of Arkansas.

Over 90% of respondents reported that marijuana was associated with fewer side effects than conventional pain medications.

Most respondents in the study possessed health insurance and had never received treatment for drug or alcohol use and they represented about half of the total number of licensed patients in Rhode Island.

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Health & Wellness Real Drug Stories

Sprout Pharmaceuticals Trying Again with “Female Viagra”

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Even though it’s been rejected twice, Sprout Pharmaceuticals is giving their female libido booster another shot at approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

Aided by a recent lobbying blitz by politicians, women’s groups and consumer advocates, Sprout Pharmaceuticals said recently it is refiling its application for the drug, flibanserin, adding new information requested by the FDA about how the drug affects driving ability.

The FDA most recently rejected the drug after nearly 10% of women in company trials reported sleepiness as a side effect.

If approved, the pill would be the first drug for women who report a lack of libido. But, it has already faced an uphill battle to get FDA approval because of lackluster effectiveness and side effects including fatigue, dizziness and nausea.

However, the recent lobbying efforts led by groups sponsored by Sprout and other drugmakers have begun publicizing the lack of a “female Viagra” as a women’s rights issue.

“Women deserve equal treatment when it comes to sex,” states an online petition to the FDA organized by the group Even the Score. The petition garnered almost 25,000 supporters.

The FDA first rejected flibanserin in 2010 after a panel of expert advisers unanimously voted against the drug, saying its benefits did not outweigh its risks. The drug’s initial developer, Boehringer Ingelheim, abandoned work on the drug in 2011 and sold it to Sprout.

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Real Drug Stories

Comedian Takes on Big Tobacco

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Jeff the diseased lung

Comedian John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, is taking on one of the largest tobacco companies in the world, Philip Morris International.

On his show, Oliver outlined how tobacco companies, including Philip Morris, have sued governments around the world for implementing packaging restrictions and taking other measures to help quell smoking among their citizens.

The comedian also introduced what he hopes will become the new mascot for Marlboro, one of Philip Morris’ most famous brands. Oliver wants Jeff the Diseased Lung in a Cowboy Hat to be the new face of the brand and he invited the brand to adopt the ready-made mascot for its own purposes.

He also invited people to tweet photos of Jeff with the hashtag #JeffWeCan and to upload pictures of Jeff onto Google+ and tag them with “Marlboro.”

You can see Oliver’s attack on big tobacco companies here.

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Addiction Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

US Schools Switch Focus of Anti-Drug Programs to Prescription Drugs

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Anti-drug programs in United States schools are switching things up, focusing more on prescription drugs than illicit drugs and focusing more on the science of addiction than outright scare tactics.

One such program, Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education (NOPE) offers high school and middle school students education about prescription opiate painkillers. Developers of the programs emphasize the of use studies and interactive computer programs and focus on the science of addiction and how that affects the teens who abuse these drugs.

testcountry bannerHowever, it still does employ some of those old-fashioned scare tactics, although rooted in reality rather than the ridiculous fried eggs of the past. One tactic is to play a real 911 call for students from a mother who has just discovered her son’s body. His ashes sit in an urn for the students to look at as they listen to the call recording.

NOPE instructors also teach students how to recognize the symptoms of a drug overdose and emphasize the importance of quickly seeking medical attention for overdose victims. The programs also work to teach teens that prescription drugs are not safe to use other than under a doctor’s orders.

The Heroin Prevention Education program, meanwhile, uses interactive software based on the life of a recovering teen heroin addict who began abusing opioid painkillers after having his wisdom teeth removed and gradually started abusing heroin intravenously.