Category Archives: Real Drug Stories

Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Could Changing Dry Counties to Wet Counties Cut Down on Meth Labs?

Published by:


Counties that ban the sale of alcohol (dry counties) tend to have higher numbers of meth labs, a new study by a group of economists from the University of Louisville suggests.

Kentucky in particular attracted the attention of the economists, as the state has a lot of dry counties, and also has a rising number of meth labs. A White House report says that the number of “meth lab incidents” jumped from 297 in 2007 to 696 in 2009.

Researcher Jose Fernandez and his colleagues discovered when they looked at the data that “dry” counties, where alcohol sales are banned, had twice as many meth-lab seizures (when accounted for population) when compared to “wet” counties, which allow alcohol sales.

Based on this analysis, the research team estimated that if all dry or “moist” counties (where only limited areas within a county are allowed to sell alcohol) were converted to wet counties, the number of meth labs in those areas could fall by more than a third.

Although the economists only draw a correlation between dry counties and meth labs, the team speculated why this correlation exists and came up with the following reasoning:

  1. Bans on alcohol sales makes booze relatively expensive and makes meth a more affordable alternative.
  2. Drinkers who get alcohol from illegal sources are more likely to hear about other illicit products, like meth, than they would if they bought alcohol legally from a supermarket or other alcohol retailer.
  3. In dry counties, the punishment for getting caught with drugs is not that much more severe than getting caught with illegal alcohol.

While the data is limited to Kentucky, previous studies show that the spread of meth labs appears similar in other states with dry countries.


Health & Wellness Pregnancy & Fertility Real Drug Stories

Use of HIV Drug by Pregnant Women Linked to Lower Bone Mass in Newborns

Published by:

pregnant diet

A drug used to reduce the transmission of HIV between a mother and fetus may have caused babies to develop lower bone mineral content than babies whose mothers used different drugs to treat their HIV and prevent it from transferring to their unborn children, according to a National Institutes of Health study.

After testing 143 babies, researchers found that pregnant women who received the drug tenofovir disoproxil fumarate in their third trimester of pregnancy gave birth to babies whose bone mineral content was 12% lower than that of babies who were not exposed to the drug in the uterus.

This is significant because proper mineral content helps strengthen normal bones.

“At this point, we can say that those who care for pregnant women with HIV and their children should be aware that prescribing tenofovir to pregnant women could be a concern for their infants’ bones,” said George K. Siberry, M.D., the first author of the study and medical officer with NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Although the study authors described the results as concerning, they did not recommend drastic changes for pregnant women using tenofovir, as the drug has proved successful as part of drug regimens that treat HIV in pregnant women, and often is used to prevent HIV transmission to babies. The researchers say their is a need for additional studies to understand bone health and development among children born to women who took tenofovir during their pregnancies.

“Families should keep in close touch with their physicians to monitor their child’s bone development,” Siberry added.

testcountry banner

Real Drug Stories

Scientists Push to Study Psychedelic Drugs for Possible Medicinal Benefits

Published by:


Drugs such as LSD, ecstasy or magic mushrooms could have potential medicinal benefits for people suffering from mental disorders, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and addiction, a new report claims.

Specifically, ecstasy (MDA) could be used to treat PTSD,  magic mushrooms (psilocybin) could reduce addiction, and LSD or peyote might be used treat an entire list of anxieties.

Dr. Evan Wood, who authored the new report, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, stated that renewed scientific research “is generating new knowledge” about a class of potential medicine that could be used to benefit patients for a few choice conditions, if conducted in a safe, strictly controlled and professional way.


testcountry banner

Real Drug Stories

Company Wants to Make it More Difficult to Counterfeit Pills

Published by:

drugs prescription pills abuse

A three-dimensional barcode that cannot be seen or touched by people could be the answer to stopping counterfeit medication.

Developed by Sofmat, a United Kingdom company, and engineers at the University of Bradford, the process would imprint each tablet with a series of minuscule pinpricks, which could later be read using a scanner to ensure it is real medication and it matches the correct batch and type of pill prescribed to the patient.

This could prove highly significant, as the World Health Organization estimates that up to 10% of medicines globally could be counterfeit, with two-thirds of pills bought online being either fake or sub-standard.

Dr Phil Harrison, the managing director of Sofmat, said the company is in talks with firms in Switzerland and China.

“It allows more complexity than existing anti-counterfeit systems,” Harrison said. “Using a four-pin array we can have more than 1.7m configurations.” Using more pins, and taking into account the recycling of barcodes as batches are used up, the system could allow for “20bn to 30bn variations” so each pill has its own unique barcode.

The scanning device at the prescribing end of the chain is expected to be completed by November 2016, said Harrison.

testcountry banner

Health & Wellness Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Students More Likely to Try New Drugs in Specific Months

Published by:


Students tend to try different drugs at certain times of the year, a new analysis has found.

College students tend to try stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin for the first time in the months of November, December and April. The reason these months stand out could possibly have to do with college kids believing these drugs will help them with their examinations, even though there is no medical data to back up the belief.

The data comes from an analysis of 12 years of government survey data.

testcountry banner
Addiction Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

New Drug May be Able to Erase Memories Associated with Drug Addiction

Published by:


A new drug may be able to help drug addicts by erasing memories they have that are associated with their drug of choice, effectively getting rid of the triggers that cause relapses.

In a study, published in the journal Molecular Psychology, researchers outline how they used the drug blebbistatin to target nonmuscle myosin II (NMII), a component in the brain that is involved in the creation of new memories. By getting rid of memories that are associated with triggers — memories attached to certain objects, or events, will often make addicts feel the need to use their drug of choice — researchers at The Scripps Research Institute hope to make it easier for addicts to live a drug-free life.

“We now have a viable target and by blocking the target, we can disrupt, and potentially erase, drug memories, leaving other memories intact,” TSRI Associate Professor Courtney Miller said in a recent press release . “The hope is that, when combined with traditional rehabilitation and abstinence therapies, we can reduce or eliminate relapse for meth users after a single treatment by taking away the power of an individual’s triggers.”

They injected blebbistatin into animal models along with methamphetamine and found that with only one injection of this compound, long-term, drug-related memories were completely blocked in the animals. Plus, the animals did not relapse for at least a month after receiving the injection.

The team was enthusiastic about its results, finding that this new pathway helps to erase triggers that often lead to relapses. Even more promising is that the injection of blebbistatin can be administered to any part of the body, whereas previous compounds meant to erase these trigger memories had to be injected directly into the brain.

testcountry banner

Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Patients with Severe Back Pain who Also Suffer from Mental Health Issues More Likely to Abuse Opioids: Study

Published by:

back pain - Tony Hall

Patients who experience severe back pain, and who also suffer from psychiatric problems like depression are more likely to abuse opioid pain medication, a new study has found.

In the study, published in Anesthesiology, the official medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), researchers examined 55 chronic lower back patients who experienced low-to-high levels of depression or anxiety symptoms. Patients were given morphine, oxycodone or a placebo to take orally for the pain as needed over a 6-month period and recorded their pain levels and the doses taken daily.

Scientists found that patients suffering from high levels of depression or anxiety experienced increased side effects, 50% less improvement for back pain and 75% more opioid abuse when compared with patients with low levels who reported low levels of depression or anxiety.

“This is particularly important for controlled substances such as opioids, where if not prescribed judiciously, patients are exposed to unnecessary risks and a real chance of harm, including addiction or serious side effects,” said Prof. Ajay Wasan, with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA.

testcountry banner[Photo courtesy of Tony Hall on Flickr]


Real Drug Stories

Drug Dealers Coating Candy with Drugs Now

Published by:

sour patch kids - Rick Cano

Drug dealers have apparently started coating candy with drugs.

Police in Miami-Dade County in Florida have issued a warning to the public after they discovered candy coated with a substance containing ethylone, a derivative of the synthetic drug Flakka.

Police say a drug bust in June turned up the candy, which looks just like popular candy Sour Patch Kids. However, whereas Sour Patch Kids are coated with sugar, the candy from the drug bust was coated with ethylone, which is similar to Flakka.

“For the first time, we saw a case that was submitted in the form of candy where the drug was actually substituting for the sugar coating on the candy,” said Stephen Snipes, who works in Miami-Dade police’s crime lab. “We wanted the community to be aware that this is a new way to market or distribute this dangerous substance, and it is the first time we saw it. And we want the community to know it is a danger.”

testcountry banner[Photo courtesy of Rick Cano on Flickr]


Health & Wellness Real Drug Stories

Marijuana Could be a Replacement for Alcohol for Teens, Study Finds

Published by:

smoking marijuana

Young people could be smoking marijuana because it’s easier to access than alcohol for those under 21, a new study suggests.

Using five years’ worth of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, University of Illinois economist Ben Crost and colleague Santiago Guerrero determined that there was a stark difference between marijuana usage in people who hadn’t yet turned 21-year-old those who had just turned 21.

“Alcohol appears to be a substitute for marijuana,” Crost said. “This sudden decrease in the use of marijuana is because they suddenly have easy access to alcohol.”

Crost and Guerrero also studied men and women separately, to see which gender was more affected by the sudden change in their ability to legally purchase alcohol. They found the change was greater in women than men. Women’s frequency in marijuana use dropped 15 percent after turning 21, while men’s frequency dropped seven percent.

“Whenever there is a discontinuous threshold where something changes, it provides a way to identify a causal effect,” Crost said. “You can compare people right above and right below the threshold. They should be very similar in all other respects, except for that one difference.”

testcountry banner

Addiction Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Heroin Deaths Nearly Quadruple Between 2002-13

Published by:


Heroin overdose deaths in the United States nearly quadrupled between 2002 and 2013, according to a study by the government.

Lower costs and an increase in the abuse of prescription opiate painkillers like Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet helped fuel the rise in fatal heroin overdoses. Abusing prescription painkillers increases individuals’ susceptibility to heroin addiction, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said.

“Everything we see points to more accessible, less-expensive heroin all over the country,” Frieden said of the report, a joint effort by the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The study analyzed national survey data on drug use from 2002 to 2013 and found:

  • nearly all people (96 percent) who use heroin also use multiple other substances
  • the strongest risk factor for heroin abuse is prescription opiate abuse
  • individuals who abuse prescription opiates have a 40 times greater risk of abusing heroin
  • the increased use has fueled sharp increases in overdose deaths
  • As many as 8,200 people died from heroin overdoses in 2013 alone