Category Archives: Real Drug Stories

Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

E-Joints Marry E-Cigarettes and Marijuana

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Photo courtesy of JuJu Joints

You knew this one had to be coming: e-joints.

A device called a JuJu Joint, marries the vaporizing ability of an e-cigarette, or vaporizer, and cannabis oil, which contains the psychoactive ingredient THC, to create an e-joint. But, JuJu Joints also have their own twist. Rather than being reusable, they are disposable. You just take it out of the package and take a hit from it and that’s it. There is no smell or smoke. They come loaded with 150 hits preinstalled and when they’re used up, you just toss it in the trash.

Since their introduction in April, 75,000 JuJu Joints have been sold in Washington State, where marijuana is recreationally and medically legal. The maker says another 500,000 will be sold in 2015 and there are plans to expand to Colorado and Oregon, where recreational use is legal, and to Nevada, where it is decriminalized.

“I wanted to eliminate every hassle that has to do with smoking marijuana,” inventor and co-founder of JuJu Joints, Rick Stevens, said. Stevens, 62, co-founded the company with Marcus Charles, a Seattle entrepreneur. “I wanted it to be discreet and easy for people to handle. There’s no odor, matches or mess.”

However, many addiction researchers fear that e-cigarettes will pave the way to reliance on actual cigarettes, especially in teenagers. Added to that is how some studies have found that THC adversely affects the developing brain and you can see how e-joints could have some people really worried.

Health & Wellness Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

New Study Finds Most Frequent Reason for Calling Poison Centers are Prescription Drugs

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emergency room visits due to synthetic marijuanaPoisonings from prescription drugs are the leading cause of injury death in the United States, according to National Poison Control Center data from 2012.

Also topping the list was poisonings from “bath salts,” synthetic marijuana and laundry detergent pods. The paper was published online in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

“The poison center system can provide real-time advice and collect data regarding a variety of poisonings, including those that may be new or unfamiliar to emergency physicians,” said lead study author Richard Dart, MD, PhD, of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, CO. “Emergency physicians are continually challenged by the emergence of new types of poisonings, which lately include illicit street drugs as well as laundry detergent pods. The National Poison Data System (NPDS) plays an integral role in helping EMS and emergency departments respond to these dangerous substances.”

In 2012, poison centers nationwide recorded 2.2 million human poison exposures. Eighty-three percent of poisonings that ended in death in 2012 were linked to a pharmaceutical product, most commonly opioid painkillers. The total number of prescription opioid exposures by children more than doubled between 2002 and 2012 from 2,591 to 5,541.

The family of designer drugs such as “bath salts” (a type of amphetamine), “plant food,” synthetic marijuana and others continue to poison users severely enough that they require emergency medical treatment. Although bath salts exposures peaked in 2011, new illicit drugs sold to consumers continue to be monitored by poison control centers.

“Poisoning continues to be a significant cause of injury and death in the United States,” said Dr. Dart. “The near real-time responsiveness of NPDS helps emergency physicians respond to new poisoning threats, while also assisting patients who call for help to know when they need the ER and when they can manage things safely at home.”

Real Drug Stories

Top 10 Drug Stories of 2014 in TestCountry Blog

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The year 2014 has provided a huge opportunity to discuss a wide range of drug-related topics ranging from prescription drugs to medical marijuana. As we prepare for the turn of the year, join us as we look back at the top drug stories in the TestCountry blog for the past year:

  1. New Mexico Man Allegedely Rapes Baby to Death While High on Synthetic Marijuana
  2. Ambien Replaces Roofies As New Date Rape Drug
  3. Multiple Sclerosis Treatment: Another Breakthrough For Medical Marijuana?
  4. Indiana Considering Decriminalizing Small Amounts of Marijuana, Tennessee Thinks About Legalizing Medical Marijuana
  5. Middle Age Drinking Leads To Faster Mental Degradation In Men
  6. Colorado Employers Allegedly Discriminating Against Marijuana Users
  7. Vape Pens Help Hide Marijuana Usage
  8. Teens with Mental Illness More Likely to Become Pregnant
  9. Doctors Aim to Study Marijuana More, Ask Feds to Make it Easier
  10. Drug Tests that Avoid Testing for Marijuana Gaining Popularity

2014 was a big year for discussing marijuana and its different angles. With more states starting to embrace marijuana in their systems, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that topics on marijuana will continue to heat up in 2015.

Health & Wellness Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Boston University Publishes Alcohol Stats to Curb Student Binge Drinking

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alcohol misuseIn a bid to cut down on student binge drinking, Boston University’s online newspaper is publishing weekly statistics about how many students had been hospitalized for alcohol-related issues the previous week.

BU Today displays the numbers on its first page, with bold graphics, including:

  • students transported to the hospital,
  • students who received citations from campus police for alcohol related infractions,
  • students placed in protective custody.

Publishing the numbers is part of a program to raise awareness about the effects of alcohol abuse and to decrease this type of behavior. This initiative began in 2011 when approximately 250 students were hospitalized for alcohol related problems at the university and alcohol abuse caused multiple problems at other Boston area schools.

“The reality,” says Leah Barison, a Wellness & Prevention Services counselor at Student Health Services (SHS), “is that one in three BU students chooses not to drink. And among those who do drink, two out of three do so responsibly. For the most part, people are not massively overdoing it, but they tend to think that others are doing it more.”

Each year an estimated 1,825 college students die from alcohol related causes. An estimated 97,000 are victims of alcohol related assault or date rape. More than 100,000 students have reported they were too intoxicated to recall if they consented to a sexual encounter. 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 receive unintentional injuries while under the influence of alcohol.


Health & Wellness Real Drug Stories

Survey Shows Troubling Trend Among Connecticut Youth

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Photo courtesy of Grenco Science

Photo courtesy of Grenco Science

A new survey funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Tobacco Products reveals that some youths who haven’t tried regular cigarettes have already tried e-cigarettes or plan to try them.

The survey was conducted in four Connecticut high schools and two middle schools and it found that one in four high school students and 3.5% of middle school students have tried an e-cigarette. Among the students who said they had not used e-cigarettes, 26% of these youths said they might try them in the future.

The study was published Dec. 9 in Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

“We were surprised so many kids were using these products,” study lead author Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, said. Krishnan-Sarin is an associate professor of psychiatry at Yale University. “The other thing which both surprised and worried me is that adolescents who have never smoked cigarettes are initiating use of e-cigarettes.”

Real Drug Stories

Uruguay’s Marijuana Policy Dodges Bullet to Stay on Track

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marijuana legalization alaska oregon district of columbiaA presidential run-off election in Uruguay on Sunday threatened to derail the country’s progressive marijuana policy. But, Frente Amplio candidate Tabaré Vázquez beat opposition candidate Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou by 53.6% to 41.1%.

Vázquez has promised to continue implementing marijuana regulation that sees the drug legalized, regulated and taxed by the federal government. Lacalle Pou, on the other hand, had said that if he were to become president, he would repeal major parts of the law, including government-regulated sales to adults.

“Sunday’s presidential election result safeguards Uruguay’s historic marijuana legalization” said Hannah Hetzer, Policy Manager of the Americas at the Drug Policy Alliance. “The Uruguayan people determinedly chose the presidential candidate who will continue the country’s progressive policies, including the roll out of the world’s first national legally regulated marijuana market.”

On December 10, 2013, the Uruguayan parliament approved legislation making their country the first in the world to legally regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adults.

Since then, the government has been rolling out the implementation of the law, which allows for domestic cultivation of six plants per household, cannabis social clubs, and licensed sales to adult residents in pharmacies.

Addiction Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

“Replacement” Addictions May be a Myth

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cocaine addictionPeople overcoming one addiction only to replace it with another one is a common stereotype about addiction, but new research suggests that that may be a myth. In fact, the research, from Columbia University, suggests that people who overcome a substance use disorder have less than half the risk of those who do not overcome it of developing a new addiction.

“The results are surprising, they cut against conventional clinical lore, which holds that people who stop one addiction are at increased risk of picking up a new one,” Senior Author Dr. Mark Olfson said. “The results challenge the old stereotype that people switch or substitute addictions, but never truly overcome them.”

The researchers examined data from surveys taken in 2001 and 2004, which included almost 35,000 adults, and compared the occurrence of a new substance use disorder among adults who already had at least one such disorder.

Of those who had a substance use disorder in 2001, about 20 percent had one by 2004.

The researchers found 13% of those who were in recovery from their original substance use disorder developed a new one, compared with 27% of those who still struggled with their original addiction.

Those most likely to develop a new substance use disorder during the study were young, unmarried men who had mental health problems in addition to substance abuse.

The survey participants were asked about a wide range of substances, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, alcohol, tobacco, painkillers, sedatives and tranquilizers.

The findings appear in JAMA Psychiatry.


Addiction Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

AI Proposed to Help Cut Down on Opiate Drug Addiction

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A clinical trial to test whether monitoring from artificial intelligence can help reduce opiate dependency is about to get underway. smartphone health

Getting over addiction to opiates often requires addicts to adhere to medication therapy, but patients sometimes don’t take their medication or take it incorrectly or, worst of all, they sell it to others. This means, obviously, that recovering addicts don’t benefit from this medication therapy as much as they should.

That’s where AiCure comes in.

The company has created an app using advanced facial recognition and motion-sensing technology that can detect, in real time, whether a person is taking their medication as prescribed without the need for human supervision. Patients who take incorrect doses or do not use the software are automatically flagged for immediate follow-up.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has provided $1 million in funding to assess whether patients using the AiCure platform are more adherent to their medication therapy and whether adoption of the system can improve treatment duration and reduce the risk of relapse.

The trial is being carried out with the Cincinnati Addiction Research Center (CinARC) at the University of Cincinnati and includes a total of 130 participants over the course of 12 months.

Preliminary results of the trial are expected to be published in August 2015.


Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Ontario Moves to Treat E-Cigarettes the Same as Traditional Cigarettes

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The Canadian province of Ontario is making moves that would essentially make e-cigarettes the same as traditional tobacco cigarettes.e-cigarette

The province wants to:

  • regulate the sale of electronic cigarettes,
  • make it illegal to sell them to youth,
  • make it illegal to use them in restaurants and public buildings,
  • outlaw vapor lounges, where people use vaporizers similar to e-cigarettes to smoke nicotine vapor, and
  • ban all flavoured tobacco products, including menthol.

In another health-related measure, the government wants to mandate calorie counts on restaurant menus.

The Liberal government says it will also reintroduce legislation to ban all flavoured tobacco products, many of which are designed to appeal to teens, and will expand the prohibition to include menthol cigarettes.

The industry will have up to two years to phase out the menthol smokes, which the government claims are favored by young people, which is why the long-time flavor is under the gun.

Addiction Health & Wellness Real Drug Stories

Eating More Hummus Can Help Cut Down on Smoking

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Eating hummus, the spread and dip made from chick peas, can help cut down on smoking … just not how you think.cigarettes

Since tobacco farming is becoming less and less lucrative thanks to fewer people smoking, tobacco farmers are now switching to chick peas, as chick pea sales continue to rise thanks to more and more people eating hummus.

The anti-smoking group truth, has produced a video encouraging people to keep eating hummus in the hopes that more tobacco farmers will make the switch.

Tobacco smoking is still the number one preventable cause of death in the U.S.