Category Archives: Addiction

Addiction Substance Abuse

Tobacco Use Among Adolescents: Facts, Statistics, Effects

Published by:

Despite warnings about the health hazards of tobacco use, people have continuously patronized this product, making it a seemingly essential part of their daily lives. What makes the issue alarming is the fact that teen smoking rates are increasing, and more kids have started an early addiction to tobacco. Aside from the usual cigarettes that they may have access to, teenagers also use pipes, hookahs, bidis, and the very popular e-cigarettes.

If this continues, teens who engage in tobacco use may die early from smoking-related illnesses.

To stop teenagers from engaging in the use of tobacco products, parents should become aware of the probable causes why their teens start to smoke at such an early age.

Why Do Teens Smoke Cigarettes?

cigarette smoking teens

There may be various factors why teenagers start to smoke cigarettes, some of which include the following:

Poor parental modelling

Teenagers whose parents smoke are more likely to become tobacco users themselves, especially if they see adults smoking and making it a part of their daily routine. In their young minds, adolescents may think that since it is readily available, it is part of any normal human experience.

Media influence

Movies may also have a huge influence on teenagers. At least 47% of teens agreed that seeing drugs and tobacco products on screen seem to be okay.

Another study showed that teens aged 12-17 years old who watch three or more rated “R” movies were seven times more likely to smoke cigarettes. They probably think that tobacco use is a way of being “cool” as they see it being used by their favorite actors.

Curiosity

Being a teenager is not as easy as it sounds, because it is during this stage that they try to discover things, including their own identities. When they feel unhappy, more often than not, they may turn to a substance that they have easier access to. Taking the substance may produce a different kind of feeling, which can make them happy, energized and more confident.

Boredom

Sometimes, teenagers feel the need to smoke because they don’t have anything else to do. You can’t expect them to be always studying as it may make them feel burn out and bored.

In this case, tobacco use or alcohol consumption may fill the internal void.

Peer connection

Smoking can somehow become their way of hanging out with similar-minded teens thereby instantly having a connection. Seeing that other people are also using these substances lessens a teenager’s fear of being misjudged. They get a sense that whatever crazy decisions they make, blaming it on the substance is just a fine excuse.

Identity crisis

Teens may be dealing with different issues in their young lives to a point that they turn to alcohol or drugs as a means of showing rebellion. They may choose different substances depending on their personalities.

For instance, angry teenagers may choose alcohol or methamphetamines to make them behave more aggressively. Marijuana has the opposite effect, by making them feel secluded from the whole world. Tobacco use may make them flaunt their independence, like making a statement to parents saying that they have already grown up.

A teenager’s life is a complex stage. Many shy teenagers would make use of drugs or alcohol to help them gain confidence. The effects that tobacco produces include having less inhibition and reducing social anxiety.

Wrong knowledge of tobacco use implications

Being naïve at a young age comes with a price. Some teenagers think that taking these substances will not lead to any untoward incidents. Some teenagers would influence their friends and provide wrong information about the effects of the substances.

It is best that parents should have time to talk to their children regarding the dangers of tobacco products. This way, teenagers will have greater chances of staying away from people who are trying to influence them.

Happy feeling

Teenagers turn to substance use because they feel a form of instant gratification. The initial effects of triggering the “happy center” of the brain can make a teenager down a glass of alcohol or light up a cigarette.

Teen Smoking Stats

teen smoking facts

The following data shows just how critical tobacco use is among teenagers.

  • At least 3,200 individuals each day aged 18 years old and below smoke their first cigarette.
  • Two in every 100 middle school students reported that they have smoked cigarette in the past month.
  • E-cigarette use increased among middle school students from 2011 to 2015.
  • Seven out of 100 middle school students have used some type of tobacco product.
  • At least 30% of high school male teenagers are smoking.
  • At least 8% of middle school male teenagers smoke a certain tobacco product.
  • In 2014, the most prevalent forms of smoking were electronic cigarettes (13.4 percent), hookah (9.4 percent), cigarettes (9.2 percent) and cigars (8.2 percent).

Dangers of Tobacco Use by Teenagers

Because teenagers are still in the stage of growing, they are vulnerable to the deadly effects of smoking. Health consequences from tobacco use include the following:

  • Respiration problems
  • Nicotine addiction
  • Increased risk of getting hooked on another substance
  • Decreased lung function
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Poor performance associated with decreased endurance in doing physical activities
  • Increased heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Associated with risky behaviors

The facts stated above aren’t associated with smoking, because most of the information circulating are geared towards warning the public against the effects of illicit drugs. However, although it has a legal status in any country, tobacco can cause a lot of diseases that may eventually lead to death.

This is one reason why all cigarette packs need to display graphic warnings to let the people know the hazards of smoking. Through this form of advertisement or information campaign, people who smoke tobacco may find themselves lowering their rate of consumption until they can completely get rid of the deadly habit.

Facts about Teenage Smoking

Tobacco use is something that teenagers may consider as part of regular human life just like eating or sleeping. Little do they know that getting hooked on tobacco can cause them health risks that exceed the fulfillment that they think they receive.

Here are some disturbing facts about teen smoking:

  • Female teenagers use tobacco as their means of controlling weight. However, smoking can also cause excess hair growth.
  • Smoking cigarettes decrease lung function growth.
  • Roughly 44% of teens say that they did not know bidi cigarettes would lead to cancer.
  • One bidi cigarette has three times more nicotine and carbon monoxide compared to a regular cigarette.
  • Teens who smoke produce more phlegm that those who don’t smoke.
  • Tobacco smoking can cause skin break outs.
  • Pimples often stay longer.
  • Smoking 2-3 cigarettes a day can get anyone hooked to a long-term habit in two weeks.
  • Teen smokers have a lowered immune system.
  • Sleeping disturbance may be evident among teen smokers.

How to Help Teens Stop Smoking

quit cigarette smoking teens tobacco use

There is a need to provide comprehensive regulations to reduce accessibility and affordability of cigarettes and other tobacco products to prevent teens from engaging in tobacco use.

Cigarette smoking among the youth is a global issue. Adolescents may have several reasons for tobacco use with the wrong perception that it can make them stand out from the rest and belong to the “cool” groups in school. Whatever reasons these teenagers may have, the fact remains that smoking affects overall health.

Other than merely relying on what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says about the dangers of smoking, parents should be the first people to educate their children regarding the risks of smoking tobacco products.

Teen smoking rates can be reduced with the following suggestions:

Parents should be role models

Sometimes, a parent can be more effective in teaching their children when their children see them “practice what they preach”.  The earlier the parents stop smoking, the less likely their teen kids can become smokers.

While it may not be easy for smoking parents to stop immediately, they should learn not to smoke in front of their children. Never leave cigarettes on places where your teens may find them. Let the children know that you are struggling to stop smoking.

It would be helpful to seek medical advice on how you can slowly quit smoking.

Be understanding

Instead of scolding your teens upon discovery of tobacco use, try understanding their actions. You may approach the matter through any of the following:

  • Ask if their friends are smoking too.
  • Know if there are things that could be bothering them, and let them open up to you. Listen and provide solutions.
  • Acknowledge all positive actions and correct those that are inappropriate.

Teens need their parents more during this time. With so many questions in their heads, they need to receive the right information from parents instead of getting their answers from fellow teens.

Educate them on the risks

Approach your teen in a way where you describe smoking as something that is filthy – how it can mess up with the way they look, their breath smells, and the color of their teeth appears.

Point out the consequences that will happen when they start using tobacco. Mention any relative or friend who may have been ill due to smoking.

In addition, give them a simple computation on how much it could affect their weekly school budget if some of their money is spent on buying cigarettes. Calculate the amount that they will spend on cigarettes in a year. The amount might even be the same as the cost of a mobile device.

Instill discipline

Be firm when you tell your children that smoking is never allowed. When you emphasize this to them at a young age, they are more likely to adhere to what you tell them.

Inform them about the dangers of e-cigarettes as well

Let them know that e-cigarettes can harm the body just the same way as tobacco. It can even be more dangerous because some e-cigarettes use synthetic substances that can increase the risk of health hazards.

Participate in anti-smoking campaigns

Your teens would listen more and believe you more when you get yourself involved in any local or school-sponsored campaigns against smoking.

Nicotine Test Kit

To find out if your teenager is using tobacco, you may purchase nicotine test kits. These products can be very helpful in determining recent tobacco use – whether cigars, cigarettes, pipe tobaccos, or smokeless tobacco.

A urine nicotine drug test is capable of detecting cotinine, a substance produced when nicotine enters the individual’s body. Just like any other urine drug test, a urine sample is collected and an easy-to-read dip card is used in measuring the nicotine levels.

It only takes a few minutes to determine the presence of nicotine. The presence of nicotine in the sample can be detected even 2-4 days after the last tobacco use.

Helpful Links and Sources

http://www.medbroadcast.com/channel/smoking/youth-and-smoking/why-teens-and-kids-start-smoking

https://www.drgreene.com/qa-articles/bidis-dangerous-cigarettes

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/youth_data/tobacco_use

http://www.homehealthtesting.com/nicotine-test-c-25.html

http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/15847/1/Preventing-Teenage-Smoking.html

http://www.gethealthystayhealthy.com/articles/teen-smoking-facts

https://www.teenhelp.com/smoking-tobacco/teen-smoking-statistics

Addiction

Options For Drug Addiction Treatment

Published by:

Drug addiction is a condition that has plagued so many families and has reached a point where there is a need to put our best efforts in order to fight it. The war against drugs is a huge call to everyone to participate in preventing the spread of the “disease”, and may have somewhat affected the drug trade in several countries.  Coming up with stricter laws to prevent illicit substances from further harming individuals and families should be a continuous move.

The Real Score on Substance Abuse

In recent years, the U.S. has been confronted with so many drug-related incidents involving the youth. According to the latest Monitoring the Future Survey of drug use and attitude, there has been a decline in substance abuse among 8th, 10th and 12th graders. However, it is not enough reason to rejoice over the decline as there are other incidents that have affected several lives because of drug use.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) documented at least 35 incidents of school violence committed under the influence of psychiatric drugs.

It is more painful to see the deaths of so many innocent lives where users would randomly shoot at people or run them over because of being intoxicated with alcohol or illicit drugs. Apart from having law enforcement authorities on full alert with regards to drug trading and keeping a watchful eye on users, several government agencies and non-government institutions have put their best efforts in extending help in terms of dissemination of information about the effects of drug misuse on individuals and the society as a whole. Programs are also being conducted to help those who need to recover from drug addiction.

The Drug Rehabilitation Process

It is the goal of any rehabilitation institute to provide the utmost medical care needed by a recovering drug user. We know that there are specific medications given to individuals who have involved themselves with different kinds of drugs. While these can be helpful, it is still best that a rehabilitation program should be individualized to best suit the needs of the patient.

The whole process of recovery may be a daunting time for the patient, knowing that the initial stage of the process will also involve a series of painful withdrawal symptoms.

However, apart from completely helping to get rid of the illicit substances in the body, another part of the recovery program is aimed towards the psychological health of the patient. In this case, the mind is slowly programmed to get back to the old self and regain confidence and self-worth, with the help and support of family and friends.

The road to recovery means lifelong commitment and dedication. It may not be an easy path but it will be definitely rewarding to be able to achieve the goal of gaining back the life that was lost.

Key Elements Towards Drug Addiction Recovery

An effective treatment plan for drug users may vary depending on the kind of substance abused, as well as the degree and duration of misuse. However, the process towards any recovery plan contains the following basic components:

1. Finding the Right Rehabilitation Center

There are a lot of rehabilitation centers all over the country. Recovering addicts or their loved ones should be able to find the right treatment facility that can provide the support needed, based on the specific needs of the patient.

Initially, the rehabilitation center will provide some diagnostic screening to be able to determine the most optimal treatment plan for the patient. Every detail should be presented: the type of substance used, the amount of substance used, and the length of time that the patient has been using the substance.

The center should be informed about the family history to be able to establish the root cause of addiction. From this information, the treatment facility and the patient’s family should be able to discuss financial arrangements.

It is important that the patient, with the help of the family, will be able to find the right program that can best help him/her. Once he/she feels comfortable to whatever has been presented, then it is more likely that the patient can live a life good health and sobriety.

2. Detoxification

Detoxification is the process where the abused substance is taken away from the patient’s system. It is not an abrupt process since during this stage the patient may experience withdrawal symptoms ranging from mild to unfavorable.

Medication is usually given to ease the withdrawal symptoms, and this may include opiate prescription drugs and heroin. These same drugs are commonly misused, but if given under direct supervision by a doctor, it should be able to help and not aggravate the patient’s condition.

Withdrawal is the stage wherein the patient may experience unfavorable symptoms due to insufficient amount of drugs that he used to take, in which case the body may no longer be accustomed to the decrease in substance intake.

Withdrawal symptoms appear within the first 24 hours after the last drug misuse. Symptoms may include:

  • Agitation
  • Cramping
  • Decreased appetite
  • Extreme depression
  • Loss of concentration
  • Muscle tension and pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Trembling
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack

Detox Medications

Medications are often given to drug users to help them overcome painful withdrawal symptoms. The drugs to be prescribed will depend on the type of substance used by the patient. The need for these drugs to complete the process is highly important because it is through these medications that the patient will be able to slowly keep up with the normal way on how the bodily systems should work.

  • Barbiturates: These are mild sedatives that help in relieving irritability, anxiety and discomfort. It may also prevent seizures during the detoxification process.
  • Benzodiazepines: These are anxiolytics that are commonly used during alcohol detoxification to help reduce seizures, relieve anxiety or depression, and decrease the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Buprenorphine: This drug is used to treat heroin and opiate prescription medication. However, this was later on replaced by methadone due to the latter’s inability to produce a euphoric feeling.
  • Methadone: This type of drug is given to ease patients who have severe drug addiction problems. The dose is slowly lessened as the process progresses to prevent from being addicted to this drug.

3. Psychological Therapy

After undergoing the detoxification process, the patient is moved to therapy wherein the focus is towards behavior. It is a known fact that drug addiction does not only affect the patient’s body, but also largely alters brain functioning to cause impairment in decision-making and other brain activities.

To help patients slowly get back to their normal selves, therapy (which can be individual or with a group) is suggested to the patient.

Psychological therapy focuses on letting the patient realize and confront any existing problems that may have led him/her towards drug addiction. From there, the individual should be able to overcome addiction and have a better perspective about life.

The therapy is not for the patient alone; some programs may include the family as part of the process. It is also important that the family participates in the “healing process” as they have also suffered with their family member’s drug addiction. This can be a great way to speed up the recovery of the patient.

4. Recovery and After Care Program

Therapy may sound like the end of the rehabilitation program, but some people may have to deal with a lifelong journey of trying to keep sober. There is always a possibility for a relapse most especially if the patient does not stay away from people who may have influenced him to take drugs.

For those who are willing to go on a straight path towards recovery, after care programs may help. These programs involve having weekly visits at the rehabilitation centers, conducting regular drug testing, or even allowing recovering individuals to stay at a sobriety clinic for them to participate in group sessions. These programs may also include doing chores until they feel that they can start living normally outside the facility.

Drug Addiction Treatment Options

There are various treatment options available for drug users who opt to recovery from their addiction.

Inpatient Recovery Programs

This may be the most effective kind of treatment program as patients with co-occurring disorders may be treated. Treatment facilities offer a 24-hour intensive medical care under strict medical supervision where health professionals provide simultaneous care for any co-occurring medical and or mental health conditions.

The inpatient treatment includes:

  • A structured program where patients remain in the facility from 6 to 12 months with the entire community and highly-skilled professionals who will positively influence patients towards having a drug-free kind of life.
  • Short-term residential treatment is the detoxification and initial counseling provided to a drug user, and is offered in preparation for community-based treatment.
  • Recovery housing or sober living homes are offered to patients who have completed the program and are being prepared to face the outside world. This is made possible by providing short-term housing for patients to aid them in making the transition.

Inpatient facilities may be in the form of a hospital or a residential facility. Some residential facilities may offer more than what one can expect like living in a luxurious home (resort-like facility) or an executive set-up (where businessmen are allowed to continue with their involvement with their work while being treated inside the facility).

Outpatient Behavioral Treatment

Some individuals may not require full-time recovery process to be placed in an inpatient treatment setup. They are given schedules on when to check in with their facilitators to check on their progress.

Initial treatment may require frequent visits weekly. After completing the initial stages, the treatment may require fewer meetings per week with shorter hours per session.

This type of program is also given to patients after the detoxification process wherein psychological assessment and rehabilitation is given. This may involve individual or group counseling which may include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: According to the Psychiatric Clinics of North America, this is a very effective means of helping individuals with substance abuse.
  • Motivational interviewing: This encourages the patient to fully surrender the addiction and to start rebuilding his life.
  • Motivational incentives: These encourage the patient to focus on what motivates him to become better and to completely stay away from drugs.
  • Multidimensional family therapy: This is a great way of involving the whole family for the recovery process.

A 12-step program may be suggested to help patients to fully recover by being with the same individuals who have gone through the same predicament and be able to help one another overcome their addiction completely.

Some of the well-known support groups include the following:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): A support group for people who are recovering from alcohol addiction.
  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA): This is similar to the Alcoholics Anonymous support group, but focuses on people who are recovering from drug addiction.

Meanwhile, specialized drug recovery support groups that have adapted the 12-step program include Cocaine Anonymous and Heroin Anonymous.

Treatment for Drug Abusers and Addicted Individuals Involved in Crimes

Individuals who have been out behind bars and are simultaneously given help to recover from addiction have less likelihood for a relapse because the individual is able to consistently go on with the program and become more focused on aiming for a renewed life than those who are not under any legal conditions.

It has been reported that those individuals who took the program while completing the required jail term are more likely to continue the program and have better chances of complete recovery.

Conclusion

It should be emphasized that drug addiction is a treatable and recoverable condition. Individuals should just be willing to give up on the addiction and start facing life again.

In order to have a successful treatment program, a person should look for the best drug treatment facility that can best suit his needs, and follow the program that has been tailor-made to fit with his drug addiction problem. Recovering addicts must also undergo a continuous aftercare program that will help them in seeking solutions to problems that have lead to addiction, in realizing what they can do to make life worthwhile, in rebuilding their lives and broken relationships, and in avoiding a relapse.

It is never an easy journey for these drug users to completely get back to their usual lives. However, with the support, love and care of family members and friends, the bumpy road may just be worth the trip.

Addiction Home Health Hazards Substance Abuse

Is Kratom Use Good or Bad for Your Health?

Published by:

kratom ban DEA

Controversy is now surrounding the use of a relatively new drug called Kratom. While it has been used for thousands of years in some Asian countries, it has not been introduced in Europe and the United States until recently. Debates abound as to the benefits and adverse effects of ingesting the substance.

While it is becoming more popular among Americans who use it for both medical and recreational purposes, there is a pronounced lack of research and clinical data to support the claims of its therapeutic properties.

Since further studies on the benefits, drawbacks, and safety of Kratom use are yet to be pursued, users of Kratom and the public in general, are strongly advised to be armed with the available information about the substance.

What is Kratom?

Kratom or ketum refers to a tropical, evergreen tree of the coffee family that thrives in the jungles of several Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, Bali, and Sumatra. It is scientifically called Mitragyna speciosa and its leaves contain potent amounts of compounds called alkaloids.

In Asia, the substance is ingested by chewing the leaves, whether raw or dried. Most users, however, prefer to crush the leaves and dissolve the powder in liquids such as water. The leaves themselves may also be brewed into a tea.

kratom abuse

In the United States, Kratom may be purchased in leaf form but the drug is more commonly sold in capsules that contain the powdered material. It may be taken by either smoking the powder from the capsule or drinking the tea brewed from the leaves. More ingenious users, however, extract a resin from the evaporated water of the Kratom tea and convert the substances to pellets which can be swallowed.

Others mix Kratom with drinks or food to mask the bitter taste. Among the popular practices are mixing or blending the substance with yogurt, peanut butter, honey, juice, chocolate drinks, and milkshakes.

The reported effects of Kratom are contradicting and vary according to the amounts taken. Lower doses promote a stimulating effect while higher doses produce a sedating outcome.

Reported Uses of Kratom

Kratom was first documented by a Dutch botanist named Pieter Korthals in 1839. The substance was traditionally used in some parts of Asia for its various medicinal properties. Currently, it is used both for both recreational and therapeutic purposes.

Here are some of its known uses:

Traditional medicine

The use of Kratom was initially explored in Thailand where it was incorporated into traditional medicinal practices to treat maladies such as diarrhea, chronic pain, and anxiety. In earlier years, it was commonly used by laborers to boost their moods and energy levels after long hours at work. Later, it was utilized to treat opioid dependence.

In neighboring countries, Kratom has been used to cure other illnesses such as intestinal infections, muscle pain, and cough.

Pain reliever

Two of the alkaloids contained in Kratom called Mitragynine and 7-OH-mitragynine have strong analgesic properties. Though the effect produced is less potent than morphine, the drug is still effective in the treatment of chronic pain.

Among the conditions that can be efficiently managed by Kratom are migraines, back pain, chest pain, neck pain, vascular pain, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, scoliosis and carpal tunnel syndrome.

While Kratom is not classified as an opiate, it behaves similarly to opiates. Thus, it has been used as a substitute for opium in some areas like Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries whenever the latter is not available.

In the United States, many users have resorted to Kratom as an alternative to prescription drug medications such as methadone and other opioids.

Treatment of opiate withdrawal

Kratom works by binding mu opioid and delta receptors in the brain. It has been said to affect a user the same way that opiates do. As such, it may be effective in the treatment of opioid dependence. It has been said to be valuable for the management and suppression of opiate withdrawal symptoms including cravings, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.

However, though there has been a significant increase in the number of users who prefer Kratom as a remedy to relieve withdrawal symptoms that arise from chronic opioid use, there is a lack of significant clinical studies to merit a conclusion as to the efficacy of Kratom in the treatment and management of opioid addiction.

Sexual performance enhancer

Several users claim that using Kratom promotes sexual endurance and performance. The alkaloids in Kratom extracts aid in enhancing libido and sexual pleasure among both men and women.

In Thailand, it is also customarily used to prevent premature ejaculation during sexual intercourse. It has been reported that consuming even as little as one gram of Kratom powder can boost the libido for as long as 12 hours.

Anti-depressant

When used appropriately, some strains of Kratom have stimulating effects that help uplift moods and promote feelings of satisfaction. The substance is said to be beneficial for those undergoing depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and similar conditions.

Taking too much of drug, however, can produce the exact opposite effect as ingesting large doses of Kratom is known to induce sedation.

Cognitive enhancer

Many users claim that Kratom produces energizing effects similar to caffeine. The stimulating effects support improved focus, concentration, and memory. The drug has been found to promote cognitive functions and to enhance mental acuity. Some users who exhibit ADHD symptoms have reported that using the substance has helped them focus on challenging mental activities. It is said to be more efficient than most nootropic supplements in the market.

Relaxant and sedative

Consuming larger doses of Kratom leaves or extracts can promote calmness and relaxation. It helps to manage stress, anxiety, and tension. The drug is also known to improve sleep quality. Many users claim that taking Kratom helps them sleep for longer periods but it does not give them a “hangover” feeling in the morning. Thus, many prefer using the substance over prescription sedatives.

Recreational use

In recent years, recreational use of Kratom has spread over the United States. Users claim that Kratom emulates the effects of MDMA and low-dose marijuana but produces the right balance of relaxation and stimulation. Young professionals maintain that using the drug is a good way to unwind after a long day at work.

It has also become a social drug as its effects help users feel more outgoing and energized during gatherings or social activities.

Adverse Effects

While most users in the United States do not report having encountered any problems with using Kratom, consumption of the substance at higher or more frequent doses may produce adverse reactions. Some of the side effects include dry mouth, nausea, reduced appetite, sleeping disorders, bowel obstruction, and darkening of the skin.

In Southeast Asia, however, where the use of the drug is more widespread, there have been accounts of more severe reactions such as delusion, aggression, and schizophrenia. Chronic users have also reported experiencing withdrawal symptoms that include irritability, weight loss, insomnia, diarrhea, muscle spasms, and fever. It is suspected that these effects were brought about by either having ingested the substance in larger doses or having used Kratom in conjunction with other drugs or intoxicating beverages.

Whether or not Kratom is highly addictive is largely debated. Narconon asserts that habitual use can increase tolerance and develop compulsion or addiction. Because of the reports gathered from other countries where it is largely consumed, it is recommended that users exercise caution in taking Kratom. It is advised that the drug should not be used more than twice a week to reduce the possibility of developing dependence.

New users should not attempt to experiment with larger doses as the physiological effects of the drug vary from person to person.

In addition, using the substance in conjunction with other drugs and opiates is strongly discouraged as overstimulation can result in increased blood pressure. When used with sedatives or benzodiazepines, it can cause over-sedation, central nervous system depression, and respiratory distress.

There has, however, been no reported case of overdose or death arising from the use of Kratom.

Legality of Kratom Use

Although the use of Kratom has been accepted to be part of Thailand’s culture and traditional practices, it has actually been outlawed since 1943 when the Kratom Act was passed. The law criminalized possession of Kratom leaves, planting, and cultivating Kratom plants.

However, implementing the law posed an enormous challenge to the Thai government because eradication efforts included setting fire to rainforests where the trees naturally flourish. The results were detrimental to the wildlife and ecosystems of the country.

In 1979, Kratom was included in the Narcotics Act and was classified as a Category 5 substance. Regulatory efforts continue to persist in Thailand where the use of the substance is most prevalent.

Kratom is illegal in other countries such as Malaysia, Myanmar, Australia, and Denmark.

In the United States, Kratom has not been declared illegal by the Federal Government. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Kratom is currently not included in any of the categories under the Controlled Substances Act.

Some states, however, have passed legislation prohibiting use and possession of Kratom. The jurisdiction includes Alabama, Indiana, Vermont, Illinois, and Tennessee.

In other parts of the country, Kratom continues to be available for purchase whether over the counter at various shops, or over the internet. No license or prescription is required to buy, possess or use the drug. Some users previously imported the leaves from some Asian Pacific countries until 2015, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulated this practice by issuing directives for the immediate seizure of such shipments from listed vendors.

There have been increasing reports of emergency room visits resulting from Kratom use. The patients either complained of adverse reactions to the substance or of withdrawal symptoms. But more statistical data and scientific information are needed before the drug can be appropriately classified. The same information will validly determine whether regulatory or criminal legislation must be passed and enforced.

In the meantime, medical practitioners are rushing to find whatever resources they could to enable them to manage and treat patients who may present signs of Kratom tolerance, dependence, or withdrawal.

It is hoped that current users of Kratom who take it either as an alternative to prescription drugs or as a choice for recreational habits would use the substance responsibly and moderately to avert the negative effects that are already known or published.

Addiction Real Drug Stories

SAMHSA Launches Opioid Recovery Mobile App Challenge

Published by:

The world is now on the offensive when it comes to drug addiction prevention, treatment and recovery. In the U.S., the federal government continues to fund programs and create initiatives towards this goal.

One exciting and recent initiative involves the use of technology to help in opioid addiction recovery. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) plans to develop a mobile application that aims to “provide opioid recovery support for patients receiving medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders.” While the Opioid Recovery Support app is still not available, the organization is tapping onto the skills of mobile app developers by launching an app-making contest.

SAMHSA believes that mobile technology can have a significant impact on the lives of opioid addicts who are currently in recovery. The benefits of mobile apps on other diseases may also be translated to aid in addiction recovery measures. “Just as there are apps to help people with diabetes manage their disease, people in recovery from opioid use disorder could benefit from an app that provides features and information that support their recovery,” said SAMHSA in a statement.

The project is looking into five areas where a mobile app could be of effective use:

  1. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), specifically on checking for dosages and side effects of recovery drugs such as methadone and naltrexone.
  2. How to live through MAT, such as parenting and family involvement
  3. Prevention of relapse through habit formation, engagement in healthy activities, or involvement in recovery support meetings.
  4. Motivational tools to support relapse prevention, such as calendar alerts, access to family and hobby photos, and link to motivational videos and online resources
  5. Management tools to help manage doctor’s appointments, treatment times, and work-life schedules

Legal residents in the U.S. 18 years old and above may take part in the competition. Entries may be developed by individuals, teams, or organizations of up to 100 employees.

The contest will run until May 28, 2016. Prizes available are as follows:

  • First prize: $15,000, and a complimentary entry to the 2016 AATOD conference in October to present the app
  • Second prize: $7,500
  • Third prize: $5,000
  • Honorable mention: $1,000 for each of the five areas / insights

For more information, visit the Hackathon page and read the contest rules.

Generic-Article-Banner

Addiction Substance Abuse

Black Smokers Have Lower Lung Cancer Screening Rates Than Whites

Published by:

Smokers and those exposed to cigarette smoke should submit themselves to lung cancer screening. Unfortunately, the people who need them the most might not be willing to undergo such tests, according to a recent study.

The research, conducted by a team from Yale School of Public Health, used data from the U.S. government between 1965 and 2012 to examine the effect of smoking habits on a person’s likelihood to undergo lung cancer screening. The study also looked into the differences between racial profiles.

Results revealed that black Americans have a lower likelihood of starting cigarette smoking when they enter late teenage years, as compared to whites. However, the likelihood of quitting is higher in white Americans than blacks as they reach older adulthood. Black smokers were also found to use fewer cigarettes on a daily basis that whites. “Racial differences in smoking initiation, cessation, and intensity give rise to substantial differences in risk for tobacco-related diseases,” said study author Theodore Holford in a news release.

In addition, black Americans exhibited lower “pack-years”, which is determined by multiplying the estimated number of cigarette packs used by the length of the person’s smoking experience in years. However, this low figure for blacks cannot discount the fact that they are exposed to cigarette smoking longer than white Americans. Because pack-years are used as basis for lung cancer screening, this estimate might lead black Americans to be less likely to undergo screening, even though they are exposed to cigarette smoking longer than whites.

Details of the study were published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Generic-Article-Banner

Addiction Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Cleveland Latest Municipality to Raise Tobacco Buying Age

Published by:

Cleveland City Council passed legislation recently to raise the minimum age for those who can buy tobacco, smoking products and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21. It is the latest in a long list of localities to raise the legal tobacco purchasing age.

Under the new legislation, a first offense would be a fourth-degree misdemeanor for the vendor, punishable by 30 days in jail or a $250 fine. Offenses after that would be second-degree misdemeanors, punishable by 90 days in jail.

The penalties apply only to vendors.

About 3,800 people under 18 try smoking for the first time each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A report published earlier this year by the Institute of Medicine found that raising the minimum age for tobacco products would “delay initiation of tobacco use by adolescents and young adults.”

Generic-Article-Banner

Addiction Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Concerns Raised Over Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine in Canada

Published by:

Cocaine laced with respiratory depressant Fentanyl has sparked concerns after it caused people to accidentally overdose recently in the province of British Columbia.

Police in the Vancouver suburb of Delta say two people were hospitalized recently after ingesting cocaine laced with fentanyl, which cannot be seen, smelled or tasted when it is used to cut other drugs.

“There’s certainly been a couple of overdoses over the last year or so,” said Acting Sgt. Sarah Swallow. “Again none of them were fatal but certainly a couple of overdoses that can possibly be linked to fentanyl in some way.”

“But this is the first time that we’ve seen two in such a short period of time with both people saying they’ve taken the same drug.”

It’s not yet known where the cocaine was obtained.

Early symptoms of a fentanyl overdose can include severe sleepiness, slow heartbeat, trouble breathing, cold, clammy skin and trouble walking or talking.

Generic-Article-Banner

Addiction Substance Abuse

Interview with Clare Waismann Registered Addiction Specialist at Waismann Method Medical Group

Published by:

 

Clare WaismannWe recently sat down with Clare Waismann, a registered addiction specialist with the Waismann Method Group to talk about the trends she is seeing in opiate addiction and how the Waismann Method helps people break their addiction to opiate painkillers and heroin.

Waismann said one of the biggest trends she is seeing in opiate addiction is that people who initially get addicted to prescription painkillers are switching to heroin because it is abundantly available. This includes people who would never have thought about taking an illegal drug.

The addictions specialist also said some people’s tolerance for opiate drugs is at an alarming level, as they seem more willing to take a risk to get high. In fact, she is seeing tolerance levels unlike anything she’s seen before in decades of treatment.

To read more about what Waismann has to say about synthetic drugs, prescription drug abuse in the workplace and among veterans, plus what makes the Waismann method effective in treating opiate addiction, click here to read the full interview.

Generic-Article-Banner

Addiction Pregnancy & Fertility Substance Abuse

Women Quit Smoking During Pregnancy, But Return After Childbirth

Published by:

A team of researchers from the U.K.’s University of East Anglia discovered that pregnant mothers who stopped smoking tend to return to their unhealthy habit after giving birth.

The study, published in the journal Addiction, revealed that 75 percent of pregnant women who decided to stop smoking took it up again within six months after childbirth. In addition, up to 90 percent of these women returned to smoking within a year after delivering the child.

The research team led by Dr. Caitlin Notley said in a news release that 45 percent of expectant mothers are able to immediately kick the habit due to many factors, including preservation of the baby’s health, natural opposition to cigarette smoke due to biological changes, and the pressures of society. However, many of them return to smoking because of the following reasons:

  • Misconception. Most women think that smoking after giving birth won’t harm the baby.
  • Stress. Due to the pressures of parenthood, some mothers relapse to pick up a cigarette.
  • Withdrawal. Some women feel that their bodies are experiencing withdrawal symptoms caused by not having smoked for a while.

Some women, meanwhile, understood the potential effect of cigarette smoking on breast milk. As a result, a number of them decided to wean their babies earlier so that they could start smoking again.

The study investigated the cases of more than 1,000 women in the U.S. and Canada across 16 studies to evaluate the tendency to smoke again after pregnancy.

Generic-Article-Banner

Addiction Substance Abuse

Increase in Wages Helps Workers Quit Smoking

Published by:

According to a recent study published in the Annals of Epidemiology, increasing the pay of workers results to lower smoking rates in men. “Increasing the minimum wage could have a big impact on a significant health threat,” according to study senior author Paul Leigh, who also works at the University of California – Davis Health System Center for Healthcare Policy and Research.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from UC Davis who looked into data on full-time employees between the ages of 21 and 65, as acquired from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics from 1999 to 2009. Information such as status of smoking and amount of wages were correlated using instrumental variables analysis as a statistical framework, as reported in a news item.

The researchers discovered that increasing wages by 10 percent resulted to a decrease of 5 percent in smoking rates for male workers. The same scenario was observed for people whose educational attainment is high school or lower. Meanwhile, the 10 percent rise in pay also increases the chances of current smokers to quit smoking by up to 20 percent.

“Our findings are especially important as inflation-adjusted wages for low-income jobs have been dropping for decades and the percentage of workers in low-paying jobs has been growing nationwide,” Leigh expressed. He added that their research supports the long-standing belief that financial status affects a person’s health. “Our findings add to the existing body of epidemiological literature showing that lower income predicts poor health habits… They also show that higher minimum wages could reduce the prevalence of smoking,” the senior author added.

Generic-Article-Banner