Testing It Up » January 2012

Monthly Archives: January 2012

Drug Testing

UFC President Dana White on New Drug Testing Policy

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Dana White, president of UFC, spoke with pride regarding the recently-implemented drug testing policy that requires all new signees to pass a drug test.

UFC officials recently announced that all Zuffa fighters – regardless of whether they are in the UFC, Strikeforce, or “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series – are required to pass a pre-fight drug test for anabolic steroids before they can compete in the cage.

The announcement came on the same day that the Nevada State Athletic Commission revealed that Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, a former Strikeforce champion, tested positive for a steroid at a January 7 event in Las Vegas.

White shared: “That’s the commission’s (responsibility)… We’re the most regulated sport on Earth. We’re the last guys on Earth who should be getting [expletive] steroid questions.” He added: “It’s been a very good policy for us… There have been a lot of things we found out medically about guys coming into ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ that was very positive.”

The program is expected to help save UFC from the embarrassment of having new fighters fail drug tests. Failing a drug test, after all, does not just affect the fighter concerned. It can also have an adverse effect on the hosting organization. In addition – and perhaps more importantly – White shared that it will help protect young fighters from the dangerous side effects posed by steroids.

White said: “If you’re a talented guy who could be in the business a long time and make a career out of this, once you get off this stuff – because you can’t do it because here you’re going to get caught — once you get off it, you’re ruined for life – mentally, physically, emotionally… So if we can stop that stuff early with these athletes that are young and have the talent to be here, we feel we’ll win half the battle.”

Early Disease Detection

Oral HPV Infection Linked to Mouth and Throat Cancer

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A study published online by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that an estimated 7 percent of American teens and adults carry the human papillomavirus (HPV) in their mouths.

The study may lead health experts towards understanding the increasing trend of incidence of mouth and throat cancer for nearly 25 years. The evidence also shows that oral sex practices play a major role in transmitting the virus.

Dr. Maura L. Gillison of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, lead author of the study, shared: “There is a strong association for sexual behavior, and that has important implications for public health officials who teach sexual education.”

Oral sex is generally deemed as a safer alternative to sexual intercourse, despite the fact that herpes, HIV, and other diseases may also be transmitted when engaging in it. According to a survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last year, 90 percent of adults, 27 percent of 15-year-old boys, and 23 percent of 15-year-old girls have had oral sex.

Fred Wyand, director of the American Social Health Association HPV Resource Center, shared: “I don’t think people think of oral sex in the same way they do with traditional intercourse… Sometimes younger people engage in oral sex so they don’t have to worry about pregnancy. They may not even make the link between oral sex and STDs.”

This behavior, researchers suspect, may have led to the transmission of HPV through the mouth over the last decade, resulting in oral cancers.

Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Legalization of Pot Use for PTSD Treatment in Vermont

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A lawmaker in Vermont is calling for the legalization of the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The bill to amend the medical marijuana law of Vermont was introduced earlier this month by state Rep. Jim Masland, who said that he did so in response to the request of a number of his constituents who have turned to medical marijuana in order to alleviate PTSD symptoms that they feel was caused by military service. These constituents, Masland said further, were Vets who served during the Vietnam War, as well as other wars fought by the United States over the last decade.

Rep. Masland shared: “I understand that these unnamed individuals, at least a couple, haven’t been able to find relief any other way or at least this is the best way for relief… So I would say they are quietly, surreptitiously using marijuana, but they would much rather do it legally.”

Michael Krawitz, executive director of Veterans for Medical Marijuana Use, shared that using marijuana for the treatment of PTSD in Veterans is increasingly being accepted across the country. Krawitz said: “The bottom line is we just don’t have a lot of treatments for post-traumatic stress that are that effective.”

The medical marijuana law in Vermont took effect in 2004, and currently has 411 patients and 68 caregivers in its registry. The Department of Veterans Affairs, on the other hand, allows its patients to use medical marijuana in states where it is legal, but does not allow its health care providers to provide Vets with documentation to get pot.

Celebrity Substance Abuse Health & Wellness Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Was Demi Moore Hospitalized Due to Whippets?

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The celebrity circuit was abuzz with news that actress Demi Moore was rushed to the hospital on January 23, after suffering from an apparent seizure.

The actress’ friends told emergency workers that she had been doing “whip-its,” before experiencing seizure-like symptoms and becoming semi-unconscious.

“Whip-its,” also known as “whippets,” “whippits,” and “nossies,” are steel cylinders filled with nitrous oxide (NOX). NOX, also called “laughing gas,” is usually used by dentists prior to administering novocaine injections or performing dental procedures.

Dr. Harris Stratyner, regional vice president at New York’s Caron Treatment Center, shared that nitrous oxide can result in a euphoric, dissociated, and out-of-body experience for the people who inhale them. It is also found in whipped cream aerosol cans, which NOX abusers use by emptying the gas into a balloon, and then inhaling it. The gas is also used to boost engine power in race cars.

Inhalation of nitrous oxide may lead to a lack of oxygen, which may be fatal.

Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hospital in New York City, shared that abuse of whippets can cause the following side effects: nausea; vomiting; disorientation; and vitamin B-12 deficiency, which can cause numbness in the fingers and toes. Severe side effects of nitrous oxide abuse include lung collapse; blood vessel hemorrhage in the lungs; heart attack; seizure; and slipping into coma.

When asked whether “whippets” can be addictive, Stratyner responded that NOX can be psychologically addictive, but it was “not highly usual” for people to go to rehab because of it.

Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

New Cannabis-Based Drug on the Road to Getting FDA Approval

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A new marijuana-based drug called Sativex may soon be sold at store shelves. GW Pharma, a British company, is now in advanced clinical trials for the drug, being touted as the first pharmaceutical developed from raw marijuana – as opposed to synthetic equivalents – in the world.

Sativex is a mouth spray that GW Pharma hopes to market in the United States as treatment for cancer pain. It contains delta 9-THC and cannabidiol, two of the best known components of marijuana.

The drug has received approval in Canada, New Zealand, and eight European countries for the relief of muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis.

Aron Lichtman, a Virginia Commonwealth University pharmacology professor and president of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, shared: “There is a real disconnect between what the public seems to be demanding and what the states have pushed for and what the market is providing… It seems to me a company with a great deal of vision would say, ‘If there is demand and need, we could develop a drug that will help people and we will make a lot of money.”

In addition to looking into new applications for Sativex, GW Pharma is developing drugs with various cannabis formulations. Mark Rogerson, spokesman for the company, shared: “We were the first ones to charge forward and a lot of people were watching to see what happened to us… I think we are clearly past that stage.”

Timothy Coetzee, chief research officer of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, shared: “The cannabinoids and marijuana will, eventually, likely be part of the clinician’s armamentarium, if they are shown to be clinically beneficial… The big unknown in my mind is whether they are clearly beneficial.”

Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Young California Mom in Suspected Murder-Suicide Recorded Self Doing Meth

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A young California mother of two who is involved in a suspected murder-suicide reportedly took a video of herself smoking methamphetamine, hours before she shot her boyfriend, her boyfriend’s cousin, her two children, and herself.

Aide Mendez, 23, and her boyfriend Eduardo Lopez ,33, had an argument before the attack started on January 15. According to Lt. Mark Salazar, homicide commander for the Fresno Police Department, police found Lopez outside the Silver Lakes Apartment in Fresno, with knife and gunshot wounds.

The responding police officers then heard a muffled shot from inside the apartment. When they went in, they found Mendez and Lopez’ two children, 17-month-old Aliyah Echeverria and 3-year-old Isaiah Echeverria, Lopez’ cousin 27 year-old Paul Medina, and Mendez dead.

Lopez is the only survivor in the incident; he is currently hospitalized and in serious condition, according to Mary Lisa Russel, spokeswoman for Community Regional Medical Center.

Salazar said that drugs played a role in the killings, and that drugs other than meth may also be involved. Investigators are still trying to determine, however, to what extent that involvement was. Coroner David Hadden shared that a toxicology report will not be available for several days.

The police found 10 grams of meth, scales, nearly $8,000 cash and three handguns at the apartment. They also found an iPad, which contained a video that showed Medina and Mendez in the kitchen, smoking what seemed to be meth, hours before the 911 calls.

Celebrity Substance Abuse Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Singer Etta James Succumbs to Leukemia

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Grammy Award-winning singer Etta James, best known as the voice behind the songs “At Last,” “I’d Rather Go Blind,” “Tell Mama,” and “Something’s Got a Hold on Me,” passed away on Friday, a few days shy of her 74th birthday.

The rhythm and blues singer succumbed to complications due to leukemia. Her husband and sons were by her side when she died.

Ms. James served as an inspiration generations of singers who came after her, including Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt. Raitt was quoted with the following description of the late singer, saying that she was “the bridge between R&B, blues, and pop singing… Like Ray Charles, Etta brought the passion of gospel, R&B, gutbucket raw soul music into the mainstream in a way that very few people have ever crossed over.”

Etta James was born Jamesetta Hawkins on January 25, 1938, in Los Angeles, to a 14-year-old single mother. She was raised by Mama Lu, her mother’s landlady, who brought the young girl to a local Baptist church. It was at this point that Etta discovered, and fell in love with, singing. When Mama Lu died in 1950, she stayed with relatives in San Francisco, but was left unsupervised most of the time.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ms. James had shared: “I went from being this nice little church girl to living in a rooming house… I just turned incorrigible, drinkin’ wine, smokin’ weed, and running the streets.”

Etta James had smoked marijuana, snorted cocaine and shot heroin at some point, but she was able to get help from the Betty Ford clinic in the 1980s. She is survived by her husband, and two sons from previous relationships.

Celebrity Substance Abuse Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Demi Lovato Admits Drug and Alcohol Use

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In the February issue of Seventeen magazine, Disney star Demi Lovato finally talks about her struggle with drugs and alcohol.

In the interview, the teen star talks candidly about her emotional breakdown and rehab stint. It can be recalled that in October 2010, Lovato had cut her music tour to go into rehab, reportedly for emotional and physical issues.

At that time, Lovato’s rep released the following statement: “Demi has decided to take personal responsibility for her actions… she is doing just that.” TMZ reported that Lovato was seeking treatment for self-injury, as well as an eating disorder, as opposed to substance abuse.

The 19-year-old star of ‘Sonny with a Chance’ shared the following with Seventeen: “I’m not gonna lie. I was self medicating. I was doing things like drinking and using [drugs], like a lot of teens do to numb their pain.”

She also shared her utmost appreciation for the support extended by two other Disney stars, who stood by her through thick and thin: Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez.

There were rumors that Lovato had been using cocaine, which surfaced around time that she went into rehab.

Eyewitnesses reportedly saw Lovato using cocaine and alcohol in Texas in December 2009, according to Life and Style: “She was doing line after line like a pro – and she was 17 at the time. I just remember her doing it as if she had been doing it for a long time. It didn’t seem like something new to her.”

Now, however, Demi shares that she has a new outlook on life: “I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, I don’t throw up after my meals, I don’t starve myself. There’s nothing that I do that I feel ashamed of.”


Demi Lovato owns up to drug and alcohol use

Substance Abuse

Parents of Drug-Addicted Kids May Need Counseling Too

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When a child is found to be using or addicted to illegal drugs, the first step that his or her parents may take is to seek help and counseling for the child concerned. The emotions associated with such an experience, however, may also be equally overwhelming for any parent. It may be beneficial, therefore, for parents of drug-addicted kids to undergo counseling as well.

Parents may encounter mixed emotions when faced with a child on drugs. They may feel anger towards the child, but they may also feel just as angry at themselves, thinking that they had not been better parents. They may also feel sad about how fast their child’s behavior has degenerated. Worrying about their child’s addiction sometimes becomes an addiction in itself.

Working with counselors and therapists can help parents cope with the situation, and be objective about the decisions that they make as they handle their child’s drug use.

One of the organizations that provide this type of assistance to parents is the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). CADCA is the leading drug abuse prevention organization in America, and represents the interests of more than 5,000 community anti-drug coalitions in the United States.

CADCA provides trainings for community anti-drug coalitions in effective community problem-solving strategies, assessing local substance abuse-related problems, and developing a comprehensive plan to address these issues. They also educate the public regarding the latest trends in substance abuse, as well as develop tools and resources to empower communities to solve problems related to drug and alcohol use, among others.

Substance Abuse

Pot Tops List of Illegal Drugs Used Worldwide

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The findings of a research, which consisted of a review of studies from around the globe, indicated that around 200 million people a year use illegal drugs worldwide, with marijuana and hashish topping the list of drugs being used.

Based on the results of the research, 1 in 20 people aged 15 to 64 are taking an illegal drug worldwide. The researchers warned, though, that this figure may underestimate the actual number of users, given the fact that there may be people who would rather not admit to illegal drug use, and that there is limited data from the poorest countries.

The study, which was conducted by two Australian researchers and appears on The Lancet as the first in a three-part special series on addiction, is an attempt to determine the scope of illegal drug use by people aged 15 to 64 around the world, as well as understand its effect on the health of users.

According to the results, between 125 million and 203 million people used marijuana and hashish worldwide in 2009. The highest level of use, it was determined, was in North America, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

On the other hand, between 14 million and 56 million people admitted to using amphetamine-type stimulants, such as speed and crystal meth, while 12 million to 21 million people used opioids, including heroin.

Between 14 million and 21 million people worldwide used cocaine, with the highest level of use observed in North America.

In addition, the researchers revealed that the highest level of illegal drug use was observed in the wealthiest countries or in areas closest to the production of the drugs.