Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

The Truth About Opioid Abuse and Pain Management Treatment

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pain management opioid prescription drug abuse

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), at least 11 percent of Americans suffer from various forms of pain that they experience every day. Because of this, a lot of medical practitioners have focused their direction towards pain management. Unfortunately, the rise in the need for pain relief has given birth to a different kind of problem: opioid abuse.

People experience pain differently because this is based on the individual’s perception of pain. The level of pain felt by one person may be aggravated when going through difficult times, anxiety, or depression.

In this article, we will discuss pain management, what we can do to treat or alleviate pain safely, and why opioid abuse has become an epidemic all around the world.

What is pain management?

Pain management is a specialized medical treatment that deals with pain of different origins – spinal, neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain disorders. It is the primary concern of doctors to provide immediate intervention to reduce the severity of pain being experienced by individuals. Physicians may recommend or prescribe different kinds of techniques for pain management.

What is the primary role of pain management physicians?

Pain management physicians, as the name implies, are specialized doctors who help manage pain that individuals may be suffering from.

A physiatrist – and yes, that’s not a misspell of “psychiatrist” – is a rehabilitation medicine physician who helps alleviate pain suffered by any patient, may it be related to nerves, muscles, or bones. These doctors can help treat injuries or other illnesses that may affect the normal movement of an individual.

Meanwhile, an anesthesiologist is a trained health professional who treats patients suffering from chronic pain by using a wide range of procedures or medications.

Physicians may undergo specialize training on pain management to have an in-depth knowledge about the physiology of pain and to be able to properly diagnose patients through specialized tests.

Pain Management Procedures and Techniques

Pain management covers a wide variety of procedures that patients suffering from mild to severe pain may receive. Apart from medically prescribed opioid medication, doctors may have the following options to help alleviate pain, such as the following:

  • Regenerative therapy
  • Radiofrequency ablation and treatment of various nerves
  • MRI device implantation
  • X-ray-guided spinal and joint injections
  • Spinal cord and peripheral nerve stimulation

Highly skilled physicians are the only ones who can perform these techniques.

pain management issues

Proper pain management approaches

Giving the proper pain management involves being able to determine the cause of the pain being experienced by the patient. With appropriate review of the case, the best pain management option may be provided as soon as possible.

Managing pain should not be focusing solely on treating the body, but it should also include the treatment of the mind. There are a lot of pain medicines that may be prescribed to patients suffering from pain. Some of these include the following:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Antidepressants
  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Steroids
  • Opioids

Other pain management options are as follows:

Prescription Opioids Abuse

The most commonly abused drugs include stimulants, CNS depressants, and opioids, the latter of which have become the subject of much scrutiny by the medical field and the general public. A large number of Americans have become dependent to opioids to treat their pain, and this has led to a higher risk of opioid abuse.

Despite the government’s call to fight drug addiction, people still continue buying drugs from the black market for recreational use. Among the commonly abused substances include morphine, heroin, and prescription pain relievers.

Some users started out as patients who have been prescribed opioids for their pain management needs. However, over-prescription has led to opioid abuse and addiction. The rewarding effect of opioids can be increased when the drug is used rapidly and frequently.

The most commonly abused opiates include the following:

  • Heroin
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Meperidine
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone

It is unfortunate how some teenagers have gained access to prescription opioids from their own parents who may have been prescribed to take the medication. Some reports say that some clinics have been robbed of these specific drugs, which are sold in the streets.

Some of the reasons why opioids have become one of the popular choices among drug users are as follows:

  • It’s commonly prescribed by doctors.
  • Use of the drug is socially acceptable because it is designed as a means to help treat pain.
  • Pharmaceutical companies use aggressive marketing techniques to encourage vulnerable individuals to use it.

Facts and figures on opioid abuse

prescription painkillers abuse

Substance abuse is costing world governments a huge sum of money. With regards to illicit drugs alone, the U.S. government spends roughly $11 billion for health care costs.

Opiate abuse accounts for a great proportion of the government’s drug abuse problem. There has been a rise in the number of deaths linked to prescription opioid use since the early part of the 21st century. In 2002, opioid analgesics have become one of the most common causes of death.

Some individuals choose to use opioids over morphine and heroin due to affordability and accessibility.

The effect of opioids may be heightened when pills are crushed, injected or when taken in combination with another drug. People taking these opioids more than the dosage required may succumb to opioid addiction.

More than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, and most of them are under opioid therapy. Among this number, at least 38 million suffer from back pain and approximately 17 million are suffering from osteoarthritis. Considering that pain management may last for several months, scientists are still debating on whether the long-term use of opioids is more beneficial than being a risk for drug dependence.

Patients suffering from chronic pain may need to be treated for a longer period of time. In some cases, there is a need to increase the dose up to 10 times to maintain the level of pain relief needed.

Opiate addiction is likely to happen when an individual no longer feels the kind of “high” that he wants to achieve.  The next logical step for these individuals is to take larger or more frequent doses until they are able to achieve the euphoric results that they are looking for.

Signs of Opioid Abuse

Opioids are pain killers that are most commonly prescribed to help treat pain. However, when these drugs fall into the wrong hands, there is a high risk of being abused.

The short-term effects of opiate use are the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Feeling of euphoria
  • Pain relief
  • Sedation

Opiates initiate the release of dopamine in the brain, thereby creating a feeling of extreme pleasure. Unfortunately, opiate use may produce unfavorable effects on certain individual, which include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Intermittent nodding or loss of consciousness
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Paranoia
  • Respiratory depression
  • Social withdrawal

One of the very common signs of prolonged opiate use is having smaller-sized pupils.

Meanwhile, long-term use of opiates can cause the following:

  • Abdominal distention
  • Brain damage
  • Bloating
  • constipation
  • Dependence
  • Development of tolerance
  • Liver damage
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Some users would crush opiate pills, mix them with water and alcohol, and then inject the concoction into their bloodstream. This practice may cause heart problems as well as pulmonary embolism. Additionally, if the injection site is infected, it may result to gangrene.

Other effects of opiates abuse include lower immune system, risk of gastric problems, and potential development of cumulative hypoxic end-organ injury.

Teen Opiate Abuse

Vicodin and Oxycontin are two of the most common opioid medications abused by teenagers. According to a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2014, about 8 percent of high school seniors have used Vicodin. It also said that teens are likely to combine opiates with alcohol to heighten the effect, which leads to more dangerous effects such as severe respiratory depression.

Continued use of opiates may lead to tolerance, which may force the user to take more doses than usual.

Opiate Dependence

prescription drug abuse cocktail drugs

Just like taking any kind of illicit drug, habitual use of opioids may lead to dependence. Dependence on the drug may be confirmed through the following signs:

  • The user ignores the consequences despite knowing them.
  • The individual starts stealing from others just to be able to buy the drug.
  • Relationships may be affected.
  • Performance in school or at work may be observed to be poorer than usual.

Failure to stop drug use may warrant the help of a rehabilitation center.

It is important to note that there is a possibility for opiate overdose. For this case, some emergency centers administer Narcan, a nasal spray that is primarily used to help the patient recover from difficulty in respiration. However, it is not considered a treatment for opiate overdose; it is used only as an emergency aid before the actual medical intervention.

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

When dealing with addiction treatment involving opioids, physicians and rehab centers may ask for the following information:

  • The length of time that the drug has been taken
  • The last intake of the drug
  • The source of the drug

Treating any type of drug addiction may involve detoxification, a process of reducing the abused drug until the individual no longer experiences withdrawal symptoms. This process usually takes several weeks to a few months, preferably in a rehabilitation center under the supervision of professionals.

Pharmacological treatment may be another option. The drug of choice to help opiate users to get over the addiction is either buprenorphine or methadone. The dose will be decreased each day until the effects of the abused drug wears off.

Withdrawal symptoms are likely to happen when a drug user has stopped taking the illicit substance. Such symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Inability to sleep
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

In the treatment of a recovering addict, residential rehab or outpatient therapy may be offered. The choice would depend on the individual’s level of opiate use, the amount of insurance coverage, the presence of family support, and any previous attempts to recovery.

During the therapy treatment, recovering users are taught a number of coping skills so that they can resist the temptation of getting hooked on the drugs again.

In the event that the individual has recovered from opioid addiction, it is highly recommended that the person undergoes an extended form of therapy such as counseling and support group sessions. This can help the individual to easily get back to his normal life.

More importantly, this kind of therapy can be made more successful when family members participate. In cases of addiction recovery, there is a need for loved ones to understand the kind of journey that the individual has gone through.

Substance Abuse

Legality of Kratom Use Around The World

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For several years, Thailand and other Asian countries have been relying on plants as natural herbal remedy for a wide variety of ailments. One of the rising trends in natural medicine is kratom, which has gained both fame and notoriety. In this article, we will discuss kratom use in the global scale, and how countries are treating this controversial plant in a legal standpoint.

Popularity of Kratom Use

Depending on the dose taken, kratom may produce stimulating or opiate-like effects. Apart from these effects on an individual, kratom use may also function as an energy booster and relief from mild pain. It is also known to be helpful in the management of withdrawal symptoms associated with opiate addiction.

Over the years, there has been an increase in the rate of kratom use across North America and Europe, where the plant-based substance is being used as a recreational drug, pain relief medication, or herbal aid in opiate withdrawal symptoms. Despite what many people claim about the effectiveness of kratom in managing different medical situations, some physicians and medical experts do not recommend kratom use because of its adverse effects after prolonged use.

kratom ban DEA

What Kratom Users Say

People who use kratom have a lot of good things to say about the substance, as it provides an extensive range of benefits with regards to mood, stress and pain relief, and energy level. Those engage in kratom use say that it has helped them in the following areas:

  • Improved concentration and alertness
  • Mental drive
  • Sense of happiness

In addition, kratom advocates say that it is safe when used as directed, but can potentially lead to serious health conditions if used as a recreational drug.

Different Strains of Kratom

Kratom types are divided into three colors: red, white and green. The colors refer to the stem and veins of the kratom leaves. Each color signifies the effect of the kratom leaf on the individual’s mind and body.

Red Vein Kratom

This is the best-selling and most widely available kratom strain in the market. They produce a pleasant, calming effect that can give peace of mind and a feeling of well-being and optimism.

Red vein is said to be suitable as an aid for individuals who have difficulty in sleeping (insomnia). It can be used as a replacement for pharmaceutical painkillers.

White Vein Kratom

This kratom strain is known for inducing a positive mood. It has the most stimulating and euphoric effect among the three strains. Because of this, it is taken as a means to increase alertness, concentration and positive perspective.

Some individuals who work long hours a day would take white vein kratom to help them feel stronger and more motivated.

Green Vein Kratom

The effect of this strain is described as somewhere in between of the red and green strains. It generates a subtle effect that can help the user to become more focused and enhances alertness. This provides a balance when mixed with the other two strains.

When green vein kratom is mixed with red vein kratom, it prevents the excessive anesthetic effect of the red vein kratom. On the other hand, when the green vein kratom is mixed with the white vein kratom, it prevents overstimulation of the white vein.

Kratom Use Around the World

Many countries have seen the positive effect that kratom provides in relieving pain and managing opiate withdrawal. However, at least 4 countries have already made kratom illegal. Meanwhile, several other countries have imposed strict regulations and labeled kratom as a controlled substance.

A kratom ban is in effect in four countries: Australia, Burma, Malaysia and Thailand. Under strict regulations from these countries, anyone who is caught using or in possession may suffer jail time. In some cases, death penalty can also be given as a way of protecting the majority from getting hooked on kratom.

Harsh regulations are being imposed with kratom use in Denmark, Finland, Germany, New Zealand and Romania.

kratom use worldwide

Below is a list of kratom’s status in several countries.

Country Status
Australia It is currently listed as Schedule 9 of the SUSDP. It decision was made in October 2003 during the National drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee meeting.
Brazil Kratom is legal wherein leaves of the plant as well as kratom extracts are sold in local markets.
Belgium Kratom is not a controlled substance in this country.
Canada Kratom is a legal substance in Canada where it can be purchased, sold and used without limitations.
Denmark In 2009, kratom was declared a controlled substance.
Finland A prescription is required to be able to purchase kratom. Kratom importation is illegal.
Germany It is classified as a controlled substance under Section 73 of the Medicines Act. Penalties are imposed on individuals found to purchase kratom online.
Greece Kratom use is legal and the plant is no considered to be a controlled substance.
Hungary Kratom is sold as incense which can be purchased at head shops.
Ireland Kratom is not regulated by the country’s Misuse of Drugs Act.
Italy Kratom may be used legally, and is not considered as a controlled substance.
Lithuania Anyone caught in possession of kratom is subject to a criminal offense.
Malaysia Kratom is illegal to be sold in Malaysia, unless a government license can be provided by the seller/trader.
Myanmar/Burma It is illegal to grow and sell kratom in this country.
Netherlands This country is one of the largest suppliers of kratom in Europe. Kratom is legal and can be purchased from smartshops and from online Dutch vendors.
New Zealand It is classified under the same Schedule 1 of the Medicines Amendment Regulations Act of 2009.  It is illegal to sell kratom without prescription. Importing and possessing is not illegal.
Norway

 

This is classified as a medicinal drug, which can only be accessible with a recommendation by doctors or government officials.
Poland Kratom and its by-products are controlled substances in Poland.
Romania Kratom ban has been implemented since 2010.
Russia Kratom was illegal until its status was changed in 2011.
Sweden It is currently illegal in Sweden but is not listed in any drug schedules. There are, however, some indications that the status may change in the future.
South Korea Kratom is illegal and is strictly regulated.
Thailand It is classified as Level 5 Narcotic, which makes it illegal to grow, possess, sell, or purchase in Thailand despite being used in the past as alternative pain relief medication.
United States Kratom in the U.S. is not a controlled substance and is considered legal to grow, possess and use. There is no need for a prescription in purchasing kratom. However, several states in the U.S. are considering to regulate selling of kratom.

Legality of Kratom Use in the U.S.

Although kratom is not considered as a controlled substance in the U.S., some states have implemented regulations with regards to the use, possession and selling of kratom. It is vital to known the regulations imposed by each state before considering to bring kratom in a particular state. Some states may require that you present a license and prescription.

Kratom ban is implemented in Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin.

Kratom is considered legal in most of the states except for Florida, New York, North Carolina and Oregon, where there are proposals to impose kratom ban.

Kratom Dangers

There are at least 20 active chemicals found in kratom, which include opioid-binding receptors that may potentially lead to physical dependence and addiction. Despite the positive effects of kratom use, some countries have imposed a kratom ban due to its addictive potential.

Kratom may have been useful in relieving pain, but continued use may interfere with drug-metabolizing enzymes in the liver and may cause dangerous interactions with other drugs. There have been reports of overdose in which some of them resulted to fatalities, most especially if kratom was used in combination with other drugs.

There are three kratom dangers that should be of major concern:

Kratom addiction

Most legislators fear that despite the positive effects that kratom use may provide, it has a higher risk of potentially being abused.

Absence of Regulation

No concrete scientific evidence can declare that kratom has an effect on human health, although the plant has been in existence for several years. There may be a need to conduct further studies to determine if kratom should be considered more of a help than a risk.

Negative Drug Interaction

Some individuals may be taking prescription medicines to help them manage their existing conditions, but a few of them may have used kratom in combination. When kratom is used with other drugs (even if they’re medically prescribed), it may cause some serious damage on the liver.

Kratom Abuse, Signs and Symptoms

kratom extract powder

Kratom is used as an herbal alternative in managing pain and withdrawal symptoms from opiate addiction. It is known under the following street names:

  • Biak
  • Ketum
  • Thom
  • Kakuam
  • Thiang

Since kratom is not a controlled substance in most countries, it can be purchase from headshops and online.

Signs and symptoms of kratom use may vary, depending on the amount of drug ingested. At low doses of kratom, they may exhibit stimulant effects, which are similar to but not as intense as amphetamine. These effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Greater alertness
  • Heightened sex drive
  • Impaired coordination
  • Increased sociability

Higher doses of kratom may produce the following opiate-like effects similar to but less intense than morphine or oxycodone:

  • Constipation
  • Cough suppression
  • Dysphoria
  • Euphoria
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Reduce pain
  • Sedation

Kratom abuse may lead to harmful physical effects most especially when used in combination with other drugs including medically prescribed drugs.

Kratom Dependence

Kratom dependence occurs after progressive intake of larger doses to achieve the desired effects. Withdrawal symptoms can also be experienced when kratom intake is suddenly stopped. Such effects are similar to opiate withdrawal, including the following:

  • Abdominal and muscle pain
  • Cravings for kratom
  • Diarrhea
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritability
  • Sweating

Statistics on Kratom Use

The popularity of kratom has been increasing as the availability of the substance online continues to rise and more people are openly discussing their kratom experiences.

A 2013 study showed that there is an increase in kratom-related cases as reported by the Texas Poison Control Database.

The exact number of teen kratom users may not have been determined as drug surveys do not include questions relating to kratom use. However, there are emergency room reports where teens were said to have taken kratom to get high. This is causing a major concern among authorities because kratom can become more appealing to teenagers. The availability of kratom has made it easier to purchase the substance than any other drug, and it costs much less than other drugs.

Drug Testing

3 Reasons Why You Should Drug Test Your Teenager

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The use of illicit drug among teens has reached a point where it is no longer something to be taken lightly. Now more than ever, the decision to drug test your teenager has become extremely essential. In this article, we will look into the troubling scenario of teen drug use, and some reasons why you need to drug test your teenager.

A Look Into Teen Drug Use

A lot of lives have been taken away because of the rampant trading at the black market. Twenty years ago, most cases involving illegal drug use were among young adults. However, in recent years, teenagers have become the target of drug dealers and manufacturers.

Teens are naturally curious, and a lot of adolescents want to explore things while they’re young. Unfortunately, some people take advantage of the vulnerabilities of the youth by selling them illegal drugs, which has become a major concern of families and the community in general.

Causes of Drug Addiction

Parents may not be aware that most of the children who get into drugs have problems at home. If these issues are not properly addressed, some kids seek refuge from fellow teens.

Unfortunately, not all of the people around them really care what their issues are. Instead of providing solutions to their problems, what these people would offer would be drugs or alcohol. This could be the spark for your kids to start engaging in drug addiction.

Other causes of drug addiction include boredom, curiosity, ignorance, rebellion, and a mere search for fun.

Why Should You Drug Test Your Teenager?

Before you drug test your teenager, help them understand that everything you do for them is because of your love as a parent. Use the blanket of care and concern to make your children secure as they agree to undergo drug testing.

friends drug test your teenager

Here are some of the important reasons why you need to drug test your teenager:

1. Behavioral changes

Notice any change in behavior of your son or daughter? Each child has his own personality that parents should be aware of. Any sudden change in behavior should concern a parent, but not to immediately imply that the child is into drugs.

Try to observe further and talk to your children to confirm if there is something that they want to talk about. If you strongly feel that they are taking drugs, then slowly introduce the idea of conducting a drug test to validate all the signs and symptoms of drug addiction.

2. Safety of your children

When your teenager readily submits to drug testing, it is easier for your teen to refuse anyone who would taunt him/her into taking drugs. Peer pressure has a strong influence over teenagers who want to feel that they belong to a group. To say “no” may result to getting ridiculed by peers.

Letting their friends know that your kids need to undergo drug testing will increase the likelihood that your teenage children will steer clear of illegal drugs.

3. Peace of mind (for you and your kids)

A court-mandated drug test may not always give the correct result, and will result to stigma for you and your children. To validate any positive result, a home drug test may be done to give you peace of mind. If the home drug testing produces a positive result, then immediate intervention should be done.

There are a lot of home drug test kits in the market that you can choose from. Some of these testing methods include shipping to the laboratory for ease in handling the sample. Meanwhile, some drug screening kits may be bought over the counter, and are priced significantly less than they used to be.

The Right Approach to Drug Test Your Teenager

Some parents are wondering why their kids are hooked on drugs despite their seemingly good image. The truth is that no matter how good the relationship between parents and their children are, some teenagers are still susceptible to being swayed into using illegal drugs.

Because of this alarming reality, many parents are undecided on whether to have their teenagers undergo drug testing or not. They fear that despite their good intentions, their teen children may see it differently, and imposing such testing may jeopardize their relationship. Some parents are afraid that their children may lose trust in them.

If you are a parent, carefully explain to your teenager the importance of having to go through drug testing. This will help ease your mind and to ensure that your teenager is safe from these illegal drugs.

The very first thing that you need to establish as a parent is to build a good relationship with your children. The way you raise them up will definitely have a strong impact on how they would behave when they grow up. Despite how busy you can be with so many things, you should always make time for your family, especially for your children.

Here are some more tips in preparing to drug test your teenager without letting him/her feel the pressure:

  • Your teenager should be willing to take the drug test. Forcing your teen to take any kind of drug test may ruin your good relationship and may lead to more serious situations.
  • Let your teens know about the dangerous implications of using illegal drugs. You must let your child understand how much it could affect everyone’s life if he chooses to take drugs.
  • Once your teen agrees to the drug testing, make sure that you properly record all the test results so that you can understand your teen’s behavior and drug use pattern.
  • If the test turns positive, it is important that you get him the help that he needs There are many rehabilitation centers that can help your child overcome his drug addiction.

teen skateboard drug testing

Teen Drug Use Statistics

It is surprising how times have changed the way these teenagers value their lives. A lot of them seem to be more fearless in doing stuff, and are more focused on spending time with friends rather than getting serious with their studies.

Drugs and alcohol have penetrated the lives of these children at such an early age. Unfortunately, we could not blame them for getting hooked on illegal substances because they are exposed to these drugs every day – from their own parents, from their favorite actors and artists, and from the glorification of drugs on social media. Too much exposure to drugs will entice these kids to try and later on get hooked on them.

Here are some of the recent findings related to drug use by teenagers:

  • Statistics showed that there are more teens dying from prescription drugs than cocaine or heroin.
  • About 60 percent of high school seniors don’t think that regular marijuana use is harmful.
  • More than 35 percent of 12th graders have used marijuana in the past year.
  • About 6 percent of 12th graders are regular marijuana users.
  • 12th graders who are using marijuana are 65 percent more likely to crash their vehicles.
  • Some of the drugs taken by 12th graders include amphetamine, opioid painkillers, synthetic marijuana, tranquilizers, cough medicine, hallucinogens, LSD, ecstasy, cocaine, sedatives and inhalants.

Drug Addiction Signs and Symptoms

Are you anxious to know if your teenager is involved with using illegal drugs? Remember that forcing your child to undergo drug testing would strain your relationship with them.

It is probably best to know the signs and symptoms of drug addiction, rather than have your child undergo drug testing based merely on suspicion. Here are some of the telltale signs of teen drug addiction:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Abrupt weight changes
  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Bruises or infections (which may have been caused by an injectable drug)
  • Depression
  • Change in behavior
  • Lethargy
  • Increased aggression or irritability
  • Poor decision making
  • Agitated
  • Almost always sleeping or widely awake
  • Hallucinations

What Should You Do If Your Teen Tests Positive?

Any wrong decision that a child makes may be a reflection of how his life is, and this can be a great burden on the parents. If you happen to find out that your child is positive for drug use, varying levels of emotion would probably be racing inside you – fear, anger and worry, at the very least.

The relationship between parent and child can be a major factor for young kids to get hooked on illegal substances. This is the reason why parents are encouraged to spend quality time with the whole family so that they would know what is going on with the lives of their children.

prescription drugs teen use

Here are some steps to do, in case you find out that your teenager is taking drugs:

1. Never create an aggressive environment.

Instead of helping your child speak up about what caused him to use drugs, aggression would lead him/her to become more distant. This may actually worsen the drug addiction situation.

Talk to your child in a non-confrontational manner. You need to let him/her know that you are concerned about his/her health and well-being.

Never show your child your anger because it could heighten his emotions that could make him more distant. Try to win back his trust.

2. Always let your child feel that you love them no matter what.

You may be mad at the drug use, but make it clear that you are not angry with your child. Insist on having a heart-to-heart talk so that your child will feel that you are giving importance to him/her.

A teen’s life is a very complicated stage wherein they are asked to think and behave older despite their young age. This can be confusing to them. This is the reason why families should always take time to be together.

3. Ask your child what is bothering him that led him to drugs.

Before you go all out and drug test your teenager, listen intently and provide potential solutions to the problem, if the need arises. Then, let him understand that despite what he is going through, the family remains to be by his side.

4. Gently remind him about the dangers of drug use.

Let your child know the consequence of using drugs and how it can affect his life. Part of the healing process is for your teenager to undergo rehabilitation, which he/she should understand. Explain how long it would take to completely recover. With his/her cooperation, the treatment can be shorter.

5. Introduce the idea of follow-up drug testing.

Let your child know that he/she would still need to undergo random drug testing after the treatment. This will ensure that he/she has completely turned away from drugs. Follow-up drug testing is important to help your teenager get back to his normal life by strongly refusing to get back on the old habit and to lead a life that any normal teenager should have.

Final Word

When you decide to drug test your teenager, reassure him/her of emotional security and the love of family.

Drug Testing

Hair Follicle Drug Testing Myths Debunked!

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drug testing myths hair follicles blonde

Most employers would consider implementing pre-employment drug testing to ensure that job applicants will be able to work the way they are expected to, and to refuse applicants who are found to be using illicit drugs. In the midst of conducting drug tests across several industries, there are a lot of misconceptions and false truths that destroy the integrity of drug testing. In this article, we will shed light into some of the most common hair follicle drug testing myths.

The Push For Drug Testing

Despite debates on implementing workplace drug policies, companies continue to push for drug testing in the workplace to ensure high productivity and overall workforce safety. In fact, industries involved with transportation, aviation and mining consider drug testing as a primary requirement.

At its most fundamental core, drug testing is done to maintain a healthy and safe workplace.  It does not only provide a safe place for employees, but it can also save the company from loss of revenue due to low productivity and high insurance claims.

Urine Drug Test: The Most Common Method

urine same day drug testing

The most common type of drug testing done is urine drug test, mainly because it is less expensive. This kind of test has become so common that many individuals try to look for ways to cheat the drug test. The good thing about this is that drug testing companies are now more vigilant when it comes to drug test cheating attempts or sample adulteration.

Because of the possibility that a urine drug test can be contaminated and may end up producing a false result, some employers require additional drug testing with the use of the hair drug test.

What is a Hair Drug Test?

Hair drug test is a type of test that analyzes hair samples to identify the presence of drugs and their metabolites. For testing purposes, at least 1.5 inches of hair sample close to the scalp is taken from an individual’s body and is sent to a drug screening laboratory for screening.

Hair drug testing is considered to be more accurate compared to urine drug test, because the detection period can last up to 90 days. In comparison, an individual may stop using drugs for 1-2 days and would come out clean after a urine drug test.

hair sample drug testing myths

How Does a Hair Drug Test Detect Presence of Drugs in the Body?

As soon as a substance is ingested (orally, snorted, smoked or injected), metabolites are produced by the drug and processed by the body. These drug metabolites circulate in the blood stream, nourish the hair follicle, and then become deeply seated into each strand.

Hair Follicle Drug Testing Myths and Truths

A lot of drug testing myths on hair samples have been circulating online, and the wrong information may mislead people. Here are some of the most common hair follicle drug testing myths, and the truth behind each one:

Myth #1: Hair drug testing can detect the presence of all drugs.

One of the most popular drug testing myths is that hair drug test can detect all types of drugs. The only difference with other drug testing methods is the cost and method of sample extraction.

Fact:

A standard hair drug test has the ability to detect the presence of cannabis, cocaine, amphetamine, opiates, PCP, and some prescription drugs. Meanwhile, a few special products like HairConfirm 12 Panel can also detect ecstasy, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and hydromorphone.

Despite this, hair drug testing – much like any other drug testing method – cannot cover every single substance in the market these days. This is due to the continuing development of illegal drug labs to come up with unique kinds of designer drugs and synthetic substances.

Myth #2: Hair drug testing is not accurate.

Some people would say that hair drug test could not possible provide valid results because there are factors that can affect the result of an individual’s test such as frequent exposure to secondhand smoke from other substance abusers.

Fact:

Hair follicle drug testing is impossible to cheat because any drug taken by an individual is more likely to remain in the hair follicles for 90 days. Besides, positive results are crosschecked through a confirmatory test.

Myth #3: Individuals who don’t cut their hair for a year but have stopped taking any drug would still be tested positive.

Some people believe that the presence of drugs on the hair remains even beyond the 90-day detection period. As a result, it may be hard to prove that the individual has really stopped taking drugs.

Fact:

Human hair grows an average of half an inch every month. Drug metabolites in hair follicles may still be found on the end of each strand, assuming that the hair has not been cut.

However, the standard procedure for the test is to take 1.5 inches of hair sample near the scalp, while the rest of the strand is discarded. Therefore, if the individual has long stopped taking drugs, the new growth of hair would no longer show any presence of drugs.

Myth #4: Individuals with shaved heads cannot undergo hair follicle drug testing.

A lot of people believe that hair samples to be used for drug testing should only come from the head. Therefore, people who are either bald or have their heads shaved cannot undergo a hair drug testing.

Fact:

This is one of the most common drug testing myths, but it’s easy to disprove. Even if the individual is bald, hair samples from his legs, arms, or armpits can be used for hair drug testing. Only individuals who don’t have any hair at all – say, someone diagnosed with alopecia universalis – could pass up this kind of drug test.

Myth #5: Hair follicle drug testing is required before and during the course of employment.

Part of the anti-drug campaign in any workplace is a need to submit to a drug test, which includes urine drug test and hair follicle drug test.

Fact:

Pre-employment drug tests laws vary from each state. In California, for example, employers may request drug screening on current employees whom the company may observe to have inconsistencies in terms of job performance. This may also be required for people involved in accidents or injuries in the workplace.

However, workplace drug testing is not conducted without considering other factors. If an employer decides to implement pre-employment drug testing, the procedure should be applicable to all applicants and not to specific individuals.

Myth #6: You may wash your hair with a special shampoo to wash away traces of any drugs.

Some drug users vouch on the idea that traces of drugs may be easily washed off the hair by using a special type of shampoo. After using the hair product, recent drug use will not be detected. In addition, bleaching is also said to help mask out the presence of drugs.

Fact:

While it is true that any drug adhering to the surface of hair strands can be washed off, drug metabolites that penetrate deep into the core of each strand will be impossible to remove. Hair follicle drug tests determine the presence of drug compounds inside each hair strand, and do not test the surface of the each strand.

What are the advantages of hair follicle drug test?

drug testing myths hair follicles blonde

Although this method of drug testing is more expensive than urine drug tests, people should consider recommending this type of drug test over other tests because of the following benefits:

High accuracy

The presence of drugs can be detected by hair drug tests up to 90 days from last substance use. It is recommended to use 1.5 inches of hair sample cut close to the scalp, in order to easily detect current drug use.

Difficulty in cheating

Unlike using urine drug test wherein drug users may be able to temporarily stop taking drugs in 1-2 days to produce a false negative result, hair drug testing is much more difficult to cheat.

Hair drug tests cannot be cheated by using bleaching solutions or shampoos. This kind of drug screening method checks the core of the hair strand where drug metabolites could possibly adhere for a longer period of time. In comparison, urine drug tests may be tampered by making use of masking agents to cheat on the test.

Fast results

Negative results are released within 24 hours. Any positive result undergoes confirmatory in which the results are released within an additional 24-72 hours.

Simplified collection process

It is a convenient and non-invasive method of drug testing, and can be conducted anytime and anywhere.

Less risk of sample spoilage or adulteration

Hair samples are easier to transport without worries of being contaminated due to factors such as temperature and mishandling.

Eligible in court

Hair testing can be used as evidence in court proceedings. All hair follicle drug tests include a comprehensive report.

The Importance of Disproving Drug Testing Myths

More people are starting to understand the real importance of drug testing, but some individuals are still hesitant due to possible infringement of privacy. This – along with other drug testing myths – has led some people to be skeptical about the need for drug tests.

However, if the drug testing procedure is carefully discussed, people will realize that it is not going to be used as a means for discrimination. Rather, drug testing is a way of keeping the community safe.

Drug testing is performed for pre-employment purposes, for confirmation of suspected drug use by current employees, for return-to-duty requirements, and for follow-up after rehabilitation. Imagine how much safe and secure the workplace can become, if the company decides to embark on a drug testing program.

Companies are required to provide an Employment Assistance Program to help employees who have been found to be positive. The program refers the individuals to rehabilitation centers in order to help them completely stay away from illicit drug use.

Hair Drug Testing Kits

Hair follicle drug testing is a trusted method of drug testing. Fortunately, there are a lot of drug testing kits available to choose from in the market. However, not all drug test kits are made by legitimate manufacturers. It is advisable to purchase hair drug testing kits from reputable companies with years of expertise and experience to back up their product line.

HairConfirm is an ideal testing solution for individuals who want fast and accurate results. This drug testing kit is convenient to use and cheat-proof. Results are available in 24-48 hours, and may be viewed securely online.

Here are some of the reasons why HairConfirm can bust any drug testing myths:

  • Personal information is not required, which makes the test totally anonymous. It makes use of a unique specimen number and pass code for proper identification.
  • The testing facility makes use of the latest drug screening technology.
  • It is easy to use and convenient. It comes with instructions on how to take the hair sample. Mailing is easier as it comes with a pre-paid package.
  • The testing laboratory provides a comprehensive report on a positive result test.

Helpful Links and Resources

http://www.healthline.com/health/urine-drug-screen

http://www.crchealth.com/addiction/drug-addiction-rehab/drug-addiction-rehab-2/home-2/drug_test_accuracy

http://www.confirmbiosciences.com/products/hairconfirm-hair-drug-test

hair follicle drug testing myths

Addiction Substance Abuse

Tobacco Use Among Adolescents: Facts, Statistics, Effects

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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

Medical Marijuana Workplace Testing

How Marijuana Legalization Affects Employers and Employees

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marijuana legalization drug testing construction industry

The legalization of marijuana has caused confusion as to how it could work best in the workplace setup. Marijuana legalization may have brought a sense of relief to both medical and recreational marijuana users. However, despite its legalization, employers are now facing issues regarding the policies of drug testing in the workplace.

The conundrum of legalizing cannabis and maintaining workplace safety has put business owners in a bind, finding themselves between crossroads on how to implement the workplace drug policies without having to deal with right-to-privacy issues regarding medical conditions of their employees.

On the other side of the fence, job applicants are now confused whether to submit themselves to the company’s drug testing policy or to decline the job. Should they agree to undergo drug testing and potentially be singled out as a drug user in case of a positive result?

Concerns with Marijuana Legalization

In this scenario, two major questions may be raised in relation to marijuana legalization:

  • Should there be a need to totally eradicate drug policies within the workplace?
  • How can employees be protected from potential termination or lawsuits?

Despite the advantages of marijuana legalization, this issue has become a burden on most employers. They need to come up with a solution about who to test, when to do the test, and if they should even implement drug testing in the workplace.

Lawmakers may have only focused on making marijuana legal to avoid prosecution of the users. However, it’s possible that they missed out on the aspect where the protection of the employers and employees should be considered. For employers, their main goal is to be able to sustain their respective businesses where their employees are able to work comfortably and safely, with high productivity.

No employer would tolerate drug use while working even if an employee is taking marijuana for medical purposes. Drug policies in the workplace were created to ensure that every employee is able to do his job and not to report to work under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.

More than 70 percent of illicit drug users belong to the workforce. This is quite an alarming number considering that drug use while on the job would affect more than just lost productivity, but also increased health insurance claims and even death.

States with Legal Medical Marijuana Use

Each state has its own provisions with regards to drug testing in the workplace. However, under the federal law, employees working in certain industries are required to undergo drug testing. Such industries include aviation, transportation, mining, construction and sports.

marijuana legalization in the U.S.

Marijuana legalization in the United States has taken so many years before it was finally implemented on several states. The latest vote in November 8, 2016 added more states that started to adapt the legalization of marijuana use. As of that date, more than half of U.S. states already allow medical marijuana use. These include:

State Year Passed
Alaska 1998
Arizona 2010
Arkansas 2016
California 1996
Colorado 2000
Connecticut 2012
Delaware 2011
Florida 2016
Hawaii 2000
Illinois 2013
Maine 1999
Maryland 2014
Massachusetts 2012
Michigan 2008
Minnesota 2014
Montana 2004
Nevada 2000
New Hampshire 2013
New Jersey 2010
New Mexico 2007
New York 2014
North Dakota 2016
Ohio 2016
Oregon 1998
Pennsylvania 2016
Rhode Island 2006
Vermont 2004
Washington 1998
Washington,DC 2010

Each state has its own provisions in implementing marijuana legalization.

Marijuana is legal for recreational use in Alaska, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada. These states allow adults aged 21 years and older to recreational use of marijuana but with provisions on the amount that they can use or buy, and can only purchase these through legitimate stores.

The state of California allows use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by individuals who have written recommendations by their physicians. Approved conditions to use medical marijuana include HIV/AIDS, arthritis, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraine, muscular spasms, MS, and seizures. However, employers in California implement strict drug policies wherein they require employees to pass a drug test. Companies may decline employment to those who are found to be using marijuana even if it were for medical purposes.

Why Do Companies Implement Marijuana Drug Testing in the Workplace?

The reasons behind implementing drug testing procedures in line with marijuana legalization include the following:

  • To assure the safety for all employees
  • To save the company a lot of money from absenteeism and health insurance claims
  • To decrease crime within the workplace
  • To increase productivity
  • To improve health of employees
  • To enhance the morale within the workplace

However, some companies who need employees to work on heavy machinery now see marijuana drug testing as a hindrance in finding the right people to be employed. This is because applicants refuse to show up for drug tests. Pre-employment drug testing, although significant and beneficial, just seem to be an unwelcome thought for some applicants.

How Employers Should Handle Employee Marijuana Use

Employers are now experiencing a higher level of difficulty in looking for applicants to fill up their vacant job positions. This is due to the fact that some applicants would walk out in the middle of an interview once they are informed that drug testing will be a requirement in the hiring process. As a result, some employees would either disregard pre-employment drug testing or remove random drug testing policies among its current employees for fear of losing their best employees.

Fortunately, there are ways on how employers can best handle prospective employees with regards to marijuana use. These tips would be helpful to know how the company’s drug policies can still be implemented without having to step on anyone’s rights.

  1. Employers should be able to ask employees if they are taking any medication. With the employee’s right to privacy in mind, the employer must ensure that any medicine taken by the employee would not in any way interfere with the quality of work of the employee and that it should be used in a responsible manner.
  2. There may be certain employees who are using medical marijuana. Because of this, employers should think about reconsidering. The employee should, however, make sure that if there is a need to take medical cannabis during working hours, it should be done discreetly.
  3. Drug policies should be regularly reviewed, revised, and updated with regards to employee’s recreational use of marijuana. For instance, the policy should state that although recreational use of marijuana in the state may be allowed, but it should define whether the company will allow recreational marijuana use within the workplace.
  4. Completely banning employees who use marijuana in states where its use is legal may face some serious issues. Instead of focusing on cannabis use of an employee, the employer should instead monitor and put attention to the worker’s overall job performance. In industries where employees are operating heavy machinery, marijuana use should be strictly prohibited.
  5. Lunch and break times should not be a reason for employees to use marijuana for recreational purposes. While employers would want to respect the privacy of each employee during those times, employers need to be assured by the employees that they can work efficiently without having to take any psychoactive substance when working hours resume.

Rights and Responsibilities of Employers

When it comes to marijuana legalization and its impact in the workplace, employers need to accept the following rights and responsibilities:

  • Employers have the right to appoint and dismiss employees in accordance with company procedures. They should expect reasonable level of performance from their employees and provide a healthy and safe workplace.
  • Employers do not have the right to discriminate against existing or potential employees with regards to race, ethnicity and religion. They should also not allow sexual harassment or vilification to occur in the workplace.
  • Employers should assure that employees are not discriminated, harassed or violated in any way.
  • They should be responsible in educating all employees with regards to their responsibilities and behavioral standards that are acceptable in the workplace.

Rights and Responsibilities of Employees

Employees have their own rights that should be well recognized in terms of marijuana legalization, such as:

  • The right to a healthy and safe workplace
  • The right to any information about the hazards of the job
  • The right to file complaint should they find any workplace hazards
  • The right to not be discriminated, threatened, harassed or be treated differently

Meanwhile, every employee’s responsibility is to:

  • Read company policies and guidelines
  • Comply with applicable safety standards
  • Report any hazardous conditions to the employer
  • Work efficiently and give 100% compliance to assigned tasks
  • Report any job-related illnesses or injury and seek immediate treatment

Marijuana Drug Testing in the Workplace

Drug testing for weed may not be easy to implement for any employer. However, if a well-written company policy is presented to employees and job applicants to emphasize the safety and protection of every individual in the workplace, then this can create a more positive impact to every employee.

Pre-employment drug testing may not be reliable as one of the requirements for hiring an applicant because the presence of marijuana in the body may last for days. This means that an individual who may have stopped using marijuana for a week may still get a positive drug result. However, testing positive does not mean that an employee may produce poor work performance.

Understanding Drug Policies in the Workplace

marijuana legalization drug testing construction industry

It should be clearly written on the company’s drug policies when and what grounds would the company initiate drug testing to employees. It should also indicate the measures to be taken, should an employee be found to be positive with marijuana.

An employer may be free from any liabilities should he find out that an employee’s performance has been compromised due to working under the influence of marijuana or other substances. To create an effective system within your workplace, there are three important things that employers should do:

  1. Be fully aware of the state’s law regarding marijuana
  2. Review company’s policies regularly
  3. Enforce your company’s drug policy and request employees for strict compliance

Ultimately, employers should be able to effectively communicate with the employees. Not all employees may be aware of the state’s legalization of marijuana, which could allow the employer to set workers aside due to marijuana use. In other words, a thorough discussion on the effect of marijuana use and how it can affect performance in the workplace should be done, so that employees will be able to understand.

A drug policy should be part of any organization to ensure that all employees are aware about the dangers of using marijuana. The company policy should have the provision to give assistance to those who are found to be positive, and to educate supervisors to help them determine whether an employee is fit to work.

All in all, the company drug policy should be able to determine which of the workers may be working under the influence of cannabis. This can protect the entirety of the workforce and maintain a healthy and safe workplace for everyone in the company, even in the face of the growing trend of marijuana legalization.

Helpful Links and Resources

https://www.yourdrugtesting.com/legalization-of-marijuana/

http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881

http://www.refinery29.com/2016/04/107985/where-is-weed-legal

https://www.headsup.org.au/rights-responsibilities/employer-rights-and-responsibilities

https://www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2014/09/30/how-marijuana-legislation-will-affect-drug-testing-in-the-workplace/#7be3c0323487

https://ohsonline.com/articles/2016/02/01/marijuana-use-and-its-impact-on-workplace-safety-and-productivity.aspx

Substance Abuse

Everything You Need To Know About the Synthetic Drug 2C-B

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Drug addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain and causes habitual drug seeking despite its harmful effects to a drug user. It is considered as a disease because it has the ability to alter brain structure and function. In this article, we will discuss the synthetic drug 2C-B, why it is abused, how dangerous it is, and what you can do to help someone addicted to it.

The Drug Abuse Scenario

For the past 50 years, a lot of controlled substances have become very popular among individuals who use them as recreational drugs. Illicit drug use in the United States has been increasing. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), due to substance abuse, the government spends more than $700M due to related crimes, health care and lost work productivity.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows an increasing incidence of drug use as well as how children as young as 12 years old have already been hooked in illicit substances. It is a frightening reality that no matter how much effort the government has exerted against illegal substance use, the number of users continues to increase every year.

Among the common controlled substances are designer drugs, which are made to mimic the effects of illegal substances to get away from prosecution. These substances are inexpensive alternatives to oft-abused drugs.

What is 2C-B?

2C-B is a psychedelic drug that comes from the 2C family. 2C is a general name referring to the family of psychedelic phenethylamines that contains the methoxy groups on 2 and 5 positions of the benzene ring.

The substance was first synthesized by American chemist Alexander Shulgin in 1974. He was also known to have synthesized more than 150 drugs, most of which are hallucinogens.

2c-b in powder form

2C-B is sold in the form of a white powder, and is sometimes pressed into tablets or gel capsules. Its street names include:

  • Bees
  • Nexus
  • Venus
  • Afterburner Bromo
  • Utopia
  • Spectrum
  • Toonies
  • MFT
  • Cloud Nine
  • Zenith

Law enforcement authorities have been able to seize various forms of 2C-B such as:

  • Pink, red or purple pills
  • Small, off-white, thick pills with a bullhead logo stamp
  • Off-white pills with brown specks
  • Clear, yellow or gray and blue capsules

Its drug classification is Schedule I since 1995. This substance is taken orally, vaporized or insufflated. Its effect is said to be more intense when snorted. Some users, however, consume 2C-B along with other illicit drugs like MDMA and LSD.

This is an illegal and dangerous drug that is becoming a huge concern not only in the US, but also in other countries. It was in 2004 when it started to appear on the streets as a red pill or orange powder.

Usual doses are 12-24 mg, and the effect lasts for a period between 4-8 hours.

History of 2C-B

It was in the 1970s when 2C-B was introduced to psychotherapists in the United States. It was later manufactured by a German company under the trade name Nexus. It was developed as a treatment for frigidity and impotence.

Thereafter, several other pharmaceutical companies marketed it under the names Performax and Eros. The U.S. became the largest market for 2C-B, which can be bought without prescription when it first arrived in local stores.

It was in 1993 when drug authorities were alarmed on how 2C-B has become a favorite among teens and young adults who frequented clubs and rave parties. Since it was not an illegal substance that time, it can be bought at video stores and head shops, nightclubs and bars. The drug was sold between $17-$25 per capsule.

Despite not being among the controlled substance during that time, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) ordered the closure of manufacturing laboratories in California and Arizona.

It was in June 5, 1995 when 2C-B was placed under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. It was placed under this category because it has been proven to have no medical use and has a high risk for abuse. It is currently banned in other countries such as Canada, France, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, South Africa, and the U.K.

Why is 2C-B being abused?

2C-B is commonly abused by teens and young adults who regularly go to raves, concerts and music festivals. It is commonly taken with other designer drugs or club drugs such as GHB, ecstasy, ketamine, LSD and methamphetamine.

According to the DEA, there is a significant increase in usage of this substance in the United States. This substance is already popular in Germany, South Africa, Switzerland and the Netherlands, where much of the supply comes from.

Like the other mentioned club drugs, 2C-B produces several positive effects that club goers are after, such as:

  • Euphoria
  • Feeling of empathy
  • Enhanced visual perception
  • Closed and open-eye visuals
  • Feelings of insight
  • Increased giggling
  • Mental and physical stimulation
  • Eroticism
  • Increased access to spiritual ideation

The analgesic effect experienced in most psychedelic drugs is not present with 2C-B. However, users claim to feel heightened body awareness, and increased consciousness of both physical health and energy. According to Shulgin as published in an online resource, using 2C-B is a “superb tool for learning and growth”.

Individuals who snort 2C-B have been reported to experience extreme pain in their nasal passages and sinuses, which can last up to 30 minutes after ingestion. Oral ingestion, on the other hand, may also result to increased mucus production, which may eventually lead to cough and gastrointestinal distress.

Danger of 2C-B Use

Since 2000, there have been large quantities of this drug seized in different parts of the United States.

The effect of 2C-B has been found to be a cross between the effects of MDMA and LSD. It is mildly psychedelic but may result to a psychological disorder with higher doses. The effects are unpredictable, and may even make a user more violent than usual.

When 2C-B has been used for a longer period of time and in higher doses, it may result to the following symptoms:

  • Paranoia
  • Fear and panic
  • Tension
  • Muscle twitching
  • Sweating/chills
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Unwanted and overwhelming feelings
  • Unpleasant visions

At low doses of 4-6 mg, it may give a relaxing effect to the user. At higher doses of 30 mg, 2C-B is extremely hallucinogenic and can be frightening. The effect may last up to 12 hours.

2C-B is believed to be 10 times more potent than MDMA (ecstasy).

The drug works by distorting the normal functions of the brain, whereby people under the influence of this substance may experience intense emotional swings. Hearing, vision and tactile sensations may also be altered.

Ingesting 8-10 mg of 2C-B may cause a stimulating effect and lead to an intoxicated state.

It is highly not advisable for individuals who are on monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) anti-depressants. Individuals who may be suffering from depression or psychosis may experience psychotic syndrome, panic attacks, visual illusions and depersonalization.

Long-term regular use may result to extended feelings of fatigue, anxiety and disorientation.

Here are the effects of 2C-B in different stages:

  • Onset: 20-90 minutes
  • Coming up: 15-30 minutes
  • Plateau: 2-3 hours
  • Coming down: 2 hours
  • After effects: 2-4 hours

Signs and Symptoms of 2C-B use

As earlier mentioned, 2C-B use may produce positive effects, which cause some people to consciously engage into this kind of drug. However, it may also present other signs and symptoms like:

  • Change in body temperature regulation
  • Pupil dilation
  • Restlessness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Change in perception of time
  • Unusual thoughts and speech
  • General change in consciousness
  • Flushing, chills

These symptoms may be experienced even at low doses. Some of these signs may last up to 6 hours and then drop off dramatically. The user may immediately feel an instant mood swing as soon as the effect wears off.

Detection and Testing for 2C-B Use

The Marquis reagent is a presumptive test for amphetamine-type compounds, MDMA and opium alkaloid, and can also be able to detect 2C-B. Positive result from the test will produce a bright green color. Originally, this reagent was designed to test for the mentioned drugs, which can be identified according to the color result such as:

  • Orange to purple: Positive for heroin
  • Black: Positive for MDMA
  • Orange to brown: Positive for amphetamine or methamphetamine

Despite the availability of drug testing methods and home testing kits, authorities pose concern with regards to the distribution of 2C-B as it is consistently expanding. The emergence of 2C-B throughout the United States suggests that it is again being sold to the existing wide network of MDMA users.

Treatment for 2C-B Use

Since 2C-B produces similar effects as MDMA, the proper management of individuals who have been found to become highly dependent on 2C-B follows the same treatment as with MDMA users. The treatment can take place as either in-patient or out-patient. However, it is best recommended to have the user admitted in an institution so that his health may be monitored better.

Medication such as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) may be helpful in addressing 2C-B addiction.

Withdrawal symptoms from 2C-B use may most likely be the same as withdrawal from ecstasy such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Delusions
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis

With these symptoms present, it is likely that a user may become violent, which may lead to hurting others or himself. When this happens, minor sedation may be appropriate to help the patient to calm down. Treatment may last from a few weeks to several months.

Apart from this, psychological counseling may also be needed because with prolonged use of the drug, it could have affected the normal functions of the brain. As a result, this may need months of psychological reconstruction.

Even after the patient has been discharged, an after-care program that includes sessions with family members and loved ones should continue. This is very helpful for the complete recovery of the patient and to prevent from having a relapse.

There have been no reported fatalities associated with 2C-B use, but it is something that we should not rejoice about. It is still best to become more vigilant with the things around us and to report suspicious personalities or activities to the authorities.

Helpful Links and Resources

https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics

https://www.drugabuse.gov/national-survey-drug-use-health

http://adf.org.au/drug-facts/ghb

https://www.erowid.org/chemicals/2cb/2cb.shtml

https://dancesafe.org/2c-b

http://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/health-news/what-new-designer-drug-2cb-7207061

https://scienceyourfacein.wordpress.com/tag/2cb

http://ecstasy.com.ua/2c-b-nexus

Substance Abuse

Synthetic Drug 2C-B Alarms Canadian Authorities

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2c-b overdose pill canada

After an influx of synthetic drugs that proliferate in society, another illegal substance has emerged in Canada. The psychedelic drug 2C-B recently figured in the news due to 6 overdose incidents in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

According to addiction counselor Rand Teed, 2C-B must have been in existence in Saskatchewan for many years, but it was only very recently that it hit the news. The effects of the drug to users in the past may not have been this serious to cause alarm.

In the news item, a man was charged with criminal negligence after he was found to carry the substance that caused serious health issues to 6 individuals.

Drug Analysis Service laboratories director Benoit Archamabault said that the lab handles about 120,000 drug samples, of which 85% of the positive results are found with cocaine, methamphetamine and cannabis. Roughly 15% of the samples are found to have designer drugs.

2C-B was first synthesized by Alexander Shulgin, an American chemist in 1974. This drug was intended as treatment for patients suffering from psychological disorders. However, 2C-B has been found to become popular among people and used it as a recreational drug. Its effect is said to be similar to LSD and ecstasy.

It is possible that the people rushed to the hospital for 2C-B overdose were unaware of the kind of drug that they took, or they may have mistaken it for ecstasy.

[Image by Retinafunk via Flickr]

Uncategorized

Benefits and Dangers of Taking Kava

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kava plant leaf alternative medicine

One of the folk medicines commonly used by South Pacific Islanders is a root called Kava or kava kava. In this article, we will discuss some of the important information about this emerging plant-based substance, its effects to human health, and the buzz surrounding it.

What is Kava?

Kava is also known as piper methysticum. Its roots and stems are made into non-alcoholic beverages commonly enjoyed socially and in ceremonies for many centuries in Fiji, Hawaii and Tonga.

Due to its calming effect, its action is very much similar to anti-anxiety drug like diazepam. It also has the ability to prevent convulsions and aid in muscle relaxation. Kava is prepared as a tea, and is also available in powder or tincture forms.

Kava is also known in the following names:

  • Lewena
  • Yaqona
  • Grog
  • Sakau
  • ‘awa
  • ‘ava
  • Wati

Kava comes in different forms such as:

  • Drops
  • Extracts
  • Capsules
  • Brownish-colored drinks
  • Brown powder

Uses of Kava

The calming effect from taking kava may relieve the following conditions:

  • Stress-related symptoms such as muscle tension and spasm
  • Restlessness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Anxiety
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Migraine
  • Epilepsy
  • Leprosy (skin application)
  • Muscle pain
  • Venereal disease

What is good about kava is that when it is used to treat anxiety or stress, it does not interfere with mental sharpness. Kava contains compounds that are responsible for the psychoactive qualities in the brain that offers a non-narcotic action against anxiety. This means that it is safe to use compared to the usual prescribed antidepressants.

Duke University Medical Center discovered in a study that apart from it being effective is that it doesn’t produce dependence or adverse effects in blood pressure, heart rate or sexual function. It is a good candidate for future research as treatment in improving attention disorders in children.

Another study showed that kava may be helpful for women who are going through menopause. One of the significant symptoms of menopausal women is having mood swings. Using kava may somehow help them to have a more pleasant mood without affecting the therapeutic actions of estrogen. It was also found out that it has helped increased libido among menopausal women.

The government spends a huge budget in treating addiction. Some studies have shown that using kava as a treatment for addiction may be an effective and inexpensive solution. Kava can help in reducing drug cravings with the help of a compound called kavapyrones.

When it is taken as a sleep aid, it generally promotes deep sleep without affecting restful REM sleep.

The only thing that should be strictly avoided is taking kava with alcohol, which may produce unfavorable effects like impaired reflexes, increased drowsiness and risk of liver damage. Meanwhile, taking kava with antidepressant induces sedation.

How is Kava prepared?

Kava is prepared by placing both roots and stem into a sack, submerging them in water, and squeezing out its juice into a bowl. The liquid extract may be placed in individual cups for drinking.

Its effect is experienced shortly after taking one to two cups. It has an earthy flavor which may take time to get used to.

How safe is Kava?

Experts in studying kava recommend using it not more than three months; otherwise, it may lead to liver failure. Prior to taking kava, you should be aware of the following facts:

  • It is strictly not allowed to take kava along with alcohol or any kind of psychotropic medications because they can exaggerate the sedative effects of the plant-based substance.
  • The effect of kava may differ in every individual. Therefore, it may be unsafe to drive or operate heavy machinery when kava has been taken.
  • The effect of kava may decrease with prolonged use.
  • Although kava may provide some relief on certain conditions, one of its common side effects is the yellowing of the hair, skin and nails.
  • It may also cause some allergic skin reactions.

Long-term use of kava may lead to:

  • Liver problems
  • Scaly rash (but can be treated using topical ointments)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Facial swelling
  • Alteration of blood cells
  • Reduced immunity to infection
  • Visual changes
  • Kidney damage
  • Loss of appetite
  • May worsen symptoms of pre-existing mental disorder
  • Loss of drive and motivation

The Food and Drug Authority (FDA) warns individuals who may already have liver problems to consult with their doctors prior to taking kava supplements. Liver disease may cause dark-colored urine and at the same time may have yellowing of both skin and the sclera of the eyes.

Being a depressant, kava is not advised to be taken by the following:

  • Children
  • Pregnant women
  • Breastfeeding mother
  • People with pre-existing heart, liver or lung problems
  • People who are driving or operating heavy machineries

The effect of kava depends on the following factors:

  • The age, weight and overall health
  • If taken with other medications
  • The amount of kava taken
  • The strength of kava

Benefits of Kava

Kava is seen to be a great alternative to traditional medication to treat the following:

  • Reduction of tumor size found in the prostate due to certain elements found in kava that inhibits the growth of some deficient cell lines.
  • Improvement of the immune system because of the presence of flavokawains extract with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Kava has been reported to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties by enhancing antitumor immunity.
  • It is a non-hypnotic anxiolytic that can treat anxiety.
  • It aids in enjoying better sleep.

Disadvantages of Kava

Kava may provide relief on certain conditions however if it is inadvertently used, such negative effects ensue.

  • There is a possibility for kava to be abused, with reports saying that some people are using kava for recreational purposes.
  • Using herbal medicine along with retroviral drugs may cause viral resistance.
  • There have been reports of liver problems in individuals taking kava even for a short period of time. It is recommended to undergo frequent liver tests to ensure that the liver is healthy.
  • It may be unsafe to drive or operate heavy machinery when you have taken kava with alcohol as it aggravates the effect of sedation, which may cause vehicular accidents.

Conclusion

Kava is a relatively new substance that is gaining traction as alternative medication. While the substance is legal in the U.S., users should be aware of the pros and cons of using kava for their health concerns.

Helpful Links and Sources

http://www.howsleepworks.com/types_rem.html

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-liver-failure

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26789234

https://draxe.com/kava-root

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-872-kava.aspx?activeingredientid=872&activeingredientname=kava

http://www.drvikram.com/kava-kava.php

http://www.herbmuseum.ca/content/kava-kava-aphrodisiac

[Image from Forest & Kim Starr]

Health & Wellness

Prescriptions For Step Count: Effective Type 2 Diabetes Treatment?

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type 2 diabetes treatment step count prescription

Traditional treatment for conditions such as type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases focused mainly on different kinds of medication to prevent further progression. However, the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center (RIMUHC) discovered that a step-count prescription with combined medication can produce significant health benefits.

According to the study, people are recommended to walk 10,000 steps daily to be able to experience its health benefits. Those who are walking under 5,000 steps are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

Physicians would usually provide instructions on how to take the medications and would advice their patients to incorporate daily exercise to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and some types of cancer. A 30-minute walk daily can already make a huge impact towards health. By providing patients with pedometers, it may be easier to quantify the daily physical activity most especially on patients who do not go to the gym or incorporate running in their daily routine.

The team of researchers led by Dr, Kaberi Dasgupta, a physician researcher at the RIMUHC discovered the effectiveness of issuing real prescriptions for physical activity via step count. “As physicians, we have to face the reality and admit that for many patients, just telling them be more physically active simply doesn’t work. The idea in this study is to use step counts almost as a medication,” Dasgupta said in a news release.

The study involved 364 patients and 74 doctors from various hospitals in Montreal. All patients continued with their usual medical routine, but some of the patients were given step count prescriptions and a pedometer. After one year, the results showed that patients who were given a step count prescription had 1,200 steps more per day than those who were not.  A very significant decrease in blood sugar levels were found among patients with type 2 diabetes.