Testing It Up » Blog Archives

Tag Archives: Drug overdose

Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

New Painkiller Drug Removes Risk of Overdose

Published by:

An elite group of international researchers led by scientists from Stanford University, University of North Carolina and the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany has developed a new drug that works as a painkiller like morphine but without triggering and eliciting dangerous side effects such as respiratory suppression.

In a research study recently published in Nature, researchers said that they have identified the new opioid drug by using the computational techniques that allowed them to experiment and explore more than four trillion different chemical effects and interactions. The team of researchers also noted that they used the atomic structure of the brain’s receptors to reverse-engineer the novel drug that promises to block pain but does not have the potentially dangerous side effects.

While the drug compound has only been studied and tested on mice, the indication and implication of the drug may be massive. In the research experiment, the mice were exposed to a solution that contains the compound in varying degrees. Results showed that the mice displayed alternating and indifferent attitudes, which suggest that it has low addictive potential.

This novel drug compound is also known to not interfere with breathing, which remains to be the main cause of death in overdosing on painkillers. Moreover, the new drug also appears to bypass the brain’s dopamine-driven addiction to prevent drug-seeking behavior on mice.

More work still needs to be established to make sure that the compound is truly non-addictive. More tests are also needed to confirm it is as safe and effective in humans as it is for rodents. If this is confirmed, this drug could transform the fight against the ongoing epidemic of prescription painkiller addiction.

Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Drug Overdose Patient Wakes Up To Doctors About To Remove Her Organs!

Published by:

Imagine yourself waking up on a surgical bed while doctors are preparing to harvest your organs. It’s like a page out of a graphic horror novel!

surgeryHowever, this was a real case involving St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center patient Colleen S. Burns, who was hospitalized in 2009 and became comatose after a drug overdose. Hospital doctors and staff bypassed several key procedures and failed to confirm the patient’s condition prior to pronouncing her dead.

The state’s health department investigated the matter and cited blatant errors by the Syracuse hospital. There were communication problems between the doctors and the nursing staff, such as the doctors’ dismissal of an observation about the patient’s improved condition. The investigation also pointed out the lack of necessary tests and scans to assess the extent of drug intoxication in Burns’ system, according to a news report.

Based on the results of the state investigation, the health center was fined a relatively measly $6,000 for the near-harvesting. The health department also slapped a $16,000 fine for negligence of another patient who suffered a head injury after falling while in hospital care.

In addition, the incident involving Burns was not scrutinized by the hospital officers, and the family of the patient did not receive any explanation from the doctors.

More than a year after the hospital incident where she was hospitalized for overdosing on a drug cocktail mix of Xanax and Benadryl, Burns committed suicide in January 2011. Her mother, Lucille Kuss, shared that Burns “was so depressed that it really didn’t make any difference to her.” Surprisingly, no charges were filed by Burns or her relatives against the hospital.

Substance Abuse

Drugs Lead to More Fatalities Than Motor Vehicle Accidents

Published by:

An analysis of government data revealed that more people die due to prescription drug overdose than motor vehicle accidents.

Based on data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 37,485 people across America died due to prescription drug overdose in 2009.

This increase in fatalities does not follow the same trend as other causes of preventable deaths, most of which have declined over the years. Traffic accidents, for instance, have been on a decline for years as a result of focus and investments made on making motor vehicles safe.

At the forefront of this increase in drug-related deaths are prescription pain and anxiety medication, which are highly addictive and extremely dangerous when taken as a cocktail with other drugs, or with alcohol. Among the more commonly used drugs are OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, and Soma, as well as the painkiller Fentanyl.

Laz Salinas, a sheriff’s commander in Santa Barbara, shared that “the problem is right here under our noses in our medicine cabinets.”

Those who succumb to overdose come from a range of situations; some of them are teenagers who would like to experience a heroin-like high, while others are middle-aged yuppies who become addicted to medications prescribed for such conditions as chronic back pain.

The increase in these deaths also coincides with an increase in the number of prescriptions that doctors have been writing for painkillers and anti-anxiety medication. Prescription painkillers are not just found in pharmacies; they are also being sold over the Internet, and in dark street corners.

Substance Abuse

Scientist Speaks Out About Misuse of Drugs

Published by:

One can only imagine the frustration of finding out that what you worked so hard for is being used for all the wrong reasons, and is potentially causing harm to other people. This is especially true for someone whose life’s work is dedicated towards finding ways to treat medical conditions.

A feature by The Associated Press shared the sentiments of David Nichols, the Robert C. and Charlotte P. Anderson Distinguished Chair in Pharmacology at Purdue University. Dr. Nichols is a medicinal chemist who has been studying psychedelic drugs for more than 40 years. His body of work includes approximately 250 published scientific reports, and book chapters, that describe the relationship between the structure of a molecule, and its biological effects.

brain drugsDr. Nichols has developed chemicals that are somewhat similar to ecstasy and LSD, the purpose of which is to help explain the how the parts of the brain work. He has published the results of his studies so that other scientists can use his work to find treatments for such conditions as depression and Parkinson’s disease.

Unfortunately, his work is not only making a contribution to medical research; it is also apparently being used by black marketers in the development of cheap and relatively legal recreational drugs. And even more unfortunate is the fact that these black market drugs have led to deaths due to overdose.

Dr. Nichols articulated his concerns through an essay, which was published online by the journal Nature. He wrote: “What if a substance that seems innocuous is marketed and becomes wildly popular on the dance scene, but then millions of users develop an unusual type of kidney damage that proves irreversible and difficult to treat, or even life-threatening or fatal? This question, which was never part of my research focus, now haunts me.”

Celebrity Substance Abuse Substance Abuse

Fein’s Death Ruled a Drug Overdose

Published by:

Obit Fein Football

Ex-Raven Tony Fein who was an Iraqi war veteran as well, died last October. First reports said the Port Orchard citizen’s death was classified as accidental and now the Kitsap County coroner’s office has confirmed the original analysis, calling Fein’s death an accidental overdose. Fein was found lying face down and unconscious, vomiting and barely breathing when paramedics arrived at the player’s friends’ house outside Port Orchard on the Kitsap Peninsula just before 9 a.m on Oct 6th. The incident was labeled accidental immediately.  A mixture of morphine and Alprazolam (an anxiety drug) were found in Fein’s system by the coroner. Only 27, the player, had served 3 years in Iraq as a member of the US Army and been an undrafted rookie free agent when he joined the NFL.

Fein’s death happened the day before he was to appear in a Baltimore court on charges that he’d assaulted a police officer who’d been sent to investigate a claim that a gun (later determined to be a cell phone) had been passed around at a meal at the Inner Harbor. The incident raised questions over racial profiling in the incident and much stress for the former Raven player. Fein had been told that the charges would likely be dropped.

According to reports his death came as a result of acute opiate intoxication from the combined mixture of Alprazolam and morphine in his system. For many the player’s death is a great tragedy a young man gone before his time and before his potential had been fully realized.

Substance Abuse

Deaths Resulting From Drug Abuse Now Outnumber Those From Automobile Accidents

Published by:

car crash beat by drug abuse


The Centers for Disease Control have found that the rate of death among those in car crashes is now far outnumbered by those who expire as a result of drug use in several states across the US. Increase of this statistical difference has been making major rises in several states since 2003(when just 8 states shared this difference compared to 16 in 2006).

Of these drug related deaths the most common is overdose from drugs such as methadone, cocaine, fentanyl, sedatives and prescription painkillers of which abuse has also dramatically increased. Between 1999 and 2006 opioid analgesic overdose increased in every single age group. Rates of death in methadone users alone went up sevenfold.

In 2006 there were roughly 45,000 deaths in the US from automobile crashes and 39,000 from drug related causes. While 90% of these drug related deaths are from sudden overdose the rest are from organ failure related to drug abuse for extended periods.

Death rates in 2006 were higher for drug abuse than crashes in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachutes, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maryland, Michigan, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Illinois, Washington and Oregon. Part of the cause for this difference is a reduction in the rate of traffic related deaths, an achievement that’s being celebrated. Unfortunately the rate of substance abuse has gone up in the last few years and as a result the rate of death has also increased, making for a wide margin between to two statistics.


New York Drug Screening


Celebrity Substance Abuse Substance Abuse

DJ AM’s Death Was a Result of Accidental Overdose

Published by:


After having survived a plane crash with fellow celebrity Travis Barker that killed all the other passengers and the crew a little less than a year before, Adam Goldstein, known as DJ AM in clubs across the country, died from an overdose brought on by a deadly mix of several drugs. The tragedy of his death was that much sadder because it came long after he’d recovered from a drug addiction that had taken over his life in his teens and early twenties. He was found in his apartment August 28th after a friend called authorites to the scene.

He was known for his skills as a blender of multiple tracks and loved for both this gift and the interesting social life he led as a central member in the club scene and a boyfriend to both Nicole Richie and Mandy Moore. Many of those close to the DJ felt that his relapse and subsequent overdose came as a result of the stress brought on by the accident he’d escaped and ultimately came to feel guilty about surviving. The drugs found in his system( OxyContin, Benedryl, Cocaine, Vicodin, Xanax, Klonopin, Levamisole and Ativan) were more than enough to kill Goldstein as a result of acute intoxication from the combined drugs.

Drug Testing Substance Abuse

Vaccine for Cocaine Addiction

Published by:

Researchers are reportedly looking into the possibility of treating addiction to cocaine by means of a vaccine, helping former addicts to decrease their use or overcome their dependency on the substance altogether.

The experimental vaccine that is currently being studied reportedly works by increasing the level of cocaine antibodies, decreasing the ability of cocaine to affect the brain. Based on the trials that have already been conducted, drug users who received the treatment and responded positively were able to achieve high levels of antibodies and were twice as likely to reduce their use of cocaine by 50%. This group also had more negative cocaine urine tests as opposed to those who had low antibody levels or those who were only administered with placebo vaccine.

cocaineThe down side to the experimental vaccine, though, is that the percentage of those who achieved high antibody levels among those who were treated is low: only 38%. Also, the high level of antibodies was sustained by the subjects for only for two months. If the vaccine is to work as a long-term treatment to rid a person of cocaine addition, the numbers will need to change for the better.

So for now, the vaccine is largely in the experimental stage and additional studies are required in order to first increase the number of treated subjects who are able to achieve high antibodies, and second to increase the length of time that high antibody levels are sustained.

In trials involving animals, according to researchers, the increased antibody levels have the ability to capture cocaine in the body. The result is the prevention of the delivery of the substance to the brain in order to induce a state of euphoria but without psychological side effects.