Abused Drugs Articles

The Loss And Gains – Is it Really Worth it?

A common drug being used to treat men who are losing their hair may end up having even greater long-term effects than hair loss.

According to a study cited in a recent article, many males who took the drug Propecia for male-patterned baldness ended up experiencing sexual dysfunction as well as depression even after they had stopped taking the medication.

Some officials say it is hard to determine exactly how the hair loss drug contributed to the side effects because often if a person experiences a sexual side effect then depression is also associated with it.

Some researchers believe there aren’t enough studies conducted to truly know what all the side effects are of taking an elective drug for cosmetic reasons. They believe there is more to be learned about what additional issues men could face while taking the medication and soon after stopping the med.

We all are in the hunt for the fountain of youth or the next best option to make us look our best for the duration of our lives, but at what cost are we willing to do so? Men and women alike want to retain their youth for as long as possible, but it seems that the problems associated with the side effects of taking Propecia could be a risk.

Perhaps the medication can help in the short term, but the longer term effects could be even more detrimental. When you’re talking about depression, which is a mental disorder and can contribute to a host of other problems, you’re talking about a very slippery slope.

Bio-marker Test to Weed out Olympians Who Rely on Super-Human Strength

There will always be those who succumb to cheating in the midst of fierce competition. The use of performance-enhancing drugs is prohibited in most sports, but in the Olympics, it can be a downright disgrace resulting in tarnished reputations and metals being stripped.

As this year’s Olympic Games are underway, representatives for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) advised that they had a secret weapon up their sleeve. They unveiled a new test capable of distinguishing between real and fake human growth hormones (HGH). The bio-marker as it is called will help level the playing field by weeding out those contenders who use unnatural means to gain a competitive edge.

The new drug test marks the start of the most heavily scrutinized Olympic Games to date. Six months before the opening ceremony, nearly 72,000 tests were administered throughout the globe, which resulted in over 100 sanctions. Leaders say that there are over 6,000 more tests that will be administered throughout this summer’s events. The goal is to help eliminate doping and create an environment that inspires a pure test of strength and endurance.

According to WADA’s director, David Howman, the breakthrough of this particular test is that it can detect the presence of artificial levels of HGH within hours instead of weeks. The test will not replace the current HGH test used by officials for the past eight years but will serve as a supplement.

Those who think they may have beaten the system should know that samples will stay on file for up to eight years. This means that samples could be subject to random testing up to nearly a decade after the event. Those found guilty will be gambling with their careers as officials are more determined than ever to make an example out of cheaters to keep the competition clean.

Study Finds “Legal Highs” Often Contain Controlled Substances

A new report by Dr. Mark Baron of the School of Natural and Applied Sciences at the UK’s University of Lincoln found that many drugs sold as “legal highs” on the Internet do not actually contain the ingredients they claim. Some actually contain controlled substances, making them illegal to sell.

Dr. Baron bought a range of “legal highs” from different websites to study their contents. He said that it’s clear that many consumers buy products thinking they contain specific substances, but in reality the labels are unreliable. He added that consumers need to be aware that they have no idea what they will be taking, and that some of these products contain illegal substances.

There has been a recent increase in the number of substances labeled “legal highs” that can be easily found on the Internet. The United Kingdom and other governments have acted to control these products, but manufacturers are attempting to offer new products that are out of the restrictions of current legislation.

Dr. Baron bought MDAI, 5-IAI, Benzo Fury, and NRG-3 from www.benzofury.me.uk and two MDA-labeled samples from www.VIPlegals.com and www.wide-mouth-frog.com. Six of the seven products did not contain the advertised active ingredient, and five of the samples contained controlled substances benzylpiperazine and 1-[3-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl], which were combined with caffeine.

He noted that purchasing the substances was easy, and that several online retailers advertise the substances as bath salts, research chemicals, or plant food. However, there are no guidelines as to what exactly is being purchased, and consumers are led to believe that what they are buying is completely legal.

Dr. Baron said that his findings show that the “legal high” market is supplying banned substances, and he hopes his work will help consumers be more aware of the dangers of buying these products online.

Source: Medical News Today, The Dangers Of Purchasing ‘Legal Highs’ From The Internet, May 22, 2011

Crack and Meth Use Down in Ohio; Heroin and Prescription Drug Use Up

A new report shows that cocaine and methamphetamine use in Ohio has decreased slightly, but that prescription drug abuse continues to rise. These figures are provided in the latest 80-pad “Surveillance of Drug Trends in the State of Ohio” report generated by the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring (OSAM) Network.

OSAM interviews active and recovering drug users, treatment professionals, law enforcement officers, and crime lab personnel to collect its data, providing treatment community and policy makers with the information needed to plan for addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery services. OSAM’s findings are published twice a year. The latest report summarizes data collected from June 2008 to January 2009 by regional epidemiologists across Ohio.

“While we are encouraged to see a downward trend with cocaine and methamphetamine use, we continue to maintain concern with the alarming proliferation of prescription drug abuse and the relatively high availability of heroin,” commented Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS) director Angela Cornelius Dawson.

She continued, “Our goal must at all times be to help reduce the stigma that underlies the disease of addiction, no matter the drug of choice, so as to ensure prevention, treatment, and recovery support services remain well-funded and accessible to all who need them.”

Oxymorphone and Suboxone (prescription drugs developed to help people detox from opiates) rates are increasing in Athens, Cincinnati, and Dayton; oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin) rates are surging in Columbus and Cleveland; and Subutex (another opiate withdrawal drug) is appearing in Cleveland, Dayton, and Toledo. These prescription drugs, like heroin, continue to be the most prevalent among young white people.

Xanax and other benzodiazepines are identified as a growing problem in Akron, Athens, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown. Most abusers appear to be dependent on opioids for self-medicating purposes to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Given the expanding use of Suboxone among treatment providers and private physicians for opioid detoxification and maintenance, the researchers note that more research is needed to understand diversion of this important medication.

Ritalin and Adderall, drugs commonly used to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder in children, are being abused at increasing rates in Athens, and treatment providers have noted an increase in the injection use of oxycodone, Suboxone, and Subutex.

The August 2008 report first alerted the public to a sudden spike in heroin availability and use, which remains unchanged in all regions of the state except Columbus, where it is reported to be in moderate decline. LSD use is also decreasing throughout the state.

Ecstasy use remains high across the state with the exception of Dayton, and marijuana continues to be high in availability and use (except in Cincinnati and Toledo), However, epidemiologists report than it is now being used frequently in conjunction with cocaine, PCP, embalming fluid, and cough syrup.

The research points to a marked decrease in the use of crack and powder cocaine in all regions except for Columbus, where the use of crack cocaine remains moderately high. Methamphetamine use is declining across all regions as meth lab busts have increased over the last 6 months. Epidemiologists did not report increases in methamphetamine users seeking treatment, however. Methamphetamine users remain difficult to access, in part due to the stigma associated with abuse of this drug.

Hong Kong School Helps Young Drug Addicts Recover

The use of psychotropic drugs has soared in Hong Kong in recent years, especially among adolescents. There were 8,306 reported psychotropic drug users in 2008 in Hong Kong—up from 6,335 in 2005.

Most users primarily abuse ketamine, an animal tranquilizer that is produced illegally in China and Hong Kong. In addition, 20 percent of Hong Kong’s secondary schools have sought help on how to manage students with drug problems.

That’s where Zheng Sheng College steps in, a small school in Hong Kong with 120 students. Principal Alman Chan, who is fighting for a bigger space for the school, believes that education is the only way to get young people back on track.

“We have so many young people involved in drugs in Hong Kong. They have to be educated … schooling gives them a chance at life, empowering them, reconnecting them with society. Schooling creates a new status, they are students, not inmates,” Chan said.

After groups of students were found dazed and unconscious at beaches and in parks, the drug problem gained more attention. Experts think the worsening drug problem in Hong Kong may be due to easily accessibility, peer pressure, and aimlessness among young students.

Kwan Wang-yuen said his schoolmates gave ketamine to him and that he did it to socialize with his friends. He had his first encounter with drugs at age 12. Now 14 and a student at Zheng Sheng, he hopes to finish school and get a job.

Ng Ka-chun was 13 when his friends introduced him to marijuana, psychotropic drugs, and ecstasy. “I remember thinking (marijuana) wasn’t any different from a cigarette and then I tried ecstasy and ketamine. It was the same logic, they were quite the same as marijuana, they seemed less serious than heroin,” said Ng, who was sent to Zheng Sheng and a rehabilitation center after he was caught stealing.

He has learned to play the piano and guitar at the school, and is adept at handling audio-visual equipment. He hopes to finish school in two years and then become a teacher.

Chan says drug addicts tend to not have a purpose in life and that narcotics serve as a buffer. “Before, people just wanted to get rich. Now, they hide in their homes, they don’t need to go out, they order a pizza and mom pays for it. They have no direction…and drugs help them define their meaning in life,” he said.

But this can change with education, he said. “The ‘student’ status by itself is social capital. It gives them so much more to work for. That is so important for young people.”

Substance Abuse Among Soldiers Being Ignored

In a memo to Army commanders, the Army’s vice chief of staff General Peter Chiarelli said that instances of substance abuse among hundreds of soldiers are being ignored, possibly because commanders don’t want to lose any more troops. But identifying and treating substance abuse among soldiers will help improve the Army’s mental health care and curb suicides, which jumped to a record 142 confirmed or suspected cases in 2008.

Chiarelli said that hundreds of soldiers involved in “substance abuse-related misconduct (including multiple positive urinalyses” were not processed for possible discharge or referred to the Army Substance Abuse Program for help. He also said he’s worried that commanders feel a requirement to keep their numbers up and are thus letting drug abusers slide.

“I am asking you to ensure that soldiers are provided the help they need when they need it…and that regulatory requirements regarding the referral and initiation of separation processing of substance abusers are enforced,” he wrote in the memo.

Brig Gen. Colleen McGuire, head of the Army’s Suicide Prevention Task Force, said that at one installation where about 1,000 soldiers tested positive for substance abuse through urinalysis, 373 had failed the same drug test in the past, in some cases up to seven times. She said that other installations reported similar numbers.

USA TODAY reported a 25% increase in five years among soldiers treated for substance abuse, but the military needs a greater understanding of substance abuse, says Terri Tanielian, co-author of a RAND Corp. study into war-related mental health and brain injury cases. “I just don’t think we know enough,” she says.

In January, more soldiers committed suicide than died in combat. Numbers seem to be declining since March, but the problem still exists. Army leaders have launched several efforts to curb the rising number of suicides, including suicide-awareness training for soldiers and the suicide prevention task force. Chiarelli oversees the efforts and is briefed each month on every new suicide.

Source: USA Today, Greg Zoroya, Army Blasted for Letting Drug Abusers Slide, May 21, 2009