Archive for January, 2011

8 Most Abused Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs have done wonders for patients suffering from any number of pains, illnesses and diseases. There’s no doubt that prescription drugs have changed the face of medicine and we’d be in trouble without them, but these miracle pills also come with a heavy dose of danger if misused and abused. Here are the 8 most abused prescription drugs:

  1. Stimulants: Stimulants are prescribed to increase alertness, attention and energy in patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy and, occasionally, depression. Stimulants increase blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. Prescription stimulants, such as dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine and Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta) work by stimulating the norepinephrine and dopamine chemicals in the brain and increasing dopamine activity. Stimulants often improve mood, relieve anxiety and may induce a sense of euphoria, which makes them highly addictive. Stimulants are commonly abused for recreational purposes and performance enhancement to achieve weight loss and increase energy. To achieve a greater high, stimulant abusers often crush up the pills and snort or inject them. Stimulant abuse can cause serious health consequences, such as rapid or irregular heartbeat, heart failure, delirium and digestive problems.
  2. Opioids: Opioids are commonly prescribed to treat pain because of their strong analgesic effects, but these powerful drugs can be highly addictive when abused. Opioids include a wide variety of prescription narcotics, including morphine (Kadian, Avinza), codeine, oxycodone (OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet) and other related painkillers. Morphine is typically used before and after surgeries to alleviate severe pain, whereas codeine is prescribed for mild pain and may be used to relieve coughs and diarrhea. Opioids work by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord and gastrointestinal tract and block the perception of pain. They can cause drowsiness, nausea and constipation, in addition to producing a sense of euphoria by stimulating the pleasure regions of the brain. It’s this euphoric feeling that makes opioids the most popular type of prescription drug to abuse. Many abusers will crush up opioids, such as OxyContin, and then snort or inject them to enhance their high, which consequently, increases their chances of an opioid overdose.
  3. Barbiturates: Barbiturates are within the family of central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which are prescribed to treat anxiety, tension, epilepsy and sleep disorders and sometimes used as preanesthetics to promote sleep before surgery. CNS depressants are commonly referred to as sedatives and tranquilizers because they slow normal brain function by enhancing the activity of the neurotransmitter gammaaminobutyric acid (GABA). The most common barbiturates prescribed are mephobarbital (Mebaral) and pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal). Barbiturates are commonly abused to counteract the symptoms of other drugs, both prescription and illegal drugs. Abusers may combine barbiturates with medications that cause drowsiness, such as prescription pills, over-the-counter cold and allergy medications and alcohol to achieve a greater high, but doing so increases the risk for slowed heart rate and respiration that could be fatal.
  4. Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines are also within the CNS depressants family. These sedatives are prescribed to treat anxiety, acute stress reactions, panic attacks, convulsions and sleep disorders. Common benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide HCl (Librium) and estazolam (ProSom), are generally prescribed for short-term relief to prevent abuse and dependence issues. Like barbiturates, benzodiazepines also affect the neurotransmitter gammaaminobutyric acid (GABA) to decrease brain activity and produce a drowsy or calming effect in anxious or restless people. People commonly abuse benzodiazepines to counteract the effects of other drugs. The drowsy, calming feeling of benzodiazepines is often enhanced when abusers take them with other prescription pills, OTC cold and allergy medications, and alcohol, which can lead to a slower heart rate and respiration and result in death. Also, discontinued use of CNS depressants in large doses can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms such as seizures.
  5. Sleep Medications: Prescription sleeping pills fall into the family of CNS depressants and are used to treat insomnia, when people have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. The most commonly prescribed sleeping pills to treat sleep disorders are zolpidem (Ambien), zaleplon (Sonata) and eszopiclone (Lunesta). Although these medications have similar side effects as the benzodiazepines, they are called nonbenzodiazepines because they are structurally different on a chemical level. Even though they appear to have a lower risk for addiction and doctors usually prescribe them for two weeks or less, they are frequently abused and can be highly addictive. People often become reliant on sleeping medications because they cannot fall asleep or stay asleep without them. Abusers may also become addicted to the drowsy and calming feeling caused by these sedatives.
  6. Anabolic Steroids: Anabolic steroids are used to increase muscle and bone mass. Anabolic steroids are legally prescribed by doctors to treat males who produce abnormally low amounts of testosterone so that they do not experience delayed puberty, osteoporosis and impotence. This muscle-building kind of steroid is also used to treat patients with AIDS and other diseases to prevent the loss of lean muscle mass. Anabolic steroids are widely abused by teenagers and athletes of all levels. They can be taken through tablets or capsules, injected directly into the bloodstream, ointments or skin patches and oral preparations. Those who abuse steroids and use them for non-medical purposes have a higher risk of developing short-term and long-term health consequences, such as severe acne, stunted growth, aggression, high blood pressure, liver cysts and cancer and much more.
  7. Muscle Relaxers: Muscle relaxers are prescribed to treat acute muscle problems and chronic pain that cause painful muscle spasms. They can also be administered to treat pain from fibromyalgia, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. Baclofen, Tizanidine and Zanaflex are commonly prescribed to reduce spasticity at the level of the spinal cord, and certain benzodiazepines, like Valium, may be used to relieve muscle spasms. Muscle relaxers work by reducing muscle tone and relaxing tenseness, while others affect skeletal muscle fibers and nerves. Muscle relaxers offer temporary pain relief, but do not heal the problem. Much like other painkillers, muscle relaxers can be addictive because they offer pain relief, pleasure and a euphoric calmness. Those who abuse muscle relaxers may take more than the prescribed amount and mix it with other medications or alcohol to enhance their high.
  8. Fentanyl: Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that has the same painkilling benefits of most opioids, but is more potent than morphine. In a class of its own, fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze) is generally prescribed to patients with chronic, severe pain and can be given to cancer patients. Due to its strong analgesic benefits, fentanyl is also a commonly abused drug. Like other opioids, fentanyl binds to the brain’s opiate receptors and work by blocking the perception of pain. As dopamine levels in the brain increase, users feel a sense of euphoria and calmness. People who abuse fentanyl will often mix the prescription drug with heroin, cocaine or other illegal drugs to amplify their high. Fentanyl abuse and addiction is accompanied by several short-term and long-term health consequences, such as respiratory depression and arrest, nausea, confusion, sedation, unconsciousness and coma.
This Guest Post is from Celina Jacobson at  Masters In Health Care

Rub-a-dub-dub, Drugs in your tub?

Are there new drugs in the market posing as bath salts? Yes this is actually true. Ivory Wave is marketed as a bath salt or plant food and is labeled ‘not for human consumption,’ but the substance’s true purpose is no secret online. Ivory Wave is the newest drug on the market – and it’s legal.

Ivory Wave contains two drugs, Lidocaine and Pyrovalerone, one is used by dentists in anesthesia and the other is a hallucinogen. The drug is popular among meth users and is smoked or snorted to produce a high. Law enforces say it started becoming popular in the U.S. when pseudoephedrine (active ingredient in crystal meth) became only available by prescription. Users of this drug feel paranoia, volatile aggression and believe their hallucinogens are real.

Now lawmakers and law enforcers are scrambling to stop the latest drug fad from taking over the US like it did in the UK, prompting the Home Office to ban it.

Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said he has had deputies injured trying to arrest salt users and also has seen other people seriously injured by the paranoid individuals. “This is one of the worst behavioral drugs I’ve ever seen,” said Johnson. “They are like mad people and they have no control over it. They are seeing things, hearing things and deputies and first-responders end up in the crossfire. Something has to be done to stop this before is spreads.”

One of the most noteworthy stories from the UK was 35-year-old Sarah Forsyth. She did not start taking Ivory Wave to get high, but as a diet supplement. It worked as an appetite suppressant and she dropped 10 dress sizes. She also endured the side effects like paranoia, aggression and was no longer able to sleep. Even after she lost the weight she was unable to quit using and began to hear voices and have vivid paranoid hallucinations. She soon became very ill, fell into a comma and eventually passed away.

To those of you thinking that Ivory Wave was just another bath salt, you now know the truth.

What to Expect for 2011

We’ve checked our stats and this is what you liked the most. Here are the top three posts of 2010.

“A mother’s view: Smoking K2 Became Fatal Error for Son”

“Arsenic Poisoning – Beyond Medieval Political Assassinations”

“K2, Spice and The Secret Ingredient, JWH018”

What would you like to see in 2011? Please give us your feedback on topics to cover. Thanks for your help!

Comprehensive K2 Legislation in TX

Read more about the new bill being brought to the Texas Senate this week. It is the most comprehensive bill in the country!

http://www.texasinsider.org/?p=40588

Do You Require Drug Testing for Your Employees?

Many employers require drug testing as part of their pre-employment assessment process, and may include periodic random drug testing and for-cause and post-accident drug and alcohol testing as part of their company’s workplace substance abuse program.  Nearly 75% of all adult illicit drug users are employed, as are most binge and heavy alcohol users1 and problems related to alcohol and drug abuse cost American businesses roughly $81 billion in lost productivity in just one year2.

Drug and alcohol use by employees result in:

  • Risk, safety and liability issues
  • Loss of production
  • Higher absenteeism and consistent tardiness
  • Increased worker’s compensation costs and claims
  • Increased incidences of theft, embezzlement and other crimes
  • Higher employee turnover
  • Employee behavior issues that affect a company’s morale, culture and image

In fact, industries with the highest rates of drug use are the same as those at a high risk for occupational injuries, such as construction, mining, manufacturing and wholesale3.  These same employers must also be diligent in screening, monitoring and caring for prospective candidates and employees who may work in high risk occupations through more specialized occupational health testing.

Do You Trust Your Tap Water?

When most of us were kids, we played outside and drank water from the garden hose. Most likely you have traded in the garden hose for bottled or filtered water, but you still need tap water for several household uses. How much do you know about your water and is it safe to drink? The answer depends on where you live.

According to The Washington Post, Hexavalent chromium is being studied by the state of California as a possible carcinogen and has been found in the water supply of 31 cities. 25 of these cities are above the maximum safety level that this California study suggests.

Remember the movie Erin Brockovich? This is the substance on which that movie was based.  Hexavalent chromium is used for industrial practices like chrome plating and plastics manufacturing. The real Erin Brockovich, who is a legal advocate, says she wasn’t surprised by the report because so many factories are using it.

The issue with hexavalent chromium, according to the study by the state of California, is it causes cancer in rats. If California decides to limit the amount of this substance in drinking water, it will be the first standard like this in the U.S.

The highest level was from Norman, OK. Their figure came in at 200 times more than the safe limit (.06 parts per billion) proposed in the California study.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released the results of a three-year investigation of municipal water supplies across the U.S. The research and advocacy group looked at water quality tests performed by water utilities since 2004. The EWG also rated 100 cities’ water utilities with a population over 250,000.

Cities with the best water are Arlington, TX, Providence, RI, Fort Worth, TX, Charleston, SC, Boston, MA, Honolulu, HI, Austin, TX, Fairfax County, VA, St. Louis, MO and Minneapolis, MN.

Cities with the worst water are Pensacola, FL, Riverside, CA, Las Vegas, NV, Reno, NV, Houston, TX, Omaha, NE, San Diego, CA and Jacksonville, FL.

Your city not listed? Click here for the full 100-city listing.

The most widespread and well-known contaminant in tap water in the U.S. is lead. Authorities suggest to run the tap water for 30 seconds before using it.

For more information, please click below.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20101220/us_ac/7443886_possible_carcinogen_hexavalent_chromium_found_in_31_cities_tap_water


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