Archive for March, 2011

Bath Salts Blamed for Deaths

March 21, 2011: In the last six months, a rash of crimes and deaths have swept across the Southern states as the result of a street drug called bath salts. Joel Eisenbaum reports. Click here for the video and the full article.


Top Signs Your Child May Be Using Drugs or Alcohol

Drugs and Alcohol

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) 2008 “Monitoring The Future” study on illicit drug and alcohol use by teens and youth, drug use trends that concern both parents and schools reflect:


  • 10.9% of 8th graders, 23.9% of 10th graders and 32.4% of 12th graders use marijuana
  • 15.4% of 12th graders have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. Vicodin continues to be abused at high levels.
  • 2.7% of 8th graders, 7.2% of 10th graders and 9.6% of 12th graders had abused Vicodin
  • 1.8% of 8th graders, 3.9% of 10th graders and 5.2% of 12th graders had abused OxyContin for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed

From peer pressure to looking for a way to deal with family and life challenges, drug and alcohol use by teens is a problem. More importantly, parents and schools may work hand-in-hand in monitoring and managing substance abuse.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of teen drug and/or alcohol use? The short list includes:

  • Behavioral issues
    • Changes in relationships with family members or friends
    • Mood changes or emotional instability
    • Withdrawn or depressed; uncommunicative
    • Periods of sleeplessness or high energy, followed by long periods of sleeping
  • Absenteeism or loss of interest in school or extracurricular activities
  • Failure to fulfill responsibilities at school or home
  • Disappearance of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as alcohol or money
  • Personal appearance, habits or action changes
    • Poor hygiene and personal care
    • Track marks on arms or legs
    • Frequently breaking curfew
    • Using over-the-counter eye reddening washes and/or breath mints and gum more frequently

ExperTox supports both parents and schools through its drug and alcohol testing services designed to target those most vulnerable areas of substance abuse by youth and teens. Alternative specimen testing options allow for drug detection over varying time periods, from recent use to six months or more, including oral fluid, blood, urine, hair and nails.

These tests include:

  • Drug Tests
  • Alcohol Tests
  • Synthetic Opiates such as Hydrocodone and Oxycodone (OxyContin)

The Dangers of Energy Drinks and Alcohol

When you consume a combination of Uppers and Downers, do they cancel each other out?

The answer is No. Since the latest fad drink, Four Loko, hit the scene, red flags have been raised with law enforcement and physicians around the country. Why are they worried about this drink?

Mixing caffeine with alcohol is nothing new. Party goers and bar patrons have been combining these two substances ever since energy drinks hit the market. But it wasn’t until recently that they were both sold in one colorful can.

The “Four” in Four Loko came from the main ingredients: alcohol, caffeine, taurine and guarana. These drinks also include carbonated water, sugar and natural and artificial flavoring.

Taurine is an organic acid. Despite being present in many energy foods, it has not been proven to be energy giving.

Guarana is an effective stimulant that contains twice the caffeine found in coffee beans. A review published by the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association states that the amounts of taurine and guarana found in popular energy drinks are far below the amounts expected to deliver therapeutic benefits or unfavorable actions. But like most things in excess, too much guarana may contribute (alone or in combination with caffeine and taurine) to onset of seizures in some people.

Caffeine is a stimulant. It increases blood pressure and heart rate. Caffeine can cause headaches, jitteriness, agitation, stomach problems and abnormal breathing. It’s the equivalent of an adrenaline rush.

On the other hand, alcohol is a depressant. Alcohol slows down the brain’s functioning and impairs one’s ability to walk, talk and think clearly. Combined, the stimulant and the depressant do not cancel each other out. “Some people have the idea that the caffeine will negate the effect of alcohol, but that’s simply not true,” said Glenn Whelan, assistant professor at the University of South Florida’s College of Pharmacy.

According to Dr. Anthony Cardell, a cardiologist at Centre Medical and Surgical Associates, consuming one can (of Four Loko) equals about three glasses of wine or three to four bottles of beer. The caffeine content is about 135 milligrams, which is the equivalent of three cola sodas, one and a half Red Bulls or one cup of Starbucks coffee.

The main problem is that caffeine appears to override the natural sleepiness that occurs when someone drinks alcohol. Caffeine also postpones that feeling of drunkenness, so those who mix alcohol and caffeine in a drink are likely to keep drinking beyond their normal limits.

Scientists aren’t exactly sure how the body processes the mixture of caffeine and alcohol because the combination (based on the quantity found in alcoholic energy drinks) is too dangerous to test on humans in scientific experiments.

Researchers from the University of Florida conducted a study in 2008 where they interviewed college-age adults leaving bars. They found that bar patrons who reported drinking alcohol mixed with energy drinks (6.5 percent of study participants) were three times more likely to be intoxicated than the drinkers who consumed alcohol only. The average breath-alcohol concentration reading for those who mixed alcohol and energy drinks, was 0.109. Consumers of energy drink cocktails also left bars later at night, drank for longer periods of time, ingested more grams of ethanol and were four times more likely to express an intention to drive within an hour than patrons who drank alcohol only.

Like the conclusion in most of the articles written on this subject, the fact is, you should always drink responsibly. If you choose to drink, know what you are consuming. Know the dangers of mixing alcohol and caffeine. On the home page of the Four Loko website, their is information on how to drink responsibly and several links to responsible drinking resources.


  • Clauson, KA; Shields, KM; McQueen, CE; Persad, N. “Safety issues associated with commercially available energy drinks”. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association : JAPhA 48 (3): e55–63
  • Johannes, Laura (March 2, 2010). “Can a Caffeine-Packed Plant Give a Boost?”. The Wall Street Journal: p. D3
  • Iyadurai SJ, Chung SS (May 2007). “New-onset seizures in adults: possible association with consumption of popular energy drinks”. Epilepsy Behav 10 (3): 504–8
  • “Dicey alcohol-caffeine mix not fully understood” Article from: The Washington Post Article date: December 5, 2010 Author: Linda Shrieves Copyright

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We use our scientific expertise to provide our customers answers to their substance abuse, use and exposure questions.

We focus our personal character on supporting, caring for and understanding what our clients are going through as they contemplate and proceed through the testing process.

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