Soda As Harmful To Tooth Enamel As Crack Or Meth

According to a case study published in the March/April 2013 issue of General Dentistry Addicted, drinking large quantities of carbonated soda may damage your teeth as significantly as methamphetamine and crack cocaine use.

“Tooth erosion occurs when acid wears away tooth enamel, which is the glossy, protective outside layer of the tooth. Without the protection of enamel, teeth are more susceptible to developing cavities, as well as becoming sensitive, cracked, and discolored.”

In the case study, the damage of three individuals' mouths was compared.  The first subject admitted to being a methamphetamine user; the second a previously longtime cocaine user; and the third an excessive diet soda drinker (i.e. 2 liters of diet soda daily for three to five years).  All subjects admitted to poor oral hygiene, including irregular dental check-ups.  Results showed similar damage to each participant’s teeth.

According to Mohamed A. Bassiouny, DMD, MSc, PhD, lead author of the study: "Each person experienced severe tooth erosion caused by the high acid levels present in their 'drug' of choice -- meth, crack, or soda".

The active ingredient in soda that causes such damage is citric acid, a weak organic acid and natural preservative/conservative used to add an acidic or sour taste to foods and soft drinks.

Hard to believe that the citric acid found in soda, both regular and diet, can be as harmful as ingredients used in preparing methamphetamine, such as battery acid, lantern fuel, and drain cleaner.  In addition, crack cocaine is highly acidic in nature, as well.

Some experts recommend increasing water intake, chewing sugar-free gum or rinsing with water to increase the flow of saliva to reduce damage, however it seems if one is drinking enough soda every day to mimic the damage cause by meth or crack abuse, the real solution might involve rehab.


Body Language May Predict Relapse in Recovering Alcoholics

Vancouver researchers claim that body language, as simple as slumped shoulders and narrowing of the chest, may offer more insight into possible relapse than words.

The study’s co-author, Professor Jessica Tracy, and Daniel Randles of the University of British Columbia have found that recovering alcoholics are more likely to relapse if they show physical signs of shame.

Scientists interviewed forty-six participants from Alcoholics Anonymous. The participants were asked to describe the last time they had drank alcohol where the experience made them feel bad about drinking, whether it be prior to sobriety or during a relapse.

Researchers noticed that their words did not match their body language and concluded that perhaps this was due to repressed feelings of failure or hesitation to discuss feelings of shame.

In particular, the study revealed that those participants who had slumped their shoulders and narrowed their chest during the first interview were more likely to admit that they had relapsed.
“People around the world communicate shame with these body actions, the researchers note. Even those who are born blind and couldn’t have learned this by watching others tend to slump their shoulders and narrow their chests in response to failure, suggesting that this universal gesture is innate.”
Moreover, the study showed that those participants that displayed more obvious signs of shame in their body language during the initial meeting were more likely to consume larger amounts of alcohol during the relapse.
“When people feel shame, they feel that they are a bad person – that there is something stable and global at their core that is wrong with them. As a result, feeling shame means there’s no good solution to the problem, it’s part of who you are” explains Tracy.
The study reveals the importance of the role of shame in recovery. It appears that shaming addicts could essentially push them back into old habits. Although more research may still be required, it couldn’t hurt that family members, counselors, and doctors etc. become more aware of the addicts’ body language and avoid inadvertently shaming the person when trying to help them toward recovery.

Body language can help predict relapse in newly sober drinkers


Bath Salts Now Illegal In Canada

Bath salts, white crystals that resemble legal bathing products such as epsom salts, is the informal "street name" for a family of designer drugs often containing substituted cathinones, which have effects similar to amphetamine and cocaine.

  • Park Hills Police Det. Mike Kurtz says Rikki Lynn Duncan Shibley was allegedly under the influence bath salts Thursday and attacked another woman with a hammer. Kurtz says Shibley told police that she had snorted bath salts and had to kill her boyfriend's mother or she would be killed by a group of shadow people. - Published: September 15, 2012

  • Authorities suspect the Doylestown man [Richard Cimino Jr., 20] who allegedly gnawed on a woman's head in Hawley after stripping his clothes and jumping from a second-story window on Friday may have been under the influence of bath salts. - Published: September 14, 2012

  • A theology graduate who wanted to be a priest died after taking designer drug “Sextasy” during a bizarre internet sex session. Paul Iles took the drug, also known as Bath Salts, during sex games while wearing a gas mask, rubber suit and Wellies. An inquest heard the 31-year-old telephone salesman had taken off the rubber gear before collapsing in his kitchen. - Published: September 6, 2012

  • A New York woman, allegedly high on “bath salts”, was killed after police tasered her. Onlookers photographed Pamela McCarthy, who was attacking her three-year-old son. […] The police were called to the scene at 7.45pm with reports that McCarthy was punching and choking her toddler and trying to strangle her pit-bull. - Published: June 15, 2012

  • After purchasing a packet of bath salts called Cloud Nine, BMX rider Dickie Sanders snorted the powder inside the packet and soon experienced waves of hallucinations lasting days, his father, Rick Sanders, said. Dickie was convinced there were dozens of police cars and helicopters just outside the home, even though there were none. Then, suddenly, he grabbed a knife and sliced at his throat from ear to ear. He survived the knife wound and told his mother he had had enough. "He actually looked at me and said, 'I can't handle what this drug has done to me. I'm never going to touch anything again,'" Julie Sanders said. But hours later and without warning, Dickie had another psychotic episode and shot himself with a rifle. - Published: June 3, 2011
Finally, the Canadian government has banned the key ingredient found in “bath salts”, Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), which impacts the central nervous system and can lead to heart attack, kidney failure and suicide.

Consequently, it is now illegal to possess traffic, import or export this substance, unless authorized by regulation for scientific research like other illicit drugs in the same category, such as cocaine and heroin.

Likewise, the substance is already banned in other countries, such as Australia and the United States. In addition, other drugs sometimes used to make “bath salts”, mephedrone and methylone, have already been banned in Canada.

Banning a drug gives police the authority to investigate suspected illegal activities involving the banned substance.

“This regulatory amendment responds to concerns expressed by health officials about the health and safety risks associated with the use of MDPV, as well as by law enforcement and the Canada Border Services Agency about the substance’s growing popularity and availability in Canada,” the statement says.

Fortunately, a ban should mean that acquiring the substance will become much more difficult and hopefully this will lead to a reduction in the number of immediately life altering incidents.

Canada bans key ingredient in ‘bath salts’ drug known for chaotic, violent reactions
Bath salts (drug)


Drug Can Block Addiction to Morphine and Heroin

An international team of scientists from the University of Adelaide and the University of Colorado have uncovered a drug that will block addiction to morphine and heroin without affecting pain relief. 
"Our studies have shown conclusively that we can block addiction via the immune system of the brain, without targeting the brain's wiring," says the lead author of the study, Dr Mark Hutchinson, ARC Research Fellow in the University of Adelaide's School of Medical Sciences. 
Basically, researchers have discovered that the drug (+)-naloxone (pronounced: PLUS nal-OX-own), created by Dr. Kenner Rice in the 1970s, selectively blocks the immune-addiction response to prevent cravings. 

The drug is a variant of naloxone, which is an opioid inverse antagonist used to counter the effects of opiate overdose, specifically to counteract life-threatening depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system.

Researchers paid close attention to the immune receptor known as Toll-Like receptor 4 (TLR4).  "Opioid drugs such as morphine and heroin bind to TLR4 in a similar way to the normal immune response to bacteria. The problem is that TLR4 then acts as an amplifier for addiction," Dr Hutchinson says.

The drug (+)-naloxone changes the neurochemistry in the brain so that opioids can no longer produce the dopamine needed to generate addiction, yet the pain-relieving affects of these drugs are retained.  For example, if both morphine and (+)-naloxone are taken simultaneously, a patient can receive the necessary analgesic effect of the morphine but avoid the potential for addiction
Senior author Professor Linda Watkins, from the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder, says: "This work fundamentally changes what we understand about opioids, reward and addiction. We've suspected for some years that TLR4 may be the key to blocking opioid addiction, but now we have the proof.
These results could lead to the production of better formulated medications to prevent addiction and assist heroin and morphine users in kicking their habit.

Scientists Can Now Block Heroin,Morphine Addiction


New Scale Measures Facebook Addiction

With devices like smartphones and ipads, accessing social media sites has become increasing effortless.  However, such convenience could lead to an addiction to sites like Facebook.  To determine this, researchers from Norway developed the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale, which was tested on 227 female and 196 male students in January 2011.

Doctor of Psychology Cecilie Schou Andreassen, lead researcher in the “Facebook Addiction” study claims that this is the first of its kind in relation to social media.

According to Andreassen, Facebook addiction "occurs more regularly among younger than older users. We have also found that people who are anxious and socially insecure use Facebook more than those with lower scores on those traits, probably because those who are anxious find it easier to communicate via social media than face-to-face."   Also, facebook addiction seems to be more prevalent among females, which Dr. Andreassen claims may result from the social aspect of facebooking.  Surprisingly, this new measurement found that facebook addiction is related to extraversion as well as a delayed sleep-wake rhythm.    

On the other hand, individuals with more ambition and organizational skills tend to be less susceptible to Facebook addiction.  Additionally, these same individuals often use social media for work or networking rather than personal use.

The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale is based on self-reporting on six basic criteria with a rating of (1) Very rarely, (2) Rarely, (3) Sometimes, (4) Often, or (5) Very often:

  • You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or plan use of Facebook.
  • You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.
  • You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems.
  • You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success.
  • You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.
  • You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies
A score of “often” or “always” on at least four of six criteria could suggest an addiction to Facebook.

How do you measure up?


Ontario Attempts To Combat Oxycontin Addiction

Ontario’s recent decision to eliminate oxycontin and delist its replacement, oxyneo, from the Ontario Drug Benefit program sends a powerful message across the province; that something needs to be done about this epidemic addiction to prescription painkillers.

Oxyneo is a tablet that is purposely difficult to crush and forms into a thick gel when added to liquid to prevent oxycodone from being extracted for use by injection.

Basically, oxycontin will no longer be manufactured in Canada and it will be replaced with a new formulation called oxyneo by the end of February 2012. Additionally, the Ontario Drug Benefit program will not list oxyneo in their formulary; therefore no coverage will exist for those using this program to fund their habit.

Dr. Irfan Dhalla of Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital discovered a spike in opioid-related deaths, which coincided with the addition of long-acting oxycodone to Ontario’s drug plan in 2000.

The Ontario Drug Benefit Program (ODB) offered through the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) covers most of the cost of prescription drug products listed in the ODB Formulary. It is available to people 65 years of age and older, residents of long-term care homes and Homes for Special Care, people receiving professional services under the Home Care program, Trillium Drug Program registrants and people in receipt of Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program assistance.

That being said, the drug will still be available to certain individuals through the Exceptional Access Program (EAP). This program facilitates patient access to drugs not funded on the ODB Formulary, or where there is no listed alternative available. To apply for funding through the EAP, a physician must submit a request, which documents all complete and relevant medical information that provides a clinical rationale for requesting coverage including the reason(s) that other similar listed drugs are not suitable. All requests are reviewed according to the guidelines put forth by the ministry’s expert advisory committee, the Committee to Evaluate Drugs (CED), which thoroughly assesses each patient’s specific case and clinical circumstances.

In short, oxycontin will no longer be available commercially in Canada and its replacement, oxyneo, will be under more strict regulations in Ontario so that it is less available to just anyone under the ODB, thereby making it less easily abused.

However, with such great strides comes a myriad of problems when all these individuals begin to experience withdrawal. As major changes are being seen at the provincial level only, neighbouring provinces may have less or no restrictions on oxyneo, which may encourage smuggling. For instance, “Manitoba and British Columbia are among a handful of provinces that have yet to decide whether to fund OxyNeo once OxyContin is discontinued” yet Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, like Ontario, have chosen not to pay for the new drug. Nevertheless, to avoid such great lengths, addicts may simply turn to other prescription drugs.
There is a high risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms if a patient discontinues oxycodone abruptly. Therefore therapy should be discontinued gradually rather than abruptly. People who use oxycodone in a hazardous or harmful fashion are at even higher risk of severe withdrawal symptoms as they tend to use higher than prescribed doses. The symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal are the same as for other opiate based painkillers and may include "anxiety, panic attack, nausea, insomnia, muscle pain, muscle weakness, fevers, and other flu like symptoms.”
Clearly prohibiting this drug in itself will not fix the problem. Perhaps the savings from delisting this drug could be more appropriately used to fund treatment programs across the province…

OxyContin limits lauded
Exceptional Access Program (EAP)
Ontario Drug Benefit: The Program



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