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)
Methylenedioxypyrovalerone

© www.understandingaddictions.com

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
Naloxone


© www.understandingaddictions.com

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?


© www.understandingaddictions.com

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
Oxycodone

© www.understandingaddictions.com

Choking Game Hazardous Among Teens

The Crime Victims' Institute at Sam Houston State University found that roughly 1 of every 7 college students surveyed at a Texas University have deliberately cut blood flow to the brain by choking themselves or by being choked by others in order to experience a brief euphoric high.
“The Choking Game, also known as the Fainting Game, Pass Out, or Space Monkey, is played individually or in groups and involves manually choking oneself or others, applying a ligature around the neck or a plastic bag over the head, placing heavy objects on the chest, or hyperventilating to attain a euphoric feeling. This practice has led to several suffocation deaths in Texas and across the country.”
Researchers surveyed 837 students in an attempt to find out more about the type of individuals participating in such behavior and to determine how this behavior was learned. They were also seeking out an understanding as to why people would do such a thing and in what context they would use this method to get high.

Results showed that…
  • 16% had played the choking game.
  • of those who had played the game, 72% had done so more than once.
  • males were more likely participants.
  • on average students started playing the game at 14 years of age.
  • 90% of those who played the game heard about it from their peers.
  • most admitted that others were present the first time they played the game.
  • curiosity about the effects of being choked was the primary motivation.
  • learning about the potential dangers resulting from playing the game deterred most of the non-participants.
A major problem with preventing this type of addiction is that there is no substance to purchase or ingest. It can produce euphoric highs like other types of drugs and can be just as deadly, however it can be much easier to conceal. Awareness of this kind of behavior should be acknowledged and a focus on prevention should really be put into place before more and more young people get involved in such a dangerous activity.

Moreover, clearly there could be catastrophic short-term effects from choking oneself on purpose and, although there are lack of studies, there could be detrimental long-term effects. Depriving the brain of oxygen could cause moderate to severe brain cell death, which could lead to permanent loss of neurological function ranging from concentration problems to loss of short term memory capacity to severe, lifelong mental disability to death.

Other terms for this behavior include: The Fainting Game, Riding a Rocket, Airplaning, America Dream Game, Black Out Game, Breath Play, Bum Rushing, California Choke, California Dreaming, California Headrush, California High, California Knockout, Choking Out, Cloud Nine, Dumbass Game, Dying game, Dream Game, Dreaming Game, Elevator, Flatline Game, Flat Liner, Flatliner Game, Funky Chicken, Harvey Wallbanger, Hyperventilation Game, Indian Headrush, Knockout Game, Pass-out Game, Passing Out Game, Natural High, Sleeper Hold, Space Cowboy, Space Monkey, Suffocation Game, Suffocation Roulette, Teen Choking Game, Rising Sun, High Riser, Tingling Game, Trip to Heaven, Rocket Ride and Speed Dreaming, Wall-Hit, Purple Dragon, Five second high.

Dangerous Choking 'Game' Prevalent Among Teens in Texas
Fainting game

© www.understandingaddictions.com

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