Category: Drugs

5 Drugs That Destroy Your Brain and Body

Most drugs can have a devastating influence on your health, but some drugs have more of a damaging effect than others. Here is a list of some of the most destructive drugs that target your brain and body.

Alcohol

You might be surprised by the inclusion of alcohol on this list, but alcohol has the potential to have an effect more devastating than many illegal drugs. Full-blown alcoholism not only causes severe cirrhosis of the liver, brain damage, and an increased risk of liver disease and brain disorders, but can utterly destroy a lifestyle by severing a person from his responsibilities to his friends, family, and job. Some of the symptoms that alcoholics display are:

  • unable to stop drinking
  • engaging in risky or dangerous behaviors
  • abandoning both personal and professional responsibilities
  • experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, agitation, or even convulsions when not drinking

Alcoholism is the number one cause of preventable death in the world today.

Prescription Drugs

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, over 7 million Americans abuse prescription drugs. There are several ways by which people develop prescription drug addictions. One might, for instance, develop a psychological and physical dependency on the drug they were prescribed to by failing to follow doctor’s orders. Others might acquire prescription drugs illegally in order to escape the stress of life or simply to get high. Whatever the reasons, prescription drugs are highly addictive, leading to higher and more dangerous doses as tolerance to the drug develops. According to the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, over 120,000 a year are taken to the emergency room due to an overdose of prescription drugs.

Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine is commonly described as one of the most addictive drugs. While it produces a high much more powerful than regular cocaine due to its rapid onset, the high is of short duration and usually never leaves the user satisfied, creating a strong impulse to take another hit. Crack cocaine addiction develops quickly soon after. Crack cocaine is hard on the liver, kidneys, and most of all, the heart. It causes permanent damage to arteries in the brain, which in turn leads to high blood pressure. Chronic crack cocaine users have a high risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. These catastrophic effects on the body are not the only consequences of crack cocaine. It has an immense impact on the mind, inducing periodic hallucinatory or depressive episodes that might lead to permanent psychosis.

Methamphetamine

Like crack cocaine, methamphetamine stresses the central nervous as well as the circulatory systems of your body. However, methamphetamine is a drug of extremes. It actually changes brain chemistry, the way in which the body experiences pleasure, and it also causes permanent impairment of important cognitive functions. According to National Institute of Drug Abuse, there was a significant population of meth users who, despite showing regrowth of damaged dopamine receptors, continued to show a severe impairment in basic cognitive functions, including judgment, memory, and motor coordination. Furthermore, methamphetamine destroys blood vessels and tissues as well as the body’s ability to repair itself. It’s notorious for causing rapid aging, and considering the fact that it causes frantic sleepless bouts for up to 10 days, it’s not hard to see why.

Heroin

Heroin isn’t as immediately destructive as methamphetamine per se, but its physical addiction makes recovery extremely difficult and unlikely. For those wondering how to get sober from heroin, unlike methamphetamine, heroin withdrawal can actually result in death, which makes hospitalization and a detox regimen necessary in order to get sober. Though deaths from heroin withdrawal are quite rare, their occurrence points to the severe physical dependency associated with long-term heroin use. In addition to physical dependency, heroin destroys the heart lining and valves. Needle use leads to collapsed veins. The real danger of heroin is the risk of overdose. According to the University of Utah, heroin accounts for more deaths from overdose than any other drug.

A Never-Ending List

The number of dangerous drugs is astronomically high, both in the legal and illegal markets.  New, more powerful prescription drugs hit the shelves regularly, while illegal drugs also continue to evolve into more deadly mixtures.  The list seems to be never-ending and the number of lives ruined by theses substances is far to high.

 

The Dangerous, Unpredictable Effects of Club Drugs

Club drugs is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide variety of substances, most of which are stimulants in pill form. These pills are known to provide energy and a feeling of euphoria, along with dramatically lowered inhibitions, making them popular on the dance party scene. Read on to learn more about abuse of club drugs, including the different types of drugs in this category and their effects. Read more

Teens are Susceptible to Drugs

There are Many Reasons that Teens are Susceptible to Drugs

In many ways, teens are susceptible to drugs more than older, more informed individuals who realize the harmful effects.Teens start drugs to deaden painful feelings, to fit in with their peers, and primarily because they don’t believe drugs are going to harm them. The effects of drugs are often pleasurable sensations, so their experience with them is positive. There is usually a fascination associated with substances that heightens a young person’s curiosity. Seldom, if ever, do they associate drugs with addictions. Read more

prescription drug

How is it Possible to Go From Prescriptions to Heroin Abuse?

From the time we’re children, we learn that drug use is bad, and we also learn about what the most dangerous drugs are. If you were to ask anyone what they thought was the worst drug out there, they’d probably say heroin. This often makes people wonder why so many people are addicted to the drug when it’s common knowledge how dangerous it is. Most heroin addicts didn’t begin using heroin as their first drug of choice, and they most likely thought they’d never even try the drug. However, with the raging opioid epidemic in this country today, many individuals go straight from prescriptions to heroin abuse.

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hallucinogens

Are Hallucinogens as Popular Among Teens Today as 10 Years Ago?

Drug War Facts shows that hallucinogen use has actually risen recently, so it can be said that these drugs are more popular now than they were ten years ago. Seeking rehabilitative treatment is important when teenagers have these problems, and so is understanding the reasons why the issues have risen. Doing so helps parents to prevent their teenagers from starting these drugs in the first place and to assist them after they leave the rehab program.

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Dabs – Taking Pot to a Dangerous New Extreme

The ongoing search for a “bigger, better high” has turned marijuana into an explosive and deadly nightmare

On the heels of the regrettable new marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington, a new trend has emerged that is raising alarm in state legislatures. More and more people are beginning to use hash oil concentrate. This substance – known as Wax, Honey, Shatter, or, more commonly, Dabs – began hitting the shelves of the newly legalized recreational pot dispensaries shortly after the laws were passed. And it has become popular. So popular, in fact, that the weed shops are having a tough time keeping it on the shelves.

Hash oil concentrate, which got the nickname “Dabs” because “a little dab’ll do ya”, is an extremely powerful substance that is made by distilling the essential active chemicals in marijuana that gets the user high. The draw for pot smokers is the highly concentrated levels of THC, marijuana’s active ingredient, which gives the user a far more intense and longer lasting high than the traditional methods of ingestion. Normal marijuana might contain around 15%-18% THC concentration. Hash oil concentrate, on the other hand, can contain upwards of 80%-90% THC levels.

Marijuana users have long been creative in finding ways to smoke pot. From the older days of corncob pipes and rolling joints, to the hookah fad in the 70’s, to even using apples as disposable pipes, pot smokers will always find a way to use their drug. Hash oil concentrate isn’t really that new, and has already been used in edible like cookies and brownies for some time. Until fairly recently, there hasn’t really been an effective way to directly ingest hash oil concentrate other than those snacks or drinks. But now, someone has discovered a way to smoke hash oil concentrate.

Bathtub Chemistry: Why Dabs are Dangerous

The biggest problem with the production and use of dabs is found in the concentrate itself – or, more accurately, in the chemical process used to make it. Pro-marijuana advocates have tried to convince us of the “natural and healthy” benefits of smoking pot, which are debatable at best. With hash oil concentrate, the high that the user gets is miles away from natural, and the process necessary to extract it is not healthy in the least.

The production of hash oil concentrate requires the “chemist” (a term used quite loosely) to infuse the trimmings from a marijuana harvest with a hydrocarbon. The most widely used chemical for this is butane gas, which is highly flammable. After the butane-laced marijuana is put under intense pressure, a thick, goopy substance remains. But this syrupy mixture still contains butane, which must be removed. How do they remove it? By cooking it. Combining high heat and butane. What could go wrong?

All over the country, people have been destroying kitchens and basements in blasts that rival those of meth labs. Fires and explosions have been sending these bathtub chemists to emergency rooms and burn clinics at an alarmingly high rate. In Aurora, CO, where all marijuana is still illegal, four butane hash oil explosions were reported in just four months time. But, with the growing demand for this quasi-legal substance, the number of injuries and extensive property damage will be sure to rise.

Washington has already banned the manufacture and sale of this product, and Colorado is looking to regulate it. Which is a step in the right direction, albeit a small one. However, loopholes in the recreational marijuana laws do not prohibit people from attempting to make their own hash oil concentrate, which is creating a black market for dabs, even in the states where pot is legal.

Which leads to another major problem with dabs – quality control. In a specialized environment with a trained chemists and engineers, the problem of explosions might be controlled or even eliminated, but the majority of hash oil concentrate is produced in less than ideal conditions. These bathtub chemists have no ability to control the factors that would be more manageable in an actual manufacturing facility. This means that the level of THC varies from one batch to another. And if the level of that chemical varies, the level of the other chemicals involved will also vary.

Smoking dabs requires, of all things, the use of blowtorches. As if the use of butane in production was not enough, now a standard cigarette lighter won’t even cut it for smoking pot. Furthermore, if the “cook” doesn’t get all of the butane gas out of the wax, the user is putting yet another dangerous chemical into their brain, and at high levels of concentration. And that is the best-case scenario. Worst-case, the hash oil is still volatile, which may also lead to a fire or small explosion, causing more injuries and property damage. All in all, from production to use, hash oil concentrate is a highly dangerous drug. When it is all said and done, Dabs could end up being the Crystal Meth of Pot.

Dabs on the Rise

The popularity of hash oil concentrate among younger marijuana users is a big concern for health care professionals. The younger a person is when they begin to indulge, the more likely it is that they will become addicted. In the case of Dabs, the difference in the levels of THC concentration between hash oil and normal marijuana has been compared to going from a glass of beer to a glass of liquor. There have even been reports of people literally being knocked unconscious after just one hit of hash oil concentrate. At a NORML event in California, one person almost cracked their skull on a sidewalk and another broke two teeth after passing out cold from “dabbing”, according to accounts from witnesses (NORML is a pro-marijuana advocacy group).

Yet, despite the dangers of this new trend in marijuana use, people in their mid-twenties and younger are seeming to prefer hash oil and vaporization techniques as opposed to just smoking the flower of the marijuana plant. Even as pro-marijuana advocates tell us that THC and marijuana use is safe, harmless and non-addictive, dabs have shown us otherwise.

If you have any suspicions that your child, spouse or a loved one might be using this or any other dangerous and addictive chemical substance, don’t delay. Give us a call. We can help.

History of Heroin

Know More About the History of Heroin to Understand Heroin Addiction

The tragedy of heroin abuse hit news headlines recently with the deaths of actors Cory Monteith and Philip Seymour Hoffman. An autopsy revealed that Oscar winner Hoffman died of a mixture of heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, and benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety drugs). He had a history of heroin and other substance abuse which went many years back. While these deaths of talented actors were tragic and heartbreaking, heroin takes lives on a daily basis and has since its inception.  Knowing more about the history of heroin will help you to understand heroin abuse and addiction better.

The Origins of Heroin

Heroin production ultimately started with a poppy which is the opium poppy which has been used for medicinal and psychoactive purposes for centuries. Back in about 3400 B.C. the opium poppy was called the “joy plant” and was used as a recreational drug and in the medical profession to numb pain.

Fast forward through the centuries, and you will see opium was used by these methods:

  • In teas
  • chewed on
  • eaten
  • smoked
  • snorted
  • injected

Opium was used:

  • as a painkiller
  • as a medicine
  • as a trade good
  • for its euphoric effect
  • for wounded soldiers on the battlefield

During this time, use or abuse of opium was often followed by an epidemic of addiction. In an attempt to nullify opium’s addictive properties, a German named Friedrich Sertuerner experimented with this drug. He came up with morphine in 1803. Physicians at that time believed that morphine was safe, reliable, and non-addictive.

In 1827, a German company started manufacturing morphine commercially. Then, in 1843, Dr. Alexander Wood in Scotland found a more efficient and potent way to administer morphine – through injection. During this time, women were more likely to use opium or morphine than men. Drinking alcohol was a man’s pastime while taking opium was acceptable among women.Later on, soldiers became the new face of morphine addiction. Morphine utilized during battlefield operations in the Civil War created veterans who were addicted to the drug.

1891 saw the first recorded death by “speedball,” which is traditionally a mix of heroin and cocaine. This early death was the death of Dr. Ernest von Fleischl who died from a mixture of morphine and cocaine. His death was caused by a prescription given to him by fellow doctor Sigmund Freud, who believed the cocaine would cure Dr. Fleischl of his addiction to morphine.

More History of Heroin

Here is some more information about the history of heroin. Did you know that in 1895 it was said that heroin use could completely cure opium and morphine addiction?

In 1895, Heinrich Dreser of Germany tried changing morphine chemically in hopes that it might alter the side effects and extreme rates of addiction associated with morphine and opium. The company he worked for – the Bayer corporation – produced the drug and called it “Heroin.” They advertised this drug as a painkiller at least ten times as potent as morphine with no addictive properties whatsoever.

The Saint James Society in the US heard of this miracle cure for opium and morphine addiction. They started a campaign to supply free samples of heroin through the mail to morphine addicts attempting to kick the habit. This society was not the only US company trying to help fight opium and morphine addiction by providing easy access to heroin. The Sears Roebuck catalog offered heroin and needles in a neat case for purchase.

This exaltation of heroin didn’t last very long. By 1902 physicians were arguing that heroin withdrawal was just as severe and uncomfortable as withdrawal from morphine. In 1905, heroin was banned by US Congress. By this point in the history of heroin, addiction rates had risen to alarming levels.

The Heroin Trade

Drug legislation and restrictions became more numerous in the early 1900s. Opium import for the production of heroin was restricted and then banned. This law helped, but did not stop heroin manufacture, export, abuse, and addiction. Addiction moved from an unforeseen problem caused by a drug with “unknown” effects to a risk that too many people were willing to take.

Treatment for addiction consisted of giving heroin to addicts in clinics which were sanctioned by law. These clinics remained open until 1924. After their shutdown, users had to obtain the drug through illegal means. By 1925, an estimated 1.7% of the US population was addicted to heroin. That’s a pretty significant heroin demand – one that was filled by a growing network of criminal gangs. During Prohibition the underworld prospered, dealing in narcotics, alcohol, gambling, prostitution, and other illicit commodities.

From 1948 to 1972, heroin was considered an epidemic. Its main focal point was New York City. This epidemic is one of the issues in America that spurred then-President Nixon to create the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 1973.

The country of Vietnam was a significant player in opium production. Others at this time were Laos, Thailand, and Burma – also known as the “Golden Triangle.” These major opium producers were eclipsed by the “Golden Crescent” in and around Afghanistan. In modern times the South American and Mexican drug cartels have become significant players in the heroin industry.

Modern Opiate Abuse and Treatment

Heroin, morphine, and opium are no longer the only opiates for which Americans are abusing and developing an addiction. Opioids like Percocet and Vicodin (hydrocodone), OxyContin (oxycodone), Opana (oxymorphone hydrochloride), and others are now commonly abused. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 10.9% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 abused opiates or prescription painkillers in 2012.

As shown above, the “treatment” of addiction to opium and opioids throughout history has been mostly ineffective as pharmaceutical corporations pump out newer drugs that are just as addictive, if not more so, than their predecessors.

One of the most common forms of heroin addiction treatment is called methadone maintenance treatment and is similar to the procedure given in the 1924 clinics for heroin addicts. Methadone, a Schedule 2 narcotic, is an opiate that was created in 1939 in Germany. It is currently used to treat opiate addiction by clinics that provide methadone daily to addicts for up to 12 months. The treatment can also occur over a period of years. The idea is to wean the addict off methadone very slowly over time.

Methadone has many drawbacks. This type of treatment is usually delivered on an outpatient basis, so the patient might continue using their drug of choice (such as heroin) while also taking methadone. Additionally, symptoms experienced during methadone withdrawal can be more dangerous than those of heroin withdrawal.

Other opiate treatment drugs like Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) are more difficult to abuse, but they are also often administered on an outpatient basis, which can allow the addict to continue using.

Workable Solutions

A modern and often more effective option for addiction treatment, unlike the treatment the doctors came up with the history of heroin is inpatient detoxification and rehabilitation.

Inpatient treatment can include getting completely clean with the use of specific temporary medication to help the individual through the more difficult moments of the withdrawal process. Therapy, exercise, group activities, faith and spiritual pursuit also help the individual through this challenging time.

When the detox process is complete, the individual embarks upon rehab. This is often a structured action done in the company of others. Many rehabilitation facilities work with their clients on both an individual and group basis; others just offer group sessions. Often the individual attends classes and seminars with former addicts to help discover better means to handle the problems they sought to “solve” with drugs.

A holistic approach has proven workable in a vast number of cases as it deals with the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual issues that an addict is grappling with.

Teach Children About Drugs

How to Teach Children About Drugs and Alcohol

Today, more than ever, we have to know how to teach children about drugs and alcohol. Educating children and teenagers in today’s chaotic climate is a daunting task to say the very least. Our children are up against circumstances and influences that we never conceived could exist in years and decades past. It’s not just TV, movies, magazines and advertising depicting the glories of regular alcohol consumption, the rationale of smoking pot, and excessive pill popping. The internet and social media provide an infinite platform for the proliferation of positive messages and images of drug and alcohol abuse.

Take a recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine as an example, six articles listed on the cover were about the virtues of smoking marijuana. Whether the “war on drugs” and incarceration are providing solutions is another matter, but it is certain that our children are being subjected to miseducation on the subject of drug abuse. There are constructive messages out there as well. Rap artist Eminem recently spoke of his addiction to Vicodin and prescription pills (such as Valium and Xanax) and how they very nearly killed him before he even recognized he had a severe problem.

Hard Facts About Drugs

In the United States, it is estimated that drugs take a life every 14 minutes, now outnumbering traffic fatalities. That statistic does not even take into account how many traffic fatalities are drug and alcohol-related, or even the statistics of crime and violence invariably intertwined with the drug trade. One cause of the spike in drug-related deaths is the rise in prescription drug abuse. An estimated 10 million American schoolchildren are on psychotropic drugs (antidepressants, stimulants, etc.) for educational and behavioral problems. Many of these issues are easily fixed through natural and standard medical means such as taking kids off sugar and treating allergies. The “fix it with a pill” mentality has not been working any more than smoking weed, or snorting coke solves a person’s problems.

When you string out a child on heavy psychoactive drugs, they are far more likely to abuse them and demonstrate addictive behavior. Take Ritalin, for example, it is a Schedule II drug in the same class as cocaine; it is abused by youth who crush, snort, smoke, and inject it – and it is referred to on the street as “Kiddie Coke.”

Any of these facts should be enough to indicate to any concerned parent that we have to teach children about drugs so they can make rational decisions. What are some vital points of discussion? How do we teach children about drugs?

Teach Children About Drugs with the Truth

What is the most potent and powerful weapon against a lie? The answer would, of course, be the truth. Our children need to be educated in the truth about drugs and alcohol, simple as that. One commonly overlooked fact is that often the parents must be taught as well. As a parent, you should get in the know about youth drug trends. If the child knows more than you, he or she could merely conceive that you don’t know what you’re talking about – and to some extent, they would be correct. So get informed about such things as the scourge of synthetic drugs, prescription drug abuse, the effects of THC (the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana), slang names and street language, club drugs like GHB and ecstasy, and date rape drugs like Rohypnol (“Roofies”).

All the information may seem overwhelming at first, and you probably won’t be able to take it all in at one sitting but educate yourself for the sake of your children. If you are a former user, then you can positively use your experience to teach children about drugs.

You can participate in drug education at your children’s school, have them learn online (a positive use of the internet), but do not omit the live parent-child conversation. Ask them questions. Get them to ask you questions. See what they think and determine if they are getting the information. A child yawning through a dry lecture is not listening or learning.

Real-Life Examples of Drug Abuse

Coach them in a role-playing scenario. How will they respond to peer pressure? How “cool” are drugs and alcohol in their school? You can have them watch interviews with former users or speak with ex-addicts and get some of the harsh facts about addiction. Drug abuse and addiction often blur together; a person doesn’t realize they are addicted until they are deeply entrenched in the problem. When they recover, they want to advise others about the traps they fell into. Many addicts also had friends that didn’t make it out alive. Hearing these stories and real-life examples will surely teach children about drugs in a way they won’t forget. You can shelter your child from the truth, but it is far wiser to expose them to it rather than them finding out the hard way.

The Appeal of Drugs

Despite all the adverse facts, drugs are still very appealing to many youth and adults alike. Learning why is a vital part of the equation. Here are a few of the reasons:

1. Lack of knowledge or false information on drugs and alcohol.

2. Peer pressure – urged by friends to do it.

3. Drug use is “cool,” and they want to fit in.

4. Rebellion.

5. Awkward and insecure in social situations.

6. They have problems and view drug and alcohol use as a solution.

7. No real goals or direction in life.

8. Boredom.

9. Emotional or physical pain.

10. Seek to numb traumatic experience.

11. They want to experiment.

12. If they say “no” they are ridiculed and bullied.

13. The drug is “legal” or promoted as harmless.

14. They find “drug culture” appealing.

In addition to education, the only real way to work through these influences and teach children about drugs is through communication. It is a test of your mettle as a parent when you can help your children through the array of problems and emotions they experience.

Kids can be offered drugs at a very young age, so the sooner you start going over these issues, the better. If your child or teenager is already abusing drugs or alcohol, depending on the severity of the situation, supervised detoxification and rehabilitation may be an option for you to consider.

Establish Family Policy

You may wish to formulate a verbal or written agreement or contract with your child. A contract may seem a bit extreme but consider the fact that in any group or nation, laws must be drawn up and understood. The rules should be simple. The child should know exactly where he or she stands.

Conversely, you want to be an understanding parent, and you don’t want to get shut out. You don’t want your teenage daughter getting into a car with a drunk teenage driver; you want her calling you instantly so you can pick her up no matter what time it is. As a parent, you want to be respected, but you should also be a friend. Possibly this seems utterly impossible with your child, but that doesn’t mean you don’t work on it. Perhaps “good cop – bad cop” works best in your family. No matter your approach, keep in mind that no one said parenting was easy!

Family Environment

The family environment should be encouraging and nurturing. Many parents are holding more than one job and work long hours. Take time out to talk with your kids about their lives and their problems. A positive and creative home environment goes a long way in providing a safe and strong foundation for youth. Take a look at your home environment. You may want to make some adjustments. As an example, you may want to quit smoking if you don’t want your kids to smoke.

Help your kids formulate goals in life; then take it further and help them draft plans for their practical attainment. Kids that are focused on positive and creative endeavor will tend to skip the nonsense of drug abuse. Do your kids tend to rebel? Maybe you can interest them in social reform. There is plenty wrong with the world to rebel against positively and constructively.

Independence

Lastly, you won’t always be there. Eventually, you have to cut the strings; they won’t be children forever. Being a parent takes rolling up your sleeves and a lot of hard work. Ideally, you’d be looking at a young person who was self-reliant and capable of making rational decisions.

Not one person on Earth is perfect, but you can give your child an edge through useful knowledge and the power of truth! Teach children about drugs and the facts of how they ruin and end lives every day.

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