Bath Salts: An Emerging Danger

Bath salts-the drug, not the perfumed crystals you put in bath water-showed up just a few years ago. The synthetic powder is sold online and in drug paraphernalia stores under a variety of names, such as “Blue Silk,” “Zoom,” “Cloud Nine,” and “Hurricane Charlie.” But don’t let the fun names fool you: This drug is extremely dangerous.

What Are Bath Salts?

Bath salts are a new family of drugs that contain synthetic chemicals related to cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant. They typically appear as white or brown powder and are sold in small plastic or foil packages labeled “not for human consumption.” People who abuse these drugs swallow, inhale, or inject them.

How Do They Affect the Brain?

Much is still unknown about the chemicals found in these drugs, but they are similar to amphetamines (such as methamphetamine) as well as to MDMA (Ecstasy). So far, research has shown that the most common chemical found in the synthetic powder, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), works like cocaine by increasing the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, causing a feeling of euphoria and hyperactivity. However, MDPV is 10 times more potent than cocaine.

Bath salts may also raise the levels of serotonin, causing hallucinations. Mephedrone and methylone, two other chemicals often sold as bath salts, were found to raise serotonin in a way similar to MDMA.

What Are the Other Health Effects?

The synthetic chemicals in bath salts are very toxic and have been linked to increases in visits to emergency rooms and poison control centers across the country.

Abuse can cause the following physical and psychological symptoms:

Racing heart
Panic attacks
High blood pressure
Dehydration
Chest pains
Kidney failure
Paranoia
Breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue
Hallucinations
Insomnia
Psychotic and violent behavior
Death
What Are We Doing To Prevent Abuse?

Bath salts users have reported that the drugs trigger intense cravings (or a compulsive urge to use the drug again) and that they are highly addictive.

In response to rising abuse rates of this drug, President Obama signed into law the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act, which bans MDPV, mephedrone, and other bath salts ingredients. However, drug manufacturers have responded by developing new versions of the drug that use ingredients that, while just as toxic, are not yet banned.

If you know someone who is abusing drugs, tell an adult or contact 1-800-662-HELP to find out how to get help for the person.

Find out more about bath salts.

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Prescription for Addiction

The world as we know it is changing. Thousands upon thousands are fighting a disease that has no cure, only treatment. Damaging individuals’ health and families around the globe, this disease has been known for centuries. The scars left by this disease can be seen in every city, in every state, in every country around the globe. The disease of addiction is one of the most common yet misunderstood diseases to date.

Many people around the world are fighting addictions to alcohol, nicotine, and illicit drugs. More recently, addictions to pharmaceutical drugs are becoming more prevalent. Medications meant to heal are taking more lives than ever. While the medications may have legitimate usages, they also have a high tendency to be abused. According to drugabuse.gov, over 2.4 million people abuse prescription drugs daily. Of that 2.4 million people, almost a third are individuals between the ages of 12 and 17 and over 1.2 million were female. This shocking trend hits even harder with the 18-25 age group as it is the most actively using group.

The top four misused pharmaceuticals are all of the opiate family. Generally, opioids cause constipation, vomiting, shortness of breath, dry mouth, blurred vision, and several other side effects up to and including death. As chemicals, the abused medications can have an adverse effect on individuals in the form of allergic reactions, overdoses, or damage caused by long term use.

One of the top four abused prescription drugs is morphine. Known as M, Miss, Emma, Monkey and other names, Morphine is a highly addictive substance when not regulated properly. Morphine is also almost identical to heroin in its chemical makeup. Normally, morphine is used for the successful treatment of pain. When used regularly or abused, addicts find that more and more of the drug is required for the same effect, causing their addiction to become even stronger.

Another is Oxycodone. Oxycodone is commonly known as Oxy, O.C. OxyCotton, and Hillbilly Heroin. Oxy is found most commonly in pill form and shares similar side effects as Morphine and other opiates. In this same list is Methadone, known as Fizzies or Methadose, and Hydrocodone, known as tabs, candy, Watsons and many other names. These opiates are widely used and abused by millions daily.

The signs are common throughout different addictions and a pharmaceutical addiction is no different. General signs of addiction include an array of identifying traits. Many addicts state they are unable to control how much they use, leaving them constantly yearning for that “high.” This leads them to spend a large amount of money, time and effort to continually “feed the habit.” Eventually many have no regard for the legality of the actions they commit to achieve their addictive high. As the addiction grows, so does the yearning for more of the addictive substance.

Addicts also tend to use no matter the damage caused to their bodies or families. Some damage includes the weakening of the immune system, damage to internal organs, cardiovascular damage, seizures, brain damage, and more.

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Stop Smoking Marijuana Guide

In the US 35 percent of people get addicted to marijuana. It is a dangerously underestimated drug and is responsible for many long-term health issues both physically and mentally. Here is a stop smoking guide.

The process of quitting marijuana smoking does not necessarily have to be daily chore. However, it is quite possible to stop using it, but it takes patience and devotion. There are many people who find motivation to stop smoking marijuana in the fact that if you are caught with it, in most of the states it will have serious legal consequences.

Research:

You should study harmful effects and repercussions of smoking marijuana. The information alone might motivate you to stop. As stated by DrugAbuse (dot)gov: “The marijuana use causes distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, and also results in difficulty in problem solving and thinking. It also causes issues with memory and learning.” It is stated on the website that lungs and heart get badly affected by smoking marijuana. Such smokers take more sick days off due to respiratory illnesses as compared to non-smokers.

Assess treatment options:

You should remember that the desire has to be your own. There are many people who can suddenly stop smoking. However, if you are not one of those people, you can evaluate the available treatment methods. In many cases the treatment is simple like providing a situation that is monitored for the user to quit. If users make the decision they wish to stop or they have to quit due to other reasons, all that is needed is providing motivation (like positive reinforcement) and/or a controlled situation that makes it tough to stop for them.

In some other situations, cognitive behavioral therapy might be an option for those searching for treatment. Till this time the prescribed medicine has not been successful to stop the craving which is the result of regular marijuana use.

Be patient:

Try to quit smoking permanently. You need to avoid the temptation of taking just that one hit. Do alternative things like playing sports you love, jogging or some other activities that induce adrenalin. Try to learn to use a musical instrument. For example, practicing music keeps the mind focused and helps to avoid restlessness or the boredom which might lead you back to smoking.

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Prescription Drug Abuse and Ways to Tackle It

In an anti-drug event in Charleston, West Virginia, in October this year, President Obama spoke about the dangers of drug overdose and prescription drug abuse. The president said, “It could happen to any of us… 120 Americans die every day from drug overdoses, most involving legal prescription drugs – that’s more than from car crashes.”

President Obama also expressed his concerns about prescription drugs becoming a “gateway to heroin.” Fighting this menace will require a lot of effort from all political parties, organizations and individuals from every family. The sale of painkillers in the U.S. has skyrocketed in recent years, which is a clear indication of their abuse by people.

According to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States is in the throes of an unprecedented drug overdose epidemic. The report states: “By 2009, drug overdose deaths outnumbered deaths due to motor vehicle crashes for the first time in the U.S. Opioid analgesics, have been increasingly involved in drug overdose deaths. Opioid analgesics were involved in 30 percent of drug overdose deaths where a drug was specified in 1999, compared to nearly 60 percent in 2010.”

This is alarming, and adequate steps should be taken to curb this rising epidemic. One important step in this direction could be setting up of a helpline in every neighborhood to help out people and also spread the awareness.

Preventing prescription drug abuse

It is pragmatic to prevent it in the first place rather than focus on its cure after its onset. It is a cost-effective option that paves the way for longer life span, improved quality of life and academic performance and healthy interpersonal relationships.

In the CDC study, scientists also came up with several remedies to prevent this. According to them, “The most effective drug abuse prevention programs are those that help individuals to develop the intentions and skills to act in a healthy manner, and those that create an environment that supports healthy behaviors.”

“A brief universal prevention interventions conducted during middle school can lead to reductions in prescription drug misuse during adolescence and young adulthood,” the study says. These findings can be instrumental in supporting educational institutions to stop drug abuse among students and help them grow into healthy individuals.

Educating the patient and public

Creating awareness about it among people is one of the most important steps to prevent and reduce it. A public education campaign – Use Only as Directed – held in Utah resulted in a significant reduction in drug overdose deaths in the state.

Although people are watchful about purchasing illicit drugs from dealers, they often believe that prescription drugs are less harmful and non-addictive. This false notion has contributed to a substantial rise in the number of prescription drug abuse cases in the recent past.

Educating healthcare providers

People can be made aware of the risks of prescription drug abuse in a better way by educating the healthcare givers about it. Prescription drug addiction treatment help should come from people who have adequate training in both pain management and substance abuse. Healthcare providers need to identify patients who stand at a greater risk of abuse and also ensure that those treated with opioid receive only the required quantity of medication.

Any gap in their knowledge could be detrimental and lead to abuse of the prescribed drugs. It is also imperative for clinicians to have proper clinical tools for rapid identification of high-risk patients.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers prescription drug abuse as a major health concern in the country. To address this issue, there has to be a collective effort from public healthcare providers at the federal, state and local level.

If you or a loved one is grappling with a prescription drug abuse, call 24/7 Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline at 866-450-1557. One of our experts will help you find a treatment and detox program suited to your needs.

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Drug Abuse Treatment Centers

Choosing a drug treatment center can be one of the most crucial decisions of your life. It is of vital importance that you consider a few factors before arriving at a decision.

Drug abuse is a disease that requires a doctor specializing in addiction medicine to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the most appropriate treatment. You must ensure that a drug abuse treatment center can offer a variety of treatment programs that meet your needs. These programs may comprise inpatient, residential, outpatient, and/or short-stay options. Then another important question arises: how much does a drug treatment center cost? The price tag for treatment is presented in many kinds of formats. You must have a clear idea of what is included, what will be added to your bill as a fee-for-service program, and what services will be covered by your health insurance.

Inquire if the center has provisions for on-site medical care. It is advantageous, since physicians and nurses provide 24-hour hospital services to monitor and ensure a safe withdrawal from drugs. Check the center’s medical credentials and accreditation.

Do not forget to ask which medical costs are included in the price of treatment at the center. As family involvement is a crucial component of recovery, ask if there is any time devoted to family programs, and if group therapy is included. Keep in mind that drug rehabilitation treatment programs should include a continuing care program that supports and monitors recovery.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides on-line resources for locating drug and alcohol abuse treatment programs. The Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator lists private and public facilities that are licensed, certified, or otherwise approved for inclusion by their state substance abuse agency

All information in the locator is completely updated each year, based on facility responses to SAMHSA’s National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. New facilities are added monthly. Updates to facility names, addresses, and telephone numbers are made monthly, if facilities inform SAMHSA of changes.

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