Archive for December, 2015

Everything you need to know about the new street drug 'flakka' — its insane side effects aren't even the worst part

Posted on: December 29th, 2015 by sobrietyresources

By Erin Brodwin and Jessica Orwig December 28, 2015 10:54 AM

There’s a new drug in town called flakka.

Many reports are saying this new designer drug is sweeping the state of Florida: Broward Health Medical Center — Florida’s public hospital system and one of the largest in the nation — now sees an estimated 25 to 30 flakka patients a day, NBC News reports.

The mind-altering substance has been popping up in other states as well, including Ohio and Texas.











Flakka is made from a chemical cousin of the amphetamine-like drug found in bath salts (pictured above).

There, it goes by the name “gravel” because it looks like the gravel pebbles you’d use to decorate the bottom of an aquarium.

Use of the drug, which can be snorted, smoked, injected, swallowed, or eaten as flakka-laced gummy candies, has been linked with serious — and sometimes deadly — behavioral problems:

If these behaviors remind you of the ones that made headlines a few years ago with the appearance of drugs called “bath salts” — it isn’t a coincidence. The two drugs are closely related.











(Alex Dodd/flickr) Flakka is made from a compound called alpha-PVP, a chemical cousin of cathinone, the amphetamine-like drug found in bath salts.

Here’s the worst part: While the active ingredient in bath salts was officially banned in 2011, its newer relative, alpha-PVP, was not.

That means it is legal in any state without its own ban.

What does it do?

Like cathinone, alpha-PVP is a type of stimulant, colloquially called an “upper.” Uppers are linked with feelings of euphoria, enhanced alertness and wakefulness, and increased movement — all symptoms that are similar to those experienced by people on other drugs like amphetamines or cocaine.

Since flakka is so new, researchers aren’t sure exactly how it affects the brain, or how addictive it is.

For now, they can only guess by looking at how its chemical cousins, like cocaine and amphetamines, work. These drugs cause a surge in two chemicals: the feel-good chemical dopamine (responsible for the euphoric sensations) and norepinephrine (which raises heart rate and blood pressure and can make us more alert).

Like cocaine and meth, flakka comes with a comedown, the period when the drug leaves the body and the person is left feeling fatigued or depressed. This sensation often results in users returning to the drug to get rid of the negative comedown feeling, jump-starting a cycle of use that can lead to abuse. Also like cocaine and meth, the drug may alter brain chemistry in a way that makes users require a larger and larger dose to get the same high.

Excessive use has been linked with feelings of extreme anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations. Like with bath salts, people have also reported dozens of episodes of violent behavior in people on flakka.

At high doses, flakka may also cause the body to reach high temperatures (bath salts have been linked with the same symptom). This excessive temperature can lead to severe physical complications like kidney damage and muscle breakdown.

Flakka is on the rise

Still, flakka use is on the rise.

According to Forbes contributor Robert Glatter, the US Drug Enforcement Administration has seen a nearly 780% increase in the number of reported cases in the last three years. Back in 2010, not a single case of the drug had been reported in the US. Suddenly in 2012 there were 85 cases, and in 2014 there were 670.

Not surprisingly, one of the main reasons for this increase may be the price: Flakka can cost as little as $5 a pop according to Dispatch Times, and is easy to buy in bulk.

“The cost is what really alarmed us … a lot more people can get their hands on it, and that’s always a problem,” Fort Lauderdale police Sergeant Nick Coffin told Dispatch Times.

NOW WATCH: Flakka — the drug they call ’$5 insanity’ — is overwhelming police and hospitals in Florida


FDA Approves Naloxone Nasal Spray to Reverse Opioid Overdose

Posted on: December 21st, 2015 by sobrietyresources


November 18, 2015

NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE (11/18) – The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, is pleased to announce that intranasal naloxone –a nasal spray formulation of the medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose – has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The new technology has an easy-to-use, needle-free design, providing family members, caregivers and first responders with an alternative to injectable naloxone for use during a suspected opioid overdose. The new technology will be marketed by Adapt Pharma Limited, a partner of Lightlake Therapeutics Inc. NIDA and Lightlake, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel treatments for addiction, entered into a partnership in 2013 to apply new technology towards developing a lifesaving intervention for opioid overdose. The product will be marketed under the brand name NARCAN® Nasal Spray. Read more

FDA will conduct fast-track review of injectable buprenorphine

Posted on: December 18th, 2015 by sobrietyresources

November 10, 2015 by Gary A. Enos, Editor

The existing list of formulation options for the drug buprenorphone to treat opioid dependence could soon grow longer, with last week’s announcement of fast-track regulatory review for weekly and monthly injectable versions of the drug.

The partnering companies Braeburn Pharmaceuticals and Camurus, a Swedish company, stated that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted fast-track designation for the companies’ CAM2038 subcutaneous injection products. The companies stated that the weekly and monthly injections have been evaluated so far in 176 patients and healthy volunteers, demonstrating promising drug release and safety.

“By eliminating the need for daily dosing, CAM2038 has the potential to improve medication adherence and help patients avoid relapse, a critical aspect of a comprehensive approach to treating opioid addiction,” said Camurus president and CEO Fredrik Tiberg.

Numerous formulations of the partial agonist have emerged since the buprenorphine-naloxone tablets sold under the brand name Suboxone were discontinued three years ago. Versions currently in use include a film, a sublingual pill, and a formulation that sticks to the patient’s cheek.



Higher-Potency Marijuana Could Lead To Brain Damage

Posted on: December 4th, 2015 by sobrietyresources

The bad effects of high-potency weed are no longer just reefer madness hype.

 By May Wilkerson Monday, November 30th, 2015

The claims that marijuana can lead to brain damage have often been dismissed by pot advocates as “reefer madness.” But scientists now claim that, while regular marijuana may be benign, high-strength marijuana could damage nerve fibers that help transmit messages across the two halves of your brain.

In the first study to examine the effects of marijuana potency on brain structure, researchers examined brain scans of people who regularly smoked “skunk” and found “subtle differences” in the white matter that carries signals between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. These changes were not seen in people who had smoked less potent marijuana, or those who had not used marijuana at all, researchers found. The findings suggest that long-term use of high-potency weed could make brain communication “less efficient.”

Researcher Paola Dazzan, a neurobiologist at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, said these effects seem to be linked to the level of THC. Traditional marijuana buds contain 2% to 4% THC, whereas the more potent varieties can contain 10% to 14% THC.

Whether or not a person actually experiences psychosis, high levels of THC seemed to impact the corpus callosum area of the brain. The scans found that daily users of high-potency marijuana had a slightly greater “mean diffusivity” of about 2% in the corpus callosum. “That reflects a problem in the white matter that ultimately makes it less efficient,” said Dazzan. “We don’t know exactly what it means for the person, but it suggests there is less efficient transfer of information.”

However, though the findings indicate a link between high levels of THC and damage to white matter, researchers could not confirm that THC caused the damage. “It is possible that these people already have a different brain and they are more likely to use cannabis,” Dazzan noted. “But what we can say is if it’s high potency, and if you smoke frequently, your brain is different from the brain of someone who smokes normal cannabis, and from someone who doesn’t smoke cannabis at all.”

Regardless of whether there is a direct cause-and-effect, Dazzan urged pot users and public health workers to think about marijuana as they would think of alcohol: different varieties (like beer vs. whiskey) could have widely different effects on the body.

In February, scientists at the UK Institute of Psychiatry reported that wider availability of “skunk” marijuana in south London could be behind a rise in the proportion of new cases of psychosis linked to marijuana use.

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