The Other Drug Epidemic

Since 2011, emergency room visits related to meth in San Francisco have jumped 600% to 1,965 visits in 2016, the last year for which ER data is available. Admissions to the hospital are up 400% to 193, according to city public health data. And at San Francisco General Hospital, of 7,000 annual psychiatric emergency visits last year, 47% were people who were not necessarily mentally ill — they were high on meth.

Read the full article here.

 

Opiods + Marijuana = Bad

Cannabis Plus Opioids in Chronic Pain: Not a Great Combo

Previous research by Humphreys and colleagues showed that people who used medical cannabis also had higher rates of opioid use and misuse. “This is one of many examples where claims about the benefits of medical cannabis are not supported by evidence,” Humphreys told MedPage Today.  The current study had several limitations: it relied on cross-sectional, self-reported data and was subject to possible selection bias and confounding. It also did not assess the frequency or quantity of cannabis or opioid use, or the type of chronic pain.

Counterfeit Prescription Drugs Laced With Fentanyl Falling Into Unsuspecting Hands Thanks In Part To Social Media — Kaiser Health News

People buying drugs like Xanax online are taking the pills, not realizing that they are fake and some are tainted with a potent opioid. The mistake can be fatal. 26 more words

via Counterfeit Prescription Drugs Laced With Fentanyl Falling Into Unsuspecting Hands Thanks In Part To Social Media — Kaiser Health News

What the News Left Out About K2

As a psychiatrist, I have encountered countless individuals in the emergency room who come through and do not want help. “What K2? I don’t use that stuff.” They will deny it, laugh it off, or scoff at me. They threaten to commit suicide if I don’t let them stay the night, and demand extra sandwiches and clothes. These individuals have the ability to decipher their options.  If the person’s thinking suddenly clears and there is no sign of physical instability, he or she can just walk out the emergency room almost minutes after presenting. In the dead of night, I’ve had unconscious patients who wake up abruptly only to demand to leave. I have no choice but to discharge them “home” to no particular address, since none are listed.

Here’s the link to the full article.

 

America’s Invisible Pot Addicts

Public-health experts worry about the increasingly potent options available, and the striking number of constant users. “Cannabis is potentially a real public-health problem,” said Mark A. R. Kleiman, a professor of public policy at New York University. “It wasn’t obvious to me 25 years ago, when 9 percent of self-reported cannabis users over the last month reported daily or near-daily use. I always was prepared to say, ‘No, it’s not a very abusable drug. Nine percent of anybody will do something stupid.’ But that number is now [something like] 40 percent.” They argue that state and local governments are setting up legal regimes without sufficient public-health protection, with some even warning that the country is replacing one form of reefer madness with another, careening from treating cannabis as if it were as dangerous as heroin to treating it as if it were as benign as kombucha.

But cannabis is not benign, even if it is relatively benign, compared with alcohol, opiates, and cigarettes, among other substances. Thousands of Americans are finding their own use problematic in a climate where pot products are getting more potent, more socially acceptable to use, and yet easier to come by, not that it was particularly hard before.

Read the entire Atlantic article here.

A new study in the journal Addiction finds that, after legalization, the use of marijuana among students at an Oregon college increased relative to that of students in states where the drug is still illegal. But, in a twist, the rise was mainly seen among those students who had also reported drinking heavily recently. The Oregon students who binge drank were 73 percent more likely to also report using marijuana, compared to binge-drinking students in states that didn’t legalize marijuana.

Interestingly, though, this study does suggest that legal marijuana, at least among college kids, does not seem to have much of a substitution effect. Contrary to the predictions of some legalization enthusiasts, teens don’t seem to be foregoing binge drinking—arguably a more physically harmful practice—in order to smoke weed. Instead, they’re doing both.

Read another Atlantic article on the topic here.

Binge drinking AND smoking pot.  A fine combination.

Record Murders Plague Mexico In First Half Of 2018: “The Figures Are Horrible”

Read the ZeroHedge article here.

Mexico posted its highest homicides on record, with a new government report Sunday showing murders in the country rose by 16 percent in the first half of 2018.

The Interior Department said there were 15,973 homicides in the first half of the year, compared to 13,751 killings in the same period of 2017.

According to the AP, the record-breaking homicides have surpassed the violence seen during the dark years of Mexico’s drug war in 2011, along with exceeding all government data since records began in 1997.

Benzo Update 02.25.18

Between 1996 and 2013, the number of adults who filled a benzodiazepine prescription increased by 67 percent, from 8.1 million to 13.5 million. Unlike opioid prescribing, which peaked in 2012 and has decreased nearly 20 percent since then, benzodiazepine prescribing continues to rise. The risk of overdose death goes up nearly fourfold when benzodiazepines are combined with opioids, yet rates of co-prescribing benzodiazepines and opioids nearly doubled between 2001 and 2013. Overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines increased more than sevenfold between 1999 and 2015.

Anna Lembke, M.D., is associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, and author of “Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop” (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016).

You can read the full article here.

Gabapentin Misuse and Abuse

Last December, Ohio’s Board of Pharmacy began reporting sales of gabapentin prescriptions in its regular monitoring of controlled substances. The drug, which is not an opioid nor designated a controlled substance by federal authorities, is used to treat nerve pain. But the board found that it was the most prescribed medication on its list that month, surpassing oxycodone by more than 9 million doses. In February, the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network issued an alert regarding increasing misuse across the state.

A literature review published in 2016 in the journal Addiction found about a fifth of those who abuse opiates misuse gabapentin. A separate 2015 study of adults in Appalachian Kentucky who abused opiates found 15 percent of participants also misused gabapentin in the past six months “to get high.”

In the same year, the drug was involved in 109 overdose deaths in West Virginia, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

Read the article.

Now slowly focus on the following sentences:

Gabapentin can enhance the euphoria caused by an opioid and stave off drug withdrawals. In addition, it can bypass the blocking effects of medications used for addiction treatment, enabling patients to get high while in recovery.