drugs

Snow White: Oh, I feel strange. [Starts gasping for air] Queen: [to herself] Her breath will still. Her blood congeal.

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For every 1,000 people who undergo general anesthesia, there will be one or two who are not as unconscious as they seem — people who remember their doctors talking, and who are aware of the surgeon’s knife, even while their bodies remain catatonic and passive. For the unlucky 0.13 percent for whom anesthesia goes awry, there’s not really a good preventive. That’s because successful anesthetization requires complete unconsciousness, and consciousness isn’t something we can measure.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

‘But to live happy, I must be contented with obscurity.’ –Florian

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Antidepressants are often considered to be mere placebos despite the fact that meta-analyses are able to rank them. It follows that it should also be possible to rank different placebos, which are all made of sucrose. To explore this issue, which is rather more epistemological than clinical, we designed an unusual meta-analysis to investigate whether the effects of placebo in one situation are different from the effects of placebo in another situation.

{ BMC Medecine | Continue reading }

photo { Maurizio Di Iorio }

SHOUTS TO EVERYBODY SHOWING US LOVE!!!!

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AddictionBlog has an amazing article by a doctor and recovering morphine addict that describes the experience of injection, rush and withdrawal.

[…]

Heroin, by the way, is just the prodrug of morphine. In other words, the heroin molecule just gets broken down into morphine in the body and this is how it arrives in the brain. But because each heroin molecule gets transformed into two morphine molecules (hence the medical name for heroin – diamorphine) the feeling can be a little different because increased concentration can apparently make the high more intense.

{ Mind Hacks | Continue reading }

If you make me an offer I can’t refuse, then I won’t be able to refuse it

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Frances Kaye, a publicity agent, described a movie party she attended at a Palm Springs resort. A live orchestra entertained a thousand-odd guests while a fountain spouted champagne against the backdrop of a desert sky. As partiers circulated, a doctor made rounds like a waiter, dispensing drugs to guests from a bulging sack. On offer were amphetamines and barbituates, standard Hollywood party fare, but guests wanted Miltown. The little white pills “were passed around like peanuts,” Kaye remembered. What she observed about party pill popping was not unique. “They all used to go for ‘up pills’ or ‘down pills,’” one Hollywood regular noted. “But now it’s the ‘don’t-give-a-darn-pills.’”

{ Andrea Tone/Mindhacks | Continue reading }

‘Victory, Creon, is not always so glorious: Shame and remorse often follow.’ –Racine

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{ Cocaine Caused Financial Crisis, Ex-UK Drug Czar Says | Thanks GG }

oil and varnish on birch-ply { James White }

‘Under peaceful conditions the militant man attacks himself.’ –Nietzsche

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Nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States and 11 percent of school-age children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

These rates reflect a marked rise over the last decade and could fuel growing concern among many doctors that the A.D.H.D. diagnosis and its medication are overused in American children. […]

About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which can drastically improve the lives of those with A.D.H.D. but can also lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis. […]

More teenagers are likely to be prescribed medication in the near future because the American Psychological Association plans to change the definition of A.D.H.D. to allow more people to receive the diagnosis and treatment. A.D.H.D. is described by most experts as resulting from abnormal chemical levels in the brain that impair a person’s impulse control and attention skills. […]

A.D.H.D. has historically been estimated to affect 3 to 7 percent of children. The disorder has no definitive test and is determined only by speaking extensively with patients, parents and teachers, and ruling out other possible causes — a subjective process that is often skipped under time constraints and pressure from parents. It is considered a chronic condition that is often carried into adulthood. […]

Fifteen percent of school-age boys have received an A.D.H.D. diagnosis, the data showed; the rate for girls was 7 percent. Diagnoses among those of high-school age — 14 to 17 — were particularly high, 10 percent for girls and 19 percent for boys. […]

The medications — primarily Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta and Vyvanse — often afford those with severe A.D.H.D. the concentration and impulse control to lead relatively normal lives. Because the pills can vastly improve focus and drive among those with perhaps only traces of the disorder, an A.D.H.D. diagnosis has become a popular shortcut to better grades, some experts said, with many students unaware of or disregarding the medication’s health risks.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

photo { Loretta Lux }

He kissed me… but only in my dreams

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The risk of waking from a general anaesthetic while under the surgeon’s knife is extremely small - about one in 15,000 - research reveals.

Out of nearly 3 million operations in 2011 there were 153 reported cases. […] A third - 46 in total - were conscious throughout the operation.

{ BBC | Continue reading }

The incidence of accidental awareness during general anaesthesia (AAGA) is reported by several studies to be surprisingly high, in the range of 1–2 per 1000 general anaesthetics administered. These studies employ a direct patient questionnaire (usually repeated three times over a period of up to 30 days postoperatively) known as the ‘Brice protocol.’ It is also reported that a high proportion of patients experiencing AAGA suffer psychological problems including posttraumatic stress disorder. There are in fact very few studies reporting an incidence of AAGA much lower than this, an exception being that of Pollard et al., who found an incidence of 1:14 500. However, their methods might be criticised as they administered the questionnaire only twice over a 48-h period, which might only detect two thirds of cases . Anecdotally, anaesthetists do not perceive the incidence of AAGA to be so high. A small Japanese study found that only 21 of 172 practitioners had known of an incident of AAGA under their care, with an overall incidence of just 1:3500. In a larger UK survey of over 2000 consultants, Lau et al. reported that anaesthetists estimated the incidence to be approximately 1:5000, similar to the estimated incidence reported previously by 220 Australian anaesthetists of between 1:5000 and 1:10 000.

{ Anaesthesia/Wiley | Continue reading }

Hobbyhorses at the Mirus bazaar

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Roofies — a street name for the drug flunitrazepam, sold under the brand name Rohypnol — have never been approved for sale in the U.S. A quick glance through some of the other popular street names will give a clue as to why: roaches, mind erasers, ropies, wolfies, forget pills, and the date-rape drug are among the most menacing endearments for the stuff.

The drug was developed in the 1970s by Hoffman LaRoche and began appearing stateside in the 1980s, but the FDA never approved it, not even as a sleep aid, the intention for which it was originally developed. Elsewhere, it’s sold as that or as a hypnotic, which — I don’t even know what to say about living in a country like Sweden, where you could be prescribed a hypnotic. It’s also used to treat hospital patients in preparation for surgery. Here in the U.S., the Safe Streets and Communities Act of 2012 reclassified it a Schedule I drug — one with no medical value whatsoever, like cocaine and heroin.

The side effects of flunitrazepam are what make it such a troubling concoction. In addition to slowing psychomotor performance (e.g., the ability to run away if threatened) and causing whatever combination of relaxation, sedation, and suggestibility, which brings about the designation hypnotic in Europe, the drug also causes memory loss. A standard dosage — one or two milligrams — can last for eight to 12 hours, with hangover effects extending from several days to over a week. It’s also highly addictive. And it can kill you. Although some merely vomit.

Users self-administer roofies as a sleep aid, to enhance the effects of alcohol, or to mitigate depression caused by withdrawal from other drugs. (I’m told it’s a great rush.) Yet flunitrazepam isn’t always self-administered, which is where the mythology that surrounds the stuff is born. It’s been known to have been given to people, unwittingly if not against their will. This is because most who have ingested a standard dosage will exhibit within fifteen minutes a troubling combination of physical docility and compliant suggestibility.

{ Anne Elizabeth Moore/TNI | Continue reading }

You touch me… he dies. If you’re not in the air in thirty seconds… he dies. You come back in… he dies.

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The defendant in the deadly Colorado theater shooting could be given “truth serum” under a court order issued Monday to help determine whether he is insane if he pleads not guilty by reason of insanity. […]

A narcoanalylitic interview is a decades-old process in which patients are given drugs to lower their inhibition. Academic studies have shown that the technique has involved the use of sodium amytal and pentothal, sometimes called truth serum.

{ AP/Mercury News | Continue reading }

I wonder is he awake thinking of me or dreaming am I in it

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One big problem with “go pills”? After taking them, soldiers need a way to come down, and fast. Which explains why military doctors dole out “no-go pills,” like Ambien. The Pentagon doesn’t have specific figures, but in 2007 Time magazine estimated 10,000 soldiers overseas were authorized to take sleeping pills.

{ The New Republic | Continue reading }

A kiss to the winner? Oodelaly!

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It’s obvious that anti-anxiety medicines and other types of mood-modifying drugs alter the behavior of humans—it’s what they’re designed to do. But their effects, it turns out, aren’t limited to our species.

Over the past decade, researchers have repeatedly discovered high levels of many drug molecules in lakes and streams near wastewater treatment plants, and found evidence that rainbow trout and other fish subjected to these levels could absorb dangerous amounts of the medications over time. Now, a study published today in Science finds a link between behavior-modifying drugs and the actual behavior of fish for the first time. A group of researchers from Umeå University in Sweden found that levels of the anti-anxiety drug oxazepam commonly found in Swedish streams cause wild perch to act differently, becoming more anti-social, eating faster and showing less fear of unknown parts of their environment.

{ Smithsonian | Continue reading }

Would you rather speak any language fluently, or be able to talk to animals?

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We seem to be in the unprecedented position where sophisticated grey-market pharmacologists are rapidly inventing completely new-to-science drugs in underground labs for thrill-seeking punters.

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A study just published in Forensic Science International looked at the chemicals in a new wave of ‘fake pot’ herbal highs sold over the internet.

Firstly, the research identified 12 new synthetic cannabinoids. That’s twelve completely new untested cannabis-like drugs. The turnover in the market is both stunning and scary.

{ Mind Hacks | Continue reading }

photo { Claudiu Cobilanschi }