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Recreational drugs

Oct 14th 2017

The bodies turn up in public restrooms, in parks and under bridges, skin tone ashen or shades of blue. The deceased can go undiscovered, sometimes for hours, or days if they were alone when they injected heroin and overdosed.

Terrell Jones, a longtime resident of the Bronx, was pointing to the locations where overdoses occurred as he drove through the East Tremont neighborhood, the car passing small convenience stores, rowhouses and schools.

“This is sometimes where people are being found, in their houses, dead,” said Mr. Jones, 61, looking toward a housing project along 180th Street. “Especially in the South Bronx, you have so many people in housing who overdose. To actually sit there and witness this whole thing? You’re watching this person turn all different colors. You know what I’m saying?”

The dramatic rise in opioid-related deaths has devastated communities around the United States in recent years, and has stirred concern among law enforcement and public health officials alike in New York City.

Here, the reports about the epidemic and its ravages have mostly centered on Staten Island, where the rate of deaths per person is the highest of the five boroughs. But perhaps nowhere in the city has the trajectory of opioid addiction been as complex as in the Bronx, where overdose deaths were declining until a new surge began at the turn of the decade, and where more residents are lost to overdoses than anywhere else in the city. On Bronx streets, the epidemic’s devastation is next door, down the street, all around.

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RELATED COVERAGE

·      

BIG CITY

In the Bronx, Heroin Woes Never Went Away MARCH 23, 2017

 

·      

On Staten Island, Rising Tide of Heroin Takes Hold MAY 4, 2014

 

·      

Heroin Takes Over a House, and Mom, on New York’s Staten Island NOV. 29, 2014

 

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Unless and until opioid addiction is treated like a potential health abuse medical problem akin to alcohol and tobacco all opioid addicts...

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The increase in deaths — now at the highest levels since the city began collecting the data in 2000 — has been fueled by social forces that have left some Bronx residents especially vulnerable: a history of high drug use in the area; a growing supply of cheap heroin on the streets; and the proliferation of a deadly synthetic opioid, fentanyl.

Mr. Jones said he never leaves his apartment in Hunts Point without a dose of naloxone, a medication that can be used to reverse opioid overdoses. The antidote — whose brand name is Narcan — has become a necessary stopgap to prevent deaths that happen in public spaces. Mr. Jones, who has himself struggled with drug addiction in the past, now works with New York Harm Reduction Educators to help drug users.

“Regardless of how they died, it wasn’t an intentional death. Nobody woke up and said, ‘Today I want to die of an overdose,’” he said. “People have issues and reasons they’re using drugs, and it’s not for us to judge.”

In 2016, 1,374 people died from overdoses in New York City, up from 937 in 2015, according to the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner. The vast majority of those lethal overdoses involved opioids, a drug classification comprising prescription painkillers like Oxycodone and Percocet, morphine, and the illegal street counterpart, heroin. An additional 344 overdose deaths were reported across the city from January to March of this year, according to preliminary data made available by the New York City Health Department.

More Bronx residents died of drug overdoses in 2016 than any other New York City borough — 308. That’s more than double the number in 2010, 128. Fatal overdoses in the borough are now at their highest rates since at least 2000, as far back as official data is available. Eighty-five percent of those deaths involved opioids, and about 76 percent involved heroin or fentanyl specifically.

Of the five neighborhoods with the highest opioid-related overdose rates in 2015 and 2016, four were in the Bronx — Hunts Point-Mott Haven, Crotona-Tremont, High Bridge-Morrisania and Fordham-Bronx Park — and one was in Staten Island, South Beach/Tottenville.

The crisis in the Bronx stems, at least in part, from a surge of opioids in a place where some residents have long struggled with addiction. Heroin has become much cheaper in recent years as the supply in the United States has grown, according to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, and individuals with histories of drug abuse are particularly vulnerable to relapse amid a surge of cheap drugs. It has also become significantly more potent.

The cheaper, stronger heroin has been made even more dangerous by the proliferation of fentanyl, which is 50 times more powerful than heroin. Interviews with nearly 200 drug users conducted by the city health department suggest that most users are not directly seeking fentanyl; narcotics experts say the drug is likely being mixed into heroin batches, often without the dealers themselves knowing, let alone users. As effective as naloxone can be in reversing overdoses and restoring breathing, fentanyl overdoses are often too extreme for the antidote to work. And naloxone is ultimately a Band-Aid to a broader, systemic addiction crisis across the city.

“In a place like the Bronx, where there was a long term underlying addiction issue, all of a sudden you saturate the area with cheap accessible heroin, and you’re going to start to see the spike,” the city’s special narcotics prosecutor, Bridget Brennan, said in an interview.

The recent surge of illegal heroin in the Bronx in many ways mirrors the surge of prescription painkillers that fueled the opioid epidemic in suburban and rural communities. In the Bronx, as elsewhere, accessibility is related to spikes in consumption and addiction.

An illegal prescription painkiller market also thrived in the Bronx. In one high-profile case, a physician who owned several medical clinics in the Bronx was convicted of illegally distributing millions of prescription painkillers between 2011 and 2014. (Oxycodone from that “pill mill” was likely distributed in the Bronx, northern parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, officials have said.)

In Staten Island, the proliferation of prescription painkillers — often acquired illicitly through friends or dealers — led to an explosion in overdose deaths earlier this decade. Eventually Staten Island itself developed a market for heroin dealers. 

“This group of people in Staten Island, who might have been put off by the illegality of heroin, they’re already addicted” to opioids, Ms. Brennan said, and were therefore more willing to try it. The ensuing rise in opioid-related deaths among white, middle-class men and women has helped change popular conceptions about who is susceptible to drug addiction.

“The impact plays out differently in different parts of the city, and different parts of the country, depending on the historical arch. But it’s got a huge impact wherever it hits. It’s so cheap, so accessible, so pure,” explained Ms. Brennan.

Given the significantly larger overall numbers of deaths in the Bronx, Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, a primary care physician affiliated with Montefiore Medical Center who has worked in the Bronx for decades, lamented that opioid-related deaths in the borough have not received more attention. She said the interest in Staten Island likely stems from its relatively new addiction crisis and the fact that white middle-class residents are being affected.

“Really, the reason we care about the opioid epidemic is because it’s affecting populations that are white and affluent,” she said. “The way that we got to this is bittersweet, that this is what it has taken to shift the conversation to this way we’re talking about it.”

Dr. Cunningham, who is certified in addiction medicine, said it is important to balance medical data against stereotypes “portraying everyone in the Bronx as a drug user, or suggesting that all brown people are drug users.” Such assumptions are partially to blame for apathy in the overdose death crisis in the borough, she said.

In fact, in 2016, the highest rate of overdose deaths in the Bronx was among white residents, followed by Hispanics, and then African-Americans. Just 9 percent of Bronx residents are classified as non-Hispanic white.

City Hall has acknowledged the high death count in the Bronx, and has pledged a broad, citywide program to drive down fatalities. In March, Mayor Bill de Blasio chose Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx to announce the new effort. Calling the 2016 fatalities “shocking” and “a wake up call,” Mr. de Blasio committed $38 million a year to an initiative aimed at reducing fatal drug overdoses by 35 percent over five years; he vowed to dramatically expand government-funded naloxone distribution throughout the city, while expanding treatment options and reducing the supply of opioids.

But community organizations on the ground and law enforcement are still struggling to curb the number of fentanyl- and heroin-related deaths.

On a Wednesday afternoon in September, a plain gray van was parked across the street from Tremont Park, on the corner of Arthur and Tremont Avenues, and a blue tarp was erected next to it. The arrangement was a perhaps modest, but nonetheless crucial, outpost in the fight against opioid-related overdose deaths in the Bronx. Throughout the year, from this makeshift bureau and several others in the borough, Mr. Jones and his colleagues at New York Harm Reduction Educators hand out information about opioid deaths, offer free naloxone, and operate a syringe exchange program. (The program is funded largely through government grants.)

Adriana Pericchi sat in the blue tent, training passers-by how to administer naloxone to someone suffering an overdose. Slipping back and forth between conversational Spanish and English with a man seeking naloxone and fentanyl test strips, she moved methodically step-by-step, beginning with an overview of the physical symptoms of overdose: blue nails or lips, skin discoloration and shallow breaths. She jammed naloxone into a test dummy’s nose before playacting chest compressions and rescue breathing.

“First the breathing stops, then the brain, then the heart,” Ms. Pericchi reminded the man, a heroin user, who nodded along.

Later, sitting in a nearby McDonald’s, Ms. Pericchi opened up about the emotional toll felt by her colleagues at Washington Heights Corner Project and other organizations in the field.

“A lot of us are doing our best, but it’s just not enough, it’s not enough,” she said. “You’re mourning for one particular person who you knew and loved. And really quickly that avalanches into mourning for the state of the city, the state, the country.”

Mr. Jones said the Bronx needs more resources to combat heroin deaths, and blamed racial politics for insufficient resources. He said policies from the War on Drugs have also made community members distrustful of the police. Speaking softly and slowly, he disclosed that he sold drugs during the 1980s to support his crack habit, eventually serving more than two years in prison.

Now, decades later, as he devotes himself to helping drug users who need help, Mr. Jones sees a continued double standard for Bronx residents, who are stripped of compassion and dignity amid an epidemic that has engendered sympathy and panic in other communities.

From his vantage point, the attitude toward the opioid deaths today is still influenced by racialized attitudes about the crack and heroin epidemics before.

“It’s just color. It’s like we’re part of a third-world country because we’re not part of the so-called privileged people,” Mr. Jones said. “I could be wrong, but I’m saying that it’s because of our color. It’s a big issue.”

 

25.9.17

A prescription drug described as the “new valium” is to be classified as a class C controlled substance after it was linked to a growing number of UK deaths.

Pregabalin – a substance used to treat nerve pain, epilepsy and anxiety – is increasingly being handed out too readily and being used recreationally, according to doctors and pharmacists. They say that when it is mixed with other substances it can lead to overdose. Deaths connected to pregabalin have risen from four in 2012 to 111 last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Data provided by NHS Digital shows that prescriptions for pregabalin have shot up more than 11-fold in the last decade, from 476,102 in 2006 to 5,547,560 last year. The government has now accepted in principle that pregabalin should be reclassified as a class C controlled substance, which would mean patients could not obtain a repeat prescription.

“Doctors need to be cautious about who they are giving it to and be aware of the potential of the drug to be misused and the fact it could be addictive because there is not much information at the moment. The drug was approved for medical use in 2004 and we need more robust evidence,” Abbasi said.Yasir Abbasi, a consultant psychiatrist and clinical director for addiction services at Mersey Care NHS foundation trust, said the rising prescription numbers were worrying as, if used inappropriately, pregabalin could be hazardous.

Addaction, the largest drug and alcohol charity, is calling for GPs to be given guidance about how to prescribe pregabalin, particularly to people with substance misuse history. The charity noted that deaths linked to the drug had risen more quickly than those linked to new psychoactive substances.

Rachel Britton, Addaction’s lead pharmacist, said: “The deaths linked to it – that will be people taking a cocktail of substances that affect the central nervous system eg heroin, pregabalin and benzodiazepines. It eventually depresses respiration, controlled by the brain, and people who take these cocktails die.”

Those who use pregabalin recreationally call it “Budweiser” because it induces a state similar to drunkenness. It makes users feel relaxed and euphoric in a similar way to tranquilisers. It can also enhance the euphoric effects of other drugs, such as opiates, and is likely to increase the risks when taken in this way.

Abbasi said that those misusing pregabalin included people who took it on top of other drugs but also those who were prescribed it who, without talking to their doctor, then started taking a higher dose.

Testimony from doctors, pharmacists and drug counsellors, who were responding to a Guardian callout, suggests abuse of the drug is widespread. 

One emergency medicine nurse, who asked to remain anonymous, said her department had seen five cases a month since summer 2016, when someone had overdosed. She said: “Most people who are affected are those with other addiction problems, and ‘pregabs’ is taken along with other substances.”

A family doctor working in Scotland, who also asked for anonymity, said: “Pregabalin is overprescribed by GPs and other doctors for all types of pain despite it only being licensed for neuropathic pain and generalised anxiety disorder. Others easily access it off the internet. It is used by drug users in order to enhance the effects of other drugs they are taking … This is only going to increase as the prescription of both continues to increase.”

Another anonymous respondent, who works in a hostel, said: “Pregabalin has been the cause of several residents overdosing after using this with other substances. In this environment we suspect residents who are prescribed Pregabalin for anxiety and pain of dealing it to other residents … Over the last six months paramedics have been called out over half a dozen times due to these incidents and it is only through pure luck no one has died and feels only a matter of time before this happens.”

Pharmacists were originally advised not to accept requests for cheaper, generic versions of the drug, but this changed in July, when Pfizer’s patent expired. There are concerns that this has prompted a further rise in the drug’s misuse.

A statement from Pfizer said: “When prescribed and administered appropriately, pregabalin is an important and effective treatment option for many adults living with chronic neuropathic pain, generalised anxiety disorder and epilepsy.”

Earlier this year the British Medical Association (BMA) called for the drug to be made a controlled substance in the UK in the same class as steroids and valium. Last year the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs wrote a letter to the government making the same recommendation. It would mean the drug could not be repeat-dispensed and prescriptions would only be valid for one month. The letter warned of the risk of addiction for both pregabalin and a similar drug called gabapentin.

The minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, Sarah Newton, said: “Any death related to misuse of drugs is a tragedy and that is why we have published a comprehensive new drugs strategy to tackle the illicit drug trade, protect the most vulnerable and help those with drug dependency to recover and turn their lives around.

“We have accepted the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs advice to control pregabalin and gabapentin as class C drugs in principle, subject to the outcome of a public consultation to assess the impact on the healthcare sector. We will launch the consultation shortly.”

Aug 26th 2017

Sugar has the same effect on the brain as powerful drugs like cocaine, the British Journal of Sports Medicine has said.

Scientists claimed that sugar can be just as addictive as powerful illegal drugs and can cause cravings, binges and withdrawal symptoms.

Cutting out sugar can cause symptoms similar to a drug addict going cold turkey and could even lead to depression and behavioural disorders such as ADHD, according to the medical journal.

It said sugar could act as a gateway to alcohol and other addictive substances, adding that like cocaine and opium, sugar is refined from plants to yield pure crystals which they say “adds to the addictive properties.”

The article was written by cardiovascular research scientist James J DiNicolantonio and cardiologist James H O’Keefe, from the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas.

They wrote: “Consuming sugar produces effects similar to that of cocaine, altering mood, possibly through its ability to induce reward and pleasure.”

The researchers cited experiments on rats which showed sugar was more addictive than opioid drugs and that the same was likely to be true for humans.

But Hisham Ziauddeen, a psychiatrist at Cambridge University, said the rodent studies had been misunderstood.

He told the Guardian: “The rodent studies show that you only get addiction-like behaviours if you restrict the animals to having [sugar] for two hours every day. If you allow them to have it whenever they want it – which is really how we consume it – they don’t show these addiction-like behaviours.

“What this means is that it is the combination of that particular kind of intermittent access and sugar that produces those behaviours. Further you get the same kind of effect if you use saccharin … so it seems to be about sweet taste rather than sugar.”

Aug 13th 2017

People who smoke weed are three times more likely to die from high blood pressure than those who do not, new research suggests.

Scientists in the US analysed data from marijuana users against non-users to determine the risk of death from hypertension (high blood pressure).

They found that compared to non-users, marijuana users had a 3.42-times higher risk of death from hypertension.

The researchers also found that the amount of time a person has spent smoking weed makes a difference, with a 1.04-times greater risk for each year of use.

However, Dr Willie Lawrence, an interventional cardiologist and spokesperson for the American Heart Association, has called the research “flawed”.

Lead author Barbara Yankey, a PhD student at Georgia State University, Atlanta, investigated the subject due to ongoing debate about the legalisation of marijuana in the US.

The study concluded that marijuana users had a three times higher risk of dying from hypertension. There was no link between marijuana use and death from heart disease or cerebrovascular disease.

The study is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

May 22nd 2017

Citing what he called "the tsunami of death," Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele on Wednesday released a rare grand-jury report on the “once in-a-generation” opioid epidemic that calls for mandatory minimum jail terms for heroin dealers.

“There is no place in Montgomery County that is immune to this,” said Steele, referring to the drug problem that has swept the nation. "We can’t arrest our way out of this. ... This is a public health issue."

At a news conference in Norristown, Steele said he was releasing the report, assembled by a 23-member grand jury over 13 months, in an effort to “slow down the tsunami of death that these drugs are creating.”

A grand jury rarely is convened for such an investigation, Steele said.

It heard testimony from addicts and parents of addicts, as well as law enforcement officials, treatment centers, and members of the medical community.

In Montgomery County, 249 drug-related deaths were recorded in 2016, a steep rise from the 177 of 2015.

Of the 249, 108 were found with traces of fentanyl, which often is mixed with heroin and is 60 times stronger. That number is up from 35 in 2015.

In addition to mandatory minimum sentences for those involved in significant heroin transactions, the report listed five other recommendations, including a call for a statewide online system to identify the availability of treatment beds, a recurring problem for addicts seeking rehabilitation.

Montgomery County already has taken steps to deal with the increase in overdoses.

Every police department in the county is equipped with naloxone, a prescription antidote for an opioid overdose, or is training officers on how to use it. In the last 20 months, naloxone has been used in 134 rescues in the county, officials said.

months, naloxone has been used in 134 rescues in the county, officials said.

Marissa Wadsworth of Norristown, who had testified before the grand jury, spoke at the news conference about her son. He was introduced to prescription drugs at a high school party during his senior year, and three years later died of a heroin overdose.

“It’s a living hell. ... I think of all the things I could have differently,” Wadsworth said.

John Becker was a detective sergeant with the Hatboro Police Department before his addiction to opioids cost him his career. He spent 15 days in jail in connection with drug-related weapons counts.

“We judge the behavior, and not what's causing it,” Becker said.

The report concluded that to overcome the crisis, strategies must “cross political lines."

“We have no other choice. We have to act. And we have to act now.”​

 

May 13th 2017

Spice use

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones said: “I think the fact that it was criminalised is the cause of the problem we’ve got now.

“When it was sold in ‘head’ shops, we never heard about it because it was weaker, it was safer.”

Spice is hugely popular with the homeless community, many of whom have swapped to it from the much more expensive heroin and crack cocaine.

Experts fear the drug’s long-term effects could be even worse than heroin.

In recent weeks the Daily Star has published shocking images of zombified Spice users out of their heads in town centres across the north.

It is now a common sight in cities and towns including Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool, Wigan and Wrexham.

April 15th 2017

The unexplained deaths of four people in less than 24 hours may be related to heroin, police believe.

Three of the deaths were reported on Friday morning and a fourth was reported on Friday evening, all in South Yorkshire.

Two men, 33 and 40, were found dead at two different addresses in Barnsley and a 47-year-old woman was found at a house in Grimethorpe.

On Friday evening, a 31-year-old man was found dead in Barnsley.

Police said: "An early line of inquiry is to establish if the deaths are linked to heroin use, although the results of post-mortem examinations and toxicology tests are awaited."

While officers are not formally linking the deaths, they have warned users of heroin or its derivatives to be cautious.

Temporary Chief Inspector Ian Proffitt said the force was "very concerned" by the deaths.

"For four deaths to occur in similar circumstances in a small time period and in a relatively small geographical area is unusual.

"We are currently exploring to establish if they are linked to the strength or content of heroin being used locally.

"The public should exercise caution if they come into contact with controlled drugs, particularly heroin, or heroin derivatives.

"If you experience any unusual symptoms after taking drugs, seek medical attention immediately."

Two men, 37 and 42, have been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs but they have been released pending further inquiries.

Anyone with information about the deaths or the illegal supply of drugs can contact South Yorkshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 164 of 14 April or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Anyone concerned about their heroin use should seek advice from a medical professional or contact the NHS to get help with their addiction.

April 9th 2017

Police have warned people against taking a synthetic form of cannabis known as 'Black Mamba' after a man's body was found near Birmingham's Bullring shopping centre.

The homeless man was found on Sunday morning just a few hundred metres from the entrance to the building.

Two other people in Birmingham are also ill after taking the drug, which replicates the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis.

West Midlands Police Detective Inspector Thomas Hadley said: "It is extremely concerning that users of this substance are putting their lives at risk, even more so because we believe there is a potentially lethal batch of the substance currently being distributed in Birmingham.

"Those involved in the production and supply of these drugs will continue to face robust action to disrupt their activity as we seek to shut down the manufacture and supply chains across the region."

The death came as Greater Manchester Police said they received 31 calls on Saturday about the use of Spice - a generic name for synthetic cannabinoids like 'Black Mamba'.

Fourteen of the calls over the 24 hours were about people who had collapsed.

The drug has been said to leave people like "zombies" as it can cause hallucinations, psychosis, muscle weakness and paranoia.

The Psychoactive Substances Act, which came into effect in 2016, made it illegal to produce, supply or import such substances - but it is not illegal to possess them.

Synthetic cannabinoids react more strongly with the brain's cannabinoid receptors and so can be more potent than natural cannabis, making it easier to use too much and experience unpleasant and harmful effects.

I repeat this with no excuses, March 31 2017

I am going to venture into the minefield of giving advice on recreational drugs.

The best advice I can give you is a well-known saying,     Just say no.

And that is fine when you're able to make your own decision but let us consider the situation where you are at a party or a dance you have been offered ecstasy and very sensibly refused.

You have to be very careful what you were drinking it is very easy for someone to slip some drugs into your glass when you were distracted.

If you are drinking a soft drink from a can make sure you open the can and that you hold that can until it is empty.

If you are drinking from a bottle do not put the bottle down, hold on to it with the cap replaced.

It all sounds a little tedious but it is the only way to protect yourself from the date rape drug which has been the undoing of so many party goers.

You can only do this if you limit your consumption of alcohol and keep control of your senses.

Excessive drinking is covered on another page.

I know little or nothing about street drugs but there are many places on the Internet where you can get plenty of good advice, and if you are taking or thinking about taking Street drugs you need some counseling straight away, altering the way your brain works has got to be one of the worst things you could possibly do.

I want to put you off so

read on

I could write a whole book on the subject but there is plenty of information on the Internet that is readily available, it is necessary however to inform you of a relatively new and deadly menace, it's an alternative to injecting heroin and it is estimated that there are already 10,000 addicts in Russia.

The street name of this drug is Krocodil it is more addictive than heroin and it is a killer, users find that after using for a short while they suffer rotting and disintegration of their flesh all over their bodies, as you can imagine they do not live long when suffering this effect.

You can google it and see something horrific pictures.

The first confirmed case of Krokodil in the United States was observed a year ago, according to a new report.

In September, at least two possible cases of the drug were reported by Banner Good Samaritan Poison Control Center in Phoenix.

Other potential cases have appeared in Illinois, Ohio and Oklahoma, though, as Daily beast notes confirmed cases are much harder to come by.

Physicians who spoke with the online news outlet said the more likely culprit for the flesh rotting symptoms are dirty needles that infect heroin users with HIV, Hepatitis and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This can lead to "gangrenous skin, deep abscesses, and loss of limbs."

But, asRaw story, reported this week two doctors from Missouri told the American Journal of Medicine that they treated a patient last year "whose skin was rotted away from using krokodil." That report marks the first official case of the drug making its way to America,

“We saw that his finger fell off and we saw a severe looking ulcer and sores on his thigh and it did really fit the picture of krokodil,” Doctor Dany Thekkemuriyil said. “Our case is the first case that’s been published in a recognized medical journal  ...

March 30th 2017

Drug addiction is a terrible thing; not only causing a person's health to deteriorate significantly but also often causing them to make regrettable decisions in order to fund their next fix. But when someone finally manages to conquer their addiction, it can be the most incredible thing.

And that's the experience former America's Next Top Model star Jael Strauss has had. After appearing on series 8 of the popular show hosted by Tyra Banks in 2007, Jael fell into a nightmarish cycle of drug taking that led her to become addicted to meth and eventually to become homeless.

Jael's addiction to methamphetamine got so bad that in 2012, 5 years after she became a finalist in ANTM, her family turned to American show host Dr. Phil in a last-ditch attempt to help her.

 

At the time, Jael was living on the streets of her hometown, and her brother Brandon and mother Debbie had to go out looking for her to convince her to travel to LA to meet with Dr. Phil. The former model eventually agreed, but she then refused to take part in the show and was seen running away from the television show set.

During the 2007 series of America's Next Top Model that Jael starred in, viewers witnessed her learning that her friend had died of an overdose. Despite the emotional trauma, Jael decided to persevere with the competition, dedicating that week's photo to her late friend, and she continued alongside the season's eventual winner, Jaslene Gonzalez.

Regardless of what had happened to her friend, however, Jael was still unable to stay away from drugs, and ended up with an addiction of her own which took a toll on the striking looks she'd previously been scouted for on MySpace ahead of her appearance on ANTM. On the Dr Phil Show, Jael's skin had been visibly damaged as a result of her meth addiction, and according to the Daily Mail her teeth also began to rot.

But all that is history now, as Jael's Instagram account reveals she is happy, healthy, and most importantly drug free. Speaking to Too Fab about having come through the other side of her ordeal, the now-32-year-old is living a happy life in Austin, Texas alongside her girlfriend, and is apparently working for a rehab centre.

 

March 10th 2017

Professor Green is raising awareness of the synthetic drug 'Spice' after saying he witnessed the horrifying effects first hand while filming a new documentary.

Last week frightening footage revealed how the 'fake weed' was turning homeless people in Manchester into 'the walking dead'.

The rapper was joined on Good Morning Britain by Dr Hilary Jones as they discussed the effects of the illegal drug that has been leaving users 'frozen' like statues.

Speaking to hosts Ben Shephard and Susanna Reid, Pro Green said: "Its called synthetic cannabis, its nothing like cannabis.

After a clip from the documentary aired, Pro Green said: "What that lady just said, I actually met her in the documentary and what she said about it being harder to come off 'Spice' than it is off heroin - that's exactly what we were told by the people using it.

"And it's a really weird drug, not that it does something different to different people, I saw it do something different to the same person, it's so unpredictable."

The musician, who made the Hidden and Homeless documentary for BBC Three last year, spent his days with 'Spice' users on the streets of Britain.

"You don’t know what you're buying.

"It doesn’t seem to have done any good by making it illegal, it just seems to have just pushed it underground.

"In saying that though, shops that we knew that were selling it when we were doing the documentary, you couldn't go into a shop and pay by card. You had to give them cash and the money went in a separate box."

Dr Hilary explained that the drug is made in a lab and is based on cannabis but can be much more powerful as you don't know what you are going is inside.

'Spice' is rife in prisons and among the homeless community, with a packet costing around £2, while the effects include paranoia, suicidal thoughts, seizures and strokes.

Pro Green added: "If you imagine being homeless you would take anything to escape that reality

"I think a lot of people have a misconception that you end up homeless because of drugs, when in fact a lot of people end up on drugs because they are homeless.


Dec 12th 2016

A teenager found dead in a city centre hotel room after taking ecstasy had been to the popular Warehouse Project that same night.

The 19-year-old, named locally as Lauren Atkinson, was discovered at The City Warehouse ApartHotel in Great Ancoats Street at around 6am on Saturday morning.

Police say she had taken the drug, known as MDMA, but it is not known where she got it from.

It is believed Lauren, from Ulverston, Cumbria, had travelled to the city with friends for the weekend.

She had come to Manchester to attend Warehouse Project’s Heldeep event on Friday night at the Warehouse Project's Store Street venue, near Piccadilly station.

She had posted on her Facebook page on Thursday: “So excited roll on tomorrow” alongside a setlist for the night.

Club bosses say they have been made aware of the death, and reiterated their message for revellers to act responsibly, especially leading up to Christmas.

A spokesman for The Warehouse Project said: “We have been made aware that sadly a 19 year old girl from Cumbria passed away at around 6am in the early hours of Saturday morning at an after party.

“We would like to continue strengthening our message, especially in the lead up to Christmas for party goers in Manchester and all over the country to act responsibly and look after each other.”

Lauren has been described by friends as a ‘lovely, bubbly girl’ who was a ‘treasured daughter, sister and amazing friend’.

Tributes have poured in on social media, and an appeal to raise money for her funeral has hit £9,000 in less than 24 hours.

Lauren Millington wrote: “R.I.P Lauren Atkinson x you are such a bright and bubbly person and will missed by every person who had the pleasure of meeting you.”

Police confirmed four people – all from Cumbria – have been arrested in connection with the death.

Two men, aged 24 and 26, have been arrested for possession with intent to supply class A drugs. And two women, aged 24 and 26 were arrested on suspicion of drug possession.

Supt Stephen Howard from GMP said: “This is a tragic situation. The death of a young person is always devastating, but in these circumstances, it is all the more heart breaking.

"My thoughts are with her family and friends at this time.”

Anyone with information is asked call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Dec 2nd 2016

A single dose of psilocybin, the active ingredient of magic mushrooms, can lift the anxiety and depression experienced by people with advanced cancer for six months or even longer, two new studies show.

Researchers involved in the two trials in the United States say the results are remarkable. The volunteers had “profoundly meaningful and spiritual experiences” which made most of them rethink life and death, ended their despair and brought about lasting improvement in the quality of their lives.

The results of the research are published in the Journal of Psychopharmacologytogether with no less than ten commentaries from leading scientists in the fields of psychiatry and palliative care, who all back further research. While the effects of magic mushrooms have been of interest to psychiatry since the 1950s, the classification of all psychedelics in the US as schedule 1 drugs in the 1970s, in the wake of the Vietnam war and the rise of recreational drug use in the hippy counter-culture, has erected daunting legal and financial obstacles to running trials.

“I think it is a big deal both in terms of the findings and in terms of the history and what it represents. It was part of psychiatry and vanished and now it’s been brought back,” said Dr Stephen Ross, director of addiction psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center and lead investigator of the study that was based there.

Around 40-50% of newly diagnosed cancer patients suffer some sort of depression or anxiety. Antidepressants have little effect, particularly on the “existential” depression that can lead some to feel their lives are meaningless and contemplate suicide.

The main findings of the NYU study, which involved 29 patients, and the larger one from Johns Hopkins University with 51 patients, that a single dose of the medication can lead to immediate reduction in the depression and anxiety caused by cancer and that the effect can last up to eight months, “is unprecedented,” said Ross. “We don’t have anything like it.”

The results of the studies were very similar, with around 80% of the patients attributing moderately or greatly improved wellbeing or life satisfaction to a single high dose of the drug, given with psychotherapy support.

Professor Roland Griffiths, of the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience who led the study at Johns Hopkins University school of medicine, said he did not expect the findings, which he described as remarkable. “I am bred as a sceptic. I was sceptical at the outset that this drug could produce long-lasting changes,” he said. These were people “facing the deepest existential questions that humans can encounter - what is the nature of life and death, the meaning of life.”

But the results were similar to those they had found in earlier studies in healthy volunteers. “In spite of their unique vulnerability and the mood disruption that the illness and contemplation of their death has prompted, these participants have the same kind of experiences, that are deeply meaningful, spiritually significant and producing enduring positive changes in life and mood and behaviour,” he said.

Patients describe the experiences as “re-organisational”, said Griffiths. Some in the field had used the term “mystical”, which he thought was unfortunate. “It sounds unscientific. It sounds like we’re postulating mechanisms other than neuroscience and I’m certainly not making that claim.”

Ross said psilocybin activates a sub-type of serotonin receptor in the brain. “Our brains are hard-wired to have these kinds of experiences - these alterations of consciousness. We have endogenous chemicals in our brain. We have a little system that, when you tickle it, it produces these altered states that have been described as spiritual states, mystical states in different religious branches.

“They are defined by a sense of oneness – people feel that their separation between the personal ego and the outside world is sort of dissolved and they feel that they are part of some continuous energy or consciousness in the universe. Patients can feel sort of transported to a different dimension of reality, sort of like a waking dream.”

Some patients describe seeing images from their childhood and very commonly, scenes or images from a confrontation with cancer, he said. The doctors warn patients that it may happen and not to be scared, but to embrace it and pass through it, he said.

The commentators writing in the journal include two past presidents of the American Psychiatric Association, the past president of the European 

College of Neuropsychopharmacology, a previous deputy director of the Office of USA National Drug Control Policy and a previous head of the UK Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority.

The journal editor, Professor David Nutt, was himself involved in a small trial of psilocybin in a dozen people with severe depression in the UK in May. The ten commentators in the journal, he writes in an editorial, “all essentially say the same thing: it’s time to take psychedelic treatments in psychiatry and oncology seriously, as we did in the 1950s and 1960s.”

Much more research needs to be done, he writes. “But the key point is that all agree we are now in an exciting new phase of psychedelic psychopharmacology that needs to be encouraged not impeded.”

The studies were funded by the Heffter Research Institute in the USA. “These findings, the most profound to date in the medical use of psilocybin, indicate it could be more effective at treating serious psychiatric diseases than traditional pharmaceutical approaches, and without having to take a medication every day,” said its medical director George Greer.

Sept 13th 2016

An alliance of medical experts, MPs and peers are to call for cannabis to be legalised for medical use.

Campaigners say it is ‘irrational’ the drug is still banned when evidence shows it helps sufferers of arthritis and chronic pain.

A survey by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform found 90% of patients who use cannabis reported some improvement in their condition, while 86% said it provided ‘great relief’.

The group noted that access to medical cannabis is legal in 25 US states and in Canada, Australia, Israel, Chile, Uruguay, Colombia, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy, Malta, Czech Republic, Jamaica and Croatia.

But in the UK it remains a Schedule 1 substance and is classified as having medical value.

If enacted such a plan could open the door to cannabis eventually being used on the NHS - but the Home Office has shot down the group's report.

The group commissioned neurologist Professor Mike Barnes (pictured above) to review evidence from the around the world.

His report concludes there is good evidence that medical cannabis helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain, spasticity - often associated with multiple sclerosis, nausea and vomiting, particularly in the context of chemotherapy - and in the management of anxiety.

Prof Barnes said: “We analysed over 20,000 scientific and medical reports.

“The results are clear. Cannabis has a medical benefit for a wide range of conditions.

“I believe that with greater research, it has the potential to help with an even greater number of conditions.

“But this research is being stifled by the Government’s current classification of cannabis as having no medical benefit.”

A Populus survey for the End Our Pain campaign, which is fighting for a change in the law, found public support for reform.

Some 68% supported allowing doctors to prescribe cannabis where they considered it would help their patients, with 11% opposed, 17% neither opposing nor supporting and 4% saying they did not know.

Labour MP Frank Field (pictured above) said: “Britain is lagging behind much of the developed world by failing to grant very sick patients legal access to cannabis to help ease their chronic pain or other severe symptoms.

“Hundreds of thousands of people in our country are forced to decide between putting up with unbearable pain, spasticity or chronic nausea or alternatively, breaking the law.

“Compassion demands that we grant those people legal access to prescribed cannabis if their doctor feels it will make life more bearable.”

Crossbench peers Baroness Molly Meacher, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group said: “The findings of our inquiry and review of evidence from across the world are clear.

“Cannabis works as a medicine for a number of medical conditions. “The evidence has been strong enough to persuade a growing number of countries and US states to legalise access to medical cannabis.

“Against this background, the UK scheduling of cannabis as a substance that has no medical value is irrational.”

Campaign director of End Our Pain, Peter Carroll, said: “We estimate that over 1 million people in the UK take cannabis for medical reasons.

“All these people are at risk of police and court action. The poll shows that the British public understand that these people are patients, not criminals.

We urge the government to respond positively to the results of this poll, to today’s Parliamentary report, and the review of global evidence published alongside it.

But a Home Office spokesperson said: "This Government has no plans to legalise cannabis. There is a substantial body of scientific and medical evidence to show that cannabis is a harmful drug which can damage people's mental and physical health.

 "It is important that medicines are thoroughly trialled to ensure they meet rigorous standards before being placed on the market. There is a clear regime in place, administered by the Medicines and Healthcare Products regulatory Agency to enable medicines, including those containing controlled drugs, to be developed.”

May 26th

Legal Highs not legal any more in UK

Do not fall foul of the law you will not like it.
 

I am going to venture into the minefield of giving advice on recreational drugs.

The best advice I can give you is a well-known saying,     Just say no.

And that is fine when you're able to make your own decision but let us consider the situation where you are at a party or a dance you have been offered ecstasy and very sensibly refused.

You have to be very careful what you were drinking it is very easy for someone to slip some drugs into your glass when you were distracted.

If you are drinking a soft drink from a can make sure you open the can and that you hold that can until it is empty.

If you are drinking from a bottle do not put the bottle down, hold on to it with the cap replaced.

It all sounds a little tedious but it is the only way to protect yourself from the date rape drug which has been the undoing of so many party goers.

You can only do this if you limit your consumption of alcohol and keep control of your senses.

Excessive drinking is covered on another page.

I know little or nothing about street drugs but there are many places on the Internet where you can get plenty of good advice, and if you are taking or thinking about taking Street drugs you need some counseling straight away, altering the way your brain works has got to be one of the worst things you could possibly do.

I want to put you off so

read on

I could write a whole book on the subject but there is plenty of information on the Internet that is readily available, it is necessary however to inform you of a relatively new and deadly menace, it's an alternative to injecting heroin and it is estimated that there are already 10,000 addicts in Russia.

The street name of this drug is Krocodil it is more addictive than heroin and it is a killer, users find that after using for a short while they suffer rotting and disintegration of their flesh all over their bodies, as you can imagine they do not live long when suffering this effect.

You can google it and see something horrific pictures.

The first confirmed case of Krokodil in the United States was observed a year ago, according to a new report.

In September, at least two possible cases of the drug were reported by Banner Good Samaritan Poison Control Center in Phoenix.

Other potential cases have appeared in Illinois, Ohio and Oklahoma, though, as the Daily Beast notes, confirmed cases are much harder to come by.

Physicians who spoke with the online news outlet said the more likely culprit for the flesh rotting symptoms are dirty needles that infect heroin users with HIV, Hepatitis and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This can lead to "gangrenous skin, deep abscesses, and loss of limbs."

But, as Raw Story reported this week, two doctors from Missouri told the American Journal of Medicine that they treated a patient last year "whose skin was rotted away from using krokodil." That report marks the first official case of the drug making its way to America, according to KTVI.

“We saw that his finger fell off and we saw a severe looking ulcer and sores on his thigh and it did really fit the picture of krokodil,” Doctor Dany Thekkemuriyil said. “Our case is the first case that’s been published in a recognized medical journal  ...

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