With Oxycontin Abuse All Over The News, Is Vicodin Abuse The Forgotten Prescription Painkiller Addiction?
Vicodin abuse has been shunted to the shadows as Oxycontin abuse, addiction and overdoses draws the focus of the news media and the popular consciousness of American society. In recent drug articles and exposes from The Atlantic to The New York Post, Oxycontin covers all of the news coverage and dominates the focus of the media when it come to the prescription painkiller plague. Although the coverage makes sense given the problem, the noise of the Oxycontin focus drowns out the need to focus on other dominant prescription painkillers like Vicodin, Percodan and Percocet. In particular, the Clinical Staff at One80Center is surprised by the lack of coverage in regards to Vicodin abuse and Vicodin addiction.
The History of Vicodin Abuse
Vicodin has been a problem prescription painkiller for over a quarter of a century. Hydrocodone or Vicodin was created by German scientists in the mid 1920′s. The drug was approved for sale in the United States under the brand name Hycodan in 1943. In 1984, a version of Hydrocodone under the brand name Vicodin was approved for sale by the FDA. It was sold by Abbott Laboratories.Vicodin contains a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is in a group of drugs called opioid pain relievers. Vicodin is most commonly taken orally in pill form or crushed up and snorted. Since acetaminophen is extremely harmful to the liver in high doses (2,000+ mg), some addicts try to extract the hydrocodone from the pill resulting in a vile liquid that can be taken orally or rectally via syringe. The actual result has been countless overdoses and deaths.
Given the amount of Vicodin abuse and the number of Vicodin overdoses, an FDA Advisory Panel voted in 2009 to ban both Vicodin and Percocet. Despite the recommendation and a bit of hoopla at the time, both prescription painkillers remain on the market and neither ban has been carried out. The vote remains like a shark with no teeth, a gun with no bullets, or a government act all for show but lacking any implementation and actual positive effect. People keep trying Vicodin because of its reputation as a great recreational drug and they keep getting hooked and they keep dying needlessly. When is the media going to pay attention and place Vicodin near the center of the discussion national prescription painkiller plague?
In 2002, it was reported that emergency-room visits involving Hydrocodone had increased 500 percent since 1990. In 2006, Americans were written 130 million prescriptions for painkillers containing Hydrocodone. The vast majority of these prescriptions are for Vicodin. In 2008, Abbott planned to sell a controlled-release version of Vicodin, but fails to get FDA approval. A few months later, Abbott laid off over 200 sales reps who were expected to be marketing the product. Yes, the selling of Vicodin and other prescription painkillers always has been a big business at the expense of the American people.
Vicodin Abuse Cannot Be Ignored
There is no question that Oxycontin abuse and Oxycontin addiction is a serious threat in our country and needs to be near the center of the national prescription painkiller debate. It does not, however, need to dominate the national discussion to the point where other brands of prescription painkillers are ignored. In the extensive experience of the clinical staff at One80Center with addicts in rehab and recovery, Vicodin has been a persistent and devastating brand of opioid painkiller that has led to addiction and worse. If the national debate is going to be on target, Vicodin abuse cannot be ignored.
The plague of prescription painkillers is raging across America in the form of a multitude of opioid brands and kinds. Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin happen to be the most popular brand names on the market today. They are some of the brand names for oxycodone and hydrocodone. Nearly three out of four prescription drug overdoses are caused by prescription painkillers. The rate of addiction and the spread of the abuse is staggering as well. Let’s take a look at some facts provided recently by a CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) report on prescription painkillers.
In 2008, there were 14,800 prescription painkiller deaths. The misuse and abuse of prescription painkillers was responsible for more than 475,000 emergency department visits in 2009, a number that had nearly doubled in just five years. More than 12 million people reported used prescription painkillers to for recreational purposes in 2010. In 2010, 2 million people reported using prescription painkillers nonmedically for the first time within the last year—nearly 5,500 a day. The statistics go on and on, and they are shocking beyond comprehension. The problem is huge and continuing to grow each and every year.
The Clinical Staff at One80Center has focused numerous resources and expertise on fighting the prescription painkiller plague. From raising awareness to treating numerous clients, the efforts still feel like sand thrown into the wind of a raging storm. Unless federal and state governments become involved in the fight, unless the fight is even recognized as a problem in public by our public leaders, the resources needed for education, prevention and treatment will not be accessed. For example, in the last presidential election, did either candidate ever mention during a campaign stop while making a speech the need to adress the prescription drug abuse problem. The scary answer is basically “No.”
One80Center provides a proven individualized program to treat both prescription painkiller addiction and prescription drug abuse. But treatment comes after the fact when the hooks of the painkillers are deep in the wills and souls of the addicts at hand. When are we going to be able to access the kids and let them know what can happen before it’s too late? When can we use our experiences in a concrete way to raise awareness? It is frustrating how there are no clear answers for such questions.
Prescription Painkillers & One80Center’s Individualized Program
If you or a loved one is having a problem with prescription painkillers, One80Center has the experience and expertise that you need to get to the other side and on the path of long-term recovery. It does not matter the brand name (Oxycontin, Percodan, Percocet, Vicodin, etc.) or the type (hydrocodone, oxycodone). With expertise in medical detoxes and experience employing specialized services to foster recovery, we have helped prescription painkiller abusers and addicts change their stripes and discover their true path. Still, such work is not enough to stem the tide of the plague of prescription painkillers. If you want to learn more about how One80Center can help you, please take the first step and call 888.588.4180 and ask for our help.
The Abuse Of Alcohol Depletes Nutrition, Exacerbating The Extreme Toll Alcoholism Takes On The Human Body
Alcoholism and the abuse of alcohol are nutritional nightmares, wreaking havoc on the human body. Known for doing damage to a variety of organs, including the liver, brain and pancreas, the effects of alcoholism in terms of health multiply when nutritional values are considered. Nutritional changes account for a significant portion of the long-term complications of alcoholism. In order to come back to full health once they embrace the long-term path of sobriety, most alcoholics need to change their nutritional habits in recovery.
One80Center Individualized Program Includes Health
The clinical staff at One80Center has seen that chronic alcoholics eventually develop severe forms of malnutrition-related illnesses. This is why we have incorporated nutritional help based on individual needs into our individualized program for our clients. With an organic garden on site and a gourmet chef with a nutritional background on staff, One80Center addresses a client’s health needs from a three-dimensional perspective. After all, recovery means more than just sobriety.
A positive benefit of making a healthy nutritional shift is that the maintenance of good nutritional habits actually helps to decrease the risks for a future alcohol-related relapse. Nutrition is the process through which the human body extracts health-supporting substances, known as nutrients, from foods in a daily diet. To maintain a healthy balance, human beings need to consume certain amounts of a variety of nutrients, including fats, carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, and vitamins.
Alcoholism Can Lead To Deadly Malnutrition
Lack of adequate nutrient intake will lead to a form of malnutrition called under-nutrition. In contrast, excessive nutrient intake will lead to another form of malnutrition called over-nutrition and potential obesity. In addition to other roles they play in the human body, proteins, fats and carbohydrates provide the energy needed in terms of calories for both voluntary and involuntary body processes.
Alcohol is a calorie-containing substance. As a result, it qualifies as a type of nutrient. The problem is that the other harmful properties of alcohol more than offset any potential benefits. First, and perhaps most importantly, alcohol, particularly when it comes to the amounts consumed by alcoholics, degrades the normal function of the liver, the stomach and other organs involved in the processing of nutrients. Alcohol actually prevents the human body from properly processing dietary fats while depleting the body’s supply of most major vitamins and essential minerals such as zinc, magnesium, calcium, and iron. In chronic alcoholics, serious or severe nutrition-related problems can lead to pancreatic inflammation and stomach ulcers.
A secondary problem with dire consequences is that many alcoholics fall into a habit of substituting alcohol for substantial portions of their normal daily diet. In extreme cases, this substitution decreases food and nutrient intake by as much as 50 percent. For alcoholics who initially start with minor malnutrition-related health issues, this pattern of food replacement can potentially worsen their condition. Such negative nutrient loss can even trigger the onset of major forms of malnutrition.
Restoring Health For Alcoholics In Recovery
In a study of alcoholics in early recovery, experts at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism identified multiple cases of malnutrition. As a result, they recommended a dietary program that addresses any nutritional deficiencies. While the specific required diet will vary from person to person, certain general dietary factors may play a role. For instance, consumption of high-protein foods can potentially reduce alcohol cravings by stabilizing an alcoholic’s blood glucose. Recovering alcoholics also benefit from supplements that contain concentrated doses of specific minerals or vitamins.
With an experienced chef and nutritional experts on staff, One80Center has addressed the dietary needs of clients in early recovery since the beginning. Beyond being a respected gourmet, the One80Center chef incorporates organic nutrition from our organic garden with each meal. The professional kitchen staff prepares individual meals to accommodate food preferences such as vegetarian, kosher, vegan, or other specialized dietary needs. In between meals, the kitchen is open for healthy snacks, fresh fruit and a variety of beverages. By focusing on the individual nutritional needs of each of our clients, One80Center’s individualized program directly responds to and helps to repair the nutritional damage done by active alcoholism.
Coca leaves, the source of pure cocaine, have been chewed and ingested for thousands of years for the euphoric effects of the drug. They were first used by members of the Inca civilization in the Andes mountains, who believed the coca plant was a gift from the gods.
TODAY, COCAINE USE IS MORE PERVASIVE THAN EVER
Cocaine use has been glamourized in movies, TV, books, poems and literally hundreds of songs. We’ve all seen Tony Montana stuff his nose in a mound of cocaine that triggers his demise in Scarface. Most of us have heard about Sigmund Freud’s rather heavy use of cocaine, and his belief that cocaine was a cure for many mental and physical problems. Even the famous American soft drank Coca-Cola, when it launched, contained cocaine.
COCAINE: THE MOST POWERFUL CENTRAL NERVOUS STIMULANT FOUND IN NATURE
Physical cocaine use effects include constricted blood vessels and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood flow. Users of the drug experience greater alertness, energy, self-confidence, and even power after administration. The intensity and duration of cocaine’s effect – increased energy, reduced fatigue, mental alertness – depend on the route of drug administration. The faster cocaine is absorbed into the bloodstream and delivered to the brain, the more intense the high. Injecting or smoking cocaine produces a quicker, stronger high than snorting. On the other hand, faster absorption usually means shorter duration of action: the high from snorting cocaine may last 15 to 30 minutes, but the high from smoking may last only 5 to 10 minutes. In order to sustain the high, a cocaine abuser has to administer the drug again. For this reason, cocaine is sometimes abused in binges—taken repeatedly within a relatively short period of time, at increasingly higher doses.
Today, for millions of Americans, cocaine is an incredibly addictive drug.
– Approximately 35.9 million Americans aged 12 and older have tried cocaine use at least once in their lifetime, according to a national survey, and about 2.1 million Americans are regular users.
– Drug enforcement personnel estimate that about 2,500 Americans every day try cocaine for the first time.
– Cocaine is the most frequently reported illicit substance associated with drug abuse fatalities and causes three times more deaths than any other illegal drug.
STROKE IS ONE OF THE MOST SERIOUS MEDICAL CONSEQUENCES OF COCAINE USE
Researchers from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Stony Brook University have developed a high-resolution, 3D optical Doppler imaging tomography technique that captures the effects of cocaine use restricting the blood supply in vessels — including small capillaries — of the brain. The study, reported in Molecular Psychiatry, and with images on the journal’s October 2012 cover, illustrates the first use of the novel neuroimaging technique and provides evidence of cocaine-induced cerebral microischemia, which can cause stroke.
Stroke is one of the most serious medical risks of cocaine use. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) is disrupted due to the vasoactive effects of cocaine use, and research has shown that the process contributes to stroke in cocaine abusers. An effective treatment has yet to be discovered because of minimal knowledge on the underlying mechanisms that cause cerebrovascular changes resulting from cocaine abuse. Current neuroimaging methods that could reveal clues to underlying mechanisms that cause cocaine-induced restricted CBF, such as magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography angiography, are limited in scope. The Stony Brook team’s neuroimaging technique offers a promising method to investigate structural changes in the small neurovascular networks of the brain that may be implicated in stroke.
If you have any questions about cocaine or the treatment of cocaine addiction, please give ONE80 a call for a free, confidential intake conversation with one of our addiction specialists.
Like any other addictive substance, drugs, narcotics, alcohol, all affect our brains differently. Addicts, alcoholics, will attest to the fact that their favorite drugs and alcohol affect them in a way that feels right, that they have found the cocktail or mixture of substances that works for them, that affects their brain in just the right way. They may feel that crack, meth, cocaine, heroin, Percoset all deliver different neurological affects, and they are right. However, and this is a big however, all of this is assuming that these highly addictive substances assuming, of course, that these highly addictive drugs have a brain to affect in the first place.
New clinical research has been published that lets us in on a secret that medical professionals, educators and probably even casual drug users and the addicts themselves have long suspected – that chronic cocaine abuse actually causes the brain’s grey matter to melt away at an accelerated rate. What this means is that a cocaine abuse addict’s brain actually ages faster than a non-addict. This doesn’t mean that they become wiser and more worldly, it means that, in the most non-clinical terminology, the brains of cocaine addicts turn to mush at a more rapid pace than sober, normal, human beings.
What the study administrators did was to test the brains of 60 cocaine addicts versus 60 people with no history of addiction. The differences they found were a bit shocking. They found that cocaine use caused the brains of the user to lose more than 3 milliliters of grey matter every year that they user continued to imbibe. This means that areas of the brain responsible for attention, decision-making, and memory would deteriorate at an exponentially faster rate than if the person was clean and sober.
Can this all be reversed? Of course it can. The brain, like all human organs, is a marvel and is capable of getting itself back up on it’s proverbial feet. For addicts, and alcoholics, who have succumbed to their addictions and put their brains, and their bodies, through years and years of abuse, this means that the sooner they get help, the sooner they start to deal with the addition itself, the sooner they will start to see improvements in brain function.
Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have revealed that deteriorating brain functionality and cognitive erosion due to chronic cocaine abuse and addiction can be readily treated, and that the capacity for greater brain capacity can be restored.
The consequences of long-term drug addiction are as varied as the drugs themselves – financial, familial, health, career and even death. While new technology and medical research helps to continue to expand out knowledge of cocaine and the drugs affects on the brain, we all know that the best way to reverse the affects of any drug’s affect on the body is to stop. Easier said than done in most cases, but the rewards are infinite and almost immediately felt. In the simplest terms – the sooner abuse of alcohol, cocaine abuse, heroin or whatever addictive substance the alcoholic/addict is involved with, the better the chance they have at restoring their lives.
All of us here at ONE80CENTER continue to work with our own medical and recovery professionals to best understand the impact of all drugs on the clients we treat. ONE80CENTER offers the most innovative and effective alcohol and drug rehabilitation in the nation, specializing in unparalleled individualized treatment in a luxurious and private setting. We work with world renowned addiction specialists to integrate the latest advancements in neuroscience and mental health into an individualized program of nutrition, exercise and wellness services.
A new alcohol vaccine being developed in Chile by Dr. Juan Asenjo has just entered clinical trials. Although the Clinical Staff at One80Center celebrates such advances, they also remain wary of attempts to find a medical miracle to cure what essentially is the three-fold disease of alcoholism; mental and spiritual as well as physical. The alcohol vaccine builds on what happens naturally in certain people — about 20% of the Japanese, Chinese, and Korean population — with an alcohol intolerance mutation. The vaccine delivers somewhat of an instant hangover if the patient takes one sip of alcohol.
Alcohol Vaccine Enters Clinical Trials
Researchers will first test the alcohol vaccine on mice; human trials are set for November. “If it works, it’s going to have a worldwide impact, but with many vaccines one has to test them carefully. I think the chances that this one will work are quite high.” said Dr. Juan Asenjo, director of the university’s Institute for Cell Dynamics and Biotechnology, told the Santiago Times. Without question, the problem of alcoholism is extreme and damaging.
According to the World Health Organization’s 2011 global status report, alcohol is the world’s third largest risk factor for disease and disability, and the harmful use of the substance leads to 2.5 million deaths annually. In the U.S., the number of alcohol-induced deaths totaled 26,256 for 2011, slightly higher than 2010′s count, according to a preliminary report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Congressional findings indicate that an estimated 10 million Americans are problem drinkers.
So how exactly does the alcohol vaccine work? Normally, the liver breaks down alcohol into an enzyme that’s transformed into the compound acetaldehyde (responsible for that nasty hangover feeling), which in turn is degraded into another enzyme. The acetaldehyde doesn’t usually have time to build up before it’s broken down. But people with the alcohol intolerance mutation lack the ability to produce that second enzyme; acetaldehyde accumulates. As a result, whenever they drink alcohol, they feel terrible and experience something like an instant hangover.
Dr. Juan Asenjo and his colleagues have come up with a way to stop the synthesis of that second enzyme via an alcohol vaccine, mimicking the mutation that sometimes happens naturally. ‘People have this mutation all over the world. It’s like how some people can’t drink milk… With the vaccine, the desire to consume alcohol will be greatly reduced thanks to these reactions,” Asenjo told Radio Cooperativa.
When injected, the alcohol vaccine would work by sending a message to the liver to keep it from expressing these genes the metabolize alcohol, thus producing symptoms characteristic of a medically induced hangover that is incredibly unpleasant. Delivered in a single injection, the alcohol vaccine is expected to remain active in a patient’s system for at least six months. What is even more intriguing is that the alcohol vaccine cannot be reversed during this six-month period.
Alcohol Vaccine Cannot Cure Alcoholism
The Clinical Staff at One80Center believe that addressing the physiological part of alcohol addiction is just one piece of the battle. Addictive tendencies could very well manifest in other ways; instead of alcohol, perhaps former addicts will move on to cigarettes. Asenjo admits this perspective as well, “Addiction is a psychological disease, a social disease. Obviously this is only the biological part of it.” Still, One80Center is excited to see the results of the clinical trials as they advance, and we will continue to report on the progress.
Although Online Alcoholism Prevention Programs Show Limited Success, There Is The Promise Of Future Progress
According to a new report published in the journal Addiction and reported on by Reuters, online alcoholism prevention programs have shown limited success. Without question, the clinical staff at One80Center knows from experience that to achieve long-term sobriety takes a supportive community and real work. If online alcoholism prevention programs can help deter relapse, however, One80Center completely supports such efforts.
British researchers found that heavy drinkers were able to slightly reduce their weekly consumption by employing online alcoholism prevention programs. Still, not all of the studies they analyzed had positive results. In addition, even the studies with positive results expressed the challenge that such results had definite limitations.
What is encouraging is that these computer-based interventions show promise and could help the estimated 17.6 million Americans who struggle with alcoholism. ,” Zarnie Khadjesari, of University College London’s E-health Unit, who worked on the new report, expressed the positive discovered in the investigation: “From the user’s perspective, the intervention is essentially free, assuming they have access to the Internet. Use of these interventions compared with in-person counseling also eliminates any travel costs, or time taken off work to attend appointments.”
Khadjesari and her colleagues searched medical literatures for studies on computer-based interventions. They were able to find 24 studies that ranged widely in size, involving more than 5,600 participants overall. The specific interventions also varied. Some provided little more than information, while others had interactive games and videos that passed on health messages to users.
Sixteen of the studies showed treatments helped people slash drinking by an average of 26 grams per week, or about two cans of beer. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines heavy drinking as more than two drinks per day for men, and more than one for women.
A serious problem is that many of the studies reported their data in a way that could potentially make the effect seem bigger than it is and employed a non-verifiable approach and questionable scientific methodologies. In addition, the majority of the studies were limited to students. Given the degree of their alcoholism and the damage done, it is hard to say how effective the online alcoholism prevention programs would be with older participants farther down the road in terms of the progression of their disease.
Although more research is needed, Khadjesari did point out the many advantages of computer-based interventions should they actually be effective. The researcher expressed the bonuses of online alcoholism prevention programs when she said: “They offer convenience, flexibility of use, low cost, and privacy, which is particularly important in reducing the stigma associated with seeking help for an alcohol problem.” One80Center believes that new technologies need to be employed to battle alcoholism and addiction. The difficulties and challenges in the beginning should not prevent us from evolving the tools to be more effective and better optimized in the long-term.
In the online version of the United Kingdom paper the Daily Mail, the dangers of store-bought synthetic marijuana were illustrated in a powerful and tragic story. The account shows how a 17-year-old girl from Cypress, Texas suffered a series of strokes after smoking synthetic marijuana she purchased at a gas station. The strokes left Emily Bauer blind, brain damaged and dependent on her family for care. Shocked that an over-the-counter product sold at a gas station could have such devastating consequences, Emily’s family have started a nonprofit called Synthetic Awareness to raise the alarm of the dangers of these drugs.
The Dangers of Synthetic Marijuana
The clinical staff at One80Center have highlighted the dangers of over-the-counter synthetic marijuana and legal party drugs in the past. But the battle has only begun as such drugs are still available in head shops and convenience stores across America. Synthetic marijuana continues to passively preying on the ignorance and folly of youth across the country. The efforts of Emily’s family to raise awareness are a positive step in the right direction.
Synthetic marijuana, which is also known as ‘Spice’ or ‘K2′, is an herbal mixture doused with chemicals. The chemicals trigger a high similar to smoking marijuana, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Marketed as a ‘legal’ alternative to weed, it’s often sold as incense or potpourri. When many states outlawed the drug, manufacturers slightly changed the compound so they were no longer illegal. It was linked to 11,406 drug-related emergency department visits in 2010, a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found. Most were aged 12 to 17.
Banning Synthetic Marijuana
The first state laws banning synthetic drugs were established in 2010. Although 40 states have banned synthetic marijuana, such efforts have not deterred the manufacturers. ‘These drug manufacturers slightly change the chemical compound, and it becomes a different substance that’s not covered by the law,’ said NCSL policy specialist Alison Lawrence. Common side effects from smoking synthetic marijuana include bloodshot eyes, disturbed perceptions, a change in mood, paranoia, raised blood pressure or hallucinations.
Emily’s older sister Blake did the drug with her sibling and could not believe the extremity of what happened: ‘We thought once she comes down off the drug, we’d take her home and show her the dangers of this drug. We didn’t think it was as big of a deal until 24 hours later she was still violent and hurting herself. We realized you’re not supposed to stay high this long.’
Taken to the hospital, Emily was put into an induced coma as doctors carried out tests on her brain. Doctors soon found Emily’s strokes had constricted the flow of blood and cut off oxygen to her brain. ‘In four days’ time, we went from thinking everything is going to be OK and we’ll put her in drug rehabilitation to now you don’t know if she’s going to make it,’ stepfather Tommy Bryant revealed to CNN.
In the hospital, Surgeons had to drill a hole in Emily Bauer’s skull and insert a tube to relieve the pressure from her brain swelling. ‘We met with Neurology team who showed us Emily’s brain images,’ her mother, Tonya Bauer, said. ‘They told us that all white areas on images were dead. It looked to us at least 70 per cent of the images were white.’ Doctors said Emily would not be able to recognize her family and would never be able to use her arms or legs again. With this devastating news, Emily’s parents chose to take out her breathing tube and stopped all nourishment on December 16, 2012.
But Emily Bauer was not finished and the young girl continued to fight. As her mother went to her room one morning, she said, ‘Good morning, I love you’ and was stunned to hear her daughter reply ‘I love you too.” Today, Emily knows where she is and recognizes her family, but every day remains characterized by confusion and pain. Without question, much of the damage will be permanent and she will never fully recover.
Emily’s parents have started a nonprofit organization called Synthetic Awareness For Emily to educate teenagers and parents about the dangers of synthetic marijuana use. Emily’s stepfather Tommy Bryant described the mission of the nonprofit: ‘We want to let kids and parents know about the warnings signs: migraines and withdrawal. We all know the warning signs of alcohol and cocaine, but with this synthetic weed stuff, it’s so new that nobody knows about this stuff. We want to let other parents know about this so they don’t have to go what we’ve been going through.’ One80Center completely supports the mission of Synthetic Awareness and thanks the Bauers for this positive step in the right direction.
Highland Pharmaceuticals Claims To Have Developed A New Form Of Pseudoephedrine Called Tarex That Cannot Be Used To Make Crystal Meth
Highland Pharmaceuticals claims to have developed new form of pseudoephedrine that cannot be used to make methamphetamine. The formulation known as Tarex could reach the market in 2013, offering a cold-remedy alternative without the negative of being the key active ingredient in methamphetamines. Although the claim of the small St. Louis-based company has yet to be fully verified and scientifically proven, the Clinical Staff at One80Center believe it would be a huge step in combatting the crystal meth plague that has seized communities across the country.
Crystal Meth Resistant Pseudophedrine
Highland president and COO Jim Bausch said his company’s form of pseudoephedrine is just as effective as those currently on the market. The major difference, of course, is that Tarex can’t be extracted and used to make crystal meth. Bausch explained, “We can stop clandestine production of meth.” Some narcotics officers believe the Tarex technology could finally help turn the tide against meth labs that have ravaged much of the Midwest, South and West for two decades.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has done preliminary testing of Tarex using extraction and production techniques typically used by meth lab operators. Early results are “promising,” said DEA spokesman Rusty Payne, noting that testing continues and full analysis has yet to be completed. A problem is the ingenuity of illegal chemists and drug makers to get around such attempts in the past.
Shake -And-Bake Crystal Meth No More
Pseudoephedrine is found in popular cold and allergy medications. Meth makers combine the pills with dangerous and highly flammable chemicals to produce the drug, most often by shaking up the ingredients in a 2-liter soda bottle — a process known as “shake-and-bake” meth. A key to meth production is crystallization. Emilie Dolan of Highland Pharmaceuticals said Tarex interrupts the process because rather than crystallizing when heated with the chemicals, it results in a gooey substance. “Especially with the shake-and-bake method, you can’t get meth out of it,” Dolan said. “It kind of gunks up.”
“We Had To Do Something.”
Highland Pharmaceuticals began 12 years ago as a small firm seeking to improve technologies for drug delivery. Located in Missouri, surrounded by counties that have among the highest meth lab seizure rates in the nation, the company decided to confront the problem of pseudoephedrine. “With the huge epidemic in our own backyard that we hear about every night … we had to do something,” Bausch said.
Highland Pharmaceuticals wants Tarex to be exempt from new Missouri state laws that would require a prescription to purchase pseudoephedrine products. In addition, it has asked the DEA to exempt Tarex technology from the Combat Meth Act of 2006, which requires all pseudoephedrine products to be sold from behind the counter. The exemption would allow Tarex products to be sold in front of the counter. If the claims made by Highland Pharmaceuticals hold up to rigorous future testing by the FDA, then One80Center agrees that there is no need to keep Tarex behind the counter. If Tarex cannot be made into crystal meth, then there is no need to negatively highlight a simple cold remedy.
The Genetics Of Alcoholism Validate The Need For Alcohol Dependency Treatment And The Disease Model Of Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholism is a genetic disease that affects different people in different ways depending on their family history and inherited genetic blueprints. The disease model of Alcoholism as expressed in Alcoholics Anonymous is widely denied because it is not understood. The denials tend to be based in stereotypical arguments about willpower and personal weakness. In truth, alcoholics have an inherited condition that leaves them prone to alcoholism and in need of qualified treatment like the individualized program offered by One80Center. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal helped to clarify these points by reporting on several recent scientific and academic studies about the genetics of alcoholism.
Positive Genetic Variations Preventing Alcoholism
The most obvious gene associations found to date involve the so-called Asian flush. Roughly 40% of people of East Asian descent carry one or two of the genetic variations that rapidly convert alcohol into the chemical acetaldehyde. This chemical causes nausea, rapid heartbeat and severe skin flushing. “You don’t even need a genetic test to detect it,” says Dr. David Goldman, chief of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “If you have a dinner party and somebody has this variation, they’ll turn red when they drink a glass of wine.”
Researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill have tentatively identified a “tipsy gene” that makes carriers feel inebriated after just one or two drinks. Between 10% and 20% of the population has this variation, and it is believed that this gene acts as a protection against becoming alcohol-dependent. The genetics of alcoholism reveal both positive and negative variations that seem to define a person’s relationship with alcohol.
Positive genetic variations can be used to help convince even the most strident opponents of the alcoholism as a disease model because they have such obvious physical manifestations. At the same time, such positive genetic variations in relation to alcoholism are far from any kind of absolute protection. “Even if you learn you have a protective version of some gene, you could still be vulnerable due to a gene we haven’t discovered yet,” says Dr. Goldman, who adds that anyone with a family history of alcoholism should definitely approach alcohol with caution.
Negative Genetic Variation Fostering Alcoholism
An example of a negative genetic variation that lead to alcoholism is that some people feel particularly euphoric when they drink, and this reaction is most likely due to variations in the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain’s reward circuits. A variation in the DRD2 dopamine receptor gene was identified in 1990 and found in a large number of alcoholics as well as drug addicts and smokers. It is important to note that later studies have been mixed in regards to the veracity of these findings.
Combining social dynamics with genetics, researchers at the University of California-San Diego reported that people with the DRD2 euphoric variation tend to have friends with the same genetic marker. As a result, their biological compunction to drink and social reinforcement are intricately connected, the authors noted in the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Like the Asian flush, some alcohol-related genes are particularly prevalent in certain ethnic or geographic groups. A recent study in Nature found that a rare variation in the HTR2b gene, linked to severe impulsiveness, is found almost exclusively in Finnish people. “Almost all these severely impulsive individuals are also alcoholic, and their worse impulsive problems occurred while they were drunk,” says Dr. Goldman, the study’s senior investigator.
Alcoholism and the Disease Model
The Clinical Staff at One80Center celebrates such scientific studies being done because the results back the disease model on such a conclusive basis. Once the disease model is accepted when it comes to alcoholism, the next steps can be taken to access the path of long-term recovery. If this research on genetic markers does not convince you that alcoholism is a disease and alcoholics need access to treatment options, it is hard to know what evidence could possibly accomplish such a task.