Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Of Salts And Spice--More on Synthetic 'Legal Highs'

Earlier this week, I wrote about the so-called Legal Highs: bath salts and aromatic potpourris, clearly marked "Not For Human Consumption" but marketed with a wink and nudge to informed stoners who want to beat criminal charges and urine tests. They will get you high, mimicking the effects of Ritalin, cocaine, Ecstasy and marijuana. But if something goes wrong, well, who the hell would smoke or snort a bath salt, anyway?
 For some years now, K2, or Spice, as been the most popular of the synthetic cannabis alternatives. 
So popular, that an increasing number of states have banned the sale of K2. But before we go dancing in the streets and declaring a victory for the War on Drugs, guess what? The same creative chemists who brought us K2 and Spice have created a new product!

Barely Legal Incense!! The word is that it is even more potent than K2. "Spiced Up", you might say. With a couple of molecules switched here and a compound changed there, it slips through the ban on Spice because it is a different product!

And besides, it's clearly marked 'NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION'. (nudge, wink...)

Follow the link to read the whole story: Partnership for a Drug Free America: Synthetic Marijuana

Binge Drinking Linked With Brain Damage | Psych Central News

Binge Drinking Linked With Brain Damage | Psych Central News

“There might actually be indications of early micro-structural damage without the onset of pathological symptoms such as abuse, or dependence on alcohol.” ~Tim McQueeny, researcher

Most of us addiction counselor types have been saying this for a long time. There is something different and challenging about young adult 'binge drinkers'. Think of it as the physical consequences of alcoholism, minus the diagnostic symptoms, such as craving and withdrawal. Now the science is beginning to bear this out.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bath Salts? You've got to be kidding!

That was my reaction when asked to do a presentation on Bath Salts to a local group of Adolescent Treatment Service Providers. I said, Mom would be so proud! I have now become the "go-to guy" for garbage drugs in Delaware County PA!

Well, kids, I was right and I was wrong. While there is a long and creepy history of use and abuse of household products to get high (and I was pretty sure that my research would lead in this direction) I was both surprised and appalled to discover that the current bath salt craze is less driven by the impulse to see what happens when you huff the Duster Buster Computer Cleaner Aerosol  and more like a sophisticated and entirely legal manufacture and distribution of...cocaine?

How about all of the above, and then some?

Now, let me be clear, when we are talking about Bath Salts in this context, we are not talking about products such as Epsom Salts or any number of perfectly safe products that people have been soaking in for years. These are essentially Designer Drugs, chemical compounds that are engineered to mimic popular drugs of abuse, but with enough of a difference to make them structurally different, and while just as addictive and probably more unpredictable, completely legal!

If a state legislature bans a particular substance, it's back to the lab to tweak the product a little, and then back in business with a similar substance with a different chemical signature.

 To make matters even more interesting, these products are sold under a myriad of names, from thousands of retailers. They can be bought online, and in many gas stations and convenience stores.

And did I mention that they are undetectable in Urine and Hair Tests?

So obviously, we've got an issue here. A big one. As of this writing, I find a lot of hysteria and not much science.  NIDA's Director Nora Vowlkow has issued a statement

Please share questions and comments. We've all got a lot to learn on this one.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Help Save Collingdale's Myra's Place

 Help Save Collingdale's Myra's Place
Myra's Place in Collingdale has become a vital part of the Recovery Community in Delaware County. Don't let it close. Stop in for a meal, listen to a band, sing Sober Karaoke, hit a meeting, help someone rebuild a life.