Health problems associated with taking drugs

When people think of ‘drugs’, they usually think of illegal ‘hard’ substances, such as cocaine, heroin or ecstasy. But these aren’t the only drugs that can seriously damage your body. In fact, people often forget about incidents such as solvent abuse (inhaling the fumes or gases given off from products such as aerosols, paint and glue), which kills around 60 young people in the UK each year. In fact, it is estimated that eight times more young people have been killed from solvent abuse in comparison to those killed by illegal drugs.
Many people are also bizarrely unaware that it is also relatively easy to become addicted to over-the-counter and prescription drugs. In fact, millions worldwide are addicted to such drugs. In 2010, a survey was carried out in the US and the most commonly abused medications were uncovered. Pain relievers were found to have as many as 5.1 million addicted, whilst tranquilizers only had around 2.2 million addicts – not even half as many. Thirdly, stimulants were found to have 1.1 million addicts, whereas sedatives had only 0.4 million addicts.
It has been uncovered that more teens are now starting to take prescription drugs without having them personally prescribed by their doctors. This can be for many reasons: to get high, to treat pain, to help them to lose weight or possibly even because it will help them to improve their school work. But this begs the question: where do they get them from? Well, it’s actually quite easy for someone to get their hands on prescription drugs – even if they’re not quite of legal age. In fact, in many situations, friends and parents who supply such drugs to the youths won’t even realise that they’re addicted.
The effects of abusing prescription drugs largely depends on the type of drug taken.

Stimulant abuse (increase alertness) symptoms include: paranoia, irregular heartbeat, dangerously high body temperatures – these risks increase largely if the stimulant is taken in high doses, or it is not taken in pill form.
Opioid abuse (pain relief) symptoms include: drowsiness, constipation and nausea – slowed breathing may also occur if a high dosage is consumed.
Depressant abuse (slow down functions of central nervous system) symptoms include: shallow breathing, slurred speech, fatigue and loss of coordination – seizures may also occur as a withdrawal symptom.
Abusing any of these substances should not be taken lightly, as they are all potentially very dangerous and can lead to addiction.

Unlike smoking, where the damage builds up over a long period of time, many drugs are so fatal that they can kill you instantly if misused – and this doesn’t only apply to illegal drugs. Even taking an overdose of drugs which are available over the counter can cause instant destruction.

Whilst the dangers of illegal drugs have definitely been publicized to a greater level, the real dangers of  them are still underestimated by many.
In fact, it is estimated that drug use (or complications caused by drug use) claims the lives of five people across England and Wales each day – a total of up to 1,800 deaths per year! The majority of these deaths were most likely to have been caused by an accidental overdose.
Whilst the number of those taking drugs in the UK has decreased over the past decade, the number of those who have died from drug-related incidents has actually increased by as much as 19%, showing how dangerous these drugs can actually be. Whereas it might take years for an alcohol addiction to destroy your liver, or for a smoking addiction to destroy your lungs, drugs can kill you instantly.

On the contrary, many users of drugs – such as marijuana, for instance – claim that they are not dangerous. However, scientific evidence proves otherwise. Marijuana has actually been found to contain three times more tar than tobacco smoke, and 50% more carcinogens – as marijuana smokers have also generally been found to inhale deeper and hold the smoke in their lungs for a longer period of time, this results in the lungs being more exposed to such carcinogens.
As well as decreasing the body’s immune system, research shows that it can increase the risk of developing tumors. And to top it off, marijuana is a gateway drug, and can lead to use of much harder drugs.

Despite what people may, every drug can be potentially dangerous. If it hasn’t been prescribed by the doctor, then in most cases, it’s probably not a good idea. And although taking drugs heroin or cocaine may initially seem like a good idea, just remember: you don’t know where it’s come from, and neither does the person who’s giving it to you.

Drug and alcohol stories in the news recently

Two Deaths from Ecstasy November 2011 after clubbers had attended the same venue Alexandra Palace London

Last month 2 young men died aged 20 and 21 years of age died after being admitted to hospital after having taken suspected ‘rogue ecstasy’. A third man was also admitted.

More info here http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/28/clubbers-test-ecstasy-nightclub-deaths

All drivers in France may be  required to carry breathlyzer kits in their cars from Spring 20112

New planned legislation recently announced by the french president recently will require all drivers in France to keep breathalyzer kits in their cars to test themselves. The new planned requirement is a move by the french to cut the number of deaths on the french roads . Under the new plans anyone stopped and found not to have a breathalyzer kit in their car will be fined.

Decriminilising Cannabis-a good or bad idea-the debate continues

Last month an ex MI5 boss gave a speech to a all party parliamentary drug group & urged the goverment to consider decriminalising Cannabis

Read more here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15770842

Drug testing kits for urine and saliva available to purchase online in UK

Digital breathalysers, breathalyser kits and alcohol tests available from Value Breathalysers

Cocaine purity levels down to as low as 2% and the rise of Mephedrone

Reported purity levels of many drugs sold in clubs in the UK as Ecstacy and Cocaine are as low as 2% active drug.

Young users are suspected of switching to legal high drugs like Mephedrone, as they are perceived as safer, purer and better value.

Unfortunately the risks of Mephedrone are now being documented. Particularly of concern is very young users experimenting in unsafe environments such as parks, cemeteries etc, often in combination with alcohol Most are snorting (mephedrone is unpleasant to snort~ stinging) It can also be swallowed or smoked

Reported risks & side effects of Mephedrone include behaviour changes including paranoia, aggression and anxiety, some suspicions of dependency are developing with a recognisable withdrawl picture emerging.

The research backing up the professional and legal approach to these compounds is left playing catch up. There are estimated to be over 240 compounds being promoted as legal highs, with little data available on the pharmacology or even lists of the active constituents of the majority being available to health care providers and to date no simple means of detection for the majority of new compounds.

For more information on Mephadrone visit Drugscope

Heroin users getting older

The number of new patients presenting with heroin and crack problems classed as “young Adults” has fallen by nearly 1/3 over the last 4 years. Over the same period there has been a 20% increase in adult presentations.

The fall mirrors the rise in cocaine use, demonstarting changing patterns of preferred drug abuse, but little overall change in drug usage rates overall.

Click here for information about drug testing kits

What is Skunk and how does it differ from the usual Cannabis?

Skunk is an addictive and powerful form of cannabis that has been linked to mental health problems in users.

Skunk is a particularly potent form of Cannabis and has been linked to schizophrenia in several studies. It is thought that up to 25% of new cases of Schizophrenia could be linked to its use.

Young men who smoke cannabis seem to be particularly at risk of developing mental health problems which include loss of concentration, paranoia, aggressiveness and possible development of psychosis

Because of its potency users are more likely to become addicted to Skunk and may require a detox to come off it. Withdrawal symptoms from Skunk may include anxiety, sleep disturbance, headaches, mood swings, & tremors.

Some clinical studies have suggested that prolonged Skunk use causes brain damage visible on brain scans

The recent reclassification of Cannabis & the government TV campaign about the dangers of Cannabis has sought to highlight the mental health effects of cannabis use on young people. Much of the cannabis on the streets today is much more potent and addictive than in the past and the dangers to users are increased

Click here to view cannabis drug testing kits for home use

Click here to view professional cannabis drug testing kits

Cocaine Risks

High doses can raise the body’s temperature, cause convulsions and respiratory or heart failure

Highly risky for anybody with high blood pressure or a heart condition. Perfectly healthy, young people can have a fit or heart attack after taking too much coke and you may not know you’ve got a pre-existing heart condition

Heavy use can cause depression and serious problems with anxiety and paranoia

Can bring previous mental health problems to the surface

Alcohol and cocaine together can be particularly dangerous as the substances interact in the body to produce a toxic chemical.

Cocaine drug testing kits

An Observer poll shows rising pressure for regular testing of police, doctors, teachers and drivers for drugs

Just read this article from Guradian online about public opinion to drug testing for certain occupations. Here is an extract below

Britons have become more hardline in their attitudes towards drugs and the people who use them, a major poll commissioned by The Observer has revealed.

The toughening in public opinion includes an overwhelming desire for key workers, such as police officers, teachers and doctors, to face regular drug testing.

According to the survey, which was carried out by ICM research and is reported fully in Drugs Uncovered magazine, free with today’s Observer, the proportion of people who think that drug laws are too liberal has risen from a quarter in 2002 to 32 per cent. Meanwhile, those who believe that legislation is not liberal enough has fallen from 30 to 18 per cent and support for decriminalising certain drugs has dropped from 38 to 27 per cent.

Similarly, 85 per cent now feel that police officers should undergo routine testing to see if they have been using illicit substances compared with 61 per cent six years ago, when The Observer last conducted an in-depth poll on drugs. Just 46 per cent believed teachers should face testing then; now 68 per cent do. The same trend emerged for pilots, drivers, doctors and nurses.

Click here to read the full story

Mum loves drugs not me Dispatches Channel 4 8pm tonight

Brian Woods and Kate Blewett reveal the devastating impact that illegal drugs have on neglected children, whose childhoods are blighted by chaos

 is estimated that around 350,000 children in the UK have parents with a serious drug problem – with 10 babies being born to heroin-addicted mothers every day. Yet in contrast to the billions of pounds spent on helping the users themselves, there is a serious lack of specialist help for their children – many of whom are at serious risk.

In this Dispatches film, award-winning filmmakers Brian Woods and Kate Blewett reveal the devastating impact that illegal drugs have on these neglected children, whose childhoods are blighted by chaos and danger – and the effect on their grandparents who are left to pick up the pieces and become their full-time carers.

Click here to visit Channel 4 and find out more

One in ten adults admits taking illegal drugs in the past year

Just read this article at Mail Online. Here is an extract from the article

One in ten adults admits using illegal drugs in the past year, startling new Home Office figures reveal.

The statistics show that more people are taking the most harmful Class A substances than ten years ago.

Of the three million people aged 16 to 59 who have taken at least one illegal drug over the past 12 months, almost a million admit using the hardest drugs, including cocaine, heroin and ecstasy. Almost 750,000 have snorted cocaine.

Click here to read the full story

Methamphetaine and MDMA tests how do they vary and what do they detect ?

Methamphetamine and MDMA (Methylenedioxymethampetamine) are chemically very similar and while drug test membranes specific to only MDMA Ecstacy are available, most drug test membranes for Methamphetamine MET will also detect MDMA (ecstacy)

As most MDMA is made in illicit labs, most tablets sold and Ecstacy also contain other amphetamine esters, including MET.

As a consequence the MET test membrane is a good general screen, detecting much which is sold as pills or tablets in clubs etc. If you specifically want to identify MDMA in its pure form buy the MDMA test membrane