Tuesday, April 21, 2015

“Flakka” is Latest Synthetic Drug to Worry Experts

April 21, 2015 A drug known as “flakka” is the latest synthetic compound to raise concern among public health experts, Fox News reports. Flakka is a tweaked version of bath salts. In some cases, Flakka can cause heart palpitations and aggressive, violent behavior, the article notes. Use of the drug can affect the kidneys, leading to kidney failure or death. Flakka use has recently been reported in Florida, Ohio and Texas. The name is derived from the Spanish word “flaca,” which means “skinny.” The drug is sold in other parts of the country as “Gravel.” In Florida, Flakka contains alpha-PVP, a substance that provides an instant sense of euphoria, according to Jim Hall of Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. The drug also gives a boost in physical strength that is similar to other stimulants, such as Ecstasy and cocaine, he said. Hospitals in South Florida are admitting 20 new patients a day for Flakka abuse, Hall told Fox News. “One of the reasons we think alpha-PVP is such a problem is because it is extremely dose-specific, and even just a little dose will give a person the desired effect they want,” he said. “Just a little more can create a number of serious adverse effects to the point the user doesn’t even know.” Flakka, which comes in crystalline rock form, can be snorted, swallowed, injected or vaped in an e-cigarette. While its effects are generally felt for three or four hours, they can continue for days. It is being sold in Florida for $5 for one-tenth of a gram. “It’s cheap like crack cocaine,” Hall said. “This is as close as we’ve come to a crack cocaine problem since 1995 in terms of the severe reactions, low prices, and that it’s available to young kids, and even homeless populations are now impacted.”

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

19 Percent of Americans Say They Take Some Sort of Drug Daily to Help them Relax

19 Percent of Americans Say They Take Some Sort of Drug Daily to Help Them Relax A new survey finds almost 19 percent of Americans say they take some sort of drug daily to help them relax. The rate of drug use varies widely by state, from 28 percent in West Virginia to 13.5 percent in Alaska. The findings come from an ongoing Gallup survey, conducted with health consultants Healthways, according to NBC News. The survey included calls to more than 176,000 adults nationwide. They were asked how often they use drugs or medications, including prescription drugs, which affect their mood and help them relax. Respondents were not asked about the types of drugs used. After West Virginia, the states with the highest daily drug use were Rhode Island (26 percent), Kentucky (24.5 percent), Alabama (24.2 percent), Louisiana (22.9 percent), South Carolina (22.8 percent), Mississippi, Missouri and Indiana (22 percent) and Oregon (21.9 percent). The states where the fewest people use daily drugs, after Alaska, are Wyoming (15.5 percent), California (15.8 percent), Illinois (16 percent), North Dakota (16.4 percent), New Jersey (16.5 percent), Colorado (16.7 percent), Texas (16.7 percent), Utah (16.8 percent) and Maryland (17.3 percent). People who take drugs daily to relax have an overall lower feeling of well-being, Gallup noted in a statement. "One possibility is that taking mood-altering drugs or medication nearly every day contributes to lower well-being," the organization noted. "But a more probable explanation is that Americans who already have lower well-being are more likely to use drugs or medication to relax or alter their mood, possibly to help cope with challenges related to their low purpose, social, financial, physical or community well-being."