Aug 052015

When it comes to treating alcoholics, one of the most interesting new methods is a form of virtual reality therapy. From a preliminary study that was performed in South Korea, the use of virtual reality therapy has actually demonstrated positive effects that might offer new hope to those plagued with alcohol addiction.

The study itself only involved ten patients, but the researchers were able to get promising results using a type of virtual reality that puts people in real-life situations and forces them to be active participants in this virtual world.

How It Works

The first part involves a detoxification program that lasts for one week which is then followed by the virtual reality therapy sessions. The virtual reality set-up uses a 3D television and is performed twice each week for five weeks in a row. In each session, a participant will undergo three types of virtual reality settings.

The first setting is simple relaxation where the patient can simply lay back and enjoy the world that is around them. The second setting is designed to actually trigger the cravings of alcohol by putting them in a world where they see others drinking. The final setting is one that creates an unpleasant feeling to be drinking. This setting shows people in a room getting ill from the consumption of alcohol. To add to this virtual reality, the patients actually drank a vomit-tasting substance as part of their aversion therapy.

The three settings stimulated areas of the brain that was sensitive to alcohol. It demonstrated repeated changes under each exposure which could be measured and then properly treated. Before each therapy session, the researchers would compare the brain metabolism of the patients to people in a control group who did not have any alcohol dependence. By making the comparisons using tomography scans, it was determined which areas had more metabolic activity in the brain’s behavioral and emotional locations.

Over a five week period of time during the therapy sessions, it was determined that in the ten person research study that the metabolic activity in the brain’s behavior and emotional centers had significantly decreased which meant that they had fewer alcohol cravings than before.

The Future of Virtual Reality Treatment

As a trial system, virtual reality treatment for alcohol addiction has shown some promise thanks to the initial results of the study. It is a non-invasive form of treatment that goes straight at the emotional and behavior centers of the brain which identify, monitor and eventually adjust reactions to create a lesser response to the craving for alcohol.

While more research is needed, the treatment represents an interesting new addition to help alcoholics overcome their cravings and resist temptation. The truth is that without long term research studies, the full effects of the treatment will not be known. This means that the virtual reality therapy sessions may only have a short-term effect as the passage of time and continues studies with the group will be needed as well as future study groups.


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 Posted by at 3:13 pm
Jun 192015

Taken as doctor’s prescription, opioids can help manage pain safely and effectively. However, when abused, even a single large dose can cause severe respiratory depression and even death. Regular and long-term abuse of these drugs can lead to physical dependence and, in most cases, addiction. While it has bad effects on single individuals in terms of how they lead their lives, it is worse for fathers and mothers. Here are the usual consequences of opioid addiction among parents:

  • Elevated Risk of Neglect for Their Children

Parents who abuse opioids tend to neglect their children, making them at risk of getting certain health and safety issues. Addiction experts found that these parents are perceived to disrupt the stability of their family life by channelling household resources towards payments for the drugs and messing up routines, such as meal and bed times.

  • Poor Approach to Discipline

Drug misuse is linked to parents’ responsiveness and involvement with their children, as well as their approach to discipline. Research shows that parenting quality of mothers decreases as their involvement with drugs increases. In comparison with non-drug users, they behave in more power-assertive ways towards their children and display more disapproving and provoking behaviours.

  • Social and Psychological Difficulties Among Children

Studies of child outcomes generally suggest that children whose parents are suffering from opioid addiction or are being dependent on other illicit substances, like cocaine, are at some risk of experiencing social and psychological difficulties. These include behavioural adjustment, communication, intelligence and developmental progress.

These children are also reported to be scoring lower than those of non-drug users in terms of academic competence. However, to date, the processes by which child outcomes come about still has not been adequately explored, though there has been recently seen a growth of interest in explaining links between parental drug dependence and the quality of children’s nurturing environments.

  • Weaker Bonds Between Members of the Family

Children of drug users are more likely to have lived outside their family home, most often with some relatives. Also, some of them would be placed in care outside, like an orphanage, or, worse, would become homeless.

On the part of the parents, they will feel dissatisfied with the levels of the children’s availability, both in terms of physical presence and emotional responsiveness. This is mainly because of three factors, which include the contextual/lifestyle (which relates to acquisition and ingestion of drugs, imprisonment and attendance at treatment facilities), physiological (which relates to intoxication and withdrawal syndrome) and psychological (which relates to pre-occupation with drugs and instability of moods).

Considering these consequences, it is also a fact that grandparents are feeling the negative effects of opioid addiction or any other drug dependence as well. They are finding themselves raising their grandchildren because of their own children’s abuse of such substances. Often times, they have to deal with difficult choices, such as being forced to move out of elderly homes because these facilities do not allow live-in children or putting grandchildren in foster care because they are not able to take custody due to health or financial barriers.

So, to prevent these scenarios from happening, one should avoid any substance of abuse, in this case, opioids. Then he/she will be able to live a happy, healthy and long life with the whole family.


 Posted by at 3:02 pm
Apr 102015

It’s no secret that medical marijuana has been making a comeback over the past couple of years. And now, magic mushrooms or psilocybin may be headed down the same path for some patients.

According to CBS News New York, “In a trial at New York University, doctors gave Marritz and 31 other cancer patients psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms, to see if it could ease their depression after one-time use …

“…Guss, one of the study’s directors, said the outcomes were stunning; like Marritz, two thirds of patients had positive and long-lasting results.”


 Posted by at 2:51 pm
Mar 262015

In Glasgow, Scotland criminals are being more creative with their drugs. They have found a way to cook up a new substance that is much cheaper but still gives the same high that heroin brings. And they are not afraid of selling this newly created product to the drug addicts in the city.

A bag is sold at £10 and contains fake heroin with a purity of around 4%. Junkies who purchase the items believe that they are getting the real deal, but in fact they are getting a much more riskier substance than the actual drug.

Even if they manage to get the same high when using fake heroin, it still doesn’t erase the fact that each bag they get of the synthetic opioid has various chemical combinations whose effects are totally unpredictable.

According to a drugs worker who supports addicts in Glasgow, “Drug dealing is about making money.” Dealers want to sell the cheapest products in order to get maximum profit. This is why if they can add something cheap to the product, they will do it – without bothering to check the consequences. Even if they don’t know a thing about what substance they’re using, they simply don’t care because it’s all about making money.

When the formula of a substance is tweaked, chemists can create several variations of a drug. Most of the time, they are a much stronger version of the original one. As a result, these substances become a lot more harder to regulate.

In addition, the newly created drug can trigger unknown side-effects and can increase the risk of overdose. Although the police in Glasgow are trying to stay on-top of the synthetic drugs, new ones are created just as compounds are made illegal.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), an EU drugs agency, stated: “Among the public health concerns highlighted in the report are new synthetic opioids – often highly potent and sold as heroin to unsuspecting users – posing a high risk of overdose.

The EMCDDA added that three of the five opioids found in 2014 were from a family of drugs called fentanyls which have been linked to hundreds of deaths in Europe, as well as in the US.

EMCDDA director Wolfgang Götz mentioned that substances like fake heroin pose a challenge for health professionals. He said that the challenges lie with how fast these synthetic drugs appear and the lack of information with regards to their effects and how it could harm people.

The heroin market in Glasgow has been severely thrown into disarray after an elite squad of officers were able to perform a crackdown on their operations. As a result, desperate drug dealers have been topping up their products with legal highs. The problem is that these legal highs are just as deadly as hard drugs or even more severe.

Glasgow police are also looking into a case of heroin contaminated with botulism – a fatal illness that causes paralysis of the arms, legs and the muscles that control breathing – that was buried by a dealer while he was locked up in jail. When he was released, he dug up his stash and started selling them.


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 Posted by at 2:27 pm
Feb 232015

According to a new study by University of Florida researchers, ADHD is linked to earlier illicit drug use in teens and young adults. The use of both depressants and stimulants starts earlier in life for those with ADHD.

According to US News, “In the study, Dunne’s team looked at questionnaires completed by more than 900 adults who had used illicit drugs in the past six months. Of those, 13 percent said they had been diagnosed with ADHD.

“On average, those with ADHD began using alcohol at age 13, about 1.5 years before those without ADHD. Among participants who injected cocaine, those with ADHD began doing so at an average age of 22, two years earlier than those without ADHD.”


 Posted by at 1:52 pm
Jan 222015

As if the U. S. Border Patrol didn’t have their hands full enough catching drug smugglers trying to get across Mexican and U. S. borders, now drones are in play. The drone, carrying 6 pounds of Meth crashed into a parked car alerting police in Tijuana.

According to the BBC, “Authorities are investigating where the flight originated, who controlled it and where it was bound for. Police say it is not the first time a drone has been used for smuggling drugs across the border.

“In April, US authorities in South Carolina found a drone outside a prison fence which had been carrying mobile phones, marijuana and tobacco.”


 Posted by at 4:03 pm
Dec 222014

For the past year, use of a common drug has been on the rise, but in a new form that is highly potent and potentially very dangerous. Butane hash oil (BHO), known by its street name “wax”, is a concentrated form of marijuana that’s said to be more than 80% pure THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the active ingredient in the marijuana plant, and is usually concentrated at 20 to 30% per leaf.

Because of its highly concentrated nature, wax is said to deliver a faster, stronger high, and could lead to psychoactive effects. Aside from having physical effects that can be quite dangerous, creating the drug is similarly hazardous. The process requires extremely flammable material, such as butane, to extract the THC from the leaves, which results in a hardened, waxy substance.

Side effects from using marijuana wax can include extreme hallucinations and uncontrollable behavior patterns. Additionally, many people are injured or die from explosions resulting from the production of wax. Homemade wax using butane can ignite a room with a single spark if processed incorrectly, and is similar to filling a room with gas and hoping no one lights a match.

With the recent change in marijuana legislation, there are medical dispensaries that are legally able to carry the drug, as some patients benefit from the high potency. However, wax processed with butane can contain secondary chemicals that are harmful to those with compromised immune systems. Marijuana wax is an unregulated business, as far as legal dispensaries are concerned, and despite the benefits of the higher potency, using wax medicinally may be risky.

It’s important to note that while it may be legal to have in some areas, it may not be legal to create in those same places. California, for example, had a landmark case in which the court determined that anyone caught creating butane hash oil could be sentenced to state prison for up to seven years. This is primarily due to the dangers of creation.

Across the nation, teens especially are putting themselves at risk by attempting to create the substance, which has prompted the DEA to issue a warning about the potential dangers of amateur creation. The warning came after a string of fires in San Diego in 2013 were linked to cannabis wax production, and FEMA has also started educating emergency personnel on how to recognize wax production.

While much focus is put on the dangers of creation, the drug itself is also risky. It tends to be more addictive, and has psychological ramifications that can cause the user to have negative tactile and sensory experiences. Though similar to the drug from which it is derived, marijuana wax is itself a whole new concern.


 Posted by at 11:27 am
Nov 262014

Tom Hank’s eldest son, 24-year-old Chet Hanks decided to go public with the fact that he went to rehab for cocaine addiction. Chet Hanks says he’s been struggling with addiction since he was 16-years-old.

According to PageSix, “Tom Hanks’ rapper son has gotten sober after years of battling drug and alcohol abuse … The 24-year-old said he decided to go public because a tabloid was about to run an article on his recent stint in rehab for cocaine addiction …

“In 2011, Haze admitted to Vice that so many of his lyrics were about smoking pot because, well, he smoked pot.”


 Posted by at 3:49 pm
Oct 292014

Michael Phelps , addict – that’s what some are saying. We have reached a point where none of us are really surprised when we learn that a pro athlete has developed some sort of problem with alcohol, drugs, or gambling. After all, these are people with a large amount of disposable income, not to mention a good deal of free time on their hands, especially during the off-season.

What is surprising is when the same charges are leveled at Olympians. We still have the belief that their image is squeaky clean, and that they don’t make the sort of money that the pros do. There are some, though, that make huge endorsement money, with swimmer Michael Phelps being among the highest earners.

Still, people were more than a little surprised to learn that he has been stopped and charged with DUI earlier this month. What was even more surprising was learning that this was actually his second such charge, with his first one coming at the age of 19.

The fact that there were 10 years between the charges may lead people to believe that addiction is not an issue for Phelps, but there have been some signs along the way that may make his trip to rehab seem a little less surprising.

While Michael Phelps may have been suspended by Swimming USA after the charges were laid, this is not the first time he has been exiled from the sport. The previous time came back in 2009, and it was at that time that Phelps took a little leave of absence of his own choosing.

Photos had been released with Phelps taking a hit from a bong that was alleged to have contained marijuana. He did admit to smoking weed, and said that he needed time away to get his life in order. While marijuana may not be the most offensive drug out there, it still isn’t legal, and it’s not the type of thing that kids should be seeing from the athletes they idolize.

There were further issues to come for Phelps in 2012, although these were more to do with rumor than anything else. The stories back then were alleged to come from concerned friends who believed that Phelps was blowing his fortune on poker.

Phelps was questioned about his love of poker years beforehand, but said playing had more to do with unwinding than it did with the competitive nature of the game. Fast forward a few years later, and the stories from friends say that the competitive side overtook the fun side, leading to bigger amounts being wagered and lost.

Taken individually, these stories may not seem like too big of a deal, but when you take alcohol, drugs, and gambling and attribute them all to the same person, you get the sense that addiction may indeed be an issue for Michael Phelps. His moving into rehab may be more to do with placating his sponsors than anything else, but we can only hope that whatever the case may be, he is able to get his life in order.


 Posted by at 7:57 am
Sep 292014

In Slovakia, Miroslav Strnadova was charged with giving his baby crystal meth. The man admitted he did so and it was to stop the child from crying.

According to the Mirror, “The youngster was so severely brain damaged that doctors said he was left ‘clinically dead’ …

“…Miroslav was known locally as the Crocodile on the drug scene, with a reputation for being the best crystal meth cooker, and because of his bad temper and the fact that he was dangerous.”

 Posted by at 9:54 am