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Pa. House passes bill to outlaw ‘synthetic marijuana’

From The Inquirer:

A bill that would outlaw K-2 and other so-called "synthetic marijuana" in Pennsylvania was overwhelmingly approved in the state House this morning by a vote of 198 to 1.

Bill 176 would prohibit the manufacture, distribution, and possession of five chemicals. The substances, synthetic cannabinoids, are mixed with common herbs. The blend is sold as incense and smoked for a high that is similar to marijuana.

The bill needs approval in the state Senate before it can become law. Eleven states have already enacted bans. Ten others - including New Jersey - are considering similar measures.

Posted: 9/30/2010 9:29:00 AM

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K2 and the Synthetic Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Effects and Chemical Analysis webinar

NMS Labs has responded to the recent explosive growth in popularity of synthetic cannabinoid agonists in so-called “herbal blends” by developing new tests for the active chemicals in botanical material, and most recently for the parent drugs and their metabolites in blood and urine. On September 16, Dr. Barry Logan, NMS Labs National Director of Forensic Services, hosted a webinar - K2 and the Synthetic Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Effects and Chemical Analysis.  This presentation describes the history and origin of the chemicals of concern, the composition of the various commercial products containing them, their known pharmacology, and the documented effects on drivers, and human test subjects. We also review the adverse effects that have resulted in hospitalization, and even allegedly in deaths. This presentation describes the challenges around providing a chemical test for these new drugs, information on their stability in biological fluids, and the validation of quantitative methods for their determination.
Posted: 9/24/2010 9:16:00 AM

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New data supports link between antipsychotics and blood clots

From PharmaTimes:

The safety of antipsychotics is in the spotlight again after research published in the British Medical Journal showed a link between their use and a risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE).

The study found that those prescribed antipsychotic drugs in the previous 24 months had a 32% greater risk of VTE than non-users, despite adjusting data for potential risk factors.

The results also showed that patients who had started therapy with a new drug in the previous three months had around twice the risk of VTE, and that the danger was also greater for atypical rather than conventional and low potency rather than high potency drugs.

Posted: 9/24/2010 9:00:00 AM

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National 'Take Back Day' urges surrender of unneeded prescription drugs

From The Washington Post:

With the abuse of prescription drugs continuing to rise, the Drug Enforcement Administration is for the first time asking people nationwide to turn in their expired, unused and unwanted prescription medicines at more than 4,000 locations on Saturday.

The first national "Take Back Day" aims to collect powerful drugs that are beneficial to patients, but that could easily fall into the wrong hands if left to languish in homes. People will be able to turn in pills, powders and other solid medicines anonymously and without fear of prosecution; authorities will then safely destroy the medications by incinerating them.

Posted: 9/24/2010 8:15:00 AM

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Testimony continues in alleged drunken-driving case

From the North & South Brunswick Sentinel:

A woman accused of fatally killing an 18-year-old South Brunswick woman in 2007 had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19 at the time of the crash, expert witnesses are testifying.

Dr. Edward J. Barbieri, who is a forensic toxicologist, assistant lab director and toxicology tech leader at NMS Labs, the facility that handled Green’s blood sample, testified on Sept. 15 that the concentration of ethyl alcohol found in Green’s blood were 159, 161 and 161 milligrams per deciliter, resulting in a reported number of 0.159 per a test called a headspace gas chromatograph. He testified that the samples were not tampered with and that quality controls were run to assure accuracy.

Posted: 9/23/2010 10:44:00 AM

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Study: Human Exposure to BPA 'Grossly Underestimated'

From The New York Times:

Americans are likely to be exposed at higher levels than previously thought to bisphenol A, a compound that mimics hormones important to human development and is found in more than 90 percent of people in the United States, according to new research.

U.S. EPA says it is OK for humans to take in up to 50 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight each day. The new study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, suggests that we are exposed to at least eight times that amount every day.

Posted: 9/21/2010 9:06:00 AM

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State Rep. Taylor, local labs look to ban legal drug

From Montgomery News:

A new product out on the market has made it much easier for young people to get a legal high and its easy access is concerning parents and legislators.

K2, a mixture of herbs laced with synthetic cannabinoids, has been increasing in popularity with young people across the state this summer and has researchers playing catch up.

NMS Labs in Willow Grove is currently working on a test that will indicate whether a person has ingested the herbs that are being sold at stores and on the Internet as incense.

“Our kid are being used as guinea pigs,” Barry Logan of NMS said at a press conference at Radnor High School Sept. 17. “Interest in a test has really taken off in the last few weeks with school back in session.”

Posted: 9/20/2010 2:04:00 PM

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Do Pesticides in the Home Increase the Likelihood of Childhood Cancers?

From WebWire:

A new study published in the journal Therapeutic Drug Monitoring reports a potential connection between organophosphate pesticides and lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Organophosphate pesticides are commonly used in homes to kill pests. According to the report there is no direct evidence the cancer is caused by the pesticides, but it does reveal a possible strong link.

Earlier this year the journal Pediatrics also published a study that reported that pesticide exposure in children seams to boost the chances that children will be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The study found that children with high levels of pesticides in their urine had almost double the risks of having ADHD.

Posted: 9/17/2010 10:39:00 AM

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Use of Marijuana, Ecstasy, Methamphetamine on Rise in U.S.

From HealthDay News:

Illegal drug use in the United States increased from 2008 to 2009, federal drug officials reported Thursday, citing growing acceptance of marijuana and an upswing in ecstasy and methamphetamine use.

Driven largely by growing use of marijuana, drug use among those aged 12 and older rose from 8 percent in 2008 to 8.7 percent in 2009, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This represents the highest usage in nearly a decade, officials said.

The report, based on a survey of some 67,500 people throughout the country, noted non-medical use of prescription drugs rose from 2.5 percent in 2008 to 2.8 percent in 2009.

Monthly use of ecstasy climbed from 555,000 in 2008 to 760,000 in 2009. The number of methamphetamine users shot up, too, from 314,000 to 502,000 over the year, according to the report.

Posted: 9/17/2010 10:26:00 AM

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Fillings, Sealants May Leach BPA Into Kids' Mouths

From HealthDay News:

The fillings and sealants that many dentists use can expose children to the controversial chemical bisphenol A (BPA), a new analysis indicates, but such exposure is short-lived and it remains unclear whether or not it poses a long-term health risk.

Although these products do not contain pure BPA, saliva can cause the fillings and sealants to leach. This releases the chemical into the mouth and breaks it down to its pure form, the researchers explained.

While the study authors do not recommend a ban of these dental products with pediatric patients, they caution parents and dentists to take steps that could minimize any potential risks associated with exposure to the ubiquitous chemical, which is found in many plastic products and has been linked to health issues such as male impotence, infant behavioral problems and birth defects.

Posted: 9/15/2010 8:48:00 AM

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