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Dr. Barry Logan of NMS Labs Receives 2011 Robert F. Borkenstein Award from the National Safety Council

From BusinessWire:

Barry K. Logan, PhD, DABFT, National Director of Forensic Services at NMS Labs, is the 2011 recipient of the National Safety Council prestigious Robert F. Borkenstein Award. The award, named for Professor Robert F. Borkenstein – the inventor of the Breathalyzer® – recognizes individuals who, through a lifetime of service, have made outstanding contributions to the field of alcohol/drugs in relation to traffic and transportation safety.

Posted: 2/25/2011 8:14:00 AM

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FDA Orders New Cautions on Antipsychotic Drugs

From MedPage Today:

All antipsychotic drugs, including older agents as well as second-generation products, must contain new label information regarding their use in pregnancy, the FDA said.

In particular, the new labeling will address the risk of extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) and withdrawal syndromes in newborns.

"FDA has updated the Pregnancy section of drug labels for the entire class of antipsychotic drugs to include consistent information about the potential risk for EPS and/or withdrawal symptoms in newborns whose mothers were treated with these drugs during the third trimester of pregnancy," the agency said in a notification to healthcare professionals.

The FDA has identified 69 episodes of neonatal EPS or withdrawal in adverse event reports submitted to the agency through October 2008.

Among the symptoms listed in the reports: agitation, hypertonia, hypotonia, tremor, somnolence, respiratory distress, and feeding disorder.

However, blood levels of the drugs involved were not provided in the reports, the agency said, so it was "not possible to determine whether the events resulted from antipsychotic drug toxicity or withdrawal."

Posted: 2/23/2011 8:45:00 AM

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Driving high: State considers limit

From The Durango Herald:

The surge of medical marijuana use in Colorado has started another debate in the state Legislature: What constitutes driving while high?

Lawmakers are considering setting a DUI blood-content threshold for marijuana that would make Colorado one of three states with such a provision in statute – and one of the most liberal, according to Rep. Claire Levy, one of the bill’s sponsors.

Under the proposal, drivers who test positive for 5 nanograms or more of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, would be considered too impaired to drive if the substance is present in their blood at the time they’re pulled over or within two hours.

While it’s already illegal to drive while impaired by drugs, states have taken different approaches to the issue. Twelve states, including Arizona, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Rhode Island, have a zero-tolerance policy for driving with any presence of an illegal substance, said Anne Teigen, policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota has the same policy but exempts marijuana.

Nevada, which is among the 16 states that allow medical marijuana, has a 2 nanogram THC limit for driving. Pennsylvania has a 5 nanogram limit, but that’s a state Health Department guideline, which can be introduced in driving violation cases, Teigen said.

Posted: 2/22/2011 2:45:00 PM

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New FDA warnings against use of terbutaline to treat preterm labor

From Bioscience Technology:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning the public that injectable terbutaline should not be used in pregnant women for prevention or prolonged treatment (beyond 48-72 hours) of preterm labor in either the hospital or outpatient setting because of the potential for serious maternal heart problems and death. The agency is requiring the addition of a Boxed Warning and Contraindication to the terbutaline injection label to warn against this use. In addition, oral terbutaline should not be used for prevention or any treatment of preterm labor because it has not been shown to be effective and has similar safety concerns. The agency is requiring the addition of a Boxed Warning and Contraindication to the terbutaline tablet label to warn against this use.

Posted: 2/21/2011 10:21:00 AM

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New testing capabilities could be major buzz kill for synthetic drug users

From WFSA News (Alabama):

Many people have been using products innocently labeled incense or bath salts to get high.  They're using these products instead of the drug they mimic because they believe they can still pass a drug test.

Just this week Liz Barrontine, Director with The Partnership for a Drug Free Dekalb County, was alerted to the fact that labs will now be able to tell if someone is using synthetic drugs that give a high similar to marijuana or cocaine.

"Synthetic marijuana and bath salts can both be tested," said Barrontine.

The test collection is routine enough that it could become a part of drug tests that many companies have potential employees take before hiring, and the same tests that most parolees have to take every month.

Experts endorsing prohibition admit they're lagging behind designer-drug developers—and it may get worse

From Salt Lake City Weekly:

Banning new designer drugs is harder than it looks. With almost unanimous approval in both chambers, the Utah Legislature recently approved bans on spice, a marijuana alternative, as well as Ivory Wave bath salts, a stimulant, but products don’t disappear just because of a vote. Implementing and enforcing those bans—and keeping up with new drugs—may involve considerably more costs than lawmakers can anticipate. As new designer drugs come to market, the war on designer drugs is becoming a costly game of Whac-a-Mole.

The sudden emergence of several so-called designer drugs suggests that the war on drugs has entered a new and more difficult era, one in which lawmakers, doctors and police will need to play catch-up with new chemical products.

University of Utah’s Elizabeth Howell, M.D., past president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, says she is concerned that a “tsunami” of new legal drugs may be coming onto the market. At least 18 patients she has treated have used bath salts, she told the Feb. 10 meeting of the Utah Controlled Substance Advisory Committee, and the effects are worrying. Mephedrone—already banned in the United Kingdom—is the active ingredient in the bath salts. Dr. Glen R. Hanson, a committee member, is currently studying mephedrone and, based on its molecular structure and user anecdotes, he said the drug seems like “ecstasy combined with cocaine.” In contrast with spice—which he says is “not a very addicting substance”—he and Howell believe mephedrone will prove to be very addictive and damaging to users.

The “tsunami” may be hitting Europe first. The United Kingdom’s Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs warns that 40 new “legal highs” have emerged in the U.K. since that country’s 2010 ban on mephedrone. In 2009, that committee identified 24 new and legal substances people were using recreationally. In 2008, that number was just 13, according a January report in London’s The Telegraph.

The target will forever keep moving, says the Drug Policy Alliance’s Grant Smith. “It doesn’t take much to alter the chemistry of these substances and get them legal again,” he says.

Posted: 2/17/2011 9:20:00 AM

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Pa. House committee passes bill to ban synthetic marijuana

From WHTM (Harrisburg, PA):

The Pennsylvania state House Judiciary Committee has passed a package of legislation that would make it illegal to possess or sell synthetic marijuana, a blend of herbs treated with chemicals to produce a marijuana-like high.

The package of three bills would also ban the possession and sale of salvia divinorum, also known as Seer's Sage, a plant said to produce hallucinations and visions.

A third bill would prohibit the sale and possession of six synthetic stimulants commonly known as "bath salts."

Air Force officials warn: 'Spice' harmful to health, career

From the U.S. Air Force:

A recent spate of incidents involving service members abusing the herbal mixture "spice" has prompted uniformed service leaders to stress the ramifications of using the drug and other prohibited substances.

Posted: 2/11/2011 3:27:00 PM

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DePuy Hip Metal Poisoning May Develop Without Hip Pain or Other Symptoms

From eMailWire:

Patients who have been implanted with the recalled ASR systems may be at risk for DePuy metal poisoning due to the metal-on-metal design of the system. As the components rub against each other, they can release cobalt and chromium into the body. Some individuals may develop an inflammatory reaction to these metal particles, causing fluid build-up in the joint and its surrounding tissue. Initially, DePuy hip metal poisoning may be painless; however, left untreated, it can damage the muscles, bones and nerves around the hip.

Posted: 2/8/2011 9:37:00 AM

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WFTV Tests So-Called "Bath Salts" Used To Get High

From wftv.com (Central Florida) :

WFTV first reported last week that the state temporarily banned a substance sold as bath salt, because people were sniffing it to get high. So WFTV put it to the test to find out exactly what's inside.

Over the past five months, the number of users who reported severe delusions and heart problems surged from zero to 15 just in Central Florida. So, before Florida's attorney general banned it for 90 days, WFTV had it tested at two labs.

WFTV bought a powder called "Charge" from Pipe Dreams 2 on North Orange Blossom Trail and sent it to Wuestoff Labs in Melbourne, and then bought "Bliss" from the G-Spot on Colonial Drive and sent it to NMS Labs in Pennsylvania.

Both labs found the same stimulant, MDPV, which is known to cause psychosis, spike heart rate, and trigger heart attacks.

But common field tests and most lab tests won't detect MDPV, so Florida's temporary ban may be difficult to enforce.

Posted: 2/7/2011 9:41:00 AM

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