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Experts Warn of Synthetic Drug Acetyl Fentanyl

From EMS World:

Officials in North Carolina announced they were on the lookout in March for a drug called acetyl fentanyl, which they blame for three deaths in the state.

A CDC health advisory released June 20, 2013 first warned of the drug. “Recently, a number of intravenous drug users have overdosed on a new, non-prescription injected synthetic opioid, acetyl fentanyl,” the release stated.

Between March 2013 and May 2013, 14 overdose deaths related to injected acetyl fentanyl occurred among intravenous drug users in Rhode Island.

When Pennsylvania asked coroners and medical examiners across the state to screen for acetyl fentanyl, the request led to 50 confirmed fatalities and five non-fatal overdoses statewide in 2013, the CDC later reported.

The CDC’s warning recommends increased vigilance by public health agencies, emergency departments, state laboratories, medical examiners and coroners for patients with symptoms consistent with opioid overdose and lab results showing an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) positive for fentanyl.

Posted: 4/2/2014 11:30:00 AM

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New Synthetic Drug Linked To Teen's Death

From WBIW (Indiana):

Police have opened a criminal investigation into the death of a Hamilton County teen, who made have died after ingesting synthetic drugs.

18-year-old John Joseph Romaine was found unresponsive in his Fishers home Friday evening. According to his obituary, the Hamilton Southeastern High School senior died of cardiac arrest. The Hamilton County coroner is waiting on toxicology results before ruling an official cause, but police are looking into a possible overdose of synthetic drugs.

Police said they found illegal drugs inside the home along with three men, including Romaine who was unconscious.

All three were hospitalized, and Romaine was later pronounced dead.

A Reddit post, which appears to be written by Romaine's older brother, describes the night in detail and points the blame on a new synthetic drug called N-Bomb or NBOME.

E.R. Physician Dr. Marcus Hendry explained that it's a psychedelic drug that is often compared to LSD, but it is considered more powerful depending on the purity and dosage.

Posted: 4/2/2014 10:46:00 AM

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Temporary Placement of 10 Synthetic Cathinones Into Schedule I

From the DEA:

The Deputy Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is issuing this final order to temporarily schedule 10 synthetic cathinones into schedule I pursuant to the temporary scheduling provisions of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This action is based on a finding by the Deputy Administrator that the placement of these synthetic cathinones and their optical, positional, and geometric isomers, salts and salts of isomers into schedule I of the CSA is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety. As a result of this order, the regulatory controls and administrative, civil, and criminal sanctions applicable to schedule I controlled substances will be imposed on persons who handle (manufacture, distribute, import, export, engage in research, conduct instructional activities, and possess), or propose to handle these synthetic cathinones.

NOTE:  The 10 substances are: 4-methyl-N-ethylcathinone ("4-MEC"); 4-methyl-alpha-pyrrolidinopropiophenone ("4-MePPP"); alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone ("α-PVP"); 1-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-2-(methylamino)butan-1-one ("butylone"); 2-(methylamino)-1-phenylpentan-1-one ("pentedrone"); 1-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-2-(methylamino)pentan-1-one ("pentylone"); 4-fluoro-N-methylcathinone ("4-FMC"); 3-fluoro-N-methylcathinone ("3-FMC"); 1-(naphthalen-2-yl)-2-(pyrrolidin-1-yl)pentan-1-one ("naphyrone"); and alpha-pyrrolidinobutiophenone ("α-PBP").


Posted: 3/19/2014 12:15:00 PM

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Concerns Over New Dangerous Drug "Gravel" Spreading To Central Ohio

From WBNS-10TV (Columbus, OH):

Law enforcement is being warned tonight about a new, dangerous drug called gravel.

The cocktail can include rat poison, bath salts and methamphetamine. It reportedly makes users paranoid and suicidal.

It got the name gravel by the way it looks.

"When you combine a variety of drugs, none of which are good, you get a combination of something that is even worse than the sum of its parts," said Paul Coleman, the president and CEO of Maryhaven.

The new drug is being tracked in the southern part of the United States. A task force there is now warning law enforcement here in Central Ohio that it may be heading this way.

Posted: 2/27/2014 9:36:00 AM

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New Drug Debuts On Local College Campus

From KWQC.com (Davenport, IA):

It's the first of its kind on the Knox college campus according to college police. They say officers were alerted about a student who had ingested the drug and was a psychotic episode and needing help. After investigating, campus police decided to inform the entire community through a drug alert.

Some of the students responded immediately by handing over the rest of the drug paraphernalia used by the hospitalized student. Galesburg Police chief David Christensen says the drug is called 25-I. It's a synthetic drug that mimics the effects of LSD while leaving its user in distress and experiencing hallucinations. Christensen says it's a the first for this drug being in the area.

Posted: 1/30/2014 11:00:00 AM

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Synthetic marijuana use down, but real pot use up among teens

From CBS News:

While use of synthetic pot is down among high schoolers, more teens are smoking real marijuana, a government survey revealed.

Health officials are concerned, as the survey also found fewer teens are worried about the potential dangerous effects from marijuana use.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institutes of Health released the 2013 Monitoring the Future survey on Wednesday. The annual survey asks eighth, 10th and 12th graders across the country about their drug use history and how they feel about illicit drugs. This year’s survey involved results from 41,675 students from 389 schools.

Synthetic marijuana -- often sold under the brands K2 or Spice -- was not as popular as it used to be among 12th graders. The survey showed 7.9 percent of high school seniors surveyed admitted to using it this year, while 11.9 said they smoked it last year.

Daily pot use among high school seniors was recorded at 6.5 percent, up 4 percent over the last 20 years. Overall, 23 percent of seniors, 18 percent of 10th graders and 12 percent of eight graders lit up in the month before being surveyed.

The survey's authors are concerned, because less than 40 percent of high school seniors believe that marijuana use will have negative effects. Those numbers are the lowest since 1978.

Part of the concern is because marijuana today is stronger than it used to be. In 1990, marijuana had about 3.35 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient that gets users high. In 2013, pot contained a little less than 15 percent THC on average.

Over the last five years, opioid, alcohol and cigarette use also declined, according to the survey. Vicodin and salvia use was down amongst the oldest teens surveyed, as well as the use of inhalants by eighth graders. Cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine abuse levels remained low among students.

However, researchers were startled to find that non-medical use of Adderall has increased over the last four years. About 7.4 percent of high school seniors said they used Adderall recreationally in 2013. The researchers believe that teens think that using the prescription ADHD drug will help their grades, and there is some evidence they are using the pills to get high.

Deadly drug 'N-bomb' claims teen's life

From WHTM ABC27.com (Harrisburg, PA):

A new designer drug is believed to be responsible for the death of a Cumberland County high school student.

Dauphin County Coroner Graham Hetrick said a 17-year-old Trinity High School student who died from an overdose last month had a drug called "25I-NBOMe" in his system.

A synthetic version of LSD, or acid, 25I-NBOMe is also known by the street names "N-bomb," "251" and "smiles." It is sometimes sold as LSD, unbeknownst to the buyer.

Across the nation, at least six deaths have been linked to its use. The drug currently is unregulated by federal law, but Louisiana, Florida and Virginia have been trying to ban it.

Posted: 10/7/2013 11:16:00 AM

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Randall County nets Texas' first felony conviction for K2

From the Amarillo Glode-News:

A local shop owner was the first person convicted of felony charges for the synthetic drug K2 in Texas.

James Medina has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in Randall County to selling the drug in his shop, Up N Smoke, a year ago.

Potter County District Attorney Randall Sims said Potter also is doing everything in its power to eliminate K2.

Three other seizures have been made in the past year for similar drugs. Randall County authorities arrested the owner of The Green Gorilla Smoke Shop on a drug charge in November. In April, Amarillo Police Narcotics Unit seized similar substances at Planet X and Borger police arrested a Pampa man for delivering such substances.

Posted: 9/17/2013 1:51:00 PM

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What you need to know about synthetic drugs

From CNN:

What exactly are synthetic drugs?

There is no exact definition, because the term is used to describe a wide range of chemical products that are ever-changing. Synthetic marijuana and "bath salts" are the most common of these drugs. Unlike drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, these drugs do not come from plants; they are manmade.

When did they start appearing in the United States and who's using them?

These drugs first appeared in the United States around 2009, according to Scherbenske, and they have since exploded in popularity, particularly among teenagers.

Social media-savvy teens use the Internet to spread the word about where to find these drugs to -- as Scherbenske explains -- "discuss the effects these substances had on their body."

What's the point of making synthetic drugs?

Synthetic drugs makers have easy access to customers by marketing these drugs as harmless household items. So they make lots of money.

Are these drugs legal?

The federal government and at least 38 states have taken steps to ban the substances. But, as soon as one compound is banned, the molecular structure of the synthetic product is altered and that "changes the whole structure of the drug, so the drug becomes legal and we're at it again," James Capra, DEA chief of operations, said at a news conference in June, according to Time magazine.

Retailers are also skirting the law by labeling the drugs as "not for human consumption," according to the DEA's Scherbenske.

The manufacturers' main goal is to alter the chemical compound to stay one step ahead of the law.

The combination of those compounds and their reactions "is very scary," Scherbenske said.

"We do not know the long term effect that it will have on a person's body."

Who is making this stuff?

Most of the chemicals that are used to make these synthetic drugs are coming directly from China, according to the DEA's John Scherbenske.

Who's selling it here in the U.S.?

Scherbenske says people are starting their own businesses to sell these drugs once they see the profit potential.

These retailers have even taken the feds to court to protect their business: four stores sued the DEA in 2011, claiming the federal agency was "impeding their business," Scherbenske said.

With Labs Pumping Out Legal Highs, China Is the New Front in the Global Drug War

From TIME:

The drugs arrived in an “unnamed, unmarked package,” recalls Timothy LaMere. The rest of what happened that night is more of a blur. After sharing the 2C-E — a synthetic imitation of the rave drug ecstasy — with friends at a house party in Blaine, Minn., things started to go very wrong. Those who took the drug became dangerously unwell — sweating, shaking, rolling around on the floor and experiencing seizures and severe pain. LaMere was among 10 people hospitalized, while one friend, 19-year-old Trevor Robinson, father of a 5-month-old baby, died after “punching walls, breaking items, staring and having dilated pupils and yelling,” according to the criminal complaint. LaMere is currently serving a 10-year sentence for third-degree unintentional murder in a state correctional facility.

The 2C-E that LaMere purchased online is part of the latest drug scourge of new psychoactive substances (NPS), dubbed “legal highs,” to blight not only the U.S. but countries all over the world.

Almost 90% of countries surveyed for the 2013 U.N. World Drugs Report attributed synthetic drugs a significant market share. Suburban laboratories around Chinese port cities are the principle source, from where they can be easily shipped to Europe or North America using regular international courier services. These new drugs are specifically created to mimic the effects of illicit street drugs such as cocaine and cannabis while skirting legal prohibitions. The labeling on packages uses a variety of fanciful descriptions — such as “plant food,” “bath salts” or even “potpourri” — and usually includes the token proviso “not for human consumption.” Yet the brand names used (“Benzo Fury,” “The Joker” and “Blaze”), the psychedelic wrapping and their sale alongside drug impedimenta such as glass pipes and bongs leaves no doubt as to their true purpose.

At present, over 200 such substances exist with more created every day. As soon as one variation is explicitly banned, the chemists tweak the molecules and “it changes the whole structure of the drug, so the drug becomes legal and we’re at it again,” James Capra, DEA chief of operations, said at a news conference in June. To make matters worse, Chinese chemists are not just sitting back waiting for their products to be made illegal. Often they have already created the next variation of a substance and have it ready to hit the streets before the ink on the banning order of its parent drug has dried. The subtle changes in the formulas can also have lethal effects.

In the U.S., 11% of 17- and 18-year-olds admit to using legal highs, and they are now the second most popular class of recreational drug among American students after cannabis. Despite being marketed as legal and even low-risk, many are actually more dangerous than traditional narcotics.