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molly overdose

10/14/14 8:30am

Austin Music Festival Mourns Latest Molly-Related Death

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The latest Molly-related overdose death at a music festival made its way to the Austin City Limits Music Festival, where 21-year-old Jessica Hunter took a fatal overdose of the drug.

The incident took place on Oct. 5, when police were flagged down by Hunter’s friends. Her body was described as rigid with her hands and feet flailing. She was transported to Seton Medical Center and eventually died on Oct. 8. Her friends also took the same drug and suffered adverse reactions, though not as severe.

Hunter was a student at Texas State University in San Marcos. Her mother, Debra, said she will begin to visit schools and share her story in order to help create awareness of the dangers of drug use.

The death of Hunter occurred despite the best efforts of music festivals across the country to prevent drug-related tragedies from happening. New York City’s Electronic Zoo, which canceled the final day of its 2013 festival when two concertgoers died from a mixture of Molly and other unregulated stimulants, employed additional pat-downs, and other measures for drug screening this year. Tennessee’s Bonnaroo Festival also took extra precautions on site.

A major electronic dance music festival known as the Electric Daisy Carnival has also had several Molly-related tragedies over the years. The festival was originally held in Los Angeles, but relocated to Las Vegas in 2011 after a 15-year-old girl died from an MDMA overdose. Two people died from Molly-related complications at the 2012 edition of the event, but after the festival added extra measures such as medical stations staffed with professionals, there were no deaths in the 2013 edition of EDC.

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By McCarton Ackerman

headlines

10/14/14 7:00am

Morning Roundup: Oct. 14, 2014

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By Shawn Dwyer

decline and fall

10/13/14 7:30pm

Was Adolf Hitler High on Crystal Meth During World War II?

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Hitler with morphine addict Hermann Goering.
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As compiled by American intelligence officials, a World War II dossier has revealed that Adolph Hitler regularly took powerful injections of crystal methamphetamine. Beyond the abuse of the illegal stimulant, the 47-page account counted an additional 74 different medications taken by the Nazi dictator. The report has been exposed in a Channel 4 British documentary called Hitler’s Hidden Drug Habit that will air this Sunday October 19th.

Although the intelligence records laid bare the history of Hitler’s extensive drug abuse, they also dispelled the enduring myth that the dictator only had one testicle. The famous singsong joke, “Hitler has only got one ball – the other is in the Albert Hall” was a widespread British morale-booster during the Second World War. The report of Hitler not being a monorchid, the medical term for being born with one testicle, is based on interviews with Hitler’s physician Dr. Theodor Morell. An entry from November 1945 based on Dr. Morell’s medical records said: “His sexual organs showed no indication of abnormality.”

According to the documentary, it is believed that Hitler took crystal meth before meeting with Italian leader Benito Mussolini in the summer of 1943. Before Hitler left to confront Italy's declining dictator, Dr. Morell wrote in his diary: “Fuehrer…Looking very pale and exceptionally jumpy: facing a vital conference with the Duce in Italy tomorrow.” During that notorious meeting, a sickly and stressed-out Fuhrer, high on crystal meth, is reported to have ranted and raved for two straight hours at his distressed Fascist ally.

Known as "Reichsmaster of injections" by the Nazis, Dr. Morell prescribed Hitler a motley array of prescription drugs. Despite complaints from his inner circle, Hitler made Dr. Morell his personal physician. It is believed the methamphetamine Hitler abused might have contributed to negative impressions of the Fuhrer by his top generals as the war progressed. One of those generals, Heinz Guderian, described the Fuhrer’s amphetamine-like side effects when he wrote that, “It was no longer his left hand but the whole of his left side of his body that trembled...He walked awkwardly, stooped more than ever and his gestures were both jerky and slow.” 

An excessive hypochondriac, Hitler reportedly received nine injections of a drug called Vitamultin that contained methamphetamine during his final days in his Berlin bunker. Dr. Morell also gave Hitler barbiturate tranquilizers for insomnia, morphine for headaches, and bulls’ semen to boost his testosterone and sexual performance. Bill Panagopoulos, an American collector who discovered the dossier, clearly stated, “Morell was a quack and a fraud and a snake oil salesman…He should not have been practicing medicine anywhere outside a veterinary clinic.”

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By John Lavitt

gaming addiction

10/13/14 5:30pm

Are Teen Gaming Addicts Physically Healthier?

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A new study conducted by a doctoral student has shown that teens involved in heavy gaming may be physically healthier and less obese than their peers.

Researcher Chennan Liu examined more than 10,800 teens in the United States, and found that the long-term consequences of heavy gaming were both positive and negative. Liu conducted her research as part of her doctoral degree and presented part of her findings earlier in the year at the 18th annual conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, which was held in San Antonio this past January.

"Youth who played computer/video games between 21 and 42 hours each week reported better general health and were more likely to have a healthier body mass index five years later," said Liu of the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“Perhaps the excitement of gaming burns more energy than sedentary behavior like watching TV. Video gaming requires physical interaction with the controller, while watching TV enables a person to have their hands free to eat or drink,” she added.

Drawn from data collected from 1994-2002 by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Liu's study examined the long-term impact of heavy gaming on both mental and physical health, and compared that to high school completion rates. She divided heavy gamers into those who played 21 hours a week, 35 hours a week, and 42 hours a week.

Ironically, those who played at least 35 hours a week were 22% less likely to smoke marijuana, and while rates of pot smoking increased for those playing 42 hours a week, their numbers were still 14% lower than moderate or infrequent gamers.

On the flipside, however, Liu found that the heaviest gamers—those who played 42 hours a week—were 22% more likely to experience depression in adulthood. Liu speculated that spending six hours a day in front of a computer or console may lead teens to become more socially isolated and unable to communicate with others.

"The mix of beneficial and adverse effects that this research found suggests that parents may want to regulate their children’s gaming behavior, perhaps limiting it to three hours a day to reduce the likelihood of negative consequences,” Liu concluded.

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By Shawn Dwyer

on the rise

10/13/14 3:30pm

Heroin Overdose Death Rates Are On the Rise

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According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention review, the heroin overdose death rate in the United States is on the rise. Rates were taken from a review of 28 states that showed statistically significant increases for both sexes, all age groups, all census regions, and all but one ethnic group.

While the distribution of the study closely matches the U.S. population by age, sex, and race or ethnicity, the findings are not necessarily nationally representative, the authors noted. But existing data show that heroin deaths nationally rose by 45% from 2010 to 2011, the biggest annual jump since 1999. The review found that the death rate from heroin overdoses doubled during that two-year span to from 1 to 2.1 deaths per 100,000 people.

Death rates from overdosing on prescription opioid pain relievers (OPR), such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, or methadone, fell from 6 to 5.6 deaths per 100,000 from 2010 to 2012, after quadrupling from 1999 to 2010. But despite this slight drop, the CDC said years of over-prescription of painkillers has led to the recent surge in street heroin deaths.

"The rapid rise in heroin overdose deaths follows nearly two decades of increasing drug overdose deaths in the United States, primarily driven by (prescription painkiller) drug overdoses," the study found.

In a sample of heroin users in treatment programs, 75% who started using heroin after 2000 said they first abused prescription opioids. They said heroin was easier to get, cheaper, and more potent than prescription drugs.

"In contrast, among those who began use in the 1960s, more than 80% indicated that they initiated their abuse with heroin," the study said.

"The findings indicate a need for intensified prevention efforts aimed at reducing overdose deaths from all types of opioids while recognizing the demographic differences between the heroin and OPR-using populations. Efforts to prevent expansion of the number of OPR users who might use heroin when it is available should continue," they added.

The study, Increases in Heroin Overdose Deaths - 28 States, 2010 to 2012, was published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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By Desiree Bowie

mental illness

10/13/14 1:00pm

Florida Proposes Measures to Treat Mentally Ill Inmates

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Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Crews announced last week a number of measures aimed at ensuring the appropriate care and custody for Florida inmates with mental health conditions and protecting public safety.

Secretary Crews’ announcement came on the heels of a comprehensive review of the department’s policies toward the care of inmates with mental illness. The review was conducted by Dr. Dean Aufderheide, a nationally recognized expert in mental health care, and Mr. Upchurch, a nationally recognized expert in institutional and security operations.

The News Service of Florida reported that some of the measures include that Florida inmates with severe mental illnesses will have an official mediator to represent them, and prison staff will undergo more training under the latest reforms initiated by Crews.

Crews on Friday announced the changes, including the creation of a “mental health ombudsman” position. The ombudsman, the first in the country according to a press release issued by Crews’ office, will serve as a liaison for about 1,000 mentally ill inmates in inpatient units and will report to the department’s director of mental health services, Dr. Aufderheide, who made the recommendations.

Secretary Crews, in a press release for the Department of the Corrections, said: “The Department is responsible for the custody of between 15 and 20% of its inmates having a diagnosed mental condition requiring mental health treatment. We are committed to ensure our actions are reflective of the Department’s mission to promote public safety and the safety of our staff and our inmates by providing them appropriate security, supervision, and care.”

In addition, the Department anticipates a Corrections Behavioral Health Certification made available in the near future that will certify officers assigned to the care of inmates to understand the mental health spectrum of issues, from the time an inmate first enters prison throughout the incarceration period.

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By Desiree Bowie

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