In a surprising discovery that appears to challenge the belief that drinking dulls the senses, Israeli researchers have found that alcohol actually sharpens a person’s ability to smell when drunk in moderation.
A recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Behavioral Brain Research by Israeli researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Edith Wolfson Medical Center explained how consuming alcohol can actually boost the sensitivity of the human olfactory system.
In the first experiment, 20 volunteers smelled three different liquids; two of which were the same and one of which was different. In the initial test, the participants were given two seconds to say which smell was not like the others. This test was repeated six times with various liquid matchups to ensure accurate readings of each participant's olfactory sensitivity.
In the next step, the participants drank either 35 milliliters of vodka in grape juice or the juice alone and asked to repeat the smell test. The vodka drinkers saw improved results, while the juice drinkers stayed the same. The intriguing results showed moderate alcohol intake improved their ability to distinguish between smells.
In a second experiment, the researchers actually went to public establishments. They asked random patrons in local bars to take a scratch 'n sniff test before allowing the researchers to measure their blood-alcohol content. The researchers found that in both the controlled and bar-based studies, people with a moderate amount of alcohol in their systems fared better in odor differentiation tests, as compared to people with no alcohol in their systems.
At the same time, researchers also found that too much alcohol in the blood severally hampered a drinker's ability to smell. Whether the cause of this ancillary result is an actual dampening of the olfactory system by increased alcohol intake or a simple loss of focus on account of inebriation remained undetermined.
The authors of the study plan to uncover the actual cause in future studies through the examination of brain scans done on the drinkers. It goes without saying, of course, that such high-tech scans could not be done at the local pub.
A new study has linked medical marijuana with a reduction in prescription drug overdose deaths, but anti-drug advocates are outraged over the conclusion that pot is a healthier alternative to pain pills.
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center found that states which have legalized medical marijuana had on average 1,700 fewer deaths per year from prescription drugs. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia allow for medical marijuana use. Statistics from the Drug Enforcement Administration show that 15,000 Americans die annually from prescription overdose deaths.
Although the study doesn’t attempt to explain the correlation between legal medical marijuana and the reduction of drug overdose deaths, it suggested the need for further research into creating marijuana-based medications.
"It suggests the potential for many lives to be saved," said study senior author Colleen L. Barry, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School. "We can speculate…that people are completely switching or perhaps supplementing, which allows them to lower the dosage of their prescription opioid."
However, critics called the study “flawed” and questioned how the data was both collected and analyzed. Kevin Sabet, director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida College of Medicine, noted that the researchers didn’t differentiate between states that had relaxed or strict medical marijuana laws and also didn’t look at either emergency room admission data or prescription drug statistics.
"In today's supercharged discussions, it could be easily misunderstood by people," he said. "There may be promise in marijuana-based medications but that's a lot different than 'here's a joint for you to smoke.'"
A Kentucky inmate who was out of jail on a court-ordered furlough won’t be leaving the facility anytime soon after being charged with the overdose death of another inmate.
Corey McQueary died on August 21 at the Jessamine County Detention Center after allegedly overdosing on methadone. Michael Jones was charged with murder after reportedly bringing a pair of underwear soaked in methadone back into the jail and giving out pieces of it to his cellmates. He also faces additional charges of promoting contraband and possession of a controlled substance.
Jailer Jon Sailee said that all the standard procedures were followed when Jones re-entered the jail. "When somebody comes in the facility either from a furlough or any other occurrence, they're searched, their clothing's searched, strip searched, any other kind of search that we feel is necessary," he explained. "If something is in their garment and it's colorless, odorless, it would be very difficult, almost impossible to detect from the naked eye.”
Last month, a convicted drug dealer died in an Irish prison after swallowing a bag of heroin and having it burst in his stomach. Thirty-year-old Pascal Doyle swallowed it in an attempt to hide the contraband from other officers. He had over 60 previous convictions that included drug dealing, theft, and public order offenses.
A similar incident occurred at the Mountjoy Prison in 2009, when 24-year-old Mark Turner Kelly died from a combination of heroin and sedative drug toxicity.
Last May, an unnamed inmate at Erie County Prison in Pennsylvania died from lethal doses of two contraband drugs. Records reveal that paramedics have been called to the prison three times since the first of the year for unresponsive inmates related to drug overdoses.
In the face of widespread prescription opiate abuse in the United States, the Drug Enforcement Administration is tightening restrictions on hydrocodone painkillers.
The new rules published by the DEA on Friday dictate that patients who need painkillers, such as the ever-popular and most abused medication Vicodin, can only get a single 90-day prescription at most and will need to see their doctor in person to get a refill. That means no phone-in prescription refills, while some states aren't even allowing nurses or physician assistants to prescribe these painkillers anymore. Pharmacies will also be required to keep these opiate drugs in special vaults.
These new restrictions, which will come into full effect in 45 days, are reclassifying hydrocodone combination drugs such as Vicodin and Lortab into the same category as codeine and oxycodone, which are listed as Schedule II drugs due to their high potential for abuse.
“Almost 7 million Americans abuse controlled-substance prescription medications, including opioid painkillers, resulting in more deaths from prescription drug overdoses than auto accidents,” said DEA administrator Michele Leonhart in a press release. “[Friday's] action recognizes that these products are some of the most addictive and potentially dangerous prescription medications available.”
Prescription painkiller overdose deaths more than tripled in the last 20 years, according to CDC estimates. In 2009, they killed 15,000 people, more than cocaine and heroin combined. The sale of opioids have also risen 300% since 1999.
“This is probably the single most important change that could happen on a federal level to bring this public health crisis under control,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. “It will take time to see the impact, but this will turn out to be a turning point in this epidemic.”
- Sarah Silverman Shows Off Vapor Pen At Emmys, Gets High After Winning Award [TMZ]
- Cocaine Stuffed Tamales Seized At Houston Airport [ABC News]
- New York Teen Admits To Driving On Pot, Killing Four Friends In Crash [Huffington Post]
- Woman Charged With Selling Heroin To Her Mother [Sheboygan Press]
- Texas Elementary Teacher Accused Of Being Drunk At School [CBS DFW]
- Indiana Woman Arrested For Endangering Unborn Child By Huffing [CBS Chicago]
- Dollar Bills Tainted With Cocaine Make Banker's Fingers Go Numb [Valley Courier]
- Sydney High School Students Taught Alcohol Safety With Trip To Pub [Daily Mail]
A new survey revealed the results of a poll of 500 British 18-year-olds in which the majority warn of the “damaging” and “addictive” effect of sexual images and videos readily available online.
The survey showed the teens felt an intense social pressure involving compliance with pornographic norms. Eighty percent of the young adolescents reported on the easy availability of explicit images and videos in new media.
Forty-six percent of the participants have indulged in 'sexting,' the act of sending sexually charged text messages, in their everyday lives. A majority of the adolescents admitted that porn was making their life harder. Almost half the boys and two-thirds of the girls admitted that even if porn were less accessible, it would not make growing up any easier.
One out of 10 survey participants admitted that by the young age of 11, watching porn was common and 70% said that it was normal among their classmates to watch porn. Fifty-five percent of the young adolescents happened upon explicit images while on the internet, making them worried and uncomfortable, while only 1 out of 10 told their parents about it. About two-thirds of the participants believed that porn is addictive.
Children as young as 11 are regularly exposed to online porn, and by the age of 14, a whopping 45% are watching explicit content on the web, according to the report by the Institute of Public Policy Research think tank.
Associate Director of IPPR Dalia Ben-Galim said, “The research shows that pornographic images are pervasive in teenagers' lives” and “paints a worrying picture about the way online pornography is shaping the attitudes and behavior of young people."
Around 72% of the young adolescents believe that unrealistic attitudes towards sex are created because of pornography. This leads to pressure on young women to act and look a certain way, while only a small percentage of pressure is put on the young men.
Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “Given the rising levels of pornography which is very much in the public domain it is essential that sex and relationships education should be a statutory part of the national curriculum.”
“If this does not happen in schools, a golden opportunity is missed to provide young people with some of the tools they need to lead safe, healthy and happy lives,” Blower added.