Experimental treatments for overcoming cocaine addiction have been known to the public for years, but an antidote to cocaine overdose could soon be out on the market as well. Investigators at the Scripps Research Institute have developed an injectable solution that can protect mice from an otherwise lethal overdose of cocaine, leading to promising signs for future clinical trials on humans for cocaine overdoses and the first specific antidote to cocaine toxicity. The study results, published in the March issue of Molecular Pharmaceutics, show that the "passive vaccine" reversed the dangerous symptoms of cocaine overdose such as motor impairment and seizures. The vaccine itself is made from pre-formed human antibodies and is 10 times more potent in binding molecules than an active vaccine, which helps drastically speed up the ability to reverse the effects of cocaine toxicity. "A lot of people that overdose end up going back to the drug rather quickly, but this antibody would stay in their circulation for a few weeks at least, and during that time the drug wouldn't have an effect on them," said Dr. Kim Janada, PhD, lead author and Director of The Worm Institute For Research and Medicine, at Scripps Research. The Scripps Institute reports that cocaine is responsible for 400,000 emergency department visits each year, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited 5,100 deaths from cocaine overdose in 2008.
The Fix TV took to the streets to ask the people of Brooklyn, "What are you addicted to?" The responses varied and many of the people we met took a non-traditional approach. But if these answers are anything to go by, even apparent "normies" seem to have addictions that they face on a daily basis. This video and others are now available on the The Fix's new YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to the channel so you can get all the new and original video content as it arrives!
If you've ever wondered which drug puts the most addicts six feet under, wonder no more: opioid addicts have a higher risk of death compared to other drugs and alcohol addicts, according to new research. The study—conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence—tracked more than 800,000 individuals hospitalized for drug abuse between 1990 and 2005. Of those studied, more than 188,000 died during the research period. Those who were addicted to opioids were 5.71 times more likely to die than healthy individuals. Meth addicts came in second with a 4.67-fold risk, followed by marijuana (3.85), alcohol (3.83) and cocaine (2.96). The findings show that if 10 people in the general population die, then there would be 57 deaths over the same period of people addicted to opioids—including heroin and prescription opioids. "One reason for undertaking this study was to examine whether methamphetamine posed a particular threat to drug users, as it has been called 'America's most dangerous drug,'" explains Dr. Russell Callaghan, the CAMH Scientist who led the study. "The risk is high, but opioids are associated with a higher risk. We also wanted to compare mortality risks among several major drugs of abuse, as this comparison hasn't been done on this scale before." Overall, alcohol dependence affected the highest number of people with 166,482 deaths and 582,771 hospitalizations over the research period.“One surprising finding was the high rate of death among cannabis users," says Dr. Callaghan. "There could be many potential reasons, including the fact that they may have other chronic illnesses such as psychiatric illnesses or AIDS, which can also increase the risk of death."
- Prescription Drug Bill Passes House in Three Days [NECN]
- Four Charged in Chicago-to-NYC Heroin, Cocaine Ring [Wall Street Journal]
- Rats on Cocaine Love Miles Davis [NY Daily News]
- Three Drunk Dudes Allegedly Stole a Penguin from Sea World [AM NY]
- Muammar Qaddafi Reportedly Had A Sex Addiction And Consumed "Enormous Amounts" of Viagra [Business Insider]
A handy US News guide highlights what may be the most common—and the most overlooked—of all addictions. Caffeine is the world's most-used drug. Legal and accepted, it's a popular additive for many products other than drinks, such as chocolate, gum, vitamins, snacks like "caffeinated peanuts" and many over-the-counter meds. If you're a coffee-drinker who's ever gone without, you may well have experienced fast-acting withdrawal symptoms within 12-24 hours of abstaining. These include: headache; lethargy and drowsiness; depressed mood; anxiety; nausea; vomiting; muscle pain and stiffness; and inability to concentrate.
But Roland Griffiths, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, believes people still tend not to consider caffeine a drug, because it doesn't carry the negative associations of other substances. "Yet the basic mechanisms by which it hooks people are very much like our classic drugs of addiction,” he argues. According to Griffiths, when people say, "I really don't get going until I have coffee, and then I feel great," they often don’t realize that they're already experiencing the moderate withdrawal symptoms that occur from abstaining overnight. His research concludes that it could take as little as 100 milligrams of caffeine—about one 8oz cup of moderate-strength coffee—to bring on mild withdrawal symptoms. Caffeine addiction is considered so serious that last year, "caffeine withdrawal syndrome" was suggested for inclusion in the upcoming revision to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. The provision; however, has not yet been approved.
Cat Marnell, the 29-year-old beauty director and health critic at xoJane.com, has created internet buzz by openly discussing her drug use in her popular beauty blog. “Why am I not talking about drugs if I’m taking them every day? People can say that’s pathetic, but it’s one of my main hobbies," she tells New York magazine in their popular "Minutes with __" segment. In Marnell's blog, the most-read column on the site, she discusses lipstick and hair products amid rambling diatribes and overt references to drugs. She also makes some thinly-veiled references to 12-step programs, and defends her drug use on the grounds that "I've never hurt—I'm not hurting anybody—but myself." Her dark past has included stints in mental hospitals, but she says her job and love of beauty products have helped her pull herself together. “I’m bad all of the time, and beauty products are fixing me,” she says. Marnell was "troubled and clearly high" during her recent NYMag interview, and popping the stimulant Vyvanse from a ziplock bag in her purse. She confessed that xoJane.com's publishers have urged her to go to rehab, but the drug-addled blogger is resistant. "Why do I have to clean up?" she asks. "It’s time to question the idea that everybody has to live a certain kind of life.”