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Author: Justin Mckibben
In a decision that will undoubtedly be debated at innovative or extremely controversial, emergency responders in Florida are going to be taking a pretty drastic measure in their movements to fight back against the growing issue of the infamous “$5 insanity” of Flakka… using doses of Ketamine to subdue violently aggressive patients.
When I came across this story I could not help but be baffled, yet curious as to how exactly this plan of action has been orchestrated and how it will be executed.
So I want to ask… is it a good idea that EMTs in Florida are going to be using Ketamine to fight Flakka?
First- What is Flakka?
For anyone who hasn’t heard, Flakka is one of the newest dangerous drugs to hit the streets that has gained a lot of attention in a short period of time for the dramatic, tragic and appalling stories it has inspired.
The synthetic drug Flakka, also known by other names such as Gravel, is a synthetic version of an exceedingly strong stimulant cathinone, officially dubbed alpha Pyrrolidinopentiophenone (Alpha-PVP). Commonly found in a crystal-like form, Flakka is known to be cheap, addictive, and deadly. When used this can be ingested in various ways, including:
Some of the effects include:
- Body overheating
- Heightened sense of euphoria
- Feeling superhuman strength
- Psychotic episodes
There have been stories of people running naked through the streets, reacting in rage to horrific hallucinations, and even one story of an elderly woman beaten to death by an individual trapped in a Flakka induced violently psychotic episode. These terrible and frightening stories have hit authorities hard, and apparently they are willing to go to great lengths to put a stop to the madness.
So then what is Ketamine?
Ketamine is another synthetic substance that has a history of strange side-effects and street credit for being abused and becoming addictive. It has been used before as an anesthetic and analgesic drug, but earned a bad name for its illicit use as a hallucinogen. It also has a reputation as a “date-rape” drug.
Ketamine is commonly seen as a powder or liquid and was initially used on animals. When used on the streets it is often ingested by:
- Consumed with drinks
Yet more recently we have begun to see more and more people pushing for one reason or another to drop the bad name assigned to Ketamine to promote positive uses for it, such as treating depression.
Synthetic VS Synthetic
Now in a very radical approach some Florida EMS departments are arming their paramedics with Ketamine as a new weapon to fight Flakka. The latest fire and rescue department in the state to start utilizing Ketamine is Indian River County Fire and EMS. Last week the announced that within the next two weeks their paramedics will be trained on how to administer Ketamine and equipped with the substance.
According to officials the thigh injection can sedate a patient within a minute. Battalion Chief Cory Richter in Indian River County told reporters,
“It will knock them out, but it won’t hurt them in any way, shape or form. It will allow us to treat them and get them to the hospital, and it keeps our guys safe.”
Richter went on to explain that patients who are high on Flakka pose a very real threat to paramedics because the drug gives them superhuman strength and also makes them resistant to pain. Indian River County has had several serious incidents involving Flakka in the past few months, so authorities are done taking their chances it seems.
Indian River County is not the first in Florida to use Ketamine for this purpose. The city of Plantation began placing vials of Ketamine on all of rescue trucks, but reported only needing to use them roughly once per month. The officials in these areas insist that Ketamine is more effective than other drugs because it doesn’t affect the patient’s respiratory system or heart rate, making it safer to use as well. Last July Lt. Daniel Tringali of the Plantation Fire Department told reporters,
“If a police officer’s Taser does not stop them, something needs to stop them,”
Again driving home the point that even though many question Ketamine as being a powerful sedative substance it is still a measure many have deemed necessary in contrast to allowing their EMTs, other emergency response teams or law enforcement to be at elevated risk of injury from an aggressive individual in a Flakka induced rage. To fight Flakka it might be necessary to give EMTs an advantage.
I find myself wondering how this would work out. Apparently officials in the areas already using Ketamine to fight Flakka think it is doing a decent enough job of keeping people safe in the most compromising circumstances. Considering last summer 27 people died of Flakka-related overdoses in an 8 month period in Broward County alone, I think maybe it is understandable why people are so desperate to find a new means to fight Flakka. Not sure if substituting Ketamine is the best solution there is, but right now it seems to be a strategy people are willing to try.
Synthetic drug abuse is so dangerous because of the fact the ingredients and the side-effects can be horrifically unpredictable. Chemical cocktails made from mystery compounds in underground labs with lethal potency are a nightmare being sold on the streets, and beyond such a radical idea as pitting one chemical against the other there is real recovery from drug abuse in the Palm Partners addiction treatment program. If you or someone you love is struggling please don’t wait, call 1-800-951-6135. We want to help, you are not alone.
Author: Shernide Delva
With Marijuana Reform policies stirring controversy throughout the country, soon the idea of legal recreational drug usage could become a reality in the United States.
In the meantime, however, many are finding ways to use drugs without the fear of criminalization by synthetic alternatives and they are gaining immense popularity. New Psychoactive Substances are being created and marketed to those desperate to obtain a “legal high.”
In recent years, stories about synthetic drugs such as bath salts and Flacka gained national attention and caused media panic. Most of us have heard of the infamous face-eating episode involving bath salts that was later debunked.
Still, new psychoactive substances continue to enter the drug markets that mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and Methamphetamines (Ecstasy). Even as States and Congress work rapidly on policies to combat these new drugs, newer alternatives get made that replace the old ones.
It’s a rat race involving chemists and manufactures rushing to replace banned drugs with new variations that politicians struggle to keep up with.
New Psychoactive Substances
Before we go further, we should define what is meant when discussing these “new psychoactive substances” in the first place. More commonly known as synthetic drugs, New Psychoactive Substances is the current terminology used to define any “range of drugs that have been designed to mimic established illicit drugs, such as cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and LSD.”
The Drug Policy Association arranged a conference call with Earth Erowid, one of the founders of the popular drug website Erowid.com, and he elaborated on the change of terminology.
“Synthetic drugs are a term used to imply scary new street drugs,” said Earth Erowid. “But nearly all pharmaceutical drugs are synthetic, whether they’re cannabinoids, opioids, stimulants, or sedatives. You don’t want to use the phrase ‘synthetic drugs’ unless you’re talking about every pharmaceutical developed over the past 50 years.”
“A more accurate and appropriate term is “new psychoactive substances,” he said. “That’s the standard term in Europe.”
These new psychoactive substances can be grouped into general categories based on the drugs that they attempt to replicate.
Five Most Common New Psychoactive Substances
These are the five most common categories of legal drug alternatives currently being distributed today. As these drugs gain popularity, the health implications of using these drugs is a major concern since ironically there is often less research done on these legal substances than there is on the illegal drugs they are substituting.
1. Replacement Cannabinoids
Often sold in powder form; these are sprinkled on herbal blends. One variety known as Spice resembles potpourri and is sold in shops as incense. Products like Spice contain dried, shredded plant material and chemical additives that are responsible for their psychoactive effects. They are not cannabis but are synthetic cannabinoid agonists that work by targeting the same cannabinoid receptors those chemicals in marijuana target resulting in similar relaxing anxiety reducing effects.
In the past, the ingredients in Spice were modified to keep up with laws banning chemicals in their product that produce those cannabis effects. Some specific compounds include JWH 018 and AB-PINACA, among many others. Often assumed as “natural,” not enough research has been conducted to prove these drugs are safe and several have been associated with death and serious medical complications.
2. Replacement Euphoric Stimulants
These include cathinones like methadone, MDPV (“bath salts”), and Alpha PDP (“flakka”), as well as compounds related to Ritalin. Flakka has gained huge popularity in Florida and has been dubbed “$5 insanity” because of the low cost to obtain it. It is synthesized legally in Chinese labs and can be delivered right to your doorstep. Unfortunately, flacka has been linked to a stream of bizarre crimes and has gained media attention. Clearly the health risks of flacka is questionable.
Many replacement euphoric stimulants are marketed to young teens and adults active in the rave and EDM communities who desperately desire the effects of ecstasy without the use of illegal drugs. These forms of legal ecstasy contain various herbs or herbal extracts that are psychoactive. They claim to have similar effects to Ecstasy however none of these substances have been proven to be safe. Side effects for these drugs include racing heart, dry throat, anxiety, tremor and cold extremities.
3. Replacement Psychedelics
Often those who think they are buying illegal LSD are actually getting this legal substitute. Best known are the NBOMe series (aka “N-Bomb”). The drug was introduced in 2003 by chemist Ralf Heim at the Free University of Berlin and since has continued to climb in popularity.
Batches of these drugs are bought from China by dealers over the internet. They are than cut with alcohol or some other liquid and put on blotter paper where they are sold to young people who continue to increase the use of the drug through word-of-mouth. Some studies warn these drugs are more dangerous than LSD and the NBOMe class has been linked to about 20 deaths.
4. Replacement Dissociatives
These are PCP-like chemicals, including various ketamine variants and methoxetamine. Ketamine is an anesthetic often used in hospitals as a pain killer and bronchodilator. Often ketamine can cause hallucinations causing a person to feel detached from the world around them.
5. Replacement Opioids
These include chemicals such as AH 7921 and U4770.
Kratom is a drug gaining immense popularity and is being ordered online and through local herbal shops. Kratom tropical deciduous and evergreen tree in the coffee family that has mood-lifting properties however with heavy usage can cause hallucinations and psychosis. The reactions to the drug vary dramatically and little is known about the dangers of using the drug long term. Palm Beach County has considered banning the substance however Kratum is still very legal in most of the United States. For now, the DEA lists Kratum as a “drug of concern” due to its abuse potential. Many countries like Thailand have banned the use of Kratum.
Overall, these “legal substitutes” seem to be risky alternatives and because they are legal, many assume that they are “safer” or more “natural” compared to the illegal drugs they are substituting. New policies continue to be implemented that ban these new psychoactive substances and it will continue get harder to have access to these drugs. Safety should always be the number one concern and just because these drugs are legal does not mean they are safe. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Come one, come all to the wacky world of this weeks crazy news stories. With 2015 still young, there is already plenty of crazy strange stuff to talk about. This week was pretty interesting, and some of these topics have been just too weird to miss.
Legal Drugs in Ireland for 48 Hours
A big story this week is surrounding the controversy of a loophole in Ireland that allowed for illicit narcotics to become inadvertently legalized.
The perpetrator behind this was actually the appeals court itself that invalidated one section of the Misue of Drugs Act 1977 when the court ruled that Irish governments had been unconstitutionally adding substances to Section 2 of the law for decades.
During this short period of time, it became legal to possess drugs like:
- Crystal methamphetamine
- Magic mushrooms and a whole bunch of other recreational drugs.
The original schedule of substances listed in the 1977 law — including cannabis, cocaine and heroin — were untouched by the appeals court ruling and remained illegal.
On Wednesday, lawmakers in Ireland rushed to close a loophole with an emergency legislation designed to re-instate the status quo ante and re-control all drugs that were controlled prior to this judgment. The emergency law was rushed through the Irish legislature and was signed by the President on Wednesday, meaning that the drugs would become illegal to possess again at midnight.
Stories have already began to flood in about what kind of weird and crazy world Ireland became while this loophole was in effect, and it is safe to assume that the officials and many residents are glad things have been put back in order… or at least what’s left after a bad trip.
Get High on… Grandpa?
Sometimes you just have to snort your grandpa, right? Well apparently 17 year old Devin Gesell from St. Peters, Missouri carried out a robbery with two unnamed, minor accomplices back in November and came pretty close. The accomplices were ages 15 and 16.
Gesell confessed to the crime, stating that he acted as lookout while his accomplices broke into the home of Debora Matthews’s and stole $825 in cash and more than $2,000 in various other items.
One thing they did not account for was a box full of powder. Unfortunately the boys mistook the powder for cocaine, and after tasting it realized that it was actually Matthews’s father’s ashes!
The thieves discarded the box on the highway after tasting it, but there’s another complicating factor: Matthews says the minors are related to her. Mathews stated,
“I’m very upset because of the minors. I mean, [they] were his grandsons. They did that to their grandfather. They didn’t even realize it was their grandfather’s ashes. I just couldn’t believe that they would take the ashes. But you know, they were kids, and, I guess, just stupid.”
Extra Green in the Avocados
Ever ask for extra avocado and get… marijuana? Me either… I guess it’s a special promotion or something, right?
Well not exactly… on March 4, staff at a cold storage facility in Lyons, Illinois alerted the Cook County Sheriff’s Office to what seemed like a “suspicious shipment” of more than one thousand boxes that had arrived with instructions for an “urgent pick-up,” according to a press release from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
But there was a little more than produce… authorities found more than a ton of marijuana inside a shipment of frozen avocado! While some of the boxes contained only frozen avocado pulp, others contained bricks of weed.
Altogether around 2,100 pounds of marijuana was confiscated, and currently there is an investigation into the origins of the mystery shipment with the secret ingredient.
Naked Woman Hunting Donuts
Truth, dare… or naked run around Dunkin Donuts?
One woman apparently chose dare, or at least that’s what she told police when she was arrested on an indecent exposure charge at a Florida Dunkin’ Donuts.
Employees at the West Palm Beach franchise stated that 32 year old Shakara Martin walked up to the storefront on Sunday, and wasn’t wearing a scrap of clothing. Martin sat down at a table outside the store and began chatting up a man who was sitting there. Things escalated when people started to complain and they had to call the authorities.
When police questioned Martin, she allegedly told them that she’d gotten naked as a sorority pledge stunt, but the sorority was not named. Martin was released from jail Monday on her own recognizance.
There are so far no reports that Martin has been banned from this particular Dunkin’ Donuts, but it should be noted that she did complete the dare, and that’s all that counts… right?
We all have our own stories that seem insane, but some stories don’t have the happiest endings, especially when drugs and alcohol become a fixture. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Treatment for Ketamine Addiction: What is Ketamine?
Ketamine, also called Special K, is popular especially amongst the club culture – ravers, or people who go to underground music festivals known as raves. To better understand what would make effective treatment for Ketamine addiction possible, it is important to know what this drug is and what it can do.
Ketamine is an anesthetic so it works by providing pain relief and sedation. It can induce a trance like state in the user, as well as memory loss. Common side effects include a number of psychological reactions, especially as the user “comes down.” These may include agitation, confusion and psychosis among others. Also, ketamine users commonly experience elevated blood pressure and muscle tremors; and sometimes, spasms of the larynx (throat) may occur.
Ketamine Addiction: Side Effects
- Cardiovascular: irregular heartbeat, slowing of heartbeat or speeding up of heartbeat, high blood pressure or low blood pressure
- Central nervous system: Ketamine is traditionally avoided in people with or at risk of intracranial hypertension (ICP) due to concerns about ketamine causing increased pressure on the brain.
- Dermatologic: rash
- Gastrointestinal: suppressed appetite, nausea, increased salivation, vomiting
- Neuromuscular and skeletal: jerking movements
- Ocular: double vision, increased pressure behind the eyes, rapid eye movement
- Respiratory: Airway obstruction, slowed breathing or suspended breathing
- Other: Anaphylaxis, dependence, emergence reaction: Emergence reactions manifest as vivid dreams, hallucinations, and delirium
The ingredients in Ketamine have been implicated in the emergency room visits and deaths of people who assumed they were taking pure MDMA, as it is often cut with it in a club drugs like Ecstasy.
Ketamine is classified as a dissociative like PCP and DXM and causes a sense of detachment from your physical body and the external world, which is known as depersonalization and derealization. At higher doses, users experience what is called the “K-hole,” which is a state of extreme dissociation accompanied by visual and auditory hallucinations
Treatment for Ketamine Addiction: Ketamine Withdrawals
With treatment for Ketamine addiction, knowing the withdrawals that can come from excessive Ketamine abuse is important to assisting with that transition.
Common symptoms include:
- Double vision
- Hearing loss
- Rapid breathing
- Loss of motor skills
- Loss of coordination
- Drug Cravings
- Loss of appetite
- Chills, sweating
- Restlessness, tremors
- Nightmares, anxiety, depression
- Irregular and rapid heartbeat
Treatment for Ketamine Addiction: Detox
As with most any treatment program, there will be a period of detox in treatment for Ketamine addiction. Detox is the part that most people are afraid to experience, which holds them back from getting the proper treatment, but with a medical detox program in treatment for Ketamine addiction there is often non-narcotic medication used to safely and comfortably wean individuals off of substances.
Trying to go ‘cold-turkey’ is never the easiest or safest way to try and get off any drug, and Ketamine is no exception. The medical staff is there to make sure that detox is completed in a healthy and effective process.
Treatment for Ketamine Addiction: Residential Rehab
After detox, which may last from 4 to 10 days depending on your progress, you will enter the next level of the program offered in treatment for Ketamine addiction. A detox program is too often misunderstood, and is typically not enough on its own to maintain lasting recovery.
Real recovery begins with the residential inpatient rehabilitation level of treatment for Ketamine addiction, called “rehab” for short. This can last anywhere from 30 days to a few months depending on your person recovery plan, which really is only a drop in the bucket compared to a lifetime. At the rehab level, individuals reside in a safe and comfortable environment where all basic needs will be met while they attend groups.
If you are addicted to Ketamine or any other substance, help is available. You can kick the habit and begin living the life you’ve always dreamed of living. Plenty of people have been in your shoes and now are living healthy and happy lives. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Author: Justin Mckibben
The fight against depression and other mental health and behavioral disorders if one that is constantly changing, and while new innovations are made offering new hope, some may appear more questionable, and maybe even more harmful than most others. Now there is a fast-acting antidepressant that supposedly works like the infamous club drug ketamine, and it is rumored to be able elevate an individual’s mood in just 24 hours according to researchers. Is this going to be a courageous leap in the right direction, or is the idea of comparing it to a club drug a little scary?
The Antidepressant Problem
Though this new drug is still in the early stages of development it does show promise for the treatment of a mental health disorder experienced by least 10 percent of American adults. This new experimental drug also is said to solve a significant problem with antidepressants currently on the market. At the moment all approved depression drugs can take up to a month to take effect on the patient, meaning patients must wait before feeling any significant relief from their condition.
Another problem is there is no ‘one-size-fits all’ antidepressant. Sometimes prescribing the right medication for an individual can be an issue of trial and error, and weeks of time may disappear while waiting for pharmaceutical benefit, which only further delays this process. While depression is often a long-term illness, there are shorter-term cases for which a month-long wait just doesn’t make sense, and may often be too late for some severe cases.
So the idea of an antidepressant that does not take so long to work could help people more quickly and expedite the drug selection process. Another issue is that doctors prescribe most patients an anti-anxiety medication from a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. Xanax, as an example, is one that is far from ideal as they only treat some symptoms, and are highly addictive.
Jefferey Talbot, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Roseman University of Health Sciences concluded that there hasn’t been a “fundamentally different antidepressant medication for decades, perhaps even 30 years.” Talbot explains that a new drug might actually be able to help those resistant to current therapies. Talbot is a member of the team researching this new drug, collaborating with researchers at Duquesne University and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
“They’re good drugs and they’re relatively safe and well tolerated, but they’re surprisingly ineffective in a large number of patients.”
What’s so Special K
Scientists worldwide have become increasingly interested in the idea of a fast-acting antidepressant, according to Talbot. Some teams even tried treating some depression patients with ketamine. The drug Katemine, or “Special K” by its street name, is a veterinary anesthetic that became a prominent recreational drug during the 1990’s rave scene because of its hallucinogenic properties.
“[Ketamine] provides anti-depressant relief in about 24 hours. But it has abuse potential and from a therapeutic standpoint, it doesn’t work well orally.”
Talbot says this ketamine research ultimately tipped off researchers to the idea that drugs “that act like it from a mechanistic standpoint” could have a similar therapeutic effect. That mechanism prevents the brain from breaking down three key neurotransmitters:
When these 3 chemicals are released into the brain, they are known to generate feelings of positivity and happiness. In brain science parlance, this mechanism is called “reuptake inhibition.” Most antidepressants on the market prevent the reuptake of one or two but not all three. So a ketamine-modeled solution that works on all three could be an absolute revelation! At this point, this medication has only been animal tested.
Talbot is quick to point out that his team isn’t the first to identify this drug or argue for its therapeutic potential, but thinks the real novelty identified in their research is that it provides both short-term and long-term relief. For patients, this would mean that the same drug addressing their symptoms almost immediately could also be used for long-term relief.
Dr. Peter Kramer, psychiatrist and faculty member of Brown Medical School who wrote Listening to Prozac in 1993, was a bit skeptical of the premise that a fast-acting antidepressant is watershed. Kramer acknowledges that current antidepressants typically take between two and four weeks to work fully. At the same time, says Kramer, some studies show that certain antidepressants can have minor impacts on mood within “three to four hours.” His book Listening to Prozac is said to be an astonishing and ground-breaking book that explored the philosophical ramifications of these types of drugs.
Another caution with dealing with the idea of fast-acting antidepressants: clinical depression is a class of mental illnesses that takes time in itself to diagnose and treat. A patient must feel “discouraged, sad, hopeless, unmotivated, or disinterested in life in general” for more than two weeks before a doctor can determine whether it’s merely a case of the blues or clinical depression, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Even with shorter-term cases the most effective method of treatment for any condition requiring medications includes psychotherapy. Of course it should be obvious that simply throwing pills at a serious problem like depression should not be the only answer for anyone. In 2008 a study showed that combination of the two factors of therapy can lead to quicker remission from chronic depression than either psychotherapy or medication alone. At the same time, one shouldn’t dismiss the possibility that fast relief from symptoms of depression could help an individual to forgo further treatment, and possibly avoid even more drastic effects like suicide, which remains the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
Regardless of the chemical origins of this medication, if it is a possibility to further the development of quicker forms of treating depression in order to change and maybe save lives. Still there may be some concern with the effects of ketamine chemicals being used, and how this drug may affect the mind of an addict. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135