Author: Justin Mckibben
Let’s talk about Pokémon Go, why not? Considering literally everyone else in the world is, why shouldn’t we get in on the action? Ever since this new phenomenon has hit the streets in the form of an interactive smartphone app that is quickly consuming the lives of customers all over America there have been some pretty intense stories. It seems the game is probably one of the most instantaneously addictive things on the market right now, so of course it brings to mind previous conversations on:
I can personally say I was pretty amused when my roommate stumbled out of his room at 2 AM in his underwear chasing invisible creatures through the apartment via his phone like a mad man…
Apparently, there is some rare breed of something hiding in my closet… but I digress…
People have become obsessed overnight with this game. It seems any time you walk into a room with anyone around the age of… being alive… you are going to be an obstacle in their mission of hunting some pixelated Pokémon. Some people are worried about how obsessed people have become. Others insist it has done wonders for their mental health. So I wanted to take a look at some of these interesting theories.
What is it?
Essentially Pokémon Go is a game based on a Nintendo-owned franchise that was especially popular in the late 1990’s. This new smartphone game uses a phone’s GPS and clock to detect where and when people are in the game. Then it makes Pokémon “appear” around you.
No, not literally… but you can see them through your phone camera on the screen… so basically real life, right?
The idea is to go and catch them. Different and more types of Pokémon will appear depending on where you are and what time it is.
First let us say that many of these claims can’t be fully legitimized at this time. However, Twitter users seem confident in what they see happening with others and experiencing themselves regarding mental health and Pokémon Go. One Twitter user put it as:
“Pokémon Go is literally making people with depression and anxiety and agoraphobia leave the house and explore and socialize.”
Which when you examine the nature of the game does actually make some sense. Pokémon Go requires users to go into the outside world and explore to find Pokémon and items.
Many players have said that the game gives them an incentive to get out of the house and be active. It inspires some to exercise and spend time outdoors, while having fun and interacting with others. Now if you look at it this way, how could it not do some good for mental health?
I honestly had to wonder this myself when the game was first announced. As I watched co-workers and friends wonder aimlessly through parking lots and gather together to share their latest catches, I figured this was giving us a new way to get outside more and get active with one another. Maybe it’s not so bad, right?
Then there is the argument of if the trade-off is worth it for having teens and young adults yet again dragged too deep into their phones. This concern also makes sense to me. If you have this new obsession with constantly striving to “catch em all” then how will your personal relationships and responsibilities suffer? I don’t know anyone personally, but you can be sure a few people have already lost their jobs or blown off their dates to chase Pikachu around a grocery store.
Pokémon Related Injury
This is one side-effect I definitely saw coming, but I was not aware of the magnitude that it might manifest in. Already Pokémon– related injuries are being reported all over the country. So many people have admitted in social media forums that they completely forgot where they were, dropping all focus on their surroundings.
One Reddit user’s story has made the rounds online about ending up in the ER on night after falling into a ditch and fracturing bones in their foot 30 minutes into playing the game. There are even accounts of drivers getting into traffic accidents because they were playing the game out the window while driving.
To be fair, the makers of the game did make a warning to be aware of surroundings.
Risky Rocket Business
This should be taken as a serious warning if nothing else. The game has been notably misused already. Police in O’Fallon, Missouri have reported four people suspected of armed robberies involving Pokémon Go. The suspects reportedly placed beacons, which are a feature available in the game to interact with the surroundings, to lure people to their locations where they robbed them. 11 teenagers have been mugged this way so far, according to this initial report.
So #TeamRocket is becoming an actual thing… and they are freaking people out. Is this gaming addiction really that serious? Do people really need to risk their lives, or the lives of others, for these imaginary monsters?
Most Addictive App Ever?
Some are already calling Pokémon Go the most addictive gaming app ever. It has experienced a number of technical issues since its launch, including server crashes and other issues. Still, for a FREE gaming app with all this hype, it is doing pretty well for itself. Looking back there was Pokémon Blue and other titles for the franchise. People have been working their way up to this all along.
The question remains- what could this do for people’s mental health? If it really is that addictive, what consequences will it reap on those who have a tendency of taking things too far? Will we see a spike in gaming addiction and obsessive behaviors? Or will it actually have a mixed impact as it lures people out of their homes and into their communities. Some surprising testimonies have told how random strangers in a community come together, united over the teams they choose and to make strategies for how to play.
So next time you see someone blindly following their phone into on-coming traffic… maybe they are just trying to track down a Evee or a Squirtle? Maybe you should save them from themselves and keep them on the sidewalk… or some of you will probably hope to have the Pokémon to yourself… FOR SHAME!
Addiction can involve behaviors not related to taking drugs or drinking excessively. You can be addicted to the internet, gaming, gambling, sex, eating, or any other behavior that is causing problems in your life, such as destroying relationships, your health, or interfering with your job. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call us at 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Last week we started to talk about how people have a history of trying some pretty crazy stuff to try and catch a buzz. Not every drug user gets quite this crazy or quite this gross, but if there’s a name for it than enough people have tried getting high off it enough to call it something. Here are 10 crazy and gross ways people get high or drunk, edition number 2.
In parts of Africa there a desperate heroin addicts who have resorted to injecting each other’s blood in order to get high. In an effort to piggy-back off of someone else’s high, one will shoot up heroin, wait a few moments, and then actually draw their own blood and inject it into another user. This probably doesn’t help the AIDS epidemic in the country, but hey… what are friends for?
In Argentina, Peru and Chile one popular drug had gotten the name Paco or ‘Cocaine Paste’, and is consumed primarily by the poor because of its low price, but the low price is because it is basically the accumulated leftovers from the preparation of cocaine, and includes random ingredients such as:
- Sulphuric acid
- Steel Wool
- Shards of glass
Sounds almost like someone scraped together stuff from the floor of a garage and smokes it from a pipe.
Dimethyltryptamine is found in many species of plants and is often used in South American shamanistic practices. One common hallucination experienced is seeing “Machine Elves” or otherworldly hallucinations of fractal humanoid beings. One common theory is that this drug is responsible for most of the alien abduction reports people have experienced. Thanks ET.
- Drinking Urine
In Siberia there are various tribes that use the Fly Agaric Mushroom as a psychedelic element in rituals, but the use of this mushroom is restricted to the shamans so that they may achieve a trance state. Because this mushroom has the ability to maintain its psychotropic capabilities even after passing through the digestive system, the other tribes memebers will actually drink the shamans urine in order to get the same psychedelic experience. So that’s why shaman never flush? Gross.
- The Booze Carrier
The soviet military nicknamed the supersonic bomber Tupolev TU-22 “Blinder”, which was built back in the 1960’s by the USSR, the “Booze Carrier.” Each plane carried 450 liters of pure grain alcohol for its hydraulic and de-icing systems, so needless to say the ground crew members found every excuse to dip into the planes stashes. Guess they didn’t pass out those miniature bottles of booze on these flights.
- Umm Nyolokh
The people of Sudan actually found an inventive way to catch a trip. The liver and bone marrow of giraffes is used to make a compound called Umm Nyolokh, which is believed to contain some amount of psychoactive components. Apparently people eat the contents to catch a quick buzz. I guess giraffes are the experts on getting high.
The combination of codeine cough syrup and mountain dew or sprite is typically called Sizzurp AKA ‘Purple Drank’. This is one most people know of, as it was popularized in rap music as early as the 1990’s. Since it became such a hot topic, many stories have circulated about rappers being hospitalized or even dying as a result of the overconsumption of codeine.
There are audio files or ‘iDose’ that are strangely speculated as to having the ability to get someone high using the binaural beats that can play around with the sensor in your brain. Supposedly it can be slipped into any kind of music, and there is some scientific truth to the effects of mood and relaxation, but claims that using certain frequencies to get high seems a little too much. Turn down for what?
Dramamine is a motion sickness relief medication that comes in a chewable formula, and often people use this medication when traveling. Apparently overdosing on this medication causes a euphoric and/or hallucinogenic state. This kind of abuse became popular among teenagers due to the fact it is legal and cheap over the counter.
This last one has gotten a lot of attention in the past year as it started to make its way to America. Originally heroin addicts in Russia who got desperate enough turned to desomorpine, which is often cooked in a home using OTC codeine and an assortment of cheap chemicals like paint thinner.
The use of Krokodil causes dark and scaly skin, surrounding the tissue there is often abscess and rot to the point when the drug eats away the skin until it falls off. This drug is so crazy and so gross, that doctors say it’s the hardest addiction to treat, and the life expectancy once someone is addicted is estimated at only 1-2 years! Talk about a buzz-kill.
The purpose of this blog is to be entertaining and informative. Here at Palm Partners, we know that addiction is a disease and not a choice. Therefore, addicts and alcoholics will take desperate measures to support their habit, even if it means doing things they never thought they’d do. If you are stuck in this kind of situation or you know someone else who is, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
The practice of “consuming” digital drugs is known as “i-dosing.” Companies like i-Doser are at the forefront of this new trend of “drugs” in which a team of sound technicians create various so-called digital drugs that are created with the intention of evoking specific experiences in the user that can be described as “euphoric highs.” Basically, digital drugs are what are known as binaural beats, which are two toned beats that are meant to create a third sound that can alter brain waves as well as the mental state of the user, leading to feeling high.
Usually in the form of MP3s, they can run as much as $3 to $5 a “dose.”
The intention of digital drugs is to get you high by listening to intentionally-designed tones of sound. Because of this effect, some might argue that digital drugs are no different than other types of drugs that come in the form of potions, powders, and plants that can be consumed in the more literal sense.
Digital Drugs: Harmful or Therapeutic?
The idea of a digital drug might be met with skepticism, but the Saudi government is taking it extremely seriously. Arab News reports that three government agencies: The National Commission for Drug Control, the Directorate General for Drug Control, and the Communications Authority have come together to combat the use of digital drugs, with some researchers advising that “binaural beats” can be addictive and even dangerous.
So far, digital drugs have been in use in neighboring countries, such as the more-cosmopolitan Lebanon, but no cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia as of yet. The joint commission doesn’t want to see digital drugs becoming an issue for their citizens and have been discussing preventative measures.
Saudi Arabia has some of the harshest drug laws in the world, with the sale of narcotics almost always resulting in the death penalty. The country is taking a typically hard stance on any potential dangers of digital drugs.
Abdullah Al-Sharif, secretary-general of the National Commission for Drug Control, told Arab News: “The three parties have held urgent meetings to study this type of drug” and expressed a desire to “curb the spread of this scourge.” Binaural beats have been around in the West for a while, but with mixed reports on whether or not you can catch a legitimate buzz.
However, Al-Sharif clearly believes in the strength of digital drugs and is doing everything within his power to prevent his country becoming zombified by sound.
Digital Drugs: Harmful or Therapeutic?
Those who are using digital drugs will sit totally still in the dark listening to i-dosing tracks. The truth is the use of binaural beats has been used in therapeutic settings for a long time. For instance, digital drug – binaural beats – might help with issues such as ADHD, sleep problems, anxiety, and addiction.
Another argument “for” the use of binaural beats as a form of therapy rather than a potential harm when it comes to addiction treatment is that, sound isn’t an actual substance. In the world of recovery, the general consensus is that one must abstain from all mood- or mind-altering substances.
Although it can be argued that digital drugs such as binaural beats are used for the purpose of altering one’s state, 12 step fellowships recognize that the use of other treatments and therapies, such as psychotherapy and even antidepressants, can be important addictions to someone’s program of recovery, supplementing their step work for a better chance at success at staying clean and sober.
If you are struggling with substance abuse or addiction and have tried several different treatments but can’t seem to “get it,” or if this is your first attempt at getting sober, Palm Partners offers a novel approach to treatment, combining many different therapies and recovery coaching to set you up for success. Call toll-free today at 1-800-951-6135.
Author: Justin Mckibben
Silk Road was originally an internet black market used for digital drug dealing to be utilized for people to make massive sales and purchases without having to take the average dealers risk of riding around with large quantities of narcotics in their car, or meeting in shady alleys.
While the first Silk Road was shut down some time ago following an extensive investigation and the operator arrested, there was a new version that went online and active to take up the mantel, which has thankfully been put to an end as soon as possible.
The end of the line came up relatively quickly for Silk Road 2.0, a secretive online drugs marketplace created and modeled after the original “Amazon.com of drugs”. The plug was recently pulled on the second generation Silk Road 2.0. Today, the FBI announced they’ve put a swift and effective end to the second installment of the illicit drugs website, and taken its alleged owner, 26-year-old Blake Benthall, into custody.
The Illicit Legacy
The illegal Dark Web, which is only accessible by volunteer-operated encrypted networks like Tor, always attracts many “freedom-loving” types including libertarians, hackers and anarchists, as well as criminals of all kinds looking to make a change to their own enterprises through a ‘safer’ forum.
When the FBI arrested Ulbritch in 2013 he was placed in custody and faced trial on charges including narcotics trafficking, money laundering, computer hacking, and even conspiracy to commit murder.
During the brief absence of Silk Road rival marketplaces such as Agora and Evolution continued to operate. Agora quickly became the new standard for online drug transactions. Its main competitor, Black Market Reloaded, was shut down in November 2013 after its source code was leaked. After that, Sheep was the main competitor until it too went under—and stole a treasure in users’ bitcoin.
A big part of Black Market Reloaded’s success came from its willingness to sell lethal weapons, including dynamite and other explosives. Silk Road had no objection to offering a wide range of merchandise, but that site drew the line at weapons.
Passing the Torch
Silk Road 2.0 developed and went viral within a matter of weeks after owner Ross Ulbritch, known by the online alias “Dread Pirate Roberts,” was arrested in October of last year. Benthall, who is known online as “Defcon,” began operating Silk Road 2.0 that December, only a month after the site was launched by a co-conspirator who remains un-identified at this time. Given the nature of the crime and the collective evidence against “Defcon” the charges against Benthall could carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Ross “Dread Pirate Roberts” Ulbritch had initially created Silk Road as a way to try and avoid the dangers typically associated with the sale and trafficking of illegal narcotics. Ulbritch’s end-game was to transform an infamously violent industry into a safe online marketplace for safe and lucrative business by removing the risk of face-to-face transactions with what he called “humanity’s first truly free, anonymous, unbiased marketplace.”
Transactions through this kind of Dark Web black-market style sites are made using Bitcoins and the websites operate in the shady areas of the Internet that are not indexed and therefore not easily obtainable by standard search engines. Other illicit services that were sold through this class of websites included everything from hacking-tools to hit-men.
The Investigation Information
According to the information collected during the investigation it was recorded that as of this past September, prosecutors claim that Silk Road 2.0 was generating at least an astounding $8 million a month. Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement:
“Let’s be clear – this Silk Road, in whatever form, is the road to prison.”
Benthall has entered a plea of not guilty as of this point. He is currently scheduled for trial in New York in January. In the meantime, many are wondering if this only means we will be expecting these hackers and digital drug dealers to upgrade their systems and strategies, and if so how long until we see the arrival of Silk Road 3.0.
While the digital age of drug dealing presents new problems for those who are fighting the war on drugs, it also presents a new problem for those struggling to overcome the disease of addiction. There have been several developments on how social media and the Dark Web intend to make drug dealing as easy as a download, but that puts more who have drug problems at even greater risk. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
I have been writing a lot lately on the dangers we are now facing as a society in this digital age. The “Generation D” faces a lot of issues that are unique to this time-period, as more and more technology develops. Websites and even Instagram accounts are used to sell drugs, and now there has been some effort to trace which nations deal most in what.
The infamous “Dark Web” also called the “Deep Web” is the like the Amazon.com or Ebay.com for illicit goods, accessibly only through backdoor software and encrypted networks, where your skilled hacker and other tech-smart individuals can get their hands on all types of illegal merchandise, and have it priority mailed with total anonymity.
What is the “Dark Web”
The first time many people heard of the infamous “Dark Web”, which is the entire area of the Internet compiled of sites that cannot be accessed via standard search engines, and requires a little more skill, was when “Silk Road” was taken down around a year ago. “Silk Road” was at the time history’s most notorious online flea market for illegal substances, and apparently an estimated $1.2 billion business model. The illusive internet drug kingpin who ran it went by the name “Dread Pirate Roberts“, who eventually was revealed to be Ross William Ulbricht. This 29-year-old University of Texas graduate allegedly responsible for mass amounts of online drug trafficking plead not guilty to several charges last month and is due to stand trial this coming November.
Through sites like these people can find everything that would otherwise be a bit of a bother to get ahold of. You can get something as simple as a fake ID, or even guns, but the most common currency here on the cyber-marketplace is drugs. Since the “Silk Road” was dismantled by the FBI last year, many people expected the digital drug market to die off. Unfortunately new internet market-places have stepped in to corner that market. With names like “Silk Road 2” it seems they definitely intended to fill the gap, but they will be looking at the same kind of crackdown once the site is infiltrated. While dealers remain anonymous, so far that has not proven to be to foolproof.
Though drugs on the “Dark Web” are sold anonymously, Vocative.com found a way to remarkably sort and categorize each drug dealer through the locations from which items are shipped, which allowed them to compile some graphs which illustrate which countries many of these narcotic products originate in, and which countries have more of a reputation for specific substances as far as this market goes.
Now these numbers are not exact, and the statistics do not include all of the other illegal drug deals happening off of the internet around the world. This is not meant to show who should take the most credit, but it does raise an eyebrow as to how this type of trade is effective in several different countries, and in which nation are websites like these taken advantage of most.
What Countries Sold What
Again, this data is not absolutely complete. First one has to keep in mind these numbers are made assuming each online vendor is being truthful about where he or she is shipping from, and that’s impossible to double-check. Second, the numbers show the number of listings, not sales. So for example if one “Dark Web” drug dealer may actually have 100 listings but 0 sales, while another might have one listing and 100 sales.
The Netherlands turns out to be the number one seller of MDMA, with Germany close behind.
MDMA- number of listings
- Netherlands- 470
- Germany- 211
Athough Amsterdam is known for pot, it seems Uncle Sam is still on top of the marijuana game because the Unite States is shipping more than twice as much marijuana as its nearest competitor.
Marijuana- number of listings
- USA- 935
- Germany- 478
- Netherlands- 313
As if we need another reason to be #1 America is also first place for shipping LSD, the UK struggling to keep up.
LSD- number of listings
- USA- 294
- United Kingdom- 226
- Germany- 181
America also has bragging rights for shipping the most cocaine with the Netherlands not far off our heels.
Cocaine- number of listings
- USA- 315
- Netherlands- 258
- United Kingdom- 174
With these kinds of drug dealers free to act on their own ventures unchecked for a time, there is no real way of tracing every deal and every package shipped, which is probably what continues to make this issue one that is most disconcerting. If we cannot even begin to trace the drugs back to their original nation, how will the authorities ever trace the dealers? Then again it would not be the first time online dealers got clever, got confident, and then got caught.
In any nation, anyone can be affected by the disease of addiction. Illicit drugs can be found in every corner of any country, some drugs more often than others, but addicts suffer the same across the board. Global awareness and effort is being made to try and make a change, but in the life of an addict there may not be much time left. There is a way to save your life, and you don’t have to cross the world to do it. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.