Can You Shoot Alcohol?

Can You Shoot Alcohol?

When you shoot alcohol, it bypasses the metabolic processes in the stomach and is therefore introduced quickly to the central nervous system. Keep in mind that this is a dangerous practice.

I can’t really remember the last time I drank alcohol. Not because my memory is fuzzy, which from all the drug and alcohol abuse it is but, simply because I haven’t drank alcohol in a very long time. But I do remember the time I tried to shoot alcohol. Well, I should say, I remember the moments leading up to trying to shoot alcohol.

My quest for a high was quelled by heroin and cocaine. Don’t get me wrong, I used to drink. In fact, that’s how it all started for me: binge drinking on the weekends in high school. But, by the time I got to college, alcohol wasn’t “working” for me anymore. What I mean by that is, I only wanted to drink to get drunk but it seemed like my system was getting more and more sensitive to alcohol. It wasn’t your typical hangover, either. It’s like I developed an allergy to it. I couldn’t seem to drink enough to get drunk because the allergic reaction (headache, stomach ache) was uncomfortable enough to stop me from drinking any more.

Fast forward through discovering Tramadol, Vicodin, and Percocet and then graduating to IV heroin use. At this point, I am in full-on active addiction. Shooting heroin, cocaine, and crack on pretty much a daily basis. Alcohol? Pffft…child’s play.  I wasn’t at all interested in drinking because I had found my drugs of choice.

With my addiction was in full-swing, I would seek more and more drugs and combinations of drugs to achieve an even more intense high. One day in particular when I was already high on heroin and Xanax, I was eager to alter my state even more. I was home alone at my mom’s house and remembered she had an old bottle of brandy in one of the kitchen cabinets – she wasn’t a drinker either. I still wasn’t interested in drinking alcohol but I had heard that you could shoot alcohol. Desperate for a bigger fix, I drew up some of that in a needle and gave it a shot – no pun intended.

I can’t really say what happened next. I have no recollection. So, I guess it worked. It’s ironic though. You want to shoot alcohol to get a bigger buzz and you do but, you don’t get to remember it or even enjoy it. Instant blackout.

So, Can You Shoot Alcohol?

There really isn’t any chemical difference between drinking alcohol and injecting it. In both cases you have ethanol molecules flowing in your bloodstream. But there is a big difference in the time it takes to “hit you.” And because of the time difference you would need to be extremely careful in the amount injected. A mistake could be fatal.

Someone who is prone to doing drugs though IV use is more likely to try to shoot alcohol. This is because they have an addiction to the needle, itself. This was also the case for me: I was obsessed with what was in the needle but I was also obsessed with using a needle to administer my drugs.

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.examiner.com/

www.thefix.com

http://blogs.howstuffworks.com/

 

 

Hallucinogens in Addiction Treatment

Hallucinogens in Addiction Treatment

Treating Drug Abuse with…Drugs?

An up-and-coming approach to treating drug abuse is the use of hallucinogens in addiction treatment. Specifically, researchers are looking to Ibogaine, a natural hallucinogen that has been used for centuries in other parts of the world for ritual ceremonies. Currently, Ibogaine is being used in some European countries and Mexico for the treatment of drug addiction.

What are Hallucinogens?

Hallucinogenic compounds found in some plants and mushrooms (or their extracts) have been used—mostly during religious rituals—for centuries. Almost all hallucinogens contain nitrogen and are classified as alkaloids. Many hallucinogens have chemical structures similar to those of natural neurotransmitters. While the exact mechanisms by which hallucinogens exert their effects remain unclear, research suggests that these drugs work, at least partially, by temporarily interfering with neurotransmitter action or by binding to their receptor sites.

Using Hallucinogens in Addiction Treatment

Ibogaine, is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in plants. A hallucinogen with both psychedelic and dissociative properties, the substance is banned in some countries; in other countries it is being used to treat addiction to methadone, heroin, alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other drugs. Derivatives of ibogaine that lack the substance’s hallucinogenic properties are under development.

And scientists say Ibogaine might be the best way to break drug addicts of their habit.

Ibogaine has intrigued researchers since 1962, when Howard Lotsof, a student at New York University and an opiate addict, found that a single dose erased his drug cravings without causing any withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, the hallucinogen can increase the risk of cardiac arrest, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency lists it as a Schedule I substance, a classification for drugs like ecstasy and LSD with “no known medical value” and “high potential for abuse,” making it difficult to get federal funding to run clinical trials. That is, currently it is not legal to use hallucinogens in addiction treatment.

Animal tests have shown the drug’s medicinal promise. “Rats addicted to morphine will quit for weeks after receiving ibogaine,” says Stanley Glick, the director of the Center for Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience at Albany Medical College. And addicts have reported positive effects in Mexico and Europe, where ibogaine therapy is legal.

From the limited research, though, scientists have two theories about how the use of hallucinogens in addiction treatment works. Some say it’s purely biological—that ibogaine degrades into a compound that binds with opiate receptors in the brain to quiet cravings. Others believe that it is also psychological. Those who use hallucinogens report a change in perspective and outlook on life. Researchers believe that this aspect of the hallucination provides perspective on the negative aspects of drug use, and so the drug addict will strive to quit.

The Argument for the use of Hallucinogens in Addiction Treatment

Regardless of the mechanism, proving ibogaine works is essential to winning approval and funding for clinical trials of using hallucinogens in addiction treatment. And, in the U.S., the sooner the better: Nearly seven million Americans abuse illicit drugs, costing the nation an estimated $181 billion a year in health care, crime and lost productivity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.drugabuse.gov

http://www.popsci.com

www.wikipedia.org

Alcohol and Crohn’s Disease

Alcohol and Crohn's Disease

Alcohol and Crohn’s Disease

Alcohol can make the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) much worse. Inflammatory bowel disease is a group of conditions that lead to inflammation of the bowel. The most common form of an IBD is Crohn’s disease but there are other IBDs such as ulcerative colitis. Drinking alcohol moderately can help with the symptoms of an IBD but anything more than moderate drinking can actually make it much worse. Alcohol can also affect the medications that are used to treat the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. This is why most people with Crohn’s disease avoid alcohol completely.

Crohn’s Disease

Some of the symptoms of Crohn’s disease are:

  • Blood in the stool
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Ulcers in the intestine.
  • Peri-rectal abscesses
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Fistulas between the anus and rectum and the surrounding skin

The causes of Crohn’s Disease are still not sure. Crohn’s disease most likely develops due to a number of varying factors such as smoking. People who smoke cigarettes are twice as likely to develop Crohn’s disease as non-smokers. It also could have something to do with the immune system. Crohn’s disease seems to appear in people who have overactive immune systems. Crohn’s disease seems to also run in families which means it could be genetics. Getting an infection as a child could possibly lead to Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease seems to be appearing more in the western lifestyle too with it becoming more common since the 1950s.

Alcohol and Crohn’s Disease

Drinking alcohol actually my help some people who have Crohn’s disease. Why? It is not really understood or known but it is still not suggested that anyone with Crohn’s disease start drinking. People with Crohn’s disease who drink more than the moderate average of alcohol will definitely end up making the symptoms of their Crohn’s disease much worse. Not only that but drinking alcohol can stop the medications that those people with Crohn’s disease are prescribed from working. The medication that is prescribed to those with Crohn’s disease is meant to help control the condition, so not only will drinking large amounts of alcohol stop the medicine from working but it also could make the condition worse.

Anyone who has Crohn’s disease has to make certain lifestyle changes and this is why most people with Crohn’s disease decide not to drink alcohol at all, if they do they drink smart amounts of alcohol. People with Crohn’s disease also are careful of what they eat because certain foods such as spicy foods or foods high in fiber can make the symptoms of Crohn’s disease much worse.

There is no cure for Crohn’s disease so the whole point of treatment for the condition is to manage the symptoms. Crohn’s disease can be treated using medications, surgery and lifestyle changes such as not drinking alcohol. The surest bet and best bet for anyone with Crohn’s disease is to avoid alcohol all together. Making an entire lifestyle change is part of what comes with having Crohn’s disease.

Teenage Drinking 101

Teenage Drinking 101

Teenage Drinking 101

Alcohol is the most commonly abused drugs among teens. Studies show that when teens drink, they usually drink to excess. This is known as “binge drinking.” Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks in a sitting for men and four or more drinks in a sitting for women. The majority of teen drinkers drink to get drunk.

Teenage Drinking 101: Underage drinking is linked to risky behavior

About 5,000 kids under 21 die every year as a result of teenage drinking. Teens who participate in underage drinking are more likely to be the victims of sexual assault or violent crimes. They are more likely to slack on school work and be involved in drinking-related car crashes. Car crashes are the leading cause of death among people between the ages of 15 and 20. Teenage drinking also increases the risk that a young person will develop drug or alcohol addiction later in life.

Teenage Drinking 101: Brain development and other health risks

Recent studies suggest that the brain continues to develop through age 25. Teenage drinking can affect the brain’s development. Subtle changes in the brain may be difficult to detect but still have a significant impact on long-term thinking and memory skills. Also, the younger that someone begins drinking, the more likely they are to develop alcohol problems later in life.

Teenage Drinking 101: Alcohol and depression

Teenage drinking has been shown to exacerbate conditions like depression and anxiety. Alcohol is a factor in 300 teen suicides in a year. Teenage drinkers are twice as likely to have considered attempting suicide, and binge drinkers are four times as likely to have attempted suicide.

Teenage Drinking 101: Drinking and sexual activity

Teenage drinking increases the likelihood that teens will engage in sexually risky behavior. Higher drinking levels are linked to an increase in sexual activity. Also, the more a teen drinks, the more likely they are to have sex with multiple partners and fail to use birth control.

Teenage Drinking 101: Early age alcohol use

Kids are experimenting with alcohol at earlier ages than ever before. Today, the average age an American girl has her first drink is 13; for a boy, it’s 11. Some researchers think that later life addiction is more common in early drinkers because the impulse control centers are not yet developed in teen brains. In other words, teens are not able to make sound decisions. People who have their first drink at 14 or younger are six times more likely to develop alcohol problems.

Teenage Drinking 101: Binge drinking

Binge drinking, or drinking to excess, is very common in teen drinkers. Teens that engage in binge drinking risk overdose, especially when alcohol is combined with other drugs. Also, many people report engaging in high-risk behavior while binge drinking and especially during a blackout. A blackout is when a person loses memory of events that occurred while they were drunk. Teens in blackouts are much more likely to drive while intoxicated, get into fights, or engage in unprotected sex. Blackouts are a strong predictor of alcohol related emergency room visits.

Sources:

http://www.dontserveteens.gov/dangers.html

http://www.helpguide.org/harvard/alcohol_teens.htm

 

Why is alcohol addicting?

Why is alcohol addicting?

Why is alcohol addicting?

Alcohol is one of the most socially acceptable drugs out there today and has been since the beginning of alcohol. Because of this it can almost be referred to as one of the most dangerous drugs too. The scariest thing about alcohol being so socially accepted is the fact that it is also very addicting. Most people don’t realize the addictive potential of alcohol because people drink it with such impunity. The truth is alcohol is very addicting.

So why is alcohol addicting?

Alcohol affects the release of chemicals into the brain. The chemical it specifically affects are the “feel good” chemicals or chemicals that make us feel pleasure. The chemicals are: dopamine, endorphins, glutamate and GABA. Dopamine is the chemical in the brain which produces a sense of satisfaction or pleasure. Endorphins kill pain. Glutamate and GABA control messages between nerves in the brain.

What alcohol does to these chemicals that make it so addicting, is it slows the release of glutamate and GABA. Alcohol slows down the release of Glutamate and GABA which causes people to say and do things they often regret the next day. Despite these regrettable circumstances people return to drinking alcohol again and again. It is believed that alcohol is addicting more so due to the effects it has on the chemicals dopamine and the endorphins. This is because dopamine and endorphins are what produces the “tipsy” or “drunk” feeling when a person drinks. Dopamine and endorphins are released at a higher rate when alcohol is consumed making the drinker feel feelings of euphoria, pleasure etc. This makes them want to drink more alcohol.

Alcohol due to the effects on these chemicals also gives people a diminished sense of physical, mental, and emotional pain. Alcohol can give them a sense of courage to do something or say something they normally wouldn’t do because they feel better. It can ease tension and stress; make a person more cheerful, relaxed and hopeful too.

A person will normally consume alcohol because of the effects it produces and then eventually they will cross a line after drinking regularly for a long period of time that becomes alcohol dependence. When a person becomes addicted to alcohol they are now physically dependent and that means if they stop they will begin to experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Physical withdrawal symptoms from alcohol are very unpleasant and sometimes in severe cases can be fatal. A person becomes an alcoholic long after they are addicted to alcohol. An alcoholic is someone who has built a tolerance to alcohol meaning they need to drink more and more to achieve that same sense of well-being. This is due to the fact that they have conditioned their brain to think a higher amount of dopamine and endorphins they release is normal. This means they have to drink more in order to release the amount of chemicals needed to “feel good.”  An alcoholic also continues to seek out this feel good feeling due to alcohol despite all the negative consequences in their life. Alcohol begins to consume their life and thoughts all day, every day.

In general alcohol is addicting initially because of the way it makes people “feel good”, and eventually wanting to feel good leads down a dark road of dependence and alcoholism.

 

 

I think my mom or dad is using drugs. What do I do?

Parent Drug Abuse

Parent Drug Abuse

Having a parent addicted to drugs can be devastating. You feel helpless, you want to help, but you don’t know how. The problem is compounded when you are still living at home, under your parents care, but even adults can be at a loss when they discover that a parent is using drugs.

If you are under 18 and still living in your parents’ home, you should talk to someone immediately when you think your mom/dad is using drugs. Seek out someone you trust like a family member, neighbor, or teacher, and tell them that you think your mom/dad is using drugs.

It is important to know that if you think your mom/dad is using drugs, it is not your fault, and you are not responsible for fixing them or covering up for them. Telling the truth about your mom/dad using drugs can be the best way for them to finally admit the problem themselves and get help.

If you think your mom/dad is using drugs, you may want to seek out support at groups like Alateen. These meetings provide help for teens that have a family member using drugs. Sometimes the best help you can give a family member using drugs is to get help yourself.

It is becoming more and more common for adult children to discover their mom/dad is using drugs. The prescription pill epidemic has resulted in people outside the usual “addict demographic” to abuse drugs.  Abuse of mind-altering prescription drugs by Americans 50 and older is projected to triple by 2020, according to a recent study. Empty nest syndrome, medical problems, deaths of close friends and family-these are all reasons why your mom/dad may start abusing drugs late in life.

If you think your mom/dad is using drugs, you may want to be on the lookout for certain signs of drug abuse like frequent falls, an unkempt appearance, sleeping all day, frequently misplaced items such as keys and disinterest in activities they used to enjoy.

The best thing you can do if you think your mom/dad is using drugs is get help yourself. Go to Alanon meetings or support groups. They will be the best resource for you if you think your mom/dad is using drugs. Alanon and other support groups can advise you on how to find help for your mom/dad, how to confront them about the problem, what to do if they refuse to get help, how to help them without enabling them, and they can give you vital emotional support.

It is important not to enable your mom/dad if you think they are using drugs. It can be the worst thing you could do for them and it can prevent them from getting help. Often, family members who think they are helping enable an addict to continue using drugs for far longer than they would’ve been able to if they weren’t being enabled. Most addicts who make a decision to change toward a path of recovery reached a point when they realized that their life was unmanageable or intolerable – when they literally could not continue in the way they had been and live. Enabling an addict allows them to have a life that is not only tolerable but may be pretty enjoyable. This is why enabling an addict actually prevents them from getting better.

Barbiturates Use

Barbiturates are part of a class of drugs known as sedative-hypnotics. They are “downers”- central nervous system depressants. Barbiturates were very popular in the 60’s and 70’s and were mostly abused to reduce anxiety, decrease inhibitions, and treat unwanted effects of illicit drugs.

Barbiturates are very dangerous, and have a high potential for overdose, particularly when mixed with alcohol and other drugs. They are also highly addictive and have potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. For these reasons, barbiturates have fallen out of favor with the medical community, and are only very rarely used for medical purposes. Benzodiazepines have largely replaced barbiturates in the medical community. They are really only used in general anesthesia, for epilepsy, and for assisted suicide.

Predictably, the rates of barbiturate use and abuse has declined dramatically since these medications have been either pulled off the market or are just not prescribed anymore.  The exception is possibly high school students. A new study suggests that the rate of abuse among high school students may have risen slightly in the last ten years. Barbiturates are abused commonly to counteract the effects of other drugs (i.e. to come down from uppers like cocaine and methamphetamine) or in suicide attempts. The reason barbiturates are used so often in suicide attempts is that there is no direct antidote to barbiturates. Overdose can only be treated by supportive measures, which is another reason that barbiturate use is so dangerous.

Barbiturates can be injected into the veins or muscles, but they are usually taken in pill form.  Alcohol use and barbiturate use have a similar action on the brain, so the symptoms of barbiturate intoxication are similar to being drunk. In smaller doses, a person feels drowsy and uninhibited. In larger doses, barbiturate use results in staggering, slurred speech, and confusion.

One drug that is still very popular and widely prescribed is Soma (generic name: carisoprodol). Soma is not a true barbiturate. It is a skeletal muscle relaxant. However, in the liver, Soma is metabolized into meprobamate.   Meprobamate has most of the pharmacological effects and dangers of the barbiturates (though it is less sedating at effective doses).  Soma is a very common drug of abuse in the United States and also fairly easy to get. Up until 2010, it wasn’t even classified as a controlled substance. After receiving reports of abuse, dependence, and overdose, however, Soma was added to the list of narcotics. Like true barbiturates, Soma is most often used to counter-act the effects of other drugs (i.e. uppers) or to enhance the effect of other drugs (i.e. alcohol opiates). Soma causes drowsiness, giddiness, and relaxation, especially in doses that are higher than prescribed.  Although it is becoming more well-known, most doctors are still unaware of the addictive and abuse potential of Soma. Among drug addicts, however, the use of Soma as a recreational drug is pretty well known. Like barbiturate use, Soma use can cause overdose fairly easily, particularly if combined with other central nervous system depressants like benzodiazepines or alcohol.

Top 10 Abused Drugs in 2012

Top 10 Abused Drugs in 2012
Top 10 Abused Drugs in 2012

Drug abuse in 2012 is at an all-time high in the United States. More people than ever before are seeking treatment for addiction and the number of drug-related arrests have been steadily increasing over the last few years. More people than ever are using illicit drugs, and abuse of prescription drugs has reached an epidemic level. Here is a list of the top 10 abused drugs in 2012.

1.) Alcohol: Alcohol continues to be the number one drug abused in the US. With over half the US population identified as current drinkers, it is by far the most common drug of abuse in 2012. Alcohol is more socially acceptable than other drugs because of its legality. Unfortunately, this causes many to forget that alcohol is also responsible for more deaths in the United States than any other drug. Alcohol abuse is linked to traffic fatalities, violence, cirrhosis, liver failure, and permanent brain damage.

2.) Nicotine: The primary ingredient in tobacco is the second most abused drug in 2012. One quarter of Americans are current tobacco users. The use of tobacco has become less common in the US over the last decade, but it is still one of the most abused drugs in the US.

3.) Marijuana: Marijuana continues to be the number one abused illicit drug in 2012. Most Americans do not view marijuana as a dangerous drug, but its use has been linked to memory impairment, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, mental illness, and traffic fatalities.

4.) Prescription drugs: Treatment for prescription drug abuse and addiction has increased 300% since 2005. The CDC has called prescription drug abuse in 2012 an “epidemic.” Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States. Painkillers like oxycodone are the most commonly abused prescription drug in 2012.

5.) Cocaine: Although cocaine use has decreased from the epidemic level observed in the 80’s, cocaine remains one of the most abused drugs in 2012. The quick but intense high of cocaine abuse results in severe psychological dependence and intense drug craving.

6.) Inhalants: Inhalants are becoming one of the more and more commonly abused drugs in 2012 because they are easy to get (they are sold over the counter) and they are relatively cheap. Users inhale toxic chemicals in order to get high. The most common are shoe polish, glue, gasoline, spray paint, cleaning fluid, “poppers,” and nitrous oxide. Inhaling chemicals is very dangerous, overdose and death can happen on first use.

7.) Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine is popular in rural United States because it is cheap, easy to manufacture at home, and requires no special equipment or expertise. Illicit methamphetamine abuse in 2012 is also at one of the highest levels since the 60’s. It is one of the most abused drugs in 2012.

8.) Ecstasy: Ecstasy is the 8th most abused drug in 2012. It is the club drug of choice among young people in the US. It is used for the feeling of euphoria and closeness with others. However, even short-term use can cause severe depression, muscle tension, chills, blurred visions, faintness, teeth clenching, sweating, and nausea.

9.) Hallucinogens: Hallucinogens can include a number of drugs including LSD, PCP, psilocybin mushrooms, and ketamine. In this class, LSD is the most abused drug in 2012. The effects of LSD are very unpredictable, and can cause psychosis.

10.) Heroin: Last on or list of the most abused drugs in 2012, is heroin. Made from the resin of poppy plants, heroin is highly addictive and withdrawal is excruciating. Once considered the ultimate drug addiction, heroin has taken a backseat to prescription painkillers which have similar effects and are more readily available in some parts of the US.