“It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Colombia is the world’s biggest producer of cocaine, providing around 80 percent of the whole planet’s supply. In true entrepreneurial spirit, mom and pop coke shops, or “kitchens,” pepper the countryside, churning out 345 tons of the white stuff last year alone. As a commercially-minded fellow who understands the pitfalls of a consumer-driven culture and the importance of production, I decided to spend a day as an apprentice with a cook in the Colombian village of San Agustin.”
Morphine, an opium extract, was used as a painkiller and sedative, and sometimes a poison.
The continuing overmedication of the world.
Two graduate students who had no symptoms of mental illness wondered if she thought they should take a powerful schizophrenia drug each had been prescribed to treat insomnia.
Those Georgetown students exemplify a trend that alarms medical experts, policymakers and patient advocates: the skyrocketing increase in the off-label use of an expensive class of drugs called atypical antipsychotics. Until the past decade these 11 drugs, most approved in the 1990s, had been reserved for the approximately 3 percent of Americans with the most disabling mental illnesses, chiefly schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; more recently a few have been approved to treat severe depression.
Here are some highlights of the article:
1. Atypical antipsychotics are being prescribed by psychiatrists and primary-care doctors to treat a panoply of conditions for which they have not been approved, including anxiety, attention-deficit disorder, sleep difficulties, behavioral problems in toddlers and dementia.
2. In the past few years major drugmakers have paid more than $2 billion to settle lawsuits brought by states and the federal government alleging illegal marketing; some cases are still being litigated, as are thousands of claims by patients. In 2009 Eli Lilly and Co. paid the federal government a record $1.4 billion to settle charges that it illegally marketed Zyprexa through, among other things, a “5 at 5 campaign” that urged nursing homes to administer 5 milligrams of the drug at 5 p.m. to induce sleep.
3. In 2010 antipsychotic drugs racked up more than $16 billion in sales. For the past three years they have ranked near or at the top of the best-selling classes of drugs, outstripping antidepressants and sometimes cholesterol medicines.
4. “Antipsychotics are overused, overpriced and oversold,” said Allen Frances, former chair of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine
Great article that goes more into detail about doctors prescribing medications for disorders that the medications have not been approved to treat. Take a few minutes and read it.
You may have heard recently that ketamine, an anesthetic medication, may be a promising treatment for depression. There have been no new drugs that treat depression in a unique way in decades, but ketamine works in a different way in the brain than traditional antidepressants.
Ketamine blocks a chemical called glutamate in the brain, which is different from the action of many antidepressants. Most antidepressants work on the neurotransmitters, of which serotonin is the most well known. Ketamine can help put a patient to sleep for surgery or relieve a patient who is in pain by placing them in a kind of trance called ‘dissociative anesthesia’. For this reason, the drug can also be abused, helping those who wish to leave reality; the drug can also cause hallucinations similar to PCP.
Magic mushrooms are said to blow your mind, but the hallucinogenic chemical psilocybin, the active ingredient, actually reins in key parts of the brain, according to two new studies.
The memorably vivid emotional experiences reported by mushroom users may flourish because the parts of the brain suppressed by psilocybin usually keep our world view tidy and rational.
And since the brain area affected by psilocybin can also be out of whack in mental health problems such as depression, the researchers speculate that the drug may turn out to be useful in treating mental illness.
The studies are among the first to use brain imaging to take a peek at the brain on psilocybin.
"Depression can be described as a particularly restrictive state of mind," Carhart-Harris told Shots. "People are stuck on how terrible they are. This seems to suggest that people can have a lifting of that negative thinking under psychedelics."
Interesting to see mushrooms, ecstasy, and LSD back in therapeutic use.
In 30 states, unintentional overdoses have surpassed motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of unintended death.
In the year 2010, 7 people died every day in Florida from prescription drug overdoses.
Some designer drugs legal, but just as dangerous as ecstasy
Drugs that cause a serotonin spike have a particularly longer-lasting impact, with the brain only returning to about 50 percent normal after repeated use.
This short film describes a scenario in which chemical cells are developed as a medical technology. The earliest generation of chemical cells are nothing more than a simple drug-delivery mechanism but successive generations accumulate more of the properties of natural cells until the fifth generation which is considered to be fully alive.
By: James King
The “Just Say No” generation was often told by parents and teachers that intelligent people didn’t use drugs. Turns out, the adults may have been wrong.
A new British study finds children with high IQs are more likely to use drugs as adults than people who score low on IQ tests as children.
Researchers discovered men with high childhood IQs were up to two times more likely to use illegal drugs than their lower-scoring counterparts. Girls with high IQs were up to three times more likely to use drugs as adults.
"We suspect they may be more open to new experiences and are more sensation seeking."
Nicotine appears to be a potent “gateway” drug that enhances the effects of cocaine and possibly boosts the chances of becoming addicted, researchers reported Wednesday in a landmark paper on drug addiction.
The mice whose brains had been exposed to nicotine responded differently to the cocaine (exhibiting more characteristics of addiction) compared to mice who weren’t exposed first to nicotine. Reversing the order of the drugs by exposing mice to cocaine first then nicotine had no such effect on behavior.
Use of psychedelic mushrooms led to higher openness scores on personality tests, and the changes lasted up to a year. Keep in mind these are controlled scenarios and nobody is advising anybody to go out and buy mushrooms. Read it in its entirety.
Users who had a “mystical experience” while taking the drug showed increases in a personality trait dubbed “openness”, one of the five major traits used in psychology to describe human personality. Openness is associated with imagination, artistic appreciation, feelings, abstract ideas and general broad-mindedness. None of the other four traits – extroversion, neuroticism, agreeableness and conscientiousness – was altered.
[Participants] were told to lie on a sofa with their eyes covered and listen to music while focusing on an “inner experience”.
Their personalities were screened after each drug session and also about a year later. Of the 51, 30 had a mystical experience, after which their openness scores rose, and remained higher for up to a year after the tests. The 21 who did not have a mystical experience showed no change.
People have been using mushrooms to expand their mind and have this kind of experience for a very long time. This could actually be pretty successful if it ever reaches the practice level. Do you think people would pay to go through a session where you take controlled psilocybin while you listen to music or go through a specialized openness training? I might. There are also possible therapeutic benefits as well. Therapeutic use has the ability to increase creativity and self-awareness.
"Psilocybin can facilitate experiences that change how people perceive themselves and their environment. That’s unprecedented."
The length of the effect is what I think is intriguing. A lot of drugs produce short-term effects on personality, but something that can significantly increase scores on a personality test after a year is impressive. Could this be used as something a person might come in for at different times in their lives? There is still much to take into a consideration, including possible long-term usage effects as well as age and frequency of use.
It’s also interesting how we are reexamining possible uses for illicit drugs. Recent research has also indicated that ecstasy could help in PTSD and anxiety treatment.