Drugged Mussels: Finding Pharma in Our Fish?

When it comes to eating seafood, you probably assume it’s clean, fresh, and handled properly. But what about drug free? Odds are, you’ve never worried about drug-laced shellfish, specifically, drugged mussels before. After all, how would that happen? Actually, it is possible. In fact, earlier this month, mussels from the Puget Sound in Seattle, tested positive for opioids, as well as other drugs. But how in the world did they did there? And what should I look out for?

Drugged Mussels: Finding Pharma in your Fish?

What drugs were in the mussels? 

According to reports, there were a number of harmful substances in these drugged mussels. First of all, they contained traces of the opioid drug, oxycodone. But that was not all: these mussels also had twelve different types of antidepressant and antibiotic present. While that is a pretty vast array of prescriptions to find in a sea critter, there weren’t high levels of any of them individually. In fact, they contained very small amounts of opioids. In fact, it would take an approximate 150 pounds to reach a prescription-level dosage of oxycodone.

How did they become contaminated? 

When taking any other type of drug, our bodies use, process, and then evacuate them. I don’t have to explain to you how a digestive system works. However, when we digest them, they eventually end up in the sewer. Then, they end up in wastewater treatment plants, which eventually finds it’s way to larger bodies of water, such as the ocean and freshwater basins. Then, they’re present in the water that those mussels exist in.

What Does This Mean? 

For the most part, scientist say it’s not unusual to see drugs wash into these waters. In addition to personal sewage, places like hospitals and other medical facilities contribute to this. But what that means is that you’re finding those drugs in the nutrient sources for mussels and other sea life.

In fact, it means a fairly large amount of people must be using those drugs in order for them to cause drugged mussels. Therefore, from this information, you could almost calculate exactly how many people are taking both antidepressants and antibiotics. As we’ve learned, the amount of medicine in your mussels is not particularly high. But, the levels are not what’s alarming. Instead, it’s alarming that there is so much medicine in people’s homes and hospitals that our sea life, and food, is being affected.

Synthetic Drugs: A Dangerous Pastime

Synthetic drugs are all over the place in the black market. Aside from synthetic marijuana, there are tons of other dangerous drugs that come in the guise of other drugs— or show up as exactly who they are. In short, synthetic drugs are being produced in labs, or reproduced in basements. Those drugs, in turn, are leading to death, overdose, and erratic behavior the nation over. But what are these mystery drugs? And what makes them appealing to the people using them?

Synthetic Drugs: A Dangerous and Malicious Underground

Bath Salts, or Cathinones

These have been popular for years, and I’m sure you’ve seen the videos of their effects. If you haven’t, check it out with caution— they are quite convincing in keeping people off of this stuff. Bath salts have effects similar to that of meth or heroin and. People will take them by swallowing them, smoking, or snoring. They can cause panic attacks, kidney and liver failure, heart attacks, extreme paranoia, erratic behavior, and hallucinations.

Fentanyl

While this drug is often a useful anesthetic before surgery— it is extremely potent. It is more potent than that morphine and heroin, and it has some serious sedative effects. While there is a legal and regulated version, which is extremely powerful. Many synthetic versions also exist in the black market. In doing this, you take the already powerful effects, and you cut them with other things that they will use in the black market to cut corners and use less product. Potential issues and side effects can be that of sedation, cardiac arrest, and overdose.

N-BOMe

When it came across this one, it was entirely new to me. This drug is administered and created quite similarly to LSD. The people who are creating it will often drop it onto paper in the same way that most people will do with LSD and sell it. In doing this, many people will infer the drug to be LSD and use it in the same way. While the intended means of taking the drug is the same, the deception can be quite problematic for the person using it. While LSD is an illegal, dangerous drug— N-BOMe is a bit more damaging to the receptors in your brain.

Our Head-to-Toe Cannabis Catalog: A List of Applications

We all know by now that marijuana is a fantastic medicine. It helps treat nausea, headaches, muscle pain, anxiety, glaucoma, migraines… the list is seemingly endless. These days, it seems like everywhere you look— someone is claiming a new use for this ‘miracle medicine’. So we’ve created a head to toe cannabis catalog of the many, many medical uses we have for the plant. We hope you enjoy!

Head-to-Toe Cannabis Catalog: A List of Uses

We’ll start from the top and work our way down through the multitude of uses that have been either proven by science or acclaimed by the public. So keep in mind that not all of these will have a huge scientific following. You should still, and always, consult with your doctor before deeming any sort of treatment appropriate.

Brain:
  • Antipsychotic
  • Anti-Depressant
  • Anti-Anxiety
  • Anti-Seizure
  • Anti-Epileptic
  • Slows Alzheimer’s
  • Aids in Tourette’s relief
  • Aids in OCD
  • Pain relief for Migraines and headaches
Eyes:
  • Eases the progression and the effects of glaucoma
Heart:
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Aids in preventing plaque buildup in arteries
Lungs:

*this one is the most trivial, as no real research has shown negative effects on the lungs. But inhaling anything into them can most likely cause some form of damage*

  • Improve carcinogenic effects of tobacco on the lungs
Stomach:
  • Pain relief for PMS
  • Anti-emetic (nausea, vomiting)
  • Appetite suppressant (suppress/stimulant will depend on your usage type and strain, this is a really interesting one to research!)
  • Appetite stimulant
  • Can aid those suffering from eating disorders
Intestines:
  • Aids in digestive issues
  • Aids Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Slows the progression of colon cancer
Hands:
  • Aids in Rheumatoid Arthritis relief
  • Aids in Carpal Tunnel Relief
Legs:
  • Muscle relaxer
  • Muscle pain aid
  • Great for Restless Leg Syndrome

 

The point of this cannabis catalog is that medical marijuana has many uses in many different aspects of medical relief. From topical ointments, sublingual drops, edibles, regular ol’ flower, and even CBD— there are plenty of options that give you the opportunity to see what works for you. If you’re in a legal state, you have a leg up on the rest of them. But if you aren’t— you still have access to a multitude of CBD-rich products that work in many of the same ways (you just skip the psychoactive).

Once again, not all of these uses are scientifically backed and you should always consult with your doctor before taking a course of action against your condition.

Cannabis is a great alternative, but it is not for everyone and every issue. So, do your research, speak to a professional, an go forth! Ultimately, you have plenty of options, so finding what works best for you should be a breeze!

Charging Juveniles with Drug-Related Crimes

When it comes to charging a child, the process goes a bit differently in South Carolina’s criminal system. From the punishment, to the reasons why– there is a bit more leeway and variable when it comes to charging juveniles. A child is someone 15 years or younger, according to the justice system. If you are 16 or older, you may face charges as an adult. When a child is into trouble with the law, the judge will consider many factors.

These factors include the child’s behavior, socio-economic status, other offenses, grades, and other activities to decide on an appropriate punishment for this child in particular. After all, when it comes to a child oftentimes the reason for their ending up here comes in a time of rebellion. Judges are very hesitant to charge a child who’s potential might be cut short by their decision.

Charging Juveniles: Why and How They Go About Drug Charges

So, in the situation that your child is taken into custody by police for drug-related crimes, they will not be arrested. Parents are notified, as well as their school. From their, the course of action depends upon the school and what they decide to do. Whether it be suspension, expulsion, or the likes– the child must adhere to whatever their school decides is appropriate.

At this point, the child will go through an assessment by the department of juvenile justice. However, their attorney will try and reach a plea deal with the prosecutor. If that does not happen, the case goes to a “trial.” For juveniles, there is no such thing as a jury trial. Instead, they sit before the judge in a bench trial. The judge decides their verdict and punishment by considering all the evidence and factors surrounding the child’s life. This punishment could be anything from a few hours of community service, to some period of time spent in a juvenile corrections facility, all the way to charges as an adult.

Children Charged As Adults

Kids in South Carolina can go through the justice process as adults. If the child is older than 16 and the crime is particularly serious, the prosecutor can decide to try them as an adult. Ultimately, the judge will have the final say in the child’s case. In this case, the possibility of felony charges are possible. But, a judge will be hesitant when it comes to charging juveniles with a felony. Due to the fact that there are lifelong implications that come with being a felon.

Some attorneys specialize in children’s law. On both sides of the court, prosecutors and defenders are familiar with children’s law and how to approach certain situations. Therefore, just because your child is receiving a marijuana charge, their life is most definitely not over.

The system specifically caters to dealing with child offenders. In doing so, they give out punishments that take into account all factors of their life. While your child has made a mistake, it is likely not going alter their life into their adulthood. Although, it is very serious and needs to be addressed within a timely fashion. We are here if you have any questions!

Mixing Benzos With Grapefruit

When we say you shouldn’t be mixing benzos— you probably think of other medications. While you should never combine medications without doctors orders, we are talking about something else entirely. In this case, we are here to warn you against mixing benzos with grapefruit or grapefruit juice. I know it might seem silly, but the ways in which this type of medication interacts with grapefruit can cause potentially harmful effects. This fruit can cause the body to not be able to break down popular benzos, such as Valium or Xanax. When the body does not break down the medication, the drugs stay in a person’s system longer and can magnify the effects.

Mixing Benzos: Unlikely Dangerous Mixtures

Enzymes are chemicals in the liver that help break down substances, such as food and drugs, that pass through the body. They break these substances down to useful components that the body can then process. Although there are many enzymes, certain ones break down certain substances. In fact, grapefruit requires the same enzyme for processing as Xanax and Valium. Therefore, when taken together, the system can become overloaded. In short, the grapefruit keeps the enzymes busy and and blocks it from being able to break down the drugs. Therefore, these benzos begin to build up to dangerously high levels.

Unintentionally Magnified Effects

When benzos build up in the body due to grapefruit, the effects of the drug can becomes magnified. These enhanced side effects are a result of higher levels of the drug entering the bloodstream. As a result, a person may experience increased drowsiness or dizziness.

Some mental side effects can occur such as trouble concentrating or problems with speech. Since Valium and Xanax slow down breathing, mixing benzos with grapefruit can cause problems breathing. Some studies show that mixing these two things can cause adverse effects such as increased anxiety.

Since mixing benzos with grapefruit can cause these side effects, it can be best to avoid doing it. These serious effects can make going about daily tasks more dangerous. Things such as driving may not be safe if a person is experiencing a higher dose of benzos in their bloodstream.

This goes to show that you must do research when it comes to every medicine you are taking. Your doctors will do their best to advise you, but I can guarantee ‘avoid grapefruit’ is not one piece of advice they will think to throw your way. So be cautious! Do your research, and never mix your benzos with grapefruit.

Opiates and Opioids: What’s the Difference?

Opiates and Opioids often get lumped together. Because of the crisis our country is facing, often times people forget that these types of drugs are different. From the way they function, their intended purpose, and how they’re made. So we’re going to break it down for you, and help you understand the drugs behind the crisis just a little bit better.

Opiates and Opioids: Breaking Down the Difference

For starters, opiates are drugs that come from the poppy flower, therefore it technically is what you could call a ‘naturally occurring substance’. Take opium, morphine, or heroin as examples. But an opioid, is a chemical compound, that acts on opioid receptors throughout the body. Take Vicodin, Percocet, and fentanyl as examples.

Addiction to these substances, because they are pain medications, often begins with some sort of pain. Maybe you’ve just gone through surgery, or a bone broken— something to that effect, and because of that, your doctor is writing a prescription for pain medication. Keep in mind this is not where the problem starts— the problem begins if your prescription is out and you’re scrambling to find more. Opioids produce a sense of euphoria in people who use it. In short, it makes them happy. And in doing so, it becomes quite easy to become addicted to them.

Opioids often lead to opiates

Opioids are most common when it comes to pain management. Therefore, getting your hands on them typically comes along with some sort of injury. For those people who are using the drug and become hooked, not having access to it again might lead them to search in other places. That’s where the opiates come in. Heroin, which is an opiate, is a street drug. Typically easy to find if you look in the right places, and often this can be a second choice for someone who ends up with a dependence on the medication.

Now, I don’t need to tell you how dangerous heroin is. From where you find it, to how you use it— every step of the process puts you in danger. But, when your body is craving something such as Vicodin, and you can’t find it, desperation can very easily set in.

The efforts on a state and national level to aid this problem are at an all-time high.

This epidemic is affecting every demographic and often leading to overdose instead of recovery. Pain management is difficult. Especially following a procedure or nasty accident. And using these medications in their intended doses and time frame can work out just fine. It’s ultimately all in how you use it.

Elderly People and Benzos: Safety Concerns

Benzodiazepines, or benzos for short, being used by elderly people may present some serious safety concerns. Elderly people might take benzos, such as Xanax or Valium, to treat problems such as anxiety and sleep deprivation. These can both be quite common symptoms as a person gets older. However, the side effects of these benzos can be quite dangerous for the elderly.  They present risks to older people that can jeopardize their safety and well-being.

Elderly People and Benzos: Why Using Them Might Cause Trouble

Alzheimer’s… Long term benzodiazepine use can increase a person’s risk of developing Alzeheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a mental disease that results in the loss of memory and other cognitive functions. In some cases, a person may lose the ability to hold a conversation or respond to their surroundings. Although benzo use is not the cause of Alzeheimer’s, it certainly influences whether or not an elderly person may suffer from it. In fact, benzos in elderly people resulted in a 50% increased chance of contracting the disease.

Dizzy Spells Can Lead To Danger… One very common side effect of benzos is dizziness. This can be difficult for young people to deal with, but extremely dangerous for the elderly. As people get older, they tend to lose some of their balance and stability with time. Therefore, suffering from dizziness can lead to dangerous falls. Even a mild fall may result in serious injury that requires surgery as your bones and body loses some of its resiliency.

The Good Might Not Outweigh the Bad

These are just two of the more serious issues that can come with benzos in elderly people. Another area of concern can be that benzos, like Valium and Xanax, can cause confusion. This can be scary to elderly people who are already losing the ability to remember things or take care of themselves. Although benzos can help the elderly in some ways, they may not be the best or safest option in the long run. While benzos may help certain issues, they can also create new ones for the user if they are of an older age. In short, the good that benzos have to offer may not outweigh the bad they bring to the table.

Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

Despite what some recreational users might think, mixing Xanax and alcohol is never a good idea. Xanax, a type of benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety, has become a popular drug to abuse amongst the younger demographic, take students for example. Some people might like to take a dose of Xanax before going out for a night of drinking. But, mixing Xanax and alcohol can be dangerous and cause serious risk to the user. Since alcohol and Xanax work similarly in the brain, their effects can be magnified when mixed together. 

Mixing Xanax and Alcohol: Central Nervous System Issues

Depressants are drugs that work to slow down activity in the central nervous system (CNS). This system consists of the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. It begins in the brain and travels continuously through the base of the skull and down the spinal cord. By traveling through these areas, the CNS controls important functions throughout the body. These functions include controlling thought processes, guiding movement, and registering sensations throughout the body. But certain drugs, like alcohol and Xanax, suppress these functions giving them the term, depressants. There are roughly four major types of CNS depressants, two of which are benzodiazepines and alcohol. Since they depress the CNS, they can cause a calming effect in the body. Most people begin feeling relaxed and less anxious after taking them. 

Alcohol and Xanax both produce this effect by causing the increase of Gaba in the brain. These substances attach to Gaba receptors. In turn, Gaba binds to other neurons and reduces their nerve impulses. This causes brain activity to slow down and lowers the level of overexcited neurons. Therefore, a user can then relax and feel more calm.

Why Mixing is Dangerous to the CNS

Since both of these substances depress the CNS by increasing Gaba production, taking them together can be dangerous. When taken together, the effects of each one make the overall experience more potent. Breathing may slow down so much that it stops altogether. In addition, this can increase the risk of loss of consciences and cardiac problems. This excessive sedation can cause an overdose and damage to organs. Furthermore, since the same liver enzymes clear out alcohol and Xanax, it can take longer for the body to process them, leaving them in the body for a longer amount of time.

In short, mixing Xanax and alcohol can put you at serious risk for

Triggers of Abuse: Drug Cravings

When people begin breaking their drug addiction, they find that certain things can trigger their wanting for that drug. Those things can range from people to places or objects. But they throw a craving on that person for the drug that can make them begin using again. We refer to things that ignite this craving as ‘triggers’. It is important for a recovering addict to begin to recognize their triggers and learn to deal with them. Furthermore, both external and internal versions can exist. An external trigger rely on a person’s surrounding or environment. Whereas, an internal one exists within a person and rely mostly on emotion.

Triggers of Abuse: External Factors

People… Possibly one of the most common for a recovering addict may face is other people. Since that person may have other friends of family that use, being around certain people can make them crave the drug. It is best for people trying not to use to avoid being around people they previously did drugs with.

Places… Another common trigger of abuse may be familiar places. Any areas that a former drug addict used at may cause memories and lead to cravings. This could be an old neighborhood, a friend’s house, or a bar. In some cases, it could be as simple as an old closet or place they used to hide drugs.

Objects… Things may often become more difficult for some former users. In most cases, drug paraphernalia is a common prompt for reliving those times of drug abuse. But in other cases, they can be common household items. For instance, things that come on television or movies may provoke those old habits. Other things may include cash or empty pill bottles lying around.

Managing Triggers of Abuse

The first step to managing these issues is to recognize what they are. Once a person realizes what may prompt those cravings, it is best to avoid them when possible. However, some are simply of out their control. In those cases, the person should devise a plan as to how to deal with it when the time comes.

Driving With Valium In Your System

Driving with Valium in your system presents a safety concern to you and drivers on the road. Commonly used to treat anxiety, this drug can be dangerous to use while behind the wheel. While this drug serves to help many people who suffer from anxiety, it can pose a threat to their ability to drive safely. Although many people take this drug and continue to drive, they may be putting themselves and others at risk.

Driving with Valium: What it does to the brain

The drug  works by binding to Gaba receptors in the brain. Those Gaba receptors attach to neurons then slow down their nerve impulses. In doing this, brain activity slows down and reduces nervousness and anxiety. But by slowing down that brain activity, it also causes other functions of the brain to slow as well. For this reason, operating a vehicle or other heavy machinery may not be a good idea.

In fact, the drug works in the brain much in the same way as alcohol. Since both alcohol and Valium bind to Gaba and slow down the brain, they are both depressants. Therefore, your ‘high’ can feel similar to the feeling of being drunk or ‘tipsy’. Users may feel a little loopy or dazed, many even report becoming sleepy and drowsy while taking the drug.

Facing the dangers

Studies show that valium produces issues of driving impairment. Because it reduces activity in certain neurons, it can affect your body’s reaction time and alertness. In fact, most users experience trouble staying in their lane, or multitasking while under the influence of it. Overall, studies show that the drug increases a user’s braking time while decreasing their hand-eye coordination. These impairments occur roughly two hours after taking it. But they can last for up to ten hours, due to the fact that they do possess a half-life.

Since driving with Valium can have a poor effect on safety, officers are likely to charge someone if they have reason to believe that they have drugs in their system. Officers may even charge users driving after taking it with a DWI. That person will face more trouble if they do not possess a legal prescription for the drug.

So, your best bet is not to combine these two activities. Valium might be a huge help when it comes to your anxiety, but when it comes to driving, there’s no truly safe way to go about it.