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Friday, September 27, 2013

Krokodil Cases Reported in Arizona

Krokodil Zoo Rostock
Health officials have reason to be concerned about the arrival of a drug that can eat flesh right down to the bone; until now the drug was thought to only be present overseas. The drug, known as “Krokodil” (desomorphine), has surfaced in Arizona with two reported cases of use. Krokodil is a heroin-like drug that is made with caustic chemicals and codeine; the drug is less expensive and extremely dangerous, according to USA Today.

Russia has been battling with Krokodil use for about ten years, due to the fact that codeine can be purchased over-the-counter throughout the country. Krokodil has a similar high to heroin, but, is shorter acting and costs about three times less than heroin.

Krokodil gets it name because when the drug is injected it destroys tissue, turning the skin scaly and green, giving it a crocodile-like appearance. This phenomena occurs because makers of the drug mix codeine-based headache pills with gasoline, paint thinner, alcohol or iodine in order to synthesize the codeine into desomorphine. The impurities can cause blood poisoning, festering sores and abscesses.

“As far as I know, these are the first cases in the United States that are reported,” said Frank LoVecchio, the Co-Medical Director at the Banner Good Samaritan Poison & Drug Information Center. “So we’re extremely frightened.”

If the use of Krokodil spreads throughout the country it will surely give methamphetamine a run for its money when it comes to the “worlds most dangerous drug.”

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Drugs, Alcohol, and Nuclear Power Catastrophes

English: Internationally recognized symbol. De...
As hundreds of tons of nuclear radioactive contaminated water spills into the Pacific Ocean in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, there are many calling for a stoppage on nuclear power projects throughout the world and it’s not without merit; after the planet has seen what lack of oversight and control government agencies have regarding such projects. There is no question, the Fukushima accident was as they call it, “an act of God” incident, one where Mother Nature played her part in the facilities demise. However, how we decide what is a safe location for nuclear projects and how human beings respond to such calamities is of great question.

One would think that after Fukushima, people involved in the nuclear power industry would double their efforts to ensure that accidents be avoided at all costs. Such as only having facilities in areas where nature cannot wreak havoc and making sure that employees of such programs be vetted more than ever. Unfortunately, the latter is far from being accomplished, questions of competence and employee substance abuse appear to be rampant, according to a new report.

Employee violations regarding drugs and alcohol are on the rise at U.S. nuclear plants finds the non-profit group Fairewinds Energy Education. Incidents have increased from about one a month to almost one a week over the last five years.

Drug and alcohol violations occurred mostly in southeastern states; such as, drinking alcohol in a protected area and testing positive for marijuana and cocaine. 

Fitness For Duty, is a program that nuclear reactor owners are required to implement, in order to be sure that all personnel who have access to their power plants are drug and alcohol free and have no psychological issues. Shockingly, Fitness For Duty violations in the United States have more than doubled in the past five years. The report found that alcohol related events, have nearly quadrupled.

“The data unequivocally demonstrates that workforce personnel and licensed reactor operators are under the influence of alcohol and illegal drugs while on-duty, despite the knowledge that such actions when caught can end careers, and that programs are in place that have been designed to identify those who are under the influence, indicating serious addictive issues not occasional social consumption of alcohol and drugs,” the report states.

“Not only are workers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs while on the job, they are also bringing that same contraband into work with them, in some cases with documented evidence to determine there was intent to distribute.”

No matter the causes that lead up to a nuclear catastrophe, it is more than clear, historically speaking that human error is either the initial cause or a mitigating factor in just how bad the failure becomes. It is fair to say that employees of nuclear power facilities should be held to a higher standard than perhaps any other industry, especially when it comes to drugs and alcohol use.

Friday, September 13, 2013

More Teens Driving High Than Drinking

The United States is taking a more relaxed approach to marijuana and the punishments associated with the drug. With legalization in two states and medical marijuana programs in many more, it is not surprising that the federal government is stepping back. However, the concern of those driving under the influence of marijuana is ever present, for the fact that there has been an increase in marijuana use among teen drivers throughout the country.

In fact, there is a higher percentage of high school seniors that say they have driven after using marijuana more than they have driven after having five or more alcoholic drinks, according to a new study.

Research showed that 12 percent of seniors that had driven after using marijuana in 2011, compared with 10 percent in 2008. The study determined that 28 percent of high school seniors said they had ridden in a car in the previous two weeks with a driver who had used drugs or alcohol, or had driven after having used drugs or alcohol themselves, NBC News reports.

The Monitoring the Future project conducted the study; they survey approximately 17,000 high school seniors every year.

“It’s a big deal… the sheer numbers,” University of Michigan researcher Patrick O’Malley told NBC News. “It has been increasing steadily and looking down the road, it seems likely to get worse. We are concerned.”

It is not known how much marijuana impairs a person’s driving, according to researchers. “We don’t have any good degree of impairment,” O’Malley said. “It’s almost impossible to say what the level of marijuana in your system is.”

The findings, published in the American Journal of Public Health.
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Friday, September 6, 2013

Marijuana Advocacy Group Posting Billboards

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.
It seems like it is no longer a question of “if” and has become more of question of “when”, regarding the national stance on the legitimacy of marijuana legalization in this country. With two states already on board with legalization and the federal government announcing that it will no longer meddle with state affairs regarding the drug in states that deem it legal to use recreationally.

Now, marijuana advocacy groups are pitted up against alcohol, posting a billboard ad across from Denver’s football stadium, USA Today reports. 

The Marijuana Policy Project’s ad would like the National Football League (NFL) to “Stop Driving Players to Drink.” Regarding Colorado’s marijuana legalization law, noting, “A safer choice is now legal (here).”

The group posted a pro-marijuana video ad outside an entrance to a NASCAR event this summer at the Indiana Motor Speedway. Several hours after the ad began running it was pulled.

Professional sports have always been a huge target group for the big alcohol companies, it is no surprise that marijuana advocates would go after the same audience in the same way alcohol has for so many years. The billboard is 48 feet by 14 feet, with a picture of a football leaning against a foaming glass of beer.

The advocacy group is also petitioning the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to change the league’s marijuana policy.

“For years, the NFL has been punishing players for using marijuana despite the fact that it is far less harmful than alcohol, a substance widely embraced by the league,” Mason Tvert, Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. “The league would never punish a player simply for having a couple beers, so why does it penalize them for using a substance that is less toxic, less addictive, and less likely to contribute to violence?”
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