Sadly, ecstasy is one of the most popular used drugs —especially among youth —today.  In fact, it is estimated that there are 9 million ecstasy users worldwide.  Although ecstasy is illegal, the young adults and teens who most often use the drug don’t recognize just how dangerous it is. Mixed with alcohol, ecstasy becomes even more dangerous and can be deadly.

This Guide outlines:

  • What is Ecstasy?
  • How Ecstasy Affects the Brain
  • Added Risk of MDMA
  • Is Ecstasy Addictive?
  • Video: Your Brain on MDMA

What Is Ecstasy?

What exactly is ecstasy?  The National Institute of Drug Abuse defines ecstasy as: “a synthetic drug that alters mood and perception (awareness of surrounding objects and conditions). It is chemically similar to both stimulants and hallucinogens, producing feelings of increased energy, pleasure, emotional warmth, and distorted sensory and time perception.”

It continues: “MDMA was initially popular in the nightclub scene and at all-night dance parties (“raves”), but the drug now affects a broader range of people who more commonly call the drug Ecstasy or Molly.”

It adds: “MDMA’s effects last about 3 to 6 hours, although many users take a second dose as the effects of the first dose begin to fade. Over the course of the week following moderate use of the drug, a person may experience:”

  • irritability
  • impulsiveness and aggression
  • depression
  • sleep problems
  • anxiety
  • memory and attention problems
  • decreased appetite
  • decreased interest in and pleasure from sex

How Ecstasy Affects the Brain

According to the NIH, MDMA increases the activity of three brain chemicals:

  • Dopamine—produces increased energy/activity and acts in the reward system to reinforce behaviors
  • Norepinephrine—increases heart rate and blood pressure, which are particularly risky for people with heart and blood vessel problems
  • Serotonin—affects mood, appetite, sleep, and other functions. It also triggers hormones that affect sexual arousal and trust. The release of large amounts of serotonin likely causes the emotional closeness, elevated mood, and empathy felt by those who use MDMA.

Further health effects include:

  • nausea
  • muscle cramping
  • involuntary teeth clenching
  • blurred vision
  • chills
  • sweating

Added Risk of MDMA

Adding to MDMA’s risks is that pills, capsules, or powders sold as Ecstasy and supposedly “pure” Molly may contain other drugs instead of or in addition to MDMA. Much of the Molly seized by the police contains additives such as cocaine, ketamine, methamphetamine, over-the-counter cough medicine, or synthetic cathinones (“bath salts”). These substances may be extremely dangerous if the person does not know what he or she is taking. They may also be dangerous when combined with MDMA. People who purposely or unknowingly combine such a mixture with other substances, such as marijuana and alcohol, may be putting themselves at even higher risk for harmful health effects.

There are other side effects. High doses of MDMA can affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature. This can lead to a spike in body temperature that can occasionally result in liver, kidney, or heart failure or even death.

In addition, because MDMA can promote trust and closeness, its use—especially combined with sildenafil (Viagra®)—may encourage unsafe sexual behavior. This increases people’s risk of contracting or transmitting HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.

Is Ecstasy Addictive?

“The NIH reports: Research hasn’t definitively answered whether MDMA is addictive, although it affects many of the same neurotransmitter systems in the brain that are targeted by other addictive drugs. Experiments have shown that animals will self-administer MDMA—an important indicator of a drug’s addictive potential—although the degree of self-administration is less than some other addictive drugs, such as cocaine.”

“Data from both humans and animals suggest that regular MDMA use produces adaptations in the serotonin and dopamine systems that are associated with substance use disorder and related behaviors, such as increased impulsivity. Few studies have attempted to assess MDMA addiction or dependency among people with a history of use in the general population. Studies that have been conducted have shown widely varying results, likely because of the different population samples and different types of measures used. Some people who use MDMA do report symptoms of addiction, including continued use despite negative physical or psychological consequences, tolerance, withdrawal, and craving.”

Still, as the NIH reports elsewhere: “Yes, you can die from MDMA use. MDMA can cause problems with the body’s ability to control temperature, especially when it is used in active, hot settings (like dance parties or concerts). On rare occasions, this can lead to a sharp rise in body temperature (known as hyperthermia), which can cause liver, kidney, or heart failure or even death.”

Additional insights come from the UK. The Guardian reports: “More people are taking ecstasy than ever before – and more people are dying from it. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), about one in 20 16- to 24-year-olds report having taken ecstasy in the past 12 months; the Global Drugs Survey (GDS) found an increase in use among UK clubbers of 16% between 2014 and 2016.”

The report continues: “According to figures released by the ONS towards the end of 2016, deaths linked to ecstasy or MDMA are at their highest level in a decade. In 2010, there were eight; in 2015, the count was 57. According to last year’s Global Drugs Survey, in which more than 100,000 drug users worldwide were quizzed about their habits, this is ‘the worst time to be using MDMA in a generation.'”

Video: Your Brain on MDMA

According to Eric Chudler, Ph.D. a neuroscientistand Executive Director of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering: “Data suggest that MDMA may be toxic to the brain. Dr. George Ricaurte, an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University, analyzed brain scans of people who had used ecstasy. The study included people who had used ecstasy an average of 200 times over five years. Although the behavior of these people appeared normal, brain scans showed that the drug had damaged their brains. In fact, those who used the drug more often had more brain damage than less frequent users. Moreover, memory tests of people who have taken ecstasy as compared to non-drug users have shown that the ecstasy users had lower scores.”

He continues: “Specifically, the drug damaged cells that release the neurotransmitter called serotonin. Using an imaging technique called positron emission tomography (PET), Ricaurte noted a 20-60% reduction in healthy serotonin cells in the drug users. Damage to these cells could affect a person’s abilities to remember and to learn.”

What does MDMA actually do to your brain? ASAPScience explains:

How do alcohol and drug dependence connect? What do people who either suffer from substance abuse issues or may be prone to them need to know?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism, a division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, “Alcohol and drug dependence often go hand in hand; research shows that people who are dependent on alcohol are much more likely than the general population to use drugs, and people with drug dependence are much more likely than the general population to drink alcohol.”

Indeed, the NIH statistics are eye-opening:

  • 15.3 million adults meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder*
  • Of those, 2.3 million adults meet the criteria for a drug use disorder*

In addition, there is the risk for dual diagnosis issues, treatment for which, as we’ve pointed out, is high effective but rarely offered: A majority of rehabilitation treatment centers in the U.S. only treat either addiction disorders or mental health disorders, not both concurrently. In a 2014 research study published in Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research that reviewed 256 programs across the U.S., only 18% of addiction treatment programs and 9% of mental health treatment programs addressed both issues with the individual and could be classified as “Dual Diagnosis Capable.” (Note: For more information on the symptoms and populations of dual diagnosis, see our post here.)

The NIAA states that patients with both alcohol and other drug use disorders:

  • “May have more severe dependence-related problems”
  • “Are more likely to have psychiatric disorders and are more likely to attempt suicide and suffer health problems”
  • “Are at risk for dangerous interactions between the substances they use, including fatal poisonings”

The combination of alcohol and drug use is important to watch — and always a concern for individuals who suffer from substance abuse issues.

Connecting Alcohol and Drug Dependence

In an article titled “Timing of Alcohol and Other Drug Use,” Dr. Christopher Martin, associate professor of psychiatry and psychology at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, writes about the connection:

“Many Americans who drink alcohol are polydrug users—that is, they also use other psychoactive drugs, such as nicotine, pharmaceuticals, cannabis, and other illicit substances. Polydrug use is a general term that describes a wide variety of substance use behaviors. Different types of polydrug use can be described with regard to the timing of the ingestion of multiple substances. Concurrent polydrug use (CPU) is the use of two or more substances within a given time period, such as a month or a year. Simultaneous polydrug use (SPU) is the use of two or more substances in combination (i.e., at the same time or in temporal proximity). Thus, although all simultaneous polydrug users are, by definition, concurrent users, concurrent users may or may not be simultaneous users.”

Indeed, the research shows real dangers: “SPU can have particularly dangerous consequences because AOD combinations can have additive or interactive effects on acute intoxication and impairment. The majority of deaths attributed to heroin overdose involve significant levels of other drugs such as alcohol or benzodiazepines; opiate levels appear to be similar in both fatal and nonfatal overdoses . Similarly, about two-thirds of oxycodone-related deaths were found to involve the use of alcohol and/or other drugs. Finally, fatalities and injuries reported to be “alcohol-related” often involve other drug use.

 

As we focus on sober living, earlier this week we noted the University of Michigan reports that students’ marijuana use “was at the highest levels seen in the past three decades in 2016, and that trend remained true in 2017, according to the annual national Monitoring the Future Panel Study.”

Importantly, the annual study also examined illicit drug use in college, highlighting that “in 2017, use of most substances remained steady or decreased somewhat.”

Sober Living Challenges

Study results include:

Annual use of illicit drugs other than marijuana was 18 percent in 2017 for college and noncollege youth. It has declined somewhat for both groups since recent highs in 2014.The 2017 annual prevalence of nonmedical use of prescription narcotic drugs (other than heroin), such as OxyContin and Vicodin, was 3.1 percent for college students and 4.1 percent for noncollege youth, the lowest levels reported since the late 1990s.

In contrast to what is true for most other illicit drugs, nonmedical amphetamine use has been higher among college than noncollege youth in recent years. The 2017 annual prevalence was 8.6 percent for college students and 7.3 percent for noncollege youth.

Annual prevalence of MDMA (ecstasy and more recently “Molly”) declined significantly for college and noncollege youth between 2016 and 2017, from 4.7 to 2.5 percent for college students and from 8.6 to 4.7 percent for noncollege youth.

Alcohol continues to remain the drug of choice among college students. In 2017, 33 percent of college students reported binge drinking—defined as having five or more drinks per occasion at least once in the past two weeks. This declined gradually over the years, and is more common among college males than females, and among college students than noncollege youth.

Across 2012 through 2017 combined, 10.1 percent of college students reported high intensity drinking (10 or more drinks per occasion in the past two weeks). Such use has declined somewhat over the past decade; it is more common among college males than females, and similar among college and noncollege youth. “There is good and bad news regarding alcohol use among college students. Alcohol use continues to gradually decline, but excessive drinking clearly remains the major substance use problem on campuses,” Schulenberg said. “Having 10 or more drinks in a row, which has been happening for one-in-six college males at least once per two-week period, can result in alcohol poisoning, serious accidents, and a host of unwise decisions and dangerous behaviors that adversely affect them and those around them.”

In 2017, 30-day cigarette smoking among college students was 7.9 percent, a record low since 1980, consistent with the continuing decline over the past 18 years. It is much higher among noncollege youth, with 30-day cigarette use being 22 percent in 2017. Based on new questions regarding vaping nicotine added to the surveys in 2017, 30-day prevalence was slightly higher among noncollege youth (7.9 percent) than college students (6.0 percent). Cigarette smoking and vaping nicotine were higher among males than females in both groups.

The challenge around sober living can be great. These results indicate that illicit drug use remains a difficult problem. Creating the avenues to sober living often takes time… and help.

With an eye on marijuana rehab needs, the University of Michigan reports that college students’ marijuana use “was at the highest levels seen in the past three decades in 2016, and that trend remained true in 2017, according to the annual national Monitoring the Future Panel Study.”

The post states:

Heavy marijuana use among youth not in college is also on the rise, according to the most recent findings from the University of Michigan study. Today’s high levels of marijuana use among the nation’s 19-to-22-year-olds result from a gradual increase over the past decade.

In 2017, 38 percent of full-time college students aged 19-22 reported using marijuana at least once in the prior 12 months, and 21 percent reported using at least once in the prior 30 days. Both of these prevalence levels peaked in 2016, the highest found since 1987, and did not change significantly in 2017. The 2017 prevalence levels represent gradual increases since 2006 when they were 30 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

Same-age high school graduates who are not full-time college students show a similar trend over time, though their use of marijuana tends to be higher; in 2017, their annual prevalence was 41 percent and 30-day prevalence was 28 percent, remaining at highest levels since the 1980s.

Daily or near daily use of marijuana—defined as having used on 20 or more occasions in the prior 30 days—was at 4.4 percent in 2017 for college students. This has remained steady for the past three years, down from a recent peak of 5.9 percent in 2014.

In a rather dramatic contrast, daily marijuana use has continued to rise for same-age noncollege youth, reaching its highest level in 2017 at 13.2 percent, doubling over the past decade (from 6.7 percent in 2006). This gap between college and noncollege youth has widened in the past three years, with daily marijuana use now being three times as high among noncollege youth as among college students.

Marijuana rehab

We previously reported that “Marijuana Rehab Needs Continue to Grow.”

College Students Marijuana Use

 

This animated infographic on teen drug and alcohol abuse was produced by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as part of Monitoring the Future, an annual survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders conducted by researchers at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

Transcript: Survey on Teen Drug and Alcohol Abuse

00:00 Music plays

00:03 On screen: Drug related words appear on screen with three human silhouettes on the left and three on the right. In the middle, a black diamond shape appears that reads “Teen Drug Use.” A blue banner appears across the bottom that reads “Monitoring the Future 2017.”

00:05 On screen: Background transitions to blue.

On screen text: Monitoring the Future is an annual survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders conducted by researchers at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, under a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health.

00:17 On screen: Background transitions to green.

On screen text: Since 1975, the survey has measured how teens report their drug and alcohol use and related attitudes in 12th graders nationwide; 8th and 10th graders were added to the survey in 1991.

00:28 On screen: Teal box drops down from the top

On screen text: 43,703 students from 360 public and private schools participated in the 2017 survey.

00:32 – 00:40 On screen: Blue banner appears across the top of the screen that reads “Daily Marijuana Use Mostly Steady.” An orange chart appears with a horizontal scale from 2007 to 2017 and a vertical scale of 1 percent to 7 percent. Three boxes appear left of center indicating 8th graders as green, 10th graders as light blue and 12th graders as dark teal. A green line graph crosses the chart, peaking at 1.5 percent in 2011 followed by a light blue line graph on top, peaking at 4.5 percent in 2013 and then a dark teal line graph on top of both peaking at 6.8 percent in 2011.

00:41 On screen: Teal box drops down from the top

On screen text: 71.0 percent of high school seniors do not view regular marijuana smoking as being very harmful, but 64.7 percent say they disapprove of regular marijuana smoking.

00:49 On screen: A tan background is revealed and a blue banner appears across the top of the screen that reads “Binge Drinking Rates Steady After Decades of Decline.” A line graph with a horizontal scale appears with dates from 1992 to 2017. A vertical scale appears with percentages from 5 percent up to 35 percent. A green line indicating 8th graders draws across the graph and a beer bottle appears with a tag that reads “1996, 13.3 percent” and ends with a tag at 2017 that reads “8th graders, 3.7 percent.” A light blue line indicating 10th graders draws across the graph and a beer bottle appears with a tag that reads “2000, 24.1 percent” and ends with a tag at 2017 that reads “10th graders, 9.8 percent.” Finally, a dark teal line indicating 12th graders draws across the graph and a beer bottle appears with a tag that reads “1998, 31.5” percent and ends with a tag at 2017 that reads “12th graders 16.6 percent.” A disclaimer at the bottom reads “*Binge drinking is defined as having 5 or more drinks in a row in the last 2 weeks.”

01:01 On screen: Teal box drops down from the top.

On screen text: Binge drinking appears to have leveled off this year, but is still significantly lower than peak years.

01:08 On screen: A light green background is revealed and a blue banner appears across the top of the screen that reads “Past-year e-vaporizer use and what teens are inhaling.” A black vertical line draws down the screen. Left of the line three boxes appear, on the top, a green box that reads “8th graders, 13.3 percent.” Right of the line, a green e-vaporizer extends horizontally to the right to show the amount. Below the green box, left of the line, a light blue box appears that reads “10th graders, 23.9 percent.” Right of the line, a light blue e-vaporizer extends horizontally to the right to show the amount. Below the light blue box, left of the line, a dark teal box appears that reads “12th graders, 27.8 percent.” Right of the line, a dark blue e-vaporizer extends horizontally to the right to show the amount. The dark blue, 12th graders e-vaporizer is the longest, indicating 12th graders use e-vaporizers the most.

01:16 On screen: The e-vaporizer graph disappears and the words, “When asked what they thought was in the e-vaporizer mist students inhaled the last time they smoked, these were their responses:” appears

01:23 On screen: The on-screen text shrinks and moves to the top of the screen. An orange chart appears with three boxes left of the chart – a green 8th graders box, light blue 10th graders box, and dark teal 12th graders box. The vertical scale spans from 10 percent to 80 percent and the horizontal scale includes the categories, “Nicotine,” “Marijuana or Hash Oil,” “Just Flavoring,” “Other,” and “Don’t Know.” Green, light blue and dark teal bars rise vertically above each category. The bars indicate that 50 percent – 75 percent of all three age groups think the e-vaporizer mist is “Just Flavoring” and 10 percent – 31 percent think the e-vaporizer mist is “Nicotine.”

01:37 On screen: Teal box drops down from the top.

On screen text: Nearly 1 in 3 students in 12th grade report past-year use of e-vaporizers, raising concerns about the impact on their long-term health.

01:45 On screen: A light teal background is revealed and a blue banner appears across the top of the screen that reads “Teens more likely to use marijuana than cigarettes.” Underneath the banner reads “Daily use among 12th graders.” A graph appears with a horizontal scale of dates ranging from 1992 to 2017 and a vertical scale from 0 percent to 25 percent. A marijuana leaf with a green tag that reads “1992, 1.9 percent” appears at the base of the vertical axis of the graph and a green line draws across the chart ending at the far right above 2017 with a green tag that reads “Marijuana, 5.9 percent.” The graph shows the increase in the likelihood that 12th graders will use Marijuana. At the same time, a white line draws across the graph starting at 17.2 percent in 1992, when it reaches its peak a pack of cigarettes appears with a white tag that reads “1997, 24.6 percent” and then dives down across the remainder of the chart where a second white tag appears and reads “Cigarettes, 4.2 percent” in 2017. This graph shows that in 2017, 12th graders are more likely to use marijuana than cigarettes.

01:57 On screen: A light gray background appears and a blue banner unveils across the top of the screen that reads “Past-year misuse of prescription/over-the-counter vs. illicit drugs.” Below that, an orange prescription pill bottle appears on the right.

On screen text: Past-year misuse of Vicodinâ among 12th graders has dropped dramatically in the past 15 years.

02:08 On screen: The pill bottle shrinks and moves to the top of the screen below the blue banner. A chart appears right of center with the title ” Vicodinâ ” at the top. The chart’s vertical scale ranges from 1 percent to 11 percent and the horizontal scale has dates from left to right – 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2017. Small white pills fall from the bottle, landing on specific data points. One pill lands on 2002 and a teal tag appears that reads “9.6 percent,” the next lands on 2007 at 9.6 percent, the next lands on 2012 at 7.5 percent and the last pill lands on 2017 and a teal tag appears that reads “2.0 percent.” The graph shows a dramatic decrease in the misuse of Vicodinâ over the 15-year span.

02:13 On screen: A teal box drops down from the top.

On screen text: Misuse of all prescription opioids among 12th graders has also dropped dramatically, despite high opioid overdose rates among adults.

02:20 On screen: Teal box pulls down to reveal the blue banner that still reads “Past-year misuse of prescription/over-the-counter vs. illicit drugs.” Underneath the blue banner the title, “Prescription/OTC” appears. An orange box appears below the title. Percentages appear down the left side of the chart while blue bars extend horizontally from left to right in the orange box to visually represent the amounts of prescription, over-the-counter and illicit drugs that were misused in the past year. From top to bottom the chart reads, “5.5 percent, Adderallâ,” “4.7 percent, Tranquilizers,” “4.2 percent, Opioids other than Heroin,” “3.2 percent, Cough/Cold Medicine,” “2.9 percent, Sedatives,” and “1.3 percent, Ritalinâ.”

02:32 On screen: The chart changes. The title reads “Illicit Drugs, past-year use among 12th graders.” The chart animates similar to the previous chart, percentages are listed down the left of the chart, while blue bars extend from left to right. From top to bottom the chart reads, “37.1 percent, Marijuana/Hashish,” “3.7 percent, Synthetic Cannabinoids*,” “3.3 percent, LSD,” “2.7 percent, Cocaine,” “2.6 percent, MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly),” “1.5 percent, Inhalants,” and “0.4 percent, Heroin.” An asterisk below the chart notes that Synthetic Cannabinoids are called “synthetic marijuana in survey.”

02:44 On screen: A teal box drops down from the top.

On screen text: Students report lowest rates for some drugs since start of the survey.

02:48 On screen: A green screen drops down from the top.

On screen text: Across all grades, past-year use of heroin, methamphetamine, cigarettes, and synthetic cannabinoids* are at their lowest by many measures. An asterisk at the bottom of the screen notes that Synthetic Cannabinoids are called “synthetic marijuana in survey.”

02:55 On screen: Green screen changes to dark gray screen with Department of Health and Human Services and NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse logos.

On screen text: For more information, please visit Drugabuse.gov

03:07 Music ends

Drug Related Car Crashes on Rise in Uta

A recent report in a Salt Lake City newspaper indicated that drug-related fatal car crashes are on the rise in Utah again.  The report indicates that 108 individuals from Utah were killed in incidents where someone chose to drink or use drugs before getting behind the wheel in a one year period. Also during that year, the amount of deadly collisions where a driver tested positive for drug use rose 7 percent— from 67% to 72 %.  Within the past decade, these fatalities account for more than a quarter of all fatal crashes within Utah during the 1 year period that was examined.

The report further indicated that most often, marijuana, meth, depressants and narcotics were found within the driver’s system. Perhaps this prompted Utah lawmakers to recently pass a bill which dropped the legal blood alcohol content for driving to .05 percent – making Utah the lowest in the nation.

The DUI report also indicated the following statistics:

  • 81% of drivers arrested for DUI had a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher.
  • 12% of those arrested were under the legal drinking age of 21, with 14 being the youngest.
  • The average blood alcohol content for those arrested was .15%, with the highest being .42%.

Although the recent bill to lower the legal blood alcohol content for driving is significant, more needs to be done to lower the rate of drug related car crashes in Utah.

Source: Desert News, Heather Miller, DUI/Alcohol-Related Crashes Fatalities in Utah, DUI/Alcohol-Related Crashes Fatalities in Utah

NSS-2 Bridge: A New Device Approved to Aid in Opioid Withdrawals

The innovative NSS-2 Bridge is a new de vice recently approved by the FDA to aid in opioid withdrawal pain.  For many this is very exciting news!  The bridge looks similar in size to a hearing aid.  It fits behind the ear with attached wires that connect to brain nervous.  Originally created to lessen chronic pain, epilepsy, and surgery soreness, the NSS-2 Bridge has now been approved for opioid withdrawal pain as well.

This is a breakthrough for many individuals who have feared the painful withdrawal from addictive opioids.  Developed by Dr. Arturo Taca, a certified addictionologist in Missouri, it costs between $500-600.  The Bridge sends electrical impulses to the brain and branches of nerves.

Many individuals have unsuccessfully attempted to battle opioid addictions but the pain of withdrawal often stops the process.  People report withdrawal symptoms that are extremely intense and have nausea, shakes, chills, and anxiety as well.  Reports of the device usage indicate that within only 30 minutes of withdrawal symptoms forming, the NSS-2 Bridge through the electrical impulses, lowers heart rate, lessens or erases anxiety symptoms, and lessens nausea.  Although the drug remains in the individual’s systems until complete withdrawal is over, the symptoms are extremely lessens or are simply not felt due to the device.

Some individuals report that the device has allowed them to feel hop for the first time since becoming addicted to opioids, although it will not prevent relapse.  Being able to work through the physical symptoms of withdrawal much easier also gives individuals who have become addicted to opioids energy to work through the emotional and mental side of recovery due to the use of the new NSS-2 Bridge.

Drug Abuse & Pregnancy

Abusing drugs anytime is risky, but when pregnancy is in the cards, abusing drugs not only impacts you but also your unborn child.  Drug abuse during pregnancy can result in deformities, low birth weight, miscarriage, premature labor, placental abruption, and even infant or maternal death.

Different drugs impact the pregnancy in different ways.  Below are some common side effects for various drugs during pregnancy:

Heroin: Heroin crosses the placenta to the baby.  It is highly addictive and the baby can become dependent upon the drug.  Using heroin during pregnancy can increase the chances of the following occurring: premature birth, low birth weight, breathing difficulties, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), bleeding within the brain (intracranial hemorrhage), and infant death.

Cocaine: Cocaine crosses the placenta and enters the baby’s circulatory system.  Cocaine remains in a fetus’s body longer than in an adult’s body. Using during pregnancy can increase the chances of the following occurring: birth defects, placental abruption, and learning difficulties may result as the child gets older. Defects of the genitals, kidneys, and brain are also possible.

Meth: Meth causes both the mother and the fetus’s heart rate to increase.  Using meth during pregnancy can increase the chances of low birth weight, the likelihood of premature labor, miscarriage, and placental abruption and some experts believe that learning difficulties may result as the child gets older.

Marijuana: Marijuana crosses the placenta to the baby.  Like cigarette smoke, marijuana contains toxins that can inhibit the baby from getting proper oxygen supply to grow and develop. Using marijuana during pregnancy can reduce the oxygen supply to the baby, increase the chance of miscarriage, low birth weight, premature births, developmental delays, and behavioral and learning problems.

Many women who suffer from drug addiction and abuse want to know the effects of their drug abuse before they knew they were pregnant.  Talking to a doctor about these concerns is very important and staying free from drug abuse for the remainder of the pregnancy is crucial.

Moms and Drug Abus

Ten years ago, it was reported that at least 18 million women aged 26 and older take prescription medications for unintended purposes.  Today, that number is even higher, and many of those abusing drugs include women who are moms.  Some are surprised to find out how many moms deal with drug abuse, but it must be remember that no one is immune to addiction and drug abuse.  Moms are just as vulnerable to drug abuse as anyone else and may turn to drugs to avoid guilt, stress, boredom, or any number of other things.  Today, an increasing number of moms are becoming addicted to pain medications.

The most commonly abused prescription drugs by moms include: sedatives, muscle relaxants, and opioid painkillers. Just like so many others, most moms started out their drug use legitimately—that is, they received a prescription from their doctor for a valid health issue.  However, some moms continue to use and abuse the drug they were safely prescribed after their treatment for the health issue is resolved.

Further, other drug addictions that seem to be rising with moms include alcohol addiction and abuse, and marijuana use.  Becoming aware of triggers that may turn moms toward drug abuse can stop the addictions before they start.  These triggers increase vulnerability and include: past trauma (such as being abused as a child), a family history of drug abuse problems, a history of drug or alcohol addiction, and the presence of mental health conditions (such as depression).

Also noteworthy is that many moms experience depression and stress after giving birth and these heightened reactions to the hormonal changes and lifestyle changes that occur can increase a mom’s vulnerability to addiction. In fact, any period of heightened stress increases the risk of using and depending on prescription drugs to feel better.

A main reason for the rise in prescription drug abuse by moms is the same as for everyone else: prescription drugs can be obtained and purchased relatively easy.  Moms may lie or or buy from less legitimate pharmacies online in order to maintain their drug habits.  These factors have directly impacted the rise in prescription drug abuse among all groups of people.  Some people simply think that if a doctor prescribes medicine it will not cause any harm.  Understanding side effects and addiction tendencies, and drugs that build tolerance, can also prevent further drug abuse issues. It is important to remember that no on is immune to addiction, even moms.

source: workingmother.com

Diet Pills

Diet pills are popular because they aid in helping users control or maintain their weight.  But how safe are they?  What are the dangers associated with diet pills?  This post addresses these questions.

Diet pills are both prescription and over-the-counter supplements which inhibit body processes that affect weight by increasing metabolism, suppressing appetite or preventing fat absorption.

In fact, many prescription diet pills are Schedule III or IV drugs which helps to prevent abuse and helps to keep diet pills being prescribed to individuals who truly need and benefit from them. Regardless of these regulations and rules, diet pills are abused at a disturbing rate.

So many individuals in the U.S. are constantly setting goals and making promises to lose weight so it’s not shocking knowledge that diet pills are common and available in several forms. Some of the most commonly abused diet pills as identify by addictioncenter.com include:

“Benzphetamine (Didrex)
An anorectic closely related to amphetamines. Benzphetamine is most commonly sold under the prescription name Didrex, and its main function is to reduce appetite in obese individuals.

Diethylpropion
(Tenuate, Tepanil) Prescribed on a short term basis to suppress appetite.

Mazindol
(Mazanor, Sanorex) (Currently only approved for use in the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, mazindol prescriptions may be abused for their appetite suppressive properties)

Phentermine
(Adipex, Ionamin) Reduces appetite. (Used short term to reduce weight in overweight individuals)”

Last, diet pills were designed to take the place of amphetamines as appetite suppressants and as such, they have a potential for addiction and dependence.  Further, diet pills may cause heightened energy and feelings of euphoria, making the likelihood of addiction more prevalent.  Also from addictioncenter.com, “common side effects of diet pill abuse might include:

Insomnia

Dizziness

Hallucinations

Chest pain

Rash and itching

Swelling of legs and ankles

Vomiting

Yellowing of skin or eyes

Dark urine or light-colored stool”

source: addictioncenter.com

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