Unintentional drug use continues among molly users in EDM party scene

Electronic dance music (EDM) parties have historically been high-risk scenes for use of a variety of psychoactive substances. Studies over the past couple of years have found nightclub and festival attendees report high rates of use. These parties are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S., and drug use at such parties has been associated with severe adverse health outcomes, including death. Severity of potential negative health outcomes in EDM environments makes data on both known and unknown drug use critical to further prevention and harm reduction efforts.

“Ecstasy or ‘Molly’ users in the U.S. are at very high risk for using drugs containing adulterants such as ‘bath salts’ and methamphetamine,” said Dr. Joseph Palamar, PhD, MPH, of the New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (NYU CDUHR). “More information is critically needed on the extent of unknown or unintentional use of these potentially harmful substances.”

Full story at Science Daily

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New insights, possible solutions for opioid epidemics using machine

Mount Sinai researchers have identified unique structural, biological and chemical insights in the way different opioid drugs activate the receptors and specific signaling pathways responsible for the drug’s beneficial and adverse effects, according to a study to be published in Nature’s Scientific Reports.

Opioid overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. The findings of this study may provide a blueprint for designing improved painkillers.

“These new insights will provide a roadmap to develop a new class of drugs that are non-addictive and less harmful for patients,” said Marta Filizola, PhD, Professor of Pharmacological Science and Professor of Neuroscience, Dean of The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and lead investigator of the study. “These insights may help us engineer new painkillers with reduced side effects, particularly respiratory depression. An alternative, non-addictive medication for chronic pain will help us combat the ongoing national crisis of addiction to opioid drugs and the devastating overdose epidemic deriving from it.”

Full story at Science Daily

Addiction Issues Magnified During Hurricanes

Authorities planning for natural disasters such as hurricanes must prepare for its effect on people struggling with drugs or alcohol, experts tell the Associated Press. The stress of hurricanes leads to an increased danger of relapse and overdose.

Before Hurricane Irma hit Florida, a needle exchange program in Miami distributed extra syringes, while patients at methadone clinics picked up advance medication. Florida, in cooperation with the federal government, allowed methadone clinics to provide up to five days of medication ahead of the hurricane.

Full story at drugfree.org

Marijuana may produce psychotic-like effects in high-risk individuals

Marijuana may bring on temporary paranoia and other psychosis-related effects in individuals at high risk of developing a psychotic disorder, finds a preliminary study from researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC).

The study was published last month in an online edition of Psychiatry Research.

Individuals who have had mild or transient psychotic symptoms (such as unusual thoughts, suspiciousness, perceptual disturbances) without using substances such as marijuana or alcohol and have a family history of psychosis or other risk factors are considered at clinical high risk for psychotic disorder. Previous studies have found an association between marijuana use and psychosis in the general population, but none have rigorously examined marijuana’s effects in those at greatest risk for psychosis.

Full story at Science Daily