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What does Fentanyl do? | Okeechobee

What does Fentanyl do to the body?

Fentanyl greatly affects opioid receptors in the brain. It also alters the spinal cord functions to lessen the sensation of pain. The opioids receptors found in these brain areas also controls breathing rate.  In higher doses, the drug can completely shut down the respiratory system which could lead to lead.  Fentanyl also controls and dictates how an individual will responds to pain.

Some of the most common side effects of Fentanyl include:

  •    It also overstimulates opiate receptors in the brain
  •    Affects how the brain process pain
  •    Alters pain perceptions and emotions
  •    Depresses respiratory system
  •    Produces erratic or rapid heart beat
  •    euphoric feelings

Similarly, the drug increases the dopamine levels, producing extreme euphoric feelings the ‘high’. Users commonly seek this sensation when using the fentanyl. As the drug produces intense ‘high’, Fentanyl also affects major bodily functions.

Fentanyl Addiction

Prolonged use of Fentanyl often leads to psychological and physical dependence. In such conditions, addiction may develop even if an individual follows a medical prescription. Fentanyl can effectively cure various health problems, but it also has a high potential for abuse.

Drug dealers who sell fentanyl on the street mix the drug with cocaine or heroin. The mixture amplifies fentanyl’s potency, providing a great risk of overdose.

When taken in excess and long-term use, fentanyl can:

  •    drug overdose
  •    depressed the respiratory system
  •    stop breathing
  •    brain damage
  •    death

Users usually seek the euphoric sensations that fentanyl produces. Addiction can happen anytime even when users are following a direct medical order from their physicians. Unfortunately, various illegal channels sell fentanyl to users who consume the drug recreationally.

Those addicted to fentanyl displays several signs like:

  •    stealing prescriptions
  •    going from a doctor to another to get prescriptions
  •    buying fentanyl from illegal channels like street dealers and illegitimate online pharmacies

Other severe symptoms include:

  •    showing withdrawal symptoms if they do not take the next drug dose
  •    poor decision making sometimes resulting in risky behaviors
  •    several health problems
  •    accidental drug overdose
  •    coma
  •    death

Natural and synthetic opiate is usually measured against morphine when analyzing the drug’s strength. Measured against morphine, fentanyl is about 50 to 100 times more powerful. The Food and Drug Administration warn the medical community about administering fentanyl and its dosage. The drug needs a precise and careful formulation to avoid addiction and overdoses.

How fentanyl is abused

Fentanyl comes in several forms and users take the drug using various ways. Usually, doctors administer the drug via injection in a hospital setting. However, users found more way to abuse the drug like:

  •    users often put fentanyl gels found in  transdermal patches under the tongue
  •    they stuck fentanyl capsules between their teeth and cheek for continuous drug release
  •    most of the times users will squeeze the liquid or gel from the patches to either smoke or ingest the drug extract

Fentanyl is also available as a lollipop sold under the brand name of Actiq. For cancer patients, a sublingual spray can offer as a pain reliever. The drug is marketed under the brand names of:

  •    Abstral
  •    Duragesic
  •    Fentora
  •    Lazanda
  •    Onsolis
  •    Subsys

Doctors usually prescribe fentanyl in forms of:

  •    injection
  •    lozenges
  •    tablets
  •    transdermal patch
  •    lollipops

Other forms of fentanyl produced in illegitimate laboratories can result in a drug overdose. Because they often mix fentanyl with other illicit substances with no regards of the dosage. They sold fentanyl in various forms such as:

  •    powder
  •    mix with heroin or cocaine
  •    combined with other less powerful opioids
  •    smeared on blotted paper

Fentanyl users often take the drug by:

  •    snorting
  •    injecting
  •    ingesting
  •    or putting blotted paper in their mouths (this will allow the mucous membrane to absorb the drug)

Side effects of fentanyl

As an opiate drug, side effects of fentanyl are similar to other opiates like drowsiness and euphoria. But the exceptional strength of the drug makes it unusual for building tolerance for opiates.  Some users who used fentanyl for their severe pain may not be able to get pain relief from other opiates. For the reason, that fentanyl has a fast tolerance building effect.

Fentanyl users may experience two kinds of side effects from the drug, one for the drug and other from withdrawal symptoms.  Because Fentanyl is a powerful drug, its effects can also be very intense. But with the help of the best rehab clinic in your area these effects can be minimized.

Side effects of Fentanyl include:

  •    Nausea
  •    Vomiting
  •    Dizziness
  •    Drowsiness
  •    Lethargy
  •    Tiredness
  •    Body weakness
  •    Shortness of breath
  •    Difficulty breathing
  •    Swelling of  extremities (hands, feet, and ankles)
  •    Headaches

Effects of Fentanyl withdrawal:

  •    Extreme restlessness
  •    Stomach cramps
  •    Insomnia
  •    Nausea
  •    Vomiting
  •    Yawning
  •    Sweating
  •    Watery eyes and runny nose
  •    Chills
  •    Muscle and bone pain
  •    Anxiety
  •    Irritability
  •    Weakness
  •    High blood pressure

Fentanyl side effects could cause severe discomfort and pain to users.  To avoid going through such experience users need to continuously take the drug, builds up tolerance resulting to drug overdose. Somehow, these users are stuck in cycle, unable to break free.  They make irrational decision which could lead to dangerous situations, not just for them but for their loved ones as well. Seeking medical help to quit fentanyl addiction is imperative. The sooner it get treated, the better for the users to regain their lives back.

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Is Cocaine a Narcotic | West Palm Beach

Definition of Cocaine

Cocaine is a potent stimulant drug that comes from the coca plant leaves. South American people used the drug chewed the leaves of the coca plant to help them perform at work. The Andes Mountain is well-known for its altitude; workers consume the drug to help them breathe in thin air.

In the country, the government labeled cocaine as a Schedule II drug. This type of drugs contains addictive properties and poses health hazards. Even though cocaine generates addiction, the medical community still uses cocaine as a local anesthesia for the eye, ear, and throat surgeries.

The drug commonly sold illegally as a fine, white and crystalline powder. Because of its appearance, dealers often mix cocaine with non-psychoactive substances like flour, cornstarch, and baking soda to yield more of the drug, increasing their profits.

Street names of cocaine include:

  •    C
  •    coke
  •    snow
  •    powder
  •    blow

If the health hazards are not enough, some users mix the drug with other drugs like heroin or coined as a ‘speedball’.

History of Cocaine

Cocaine hydrochloride is the purest form and was first discovered more than 100 years ago. It acts as the main ingredient for several elixirs and tonics. Even the famous Coca-Cola got its name from cocaine, as it used it as their main ingredient for the drink.  People in the early times believed that these tonics can cure various illnesses.

Over the past few years, studies show that cocaine can generate addiction easily and can damage brain structures and its functions. Today, users snort, smoke and inject cocaine to get the intense high it produces.

How Cocaine is consumed

As a fast acting drug, cocaine can take effect within 2 seconds up to several minutes after taking it. The effect usually last from 5 minutes to 90 minutes.     

Short-term effects of cocaine include:

  •    loss of contact with the real world
  •    intense feeling of happiness
  •    agitation
  •    fast heart rate
  •    sweating
  •    dilates pupils

Long-term effects of the drug are as follows:

  •    high blood pressure
  •    high body temperature
  •    anxiety
  •    sleep disorders
  •    paranoia
  •    tremors and muscle twitches
  •    nausea and vomiting
  •    rapid and weak pulse
  •    chest pain
  •    heart attack
  •    kidney failure
  •    seizures
  •    convulsions
  •    brain hemorrhage
  •    stroke

What is narcotics?

Narcotics comes from the Greek word, “to make numb”, initially referring to the psychoactive compound that induces sleep. In the United States, narcotics are often associated with opiates and opioids. Some of the drugs under this group include morphine, heroin, and codeine.

Today, the term narcotics are sometimes associated with negative implications. However, in the medical community, narcotics are more defined and do not carry the same negative implications.  In the US legal context, narcotics would simply mean prohibited drugs. It can also suggest drugs that are under strict government regulation like cannabis and cocaine.

Also, narcotics is not a technical term and do not have a strict definition. The term varied throughout history. In medical term, it means any sort of drugs that induces sleep or produces ‘tranquilizing effect’.

The side effects of Narcotics:

Narcotics can reduce pain in the body and produces several more side effects such as:

  •    euphoric feeling
  •    an altered or heightened sense of well-being
  •    sleepiness
  •    lethargic
  •    loss of appetite
  •    stomach upsets
  •    nausea
  •    vomiting
  •    speech problems
  •    seizures
  •    decreased heart rate

Narcotics and its legality

The legislative classification of narcotics carries heavy penalties for violating the regulations.  Under the law, narcotics are:

  •    Drugs considered as depressants or dull the senses.
  •    Used as a generic term for drugs that cannot be legally sold, possessed or transported aside for medical purposes.  A person who needs to use the drug needs to get a valid medical prescription from doctors.

Is Cocaine a Narcotic?

The US Food and Drug Administration classified cocaine as a Schedule II drug in 1922. Because it contains properties like:

  •    High potential for abuse
  •    Accepted for specific medical treatment in the country or medical drugs with severe regulations to follow. In short, cocaine has a high potential for abuse with few medical purposes.
  •    Prolonged abuse can lead to chronic psychological or physical dependence.

Drugs classified under Schedule II usually generate addiction and are dangerous. Breaking the regulation under this class of drugs is punishable under the law and would mean longer prison times. In most states and under the law, classification of cocaine enforces severe penalties compare to other non-narcotic drugs.

Cocaine and Narcotics

Narcotics have more broad terms that it includes cocaine under its specifications. Even though cocaine does not belong to these drugs, the government classified cocaine as narcotic because of its detrimental side effects. These drugs act as a downer in the central nervous system or referred to as a ‘downer’. Meanwhile, cocaine is a stimulant and does not fall under this drug classification. Similarly, ‘downers’ particularly opiate affect the brain differently compares to cocaine, as ‘uppers’.

So in summary cocaine is not a narcotic but is labeled as such to impose heavy fines and penalties to those who will break the law.

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Where does Cocaine came from?

The Origin and History of Cocaine

Purified Cocaine comes from the leaves of the Erythroxylon coca bush native in South America. Dated back more than 3000 BC, ancient civilization used coca leaves for its properties to:

  •    relieve fatigue
  •    increase energy
  •    lessen hunger
  •    increase the production rate
  •    increase oxygen intake

The above mentioned are the much-needed skills for farm works. Historically, people only chew the leaf to extract cocaine from its leaves. The stimulating effects of cocaine provide the farmers for increased oxygen intake in high altitudes in the Andes Mountains. Over time, the news about the effects of oxygen reaches other lands. With the help of science, they discovered how to maximize the strength and effects of the coca plant.

The white crystalline powder we have come to know was synthesized using chemicals to extract the drug from the coca leaves.  Today, newer methods intensifying the euphoric effects of the drugs are discovered. This created the most powerful and the extremely addictive form of cocaine, known as crack. Countries of Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan grew the coca plant commercially in the past. But the contrary to popular beliefs, the first cocaine cartel was formed in Amsterdam and not in Columbia.

Cocaine Timeline

1860

Albert Nieman first extracted cocaine from the leaves in 1860.

1880

After two decades, the medical community used cocaine as a local anesthesia for surgeries in the eye, ears, and throat. The drug constricts blood vessels and limits bleeding in the affected area.

The 1880s and 1890s

The popularity of cocaine made its way as the main ingredient for various tonics and elixirs packaged as a ‘cure all’ medications. Coca leaves made into teas claiming to relieve stress from a hard day’s work.  

1886

Coca-Cola even chose the drug as the main component in their world famous drink. They marketed the beverage for its energizing effect. The company claimed that the drink can also generate a ‘feeling good’ or the euphoric feeling associated with the drug. John Pemberton introduces the drink containing cola syrup, caffeine, sugar and of course cocaine. Many patented medications in the United States contain the addictive drug.

In 1890 a German chemist named Eduard Ritsert first synthesized benzocaine. The white powder contains the same anesthetic effect of cocaine as the first over-the-counter medicine.

1910

Giant pharmaceuticals like Sandoz, Merck, and Hoffman-LaRoche founded the Cocaine Manufacturers Syndicate. Currently, the clandestine laboratories in South America make the drug.

1920

However, along with the rise its popularity, the dangerous side effects of cocaine emerge and eventually push authorities to ban cocaine and remove it from all products.

The government passed legislation, the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914 to prohibit any use, marketing, and production of cocaine, except for medical purposes.

1930s

Recreational use of cocaine went unnoticed because of the discovery of amphetamines during the 1930s.  Pharmaceutical companies marketed amphetamines but the public misuse its purpose. The government then put strict guidelines under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, the made its production limited.

During this time, cocaine abuse started rising, along with the discovery of crack cocaine, it ranks as the most abused drug.  But in Netherlands, cocaine was still sold as a legal drug under the Dutch Cocaine Factory.

A Peruvian doctor named Carlos Gutierrez Noriega published a scientific report about the harmful effects of chewing coca. However, a few decades after it was published, Burchard discredited the report in 1992.

The 1970s to 1980s

Since, no concrete evidence reported about the harmful effects of cocaine, countries all over the world was torn apart on how to manage cocaine use. Some classified it as a legal drug while most labeled it under controlled substances.  

In 1987, Lima supported the traditional use of cocaine. But in Bolivia, they put it under controlled substances. Two years later, Argentina followed the footsteps of Lima and allowed the chewing of the coca leaves and permitted drinking it as a tea. In the US, the first debate happened to legally classified cocaine as a narcotic.

1980s

Millions of American fall prey in the introduction of ‘decocainised’ coca tea from South America. Peru made its own legitimate cultivation of coca. The National Enterprise of Coca, a government arm controlled the production and licensed in the drug export. To market and expand the use of coca, the agency even promotes the benefits of the plant in its traditional use.

Since the 80s, cocaine became the major source of income for most poor South American countries. The region exported around 1000 tons of refined cocaine for the year 2000 alone.

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What is Fentanyl Used For?

Fentanyl is an opiate receptor agonist, which means it binds the opioid receptors in the brain. The drug increases the dopamine levels in the central nervous system, producing feelings of euphoria. As a prescription drug, other known effects of fentanyl include:

  •    relieves pain
  •    decreases the perception of suffering
  •    produces a state of relaxation
  •    gives out a feeling of well-being

Classified under as a Schedule II prescription narcotic drug, doctors prescribe fentanyl to treat moderate to severe pain.  About 50 to 80 times more powerful than morphine, fentanyl is often given to people who have physical tolerance to opiates.

The drug affects individuals differently and varies depending on:

  •    the user’s overall physical health (height, weight, and genetic make-up)
  •    fentanyl dosage
  •    the user’s tolerance for the drugs and whether they are used taking opioids
  •    when other substances are taken along with other drugs like other drugs or alcohol

The drug works within minutes from the time the user takes the drug. As a short-acting drug, its duration usually last for about 30 to 90 minutes. Fentanyl depresses both the respiratory system, coughs reflexes and constricts the pupils. Fentanyl also comes in different formulations and forms such as:

  •    oral tablets
  •    nasal sprays
  •    injections
  •    lozenges
  •    lollipops
  •    patches

Doctors usually administer fentanyl transdermal patch for patients who need continuous medication to relieve pain. It adheres to the skin easily and releases the drug gradually. The patch releases fentanyl through the skin and into the bloodstream in about 48 to 72 hours.

The patch is used for patients who already build tolerance to opioid therapy. Once absorbed in the skin, fentanyl still has an effect for about 13 to 24 hours after the removing the patch.

Street names for fentanyl include:

  •    Apache
  •    China girl
  •    Drop dead
  •    Goodfella
  •    Jackpot
  •    Murder 8
  •    TNT
  •    Percopop
  •    China white
  •    Serial killer
  •    Shine

Fentanyl is marketed under brand names of:

  •    Nasalfent
  •    Subsys
  •    Actavis
  •    Sublimaze
  •    Durogesic
  •    Duragesic
  •    Fentanyl citrate
  •    PriCara
  •    Lazanda

Medical use of Fentanyl

Health care professionals use fentanyl as an anesthesia for medical surgeries and as a pain reliever. Under a Schedule II controlled substances, the Food and Drug Administration or FDA warn the medical community about prescribing the drug.  The agency stretches out the importance of:

  •    proper patient profiling
  •    giving out dosages
  •    screening of candidates for patients that can potentially abuse fentanyl

When taken exactly as prescribe, the drug is safe to use even with fentanyl skin patches. However, if they use the drug outside the prescription, they can easily develop addiction disorders. Patients taking fentanyl as severe pain treatment can build tolerance then eventually addiction. They might not develop addiction by their own choice. However, some chemical reactions may dictate behavior of becoming too dependent to fentanyl.

Improper use, drug storage and drug disposal can lead to serious adverse result including death and drug overdose. This applies to a seemingly harmless fentanyl patches. This is why an addiction treatment center is of great importance.

Some of the appropriate medical use of fentanyl includes:

  •    Pain management treatment for people who suffers from moderate to severe pain. These cases sometimes involve people who needs constant and round-the-clock pain reliever.
  •    Doctors use fentanyl as an anesthesia agent for people undergoing major surgeries. The drug is also used for patients with heart complications.
  •    Used as a powerful anesthesia whenever needed for:

o    intramuscular

o    spinal

o    epidural

o    intravenous

  •    Fentanyl is a breakthrough for cancer patients who need opioid medications for their persistent pain which cannot be treated with other opioids.
  •    Used as a pain reliever for people who already have opioid tolerance over other narcotic drugs.  

Illegal use of Fentanyl

Fentanyl abuse started during the 1970s and drastically increased over the years. Distribution of illegitimate pharmaceutical companies added to the problem. People can purchase the drug online or from street dealers. Even discarded transdermal fentanyl patches can still produce generous amounts of the drug.

Users can still get fentanyl from patches when they remove the gel substance from the patch. User may:

  •    eat the gel
  •    stick it under the tongue
  •    smoke it
  •    prepare it for injection

Fentanyl can produce more respiratory depression than heroin, making the drug more deadly. It would turn out hundreds of time more deadly if manufactured in illegal laboratories. Long-time users of cocaine or heroin may not know the difference of street heroin enhance with fentanyl. The potency of mixture of these drugs is still unknown. Taking it can result to accidental overdose even death.

Side effects of Fentanyl

Users usually smoke, snort, ingest, and inject fentanyl. A single dose of 0.5 mg of fentanyl will provide euphoric sensations similar to a 20 mg of heroin.

Doctors also consider the patient’s age in administering correct dosage for the drug. Older people are more likely to experience the drug’s dangerous side effects compare to younger users. The drug affects the respiratory system and produces effects like:

Side effects of fentanyl include:

  •    Constricted pupils
  •    Unconsciousness
  •    Slowed respirations
  •    Decreased heart rate
  •    Drowsiness
  •    Confusion
  •    Constipation
  •    Dry mouth
  •    Weakness
  •    Nausea
  •    Sweating
  •    Flushing
  •    Confusion
  •    Stiff muscles
  •    Problems concentrating

Fentanyl transdermal patches can cause:

  •    redness
  •    rashes
  •    itching
  •    swelling in the area where over patch was applied

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What is Methadone?

Methadone is an opioid medication and also referred as a narcotic. The drug reduces withdrawal symptoms for users undergoing heroin and other narcotic drug rehabilitation treatment. For rehab cases, methadone relieves pain and serves as a part of detoxification process without causing the ‘high’ associated with addiction. Only certified pharmacies can administer methadone for maintenance programs as a part of rehab treatment. Methadone maintenance therapy of MMT is a common type of opiate abuse treatment.

One should not compare methadone with mephedrone or methamphetamine, which both drugs are classified under a stimulant type of drug.

History of Methadone

IG Farben, a giant pharmaceutical company first synthesized methadone in their laboratory in Germany in 1939.  Some people believed that this was part of Hitler’s plan as an effort to become independent from influences of foreign countries. Initially, German scientists develop the drug because of opium shortage during the World War II. However, despite reports of its side effects, the drug eventually marketed and sales grew within a small span of time.

When the war ended, most German patents and important assets were confiscated and distributed to the allies. The US Department of Commerce and Intelligence Division brought the drug to the country. It was later approved as a painkiller in 1947.

What causes methadone addiction?

Some people tend to abuse methadone build tolerance rapidly to the drug. Despite the manufacturer’s claim that the drug contains ‘little risk for addiction’, it has the potential for it. People began to use methadone recreationally.

In the country, methadone is used for opiate addiction but users soon returned to their addiction once treatment was over. The drug’s properties may not be fully understood until studies show that it can still provide positive effects for opiate users.   

Methadone Side Effects

Methadone drastically slows down reactions, one of the main characteristics of its side effects. Users may appear more lethargic and movements look exaggerated. It is a deadly condition as accidents may happen anytime because of the slowed reaction time.

Other side effects include:

  •    erratic mood swings
  •    depression
  •    mania
  •    Pinpoint pupils
  •    Respiratory depression
  •    Nausea
  •    inflammation of the skin
  •    signs of toxicity
  •    the appearance of illness

Can methadone induce addiction?

Some health care facilities use methadone as a treatment for opiate abuse. They need methadone as a substitute drug for users who stops taking their original choice of drug abuse. As a long-acting drug life, methadone is easy to administer and easy to take.

Treating patients with drug addiction often require decreasing their intense cravings in continue seeking out their drug of choice. Methadone can help ease those cravings but without providing too much risk. The drug comes readily available and because of its price, it remains as the perfect choice for some rehab centers. However, methadone abuse is still common.

Even though methadone does not produce the same intense ‘high’ compared to other opiates, it still has some potential for abuse. Because methadone provides an effect similar to opiates like:

  •    sedation
  •    relaxation
  •    reduction of anxiety
  •    sleepiness

However, methadone usually provides more good than harm for hundreds of people who need treatment for opiate abuse. Although the drug contains potential harmful effects, it is easy to reduce dosages and can still administer even in relatively high doses.

Short-Term Effects of Methadone

If taken as prescribed by a doctor, methadone is safe. Unfortunately, it made its way as a drug of choice for drug abusers.  

Once users take methadone, it acts like heroin but with less intense and has a longer-acting drug life. The effects can last up to 24 hours, its effect includes:

  •    sedation
  •    drowsiness
  •    feelings of euphoria
  •    relaxation

Long-Term Effects of Methadone

Prolonged chronic abuse of methadone can produce side effects as deadly as heroin addiction provides. Methadone can produce heart problems just like opiates and causes impaired judgment. Other long-term effects of the drug include:

  •    drug tolerance
  •    the physical dependence that may lead to withdrawal symptoms
  •    lung and respiratory complications
  •    cardiac problems
  •    neurological effects like memory problems
  •    menstrual problems (women)
  •    low blood pressure
  •    swelling of the eyes, mouth, throat, face or tongue
  •    hallucinations
  •    seizures

Methadone overdose

Although it is uncommon, methadone overdose can occur particularly for users who combine it with other illicit drugs. When combined with alcohol and benzodiazepines, increases the chance for a drug overdose.

Signs and symptoms of drug overdose

  •    low blood pressure
  •    difficulty breathing
  •    slow or shallow breathing
  •    seizure
  •    twitching muscles
  •    nausea
  •    vomiting
  •    bluish tint color of fingernails and lips
  •    coma
  •    sudden death

Facts about Methadone

  •    Even though less potent compare to heroin, methadone is regarded as highly addictive drug
  •    According to the FDA, methadone usually stays in the system up to 59 hours. Heroin drug life is about 4 to 5 hours.
  •    Unlike other drugs, users cannot tell if methadone still has some effects on them, which can lead to a drug overdose.
  •    When combined with other drugs and alcohol methadone acts as a deadly poison that can result in sudden death.
  •    Withdrawing from methadone is often more difficult than dealing with withdrawal from heroin.

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What is the Difference between Amphetamine and Methamphetamine | West Palm Beach

A lot of people mix up amphetamine and methamphetamine, no surprises there, as both drugs are similar in several ways.  Even if they may sound alike there are huge differences between the two. It is important to understand they the two are not the same drug. Each one affects the body differently and produces different side effects.

Amphetamine

As a central nervous system stimulant, amphetamine affects the brain chemicals and nerves which control hyperactivity and impulse control. The drug has been around for a long time. Doctors prescribed amphetamine to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The drug is also used to treat Narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder.

Methamphetamine

Meanwhile, methamphetamine or meth is derived from amphetamine. Over the past years, methamphetamine gained popularity as a recreational drug because of its highly addictive properties and addiction rates.

History of the two drugs

The origin of both drugs can people in understanding the difference of amphetamine and methamphetamine.

Amphetamine

The drug was developed during the 1900s but was not used until 1920s. During the early days of discovery, doctors use amphetamines to treat several illnesses like:

  • asthma
  • allergies
  • colds
  • weight loss management
  • increase activity

During the World War II, officials gave the drug to soldiers to help them stay awake in their post. They also believed that the drug increases energy in the battlefield. Soon after, it made its way into the market as a readily available legal drug because it can suppress appetite and increased energy. It targeted housewives who wanted to lose weight. Today, doctors can only prescribe the controlled drug as to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine comes from amphetamine and was discovered in the 1950s. Before reports of its highly addictive properties, doctors used to prescribe the drug as a medical treatment for:

  • depression
  • alcoholism
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • obesity

Eventually, people began to use meth heavily particularly those working in the trucking business to stay alert. It also became a popular weight loss medication. However, the drug can cause more harm than to treat those health problems.

Research shows how dangerous the drug is, these include:

  • In a study conducted in 2000, around 5% of American use methamphetamines.
  • Around 30,000 more Americans used methamphetamine as a recreational drug in 2013 compare in 2012.
  •  A total of 12.3 million American used meth and 530,000 of them have regularly used the drug.
  • The yearly expenditure of users for meth amounts to $12 billion for the year 2010 alone.

Similarities of the Drug:  Deadly and Addictive

Both drugs are central nervous system stimulants, increasing the user’s ability to stay awake and energy levels. Also, they affect the brain chemicals and functions, resulting in a production of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. This can cause to more psychological problems compared to other drugs.

Other Side Effects include:

  •    Extreme mood swings
  •    Loss of appetite
  •    Extreme weight loss
  •    Change in sleeping patterns
  •    Hyperthermia
  •    High blood pressure
  •    Rapid heart rate
  •    a sudden change in behavior
  •    Tremors
  •    convulsions
  •    Dry mouth
  •    Dizziness
  •    Insomnia

Methamphetamine can affect the user quicker and the effects are stronger compared to amphetamine. Meth can also easily induced addiction than amphetamine. However, both drugs can produce withdrawal symptoms if users choose to stop abruptly.

Withdrawal symptoms of both drugs include:

  • Irritability
  • Short-temper
  • Hypersensitivity to light and sound
  • Drug cravings
  • Extreme mood swings associated with bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Nightmares
  • Hallucinations
  • Sensory misperception
  • Hearing sounds that are not real
  • Psychosis

Other physical symptoms of amphetamine withdrawal include:

  • Oversleeping is a common occurrence amphetamine and methamphetamine addiction
  • Excessive hunger
  • Muscle Pain
  • Stomach cramps
  • Lack of coordination
  • Shaking
  • Seizures
  • Dehydration
  • Tachycardia
  • Arrhythmia
  • Cardiac arrest

In chemistry, Amphetamine is chemically known as phenylethylamine. While methamphetamine referred to as N-methylamphetamine. When the body metabolized methamphetamine breaks down into amphetamine. This means meth turns into and excreted as amphetamine.

In summary, the differences of both drugs are as follows:

Amphetamine

  • Use to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, a type of sleep disorder
  • Doctors can prescribe the drug as a treatment for certain diseases
  • Amphetamine referred as phenylethylamine

Methamphetamine

  • Meth is more popular among drug users.
  • It affects the users quicker and produces stronger side effects.
  • Methamphetamine is chemically known as N-methylamphetamine.
  • When the body metabolized methamphetamine it breaks down into amphetamine. This means the body converts the drug into amphetamine and excreted the same way.
  •    Considered too dangerous to prescribe and classified as an illegal drug worldwide.

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 What is Cocaine?

Cocaine came from the leaves of the coca plant or Erythroxylon Coca. For thousands of years, South American People ingested and chewed coca leaves because of the stimulating effect it produces. Cocaine tops the list as one of the most potent drugs in the world. When a person starts to use cocaine, it is almost impossible to break free from its deadly grip. Cocaine contains properties that can affect both the physical and mental aspects of an individual. Cocaine can over-stimulate brain receptors and nerve endings that can create a euphoric feeling or intense ‘high’.

Black market dealers call cocaine in names which include:

  • Coke
  • Crack
  • C
  • Snow
  • Powder
  • Blows

Usually, dealers often dilute or ‘cut’ cocaine with other harmless substances to yield more and increase their sales. Cocaine sold in the black market often includes talcum powder, cornstarch, or baking soda. Similarly, dealers may mix other drugs in their cocaine mixture. Cocaine may sometimes mix with other drugs like amphetamine and procaine, a chemical associated as an anesthetic.

Several Uses of Cocaine in the Past

People use cocaine hydrochloride, the refined chemical form for more than a century. In the early 1990s, several tonics and elixirs contain this drug as their main ingredient. These tonics use to treat several diseases. Back in the days, Coca-Cola used to mix cocaine in their famous drink. Physicians use the drug before the discovery of synthetic local anesthetic to block pain for medical procedures.

But over time, studies shows that cocaine contains addictive substances that can affect the structures and the function of the brain if used constantly.

Government Controlled Substance

Presently, the United States Food and Drug Administration or FDA labeled cocaine as a Schedule II drug. This means cocaine contains properties that have a high potential for abuse. However, doctors can still use the drug for valid medical reasons like as local anesthesia for ear, throat and eye surgeries. As a recreational drug, cocaine looks like a fine, translucent and crystalline powder.

Types of Cocaine

Users misuse two chemical types of cocaine, the freebase cocaine or water-insoluble cocaine and the water-soluble (hydrochloride salt) type.

The drug can also take the form of small white rocks. Users process this type of cocaine using ammonia or baking soda to get rid some of the impurities from the drug referred to as “freebasing”. Then they will let the rest of the mixture to dry to rocks. In the black market, these rocks are sold in small bags and smoked. The term crack refers to the crackling sound when users the mixture is heated and smoked. Crack cocaine contains the same addictive properties and side effects but is less expensive than its powdered counterpart.

In its powdered form, users snort or dissolved cocaine and inject it into the bloodstream. When consumed, cocaine in this form can cause euphoria, extreme alertness, and energy. Others mix the drug with a flammable solvent which separates the impurities and inhale the vapors. Some users mix it with heroin, a mixture known as a speedball because of the intense rush high that it gives.

A super expensive habit

Powder cocaine is an expensive habit, people spends billions of dollar worldwide to funds their addiction. A single user can spend thousands of dollars in a short period of time because the drug can cause binges. Along with cocaine abuse, users may also use other substances and even prostitutes as a part of their high-spending lifestyle.

Cocaine does not provide a long-lasting effect; in return, users may take it more frequently to get the desired high effect. This often leads to tolerance and users may need higher doses to get the same effect.

One deadly powder

Cocaine abuse can cause several deadly effects such as panic attacks, psychosis, hallucinations, and paranoia. Excessive use of cocaine can lead to death because of stroke, cerebral hemorrhage, heart attack and respiratory failure. Even children of cocaine-addicted mothers suffer addiction when they came into this world. The drug can also cause several birth defects if the mother uses cocaine during pregnancy. However, despite the dangerous effect of cocaine, it still prevalent in most areas.

Facts about Cocaine:

  • A gram of pure cocaine cost around $150 in the United States. This makes the drug one of the most expensive recreational drug in the black market.
  • Cocaine is a popular drug of choice for the upper-class people, which gave its name as the “rich man’s drug”.
  • Scotland tops the list as the highest cocaine use in the world. An estimated 2.4 percent of the total population or 1 in every 40 Scots uses the drug.
  • Cocaine remains as the most potent central nervous system stimulant found in nature.
  • The ancient Inca civilization believed that the drug was a gift from the gods.
  • In1859, the first extract of cocaine from the coca leaves was marketed as coca wine in France.
  • Doctors first use cocaine as a local anesthesia in the eye, nose and throat surgeries in 1880 in the country.
  • On the South Pole exploration, Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton both took cocaine tablets in their mission.
  • During the early times, chemists use cocaine hydrochloride, the refined chemical from the coca leaves. They use it as the main ingredient for several elixirs and tonics. These tonics said to treat various diseases in the early 1900s.
  • Coca-Cola initially contained about nine milligrams of cocaine per bottle. In 1903, the giant beverage company removed the addictive ingredient from their drink. But the cocaine-free drink still used the coca leaf in their logo.
  • Chronic use of the drug can separate the user’s nose cartilage destroying it permanently.
  • Cocaine can cause dehydration and dry mouth which results in bad breath and tooth decay.

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How Cocaine is Made | Okeechobee

Cocaine tops the list as the most commonly abused illegal drug in the United States, after marijuana and heroin, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  Overdose from cocaine consists of about 10% of the total admission in public-funded abuse treatment programs.

However, in a study which the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime conducted, cocaine is one of the most expensive illegal drugs in the black market. In a 2015 Global Drug Survey, a gram of cocaine cost about 80 USD. This will make you wonder what cocaine is made of and how it is made to yield this kind of amount in the market. Before delving yourself in this kind of information, you must first know what cocaine is.

Cocaine

Cocaine is primarily made of extract from coca leaves, native to South America. But it can also contain several ingredients like cornstarch, talcum powder, powdered milk and other substances once it is diluted or “cut.” This drug can over stimulate the central nervous system and contains anesthetic properties.  For hundreds of years, South American people use the coca leaves whenever they need an energy boost. The cocaine plant is relatively harmless but once chemically synthesized it can produce short- and long-term dangerous effects.  Street names of cocaine include Crack, Rock, Coke, Snow, Candy, Blow, Flake and Charlie.

How is Cocaine Made?

After marijuana, cocaine is the most widespread drug in the US but few people understand where it comes from.

To make just a kilo of cocaine, coca farmers need to hand pick 1,000 kilos of coca leaves. After harvesting the leaves, they laid it out under the sun. Famers will let the leaves dry in the sun for about half to full day. The leaves will somewhat dry out and ready for the next step. There are two ways to extract cocaine from the basic coca leaf plant, using solvents or using acid-based chemicals.

Cocaine extraction using solvents

Once the leaves are dried out, it is finely chopped and dusted with lime or carbonate salt along with a small amount of water. Some manufacturers will use a weed-whacker to complete this process. Some people may just do it by hand. After the leaves have been cut, makers will sprinkle a small amount of cement powder.  Then ammonia and lime are added to the leaves. Next, they will spray diesel or kerosene over the leaves and strongly stirred up for three days. The process will remove the cocaine from the leaves and into the liquid mixture. The makers may use a washing machine or cement mixer while some poor manufacturers will just do it by hand.

The ingredients will help separate cocaine from the leaves.  Manufacturers will heat the liquid to eliminate any wax from the coca leaves. The mixture will then be filtered to separate cocaine from the leafy concoctions.  Initially, the mixture will look like a large amount of liquid mixture. Makers will then add sulfuric acid and re-mix it again. This will transform the cocaine free base to cocaine sulfate.

Manufacturers or makers will let the mixture sit for some time. During this process, cocaine sulfate will separate from the mixture. After the separation process, makers will then add lime or caustic soda. This will neutralize the sulfuric acid; the by-product of the chemical is a sticky yellow solid mixture. Again, this paste is dried then package and shipped to another location for additional handling and extraction.

Cocaine paste extraction using acid

Another procedure to make cocaine is using acid-based chemicals to extract the drug.  Makers pour the leaves of the coca plant in a container with dilutes sulfuric acid. Makers need to work exuberantly to soften the mixture which usually lasts for about 2 hours. The acid in the container will transform the leaves to cocaine sulfate. To remove unnecessary waxy deposit, makers will drain the chemical and then heated. The rest of the mixture will undergo filtration process to remove any remaining plant residues.

Lime or carbonated chemicals are added to the mixture, makers stirred the ingredients vigorously. The result of the concoction is called coca paste. Makers will then add kerosene and re-filter the concoction for further sulfuric acid treatment.

From ‘paste’ to Street Cocaine

After the coca extraction process, it needs further processing to change the mixture from chemical concoction to an ingestible substance. The mixture will undergo purification process, in which it is dissolved in a small amount of diluted sulfuric acid. Next, an exact measurement of potassium permanganate is added to the mixture. As a potent oxidizing agent, it removes the impurities in the coca paste. It even changes the color of the paste from a brown-yellowish color to an almost translucent white color.  The translucent, acidic solution by-product is then filtered and treated with the chemical ammonia to neutralize the acid.

Before it reaches the black market, the ‘raw’ cocaine is further dried to transform it into cocaine hydrochloride. The final result is the street product that circulated the black market with crystal-like properties that produce a numbing effect.

In order for the users to inject cocaine, it must be water soluble. If not, the drug will just form in clumps and can lead to cardiac arrest. As a salt, users can both inject and snort cocaine which the body can easily absorb.

Changing Cocaine to Crack Cocaine

Considered as the most powerful form of cocaine, crack cocaine produces a very powerful high. With regular abuse, it is often associated with intense energy, hyperactivity, aggression, and even paranoia. Most people convert hydrochloride into a solid substance of freebase cocaine. To produced crack cocaine, makers will add sodium bicarbonate or ammonia. In this form, users commonly heat the drug and smoke it using glass pipe and inhaling the smoke or vapor.

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Definition of Cocaine

Cocaine is a strong stimulant mostly used as a recreational drug. It is commonly snorted, inhaled as a smoke, or as a solution injected into a vein.

Historically speaking cocaine is being used as a topical anesthetic in eye and nasal surgery. Also as a result of improper use of the drug it can cause major health problems. Because of the vasoconstrictor activity, it can lead to cardiovascular toxicity.

To control misuse of cocaine, the medical community replaced the drug. They now use synthetic local anesthetics, such as:

  • benzocaine
  • proparacaine
  • lidocaine
  • tetracaine

Apparently, it remains available for use if specified or prescribed by an authorized person.

Cocaine contains properties known to reduce bleeding. If physicians need vasoconstriction effect for medical purposes they combined the drug with phenylephrine or epinephrine.

For medical purposes, topical cocaine can be used as a local numbing agent to help with painful procedures in the mouth or nose.

Cocaine is a powerful nervous system stimulant. The duration of its effects can last from fifteen or thirty minutes to an hour. Its effects depend on the amount taken and the route of administration. Cocaine can be seen in the form of fine white powder, bitter to the taste. When inhaled or injected in a person body, it can cause a numbing effect on the body.

Cocaine also increases alertness, feelings of well-being and euphoria, energy and motor activity, feelings of competence and sexuality of the person that intakes it. It has stimulant effects that are similar to that of amphetamine, however, these effects tend to be much shorter lasting and more prominent.

Drug injection is by turning the drug or the cocaine into a solution that provides the highest blood levels of the drug in the shortest amount of time. Subjective effects not commonly shared with other methods of administration may include a ringing in the ears moments after injection usually when in excess of 120 milligrams that is lasting 2 to 5 minutes including tinnitus and audio distortion. This is colloquially referred to as a “bell ringer”. It is said that the average time taken to reach peak subjective effects was 3.1 minutes in taking the drug.

An injected mixture of cocaine and heroin, known as “speedball” is a particularly one of the most dangerous combination, as the converse effects of the drugs actually complement each other, but may also mask the symptoms of an overdose. It has been responsible for numerous deaths.

Cocaine’s Adverse effects

Acute

With the excessive or prolonged use of the drug it can cause

  • itching
  • fast heart rate
  • hallucinations
  • paranoid delusions.

Overdoses may lead to the following effects:

  • hyperthermia
  • marked elevation of blood pressure,
  • arrhythmias
  • death

Same as with these effects:

  • anxiety
  • death
  • paranoia
  • restlessness can also occur, especially during the comedown.
  • With excessive dosage, tremors, convulsions and increased body temperature are observed.

Long term abuse of cocaine can provide detrimental physical and mental side effects.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

  • Recognizing an addiction is the first step to losing it.
  • Depending on the nature of the abuse of the drug, some patients who are seeking help will be advised to attend a residential rehabilitation program, or much better a structured day program.
  • Medications can treat the symptoms related to cocaine withdrawal, subsequently, there is no substitute or alternative drug that can effectively and efficiently help a patient recover from a cocaine dependency.
  • Individuals who will stop using the drug will have powerful cravings that can last for years.
  • Preferably counseling, social support, and some specialist medications may help.

In a study, it shows that 70 percent of people who decided to undergo treatment for powder cocaine problems are either to stop completely or significantly reduce their consumption. Users can stay drug-free not longer than 6 months.

Anyone who is concerned about cocaine use should see a doctor or can look for a local support group that can motivate them for beating or stops the drug addiction. By the help of these motivational groups and Detox of South Florida, it can adversely turn the addiction to a meaningful way of living.

There are two possible ways you can detox cocaine depending on the time frame of usage of the drug:

1 – Natural Way: This is done by drinking plenty of fluids that allows your system to naturally cleanse. This type of process will usually take longer.

2 – Detoxifying products: These are products that are usually in the form of drinks, powders, and pills. They can speed up the process of detoxification process or at least allow you to test clean of any drugs for a short period of time.

 

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Drugs used for Opiate Addiction | Fort Lauderdale

Treating opiate addiction is a crucial and sometimes painful experience. Many users failed to avoid drugs because they cannot handle withdrawal symptoms.

Some drugs can help relieved withdrawal symptoms. It can aid users during detox. Some drugs can imitate the effect of addictive drugs. The result can eases both drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms. These medications can mimic opiates without the addictive properties.

A medical practitioner can prescribe medications specified for addiction treatment. These treatments can take place in either inpatient or outpatient rehab program.

These experts can adjust the medication dosages in the course of the treatment. This will ensure the care and safety of the users. In a proper medical supervision, users have a higher chance in recovering from addiction.

 

The Detoxification Process

Detoxification process serves as the first step in treating addiction. This will eliminate all traces of the drug from the user’s body. The ultimate goal is to clean the body from the toxins of the drugs.


However, during the detoxification, users may experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the severity of the drug abuse, this experience can be painful for the user. Users who abuse drugs for an extended time in higher doses experience the worst symptoms. Medication plays a big role in helping users get through the detoxification process.

 

The most common withdrawal symptoms of opiates include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chillls
  • Stomach pains
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Tremors

Doctors use specific medication to treat different withdrawal symptoms. Some of the medications to relieve withdrawal symptoms from opiates include:

 

Antidepressants

Drugs can alter the physical structure of the brain. Users may no longer produce enough natural dopamine and another chemical in the brain. These chemicals can produce feelings of pleasure and happiness. It is common for users undergoing detox to experience depression. Antidepressants such as Zoloft and Prozac can help with the depression. These drugs can help users handle depression. It helps the body until the brain is capable of producing enough dopamine and other pleasure-inducing chemicals in the brain.

 

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines or benzos can help to reduce irritability and anxiety. Opiates, cocaine, and heroin produce these symptoms. The drugs can assist users in the symptoms. However, doctors are still cautious in using benzos because they can also generate addiction.

 

Buprenorphine

This is a combination of a new drug that helps with opiates withdrawal symptoms. Buprenorphine activates receptors that can suppressed cravings. It can also prevent intense withdrawal symptoms.

The mixture of the drug with naloxone can prevent abusive behavior towards medication. Meanwhile, subutex commonly used for chronic opiate detox. To treat severe withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapses doctors use the drug Suboxone.

 

Clonidine

Clonidine is a medication use to blood pressure that works on the brain. This drug can reduce cramps, sweating, anxiety and muscle aches. Clonidine can also stop tremors and seizures. It also reduces the effects of the “fight or flight” reaction. Drugs usually over stimulate this reaction in the brain during opiate withdrawals. Unfortunately, clonidine does not help in reducing the drug cravings. The drug is also less effective when used alone.

 

Methadone

This drug can eliminate withdrawal symptoms. It activates the same opioid receptors in the brain as what other narcotics do. Doctors give the correct dosages of methadone to prevent opiate withdrawal symptoms. It can also ease the user’s experience of drug cravings. Methadone does not produce any feelings of euphoria.

Doctors can slowly reduce methadone in the user’s body. This can result to opiate treatment management. It can also lessen physical dependence and without withdrawal symptoms. Presently, methadone is a proven treatment for opiate addiction.

 

Living a sober life after detoxification

Detoxification reduces the physical dependence and tolerance of opiate addiction. However, addiction experts claimed that the social and psychological factors need to be addressed as well. This will ensure the success of the addiction treatment. Stress and other stimuli that trigger the brain to use drugs are a common event or a relapse.

It is important to address the other reasons that user to take drugs, to maintain a sober life. It can also lessen relapse from happening. When users experience drug cravings it is difficult to resist. Most users may succumb to relapse, thus repeating the whole cycle of addiction again.

According to studies, opiate addiction can enjoy long-term maintenance treatment. Methadone or buprenorphine combined with naloxone can help users maintaining a sober life. Doctors often prescribe these drugs as maintenance of treatment.

Meanwhile, methadone remains as the most effective method of recovery. Studies around methadone use can testify with its beneficial effects. Even a newer drug, Suboxone already gained wide support as a maintenance opiate drug.

Watch this video from Detox of South Florida for more information.

 

 

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