Cocaine Overdoses Rising Especially Among African Americans

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Cocaine” by Nightlife Of Revelry is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Dave Thomas PhD

Health Scientist Administrator
National Institute on Drug Abuse 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: At the National Institute on Drug Abuse, we support research on all forms of drug use, and are aware that cocaine misuse is on the rise.  We are aware that various forms of drug use can have greater prevalence by race, sex, age and other population characteristics.

The main finding of this paper is that cocaine overdose rates are on the rise and that that the group hit hardest is the non-Hispanic black population.

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Inhaling Poppers Associated With Visual Toxicity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Rebecca Rewbury
Sussex Eye Hospital
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust
Brighton, UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: ‘Poppers’ are recreational drugs which are illegal to sell for human ingestion, but are sold under the guise of household cleaning products. Inhalation leads to a brief sense of euphoria, enhanced sexual arousal and smooth muscle relaxation. The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 was due to outlaw poppers, but they were excluded on the basis that they do not act directly on the central nervous system.

The main constituent of poppers, isopropyl nitrite, replaced isobutyl nitrite when the latter was classified as a carcinogen in 2006. Since then, there have been several case reports of ‘poppers maculopathy.’

We noted an increase in patients presenting with central visual disturbances after using poppers and describe 12 such cases. They all demonstrated similar disruption of the photoreceptor layer on retinal imaging. Onset of symptoms was frequently linked to specific brands of poppers, with 3 people having used poppers for many years and only developing side effects on changing brand. Chemical analysis showed that these products contained isopropyl nitrite. One brand of poppers, used without side effects by one patient, contained amyl nitrite, 2-methyl butyl nitrite and isobutyl alcohol, but no isopropyl nitrite.

The outcome of poppers maculopathy varied, but following abstention, visual disturbances and retinal damage tended to improve over months, if not fully resolve. Although in some cases, symptoms and/or imaging findings were prolonged. Ongoing use of implicated brands led to persistent, but not worsening maculopathy, whereas one patient that switched back to another brand showed full recovery.

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Fewer African Americans, More Whites Injecting Drugs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cyprian Wejnert, Ph.D. National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention CDC

Dr. Cyprian Wejnert

Cyprian Wejnert, Ph.D.
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our country is dealing with a devastating epidemic of opioid misuse and overdose that affects individuals, families and communities. We have long known that sharing needles and syringes is an incredibly efficient route for HIV, hepatitis and other infections to spread.

Yet, about 10% of annual HIV diagnoses in the United States occur among people who inject drugs, and there are clusters of hepatitis C infections across the country. These infections can be prevented when people who inject drugs use sterile needles, syringes and other injection equipment. One of the main findings of this study is that use of syringe services programs (SSPs) has increased substantially during the past decade, but most people who inject drugs still don’t always use sterile needles.

The analysis finds that more than half (54%) of people who inject drugs in 22 cities with a high number of HIV cases reported in 2015 they used an SSP in the past year, compared to only about one-third (36%) in 2005. Although syringe services program use has increased, findings indicate that too few people who inject drugs use only sterile needles. One in three (33%) reported in 2015 that they had shared a needle within the past year – about the same percentage that reported sharing a decade ago (36% in 2005).

The report also highlights some successes in HIV prevention among African Americans and Latinos who inject drugs, as well as concerning trends in whites who inject drugs. From our study of 22 urban areas, it appears that fewer African Americans are injecting drugs. However, it also appears there has been an increase in white Americans injecting drugs.

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US and Columbia Face Generation of Drug Users Becoming Drug Injectors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, Ph. D. Principal Investigator National Development Research Institutes, Inc. New York, NY 10010

Dr. Pedro Mateu-Gelabert

Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, Ph. D.
Principal Investigator
National Development Research Institutes, Inc.
New York, NY 10010 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Mateu-Gelabert: Heroin production in Colombia increased dramatically in recent decades, and some studies point to an increase in local heroin consumption since the mid-1990s. Despite this rapid increase, little is known about the effects of these activities on heroin injection within Colombia. One of the biggest concerns surrounding heroin injection is the potential spread of HIV through drug user networks.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Mateu-Gelabert: The key take home message in the paper is that a widespread early implementation of harm reduction services (e.g. opioid substitution therapy, HIV testing, syringe exchange programs)  can prevent HIV among young PWID (People Who Inject Drugs) before it rapidly spreads within drug injection networks. Reducing HIV among young drug injectors could prevent the spread of HIV from PWID to the general population.

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Children of Military Personnel More Likely To Use Drugs and Have Trouble at School

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kathrine Sullivan Ph.D. Candidate

University of Southern California
School of Social Work

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Military families and military-connected youth exhibit significant strengths; however, a sizeable proportion of these families appear to be struggling in the face of war-related stressors. Understanding the consequences of war is critical as a public health concern and because additional resources may be needed to support military families. This study used a large, normative, and geographically comprehensive dataset to determine whether military-connected youth are at risk of adverse outcomes, including substance use, victimization, and weapon-carrying, during wartime.  Results indicated that military-connected 7th, 9th and 11th grade students had greater odds of substance use, victimization, and weapon-carrying compared to non-military connected peers. Specifically, more military-connected students reported using alcohol (45 percent vs. 39 percent), being hit, kicked, slapped or pushed (36 percent vs. 27 percent) or bringing a gun to school (10 percent vs. 5 percent) than other students.  Children with parents or a caregiver in the armed forces were also much more likely to have used prescription medications (36 percent vs. 27 percent), brought a knife to school (15 percent vs. 9 percent), been in a fight (27 percent vs. 17 percent) or feared being beaten up (24 percent vs. 18 percent).

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Most Drugs Have Ingredients That Come From Animals

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kinesh Patel, Research Fellow
Wolfson Unit for Endoscopy
St Mark’s Hospital, Harrow HA1 3UJ, UK

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Patel: Most drugs prescribed in primary care have ingredients that come from
animals, but the animals they come from is not always clear and whether the
drugs are suitable for vegetarians is difficult to find out conclusively,
even after looking at information available on packets, information
leaflets and on the internet.
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