Archive for the ‘DRUGS’ Category


Friday, June 23rd, 2017


Coumarin is mostly toxic to the liver, which plays a central role in mopping up poisons and clearing them from the body. As the front-line defence, the organ is extraordinarily resilient, able to regenerate from just a quarter of its original size. Just like alcohol, coumarin is thought to be toxic over the long term, with repeated bouts of damage.

“The problem is it’s not like you’re going to realise when you’ve got to the level where you’re eating too much – the effects build up over years,” says Dirk Lachenmeier from the Chemical and Veterinary Investigation Laboratory (CVUA) of Karlsruhe, Germany, who has developed a new way of detecting coumarin in foods.

The easy way to find out is obvious; alas, it turns out feeding people toxic chemicals isn’t allowed. Instead, the safe limits in humans are based on studies in animals, from baboons to dogs. To account for an any differences in our biology, the highest amount which hasn’t caused any harm in animals is multiplied by 100.

For most people, the current limit is probably ultra conservative

For an average-sized person, this works out at a measly one quarter of a tonka bean or a quarter of a cinnamon bun per day – though if you remove the safety factor, your allowance shoots up to more like 25 tonka beans or 20 cinnamon buns (5680 calories, a challenge for even the most hardened binge eaters).

For most people, the current limit is probably ultra conservative. Many animals, including rats and dogs, remove coumarin from the body in a completely different way, breaking it down into highly potent chemicals which are toxic in their own right. Instead, we have enzymes which subtly tweak coumarin’s structure to render it safe. But not all people can do this.

Back in the 90s, a woman arrived at Frankfurt University Hospital with severe liver disease. She was promptly diagnosed with “coumarin-induced hepatitis”, but in fact she hadn’t overdosed on tonka beans. She had been taking the drug warfarin.

What was going on?


Henry Sapiecha

Young people opt for euthanasia drug as overall number of suicide deaths grows in Australia

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

nebutol suicide substance image

More Australians are taking their own lives with a drug recommended by euthanasia groups, including people aged in their teens, 20s and 30s.

New data from the national coronial information system shows 120 people died by taking Nembutal – dubbed the “peaceful pill” – between July 2000 and December 2012.

The number of deaths from the drug reached a high of 24 in 2011, compared with nine in 2001. In 2012, there were 17 deaths. However, there may be more as the data obtained by Fairfax Media does not include cases before the coroner.

Voluntary euthanasia campaigners say the actual number of Nembutal deaths is even higher, as many deaths are not reported to the coroner and people who use the drug to take their lives take steps to make it look like the death is of natural causes.

The deaths included one person under the age of 20, 11 people in their 20s and 14 people in their 30s.

People aged over 60 made up more than half of the deaths in the same period.

There has also been the biggest increase in Nembutal deaths in this age group.

Euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke said the figures reflected that the drug was getting easier to obtain and was displacing some more violent methods.

He said the fact younger people were accessing the drug should be balanced against “the very large number of people who get immense comfort from knowing they have a safety net in place”.

Dr Nitschke said he was facing 12 complaints to the Medical Board of Australia over the involvement of his organisation, Exit International, in several deaths over the past decade.

Last week, the Northern Territory Supreme Court found the board acted unlawfully in using emergency powers to suspend Dr Nitschke’s medical licence.

The full case against him will be heard in November.

Dying with Dignity Victoria vice-president Rodney Syme said some of the deaths in younger age brackets could have involved people with incurable diseases who had obtained the drug.

“Intolerable and unrelievable suffering is not confined by age,” he said.

Dr Syme, who has been obtaining Nembutal for terminally ill patients for more than 20 years, said he once handed the drug to a 30-year-old woman with incurable brain cancer, although the woman never used it and died four years later in palliative care.

In Australia, Nembutal is used by vets to euthanise animals.

The coroner’s figures show that while in most cases the means of obtaining the drug were unknown, 20 people obtained the drug from overseas and 22 from a workplace.

Paul Russell of HOPE, an organisation devoted to preventing euthanasia and assisted suicide, said the data was concerning and something suicide prevention organisations should be heeding.

“We need to find more effective ways of helping people [who] are feeling desperate from going to these clandestine organisations,” he said.

Over the past 10 years, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show there have been 2300 suicides a year on average, with people under 30 making up 22 per cent of all deaths.

For help or information, contact:

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SuicideLine 1300 651 251


Henry Sapiecha

Experimental cholesterol drugs could halve heart attack and stroke rates

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

A new class of experimental cholesterol drugs might sharply reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, preliminary research has found.

A new class of experimental cholesterol drugs may sharply reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, initial research has discovered.

by Andrew PollackA new class of experimental cholesterol drugs might sharply reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, researchers reported on Sunday, citing what they described as preliminary evidence.

The drugs, one being developed by Amgen and the other by Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, are already known to sharply reduce so-called bad cholesterol, sometimes to levels lower than those achieved by statins like Lipitor, the mainstay lipid-lowering medicines.

What has not been known, however, is whether the drugs do what patients and doctors really care about: protect against heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular problems or “events.”

Big benefits may be possible

The early results suggest that there might be such a benefit, maybe even a big one. In small studies sponsored by the manufacturers, both drugs reduced the rate of such cardiovascular problems by about half.

“To see a reduction in cardiovascular events already is very encouraging that we’re on the right track,” says Jennifer G. Robinson, the lead investigator in the trial of the Sanofi drug.

The studies were published in The New England Journal of Medicine and were presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology on  Monday in San Diego.

More research required

Researchers caution, however, that the studies were small and intended to assess whether the drugs lower the bad cholesterol and were safe, not whether they stave off heart attacks. That could make the conclusions about heart attack and stroke risk less trustworthy. Judging those effects will require larger trials involving tens of thousands of people; such studies are underway and are expected to be completed by 2017.

“I do not think that either study answers the question definitively of cardiovascular benefit,” says Steven E. Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, referring to the drug makers’ research. He was not involved in either study.

Risk of memory problems

Researchers say long-term safety still must be assessed, especially since these drugs are reducing LDL cholesterol to levels never achieved by medicines before. While the drugs appear to be generally safe, there is evidence that they could cause memory problems.

Still, the findings could help smooth the way for regulatory approval, wider use of the drugs by doctors and possibly reimbursement by insurers.

The drugs, evolocumab from Amgen and alirocumab from Sanofi and Regeneron, inhibit a protein in the body called PCSK9 that helps regulate cholesterol. In the studies detailed on Sunday, both drugs reduced the bad cholesterol by about 60 percent, to about 50 milligrams per deciliter from about 120 at the start of the studies. In many cases such big reductions were achieved even though the patients were already taking statins.

Both drugs could win approval from the US Food and Drug Administration by the Northern summer. Analysts say the drugs will have billions of dollars in annual sales and will be taken by millions of people who cannot lower their cholesterol enough using statins alone or cannot tolerate statins. (However, the PCSK9 drugs are taken by injection every two weeks or four weeks, which could deter some users.)

Statins reduce cardiovascular risk and scientists believe it is because they decrease low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol. But merely looking at cholesterol levels can be misleading. The drug niacin did not protect against heart attacks and strokes even though it raised so-called good cholesterol and modestly lowered bad cholesterol.

Insurers in particular might demand proof that the PCSK9 drugs stave off heart attacks, strokes, deaths from coronary disease and procedures to open arteries before agreeing to pay for them for many patients. Executives at CVS Health, a leading pharmacy benefits manager, recently said that PCSK9 inhibitors might cost $US7,000 to $US12,000 a year and would strain health care budgets because so many people might use them.

“Managed care pharmacy, indeed the health care system, has never seen a challenge like this to our resilience in absorbing costs,” they wrote in the Health Affairs blog.

Whether the results from these two small studies will be persuasive enough remains to be seen.

The New York Times


Henry Sapiecha

Drug that stops bowel cancer growth in 80 per cent of cases uncovered by Melbourne researchers

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Bowel cancer is the second largest cause of cancer deaths in Australia image

Australian scientists have discovered a set of drugs that stop the growth of bowel cancers in about 80 to 90 per cent of cases.

Dr Toby Phesse, from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, said new forms of treatment for this type of cancer are in high demand.

“About 4,000 people are going to die of [bowel] cancer every year in Australia, and so we’re really crying out for new therapies to try and target this disease,” Dr Phesse said.

“And our lab is specifically looking for targeted strategies to try and work out which signalling pathways or which genes could be targeted to try and prevent this cancer.”

Dr Phesse said the team of researchers found a particular kind of drug called JAK inhibitors that can be used to target colon cancers.

“This particular pathway is regulated in many types of cancer, including colon cancer, and we found that 80 per cent of colon cancers have got a certain mutation in the weak pathway,” he said.

“However, this pathway is also required for the normal cells of the intestine and so if you try and target that pathway directly, you pose a severe threat of actually affecting the normal cells of the intestine.

“So we wanted to try a different strategy and try and target a parallel pathway and that is what brought us to the JAK pathway.


“And we found that with the JAK inhibitors these tumours, 80 per cent of them, they were exquisitely sensitive to JAK inhibitors.”

We just have to bring the story out now that these drugs actually can be used in colon cancer.

Dr Toby Phesse, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research


The drugs work in two ways: by stopping cell growth and, in pre-chemical models, preventing the development of new tumours.

“So this will be important for people who have got a familial condition in which they develop multiple intestinal tumours,” Dr Phesse said.

“It’s very exciting and it really opens the window now to use these drugs.”

With JAK inhibitors already approved for use in other diseases, Dr Phesse expects the up-take of this new bowel cancer treatment to be quick.

“The great thing is that they are already existing in the clinic and they’re being used to treat disorders such as psoriasis, arthritis, minor fibrosis,” he said.

“So we don’t have to spend the many years and the resources … to develop a new drug.

“They’re there in the clinic and we just have to bring the story out now that these drugs actually can be used in colon cancer.”

Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Incyte pancreatic cancer drug improves survival in mid-stage trial


Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:35pm EDT

(Reuters) – Incyte Corp reported an improved survival rate in patients most likely to benefit from its experimental pancreatic cancer treatment, Jakafi, sending the company’s shares up 30 percent to its highest in almost 13 years.

Analysts said the data from a mid-stage trial suggested that the drug, already approved in the U.S. to treat a form of blood cancer, can work in a late-stage pancreatic cancer study, as well as on other cancerous tumors.

Among the subgroup of patients identified as most likely to benefit from the treatment, the six month survival rate of patients getting Jakafi along with chemotherapy was 42 percent.

The survival rate was 11 percent for the subgroup of patients treated with chemotherapy alone.

“We are encouraged by this data and model for peak U.S./E.U. sales in pancreatic cancer of $514 million in 2023,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Salveen Richter wrote in a note.

The combination of Jakafi, generically known as ruxolitinib, and chemotherapy drug, capecitabine, was generally well tolerated in the study.

Among the patients receiving the combination therapy, 12 percent discontinued treatment for an adverse event, compared with a 20 percent rate among patients who received capecitabine alone.

Jakafi is already approved in the United States to treat intermediate or high-risk myelofibrosis, a form of blood cancer.

Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG markets the drug outside the U.S., where it is sold under the brand name of Jakavi.

Incyte earned $54.1 million from Jakafi sales for the second quarter and expects 2013 revenues of about $220 million to $230 million, excluding any royalties from Novartis.

The National Cancer Institute, a part of National Institutes of Health, estimates that 38,460 people will die of pancreatic cancer in 2013 while 45,220 people will be diagnosed with the disease in the same period.


Henry Sapiecha

rainbow line


Monday, June 10th, 2013



Henry Sapiecha

rainbow line


Friday, March 29th, 2013


This morning, like every weekday morning, I showered, dressed, popped a cognitive-enhancement pill, and headed to the office. My brain drug of choice these days is Concerta, a long-acting form of the popular ADHD drug Ritalin. I’ve also taken Adderall in the past. As far as I can tell, one works about as well as the other. The drugs enable me to work more diligently and in longer spurts than I could otherwise. On any given day, they also drastically increase the chances that I will remember to do things like enter an appointment on my calendar, run an errand on the way home, and respond to emails in a timely fashion.

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 The drug itself, however, does not draw the same bright line. And neither do a growing number of high-achieving, non-ADHD users who see it as the perfect cognitive-enhancement drug—a way to work more, sleep less, and get a better handle on their busy lives.

In today’s competitive economy, some might label that cheating, akin to athletes taking anabolic steroids to gain an unfair edge. Others might suspect that nonprescription Adderall users are only cheating themselves—that the drug won’t really help you if you don’t have ADHD, or that deleterious side effects will counteract any short-term advantages the drug may confer. Perhaps it will even turn out to be seriously harmful. If that’s true, the current frenzy might turn out to be short-lived. But what if it isn’t? What if the neuro-enhancement craze is just getting started? – Home of the best teen driver education course in California. Get your DMV certificate of completion of driver education quickly and easily. Great quality at a good price. Top notch customer service and automatic certificate processing. First course approved by California DMV and only course created with the Driving School Association of California.

Adderall is hardly the first prescription medication to find a black market among the tired and ambitious. As Joshua Foer noted in a Slate story in 2005, Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road while dosed up on Benzedrine, a stimulant that was once prescribed as a nasal decongestant. And for his series on human enhancement technologies 10 years ago, Slate’s David Plotz experimented with Provigil, an alertness drug typically prescribed as treatment for narcolepsy. (More on that below.)

But the prevalence of ADHD—about one in 10 children in the United States meet the diagnostic criteria, according to a recent survey—and the popularity of Ritalin and Adderall for treatment mean that they are far more widely available than other types of brain drugs. That’s especially so because inexpert doctors have a hard time distinguishing a patient who has ADHD from one who’s faking the symptoms to get a fix.

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Some people take the prevalence and subjectivity of the symptoms to mean that ADHD is not even a real disorder—that it’s simply an excuse for lazy parents to medicate their kids. It’s true that the disorder lies on a spectrum, as opposed to something like juvenile diabetes that you either have or you don’t. But as psychiatric disorders go, ADHD is in fact “quite discrete and very diagnosable,” says Scott Kollins, director of the ADHD program at Duke’s medical school. “It’s just not easy to diagnose within 15 minutes,” the length of a standard primary-care doctor visit. In a health care system that isn’t set up to reward careful psychiatric evaluations, some doctors simply shrug and write out the prescription. Others, wary of being played for fools, refuse prescriptions to patients who could really use them.

By law, Adderall is a controlled substance, in the same class as cocaine and methamphetamine. But many of the college students who are taking it don’t see it that way, says Alan DeSantis, a sociologist at the University of Kentucky who studies the culture of ADHD drug use on campus. He got interested in the topic a decade ago while conducting research for a book on fraternities and sororities. “I was asking students about drugs, and they kept saying something very interesting. They kept saying, ‘I don’t do drugs, but I do Adderall.’ ” The difference, in the students’ minds, is that drugs are bad for you and make you unproductive. They view Adderall more like a study aid, DeSantis says, and talk about it openly. In his surveys, up to 50 percent of University of Kentucky upperclassmen have reported using ADHD stimulants at one time or another, most often to cram for midterms or finals.
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To some, those numbers are cause for alarm. “The evidence is pretty clear that these are potent stimulants,” says Craig Rush, a professor of behavioral science at Kentucky. “They produce euphoria, and they have significant abuse potential.” Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told 60 Minutes in 2010 that she believes even casual use can lead to addiction. “It’s not worth the risk to be playing with a drug that has potentially very adverse affects.” Perhaps the most alarming portrayal of Adderall came in the form of a front-page New York Times article on Feb. 3, which gave the ADHD drug a starring role in the harrowing tale of a once-promising college graduate named Richard Fee who spiraled into depression, mental illness, and ultimately suicide.

Yikes! But wait: If ADHD drugs are highly addictive, even deadly, then why don’t we hear more horror stories of Adderall addicts or overdoses? And why do the same experts who warn about the drug’s dangers say it’s fine for people like me to take it every day? Am I so expendable?

In fact, there is scant evidence that Adderall is physically addictive or dangerous if used responsibly by adults. Its side effects—which can include dizziness, weight loss, and increased heart rate—are real and worth watching out for. People with cardiovascular conditions in particular could have an adverse response, which is one good reason why people should think twice before taking the drug without consulting their doctor. And as with pretty much any medication, crushing and snorting Adderall to get high, or taking more than the recommended dose, is patently foolish. But the drug appears to be far safer on the whole than legal substances like alcohol and nicotine. Even that terrifying Times article, if you read it to the bitter end, acknowledges that “almost every one of more than 40 ADHD experts interviewed for this article said that worst-case scenarios like Richard Fee’s can occur with any medication.”
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The double standards implicit in the warnings about off-prescription use might lead you to think that the drug somehow acts differently on the ADHD brain than it does on the non-ADHD brain—that what’s soothing to one is likely to be either ineffectual or outright harmful to the other. But those who have studied the issue carefully, including Volkow, know that’s not quite right. Ritalin, Adderall, and their chemical cousins work in part by increasing the brain’s access to dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. For people with ADHD, that could mean the ability to concentrate on tasks that would otherwise be painfully boring. And for people without ADHD … it could mean the same thing.

Kollins, of the Duke ADHD Clinic, has studied the effects of stimulant drugs on people with and without ADHD and concluded that the differences are largely a matter of degree. “Because patients accurately diagnosed with ADHD are coming into the game at a different baseline as far as what’s going on in their brain, the drugs might sort of bring them back up to a level playing field,” he says. “For somebody without ADHD, because they’re already functioning at that level, it’s going to take them a little bit higher.”

How useful that extra boost is may depend on the task at hand. In an essay in N+1 several years ago, a non-ADHD Adderall user wrote that the drug worked wonders when it came to plowing through philosophy textbooks. But, she said, “I had to be careful not to take the drug in my dorm room, because if I did, I might spend hours plucking my eyebrows or digitally altering photographs.” Martha Farah, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, found in one experiment that non-ADHD subjects who took stimulants saw no performance gains on a series of tests that measured things like creativity and working memory. They only thought the drug was helping them. Other studies have shown modest performance gains. Much remains unknown, partly because the mere mention of ADHD drugs as enhancement is taboo in many medical circles. (A controversial 2008 op-ed in Nature made a strong case that breaking down this research taboo would make everyone safer and better-informed.)
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What’s undeniable is that stimulants allow both ADHD and non-ADHD people to stay alert and focused long past the time they’d normally become distracted or fall asleep. Used in that way, it’s not much different from Provigil, the alertness drug for which Plotz served as Slate’s guinea pig back in 2002. “I am not exactly wired,” he wrote of the experience, “but I’m more alert, more focused, more Plotz-like. Today I’m my own Superman.” But, he added in a cautionary conclusion, “I’d be afraid to make it a habit. I’ll use it again for a special occasion.”

I asked Plotz whether he ever finished that little stash he had tucked into the back corner of his medicine cabinet. He told me that he did—one at a time, here and there. Eventually, he went back for more. To this day, he keeps a few in his house and pops one occasionally for a pick-me-up. But he says he’s never been tempted to binge or begin using the drug on a regular basis.
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Is the use of brain drugs by healthy professionals cheating, like the use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes? If it gives them an unfair advantage in the workplace, that could put pressure on others to take drugs themselves just to keep up. But unlike steroids, prescription stimulants don’t have clear, drastic long-term health impacts. And while the drugs can be life-changing for people with ADHD, especially kids who would otherwise be totally lost in the classroom, their long-term benefits for those without the disorder are murky. As useful as they may be during the occasional deadline crunch, no study has linked Ritalin or Adderall use in people without ADHD to sustained increases in things like grades or performance reviews.

Forget steroids, then. Here’s an alternative analogy, less alarmist but perhaps unsettling in its own right. What if Adderall turns out to be the new coffee—a ubiquitous, mostly harmless little helper that enables us to spend more time poring over spreadsheets and less time daydreaming or lolling about in bed? For those of us whose natural predilections are to spend far too little time poring and far too much daydreaming, they’re a big improvement over self-medication via caffeine or cigarettes. But those without ADHD might well ask themselves: Don’t I work enough already?

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Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Monday, March 5th, 2012

Doctors are being turned into drug suppliers for many sections of society.

Doctors and drug experts admit Western Australia’s illicit drug market has become flooded with opiate-based prescription painkillers, sold everywhere from schools to nightclubs.

Users and dealers are exploiting general practitioners into prescribing legal pain killers like Oxycontin and benzodiazapines such as Valium, reserved for those who suffer from chronic pain, to either satisfy their cravings or make a quick buck.

One former addict, who did not want to be named, was 17 years old when he began “doctor-shopping” – making the rounds of Perth doctors trying to get his hands on the drugs.

Generic pic of vitamin pills.Prescription medications are helping fuel the new wave of designer drugs.

“I’d usually go in there and I’d either say that ‘I’m coming off the heroin and I just needed something to sleep’, or make an excuse,” he said.

“Sometimes I’d say I had a plane trip and I couldn’t fly so I needed to sleep on the plane. You find there’s a lot of doctors around Perth that are very easy-going and it’s sort of more about finding the group of those doctors and then doing the rounds with them.”

He said he was first prescribed Valium after a family tragedy and when he became addicted he quickly lined up a few “sympathetic” doctors who would continuously renew his prescription.

By the time his habit was well entrenched, he had progressed to breaking down Oxycontin and MSContin pills to inject when he couldn’t get his hands on heroin.

“Because you’ve got so many doctors you might have only one appointment a fortnight, so you get your pills, and then by the time you’ve run out of them you’ve got another doctor’s appointment,” he said.

“After you’ve been there four or five times they know what you’re doing. For instance I had one doctor, I’d just walk in, he’d say ‘just the normal’ I’d say ‘yep’ and I’d walk out. I’d be in there for one minute for him to print my script out.”

The highly-addictive drugs have been the subject of warnings from doctors and drug researchers alike.

Doctors sound the alarm

Australian Medical Association (WA) vice president Steve Wilson, who has a medical practice in Bassendean, said the problem was increasing in a growing population, as more people dealt with the chronic pain of arthritis, injury and trauma.

“They are getting (the drugs) usually on a Health Care Card for $5 for 60 tablets and they’re selling those tablets for between $20 and $100 each at nightclubs or at schools and places like that. There is a huge illicit market for that sort of thing,” Dr Wilson said.

“I’ve seen them as young as their teens and I’ve seen them in their 60s and sometimes even older.”

Allan Quigley, the director of clinical services for Next Step Drug and Alcohol Services, backed the claim, saying the rehabilitation centre helped a large number of people addicted to prescription opiates.

Only alcohol surpassed opiate addiction in terms of the number of patients treated.

“There’s been a very significant increase in opiate prescribing in general practice and the drug and alcohol services are seeing people with problems with drugs like the long-acting oral morphine preparations’,” Dr Quigley said.

“There are also a large number of people who have presented to GPs with health problems and persuaded them that prescribing these drugs is reasonable, but they might have had much longer-standing problems with amphetamine or opiate use.”

Spotting an addict

Detecting an opiate addict could be especially tricky for GPs, Dr Wilson said, because they spun elaborate stories and shared information such as which doctors were “soft touches”.

“They often flock around a practice once they hear amongst themselves, and they tell each other that ‘there’s a new registrar down at that practice’, for example,” he said.

“They’ve often got well-constructed stories, often letters from previous specialists, maybe interstate or within the state and then they say, ‘I need some more of this medication’ and it’s very easy to be sucked in by them.”

But the former addict said he and his friends would usually steer clear of registrars because they tended to adhere to rules more strictly than their more experienced colleagues.

“Having said that, I have come across some (registrars) that have no idea and you end up walking away with a lot more than you probably would have expected,” he said.

Although GPs can notify the WA Health Department’s pharmaceutical services branch if they believe a patient has become addicted to their medication, Dr Wilson said the outcome wasn’t always satisfactory.

“I have been advised by an anonymous telephone call that a patient of mine who is receiving such drugs is actually selling them and making an income from them but that person would not come forward,” Dr Wilson said.

“When I reported this to the Health Department they said it was a police matter and when I spoke to the police at the relevant area, in this case Mirrabooka, they said ‘not interested doc, we’ve got bigger fish to fry than someone selling prescription drugs to kids’.

“So the police aren’t interested (and) the Health Department neither has the punitive capacity to pursue that patient in many regards or can’t be bothered. But I’m the one that gets the snippy letter saying ‘please explain why this patient’s getting more than their usual quantity that they should and advise us why we shouldn’t revoke your schedule A prescribing licence’.”

A WA Health Department spokeswoman said patients reported as addicts or suspected dealers by their doctors were noted on a database and any further prescriptions had to be authorised by the department.

She said those suspected of dealing prescription medication should be reported to the police.

Doctors prescribing ‘excessively’

In its latest annual report, Medicare’s fraud watchdog – the Professional Services Review – listed the inappropriate prescribing of narcotic and benzodiazepine drugs as one of the main issues it dealt with in 2009/10.

PSR director Tony Webber referred 17 medical practitioners across Australia to their state’s medical boards, most commonly for the excessive prescribing of such drugs.

One doctor, known as “Dr D”, was flagged by Medicare after handing out 1598 prescriptions for benzodiazepines and opiates, well above the number most other doctors had prescribed in a year.

The review found the doctor gave drugs without adequately inquiring about the patient’s symptoms or attempting to manage drug dependence. A third of the medical records related to those prescriptions included no detailed history or notes about patient examinations.

“During the review, Dr D stated that the prescribing practice was probably reprehensible; however, the doctor would also have difficulty changing this practice due to a large cohort of drug-addicted patients and the lack of treatment facilities in the region,” the report stated.

The doctor was disqualified from prescribing medicine for three years and forced to pay $17,958 back to Medicare.

The WA Health Department recommended GPs have patients sign an opiate agreement, which states that lost, misplaced or stolen medicines will not be replaced, and early prescriptions will not be provided.

A danger for doctors

Assault or the threat of being subject to violence also convinces some doctors to get out their prescription pad, Dr Wilson said.

“Especially for female GPs, where they feel threatened by patients and the easiest thing to do is acquiesce,” he said.

“I’ve been assaulted, I’ve never reported it but I was pushed by a patient, I was threatened… I’ve been called all things on the planet in front of a waiting room full of patients, because you’re basically denying them the ability to put their hands in the lolly jar any time they want to.”

Dr Wilson said doctors should give patches instead of pills where possible because they were difficult to abuse and on-sell.

“It can lead quite rapidly to addiction, particularly the quick-acting form,” he said.

“The quicker the onset of the drug and the quicker the offset the more likely they are to lead to addiction issues.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, November 1st, 2011




The mighty Amazon River holds many mysteries and secrets but you wouldn’t think of it as a place where Western visitors go to transform their lives. Along with countless natural herbal remedies, there’s the apparently magical potion known as Ayahuasca. This mind-bending drug draws people from all over the world..

Works for some people to get off alcohol addiction it is said.

Sourcd & published by Henry Sapiecha


Friday, September 2nd, 2011


SAGE-Salvia divinorum

sage 10 Natural Plants That Can Get You High
Salvia divinorum is a plant that many know as “sage”. But this sage is not the spices you use to cook with. Salvia, as many have shortened it, is a natural plant that has long since been known to create visions in the users mind. This plant is just over a metre high and has incredibly large leaves as well at times. Often, you can find white or purple flowers growing on the stems as well.

2) Damiana

416px Tunera diffusa 2 10 Natural Plants That Can Get You High
Damiana is a small shrub type plant that has numerous flowers that give off very aromatic smells. This plant is usually mixed into a tea form, but it can also be made into a sugary substance as well. It is said that the aromatic smells caused by these plants give a “relaxed” feeling almost immediately. Another form that this plant can be made into is incense. The incense gives off the smell causing the calming effect as well. Damiana is also be used more and more as a spice blend.

3) Blue Lotus

800px Nymphaea caerulea flower e1300207017670 10 Natural Plants That Can Get You High
This plant is also known as “Sacred Blue Lily”. Its origins come from the Nile River and many other areas in East Africa. Many refer to this plant as the “spiked plant”; not just because of its blue and white spiked petals, but because it is said to give the same type of effects as a sedative, yet also increase your conscious awareness. It is said that your sense will be heightened and at the same time you feel a sense of peace and tranquility. These days, the effects & use of blue lotus can be felt through many teas, wines, and cocktails.

4) Wild Dagga [Lion’s  Tail]

wild dagga 10 Natural Plants That Can Get You High
This particular plant also has the distinction of sometimes being called “Lion’s Tail”. This name definitely comes from the fact that the tips of this plant look exactly like a lion’s tail Drying the leaves and smoking them can cause effects that are very calming and soothing. There are a number of things that can result from smoking Wild Dagga, such as irritation of the lungs and throat, dizziness, euphoria, and calterations to your vision. It is not known just how many side effects can actually result from smoking this plant, but the list appears to keep growing rapidly.

5) Channa

sceletium tortuosum e1300207226920 10 Natural Plants That Can Get You High
Also known as “Kanna”, this plant originates from South Africa. This is a plant that has been around for many thousands of years. As far back as records indicate, this plant has been used as a mood changing substance. There are many ways in which this plant has been consumed. In earlier times the plant was crushed and then chewed, like a chewing tobacco, and the saliva was then swallowed. These days you can find many forms of this plant with teas and certain gel caps that are predominantly made. This plant like many others, gives you a very calming effect and is said that any presence of stress is eliminated quickly. In higher doses, it is believed that this plant can cause a state of euphoria.

6) Nutmeg

nutmeg 10 Natural Plants That Can Get You High
Nutmeg has been a plant that has been around for quite a number of years. This plant is not just used in making foods, but it also has many hallucinogenic qualities when in different forms. The seeds that are produced by this plant are actually the cause of these qualities. Just eating a few of these seeds can almost instantly give you a state of euphoria. While this feeling may seem good at the time, there are some side effects to this that not many people have been able to withstand. Severe cases of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea have all been linked to the consumption of nutmeg seeds, in large quantities. After trying to sleep this one off, you may still feel some effects like extreme tiredness, even if you just woke up from a great nights sleep. In some people, insomnia has manifested itself.

7) Morning Glory [The vine]

morning glory 10 Natural Plants That Can Get You High
Blue Flowered Morning glory, or rather its seeds, have long since been known as hallucinogenic substances. Generally the effects come from simply chewing the seeds, but there are more ways in which they can be ingested. They can be soaked in water for extended periods of time, crushed into a paste and eaten. Soaking them for a few days will cause them to sprout. Many people have said that once they sprout they seem to be more potent.

8) Hawaiian Baby Woodrose

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This is another plant in which the seeds are the ones that give the effects. The seeds are actually contained within pods with thick coatings. There are about five seeds to each pod. Pods from this plant usually require a lot of work to get into them, but once you have opened them, you can chew the seeds found inside. There have been many reports of nausea from this seed, but that is pretty much the only side effect that has been brought to anyone’s attention.

9) Passion Flower

Passion Flower 10 Natural Plants That Can Get You High
Passion flowers have, in recent years, been found to create certain mind-altering effects. It is not actually the flower part of the plant that creates these illusions, but the stem and roots. The calming effects by this plant can also come from eating large amounts of the fruit it creates. Passion flowers can have many different color petals like reds and purples and each plant can look completely different from the next. The dried leaves of the passion plant have been known to have calming effects that often result in sleeping states.

10) Wild Lettuce

wild lettuce e1300207851508 10 Natural Plants That Can Get You High
Wild lettuce is very different from your everyday garden lettuce variety. Wild lettuce has long and thin stems. The stems, themselves, it has been said to have effects that are much like poppies, but not as strong. There may be a calm and slight euphoric state, but the effects do not go much further than this. The chambers in the stem are what actually hold the calming substance.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha