Mixing Drugs Could Out You in Drug Class, or Worse!

by Mike Miller August 11, 2013

Drug use and addiction are both progressive diseases. One's use increases as the addiction sets in. Eventually, one drug is not enough and you start to combine drugs - marijuana and alcohol or cocaine and Vicodin.

Two drugs turns into more experimentation, perhaps nicotine or harder drugs like cocaine or prescription medication. Drugs are dangerous, mixing and combining drugs is idiotic!

Mixing drugs can be as simple as smoking a joint while drinking alcohol, but can be as dangerous as something referred to as poly drug use.

Poly drug use means someone who uses two or more psychoactive drugs at the same time to achieve a particular effect. In many cases, the user will take one drug as the base and use the other one(s) to compensate for the side effects of the first drug they took. They think it creates a sense of drug synergy and keeps them in the state of euphoria longer without any downfalls. It also helps them sustain the feeling as the first drug starts to taper off.

Would you consider a mixed drink like vodka and Red Bull to be poly drug use? There are some who think so.

It is undeniable that poly drug use carries much more risk than the single use of any other drug because it increases the side effects and drug interactions. Poly drug use is one of the quickest ways to suffer a drug overdose and yet is still one of the most commonly practiced methods of regular users.

If you or someone you care about is a poly drug user please seek help immediately. A drug class is a good place to start. If you prefer to maintain anonymity there are online drug classes too.

Drug Tourism Creates Need for Drug Education Programs

by Mike Miller August 9, 2013

Heading to Amsterdam to get high? If so, you are part of a growing trend of people called drug tourists. Amsterdam used to be the exotic locale of choice for drug users who wanted to smoke weed, do heavier drugs, or experience legalized prostitution. Now there are hundreds of such places, including many right here in the USA.

Drug tourism is any travel that is for the purpose of obtaining or using drugs for personal use that are not available or are illegal in one’s home country. Sadly, innocent travelers merely seeking a vacation can get caught up in drug tourism simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For those living in the United States, Mexico is a very common country to visit to obtain illegal drugs. It can be as simple as driving over the border and smuggling them back into the country.

Of course, drug tourism includes the consumption and usage of drugs that are considered to be illegal in either the visited country or the tourist’s home country. This is the part of drug tourism that is very popular in parts of Mexico, especially for those living in the Southern California area near Tijuana.

In addition to the illegal drugs available in Tijuana, are prescription medications that do not require a proscription.

Drug tourism is at its simplest illegal, at its worst, extremely dangerous. Anyone found engaging in this type of tourism can put themselves at risk for prosecution for smuggling drugs or other, more serious charges in the country they are visiting. And at that point, their home country has no jurisdiction to help them. Mexico is dangerous enough with all of the cartels.

Instead of being a drug tourist I recommend – save money and sign up for an internet based drug class instead! Now that’s a healthy choice.

Substance Abuse Courses Teach About Drug Paraphernalia

by Mike Miller August 7, 2013

How many times have you watched the television show “Cops” where officers find drug paraphernalia in the car and the occupants claim it is not theirs? How about 90% of the time. Do you drive a car that may have drug paraphernalia in it? I would bet not.

One common thread between making, using, and concealing illegal substances is the drug paraphernalia.

Drug paraphernalia is defined as any equipment, product, or material that is modified for making, using, or concealing drugs and is typically used for recreational purposes. The word itself often has a negative connotation because it is so overused in the criminal law field in expressions like “possession of drug paraphernalia”.

2 Kinds of Drug Paraphernalia

There are two primary types of paraphernalia when it comes to drugs: user specific and deal specific.

Some of the user-specific products include:

  • Glass hashish pipes, crack cocaine pipes

  • Smoking masks

  • Hashish bongs, cocaine freebase kits

  • Syringes, elastic bands, and needles

  • Roach clips (for holding the burning end of a marijuana joint)

These are some of the products that one would find at a store that carries paraphernalia, but there is a whole other group of products that drug users make from ordinary, household items. Examples include: a hollowed-out cosmetic case or fake pager, both of which can be used to hide illegal substances without drawing in any attention.

Dealer-specific paraphernalia can be anything from a plastic vial to hold a substance, guidebooks, fertilizer, or fluorescent lights for growing hydroponic marijuana, scales, zipper storage bags to spoons and foil for manufacturing methamphetamines. These refer to anything used by a seller or trafficker for preparing and distributing drugs.

Have you noticed someone who has one or more of these items laying around their house? If so, it could be a sign of a problem. Paraphernalia usually means use. Please get them to a drug program. If they prefer to maintain anonymity there are internet based substance abuse classes as well.

Take a Tobacco Class Before Trying E-Cigarettes

by Mike Miller August 5, 2013

This is the fourth in a series of blogs looking at the tobacco industry and most notably – its newest product – e-cigarettes. Regardless of where you are in the United States today, you undoubtedly have come across someone “smoking” an e-cigarette. Of course e-cigarette is the more popular name for the electric cigarette.

How do you smoke an e-cigarette? As reported in www.sfgate.com.

This is the multi-million dollar question. First off, you don’t “light up.” E-cigarettes are battery-powered.

Do you think smoking an e-cigarette is simple? Not hardly. They actually have two primary models – with button and without. The with-button option means that you push a button and inhale and get your nicotine fix. The without-option means you just pop the cap and puff away. The primary drawback to the no-button e-cig is that in addition to inhaling to release nicotine, these cigs can go off with things like loud music.

In essence an e-cigarette has liquid nicotine which is in a cartridge placed at the top of the e-cigarette. The liquid then goes through an atomizer to convert the liquid nicotine to a vapor.

In future blog entries we will look at how healthy or unhealthy these e-cigarettes really are. For now, let’s leave it with that instead of more than 3,000 chemical in a single tobacco cigarette, e-cigs have only nicotine and flavoring (number of chemicals vary).

An Entire Industry

They look just like the traditional tobacco cigarette with the yellow part (the cartridge) screwing into the atomizer (the white part). Of course as with most other modern gadgets you can accessorize with your e-cigs. The base can come in any color and they come in many flavors as well. There are also lines of pouches to carry e-cigarettes and the accoutrement that comes with them.

There are a lot of public health questions surrounding the use of e-cigarettes, but one thing is not in question - they are becoming a popular alternative to tobacco cigarettes. One in five smokers in the United States had tried e-cigarettes in 2011 - up from 1 in 10 in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

E-cigarettes, battery-powered devices that vaporize liquid nicotine so people can inhale it, began appearing in U.S. stores in 2007. They contain fewer hazardous chemicals than tobacco cigarettes but are so new that no long-term studies have been done to determine the health effects both for smokers and those who breathe in the vapors secondhand.

But nicotine, whether from a cigarette or an e-cigarette, is "a known addictive agent that is not helpful in any way," said Dr. Daya Upadhyay, an assistant professor of pulmonary critical care at Stanford. So she says she encourages her patients to quit smoking entirely rather than switch to e-cigarettes. She added that e-cigarettes still contain toxic chemicals. "We can't say yet whether it's less harmful than tobacco," she said.

It's currently legal to smoke e-cigarettes indoors in many places - although some businesses and local governments, including Marin and Contra Costa counties, have banned them anywhere tobacco cigarettes are outlawed. The Legislature is considering a similar ban for California.

Companies do not market the product as a smoking cessation tool because that would put it in a category of products, like nicotine gum or patches, that the Food and Drug Administration regulates. But a British study out last month showed that 75% of the 1,400 e-cigarette users who responded to a survey said they've entirely replaced tobacco cigarettes with e-cigarettes.

Do Tobacco Classes Help Those Hooked on E-Cigs?

by Mike Miller August 3, 2013

As a recovering nicotine addict and a counselor for tobacco classes I understand how easily one can become addicted to something. This includes activities and even lifestyles, not just chemical substances.

This is the fifth in a series of blogs looking at electronic cigarettes (or e-cigs for those who “smoke” them). Have you ever seen someone using an e-cigarette? The odds are likely that you have. As reported in www.sfgate.com.

As smokers are pushed farther away in social environments e-cigs provide a “smoke-free” way for smokers to get their nicotine fix.

An Entire Industry

They look just like the traditional tobacco cigarette with the yellow part (the cartridge) screwing into the atomizer (the white part). Of course as with most other modern gadgets you can accessorize with your e-cigs. The base can come in any color and they come in many flavors as well. There are also lines of pouches to carry e-cigarettes and the accoutremont that comes with them.

Just How (Un) Healthy Are They?

There are a lot of public health questions surrounding the use of e-cigarettes, but one thing is not in question - they are becoming a popular alternative to tobacco cigarettes. One in 5 smokers in the United States had tried e-cigarettes in 2011 - up from 1 in 10 in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

E-cigarettes began appearing in U.S. stores in 2007. They contain fewer hazardous chemicals than tobacco cigarettes but are so new that no long-term studies have been done to determine the health effects both for smokers and those who breathe in the vapors secondhand.

But nicotine, whether from a cigarette or an e-cigarette, is a known addictive agent that is not helpful in any way. Physicians encourage their patients to quit smoking entirely rather than switch to e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes still contain toxic chemicals.

It's currently legal to smoke e-cigarettes indoors in many places - although some businesses and local governments.

Companies do not market the product as a smoking cessation tool because that would put it in a category of products, like nicotine gum or patches, both of which are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. They may work in helping smokers stop. A British study out last month showed that 75 percent of the 1,400 e-cigarette users who responded to a survey said they've entirely replaced tobacco cigarettes with e-cigarettes.

Marlborough Creating Greater Need for Smoking Awareness Class

by Mike Miller August 1, 2013

You can’t shake a stick (pun intended) without seeing something advertising e-cigarettes. Now the Marlboro Man may soon be hitching his wagon to a new kind of cigarette.

Altria Group Inc., owner of the nation's biggest cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA, that its NuMark subsidiary plans to introduce an electronic cigarette during the second half of the year, making it the last of the major domestic tobacco companies to enter the growing category. As reported in www.sfgate.com.

While it's a small market compared with traditional tobacco products, there's no denying that adult tobacco consumers have shown some interest in it.

The move is the latest in an industry-wide push to diversify beyond the traditional cigarette business, which has become tougher in the face of tax hikes, smoking bans, health concerns and social stigma.

Reynolds American Inc., owner of the second-biggest U.S. cigarette maker, has begun limited distribution of its first electronic cigarette under the Vuse brand and Lorillard Inc., the nation's third-biggest tobacco company, acquired e-cigarette maker Blu Ecigs in April 2012.

Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge, creating vapor that users inhale. Some e-cigarettes are made to look like a real cigarette with a tiny light on the tip that glows like the real thing.

Who would have thought the day would come that the tobacco industry would recognize that it was time to consider a serious change to its product? Maybe the oil industry will follow suit!

Internet Drug Awareness Course Proves No Medical Need for Weed

by Mike Miller July 30, 2013

What do you think about the medicinal value of marijuana? Do you agree with 16 states and the District of Columbia that marijuana should be legal for medicinal purposes?

Again, what is your opinion on this issue right now? Think about your response to the previous question before reading farther.

Here is a very important fact – the American Medical Association (AMA) has yet to conclude that marijuana is helpful for even one medical purpose. Does that change your opinion?

Cannabis is such a popular drug in the United States today that many people don’t realize what a long and rich history it has a healing and medical treatment. Long before Californians were bending the rules to obtain medical marijuana cards to enter dispensaries, physicians were prescribing different types of cannabis as treatment to their patients.

Medical cannabis, specifically, refers to the parts of the cannabis plant which are used as a physician-recommended form of medicine or alternative therapy. It also refers to the synthetic forms of specific cannabinoids like THC as a form of medicine recommended by a physician. Medical cannabis has been used for so long that there is actually historical evidence that dates all the way back to 2737 BCE. In Chinese medicine, cannabis is one of the 50 fundamental herbs and is prescribed as treatment for a large variety of indications.

The term medical cannabis has a much different place in society today, so it’s important to remember where it came from and why so many people for its right to be legalized. There are still a lot of different reasons that people smoke marijuana today and a large number of them are people with medical conditions. Marijuana offers them different levels of relief, but certain populations are so quick to disregard that. They don’t believe that marijuana has any redeeming qualities or healing powers and merely see it as yet another illicit substance.

There have been a number of studies conducted that have proven very well-documented beneficial effects of medical cannabis. Some of these are:

  • The relief of reduction of nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy and AIDS patients

  • The stimulation of hunger in chemotherapy and AIDS patients

  • Lowered intraocular eye pressure, which has proven to be extremely effective for treating glaucoma

  • Relief of gastrointestinal illnesses

There is also a concern for the risks of marijuana use among groups opposed to its legalization. There are actually no confirmed cases worldwide that are published anywhere, which show there have been any human deaths from cannabis poisoning. There has been documentation and medical reports that show occasional strokes and cardiovascular effects, but none of these effects have been associated with serious health problems for any users. It is unlikely that either side will cross over and change their beliefs about medical cannabis, but history and scientific research still remain and so it continues to be a battle at the federal level.

Take a Substance Abuse Class Before Using Heroin

by Mike Miller July 29, 2013

Do you know someone who has tried heroin? How about someone who uses it regularly? Given the current surge in use with the drug, I would not be surprised if you knew a person or two who used.

As a counselor for both in-class and online drug classes I can tell you the number of students in my class who have tried heroin has gone up drastically in the past two years. As reported in www.nytimes.com.

Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs in the world. About a quarter of everyone who tries it becomes dependent on it. Users can quickly develop a tolerance, prompting them to seek more and more until the pursuit takes over their lives and, often, leads to ruin.

There are thousands of women, and men, out there prostituting their bodies just to support their addiction. One example is 23-year-old Theresa Dumond who lives on the streets of Portland, Maine. She lost custody of her two young children about a year ago and their father died. Nice chance at a childhood for her brood.

Heroin addicts lose interest in every part of their life except getting high. They lose everything. It is impossible to be a functional heroin user.

If you or someone you care about uses heroin, please seek help immediately. A drug and alcohol class is a good place to start. If you prefer to maintain anonymity, there are online substance abuse classes too.

Drug Class Could Keep You From Trying Heroin

by Mike Miller July 29, 2013

This is the fourth in a series of blogs looking at the increase in use and abuse of heroin. When I was a kid only the most serious druggies took heroin and they were “all” going to over-dose. That is how frightening that drug was and still should be.

In previous blogs we discussed how heroin moved out of the big cities and migrated into the suburbs. We also have discussed the role of prescription painkillers as a major cause. As reported in www.nytimes.com.

Simple Economics – Supply and Demand

Yet the rise in heroin abuse here predated the restrictions on painkillers, leading some to blame the simple law of supply and demand. Distributors in New York see a wide-open market in northern New England, where law enforcement can be spotty and users are willing to pay premium prices. A $6 bag of heroin in New York City fetches $10 in southern New England but up to $30 or $40 in northern New England. The dealer gets a tremendous profit margin, while the addict pays half or even less of what he might have to shell out for a prescription painkiller.

We will continue this discussion with future blogs – so stay tuned.

If you or someone you care about uses heroin, please seek help immediately. A drug class is a good place to start. If you prefer to maintain anonymity, there are online drug classes too.

420 Is Time for Online Drug Education Course

by Mike Miller July 28, 2013

Have you ever celebrated “4-20?” If you even know what it means that in itself is a symbol of how pervasive the marijuana culture has become in our society.

Did you know that medical marijuana dispensaries actually increase their staff and offer all kinds of specials on April 20th? Sales on the 20th of April are usually three times that of any other average day! Why do the sick need extra medicine on that day?

What the heck is 4-20 and why do potheads celebrate on that day?

It is believed that the term 420 actually originated among a group of teenagers who lived in San Rafael, California in the early 1970s. This group referred to themselves as the Waldos, which was named after a wall outside their school that became their favorite hang-out spot. The group of teens had heard about an abandoned cannabis crop in the area, so in the Fall of 1971 they decided to search for it together. They designated their meeting place as the high school at 4:20 pm and this became the earliest known usage of the term.

There were many other referrals to the term 420 as time went on. Steven Hager, famed High Times editor, deemed 4:20 pm the socially accepted hour of the day to begin consuming cannabis. This quickly became the mantra of followers of the band The Grateful Dead.

So next April, instead of getting high, sign up for a drug course with friends. Or if you prefer to get educated by yourself, consider taking an online drug program.