Commonly abused stimulant drugs.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Stimulant drugs.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

A few stimulant drugs account for a major portion of drug abuse.

Abuse of stimulant drugs has become a major problem in America. Some of these stimulant drugs have some limited medical uses. Recreational drug use seems to run in cycles. A new drug or a new form of a drug becomes popular for a while only to be replaced by the next “in” drug. Here is a brief description of the primary types of stimulant drugs being abused today.

Cocaine.

Cocaine comes from the coca plant which was originally found growing wild in the Andes Mountains of South America. Coca leaves were used there, probably for thousands of years, by the native population who would chew the leaves or mix them with roasted seashells and hold the mixture next to their gum similar to the way chewing tobacco is used. Chewing a few leaves produces a mild stimulant effect which allowed the natives to work more effectively at high altitudes.

In the late 1800s, European chemists isolated the active ingredient, cocaine. Cocaine was promoted by Doctors, particularly Freud, for treatment for a variety of illnesses. The first great cocaine epidemic occurred in the 1880s.

Cocaine can be used in a variety of ways; powdered cocaine can be snorted, and crack cocaine can be smoked. The 1980s saw a second cocaine epidemic with the introduction of much cheaper crack cocaine. Cocaine was used for a while to treat depression but this is no longer an acceptable use because when a stimulant drug wears off the depression is worse than before.

The only currently accepted medical uses for cocaine are eye and nose surgeries.

Amphetamines.

Amphetamines became popular during World War II when both sides used them. Initially, they were thought of as wonder drugs and were used for the treatment of respiratory problems, obesity, and to increase attention and prevent sleep. Amphetamines were widely prescribed for both weight loss and to increase productivity.

In the 1960s the dangerous properties of amphetamines were recognized. Today use of the older amphetamines is largely restricted to the treatment of ADHD.

Methamphetamine.

There had been some use of injectable methamphetamine in the 1970s. In the 1990s methamphetamine began to replace other stimulant drugs, first in Hawaii and later, on the West Coast of the United States, ultimately spreading throughout America. Methamphetamine manufactured synthetically in large quantities became considerably cheaper and lasts longer than other stimulant drugs. Methamphetamine is used as an injectable drug and is available in a smokable crystal form.

From a mental health standpoint, methamphetamine is diagnosed as an amphetamine use disorder. Substance abuse treatment often provides separate categories for amphetamine and methamphetamine disorders. While amphetamines are usually prescription-grade medical pharmaceuticals which are diverted for illegal use, methamphetamine is produced by illegal labs in huge quantities for recreational use and abuse. See drug diagnoses.

The sight of the meth addict, sucked up from loss of weight, often covered with scabs, frequently paranoid and hallucinating, has become a common sight in hospital emergency rooms and on the streets of America’s cities.

Khat.

Khat is a stimulant plant which grows wild in East Africa, where it was chewed by natives the same way coca leaves were chewed in South America. The leaves are most stimulating when chewed fresh. Khat contains two stimulant chemicals, Cathine, and cathinone. Both of these chemicals and many other related compounds are now produced synthetically.

Bath Salts.

Bath salts have nothing to do with bathing. These synthetic stimulant drugs, largely related to cathinone, are imported into the United States labeled “not for human consumption.” These are often mixed and sold under various labels such as “bath salts, herbal incense, water pipe cleaner,” and many other names. This family of chemicals can produce strong stimulant effects as well as hallucinations. Because these are mixtures of chemicals and are sold labeled “not for human consumption” they have been very difficult to regulate. As quickly as federal regulators ban one chemical, the manufacturers and marketers of bath salts change their formulations. There are frequent reports of permanent neurological damage because of using these drugs.

Caffeine and related compounds.

Caffeine is one of the milder stimulant drugs and is the most widely used drug on planet earth. It is estimated that 90% of the world’s population consumes caffeine or a related compound on a regular basis. Occasionally someone receives a caffeine overdose and presents in an emergency room. Caffeine overdoses usually result from consuming energy drinks which are high in caffeine combined with alcohol or by consuming large quantities of caffeine pills to stay awake longer than the human body should.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

What are Bath Salts?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

New drugs

Bath salts.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How come people are abusing Bath Salts?

There is a growing tidal wave of use and abuse of Bath Salts. These are not the kind of Bath Salts you would ever put in water and soak in. Bath Salts are also sold under a number of other names including Plant Food, Water Pipe Cleaner as well as a host of brand and product names.

These products made use of a loophole in the laws of the U. S. and other countries, which exempted chemicals from regulation as drugs if they were “Not for Human Consumption.” These drugs were imported without restriction because of being labeled for uses other than human consumption. Here in the U. S. they were then repackaged in small amounts and sold in small stores. While labeled “not for human consumption” it has always been clear that users were buying these packages to consume them.

The primary ingredients in many of these products are amphetamine-like chemicals in the Cathinone Family. Cathinones are synthetic versions of a drug originally found in the Khat plant from north-eastern Africa. Before becoming popular as drugs of abuse these drugs were primarily used to kill insects hence the name “plant food.” The name “bath salts” is reported to come from the way these drugs are often packaged to look like bath salts.

Bath Salts can be consumed by snorting, swallowing, smoking, or injecting. Other possible routes of administration are sure to be attempted.

The use of Bath Salts has resulted in a significant number of admissions to hospital emergency rooms. Symptoms of Bath Salt intoxication include a number of serious symptoms including agitation, violent behaviors, heart palpitations, and psychotic symptoms. There are reports of these symptoms, particularity psychosis, lasting long after the drugs have been metabolized. At high doses, these drugs can be fatal.

The Synthetic Drug Abuse Act of 2012 was intended to reduce the problems with Bath Salts. Some particular ingredients have been made illegal. Unfortunately, this is a very large family of synthetic chemicals and many have never been tested. As fast as one chemical has been tested, found to be harmful to humans and banned, other chemicals have been substituted.

More and more synthetic chemicals are being sold and experimented with by drug users. The line between Bath Salts, Synthetic Cannabinoids, and other research chemicals has become fuzzy. New formulations are appearing so rapidly they are now being referred to as NPS (New Psychoactive Substances.) Expect Bath Salts of new formulations and other synthetics to become an increasing problem.

For more on these topics see:    Drug Use, Abuse and Addiction     Recovery      What is

Terms and their meaning can differ with the profession using them. The literature from the Rehab or AOD (Alcohol and Other Drug) field may be very different from that in the mental health field. There is still a large gap between recovery programs and AOD professionals and the terms and descriptions used in the DSM.

FYI These “What is” sometimes “What are” posts are my efforts to explain terms commonly used in Mental Health, Clinical Counseling, Substance Use Disorder Counseling, Psychology, Life Coaching, and related disciplines in a plain language way. Many are based on the new DSM-5; some of the older posts were based on the DSM-IV-TR, both published by the APA. For the more technical versions please consult the DSM or other appropriate references.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Bath Salts visit the ER

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

New drugs

Bath salts.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

ER’s saw an extra 23,000 people as a result of Bath Salt use.

More Bath Salt users are going to the hospital.

People having an adverse reaction to taking “bath salts” are on the rise. For the uninitiated, these are not something you find in a boutique home store. Sold under the name “bath salts” these chemicals are being used in an effort to get high.

These chemicals are labeled “not for human consumption” in an effort to avoid detection and regulation. Anyone selling these chemicals must know full well that customers are smoking or injecting these drugs.

Now SAMSA is reporting that in 2011, the most recent year for which we have statistics, the number of ER visits in which bath salt use figured has reached 23,000. Many of these are in combination with alcohol or other drugs.

I have seen some clients who appear to have suffered a long-term consequence as a result of using bath salts.

To keep all this in perspective, that same year, 2011, drugs were involved in 2 ½ million hospital emergency visits.

Treating Bath Salt overdoses cost money.

At a time when we are looking at the high and rising cost of medical care, it is hard to overlook the huge consequence of drug use and abuse.

While bath salts are down the list of ER visit causes, expect the costs to society from abuse of bath salts to continue to rise.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Morning Question #7 – Toxicology not picking up bath salts?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

New drugs

Bath salts.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do drug tests find Bath Salts?

The jury is still out on that one. Bath salts can be made from hundreds, maybe thousands of chemicals. Standard drug testing and hospital toxicology screens just are not designed to find a whole lot of drugs that are rare or unusual. Drug users are constantly looking for ways to beat drug tests and the labs look for ways to catch the cheaters. The wheel keeps going around. I think that there are lots of kids and older drug users, playing with synthetic drugs these days, and those drugs do not show up on standard drug tests.

If the person asking this is referring to those high-profile cases that make the news. Those CSI types are pretty good at finding things so if they say something was not there, I am a lot more confident it wasn’t there than when someone is reading a standard 5-panel instant drug test.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel