Synthetic Cannabinoids (Take 2)

A scary news alert from April 20th (or 420, wink, wink):  Synthetic marijuana (“K2”, “Spice”) laced with rat poison has sickened at least two people in Milwaukee (now it’s actually up to 4 confirmed cases in Wisconsin). From when the index case was identified on 3/8/18 in Illinois through 4/29/18, at least 4 people have died and at least 160 people presented to healthcare facilities in Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin with serious unexplained bleeding. Lab testing found the warfarin-like blood thinner (a rat poison!!) in at least 60 patients and in at least 7 synthetic cannabinoids specimens.  Just goes to show you that you can’t always trust the drug dealers – your health may not be their top priority (this is seriously a sentence I say to a patient in clinic at least once a day). 

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Injecting HIV…

ss_243591463_sad_teen_manThe start of December ushered in another World AIDS Day. Instead of focusing on specifically on HIV/AIDS, I’m going to dedicate this blog to one of the ways to transmit HIV – injection drug use. Injection drug use is obviously dangerous and can lead to death from the drug itself; however injection drug use can lead to infections like HIV (or Hepatitis B or C) because these needles and syringes are often shared with other drug users. A rural area of southern Indiana made the news over the past year when it had an outbreak of HIV (184 confirmed cases) and the main culprit was injection drug use (specifically the injection of the prescription painkiller, Opana or oxymorphone). According to the CDC, Austin, Indiana, with a population of 4,200, now has a higher incidence of HIV than any country in sub-Saharan Africa.

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The Darker Side of Cough Medication

The Darker Side of Cough SyrupParents of students attending a local middle school got a surprise recently when they received a letter informing them that students had been caught using cough medication for recreational purposes. What would possess anyone to chug awful-tasting medication if not having hacking coughing fits? The answer is simple: cough medicine affords a cheap and easy high. And obtaining it may require no more effort than strolling to the family’s medicine cabinet.

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