Tag: cocaine

Golf, Scandal, and the Dangers of Cocaine and Alcohol

cocaine and alcohol lighthouseDustin Johnson’s Drug Abuse Highlights Cocaine and Alcohol

American professional golfer Dustin Johnson just won the 116th U.S. Open, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for him, especially not when it comes to his personal life. Johnson tested positive for marijuana, cocaine and alcohol three times in his pro golfing career and was suspended once as a result. In a sport that suffered from a ton of shame after the downfall of golf legend Tiger Woods, another story like this isn’t a surprise, and sports officials seem to want to sweep this all under the rug.

Tiger Woods, Golf, and Performance Enhancing Drugs

This isn’t the first time that big-time scandalous behavior has been kept quiet in the golf world. While Tiger Woods was galavanting around with scores of women and using performance-enhancing drugs, he was also climbing the ladder as the biggest star in the golf world. His reputations ended up crashing down in flames as him and his ex-wife  had a very public falling out about his extra-marital affairs and otherwise terrible behavior.

Fast forward to today, and we have Dustin Johnson who reportedly tested positive three times for illegal drugs. He has brought up that binge drinking was a big problem for him, more so than drugs, but anyone who has had experience with one knows that they can quickly go hand in hand and out of control fast.

Cocaine and Alcohol

Cocaine and alcohol addictionJohnson tested positive for cocaine three times in five years, and allegedly carried on liaisons with multiple wives of fellow players. While he has not admitted to those affairs, he talks about how his trouble with alcohol forced him to take a hiatus from pro golf and focus on bettering himself.

While Johnson does not fully admit to his cocaine use, the drug tests say otherwise. Cocaine and alcohol is a common combination, as they work as polar opposites and cocaine can serve to keep a person wide awake when alcohol would make them fall asleep. It’s a false sense of wellbeing that can actually be a fatal combination.

Cocaethylene: The Lethal Combination of Cocaine and Alcohol

Ingesting cocaine and alcohol at the same time is unfortunately common, and the combination actually produces a drug called Cocaethylene in the liver. It poses an extremely high risk for heart attack, high blood pressure, and other heart and cardiovascular issues. Over time with repeated use, cocaethylene builds up in the liver and causes long-term health effects.

According to several different studies, the presence of cocaethylene in a person’s system produces feelings of euphoria that are more powerful and longer-lasting than those produced by cocaine alone. However, the health risks become that much more serious, and sudden death is a true threat.

Drug Combinations Are Lethal

Golf Pro Johnson is lucky that his cocaine and alcohol habit didn’t lead to his demise. Combining any drugs with alcohol or cocaethylene lighthouse recoveryother drugs is notoriously lethal, and often leads to hospitalization, overdose, and death. This is something to be mindful of even with prescription drugs – warnings on labels exist for a reason, so make sure to pay attention to them. This is especially true with any kinds of drugs that have to do with anxiety or pain – both drugs suppress the central nervous system, so combining these kinds of drugs with alcohol or street drugs can prove deadly.

It is possible to overcome any kind of drug addiction with the right help and the right people to support you. The first step is recognizing you have a problem and educating yourself, and then getting the help you need from there.

These are Some Seriously Strange Cocaine Ads

Cocaine…Ads?

Your eyes aren’t lying – we’re actually talking about cocaine ads.

The ‘70s and ‘80s were a weird couple of decades. We had Presidents in the White House who were telling us to Just Say No. At the same time, cocaine was the most popular drug on the planet.

Drug cartels were raking in millions of dollars each week producing and transporting cocaine from South America to Miami. Drug dealers in the US were making almost as much selling coke to, well, everyone.

Our country was in the midst of a love affair with cocaine. These vintage cocaine and cocaine accessory ads make that much abundantly clear.

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Find the old school – and pretty shocking – ads below!

cocaine snorter ad
via AdWeek

 

weird drug ads from 70s and 80s
via AdWeek

 

gold razorblade for snorting drugs
via Death and Taxes

 

cocaine ads from 70s and 80s
via AdWeek

 

old cocaine advertisments
via AdWeek

 

fake cocaine
Fake coke via Death and Taxes

According to Scientists, the Heroin Epidemic May Soon Be Over!

Is Heroin on its Way Out?

the heroin epidemic may soon be over

The heroin epidemic is beginning to come to an end! You heard it first from Lighthouse Recovery Institute…well, actually, you heard it first from VICE News.

They recently published a wonderful and thought provoking article – one centered around the idea that the heroin epidemic currently ravaging America may soon run its course.

At least that’s what several scientists, researchers, and experts think. One of these experts is Dr. Brad Lander, the Clinical Director of Addiction Psychiatry at Wexner Medical Center. You may remember Wexner as the institution that created Squirrel Smart Recovery, a heroin addiction recovery app for smartphones.

When asked about heroin abuse across the country, Dr. Lander had the following to say,

“These things go in cycles…I really think it’s just going to run its course. I think as people see how dangerous this is, it will disappear over time — at least, that’s what I’ve seen in my experience” (Health Day).

In order to understand why the heroin epidemic may soon come to an end, we first need to look at how drug epidemics are spawned. Find information on that, and why heroin use may be the exception to this rule, below!

Understand How Drug Epidemics are Born

Drug epidemics – be they illicit or prescription – usually follow a similar pattern. They start, seemingly out of nowhere, gain momentum, reach a peak, plateau, and then begin to fade away.

History holds many examples of this cycle. Consider the following:

 

    • The diet pill and tranquilizer epidemic of the 50s

 

 

 

 

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What do these epidemics all have in common? They became popular, they stayed popular for a period of time, and they faded away.

So, how do drugs become popular in the first place? The same way most everything does – through word of mouth and shared experience.

Think about it like this – if someone you admire and trust tells you about an amazing drug that will take away all your problems, make you feel great, and really “isn’t as bad as everyone thinks,” you’re probably going to do that drug.

Well, that’s what’s been happened across the United States with heroin. Jonathan Caulkins, a researcher from Carnegie Mellon University, backs this idea up. When asked about how drug epidemics start, he said,

“This metaphor [drug use as a viral epidemic] is appropriate even though there is not literally a pathogen…because most initiation occurs through contact with current users, not at the urging of drug sellers” (VICE News)

Makes sense, right?

Okay, so that’s how drug epidemics begin and gain momentum. That’s how we’ve reached our current point – towns overrun and lives destroyed by opioids. How do we move to the next chapter? How do we start to phase heroin out of our collective conciseness?

Understanding How Drug Epidemics End

If a certain drug’s popularity is largely determined by word of mouth, then its death is determined by large scale negative feedback and education.

why is heroin addiction so popular

To return to our hypothetical situation – a trusted friend of yours recommends heroin, saying it isn’t nearly as dangerous as everyone thinks – what happens after you’re hooked?

Well, you begin to get a boatload of negative consequences. You spend a lot of money to maintain your habit. You lie and hurt people you care about. You may steal or do other illegal activities to get the drug. You have health complications. You may overdose. The list goes on and on.

As thousands, or even millions, of people begin to experience these consequences – the word gets out that the drug in question isn’t as good as people say.

Let’s again return to out hypothetical situation and say you have a younger cousin. You warn them about the dangers of heroin. When one of their friends comes to them and says “I just tried this great new drug. You need to try it too,” they’re going to say no based on your experience.

Jonathan Caulkins confirms this small-scale, personal backlash can have quite a large effect:

A drug’s popularity begins to diminish when negative feedback gains the upper hand, either through word of mouth reports, bad experiences, or public attention to overdoses and other dangers. He also found that policies aimed at preventing new users and treating current users both help lessen a drug’s appeal (VICE News).

So, just as using a particular drug becomes epidemic through word of mouth – that’s also how use of the same drug fades away.

What Makes Heroin Different?

Despite the predictable epidemic to obscurity cycle, some experts believe heroin may be different. They think it’s not going anywhere, even though it’s reached critical mass and should soon die out.

What makes the heroin epidemic different than those before it? What may prevent it from fading away like ecstasy use did in the 90s? The overwhelming presence of prescription painkillers.

the painkiller epidemic led to heroin abuse

Kimberly Kirby is one of these experts who worries heroin may be here to stay. She’s an addiction psychologist at the Treatment Research Institute based in Philadelphia (one of the cities hit hardest by heroin abuse). When asked by VICE about whether she thought widespread heroin use would soon begin to decline, she responded with uncertainty,

“The one thing I think that’s disconcerting about [heroin] is that because of the increase in use that is coming from prescription opioids, they’ve become a lot more available than they used to be…I would guess if the availability of prescript [sic] of opioids does decrease you would see reduction in use…”

She raises a good point. As painkillers became demonized in the media, as they became increasingly expensive and difficult to get, many addicts turned to heroin. If heroin goes the same way – what’s to stop these addicts from returning to prescription pills or staying stuck in a pill/heroin cycle?

That question may be what differentiates our current heroin epidemic from past drug plagues. Still, at this point that’s the opinion of a minority of experts. Most believe that heroin use should begin to decline in the coming months and years.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is something we can all be thankful for.

What to Do After a Relapse on Drugs and Alcohol

Relapse Isn’t the End of the World!

signs of a drug relapse

There’s a saying in the rooms of recovery that goes a little something like “relapse is a part of recovery.” While I don’t love this saying – it oversimplifies the problem and solution – it’s often true.

Take it from me, a chronic relapser, that relapsing on drugs and alcohol after a period of sobriety is common. I started trying to get sober at eighteen years old. It took me a few years to get the hang of not picking up a drink or drug. In that time, I suffered a heroin relapse, a meth relapse, an alcohol relapse, and a pill relapse.

Today, I’ve been sober for over seven years. Still, that time was hard won and didn’t come without its fair share of struggle. With that in mind, I’ve set out to write the definitive guide to relapse and recovery.

Find information below on the signs of relapse on some specific drugs, as well as information on what to do after a relapse.

The signs are for family members wondering if their loved one is really sober. The steps to take after a relapse are for my people – addicts and alcoholics – who’re still struggling. God bless us!

The most important thing to remember about relapse and recovery is that relapse isn’t the end of the world. It has the power to destroy families, friendships, and take lives, but it’s only as powerful as we make it.

If you have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to call Lighthouse today! Many of our staff are in long-term recovery and can share their experience, strength, and hope about relapse with you. Remember, by sharing we cut the problem in half!

If you have a loved one in recovery who may be slipping, read on for vital information about how to be sure. If you’re an addict struggling with a heroin or meth relapse, or an alcoholic struggling with picking up a drink, read on for hope!

Heroin addiction is tough – you’re recovery better be tougher!

Signs of a Relapse

It’s important to point out that the following relapse signs aren’t the same for everyone. How I reacted to drugging and boozing after being in recovery may not be the same as how your loved one reacts.

With that being said, find common signs of a heroin relapse, and others, below:

Heroin Relapse

what to do after a heroin relapse

The most obvious signs of relapsing on heroin are nodding off, pinned pupils, excessive scratching, track marks, and possession of paraphernalia like needles and “cookers.”

Nodding off is when someone falls into short periods of unconsciousness. It’s called nodding off because they’ll start to slump over and suddenly jerk awake. They’ll do this again and again.

Pinned pupils are when someone’s pupils are tiny. They look like pinpricks. All opioids – from codeine to oxycodone to Vicodin to heroin – will make someone’s pupils small. Think the opposite of what happens when smoking marijuana.

Excessive scratching doesn’t always indicate a relapse, but it is a common side effect of heroin. Again, all opioids, including heroin, make users incredibly itchy. I don’t know why, but they do. If your loved one suddenly can’t stop scratching themselves, well, it may be time to take a closer look.

Track marks are the puncture wounds and bruising around where someone injects heroin. They’re a sure sign of a heroin relapse. Not much else needs to be said.

Finding heroin or injection paraphernalia on your loved one is another sure sign of a heroin relapse. Trust me when I said that addicts are master manipulators and will try to talk themselves out of this one. Ignore them. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck – it’s a duck.

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Cocaine & Meth Relapse

A cocaine or meth relapse can take many forms and have many telltale signs. There are also some glaring ones. These are things like not sleeping for extended periods of time, burns on your loved one’s lips, repetitive tics, paranoia, and possession of paraphernalia like meth/crack pipes and powder dusted keys.

This first coke or meth relapse sign, not sleeping for days, is the most obvious. Think of how TV and movies depict people strung out on stimulants – a crazy look in their sunken eyes, paranoid, spouting nonsense. That’s what happens when someone stays up for a few days. Cocaine, crack, and meth are the number one culprit for this kind of lack of sleep.

Your loved one may have burns on their lips and fingers if they’re smoking meth or crack. Both meth and crack pipes become incredibly hot as they’re used. Pair that with using again – and again and again – and it’s plain to see where the burns come from.

Repetitive tics are another common behavior displayed during a relapse on meth or coke. Again, think of the common portrayal of tweakers on TV. It has a firm basis in what actually happens when someone uses stimulants.

relapsing on meth and cocaine

Paranoia goes hand-in-hand with repetitive tics and not sleeping. The longer someone stays awake, the more they think others are onto them. The stranger someone behaves, the more they think others are talking about them. It’s sad but true.

Finally, possessing things like crack pipes and bags or keys with powder residue is a 100% confirmed sign of a relapse on meth. Much like relapsing on heroin, if someone has the paraphernalia, they’re getting high. It’s that simple. Your loved one may try to talk their way out of admitting the truth – don’t let them.

Struggling with meth? Don’t struggle alone!

Alcohol Relapse

what to do after starting to drink again

The signs of an alcohol relapse are often more subtle than the signs of a drug relapse. That’s because alcohol doesn’t have as sudden and profound an effect on users as heroin, cocaine, or other hard drugs do.

Still, things like smelling of booze, disappearing for periods of time, erratic behavior, and being unable to remember certain things are common signs of an alcohol relapse.

Smelling like alcohol is pretty self-explanatory. Alcoholics drink and their body metabolizes and emits alcohol. Then they smell like it. I always tried to say that I’d been with people who were drinking, or that someone had spilled a beer on me, when I smelled like booze.

Trust me – that never happened. I was drunk. Plain and simple.

Disappearing for periods of time, being unable to remember events or people, and behaving erratically are other fairly obvious signs of a relapse on alcohol. That’s all thanks to blackouts and the strange stuff us alcoholics get into when we’re drinking.

If your loved one has started to go missing for a few hours, or even days, and they have a history of alcohol abuse, they’re drinking. If they can’t remember what they did last night, or you get a phone call saying they were standing in the street yelling, they’re drinking.

It stinks, but it’s the truth.

Learn about the best alcohol rehab in Florida!

General Drug and Alcohol Relapse

As far as general drug and alcohol relapse signs go – those are a bit more, well, general. Things like lying, losing or missing money, shady behavior, and hanging out with old using friends are all common signs of a relapse.

There’s not much more that needs to be said about this type of slip. If you have a loved one who’s been in recovery, or been trying to get sober, and they start exhibiting old behavior – they’re probably drinking or using.

slips in sobriety

If that’s the case, reach out for professional help! Call a drug and alcohol relapse hotline. Call an addiction specialist. Call a treatment center. Call the police. Call a friend or family member who’s been through the same situation.

These are all proactive steps to take that will minimize the impact of your loved one’s relapse on your emotional health.

Having looked at some of the more common relapse signs, let’s turn our attention to what us addicts and alcoholics can do after we’ve relapsed.

What to Do After a Relapse

Remember what I said at the start of this guide? Relapse and recovery are a very real deal for most addicts and alcoholics. We don’t get better overnight and, in many cases, it takes us multiple times to finally “get” sobriety.

So, what do we do after we’ve picked up a drug or a drink? What do we do after we’ve relapsed?

The answer’s actually very simple. We get our butts to a meeting. We call our sponsor, our sober supports, our therapist, and our close friends and tell them what’s going on. If the situation warrants, we tell our family or significant other.

getting sober again

In other words, we ask for help!

That’s the simplest, and also hardest, thing to do after relapsing. That’s because although it’s simple to pick up and phone and tell the truth, it isn’t easy at all.

Addiction and alcoholism are rife with guilt and shame. Nowhere do these two monsters rear their ugly heads more than after we have a slip. That’s just how our brains and emotions work.

We need to walk through this guilt and shame. We need to do the right thing no matter how difficult it is. We need to own up and start over in recovery again.

If you’re like me – an addict and alcohol through and through – doing this feels impossible. It’s not, trust me. Still, getting that initial spark, that initial push, can be difficult.

With that in mind, call Lighthouse today. Most of our addiction specialists are in long-term recovery themselves. They’ll be able to guide you through the process of recovering from a relapse. If you need treatment, they’ll be able to get you into our doors, safe and secure, today!

More than anything else, they’ll be able to listen and understand what you’re going through. They’ve been there and come out on the other side happy and healthy. What more can you ask?

Learn about Comprehensive Addiction Treatment & how it sets patients up for long-term sobriety!

Debunking Common Myths about Crack & Cocaine

The Truth about Cocaine & Crack

how long does cocaine stay in your system

There are a lot of urban legends and myths surrounding cocaine and crack. This could be due to the strong backlash born from the 1980’s crack epidemic. It could be due to popularity of powder cocaine. After all, the more people abusing a certain drug, the more myths there are that surround the drug.

Regardless of how they came to be, these myths have persistently stuck around for years. That changes today. Lighthouse Recovery Institute is here to put an end to many of the common urban legends about powder and crack cocaine.

We’ll look at the dangers involved in smoking cocaine, how long cocaine stays in users’ systems, and how long crack stays in users’ systems. Without further ado, let’s look at just how dangerous smoking cocaine really is.

How Dangerous is Smoking Cocaine?

When we talk about smoking cocaine, we’re talking about smoking crack. There are some differences between the two (think freebasing vs. “normal” crack smoking), but for all intents and purposes they’re just about the same.

So, how dangerous is it to smoke cocaine? Pretty dangerous! Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant and increases heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.

When sniffed, cocaine reaches peak physical effects in a matter of minutes. When injected, it takes about thirty seconds. When smoked, however, cocaine hits the body in under ten seconds.

This makes smoking cocaine incredibly dangerous. The central nervous system is immediately flooded with cocaine molecules and then brought down minutes later. This ping-pong effect is damaging to the heart, liver, and pretty much all major organs.

Having looked at the dangers of smoking cocaine, let’s turn our attention to how long cocaine stays in your system.

Are cocaine and crack withdrawal real? The answer will surprise you

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

This is one of the most common questions we’ve come across in the world of white powder. How long does cocaine stay in your system? Well, there’s not a simple answer. It all depends on the individual abusing cocaine.

How long cocaine stays in your system is dependent on a few factors. First, how often are you using? An everyday user will have cocaine metabolites in their body for longer than a periodic user.

Things like weight, metabolism, levels of physical activity, and intake of other drugs all effect how long cocaine stays in your system. Generally speaking, cocaine will be metabolized and leave the body within twenty-four hours. A daily user, though, can have traces of cocaine in their system for as long as three days.

Another question to consider is how long crack stays in the system. After all, we established above that smoking cocaine is significantly different than sniffing it.

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How Long Does Crack Stay in Your System?

Well, how long does crack stay in your system? While this may seem like a dumb question (crack stays in your system for as long as cocaine!), there’s more than meets the eye.

Crack stays in users systems for varying lengths of time. It can be detected in drug screens anywhere from minutes after use to a few days. The longer someone smokes cocaine for, the longer metabolites will appear in their urine, hair, etc.

While crack itself is cocaine mixed with baking soda, the cocaine used to make it is often filled with other chemicals. These filler chemicals impact how long crack stays in your system. Lidocaine and other substances will, generally speaking, decrease the amount of time both powder cocaine and crack are detectable for.

That’s the lowdown on smoking cocaine and how long crack and cocaine stay in your system. If you have any questions about cocaine abuse, or are interesting in any information not otherwise covered here, give Lighthouse a call today!

Do you have a child or loved one who may be using cocaine? Learn how to be sure today

Science Just Discovered the REAL Reason Cocaine is So Addictive

Cocaine Literally Reshapes Our Brains

It’s not exactly breaking news that cocaine is one of the most addicting drugs out there. No one doubts the devastating effect cocaine’s had on its users, sellers, and the world at large.

Until recently, though, no one was sure why cocaine was so addictive. Sure, the famous white powder makes people feel really good. Speaking as a man in long-term recovery, cocaine makes you feel REALLY good. Still, that’s not a scientific explanation.

Well, according to new information from The Journal of Neuroscience, the scientific reasons for cocaine’s addictive nature may finally have come to light.

cocaines impact on the brain

Dr. Peter McCormick, from the University of East Anglia’s School of Pharmacy, recently led a team studying cocaine’s impact upon brain chemistry. What they found was shocking to say the least.

Not only does cocaine affect the brain, it actually changes the very shape of our gray matter. Dr. McCormick stated,

“Relapse among cocaine addicts is a major problem…We wanted to find out what causes it. We had speculated that there might be a direct communication between neuroreceptors controlling stress and reward. When we tested this, we found this to indeed be the case” (Medical Daily).

Is cocaine withdrawal a real medical condition or just urban myth?

The Newest Info on Coke & Brain Activity

What exactly did McCormick and his team discover? Well, to start, they explored how cocaine interacted with rats’ brains. They gave test rats cocaine over an extended period of time and observed their neural reactions.

The researchers paid special attention to how the rats’ brains were affected by stress after they no longer had cocaine. To put it another way, they studied how the brain responds to stress in early-sobriety.

Through this testing, they identified two neuropeptides (chemical neurotransmitters, or “messenger molecules,” that facilitate brain communication) that play a key role in the psychological scope of addiction.

These neuropeptides are involved in how the brain processes rewards and motivations. Through extended cocaine abuse, they’re actually changed. They send out fewer messages and aren’t absorbed as easily into other neurons. This is especially true in situations involving stress.

So, yes, cocaine literally reshapes our brain and how different areas communicate.

It’s important to note that this data was gathered from rats and not humans. Do our brains behave the same was as rodents’ brains? Yes and no. Our brains do behave in similar ways, though it’s not a one-to-one comparison.

Still, Dr. McCormick is convinced this discovery is applicable to humans and has long-term implications. When asked about it, he responded, “Although our study is in rodents, the same receptors have been shown to impact human stress and drug addiction” (Medical Daily).

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Will This Lead to a “Cocaine Antidote?”

This is the ultimate question. Will this latest breakthrough signal a change in how addiction is treated? Will addicts be able to take a pill or receive an injection that will instantly balance their brain chemistry?

While this is a very real possibility in the future, it’s not here yet. We’ve only just begun to unlock the secrets stored in our brains. There’s a lot more work, a lot more trial and error, before we’re at the cocaine antidote stage.

There’s also something to be said for traditional cocaine addiction treatment. As I mentioned above, I’m a man in long-term recovery from substance abuse. While part of my recovery is due to medications (Naltrexone and the like), most of it is due to good, old-fashioned counseling.

Through participating in group and individual therapy, I gained an understanding of how my mind works. I learned about addiction as a disease and how to properly put it into remission. I learned about triggers and how to mitigate their effects. I learned how to live a life of grace and dignity.

So, learning exactly how cocaine impacts brain activity is a homerun, but it isn’t the game winner. There’s always going to be a need for comprehensive addiction treatment. There are always going to be those who benefit most from sitting down, one on one, with another addict and talking.

That, my friends, is where the magic happens.

Think your child is using cocaine? Learn how to tell for sure today

New Study Ranks Deadliest Drugs

The Deadliest Drug According to Science

A recent European study set out to find the deadliest drug. This in and of itself isn’t groundbreaking. These types of studies are conducted numerous times each year by government agencies and scientific institutes alike. What makes this particular report noteworthy is the method researchers used.

whats the deadliest drug

The study is called “Comparative risk assessment of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other illicit drugs using the margin of exposure approach.” This margin of exposure approach is where things get interesting. It basically means that scientists identified the deadliest drugs by figuring out how much users normally take and comparing that data to how prevalent the use of a particular drug is. They also factored in the LD50, or minimum lethal dose of popular drugs of abuse.

The authors of this report, Dr. Dirk Lachenmeierand and Dr. Jürgen Rehm, believe this is the most accurate way to identify how deadly particular substances are. For example, alcohol is deadlier than meth because more people are exposed to alcohol and ingest it in higher quantities.

This type of common sense approach, mixed with the latest scientific data and analysis, seems like a sane way to approach studying drug abuse. We can only hope that policymakers in the United States follow Europe’s example. A sane and rational examination of drug addiction, overdose, and recovery may just lead to effective measures being implemented.

Now, without further ado, find out what the deadliest drug is below!

Learn about the new medicine used to reverse opioid overdoses!

What’s the Deadliest Drug?

According to this new data, the deadliest drug is, drum roll please…alcohol. This should come as a surprise to no one. Alcohol abuse is widespread, seemingly innocuous, and actually very dangerous.

Clocking in at number two are cigarettes. Again, this isn’t much of a surprise. What’s interesting is the remainder of the report. For example, when Lachenmeierand and Rehm analyzed probability, they found that heroin was actually the second deadliest drug, ahead of even cigarettes.

Find a breakdown of other key results below:
 

  • Based on both whole population exposure and probabilistic analysis, cocaine is the third deadliest drug.
  •  

  • Based on whole population exposure, opioid drugs are the fourth deadliest.
  •  

  • Based on probabilistic analysis, nicotine is the fourth deadliest.
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  • Based on whole population exposure, benzo’s are the fifth deadliest drug. This is despite the fact that they have a lower margin of exposure and are used more frequently than opioids or cocaine.
  •  

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  • Based on a probabilistic analysis, MDMA is the fifth deadliest drug.
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  • Meth is considered to be the sixth deadliest drug despite having a lower margin of exposure and being used more frequently than MDMA. This is most likely due to the fact that it’s harder to overdose on meth than MDMA (i.e. more meth is needed to overdose).
  •  

  • THC is considered to be the least deadly drug. This is due to the incredibly large amount of THC needed to “overdose.” It’s also due to the generally mild quality of a THC overdose.
  •  

    What qualifies as excessive drinking? (Hint: it’s less than you think)

    Limits of New Information

    The new research does carry with it a few caveats. It’s important to remember that Dr. Lachenmeierand and Rehm studied the lethal dose of drugs in animals, not humans. Usually the LD50 of a substance is higher in humans. Still, it’s important to remember these tests were not done on humans.

    ld50 overdose

    Also, chemical interactions weren’t taken into account. That is to say, researchers didn’t study what happens when someone drinks, does cocaine, and does heroin. When chemicals like these are combined, their LD50’s are, generally speaking, lowered.

    Despite the fact that alcohol is deadlier than other drugs in practical terms, individual experiences with illegal and “hard” drugs differ. There are environmental risks associated with illegal drug use. These include purchasing impure drugs, police behavior, and lifestyle factors like unsafe injection practices and risky sexual behavior.

    This study was based in Europe and on European research. However, Dr. Rehm had the following to say, “if you talk about the US or Cananca, we would project similar findings. For Latin America, results may change” (Vice News). Dr. Rehm believes this is due to the similarities between “high-income countries.”

    Learn how Lighthouse Recovery Institute is redefining addiction treatment!

    Marijuana is NOT a Gateway Drug But Nicotine Is!

    By: Tim Myers

    Cigarettes are the Real Gateway Drug

    People who smoke are making a conscious decision to do something that will harm them. They’re doing something that will kill them and it gives them no mood-altering conclusion. No euphoria and no high.

    So, what’s to stop them from doing something else that will kill them, but gives them the greatest feeling ever? Nothing.

    Nicotine is and has always been the only gateway drug.

    nicotine is a gateway drug

    I’m pretty sure I could just stop right here. I’m pretty sure you don’t need any deeper analysis of this then the simple, plain, punch you square in face idea that once you start using nicotine you’re more likely to use other drugs!

    The logic behind this theory is so basic and so rock solid that further investigation and analysis shouldn’t be necessary. Although, I do anticipate that a small village of Virginia Slim smokers still exist in a dark ally somewhere. They’re might want to take me up on this issue before bingo starts.

    So, for those of you who think nicotine isn’t a gateway drug – here are the facts:

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    Nicotine Use is Directly Linked to Other Drug Use

    The New England Journal of Medicine stated on September 4th 2014 that, “Epidemiologic studies have shown that nicotine use is a gateway to the use of marijuana and cocaine in human populations.”

    This hypothesis that nicotine is a gateway drug came from Denise Kandel. Her studies found that, in 2012, 87.9% of adults in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 34, who have used cocaine, smoked cigarettes before trying cocaine.

    Only 5.7% of this group began using cigarettes and cocaine at the same time. Only 3.5% used coke first.

    Let those numbers sink in for a minute.

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    Focus on Preventing Nicotine Usage

    The study also concluded that one of the best ways to prevent substance abuse is to focus on preventing nicotine use first and foremost. Since the stats are so overwhelmingly in favor of nicotine being the first drug initiated into the system, and leading to the use of harder drugs, the study suggests that we stop the problem at the source.

    Duh. This makes too much sense.

    Essentially, if Officer Crumpky and his buddies at D.A.R.E spent their time only talking to kids about the dangers of smoking, they’d have a far greater success rate of keeping the tykes off the hard stuff. D.A.R.E. actually could have worked! They had a good idea, they were just fighting the wrong enemy.

    If marijuana isn’t a gateway drug, why do some people say it’s “as addictive as heroin?”

    Nicotine Use Makes People More Likely to Use Other Drugs

    In Science Translational Medicine, on November 2, 2011, it was reported that mice who were given nicotine for seven days were attracted to and sought out cocaine more than the mice who weren’t given nicotine.

    So, the brain is actually hardwired to start looking for the next great drug once the switch has been flicked by nicotine. Science is awesome.

    What Does This Study Mean for You and Me?

    is marijuana a gateway drug

    I’m sure Aunt Estelle will tell us that she smoked her Camels for fifty years and never once did she want, or use, cocaine. That’s great for Aunt Estelle.

    I’m sure there is a kid in a halfway house smoking his vape and screaming, “I vape and I have four months sober!”

    There’s probably an old-timer at a meeting smoking his Winston’s saying, “I smoke and I’ve never tried that jazz.”

    Good for you guys…it works if you work it! The point is that if you do something that will kill you and doesn’t give a high, you’re probably going to do another thing that can kill you that you do get high from.

    Oh, and there’s the point that 87.9% of people who used cocaine used nicotine first. Nicotine is a gateway drug. Period.

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