Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Many folks have asked me about my position on recreational marijuana. Those who are for legalizing the drug say it will normalize use and make it unattractive to young people, because there is no risk involved in procuring it. On the opposite side are those who state that a drug is a drug and marijuana is no exception. So it should remain illegal to buy or use. For me, this is a slippery slope. In a state where it is legal, if an adult wants to have a small amount on a Friday night instead of alcohol, then so be it. The problem comes when folks over use the substance, just like alcohol. Or they need more of it to create a feeling that they want. The second challenge is keeping it from young people under the age of 25. That is the age when the brain is properly developed. So it is important for all of us to be substance free until that time. We have no Marijuana Police. In fact, we have no policies that make any sense around the drug. States are in a quandary. Legislators do not have much education on substance use and abuse. And those who want to make it legal for their own profit are professionals at marketing propaganda about marijuana and its medicinal benefits. We have no longitudinal research data on recreational marijuana use. As a professional in the field, I cannot imagine it would add any beneficial aspects to an already full life. But the jury is out. I suggest we get organized before letting this horse out of the barn.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Last month three people died in Illinois from the deadly street drug Krokodil. For that reason, I am taking the time to educate the readers on this unusual drug. First, it is a street drug from Russia. The parent molecule is Desomorphine which is a morphine derivative. The dealers combine codeine and iodine and phosphorus into a powder and then take it to the street to sell. Not many folks in Russia or the Ukraine die, and the reason why is simple. When Krokodil gets stateside dealers want to make more money and include additives such as lighter fluid, paint thinner and a host of other substances which are lethal. The drug causes gangrene after the skin becomes scaley and turns a greenish hue. Limbs are often necrotic and need to be amputated. Death is a real possibility. In addition, some codeine may contain Diphenhydramine which potentiates opioids. The feeling lasts about and hour and a half, withdrawal begins immediately, and this is a sure way to play Russian Roulette with life. Although I rarely say 'Don't use drugs', this is one time when I highly recommend you stay away from this substance for two reasons: First, why give drug dealers a way to make more money? And second, why take the risk involved for an hour and a half of questionable pleasure, unless you have a death wish!

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Last year, the American Society for Addiction Medicine adopted a new definition; that 'addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease.' Many specialists like myself, took issue with this definition. We were resistant because such a definition may negate personal responsibility. For example: no one sits on your chest, puts a funnel in your mouth and pours alcohol down your throat. Not too many people grab your arm and stick a needle in it to fill your system with heroin. The point is, that we each make a choice to drink and/or abuse drugs. We see an Opioid in someone's medicine cabinet and think..."hmmm. If I just take one, no one will notice and I could just try it." Or as a young person, we find alcohol in the house and sneak a drink - just because we can. We need to take responsibility for that initial action, as well as those that follow. That being said, there is more than one way to become an addict. A family history, or genetic predisposition makes us vulnerable to addiction. The "Over use over time theory" (McGowan 2005)is another way. The overuse of anything over a period of time effects brain chemistry. What about folks who receive medication for pain? Can they become addicted? THE ANSWER IS 'NO". They become dependent, but that is not addiction. When they use painkillers when the pain has ceased, they are on a slippery slope that will end in addiction. That is because the body and brain recognizes that which is pleasurable and wants more of it. So we use alcohol or drugs again - just one more time. The more we use, the more we need and then tolerance begins and we are inside a merry-go-round that is extremely difficult to jump off. The best way to end addiction is not to begin the process at all. Since that is unrealistic for most people, at least reflect on why you do certain behaviors. Do you drink because it makes you feel better or because you like the taste or because it helps you come out of your shell? Do you abuse medication or use illicit drugs so you can forget about troubles or because everyone else is doing it? Reflection is merely a first step. Honesty is part of the step as well. If you come home from work and have a drink everyday because it is the only way you can relax, you have a problem.If you smoke marijuana everyday for the same reason and have started to enjoy smoking alone, you have a big problem. If you are stealing from someone's medicine cabinet or a patient's med case you have a huge problem. RECOGNIZE IT! Don't stop - JUST GET HELP!!!!

Saturday, June 22, 2013


FOR SOME REASON THE LINKS TO ADDITIONAL ARTICLES WRITTEN BY EVE HARDING DID NOT TRANSFER WITH HER PUBLICATION. WE ARE MAKING THEM AVAILABLE FOR ALL OF YOU TO ENJOY. MANY THANKS! Some of my recent pieces: http://www.lose-weight-diet.com/2012/03/21/dukan-diet-fad-fat-buster/ http://blog.boostherbs.com/post/2012/03/06/PCOS-Herbal-Healing.aspx http://fibroviv.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/writing-visual-journal-for-stress.html AJM

Monday, June 17, 2013


Writer Eve Harding has submitted the following piece for our Blog. Formerly from Maryland, she now resides in the UK where she is keenly aware of the drug issues> Benzo Fury’s Stimulant and Addictive Properties Make it as Dangerous as Amphetamines At least one legal high – a substance that gives a euphoric feeling similar to that of illegal drugs, but is not governed by laws relating to misuse of drugs – enters the market each week. This was reported by the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board in March of this year. Although legal highs are often viewed by those who use them as a safer alternative to the likes of cocaine and amphetamines, this is not necessarily the case. Certainly at the beginning of April, concerns were raised about the party drug Benzo Fury – known scientifically as 5-(2-aminopropyl)benzofuran or 5-APB for short. The drug Benzo Fury has quickly become one of the most used legal highs in Britain, but is also becoming popular in the United States. A synthetic chemical, it has been designed in a laboratory to induce euphoria and to be hallucinogenic; it is readily available for sale online, though also widely sold in night clubs and festivals, and at typically $15 per pill, is very accessible. Worries regarding this latest craze are based on the findings by a team of researchers at the University of Roehampton in Britain, which they shared at the British Neuroscience Association conference on 9th April. Research findings The research investigated the effects of 5-APB on the brains of rats in comparison to the stimulants cocaine and amphetamines, hoping to give an indication of not just its properties, but its relative danger. Pathways of addiction are not dissimilar in rodents and humans, making rats a good choice for this study. It was found that Benzo Fury acts as amphetamines in that it has the potential to be a stimulant, hallucinogenic and addictive. Jolanta Opacka-Juffry, who led the research, said it was this combination of features that made it so dangerous. Unlike substances that have purely hallucinogenic properties, which it is not possible to become hooked on, as they don’t raise dopamine production like amphetamines and cocaine, Benzo Fury also promotes this, having the potential to be addictive and induce dependency. Mechanisms of action Their work highlighted that 5-APB works through serotonin receptors in the brain, those responsible for providing intense feelings of pleasure experienced during a high. However, it also indicated that the dopamine system is involved. The dopamine transporter protein, which facilitates the return of dopamine to nerve cells in the brain, ceasing dopamine’s action, appears to be altered, leading to reverse dopamine transport; without reuptake this has the potential to cause damage to nerve cells and result in cravings and reliance upon Benzo Fury to function normally. Taken numerous times for its psychedelic effects increases the chance of this dependency occurring. As any addict knows, once this stage has been reached, not only does it significantly impact on your life, but kicking a drug habit habit becomes increasingly more difficult. By this point, wanting to quit and having the support of friends and family is usually not enough, requiring the help of specialist drug treatment centers from Maryland to California. Getting the message out about the addictive nature of Benzo Fury is therefore vital. Adverse effects Acting on serotonin receptors not only leads to changes in mood, but also means Benzo Fury may cause narrowing of blood vessels, raising blood pressure, increasing the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke, further adding to the potential adverse results from taking it. There is also evidence that the drug reduces appetite and triggers paranoia, having consequences for long-term feelings of well-being. It should additionally not be forgotten that there has been at least one reported death following its use; a 19 year old male died after taking the drug at a music festival in the summer of 2012. Changing attitudes In comparison to illegal drugs, it is clear that Benzo Fury is not the safe pill that many consider it to be, displaying similar properties to those considered to be lethal. If more people knew the dangers, this and other legal highs would perhaps not be so popular. With many party goers not aware of what they are taking and what might be considered a safe dosage - indeed if there is one – along with their addictive nature, at present it’s purely a matter of luck if they take these and don’t have adverse effects. Although the relative chance of serious problems occurring is currently unclear from research to date, further studies are required to determine its potential for addiction, nerve cell damage and impact on the cardiovascular system. Looking beyond animal studies to gather information from people who have used the drug previously will also shed further light on the impact of Benzo Fury. However, with so many other legal highs out there and more being created the whole time, this is a growing area of research.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Recently, I met wih a group of parents concerned about a 'new' drug in their area. The street name for the drug is 'Molly'. Their children spoke about it as if it were "not all that bad - and at least it wasn't cocaine." Well, they were right about one thing - it is not cocaine. But it is a dangerous drug when taken for recreational use. Molly is MDMA - or Ecstacy. It is both an amphetamine and phenethylamine. That means it gets your heart speeding, reduces some anxiety and makes you feel a sense of intimacy with people around you. For many years it has been a Club Drug used to enhance sexual feelings. Although the drug is banned in numerous countries, there is a body of research studying possible low dose use of the drug in psychotherapy. That aside, there is an even more striking fact about the sale of this drug in the U.S. Obviously, it is not regulated by the FDA, so anyone selling or manufacutring the drug can add adulterants or additives to extend the amount. In many cases talcum powder or ibuprofen (among other things)is added to Molly. This makes more money for the drug dealer. So it is in his or her best interest to add substances that look like the white powder and/or can be formed into a pill. The problem is that no one knows what the mixture contains. In some cases there is no MDMA at all, but a drug called PMA which has been associated with many deaths. At first use, the user may experience a heightened sense of euphoria, hallucinations and disorientaion. They also feel jaw tension and may exhibit convulsions. The drug reaches its peak in 1.5 - 3 hours after use. But long after the drug has peaked it remains in the system. If another dose it taken tolerance is developed and the brain struggles with the way seratonin needs to be regulated. The bottom line is this - Molly, MDMA, is a dangerous drug. Until proven otherwise, it is not safe to use. Tell your teens that it may not be cocaine, but it may do irreversible damage to the brain, and prolonged use may lead to death.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


If you are wondering why I posted a a few paragraphs about Autism and the new website ModernProdigy.com, it is because last year for the first time, I had parents of children with autism and two adults on the spectrum, with addictions. For some reason any link between addiction and families managing children with autism never crossed my mind. But the pressure some folks are feeling when they have a child with autism causes depression and anxiety. In turn, they seek medication for relief. In some cases this becomes a dependence and may even lead to abuse. Combined with alcohol it can be lethal. We use drugs and alcohol to change the way we feel. I have written many times that once in a while this is not harmful. But when we rely on substances to help us escape from our responsibilities, we are on a slippery slope. The first duty of a parent is not to love their child, but to keep them safe. That means being in the moment, fully present at all times. And if the child has special needs, it is even more important to know what is going on. As this website develops, I will keep you in the loop. And if you have any questions about parenting and addiction, feel free to write to me.