Tag Archives: cocaine

Which is most valuable: Gold, cocaine or rhino horn?

According to study co-authored by UCLA ecologist, the answer is devastating news for Earth’s largest animals

Many of the world’s largest herbivores — including several species of elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses and gorillas — are in danger of becoming extinct. And if current trends continue, the loss of these animals would have drastic implications not only for the species themselves, but also for other animals and the environments and ecosystems in which they live, according to a new report by an international team of scientists. (more…)

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Drug tests on mothers’ hair links recreational drug use to birth defects

Drug tests on 517 mothers in English inner city hospitals found that nearly 15% had taken recreational drugs during pregnancy and that mothers of babies with birth defects of the brain were significantly more likely to have taken drugs than mothers with normal babies. The study found no significant links between recreational drug use and any other type of birth defect.

The study was led by a team of UCL researchers co-ordinating data collection from hospitals across London, Bristol and Birmingham and the results are published in the journal PLOS ONE. The study included 213 women whose baby had a type of birth defect with potential links to recreational drug use, 143 women whose baby had a birth defect with no previously reported links to drug use and 161 women whose baby was normally formed. (more…)

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Cocaine use can make otherwise resistant immune cells susceptible to HIV

In many ways, the spread of HIV has been fueled by substance abuse. Shared needles and drug users’ high-risk sexual behaviors are just some of the ways that narcotics such as cocaine have played a key role in the AIDS epidemic in much of the world.

There is, however, relatively little research into how drugs can impact the body’s defenses against the virus. But a new UCLA study published in the October issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology examines how cocaine affects a unique population of immune cells called quiescent CD4 T cells, which are resistant to the virus that causes AIDS. (more…)

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Rise in Teen Marijuana Use Stalls, Use of Synthetic Marijuana and ‘Bath Salts’ is Very Low

ANN ARBOR — National samples of 45,000 to 50,000 students in three grades (8, 10, and 12) have been surveyed every year since 1991 as part of the nationwide Monitoring the Future study. Among the most important findings from this year’s survey of U.S. secondary school students are the following:

Marijuana. After four straight years of increasing use among teens, annual marijuana use showed no further increase in any of the three grades surveyed in 2012. The 2012 annual prevalence rates (i.e., percent using in the prior 12 months) were 11%, 28%, and 36% for 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, respectively. (Among the 8th graders there was a modest decline across the past two years—from 13.7% in 2010 to 11.4% in 2012—that reached statistical significance.) (more…)

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Neurons that Control Overeating also Drive Appetite for Cocaine

Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have zeroed in on a set of neurons in the part of the brain that controls hunger, and found that these neurons are not only associated with overeating, but also linked to non-food associated behaviors, like novelty-seeking and drug addiction.

Published in the June 24 online issue of Nature Neuroscience, the study was led by Marcelo O. Dietrich, postdoctoral associate, and Tamas L. Horvath, the Jean and David W. Wallace Professor of Biomedical Research and chair of comparative medicine at Yale School of Medicine.

In attempts to develop treatments for metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes, researchers have paid increasing attention to the brain’s reward circuits located in the midbrain, with the notion that in these patients, food may become a type of “drug of abuse” similar to cocaine. Dietrich notes, however, that this study flips the common wisdom on its head. (more…)

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American Teens Are Less Likely Than European Teens to Use Cigarettes and Alcohol, but More Likely to Use Illicit Drugs

ANN ARBOR, Mich.— The U.S. had the second-lowest proportion of students who used tobacco and alcohol compared to their counterparts in 36 European countries, a new report indicates.

The results originate from coordinated school surveys about substance use from more than 100,000 students in some of the largest countries in Europe like Germany, France and Italy, as well as many smaller ones from both Eastern and Western Europe.

Because the methods and measures are largely modeled after the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future surveys in this country, comparisons are possible between the U.S. and European results. The 15- and 16-year-old students, who were drawn in nationally representative samples in almost all of the 36 countries, were surveyed last spring. American 10th graders in the 2011 Monitoring the Future studies are of the same age, so comparisons are possible. (more…)

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Substance Abuse Struggle

Former NBA player Herren recounts struggle with substance abuse

Former college basketball and NBA player Chris Herren spoke on the University of Delaware campus Thursday, April 19, about the struggle with substance abuse that eventually ended his career.

As a high school athlete, Herren played in the 1994 McDonald’s All-American game, was named player of the year from 1992-1994 by the Boston Globe and was the Gatorade New England Player of the Year from 1993-1994, before enrolling in Boston College to continue playing basketball. (more…)

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Individuals Who Are Victimized—Especially in Childhood—Likely to Abuse Alcohol and Other Drugs

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—A new study finds strong associations between victims’ experiences—such as unwanted sexual activity, neglect and physical violence—and substance use disorders.

Substance use disorders and victimization experiences were more prevalent for gays, lesbians and bisexuals than heterosexuals, according to researchers from the University of Michigan, University of Illinois at Chicago and University of North Dakota. (more…)

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