All Posts Tagged With: "drugs"
Former user says study drug wasn’t worth it
Like many before him, John* took what he was told was the drug Adderall without recognizing its potential side effects. “I had been studying at the library for days, my concentration was diminishing and my friend was like, ‘there’s this guy that has Adderall,’” the University of British Columbia student says. He bought some.
He’s not the only one. The illegal use of the amphetamine-based prescription drugs, which can improve concentration, may be an epidemic on campuses across North America. It’s the equivalent of steroids in baseball. The student who can study longer has an edge over peers.
Legally prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), many university students without the disorder have found ways to obtain the medication, either through campus hustlers or by faking ADHD symptoms. According to one estimate, a staggering 30 per cent of students at the University of Kentucky had abused Adderall. Though extensive research has not been undertaken in Canada, it is estimated that up to 11 percent of post-secondary students have used the drug.
Up to 11 per cent of students may take brain boosting meds
Doctors should think twice about prescribing drugs like Ritalin and Adderall used to treat attention deficit disorder to healthy individuals seeking to boost their brain power, says an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The authors say prescription stimulants are used by some people for cognitive enhancement in the absence of any medical need.
“These would be any types of medications that would help people enhance their concentration, memory, cognitive function in general, when they don’t necessarily have any type of symptom or illness to be treated with these medications,” said lead author Cynthia Forlini, a PhD candidate in neuroethics at McGill University.
“So we’re talking about healthy individuals who are approaching their doctors for some kind of an edge in their performance,” she said Monday from Montreal.
Trump is mad, pot is legal & U. Manitoba’s “racialized rep.”
1. Barack Obama got a second chance, winning the presidency for another four years with 50 per cent of the popular vote to Mitt Romney’s 48 per cent plus victory in battleground states like Ohio. From Obama’s victory speech: “Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.” Full text here.
2. Upon hearing the election results, Donald Trump threw a tantrum on Twitter and threatened to “March on Washington,” the site of this democratic “travesty.”
3. Washington and Colorado passed ballot initiatives during Tuesday’s election that legalize marijuana for recreational use. But pot-heads shouldn’t pack their bags for Denver or Seattle just yet. Legalization may lead to a Supreme Court challenge from the federal government.
A Bieber fan attacked, James Franco & #RIP Amanda Todd
1. A Vancouver Justin Bieber fan had her night nearly ruined. Simran Mann wrote her name inside a heart with a Bieber reference on a pillar outside Rogers Arena. The problem was that pillar was a memorial for Canuck’s player Rick Rypien. Hockey fans tracked her down on Twitter and unleashed a fury: “Please hang yourself, so I can destroy your grave,” wrote one. Ouch.
2. Speaking of the Canucks, Kevin Bieksa and Daniel Sedin will play a charity game at UBC on Oct. 17. Both men are angry that sold-out tickets are being re-sold by scalpers on Craigslist.
3. Canadians are standing up against bullying with the hashtag #RIP Amanda Todd, in honour of the 15-year-old B.C. girl who killed herself after releasing an anti-bullying video on YouTube.
An actress attacked, a student shot dead & a capella
1. Actress Stacey Dash, known best for her role in the 1990s TV show Clueless, has been attacked on Twitter for endorsing Republican Mitt Romney. As an African American woman, apparently she is supposed to support Barack Obama like the rest of Hollywood. Referencing Martin Luther King Jr., she told CNN that she chose Romney “not by the color of his skin, but the content of his character.” She also cites economic reasons. Is she talking about how all this publicity will affect her personal economics? Either way, people should lay off.
2. A University of South Alabama student who was fatally shot by a campus police officer after being seen nude on campus had taken the drug LSD. Police also allege Gil Collar, 18, had assaulted two people and attempted to bite a woman.
3. The Nobel Prizes are announced this week. One winner was told by a teacher in 1949 that his dreams of science were “ridiculous.” John Gurdon’s instructor wrote the following on his report card: “If he can’t learn simple biological facts he would have no chance of doing the work of a specialist, and it would be sheer waste of time, both on his part, and of those who have to teach him.”
Seminar at UBC will train medical marijuana entrepreneurs
A seminar taking place on the University of British Columbia campus this weekend will train wannabe medical marijuana entrepreneurs. Greenline Academy, the organizer, told The Province that its $330 seminar is sold out. The course will cover everything from the legalities of medical marijuana to growing techniques. The classes have already been taken by more than 1,300 people in cities from Winnipeg to Victoria since Greenline opened in 2011. A permanent school is planned for Kelowna, B.C. Health Canada has issued more than 12,000 licenses to grow medical marijuana.
Drug laws will be enforced on 4/20
April 20 (or “4/20″) is an annual holy day for marijuana smokers. It’s also a day that’s conveniently close to the end of exams at many Canadian universities, making campuses a natural gathering spot for pot-fueled celebrations.
In many cases, police ignore the illegal substances—it’s not as though pot smoking is likely to lead to riots. But this year, police in one Canadian university town, London, Ont., are reminding people that possession of any quantity of marijuana is illegal. “The London Police Service will enforce the law on this date as they would throughout the year,” they said in a release.
Research shows links to mental illness, lung capacity
When sociologist and drug-policy expert Andy Hathaway surveyed one of his first-year classes at the University of Guelph last fall, 80 per cent of students reported experience with cannabis.
Hathaway cautions that it was only a small pilot study (around 100 responses), and it took place at Guelph, which is, let’s face it, “a bit granola.”
Still, that 80 per cent figure isn’t surprising.
When twelfth graders are asked if they’ve tried marijuana, roughly half say yes.
Provincial rates of lifetime usage now range from a low of 40 per cent of Albertan twelfth-graders to a high of 63 per cent of those in Nova Scotia, according to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. And that’s before university.
Follows accidental death of Calgary teen who took pills
A 23-year-old University of Western Ontario student who attended a concert in Guelph on Nov. 23 died of an apparent reaction to ecstasy pills, reports the Guelph Mercury. The Sarnia, Ont. native was taken to a Guelph hospital at 2:30 a.m. and died of organ failure on Nov. 26 in Kitchener.
Last week, a 16-year-old in Calgary died after taking what appears to have been ecstasy.
The drug most commonly sold as ecstacy is MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), which floods users with euphoria and a sense of empathy. MDMA itself rarely causes sudden death. However, the brightly-coloured pills sold as ecstasy come from drug labs where they’re sometimes laced with more deadly drugs. U.K. Professor David Nutt published a study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2009 that suggested the risk of death from ecstasy use is similar to the risk of death from horseback riding.
Cigarette smoking plummets
A survey administered to nearly 10,000 teens in Ontario shows big drops in the use of most drugs when compared to similar teens 12 years ago.
The Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey found an especially encouraging drop in the number of students who smoke cigarettes. In 1999, 28 per cent of students in grades seven to 12 said they smoked in the past year and 22 per cent smoked at least one cigarette daily. In 2011, only nine per cent said they smoked in the past year and only four per cent said they smoked daily. The rates are higher in northern Ontario, where eight per cent smoked daily in 2011.
Student may have been sexually assaulted and drugged
Vancouver Island University is warning students via Twitter to guard their drinks. A woman who was sexually assaulted in Nanaimo recently may have been given the date-rape drug GHB.
Another young woman says her doctor confirmed she was given the drug in October. CTV Vancouver Island reports that the woman was found by a friend in a parkade around 3 a.m. after attending a nightclub. She had no recollection of the evening, but her friend says a stranger had shared her drink earlier that night.
V.I.U. has been using custom drink coasters to warn students about how easy it is for people to slip odourless and colourless GHB into their drinks, reports Canada.com.
“Likely mechanism is openness to experience”
A large British study has found that having a higher IQ at age five and/or 10 is correlated with an increased likelihood that a person will have tried certain recreational drugs by age 30.
For example, women who had scored in the top third on intelligence tests at age five were more than twice as likely to have tried cocaine or marijuana by age 30 than those in the bottom third.
The most intelligent male children were 50 per cent more likely to have tried amphetamines and 65 per cent more likely to have tried ecstasy (MDMA) by their thirtieth birthdays.
Researchers controlled for socioeconomic status. The study involved interviews with 7,900 people who were part of an 11,600-strong cohort of British people born in early April 1970 and IQ-tested five and 10 years later. The study appears in the Journal of Epidemiology & Public Health.
So why might smarter people try drugs when drug-taking is widely considered stupid? ”The likely mechanism is openness to experience,” lead author James White of Cardiff University told Time.com, explaining that researchers already know more intelligent people score higher on openness. He also posited that more intelligent people have more educated views of risks.
Another theory: White says the lack of subtlety in government anti-drug ads may have been unconvincing to smarter Brits. If that’s true, the researchers’ observations may apply to Canada too; our federal government’s anti-drug ads aren’t exactly praised for their subtlety.
Gets house arrest instead of jail
A student pleaded guilty in a North Bay, Ont. court—and received house arrest—after he was caught with a hefty load of marijuana in his car, an estimated $47,000 worth. Jameson Fletcher’s lawyer argued that his client, a Laurentian University commerce student, was selling drugs to help lessen his $40,000 school debt load, reports the North Bay Nugget. Fletcher was given a punishment of six months served in the community when it’s common to receive jail-time, said the deciding judge, Justice Jean-Gilles Lebel. Despite the light sentence, Lebel noted that many young people carry student debt and most manage to pay it down without committing crimes.
Startling findings in annual drug use report
The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse has released their annual report, which brings together surveys of drug use among teens from the various provinces. What’s most startling is the risky behaviours Grade 12 students are engaging in before driving. Depending on the province:
—up to 20 per cent report driving within an hour of having two or more drinks
—up to 38 per cent report being a passenger with a driver who was drinking
—up to 20 per cent report being a passenger with a driver who had “too much to drink”
—up to 21 per cent report driving within an hour of using cannabis
Clearly young people need to plan safer rides home.
There were also interesting, if less shocking, findings about teen drug and alcohol use in general. The study looked at students in grades seven, nine, 10 and 12 and found that the amount of teens who had drank alcohol at least once in their lifetimes ranged from 52 per cent of Albertan teens to 70 per cent of Newfoundland teens. Those figures climb as high as 90 per cent by twelfth grade.
Students fight back with class-action lawsuit
An American college, Linn State Technical in Missouri, implemented a mandatory drug testing program this month, claiming to be the first college in the U.S. to sample students’ urine.
“Drug screening is becoming an increasingly important part of the world of work,” the school wrote in a statement. If students refuse to urinate in a cup, they face possible expulsions.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a class action lawsuit Wednesday alleging the school has violated its students’ constitutional rights. Also on Wednesday, a Missouri federal judge granted the ACLU’s request for a restraining order to stop the school from analysing the urine specimens it collected or releasing any of the test results, an ACLU spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.
“Linn State Technical College…. has had no documented drug problems over the course of its 50-year history and no reason to suspect that the students subject to testing have been engaged in the use or abuse of illegal drugs,” says the statement of claim filed by the ACLU. “The mandatory, suspicionless drug testing required under the College’s new policy is a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Ordinarily, the Fourth Amendment prohibits such searches…”
Kent Brown, a lawyer representing the college told the Wall Street Journal: “Linn State Technical College takes seriously its responsibility to deliver quality technical education to Missouri students while exploring every available avenue to protect and prepare those students to compete effectively in occupations where pre-employment drug testing is quickly becoming the norm.”
Have campus parties just gotten a little safer?
It’s a rule of thumb at any campus party: never leave your drink unattended. But two Israeli scientists say they have developed a new sensor that is 100 percent accurate at detecting date-rape drugs in drinks, potentially rendering the rule somewhat less compulsory.
According to AFP, Professor Fernando Patolsky and Doctor Michael Ioffe of Tel Aviv University’s school of chemistry have created a sensor that, when inserted into a drink, indicates the presence of GHB (gamma-hydrobuxybutyric acid) and ketamine, two of the most common date-rape drugs. The device has been tested on a variety of popular cocktails and soft drinks and has been able to detect the drugs in spiked drinks every time. The scientists are working to expand the sensor’s capabilities to include to detection of Rohypnol, another common date-rape drug.
The pair expects the final production of the device to akin to the size of a stir stick, potentially available for sale in the next year and a half.
Coroner concerned by head injuries during police custody
A University of British Columbia student died from a cocaine-induced heart attack three days after being released from police custody in Whistler on Feb. 23, 2010.
Silas Rogers, 20, was arrested for public intoxication during the Vancouver Winter Olympics after taking heroin, alcohol and snorting a crushed-up anti-anxiety medication. He was then taken to the local RCMP detachment, where he stayed for 11 hours. Following his release, he went to a friend’s house in Vancouver and continued to take drugs, including cocaine. He was found unconscious by friends a few hours after retiring to bed, during which time he experienced the deadly cocaine-induced heart attack, reports Metro News.
During his time in jail, recordings showed that Rogers struck his head eight times against the floor and the walls. The jail guards didn’t notice because the video monitor at their workstation was broken. Owen Court, the regional coroner, said in his report that although the falls were not the cause of death, he found it troubling that “an obviously intoxicated individual fell and struck his head numerous times while in police custody, yet received so little attention.”
More students using drugs to enhance academic performance
A story in the National Post suggests that illicit drug use to enhance their performance on exams and academic demands is on the rise among university students across Canada.
The article cites a random survey done at McGill University, which revealed that 5.4 per cent of 400 students had used a “study drug” to enhance their academic performance at least once. However, some estimates of drug use to increase student performance are even higher. According to the Post, “study drugs” are slowly becoming “entrenched on campuses” across Canada.
But do they actually work? Do the drugs help increase student performance on tests and assignments?
“It was definitely extremely helpful. I’ve never focused like that before in my life,” said a first-year student at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. “I was able to sit in a chair for eight hours, concentrate on the work, brainstorm more effectively.”
Another student quoted in the article claims the use of drugs to improve academic performance is wide-spread among numerous schools, including the University of Toronto and Wilfrid Laurier in Waterloo, Ontario.
The student claims the drugs come from other students who have a prescription for some of the commonly used drugs, including Adderall and Ritalin. A psychiatrist at the University of Toronto said that an estimated one in four of his university patients admit to sharing some of their prescription drugs to friends.
“I think it’s becoming a bigger difficulty in universities, particularly around entry to professional schools,” said Dr. Jain. “This is something that needs to be addressed, both in terms of university policy and in terms of physicians prescribing . . . These are not innocuous medications.”
Student faces eviction from residence
A Wilfrid Laurier University student faces eviction from residence after after 45 grams of marijuana were discovered by police in his room. The 19 year-old male, who attends Laurier’s Brantford campus, is facing charges for possession and for trafficking, and is to appear in court in March. The student also faces sanctions from the university’s student code of conduct, which range from a warning, to suspension from residence, to outright eviction.
Columbia students arrested as part of campus drug ring
New York police have put an end to a Columbia University drug ring after a five month investigation resulted in the arrests of five students, and three others, in connection with the case. The students distributed drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy, around the university and mostly at campus fraternity houses. The investigation involved undercover police purchases of $11,000 in illicit drugs, and was dubbed “Operation Ivy League.”