Canandaigua Community Leaders Talk About Opioid Crisis

CANANDAIGUA — People have been asking Canandaigua Mayor Ellen Polimeni about the opioid crisis, how serious of a problem it is and what parts of the community are primarily affected.

Narcan is a brand name for naloxone, a medication that almost instantly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, virtually saving people from the brink of death.

Lynn Seaward, director of community-based services at Finger Lakes Area Counseling & Recovery Agency (FLACRA), talked about various local programs available to help drug and alcohol addicts, including peer services where those recovering can relate to and help abusers find the best services for their individual situations.

FLACRA also recently acquired a mobile crisis van that allows staff and peer counselors to go directly to people in crisis or overdosing. Staff also work with law enforcement and emergency personnel in rescuing people and educating families on the problems that lead to addiction and where to find help.

Read the full article at Daily Messenger

Are Magic mMushrooms Next On The List of Legalized Drugs?

OREGON — Oregon could become home to the legal, recreational use of magic mushrooms. A campaign to legalize Psilocybin, informally known as magic mushrooms, is making its way to voters.

Psilocybin, after all, is an off-patent, organic agent which creates change through the psychedelic experience it provides, such that a single experience often changes a person’s disposition moving forward,” the group wrote in an open letter to voters. “And the psilocybin model, which includes preparation, psychedelic facilitation, and integration afterward, doesn’t just match the effectiveness of a typical ‘meds and therapy’ regimen. Where typical interventions fail, psilocybin therapy, with impressive frequency, breaks through.

Psilocybin is a naturally occurring hallucinogen found in certain species of mushrooms. There are an estimated 180 species of mushrooms that contain psilocybin. Users typically experience hallucinations when they eat the mushrooms.

Continue Reading at Patch

Surprising Medical Marijuana Side Effect: More People Claiming Disability

Medical marijuana laws are becoming more popular across the country, but legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes can have a major unintended consequence.

State medical marijuana laws lead to an increase in the probability that people will make Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims, according to a new working paper from researchers at Temple University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Cincinnati. The tendency to make a SSDI claim rose 9.9% following the passage of a medical marijuana law, while actual SSDI benefits rose by 2.6%. The report, which was distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research, used data from the Current Population Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to produce its findings.

The researchers also studied the effect state laws on medical marijuana had on workers’ compensation (WC) claims. While their analysis did not produce any statistically significant evidence for these claims, the researchers said the data suggested generally that the laws do cause an increase. “Expanding marijuana access has negative spillover effects to costly social programs that disincentive work,” the researchers wrote.

More of this news at Marketwatch

High Number of Applicants for Arkansas Medical Marijuana

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Would-be growers and distributors of Arkansas’ initial medical marijuana crop flooded a state office building Monday, turning in thousands of pages of paperwork and handing over thousands of dollars in application fees.

Arkansas voters last year approved marijuana use by people with certain medical conditions. The new state Medical Marijuana Commission will review applications after the names of companies and individuals have been redacted and then select up to five growers and 32 distributors. The Arkansas Health Department has approved 1,200 people for a medical marijuana registry, making them eligible to obtain the drug.

Continue Reading at US News

Synthetic Salvia May Be An Opiate Alternative Without The Addiction

Painkiller addiction has reached epic proportions and this has spurred a search for suitable alternatives to opiates. We’ve seen some potential novel alternatives, such as sea snail venom and using VR to distract patients from pain. One new potential alternative comes in the form of a hallucinogenic drug call salvia and a synthetic version of it with pain-killing properties.

A newly detailed synthetic version of the hallucinogenic compound in Salvia divinorum may be the key. Researchers with The Scripps Research Institute and the University of Southern California have published a report detailing the process of synthesizing this compound, Salvinorin A, into 20-nor-salvinorin A.

This synthetic salvia was found to relieve itching in mice, and it could also potentially be a painkiller without the same addiction potential as traditional opiates. The synthesized variant addresses some typical troubles presented by Salvinorin A and is reported to be stable. As well, this successful synthesis was performed in 10 steps rather than the 20+ that past methods have required.

Slash Gear

Are Pain Management Devices An Alternative to Opioids?

“People are afraid of opioids right now. There’s a stigma. Patients don’t want to be on opioids,” Michael Leong, a pain specialist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, told Technology Review. Using pain relief devices can reportedly drastically reduce or eliminate a patient’s need for pain medication, particularly powerful opioids.

Terri Bryant was on fentanyl for her back pain until she took part in a clinical trial of a spinal cord stimulator that was implanted under her skin at the base of her spine. After getting the implant her pain decreased almost immediately and she was able to stop taking fentanyl, which was a relief to her.

The medical community is now looking to develop devices that provide the same sort of relief without needing to be surgically implanted. One such device, Neuro-Stim System Bridge, is placed behind a patient’s ear and gives off electrical pulses to certain areas of the brain.

The device has proved very effective for helping people overcome the pain of withdrawing from opioids and is now used in 30 states to support detox. Patients wear the bridge for the first five days after they stop taking opioids in order to get them through the toughest part of withdrawing.

Yet not everyone is convinced that pain management devices are the answer to America’s chronic pain problem. Edward Michna, a pain management specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said that we need more long-term research into their effectiveness.

The Fix

Opioid Epidemic Still a Top Priority This Summer

The announcements have come from three major government agencies, and reactions have come from a number of well-known health-related organizations.

“Drug overdose, driven largely by overdose related to the use of opioids, is now the leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States. The ongoing opioid crisis lies at the intersection of two public health challenges: reducing the burden of suffering from pain, and containing the rising toll of the harms that can arise from the use of opioid medications,” stated the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine in their comprehensive report released last week.

Fewer prescriptions but more deaths

In its latest Vital Signs report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that a number of opioids prescribed in the United States peaked in 2010 and have decreased every year through 2015.

“The amount of opioids prescribed in the U.S. is still too high, with too many opioid prescriptions for too many days at too high a dosage,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the CDC in a press statement.

Read more at Healthline News

Absolution in a Judicial Case of Coca Leaf in Spain

BARCELONA – The unprecedented resolution of a court case for coca leaf imports took place yesterday at the Provincial Court of Girona. F.T., a Colombian citizen living in Spain was acquitted of charges of drug trafficking after a large display of evidence and arguments about the historical, cultural, social and medicinal value of the coca leaf.

“This result represents a victory for human rights in relation to traditional plants victims of drug policies based on ignorance,” says Dr. Constanza Sánchez, Director of Law, Policy and Human Rights Area of ICEERS Foundation.

Accused of receiving “cocaine” and “moved for the purpose of distributing cocaine among third persons,” the Prosecutor’s Office requested 4 years of imprisonment, establishing at the same time that the amount of cocaine that was intended to be obtained was 6.3 grams (note that, according to the doctrine of the Spanish Supreme Court, the threshold for possession of cocaine for personal consumption is set at 7.5 grams).

“Currently, coca leaf use in its natural state is no longer restricted to indigenous territories and populations, but is expanding because of its stimulating, nutritional and medicinal properties,” says Pien Metaal of the Drugs and Democracy Programme of the Transnational Institute (TNI).

“The consumption of coca leaf is incomparable to the consumption of cocaine. There is no scientific evidence that chewing coca leaves is harmful to health. Rather, there is increasing evidence to the contrary, for example, its effect as a stabilizer of blood glucose levels, a benefit of paramount importance with numerous medical applications, “said Dr. José Carlos Bouso, Scientific Director of ICEERS Foundation.

During this process, not only the innocence and honor of F.T. has been demonstrated, but also the historical error of the prohibition of the coca leaf and of cultural practices that surround it.

TNI