First letter of a new year!

10 01 2013

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Hola! i´m sorry that this week i have no time to write because a 70 is coming and we had to take a survey during our internet time which cut off a lot of time.  But just want you all to know that i am good and that i love you.  this week luis came to church.  he is 17 years old and lives far away in la deheza but he came walking until a convi could pick him up.  he´s pretty cool.  also this week for the first time i washed clothes in the sequia.  there was a lady washing so while my companion taught her i got to stand in the nasty swamp wondering what things were passing under my feet as i helped her wash her clothes.  but lots of little moments that were really good like that this week.  love you all tons. and i´m so sorry that this wmail is so short.  i will send pics and longer email next week.  i am excited about the 70 that is going to be coming.

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Physiological Effects of Crack Cocaine, Meth and Marijuana

1 04 2010

One can grow up hearing all about how illegal drugs are bad and how they should be avoided, but many may never even know why that is. What exactly do drugs do to the body? Different drugs will, of course, have different effects. These are some of the general effects of three more commonly used illegal substances, but remember that every person is different and both the extent and even the type of experience one has upon drug abuse varies from person to person.

Crack cocaine: physical effects include constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Other complications can include disturbances in heart rhythm and heart attacks, chest pain and respiratory failure, strokes, seizures and headaches and gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea. Known for its immediate euphoric effects which include hyper stimulation, reduced fatigue and mental clarity, cocaine can also at times result in a loss of reality and the experience of hallucinations. Crack cocaine has a tendency to decrease appetite, causing many long term users to become malnourished. Regularly smoking crack cocaine can lead to hoarseness, chronic coughing and lung cancer. Regularly snorting cocaine can lead to a loss of one’s sense of smell, nosebleeds, problems with swallowing and a chronically runny nose. Regularly injected cocaine can cause severe allergic reactions and also greatly increases the risk for contracting HIV and other blood borne diseases.

Crystal Methamphetamine: physical effects can include memory loss, aggression, psychotic behavior, and potential heart and brain damage as well as violent behavior, anxiety, confusion and insomnia. Users of crystal meth often experience psychotic features such as paranoia, hallucinations, mood disturbances, delusions, homicidal and suicidal thoughts and the sensation of insects creeping on the skin resulting in paranoia. Other effects also include increased activity, decreased appetite, and a heightened sense of well-being. This is because the drug releases high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine into the part of the brain that regulates the feelings of pleasure. Meth is a particularly dangerous drug and can cause convulsions, permanent severe body damage or death.

Marijuana: physical effects include intense cravings, depression, anxiety, and personality disturbances. Marijuana impaires one’s ability to learn and remember information as well as causes a lack of motivation to arise in one’s life. Problems begin to include not caring about what happens in their lives, no desire to work regularly, fatigue, and a lack of concern for appearance. A sign of marijuana use is often poor performance at school or work.

These are only three of the many illegal substances that are out there. For a more complete list of illegal drugs and their effects see http://www.streetdrugs.org/





Where America Gets Her Illegal Drugs

1 04 2010

  It seems that despite the improved and heightened efforts of governments, communities and individuals alike, illegal substances continue to not only exist but flourish. Where, in general are these drugs coming from? According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the illegal drug market in the United States is one of the most profitable in the world, causing America to appear extremely attractive to smugglers from other countries. 

There are various groups from other countries who traffic and distribute illegal drugs into America. Criminal groups headquartered in South America smuggle cocaine and heroin into the United States through a variety of routes including land routes through Mexico, sea routes through the Caribbean and international air routes. Mexico’s criminal groups do their fair share of smuggling as well and most commonly traffic cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, amphetamine, and marijuana into the United States. 

In recent years, a drug known as “Ecstasy” has been increasing at an alarming rate in the United States and has been being introduced by Israeli, Russian and Western Europe-based drug traffickers. Ecstasy, or MDMA, is primarily brought to the U.S. by way of commercial airlines and express package carriers. Criminal groups in southeast and southwest Asia are also smuggling illegal substances across America’s borders. Using mainly New York City as their distribution base, these groups move heroin up and down the eastern seaboard and into the Midwest.

Yet these out-of-the-country smugglers are not the only sources from which illegal drugs are coming. Domestic organizations are cultivating, producing, and manufacturing drugs such as marijuana, methamphetamine, phencyclidine (PCP), and lysergic acid deithyamide (LSD). With the demand of illegal drugs high, so is the existence of illicit laboratories that supply that demand. Methamphetamine is one drug that is particularly in high demand and on the rise as the number of addicts only increases. Groups of chemists have been known to manufacture LSD within the U.S. borders as well. Producers generate these life ruining substances and distribute them primarily to high school and college students throughout the United States.





A New Type of Substance Abuse Awareness in the Media

1 04 2010

In the media based world we live in, we have access to much more information than ever before. The radio, internet, and television all play important roles in raising awareness in all of life’s aspects and perspectives have been broadened as we are often allowed to have a peek into another’s life. This is also true on the topic of illegal drug abuse. When it comes to the lives of those involved in illegal drug abuse, it is hard to understand the reasoning behind the actions of the addict, the experiences that they go through, and the excruciating grief experienced by their loved ones.  A&E’s hit series “Intervention” has helped millions of Americans to cross that barrier as lives are opened up and real life dramas are shared on the air. The series shows interventionist Jeff VanVonderen and his team stepping in to help addicts and their families when they feel that there is nowhere else to turn, no hope left. In commenting on his inspiration for the show VanVonderen said “I pictured someone sitting on a sofa, and they’ve just given up on the addict, they don’t know what else to do. And they flip through the channels and come across this show and go ‘Wow! There is something else to do!’”

With the help of co-interventionists Candy Finnigan, Dr. Tara Fields, and VanVonderen, Intervention is able to take viewers on the journey from pre-intervention family counseling, through intervention, and all the way to long-term outcome. Reporter Dudly Saunders observed that “by giving a sometimes shockingly up-close look into the lives of practicing addicts–scoring drugs, taking drugs, even stealing them–the show lets viewers in on just how high the stakes are for the families who have often watched this downward spiral for years.” Shows such as this, work on various cylinders of the fight against illegal drug abuse, including educating while entertaining, inspiring and motivating whether that be to stay away from drugs or to keep fighting for loved ones or those effected.

Here is an example of one of the “Parts” to an episode. The subject matter is graphic, raw…and real.





Scientific Breakthrough on Cure for Addiction

1 04 2010

  There is newfound hope on the horizon for those who suffer addiction to illegal drugs! A recent scientific study, just out February of this year, has begun to unfold a theory in the fight against drug dependence and relapse! Relapse is when someone falls back again into a condition or habit (in this case, doing illegal drugs) and is possibly the most difficult hurdle for one addicted to illegal substances to overcome.

                    

 The study was conducted on rodents and focused on a bodily process known as neurogenesis. This is when neurons are generated and nerve tissues are developed. While the research specifically focused on what happens when neurogenesis is blocked, the scientists said the results suggest that increasing adult neurogenesis might be a potential way to combat drug addiction and relapse. Dr. Amelia Eisch, associate professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study commented “treatments that increase adult neurogenesis during abstinence might prevent relapse…and may prevent addiction before it starts.”

 Only with recent technological advances have scientists been able to test their theories in animals by manipulating the birth of new nerve cells in the adult brain, but researchers on the study say that more research is needed to determine the efficacy of the process in actually increasing human adult neurogenesis. Dr. Eisch said she plans to do similar studies with other drugs of abuse as well, besides the substance of cocaine which was used in the initial study, using imaging technology to study addiction and hippocampal neurogenesis in humans. “If we can create and implement therapies that prevent addiction from happnening in the first place, we can improve the length and quality of life for millions of drug abusers, and all those affected by an abuser’s behavior.”





The Effects of Illegal Drug Abuse on Children

31 03 2010

           

Home is where the heart is. Usually. Yet what happens when the heart of the home is shrouded by abuse and neglect due to illegal drug abuse? State child welfare records indicate that substance abuse is one of the top two problems exhibited by families in 81% of reported cases. Drug problems are large factors in a majority of cases of emotional abuse and neglect in the home. In fact, neglect is the major reason that children are removed from a home in which parents have alcohol or other drug problems. Children in these homes suffer from a variety of physical, mental, and emotional health problems at a greater rate than do children in the general population. 

Child abuse often results in homes where parents are illegal drug abusers. Substances may act as disinhibitors, lessening impulse control and allowing parents to behave rashly and abusively. Children in this environment often demonstrate behavioral problems and are diagnosed as having conduct disorders. This may result in provocative behavior and increased stress resulting from preoccupation with drugs on the part of the parent combined with behavioral problems exhibited by the child adds to the likelihood of maltreatment.

 Many children who are born into this environment grow up feeling guilty and responsible for their parent’s problems. They often struggle with feelings of low self-esteem and failure and suffer from depression and anxiety. It is thought that exposure to violence in both substance abusing and child maltreating households increases the likelihood that the children will commit and be recipients of acts of violence. Children are likely to have difficulty with coping and establishing healthy relationships as adults as well. In addition to suffering from all the effects of living in a household where alcohol or child abuse problems exist, children also live with the knowledge that their parents’ actions are illegal. Clinical evidence shows that children of parents who have problems with illicit drug use may suffer from an inability to trust legitimate authority because of fear of discovery of a parent’s illegal habits. Although it is not impossible, it is rare that a child born into such an environment can turn his/her life around and shake free the effects of being brought up in such a home.





Race/Ethnicity and Drug Abuse

31 03 2010
 It has been estimated from the NHSDA that the prevalence of drug use generally is higher in urban areas than in suburban or rural areas. Because minorities, particularly African Americans and Hispanics, often are concentrated in central city areas, they may be more at risk for drug abuse and, ultimately, more at risk for associated negative social and health consequences.

            

Along with illegal drug abuse, comes a list of consequences suffered by minority populations that eventually cause increased rates of morbidity and mortality, alterations in educational achievement, and higher rates of injury and crime. Surveys show that due to the impoverished areas that most ethnicity youth are brought up in, they have increasing access to illegal drugs and because of  their preference for injecting drug use, their choice of more dangerous drugs such as crack cocaine, and their responses to intervention and drug treatment, minorities are most likely at greater risk to fatal and nonfatal health consequences of drug abuse.

Research on drug use among racial/ethnic minorities has not advanced to a stage that allows policymakers and program managers to effectively address the factors and consequences associated with drug abuse. Few studies evaluate how effective drug treatment programs are among Hispanics, African Americans, and other minority groups. Because of the prominent representation of African Americans and other minorities in drug treatment programs, racial, ethnic, and cultural factors should be taken more into account in designing and conducting research to evaluate treatment.