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Can You Use Narcan (Naloxone) To Beat A Drug Test?

May 2013---Can You Use Narcan (Naloxone) To Beat A Drug Test?

This question was posed to me the other day and I thought it was one of the most thought provoking questions relating to drugs I have heard in a while.

Before you can truly understand what this question means, you must understand two things.

What is narcan?

Put simply, narcan is the antidote for an opiate overdose. Opiate overdose deaths occur because the persons respiratory system goes into failure and they stop breathing. Narcan is carried on nearly every rescue squad and stocked in virtually every hospital. It comes in a liquid form that can be administered by injection into a vein, into a muscle or under the skin. It also comes in the form of a nasal mist. This drug has saved countless lives that would have otherwise been lost due to the respiratory failure that comes along with opiate overdose. Once administered, if administered in time, the overdose victim usually comes out of respiratory failure and comes "back to life". Narcan can actually cause an opiate addict to go into immediate opiate withdrawal (which can be life threatening all on it's own). The key here is that narcan appears, to the casual observer, to destroy all the opiates in a persons body. It appears to "get rid" of the opiates nearly immediately.

What are opiates?

Opiates come in many forms and are generally used to treat pain. Some of the most common examples would be heroin, morphine, methadone, vicodin, oxycontin, opana, demerol, fentanyl, dilaudid, percocet....and the list goes on. 

So here is the thought process. I am addicted to an opiate and I just received notification that I must take a drug screen tomorrow. If I could get my hands on some narcan I could inject it, destroy all the opiates in my body and thereby pass the drug screen. I know that doing this will cause me to go into opiate withdrawal, will make me violently ill because of that immediate withdrawal, could be fatal..... but if it permits me to pass the drug screen.....it just may be worth it.

This sounds like a logical conclusion, other than it is completely wrong.

Narcan will "push" the opiates off the opioid receptors in your brain, and generally allow your respiratory functions to return to normal during an overdose, but it will not eliminate the opiates from the tissues and cells within your body. This method will not work and you will still fail the drug screen. As a matter of fact, using narcan in this fashion could be fatal because it could send you into immediate, severe opiate withdrawal.

In closing, narcan is a potent drug for preventing death due to an opiate induced overdose, but it is not possible to utilize narcan to pass a drug screen.

For other blog posts that will help you expand this particular field of knowledge please click here or here.

To understand why heroin is so popular now click here.

Chief Kyle J. Fittro

If you are seeing this page as a single blog post, and would like to read more posts about drugs on the chiefteach website, simply click the blog tab at the top right of this page.

What Does Using A Prescription Drug "Off-Label" Mean?

April 2013---What Does Using A Prescription Drug "Off-Label" Mean?

Very simply, this means to utilize a prescription medication for a purpose other than what the FDA approved it for. Let me illustrate a few examples.

Lyrica (pregabalin) is FDA approved to treat pain associated with fibromyalgia (along with a few other pain sources). It is also FDA approved as an anti-convulsant, or anti-seizure, medication. Many people have discovered that when they take lyrica, it seems to help combat the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Although the medication has not been approved by the FDA to treat anxiety, certain people use it for this purpose. If the doctor you are dealing with feels it is appropriate, he may prescribe you lyrica for anxiety. Since lyrica is not FDA approved to treat anxiety, this would be considered using it "off-label".

Another case of using a medication, or class of medications off label, is the use of benzodiazepines to stop smoking. This one is a little more dangerous. There are certain doctors that will prescribe a short course of benzos (most common are ativan, valium, xanax) to help a person "get over the hump" when they are trying to stop smoking. Benzos are a class of drugs that you must be very careful with and I have written about them in this blog numerous times.

There are times when off label use of a drug ultimately leads to FDA approval for the use that was previously considered off label. In the case of proscar 5mg (finasteride) it was originally approved for use to treat enlarged prostate. A curious side effect was that it halted hair loss/grew hair back in people suffering from hair loss. People started to use the drug off label to treat hair loss. Eventually the dosage of finasteride was reduced to 1mg and given a new name of propecia. Propecia went on to become FDA approved to treat hair loss, primarily in men. So now you have two dosages of finasteride (5mg and 1mg), under two different names (proscar and propecia) to treat two different conditions (enlarged prostate, hair loss). NOTE: Propecia is not intended for women. Please read my blog post here about this for more information. 

Doctors prescribe medications "off-label" everyday. There is nothing wrong with the practice providing that the decision to do so is well thought out, discussed and planned by both the doctor and the patient.

Chief Kyle J. Fittro

If you are seeing this page as a single blog post, and would like to read more posts about drugs on the chiefteach website, simply click the blog tab at the top right of this page.

Mixing Alcohol And Benzodiazepines Such As Ativan, Valium, Xanax And Klonopin

March 2013---Mixing Alcohol And Benzodiazepines Such As Ativan, Valium, Xanax And Klonopin

It has been well established that mixing alcohol with benzos can be a recipe for all kinds of death and destruction. But what happens if you don't actually mix them at the same time? Meaning, you take a benzo and many hours later consume alcohol. Let's start with the basics for anybody that is new to this topic.

Benzodiazepines are prescription medications. There are many different kinds of benzos; however the four most common (in my experience) are ativan, valium, xanax and klonopin. For a complete list of benzos just google the phrase "complete list of benzodiazepines". Benzos are usually prescribed to help combat anxiety and/or panic attacks. However; there are other medical uses for them such as insomnia, seizure disorder etc. Some people take benzos as needed when the panic attack/anxiety occurs and some take them every day on a routine schedule to help them stay "level". 

When you take a benzo while consuming alcohol the results are oftentimes problematic. The substances "potentiate" each other, or make each others effects much stronger and more noticeable. There are countless stories of fatal overdoses while mixing alcohol and benzos. There are also countless stories that end with the person in jail and/or injured and/or injuring someone else without remembering any of the incident. They "wake up" in jail charged with a sometimes very serious crime and don't know how they got there. Their lack of memory does not help them to "get out of" the trouble they are in.

But the question has been posed about taking benzos, and then consuming alcohol many hours later. Not necessarily mixing them at the same time.

Obviously this question has many variables such as; What dosage/type of benzo did you take? Do you take this dose every day? How much time has elapsed between the benzo intake and the alcohol consumption? How much/what type of alcohol did you drink? Etc, etc, etc.

The answer to this question, while not a "set" answer, is rather simple. Even if the alcohol and benzo are not mixed at the same time people still report a potentiating (enhancing) effect. This potentiating effect will change based upon variables such as the ones in the above paragraph. Many people who take benzos realize they become "lightweights". Even if they take the benzo every morning, and don't drink alcohol until later that night, they realize they cannot "handle" nearly as much alcohol.  

The potentiating effect can be quite dramatic, even when the benzo intake and alcohol consumption are separated by many hours. This can lead to disaster, even though the two are not mixed at the same time.

Benzos and alcohol just don't mix well at all.  

To learn what the leading cause of death for young people in over 16 states (and counting) is click here.

Chief Kyle J. Fittro

If you are seeing this page as a single blog post, and would like to read more posts about drugs on the chiefteach website, simply click the blog tab at the top right of this page.

Is Dilaudid Stronger Than Morphine

February 2013---Is Dilaudid Stronger Than Morphine?

Yes it is. They are both opiates, but dilaudid is considered the stronger of the two. There are times when people will report different reactions to morphine or dilaudid. Reactions that may give some of them the perception that morphine is stronger, but chemically speaking, dilaudid is the stronger of the two.

Let me tell you a story about the power of dilaudid. Or as some people call it, hospital heroin.

For 15 years I have been involved in drug cases from varying angles. Whether it's a patrol officer stopping cars with drugs in them, an investigator working covert narcotics cases or a supervisor that makes sure the officers doing the real work have what they need to get the job done. I have also dealt with drug addicts, of nearly all varieties, and witnessed the sheer power these drugs have over many people.

I have great insight as to what a drug addict goes through, but no "real deal" first person knowledge, until recently.

About a year ago I was hospitalized with a very serious medical condition. Upon arrival at the hospital I was given three back to back injections of dilaudid. I could immediately feel the drug move up my arm, through my brain and down my other side. Wow. An intense euphoric sensation that took away all the pain and made everything "alright". My world was crashing medically, but everything was "just fine". 

For the next seven days I was given IV dilaudid every four hours.

On about the third day I began to crave the "fourth hour" because I knew a shot was coming. I was in intense physical pain and needed the drug to get by, but a little part of me also wanted the drug. 

On about the sixth day I began to get scared. Not scared of my medical condition, but scared of the dilaudid. I looked forward to it too much. Not only because it took away the physical pain, but because it had a seductive power all it's own. I have heard people describe the high from opiate injections with phrases like "The house could burn down with me in it, and that would be just fine." This statement is a bit extreme, but I was starting to see why people would make statements of this magnitude.

On day number seven I decided that something must be done. The dilaudid was becoming too much of an old friend and needed to go away. I feared that too much more of this and my own cops would end up chasing me some day. I had been around long enough to know that drugs, such as this, don't discriminate. They are equal opportunity destroyers and even cops are not immune to their power.

I explained my fears to my doctor. The doctor agreed and had already planned to discharge me this day anyway. I left the hospital and the dilaudid injections behind. Sent home with dilaudid in pill form, which I threw away a few days later.

For many days I craved the dilaudid injections, and wanted more, but those feelings passed. After approximately 30 separate injections of dilaudid, and a few days of dilaudid in pill form, I feel like I was allowed a brief glimpse into the life of an opiate user/budding addict. I can see the attraction. I can see the power. I can see where it has the ability to break even the strongest of people and turn them into something they are not. The devil himself, in drug form, just waiting for somebody foolish enough to test his power.

People must have the will and knowledge upfront to completely ignore opiates in a recreational setting. They must also be very cautious about the extended use of them in a medical setting. Obviously these types of opiates have a great place within the confines of medical treatment. They are truly miraculous, beneficial drugs. However, even in a justified medical setting, the user must have respect for the power these drugs possess. Opiate addiction can be beaten, but why go through the hell of opiate withdrawal, detox and treatment, if you can just avoid becoming an addict in the first place.

Don't open the door, when you know it's the devil who's knocking.

Click here for related content.

Chief Kyle J. Fittro

If you are seeing this page as a single blog post, and would like to read more posts about drugs on the chiefteach website, simply click the blog tab at the top right of this page.

Teeth Cleaning Without Pain-Benzocaine

January 2013---Teeth Cleaning Without Pain-Benzocaine

Every once in a while I get a shade off topic and this is one of those posts. It is technically drug related, and thought it was worth mentioning, so here goes.

Maybe I am entirely out of the loop and behind the times, but I discovered a great thing the other day while at the dentist.

For nearly 15 years I have been going to the same dentist. He, and his staff, do a great job. Usually just there for a every six months routine cleaning. Thing is, those cleanings really hurt. At least for me. I have been through some pretty significant medical issues, but the dentist scares me more than tumors and blood clots. Every time they dig around with those metal instruments.......well if you are the same way then you understand.

At this most recent cleaning the hygienist began talking about my sensitive teeth and asked if I had ever been offered benzocaine prior to cleaning. I said no and was instantly intrigued. Maybe she had something that would make the process a little smoother.

She pulled out a q-tip covered in a large ball of pink bubble gum flavored "goo". She applied this throughout my mouth, especially where the teeth meet the gums. Wow.....this stuff is great. Got through the cleaning with no pain and the numbing effect wears off very quick. Not like the injections that make your whole face numb for hours.

I would argue that "bubble gum" flavored is a bit (okay-highly) misleading, but no doubt better than pain.

If you have sensitive teeth and dread the routine cleanings because of those lightning bolt "zaps" of pain when they hit the wrong spot.....ask for some benzocaine paste. It's awesome. It's like Orajel on steroids.

Chief Kyle J. Fittro

If you are seeing this page as a single blog post, and would like to read more posts about drugs on the chiefteach website, simply click the blog tab at the top right of this page.

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