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Heroin overdoses to now be investigated as potential homidcides | Addiction Treatment Strategies 618-692-6880 or 314-651-6864 Alcohol and Drug Addiction Outpatient Serving The Saint Louis Metro Area

Heroin overdoses to now be investigated as potential homidcides

 Heroin use is rising in St. Louis suburbs, and it’s becoming the drug of choice.

According to officials, heroin-related overdoses and deaths have spiked from last year.

In Madison County, Ill. the number of deaths caused by the drug have doubled since 2010.
After three men from Granite City Tuesday were found dealing the drug, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced it will start investigating heroin overdoses as an attempted homicide.
Anyone who is caught distributing the drug to someone who overdoses could face a minimum of 20 years in prison. The maximum sentence would be life in prison.
The three suspects from Granite City caught distributing heroin could be the first prosecuted in federal court for the offense.
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How Cannabis Causes 'Cognitive Chaos' In The Brain | Addiction Treatment Strategies 618-692-6880 or 314-651-6864 Alcohol and Drug Addiction Outpatient Serving The Saint Louis Metro Area
How Cannabis Causes ‘Cognitive Chaos’ In The Brain Oct27


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How Cannabis Causes ‘Cognitive Chaos’ In The Brain

Cannabis use is associated with disturbances in concentration and memory. New research by neuroscientists at the University of Bristol, published in the Journal of Neuroscience [Oct. 25], has found that brain activity becomes uncoordinated and inaccurate during these altered states of mind, leading to neurophysiological and behavioural impairments reminiscent of those seen in schizophrenia.


The collaborative study, led by Dr Matt Jones from the University’s School of Physiology and Pharmacology, tested whether the detrimental effects of cannabis on memory and cognition could be the result of ‘disorchestrated’ brain networks.


Brain activity can be compared to performance of a philharmonic orchestra in which string, brass, woodwind and percussion sections are coupled together in rhythms dictated by the conductor. Similarly, specific structures in the brain tune in to one another at defined frequencies: their rhythmic activity gives rise to brain waves, and the tuning of these brain waves normally allows processing of information used to guide our behaviour.


Using state-of-the-art technology, the researchers measured electrical activity from hundreds of neurons in rats that were given a drug that mimics the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana. While the effects of the drug on individual brain regions were subtle, the drug completely disrupted co-ordinated brain waves across the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, as though two sections of the orchestra were playing out of synch.


Both these brain structures are essential for memory and decision-making and heavily implicated in the pathology of schizophrenia.


The results from the study show that as a consequence of this decoupling of hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, the rats became unable to make accurate decisions when navigating around a maze.


Dr Jones, lead author and MRC Senior Non-clinical Fellow at the University, said: “Marijuana abuse is common among sufferers of schizophrenia and recent studies have shown that the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana can induce some symptoms of schizophrenia in healthy volunteers. These findings are therefore important for our understanding of psychiatric diseases, which may arise as a consequence of ‘disorchestrated brains’ and could be treated by re-tuning brain activity.”


Michal Kucewicz, first author on the study, added: “These results are an important step forward in our understanding of how rhythmic activity in the brain underlies thought processes in health and disease.”


The research is part of a Medical Research Council (MRC)-supported collaboration between the University and the Eli Lilly & Co. Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience that aims to develop new tools and targets for treatment of brain diseases like schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: Medical News Today

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Alcohol-Induced Blackouts | Addiction Treatment Strategies 618-692-6880 or 314-651-6864 Alcohol and Drug Addiction Outpatient Serving The Saint Louis Metro Area


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Alcohol-Induced Blackouts

“I don’t remember how I got home from the party.” This could be a text from last night to one hard-partying college student from another.

New research from Northwestern Medicine shows that 50 percent of college drinkers report at least one alcohol-induced memory blackout – a period of amnesia – in the past year during a drinking binge. Despite being fully conscious during such blackouts, students could not recall specific events, such as how they got to a bar, party or their own front door.

Published online in Injury Prevention, June 2011, the study found college drinkers who reported alcohol-induced memory loss are at a higher risk of alcohol-related injuries in the next 24 months versus their peers drank just as much but didn’t report memory blackouts. It also offers a new tool for doctors to screen college drinkers for blackouts by asking them a few simple questions.

“The study offers a major warning to student drinkers: if you blackout, you need to cut back on your drinking because the next time it happens you could be driving a car or walking on a bridge and something bad could happen,” said Michael Fleming, M.D., co-author of the study.

Fleming is interim chair and professor in family and community medicine and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“If doctors screen college drinkers for these kinds of blackouts, they could do a better job of identifying and intervening with college students at the highest risk of alcohol-related injuries,” Fleming said.

During the screening, students were asked, “Have you ever suddenly found yourself in a place that you could not remember getting to?” and “How many times has this happened to you because you were drinking or because of your drinking in the past year?”

When you are in a blackout you are fully conscious, but you don’t really know what you are doing, and the choices you make can be irrational, risky and dangerous, Fleming said.

“This study shows that these blackouts are strong predictors of future alcohol-related injuries,” he said.

Fleming, along with researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, analyzed data collected from full-time college students at four U.S. universities and one Canadian university who were flagged as heavy drinkers through a screening and physician intervention project. Male students in the study reported drinking at least 50 alcoholic drinks and female students at least 40 alcoholic drinks in the past 28 days. The men drank more than five drinks and the women drank more than four during heavy-drinking episodes.

Nearly 50 percent of the students studied reported alcohol-induced memory blackouts at least once during the past year and five percent had experienced alcohol-related amnesia in the past seven days. The results also showed the more blackouts a student had in the past year, the higher his or her risk of alcohol-related injuries in the future.

This study was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Erin White
Northwestern University

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