Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

Bravo to Central Washington University!

November 10, 2010

Cleared2Drive Central Washington UniversityCentral Washington University Bans Alcohol Energy Drinks from Campus

The nine Central Washington University students who were hospitalized last month after an off-campus party had been drinking the caffeinated malt liquor “Four Loko”. According to a press release  from the University, the blood alcohol levels of hospitalized students ranged from .123 to .35. The University has now banned alcohol energy drinks from their campus.

Let’s hope that more universities and colleges follow suit!

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Doctors Say Alcoholic Energy Drinks Dangerous

November 9, 2010

Cleared2Drive four locoSome doctors say drinks that combining alcohol with caffeine should be banned because they’re dangerous, ABC News reported Oct. 20.

Marketed in large, colorful cans under names like Four Loko, Joose, and Torque, the drinks are popular among college students. The 23.5-ounce canned drinks can contain 12 percent alcohol and 156 milligrams of caffeine, and have encountered increasing criticism. Attorneys general in more than one state are concerned that they’re being marketed to minors, a New Jersey college banned them, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is deciding whether or not the drinks are legal.

Dr. Robert McNamara, who directs the emergency medicine department at Temple University, recently encountered his first-ever case of a healthy 19-year-old whose heart attack seemed to be linked to consuming alcoholic energy drinks. “This is a dangerous product from what we’ve seen,” McNamara said, who said other doctors had told him about similar cases. “It doesn’t have to be chronic use. I think it could happen to somebody on a first time use.”

“I’m mad as hell,” said Doctor Mary Claire O’Brien of Wake Forest University. “These drinks are not safe.”  O’Brien, who is a professor of emergency medicine and public health, recently completed a study that showed that consuming alcohol with caffeine was more harmful than drinking alcohol alone. Those who consumed both were at least two times as likely — compared to those drinking alcohol without caffeine — to be hurt, need medical attention, take sexual advantage of another, or accept a ride with someone who was inebriated.

“They can’t tell that they’re drunk,” O’Brien explained. “What this behavior gets is a wide awake drunk.”

The FDA has said that, under regulations governing food additives, caffeine can’t be mixed with alcohol. It is currently evaluating whether the drinks should remain legal, but no deadline has been set for a decision.  “FDA intends to evaluate the information submitted by the manufacturers and other available scientific evidence as soon as possible in order to determine whether caffeine can be safely and lawfully added to alcoholic beverages,” said Michael Herndon, a spokesman for the FDA.

Phusion Projects, which manufactures Four Loko, told ABC News, “No one is more upset than we are when our products are abused or used unlawfully. But Four Loko is neither the sole contributor to alcohol abuse, nor will additional restrictions on it solve the problem.”



College Students Who Use Energy Drinks More Than Twice as Likely to Initiate Nonmedical Use of Prescription Stimulants and Analgesics in Subsequent Year

November 8, 2010

Cleared2Drive college student studyingMore than one-third (36.5%) of third-year college students reported that they consumed energy drinks in 2006, according to data from the College Life Study, an ongoing longitudinal study of a cohort of college students recruited from one large, public, mid-Atlantic university.

Energy drink use was significantly related to higher levels of past and concurrent alcohol and drug use (data not shown). In addition, energy drink users were significantly more likely to subsequently initiate the nonmedical use of prescription stimulants and analgesics.

Nearly one-fifth (18.8%) of energy drink users who reported no prescription stimulant use in their second year of college subsequently started using prescription stimulants nonmedically the following year, compared to only 8.2% of energy drink nonusers. Similar results were found for the initiation of the nonmedical use of prescription analgesics (8.5% vs. 4.0%). Additionally, energy drink use predicted subsequent nonmedical use of prescription stimulants and analgesics, even after controlling for demographics, sensation seeking, caffeine consumption, and prior use of the drug of interest. However, no such association was found for subsequent use of other drugs (i.e., tobacco, marijuana, hallucinogens, cocaine, ecstasy, or prescription tranquilizers).

According to the authors, “one possible explanation is that energy drinks, like prescription drugs, might be regarded by some students as safer, more normative, or more socially acceptable than using illicit ‘street’ drugs…” (p. 79).  Lets hope that “explanation” gets rejected quick, fast and in a hurry!

Is Anyone Surprised?

November 5, 2010

Is anyone surprised by the new research that found that adolescents who abused marijuana and alcohol scored lower on a battery of intellectual aptitude tests than their drug-free peers, HealthDay News reported Oct. 19?

University of New Mexico (UNM) investigators asked 48 teens aged 12 to 18 to undergo a battery of tests to assess the effects of chronic substance abuse on their intellectual function. The tests measured a range of neuropsychological skills, including verbal reasoning, executive function, visuospatial ability, memory, and processing speed. Nineteen of the participants had a diagnosis of substance abuse or dependence, 14 were abstinent but had a parent who abused alcohol, and 15 were abstinent controls with no family history of alcohol abuse.

The researchers found that teens reporting the highest substance use had lower test scores across the board. In particular, teens who abused alcohol scored substantially lower on the test measuring executive function, while teens who abused pot scored lower on measures of memory performance.

Interestingly, teens who were abstinent but had a parent who abused alcohol were also affected, scoring lower on the test for visuospatial ability.

This is one of the reasons the results should be interpreted with caution, noted Ramani Durvasula, PhD, associate professor of psychology at California State University in Los Angeles. According to Durvasula, the authors failed to take into account socioeconomic and educational factors that influence intellectual development or to assess for problems at home. “Kids who abuse drugs and alcohol are different from those who don’t,” she said. “Let’s face it, when kids are drinking 13 drinks a day (the study average), there’s not a lot of parental supervision going on.”

Robert Thoma, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at UNM and lead author of the study, agrees the results raise a “chicken and egg problem.”

“Which came first,” said Thoma. “The low executive function, which could lead to drinking more, or the heavy drinking, which leads to poor executive function?” Large longitudinal studies are needed to definitively answer to that question, he concluded.

The study was published online Oct. 19 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Grandmother Introduces Technology to Prevent Impaired Driving

February 18, 2009

An Ohio grandmother of two has introduced a technology in the fight against impaired driving. Elaine Futrell has patented a formula that uses complex computer algorithms to detect when a person is impaired from prescription, illegal, or over-the-counter drugs and/or alcohol by measuring the amount of time it takes that person to complete a sequence of tasks. Cleared2Drive instantly compares a person’s current data to their historical data and if the two sets don’t match, the system won’t permit the vehicle to be started. Futrell’s has spent the last several years perfecting the technology, including hiring outside companies to test the accuracy of her computer algorithms. They confirmed what scientists have known for years; when a person is impaired their reaction time is diminished.

Futrell states, “Initially I envisioned this technology being used after a DUI arrest, but from day one, we have received calls from individuals whose loved one is an addict. When we started receiving these calls almost daily, I knew we needed to make this technology available to everyone.”

According to Futrell, discretion plays a bigger role in a person’s decision to buy than price. “No one likes to be embarrassed when they need to start their vehicle, but unfortunately, that is what a breathalyzer does. With the Cleared2Drive System, passengers don’t even realize that anything out of the ordinary is being done. The driver only has to perform 6 simple tasks and they are on their way – usually in about 10 seconds. It’s just that simple.”

Even though the Cleared2Drive System appears very simple to use, it is highly effective in detecting impairment.
The Cleared2Drive System first requires the driver to identify themselves via their fingerprint then they must perform an assigned sequence of tasks. The system develops a distinctive algorithm for each individual based upon their normal reaction time in completing the sequence. Each time the driver is successful in starting their vehicle, the system’s patented technology analyzes the information and records it in each person’s data base. When a person either varies from their “normal” reaction time or doesn’t complete their assigned sequence in the correct order, it sends a signal to the Cleared2Drive System that something is wrong and prevents the vehicle from being started.

The Cleared2Drive system allows each driver 3 opportunities to get the sequence correct before locking them out for 2 hours. However, just because that individual is locked out doesn’t mean the vehicle can’t be driven by another driver already installed in the system.

The word is spreading.
Futrell reports, “We are now getting calls from parents whose child is going away for college or has a newly licensed teenager who is concerned that their child might make the fatal mistake of driving under the influence. I empathize with them because we all know that it only takes one mistake to permanently damage a young person’s life. Sometimes under age drivers don’t want their parents to find out they have been illegally “partying”, so instead of calling home or spending the night, they will risk driving impaired. Unfortunately, what they don’t realize but we as parents know, just how big of a risk that can be.”

Futrell is the first to acknowledge, people don’t come to her looking for technology.
“Our customers aren’t looking for technology; they are desperately seeking peace of mind. Any person, who has ever stayed up worrying about the safety of their loved one, knows exactly what I am talking about. We understand their worries, and appreciate their concerns,” said Futrell. Cleared2Drive was created to ease worries and allow families to start rebuilding lives and relationships.

About Cleared2Drive
Unlike humiliating breathalyzers, the Cleared2Drive System is a discreet ignition interlock system that uses sophisticated computer algorithms to detect when a person is impaired from prescription, illegal, over-the-counter drugs, and/or alcohol. Cleared2Drive does this by measuring the amount of time it takes that person to complete a sequence of tasks and comparing that information to the individual’s stored historical data. If the two sets of information don’t match it won’t permit the vehicle to be started. Cleared2Drive’s goal is to provide peace of mind to individuals who’s loved one is suffering from a substance abuse problem, while at the same provide a certain level of freedom to the addict.

Complete information is available at http://www.cleared2drive.com.