Monday, November 30, 2020

Fentanyl: 10 Dollar Death Trip

In Canada, much like the U.S, fentanyl has taken over as the leading cause of opioid-related overdose death and addiction.  It leaves thousands of addicts strung out in its grip on the streets, homeless and committing crime to support their habit while they wait to be jailed or die.  Unlike in America however, Canadians in certain provinces have access to new programs that allow them to access humane treatments like on-site pharmaceutical-grade heroin injections and Dilaudid from vending machines.  While controversial, these programs are already showing great promise in reducing overdose deaths, violent crime & property crime.  

To kick off opioid/depressant season here at the blog, here's a fascinating & heartbreaking documentary by DW I found on Youtube.  Check it out & leave your comments in the section below.  




 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Harm Reduction in the Time of COVID: A Guide


Alright, we know this year has been stressful all around.   2021 is unlikely to be substantially easier in terms of public health, economic circumstances & morale.  Substance abuse is on the rise and, unfortunately, so are overdose deaths.  But it doesn't have to be that way.  You CAN get fucked up without irreparably damaging your body, killing yourself or even ending up addicted once all this is over.  (Most of us without a history of serious addiction, that is).  But even if you relapse after a period of sobriety, these tips can help save your life or minimize damage regardless of your drug of choice.  

There's a misconception that people who get high don't care about their health & deserve whatever terrible fate befalls them.  This attitude is abhorrent and has caused as much unnecessary harm as drugs themselves.  It's akin to the abstinence-only Sex Ed mantra that treats pregnancy as a 'punishment' for sex & forces girls and women to become reluctant mothers at the cost of the child's well-being. It's impractical & punitive and needs to die.  You don't.  

So without further ado, here are some tips to help you use your substance of choice more safely:


* Before trying a new drug, look up the safe dose & possible interactions on Google.  Sites like Erowid.org, Drugs.com & Wikipedia are generally reliable guides when it comes to providing this basic info. 

* If using non-prescription drugs, test a small "microdose" orally or nasally before using a larger amount.  Wait 15-20 minutes before taking a larger dose to make sure you don't have a negative reaction.  Do this with each new batch you buy even if you trust your source.  Even the best dealers don't always know what they have unfortunately.

* Buy a test kit for MDMA & other street drugs.  This will save you LOTS of uncertainty & headaches.   

*  If taking depressants like alcohol or benzodiazepines, set aside a specific amount beforehand & put the rest away & out of reach.  There's a tendency to "blackout-redose" with these drugs which can be dangerous & lead to taking far more than you'd intended.  NEVER drive under the influence of any drugs but especially this class. 

* If you vape or smoke cigarettes, consider stopping.  There's never been a better time with COVID-19 upon us.  According to otolaryngologist Willard Harrill, vaping increases the risk of developing severe COVID in young & millennial populations who tend to be the heaviest users of vapes.  

* Don't combine opioids with depressants like alcohol, barbiturates, Ambien or benzos.  The additive effects increase the risk of respiratory depression and death.  If you do combine them, cut the dose of both drugs roughly by half (or more).  

* When choosing a route of administration, choose oral over insufflation (snorting); snorting over smoking, and smoking over intravenous (IV).  This obviously doesn't apply to drugs like cannabis which can't be snorted or injected but it's a good rule of thumb with methamphetamine and similar drugs.

* Be aware of fentanyl and its analogues, which have been found in virtually every street drug in North America.  Assume every pill you buy outside a pharmacy contains fentanyl--ditto for heroin or even powders like cocaine.  If you can't source your pills overseas from countries without a fentanyl problem, you're better off using kratom or an opioid maintenance drug like methadone or Suboxone from a clinic.  

* Keep naloxone on hand & nearby if using drugs that are likely to contain fentanyl.  And always use with a friend or sober tripsitter who can administer it in a worst-case scenario.

* Keep an eye on your drinks at bars, parties or raves.  Countless date rape drugs exist that are odorless & tasteless.  Cruise ships are another hot spot for drugged drinks but it can happen anywhere.  BYOB when possible.  

* Avoid buying cannabis vape cartridges anywhere but licensed medical dispensaries.  And do your due diligence on various brands before buying to ensure quality.  When buying cannabis from an unlicensed/black market dealer, stick with flower or edibles.   

* If you've been clean from your drug of choice & are relapsing, do not attempt to use your old dose as this will result in overdose.  Cut it by about 1/2 or 3/4ths depending on how long you've been clean (the longer clean, the more you should reduce the dose).  The vast majority of overdose deaths occur after a period of sobriety.

* Don't share joints, bongs, pipes, nasal tubes/straws or other paraphernalia during the COVID pandemic.  

* When using "more-ish" stimulants like cocaine or meth, set limits ahead of time & plan breaks for things like eating and sleeping.  Drink plenty of water or Gatorade to stay hydrated & avoid strenuous activity and overheating.  Much of the damage done by these drugs is caused by failure to eat, sleep & maintain hygiene under their influence.  

* If engaging in casual sex under the influence, always use condoms, dental dams & other barriers to reduce the risk of spreading STD's.  And remember to gain enthusiastic consent from your partners every time.  If your condom breaks or you fail to wear one, you can access Plan B birth control or PrEp (HIV post-exposure prophylaxis) meds at your nearest pharmacy.  Both of these need to be taken as soon after unsafe sex as possible to be effective.  

* Always consider dose, (mind)set and setting when taking psychedelics as they tend to magnify how you're already feeling.      

* If schizophrenia runs in your immediate family, use psychedelics like LSD or magic mushrooms with extreme caution or not at all.  While not proven to cause these conditions, they can cause bad trips which are stressful and may trigger a first episode in people with an underlying genetic predisposition.  

* Do not share or reuse syringes.  If you do reuse them, wash them with cold water > bleach > water.  

* Avoid using MDMA or MDA more often than once a month at the most (preferably no more than every 3-6 months).  These drugs can have neurotoxic effects and may "lose the magic" if abused.  

_________________________________________________________________________________


Above all, remember that your life matters regardless of how low your addiction or mental illness makes you feel.  You have a right to live & thrive even while in active addiction or while using drugs as a recreational escape from the stresses of the world.  You are more than your productivity, income or job title and are not defined by the sum of your mistakes.  With this in mind, you're more likely to take care of yourself & plan ahead which will have a positive effect on every other part of your life.  

Staying out of the hospital right now is absolutely vital as healthcare workers are stretched to the breaking point and many states are forcing them to work while sick with active COVID infection.  You could go in with drug-related complications and come out with COVID.  Trust me, you don't want to end up in the ER right now if at all possible.  (But don't hesitate to call for help if you or a friend has an emergency).  Wear your mask, keep a safe distance of 6+ feet in public places & wash your hands frequently.  

If you have any additional tips or questions, add them in the comments below!  





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Saturday, November 14, 2020

That Time I Tried: Flakka

Warning:  At the time I tried this shit, I did NOT know it was the infamous "flakka" from the (Florida) news.  The drug that had people eating faces and shit.  Oh no.  It was just another random research chemical in the second wave that came after the good ones like mephedrone, methylone and MDPV were banned.  The chemical name is a-PVP (alpha-pyrrolidinovalerophenone); say that 3 times fast.  And honestly this was before it had a street name, so there.  😋

Anyway, I'd had an absolutely nightmarish response to MDPV so I don't know what possessed me to try another pyrovalerone.  I'm generally a stimulant-friendly person who loves them all, but for some reason this class of stims does NOT agree with me.  They make me breathless & paranoid at tiny doses and MDPV had made me so sick I ended up flushing it down the toilet or trashing it... I forget.  First and only drug I ever just threw away.  But a-PVP was basically a weaker, softer version of that.  Stimulating for about 30 minutes with a side of shortness of breath, paranoia and the desire to take apart my keyboard or pick all the dirt particles out of it obsessively.  Not my cup of tea.  


The media doing its thing  :\


I can definitely see how people who took a reckless dose or had underlying mental issues could end up in a state of "excited delirium" as the media called it.  Unfortunately they've taken that name and run with it, applying it to people not under the influence of drugs but simply scared of police as they're getting the life choked out of them (see:  Elijah McClain).  

But anyway.  

I would not recommend trying "flakka/a-PVP" unless you're all out of other options for stimulants & your life is so dead boring you want to be a guinea pig for no good reason.  If you do, research the appropriate dose carefully and don't combine it with other uppers including caffeine.  It honestly feels like a panic attack in powder form which is not cool.  Take it orally; do not insufflate or inject.  And don't eat faces.  


a-PVP powder




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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

That Time I Tried: 6-Apb

Taking it back to my research chemical days, during the freezing month of January 2012 I decided to give 6-Apb a whirl.  I'd read that it was similar to MDA or MDMA & made for a euphoric party drug, though with somewhat of a more psychedelic effect.  Y'all already know I'm not a huge psychedelic fan but I was reassured it was more MDMA-like than psychedelic.  The lie detector determined THAT was a lie.  I bought a pressed pill online from a highly respected vendor & waited until the right time to drop it, which was at a fashion/art show at some hipster place downtown.  As always, I took only half the pill due to my small body size & general sensitivity to drugs, plus the fact that this was an entirely new substance for me.  Turned out to be a good choice.

I also took small amounts of 4-FA which was something I was eating daily at that point.  The 6-Apb started kicking in on the way to the event in the car.  Typical psychedelic mushroom-like effects.  Uh-oh.  Just what I hoped wouldn't happen.  I don't do well at big social events as it is but particularly on psychedelics and ESPECIALLY on novel ones I've never touched before.  I snapped a few pics at the event, talked to a guy I knew & then we bailed.  It felt like all the tight-jeaned hipsters were staring at me (they probably were) but I just kept it moving.  


6-Apb (branded "Benzo Fury" for some reason)


We went to a fancy-shmansy coffee shop afterward where I got a raspberry hot chocolate.  Not sure why this detail sticks out but it was really fucking tasty.  My now-ex took a pic of me & I looked as terrible as I felt:  pale, thin & washed out.  I'd just come through a long 3-month opium poppy withdrawal & lost a bunch of weight but the pallor was definitely from the 6-Apb.  The rest of the trip was spent curled up in the fetal position in bed.  In total it probably lasted about 9 hours.  The effects were somewhere between mescaline & shrooms with absolutely NO MDMA-like effects.  Even with the 4-FA mixed in.  It just felt really toxic in a way that's hard to describe.  I think I may have read about cardiotoxicity after the fact which makes sense.  

Anyway, I would only recommend 6-Apb if you like other psychedelics.  It has lots of glowing reviews online so I was sorely disappointed with the effects.  And this particular vendor had no bad reviews so it wasn't that.  Just a case of my biochemistry not aligning with the substance.  Again.  


6-Apb powder



Monday, November 9, 2020

That Time I Tried: IV Morphine

It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.  I had reluctantly gone to the Urgent Care after 8 days of rectal pain caused by quitting dihydrocodeine cold turkey.  I'd been taking DF118 Forte tabs every day in the 280 mg range for a long time and suddenly couldn't get them, forcing me to switch over to weak 8 mg codeine or kratom, to which my access was spotty at best.  Oopsie.  No other withdrawal symptoms whatsoever... just unrelenting pain in my rectum.  Laugh if you want.  I did.  Between grabbing my cheeks in agony.  I've never experienced anything quite like this.  No diarrhea, nausea or cold sweats--just PAIN in my backpassage combined with my usual severe constipation.  I'd also been eating some "everything" bagels with poppy seeds, sesame seeds & other such things that may have been exacerbating the problem but I'm 90% sure the dihydrocodeine withdrawal was the main cause.  I've never felt anything like that before or since.  

Anyway, after a newbie nurse gave me some shots and MISSED (yikes) she finally got me hooked up with some Zofran for nausea and a hit of that sweet-sweet poppy juice, aka IV morphine.  This was after the CT scan of my abdomen which apparently came up fine.  I'm lucky they didn't end up doing some kind of digital/manual exam now that I think about it.  Not sure what I was expecting when I went in there complaining of butt pain.  


1880's morphine vial


Anyway, the morphine was nice: warm & pleasant.  Definitely took the pain away for at least a few hours.  But surprisingly it wasn't anywhere near as euphoric as oral oxycodone (Percocet or OxyContin) and only equivalent to oral hydrocodone at about 10 mg.  And I still felt anxiety about being in the hospital around germs even at the peak of the morphine high.  

I felt a joyous afterglow when walking into Walgreen's to pick up my prescription for a whole EIGHT hydrocodones after the long ordeal in the hospital.  But overall I'd rank IV morphine somewhere between hydrocodone and oxycodone in terms of euphoria and general potency of painkilling effects.  It's a true opiate complete with the warm fuzzy sedation of the opium poppy while the semi-synthetics like oxy are far more stimulating, which I prefer.  But I wouldn't turn my nose up at it if offered again.  

And for the record, dihydrocodeine is one of the worst, weirdest opiates I've withdrawn from after the opium poppy in its whole form.  


IV morphine sulfate




Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Drug War Takes Huge Blow on Election Night

For all the coverage of the Biden/Trump race, one story flew under the radar:  the American war on drugs took a historic hit on election night.  Yuge.




First of all, every single cannabis measure passed with flying colors.  Montana, Arizona, South Dakota & New Jersey fully legalized the good weed while Mississippi & South Dakota also legalized medical marijuana.  But the good news doesn't end there.  In addition, psychedelic plants & fungi were decriminalized in Washington D.C. while psychedelic therapy was legalized in Oregon.  

But wait, there's more.

This one is the kicker.  Oregon took it one step further, decriminalizing ALL drugs including "hard" drugs like meth, heroin & cocaine in small personal amounts.  They're the first state in the nation to do so and now in the company of very few other countries like Portugal which has experienced mostly positive effects from decriminalizing drug possession.  Oregon is also allocating more money for drug treatment programs & other harm reduction measures which will complement the policy nicely.  Time will tell how this plays out but if history & scientific data are any indication, the results should be excellent.  

Nothing is to be gained by locking up non-violent drug addicts & users except money for the prison-industrial complex & police departments.  But even that money & those jobs can be funneled to the drug treatment & education industry if we simply focus our will there.  And lord knows communities can benefit from police focusing their efforts on violent offenders like rapists, child abusers, pedophiles, domestic abusers, human traffickers, animal abusers, terrorists, murderers, etc.  That's who our prisons should be filled with; not people exploring their consciousness or desperately trying to self-medicate their trauma with drugs.  

For those concerned about things like drugged driving, child neglect while high, date rape & other peripheral or downstream effects of drug use, don't be:  those things are still 100% illegal under the new law.  As they should be.  It only applies to possession of small personal amounts of drugs, NOT drugging other people or abusing/endangering others.  Prison never prevented drug abuse anyway--it wasn't meant to.  Evidence-based treatments like the ones funded by the new laws do.  

So yeah, HUGE BLOW TO THE DRUG WAR.  No matter who you support on a presidential level, we can all agree that's a good thing.  


Congrats, America.





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