Saturday, November 11, 2017

Running for Charity

The kid and I are running the Drumstick Dash in Indianapolis on 11/23. We are trying to raise money to help provide meals for the homeless in Indianapolis and all money raised goes to Wheeler Mission. We've raised $100 so far and would love to raise more to help. If you can can help, it's much appreciated (hit the link below) or since this is the kid's first race so drop a comment wishing him good luck. 

Here is a good informational source on homelessness in Marion county, Indiana for 2016 from the Indiana University Public Policy Institute.

 https://www.crowdrise.com/k-and-h-run-the-drumstick-dash/fundraiser/kevinshanks#the-story

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tales of (Un)Poisoned Halloween Candy

It's Halloween time and stories are starting to emerge (again...groan) about drugs being given out in Halloween candy or candy being poisoned and handed out to the kiddos.

Headlines like this...


Or...

 
Or...

Let me just stop you right there and right now.

Folks are not giving out drugs in Halloween candy. They are not.

Drugs are expensive. No one is giving away that stuff. No one.

It's true that drugs can be made to look like candy. Especially marijuana/THC infused edibles. They can look like this...


 
Cute and tasty looking gummy bears! Though each of those bears contains 10 mg of THC, the main psychoactive substance found in cannabis/marijuana. Let me be quite clear again...no one is giving these out for free. Edibles are damned expensive. And hard to come by in certain locales. No one is giving them out to random children for free.

And of course, Ecstasy tablets look like candy...



But Ecstasy is expensive. Drug dealers are not just going to give up tablets for free. It makes no sense to think this does happen.

These headlines pop up every year just before Halloween, but did you know that there has never been a single documented case where someone was randomly handing out drugs in Halloween candy or poisoned-laced loot.

None. Zero. Nil. Nada. Zilch.

It's an urban legend. A myth.

Now, let's not confuse this with homicide/murder during Halloween times and then blaming it on the "candy was poisoned" myth. 
In 1970, a 5 year old child in Michigan ate some Halloween candy and died a few days later. Toxicology showed the death was from a heroin overdose. The Halloween candy was analyzed by the lab and heroin was found. The police investigation concluded that the child found a family member's drug stash and consumed some of it. To cover up the death and the family member's involvement, family concocted a scheme to contaminate the Halloween candy with heroin after the boy's death.

In 1974, a Texas father gave potassium cyanide laced Pixie Stix to his son and daughter and three other children. The son ate the candy, while none of the other children did. The boy died. During the police investigation it was determined that the boy had a life insurance policy on him worth a very large amount of money. The father used the poisoned Halloween candy myth (the legend was around back then too) as cover for his plot to kill the boy and collect the life insurance. The father was convicted of murder in 1975 and was executed via lethal injection in 1984.

There have been countless other drugs in Halloween candy scares across the USA since the 1970s and upon investigation, each one has proven to be untrue.

So, please, go ahead and eat your Halloween candy loot this year without drug worries.

Happy Halloween!


References

Candy suspected in death of boy, 5 - 1970
http://www.nytimes.com/1970/11/07/archives/candy-suspected-in-death-of-boy-5.html

Candy Man's legacy still haunting today - 2003
http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/article/Candy-Man-s-legacy-still-haunting-today-9774087.php


 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Girl on LSD

It is being reported that Tom Petty is in critical condition on life support after being found in cardiac arrest. Some outlets have reported he has passed. I have grown up listening to Petty's music - through high school and college and into adulthood. His music has been a huge part of my music listening life. So many good songs. So many good associations.

His most beautiful song? Wildflowers.

Best song to drive to? You Wreck Me and Runnin' Down A Dream. Preferably played back to back.

One of the first songs I knew all the words to? Free Fallin

Biggest song memory in junior high/high school? You Don't Know How It Feels

Song that makes me think about life? Learning to Fly

Coolest music video? Don't Come Around Here No More - I'm a sucker for Alice in Wonderland themes.

Song I can't help but sing no matter where I am? Mary Jane's Last Dance, always thought it was neat that it mentioned Indiana, then found out later it was originally titled Indiana Girl and thought that was even more awesome.


But the song I'll never forget is the one song that never made it to an album because it was deemed too controversial at the time by record execs, but was the B side on the 1994 single release of You Don't Know How It Feels...

Girl on LSD.



Such a great song from a drug and toxicology perspective.

Marijuana.
Cocaine.
Beer.
Crystal meth.
Glue.
Ecstasy.
Pills.
China White (aka heroin).
Caffeine.

Give it a listen. And while you're at it, smile and throw some good thoughts out there. The world needs some positivity these days.

Peace.

Update: Tom Petty has passed on. The Rock Band In The Sky added one more member.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Toxicology of Designer Drugs (Lecture 3, Fentanyl, Fentanyl Analogs, and Designer Opioids)

The third installment of Toxicology of Designer Drugs focused on the emergence of fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and other designer opioids in modern street heroin.

The outline of topics for this lecture included:

Fentanyl, Fentanyl Analogs, and Designer Opioids

    • Sliding scale of harm
      • Water
      • SSRI antidepressants
      • Benzodiazepines
      • Tricyclic antidepressants
      • Barbiturates
      • Opiates / Opioids
    • Opioid Deaths in the USA (Pre-2014/2015)
      • 2000 - 2014 data
      • Opioid analgesic deaths continue to rise
      • Surge in deaths, two trends
      • Double trouble: heroin and fentanyl
    • Heroin
      • History
      • Chemistry
      • Pharmacology
      • Metabolism
      • Forms of the product
      • NFLIS data, 2001 - 2016
    • Fentanyl
      • History
      • Chemistry
      • Pharmacology
      • Metabolism
      • Forms of the product (licit vs. illicit)
      • Death of Prince
      • NFLIS data, 2001 - 2015
      • NFLIS data, 2013 - 2015
      • NFLIS data, 2016
      • NY Times report on trends in US overdose deaths, 2017
    • Fentanyl Analogs
      • What are they? Where do they come from?
      • How many compounds exist?
      • DEA scheduling actions, 2015 - 2017
      • DEA Emerging Threats Reports, 2017
      • Overdoses, hospitalizations, and reported deaths in media
      • Analyte Specific Looks
        1. 3-methylfentanyl (cis/trans)
        2. Acetylfentanyl
        3. Furanylfentanyl
        4. Acrylfentanyl
        5. Carfentanil
    • Designer Opioids
      • Opioid research chemicals
        1. U47700
          • Death of Prince
        2. AH7921
        3. MT-45
    • Analytical Methods
      • Method development
      • Method validation
      • Organic extraction
      • Instrumental analysis via LC-MS/MS
    • Prevalence
      • What drugs have been detected?
      • How prevalent are they?
      • What locations are they found?
      • Special look at Carfentanil detections
    • Postmortem Case Studies
      • Case 1 (Information Withheld)
      • Case 2 (Information Withheld)
      • Case 3 (Information Withheld)
      • Case 4 (Information Withheld)
      • Case 5 (Information Withheld)
      • Case 6 (Information Withheld)
      • Case 7 (Information Withheld)
      • Case 8 (Information Withheld)
    • Testing for Fentanyl Analogs and Designer Opioids vs. A Fishing Expedition
    • Conclusions

Toxicology of Designer Drugs (Lecture 2, A Brief History of Designer Drugs)

Here is the next installment of my Toxicology of Designer Drugs class - this lecture focused on a high level look at the timeline of designer drugs in the USA.

A Brief History of Designer Drugs
    • 1960s and 1970s
      • LSD
      • Mescaline
      • DOM (STP)
      • PCP / TCP / PCE
    • 1980s
      • Fentanyl derivatives (China White)
      • MDMA
      • MPPP / MPTP
      • Methamphetamine / Methcathinone / 4-methylaminorex
    • 1990s
      • Anabolic steroids
      • Research chemicals
      • The 2C family and PiHKAL / TiHKAL
    • 2000s and 2010s
      • Cathinones and designer stimulants
      • Synthetic cannabinoids
      • Analogs of sildenafil / herbal supplements
      • Designer opioids / fentanyl analogs
      • Benzodiazepine derivatives
      • NBOMes
      • Methoxetamine
      • Nootropics

Toxicology of Designer Drugs (Lecture 1, Introduction to Forensic Toxicology)

I'm teaching a toxicology of designer drugs course at IUPUI this fall via the Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program.

The outline of topics for the first lecture included:

Introduction to Forensic Toxicology

    • The Realms of Forensic Toxicology
      • Human Performance
      • Postmortem
      • Drug Facilitated Crimes
      • Urine Drug Testing
    • The Role of the Forensic Toxicologist
      • Analyze specimens
      • Analytical instrumentation
      • Develop and validate testing methods
      • Case review and release
      • Results interpretation
      • Education
      • Expert and fact witness courtroom testimony
      • Research, publish, and present
    • Autopsy and Toxicology Specimens
      • Blood
      • Urine
      • Vitreous Humor
      • Tissues
      • Bile
      • Gastric contents
      • Alternative matrices
    • Toxicological Terms
      • Pharmacokinetics
        1. Dose
        2. Dosing interval
        3. CMax
        4. TMax
        5. CMin
        6. Volume of distribution
        7. Concentration
        8. Elimination half life
        9. Elimination rate constant
        10. Bioavailability
      • Pharmacodynamics
        1. Onset vs. Duration of action
        2. Receptor agonism
        3. Receptor antagonism
        4. Receptor inverse agonism
        5. Catecholamines / Neurotransmitters
          • Serotonin
          • Norepinephrine
          • Dopamine
          • Histamine
          • Acetylcholine
          • GABA

Forensic and Investigative Sciences (FIS) Program Seminar Series - 2017

I'm thrilled to be giving a talk today in the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Forensic and Investigative Sciences (FIS) Program Seminar Series at 3:30 pm.

The title of the talk is:

"Not Your Father's Heroin: Forensic Toxicology in the Age of Fentanyl and Fentalogs"

While you're reading this, why not pop into IUPUI's FIS Program website and have a look around? They've got some really cool things happening.