Monday, October 8, 2018

"No, you move."

I saw this montage on YouTube today and was immediately reminded of my favorite quote from any comic book movie.


From 2016's Captain America: Civil War:


"Compromise when you can. Where you can't, don't. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move. It is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye and say, 'No, you move'"


Of course, this was said in the MCU movie by Sharon Carter as she was speaking about Peggy Carter at her funeral. I see it as a pep talk to Steve Rogers.

Originally Steve Rogers said a variation of this to Peter Parker when Spidey was figuring out the Superhero/Superhuman Registration Act and how to deal with the pressure that happens when one challenges government authority in The Amazing Spider-Man Volume # 1, 537. Peter asks Cap how he handles it and Cap begins with a story about how he remembered the first time he learned what it was to be a patriot by reading Mark Twain as a young boy. After quoting Twain, he says this to Peter:

"Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or consequences.
When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth and tell the whole world: 
 No, you move."


Amazing Spider-Man, Volume # 1, 537


Iconic. This is more relevant than ever.
 

Don't be afraid to challenge authority.

Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself or for others.



PS.

The music in the video above is Bad Wolves cover of Cranberries' Zombie. If you don't know Bad Wolves, go look them up. Fantastic heavy metal band. Their newest album, Disobey, can be found pretty much anywhere.



Tuesday, October 2, 2018

ETR - 2018, Quarter 2

A few days ago, the DEA released its Emerging Threats Report (ETR) for the second quarter of 2018. The agency touts this report as a "quarterly snapshot of the new psychoactive substance market in the United States". There are some interesting things of note which are included in this report.

Two new synthetic cannabinoids were detected for the first time - these were the alphabet soup 5F-EDMB-PINACA and 5F-MDMB-PICA. The top two most prevalent synthetic cannabinoids (which accounted for 50% of all detections) were FUB-AMB and 5F-ADB (also known as 5F-MDMB-PINACA) - both of these compounds have remained in the top two spots since 2016. Interestingly, they both were emergency scheduled by the Federal government in 2017, so I'm not quite sure what to make of their continued stay on the list.

Regarding designer opioids, the market has pretty much shifted back to fentanyl, which made up 75% of all designer opioid detections for the quarter. The compounds 4-ANPP and acetylfentanyl were detected a summed total of 74 times, while 13 other designer opioids (valerylfentanyl, parafluorobutyrylfentanyl, benzylfentanyl, 4'-methylacetylfentanyl, 3-methylfentanyl, U48800, furanylfentanyl, U47700, cyclopropylfentanyl, carfentanil, 4-fluoroisobutyrylfentanyl, butyrylfentanyl, and methoxyacetylfentanyl) accounted for 50 total detections or approximately 10% of all detections. Fentanyl analogs and other designer opioids are still out there in the wild, but they do not seem to be as prevalent as they were for the previous 1-2 years. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl continues to be the top dog in this category - ask any forensic toxicologist and she would tell you the same thing (and do please go talk to us forensic toxicologists, it can be very lonely working in a lab).


You get fentanyl! And you get fentanyl! We all get fentanyl!

There were only a total of 24 cathinones detected, of which 15 were N-ethylpentylone (62.5%). Older compounds such as MDPV, alpha-PVP, methylone, butylone, and ethylone are nowhere to be found.

The only designer benzodiazepine detected for the quarter was one identification of flubromazolam.


The Emerging Threats Report for Quarter 2 of 2018 can be found here.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Judas Rising Tour

The Judas Rising Tour came through Indianapolis' Vogue Theater the other night with four bands playing - The Stir, Stone Broken, Adelita's Way, and Fozzy.

I had never listened to The Stir or Stone Broken before, but they were two great rock openers. I'm a fan of Adelita's Way (thanks Sirius XM's Octane!) and knew what to expect from them. They opened with the song I've heard the most, Still Hungry, as well as other songs like Ready for War (Pray for Peace), Bad Reputation, Sick, and Notorious. I really hope Adelita's Way returns to Indy to play a longer set.



 Stone Broken's lead guitarist, Chris Davis. I love that shirt.


Adelita's Way's frontman Rick DeJesus, is a powerful vocalist and a tall dude.

And then we get to the headliner - Fozzy.

With a lineup consisting of Chris Jericho (lead vocals), Rich Ward (lead guitar and backing vocals), Frank Fontsere (drums), Billy Grey (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), and Paul Di Leo (bass guitar and backing vocals), Fozzy rocked the place with a show that included a sequin jacket adorned with red, white, and blue LEDs, fire extinguishers, blistering guitars, and nonstop energy. Jericho once said in an interview that "if Metallica and Journey had a bastard child, it would be Fozzy".

And he's right.

 Chris Jericho, Wrestling Legend and lead vocalist of Fozzy


Rich Ward and Chris Jericho of Fozzy

The setlist spanned four albums with about six songs (including Painless, Judas, Burn Me Out, Wolves at Bay, and Drinkin' with Jesus) coming from their newest album Judas, for which the tour is appropriately named. Other songs from earlier albums included Bad Tattoo, Do You Want to Start a War, Sin and Bones, and Sandpaper. They even surprised me by playing a rocking cover of Michael McDonald's 1982 class I Keep Forgettin' You, for which the crowd happily joined in on the chorus. I loved it. They also covered ABBA's SOS, which was freaking cool.

 Rich Ward pointing at me in the crowd.


Lit up jacket! Wrestling or rock show? Quoting Starlord, "A bit of both?"

I've listened to Fozzy for many years, but the band really surprised me by their stage presence, especially Jericho and Ward. Jericho was all over the stage, bouncing up and down the entire show. At a few points in the show, Ward ventured into the crowd playing solos and taking selfies with people. Then he came over to me, snatched my glasses off my face, put them on, and delivered an intense guitar solo, propped up on the railing about five inches in front of me.

 Those are my glasses!


Soloing in my glasses!

Tickets are cheap. It cost me $20. Four rock bands for 20 bucks? Hell yeah. If the Judas Rising Tour comes through your city or a neighboring city, go check it out. You won't be disappointed.

In the meantime, go listen to:

The Stir's self titled EP - The Stir released August 2018.
Stone Broken's Ain't Always Easy released March 2018.
Adelita's Way's Notorious released October 2017.
Fozzy's Judas released October 2017.

All can be found for purchase on iTunes or streaming for free on Spotify.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

30 Songs That Make Me Drive Faster

I drive about an hour to and an hour from work every day. And I find myself driving to court on longer trips for work quite a bit. Needless to say, I listen to a lot of music while driving.

Image from RockWorldEast.com
https://www.rockworldeast.com/dimage/zoom/8652.jpg


These are my current favorite 30 rock and metal driving songs...those that when listening to, I tend to drive a little too fast.
  • AWOLnation - Burn It Down
  • Volbeat - Seal the Deal
  • Halestorm - Mayhem
  • Egypt Central - Over and Under
  • Foo Fighters - All My Life
  • In This Moment - Blood
  • Semi Precious Weapons - Magnetic Baby
  • Iron Maiden - Two Minutes to Midnight
  • Guns 'N Roses - You Could Be Mine
  • Marilyn Manson - Fight Song
  • The White Stripes - Blue Orchid
  • Nothing More - Don't Stop
  • My Chemical Romance - Thank You For the Venom
  • Dead Sara - Weatherman
  • AC/DC - Girls Got Rhythm
  • Sixx AM - Lies of the Beautiful People
  • Unleash the Archers - Tonight We Ride
  • Rage Against the Machine - Wake Up
  • Metallica - Die, Die My Darling
  • Static-X - Push It
  • Ozzy Osbourne - Gets Me Through
  • The Offspring - Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing and Rides the Bomb to Hell\
  • Korn - Got the Life
  • Filter - Welcome to the Fold
  • Bush - Machinehead
  • System of a Down - Sugar
  • Five Finger Death Punch - Burn MF
  • The Prodigy - Breathe
  • Rob Zombie - Dead Girl Superstar
  • Powerman 5000 - Super Villain

Enjoy! And, please, try to drive the speed limit!

If you're reading, leave a comment with your favorite songs that make you drive fast.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Ch...ch...ch...changes.

This blog is going to undergo somewhat of another change here soon. I'm turning it into not just a science blog, but one that includes other things that I do...

Music. Movies. Pop Culture. Parenthood. Sports. Exercise.

Life.

Hope you keep reading.

- Kevin

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Exposure to "Fentanyl" in the Field

It's in the news everywhere.

Fentanyl.



Fentanyl and secondary exposure.

Here are some of the news headlines from the last few weeks...

From KLTV7, a Harris County, TX police officer was hospitalized after coming in contact with a fentanyl-laced paper flyer. The officer "removed the flyer, got into her car and drove away. She soon began feeling lightheaded and had other symptoms". This story was also tweeted by the official handle of the Harris County, TX Sherriff's Office.

@HCSOTexas
From KATC3, police officers in Lafayette, LA responded to a call of an unresponsive man at a residence. Upon observing the scene, two officers "showed symptoms of being exposed to the potent drug [fentanyl]".
 
From ABC13 Eyewitness News, a Houston, TX police officer checked a person's hotel room and found 50-100 pills in a plastic bag. The officer "put the baggie in the patrol car" and "he started feeling ill, shortness of breath and feeling dizzy, and he was no getting better".


From the Belleville News Democrat, two police officers were responding to a series of overdoses at a Brooklyn, IL strip club when they came into contact with fentanyl and began to feel ill. "The thing with fentanyl is the smallest amount, like if you put just less than a gram in a room, it can knock out everyone in the room. It's a pretty hardcore substance, and it's happening everywhere."



There are other stories out there.

It goes without saying that fentanyl is a potent mu-opioid receptor agonist substance that produces central nervous system depression. That is true.



 
Chemical structure of Fentanyl
Drawn by Kevin G. Shanks (2017)

It's been used as a pharmaceutical in the USA since 1968. Intravenous and intrathecal fentanyl is used for anesthesia and analgesia in a hospital setting. It is also available as a transdermal patch for chronic pain management, or as a lozenge for oral transmucosal absorption which is intended for opioid tolerant people and in the treatment of breakthrough pain in cancer. It can also be used intranasally and sublingually.

But can stories like this really happen?

No. Not from dermal absorption of powder. It's not possible. NOT. POSSIBLE.

NOT POSSIBLE.

Let's go to the facts.

The American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) (a really smart group of medical doctors) has issued a position paper on this topic and they brought math, science, and some much needed damned common sense to the table.

You can read their position here via the Clinical Toxicology journal website.

Go read it.

Now.

It's good. I promise.

...
...
...
...
...
...

OK. You read it?

Notice the lack of hyperbole and hysteria?

No. Not that Hysteria.


Notice the logical viewpoints?



Notice the use of math and science?

 
Lots o' numbers! You're making my head explode!
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15563650.2017.1373782


TL;DR.


It is impossible to dermally absorb enough powder fentanyl to produce any sort of pharmacological effect. There needs to be some sort of mechanism in place to move that fentanyl through the skin. Pharmaceutical companies invested a large amount of time, effort, and money to develop transdermal delivery systems to administer drug (e.g. transdermal patch to place on the skin). If you were to find yourself in a situation where you had powdered fentanyl on your skin, calmly walk over to the sink and wash your hands with soap and water.

Let's use facts in our discussions about drugs. Hysteria and hyperbole is not helpful to anyone. At all. In fact, it makes things worse. Much worse.





PS.

The flyers from Harris County, TX mentioned above were tested in a lab and contained no fentanyl or any other drug. Imagine that!

PPS.

Now there's this gem of a story in the news today...

From the Northwest Indiana Times, a paramedic was attempting to intubate an unresponsive man when the man coughed and snorted in his face. After doing his job and returning to the fire station, the paramedic "began to feel unwell an fell unconscious". The paramedic suspected he "was exposed to a powerful synthetic opioid, such as fentanyl".

Yeah..no.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Semi Charmed Life (1997)

Third Eye Blind's song 'Semi Charmed Life' debuted as the first single on the band's 1997 self-titled album. 

Third Eye Blind album cover art (1997)

It quickly became one of the most well known (and most played) songs of the late 90s as it made its way up the charts peaking at number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song was featured in several movies including Dirty Work (1998), Wild Things (1998), American Pie (1999), and A Lot Like Love (2006). A snippet of it can also be heard in Contact (1997). 
 
 
Music Video, Semi Charmed Life (1997), YouTube
 
It’s an upbeat catchy song right from the opening line, so much so that I can recognize the song by only 1-2 seconds being played of it.
 
Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo... 
 
It’s a happy song...or is it?
 
Have you really listened to the lyrics? Read them below. You'll soon find out that it isn't a happy song after all.
 
I'm packed and I'm holding
I'm smiling, she's living, she's golden
She lives for me, says she lives for me
Ovation, her own motivation
She comes round and she goes down on me
And I make her smile, like a drug for you
Do ever what you wanna do, coming over you
Keep on smiling, what we go through
One stop to the rhythm that divides you
 
And I speak to you like the chorus to the verse
Chop another line like a coda with a curse
Come on like a freak show takes the stage
We give them the games we play, she said...
 
I want something else, to get me through this
Semi-charmed kinda life, baby, baby
I want something else, I'm not listening when you say good-bye
 
Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo...
 
The sky was gold, it was rose
I was taking sips of it through my nose
And I wish I could get back there, someplace back there
Smiling in the pictures you would take
Doing crystal meth, will lift you up until you break
It won't stop, I won't come down
I keep stock with the tick-tock rhythm, I bump for the drop
And then I bumped up, I took the hit that I was given
Then I bumped again, then I bumped again
I said...
 
How do I get back there, to the place where I fell asleep inside you
How do I get myself back to the place where you said...
 
I want something else, to get me through this
Semi-charmed kinda life, baby, baby
I want something else, I'm not listening when you say good-bye
 
 
I believe in the sand beneath my toes
The beach gives a feeling, an earthy feeling
I believe in the faith that grows
And the four right chords can make me cry
When I'm with you I feel like I could die
And that would be alright, alright
 
 
And when the plane came in, she said she was crashing
The velvet it rips in the city, we tripped on the urge to feel alive
Now I'm struggling to survive, those days you were wearing that velvet dress
You're the priestess, I must confess
Those little red panties they pass the test
Slide up around the belly, face down on the mattress
 
One
And you hold me, and we're broken
Still it's all that I wanna do, just a little now
Feel myself, heading off the ground
I'm scared, I'm not coming down
No, no
And I won't run for my life
She's got her jaws now, locked down in a smile
But nothing is alright, alright
 
And I want something else, to get me through this life
Baby, I want something else
Not listening when you say...
Good-bye, good-bye, good-bye, good-bye
 
Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo...
 
The sky was gold, it was rose (Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo...)
I was taking sips of it through my nose (Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo...)
And I wish I could get back there (Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo...)
Someplace back there, in the place we used to start (Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo...)
 
 
I want something else (Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo...)

Lyrics as written by Stephan Jenkins.

____________________________________________________________

Semi Charmed Life is the happiest sounding song you'll ever hear about doing methamphetamine and drug addiction.
 

 
 
 

Friday, June 8, 2018

RIP Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain has passed away from what is being reported as suicide. From all accounts, he was a fantastic person who spoke his truth wherever he went. He was honest and reveled in teaching people about new things through curiosity and humor; he was a gifted storyteller. And best of all, he was an advocate of world and its people. All people.

If you need help and/or are contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Please do not hesitate to call.



Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The beat goes on...

The US Federal government has moved to control five new synthetic cannabinoids as Schedule I controlled  substances.

Synthetic cannabinoid herbal incense
Image by Kevin G. Shanks (2017)

These newer alphabet soup synthetic cannabinoids include:

4-CN-CUMYL-BUTINACA
1-(4-cyanobutyl)-N-(1-methyl-1-phenylethyl)-1H-indazole-3-carboxamide

5F-AB-PINACA
N-[(1S)-1-(aminocarbonyl)-2-methylpropyl]-1-(5-fluoropentyl)-1H-indazole-3-carboxamide

4-CN-CUMYL-BUT7AICA
1-(4-cyanobutyl)-N-(1-methyl-1-phenylethyl)-1H-pyrrolo[2,3-b]pyridine-3-carboxamide

MMB-CHMICA
Methyl(1-(cyclohexylmethyl)-1H-indole-3-carbonyl)-L-valinate

NM2201
Napthalen-1-yl 1-(5-fluoropentyl)-1H-indole-3-carboxylate



Chemical Structures of Newly Controlled Cannabinoids
Drawn by Kevin G. Shanks (2018)

With the inclusion of these five substances, the Federal government has now scheduled 38 synthetic cannabinoids since 2011. In case you want to learn more about synthetic cannabinoids, I wrote a 2.5 minute primer on them quite a while ago. It's a quick read and is still more than applicable -  you can find it here.

Also, there are many posts about these substances on this blog. Please read some of them as these are substances of extreme toxicological importance. These substances are cheap. They are used for convenience and to evade drug tests for THC. They are easy to get ahold of. Yet, they are complete pharmacological and toxicological unknowns. As I usually say, when people consume products containing synthetic cannabinoids, they are ingesting substances of unknown identification with unknown pharmacological and toxicology properties in unknown dosages in unknown combinations. It's a recipe for disaster.


And the beat goes on...

Stay safe.


References

United States DEA (2018) Notice of Intent: Schedules of Controlled Substances: Temporary Placement of NM2201, 5F-AB-PINACA, 4-CN-CUMYL-BUTINACA, MMB-CHMICA, and 5F-CUMYL-P7AICA Into Schedule I.
Federal Register, Volume 83, Number 103
https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/rules/2018/fr0530.htm

Saturday, April 7, 2018

CDC Warning - Vitamin K Dependent Antagonist Coagulopathy Associated With Synthetic Cannabinoid Use

Looks like the issue has spread - which isn't all that surprising. But is frightening.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a warning regarding the surge in severe bleeding cases associated with synthetic cannabinoid use from Illinois. From March 10 to April 5, 2018, ninety-four (94) people have presented to the hospital with severe bleeding symptoms after exposure to herbal incense/potpourri synthetic cannabinoid products. Eighty nine (89) of the cases are in Illinois, with the remaining five (5) originating in Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, and Wisconsin. There has been positive analytical confirmation of Brodifacoum in at least eighteen (18) individuals, with two (2) fatalities. Brodifacoum has been identified as a constituent in three (3) synthetic cannabinoid products.

Read here and here for previous my updates on this issue as well as a quick explainer as to what Brodifacoum actually is.



If you are on Twitter, check out Dr. Steve Aks (@ERtox) and Cook County Medical Examiner's Office (@CookCountyME) for updates.

Be safe.


References

Outbreak Alert: Potential Life-Threatening Vitamin K Dependent Antagonist Coagulopathy Associated With Synthetic Cannabinoid Use
https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USCDC/bulletins/1e6dac3
Accessed: April 7, 2018

Tainted Synthetic Pot Eyed As Cause Of Another Illinois Death As Store Owner Accused Of Selling Substance Held Without Bail
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-fake-pot-poison-cook-county-20180406-story.html
Accessed: April 7, 2018

Bleeding and Coagulopathy Associated with Synthetic Cannabinoid Products
https://dosemakespoison.blogspot.com/2018/03/bleeding-and-coagulopathy-associated.html

Update of an Outbreak of Severe Bleeding Cases / Synthetic Cannabinoid Use
http://dosemakespoison.blogspot.com/2018/04/update-of-outbreak-of-severe-bleeding.html

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Update of an Outbreak of Severe Bleeding Cases / Synthetic Cannabinoid Use

As I wrote about the other day, there was a mass outbreak of severe bleeding cases associated with synthetic cannabinoid use in Illinois during March. As of March 29, there were 22 reports of vitamin K dependent severe coagulopathy.

Five days later and there have been 56 affected individuals. Symptoms include coughing up blood, blood in the urine, severe bloody nose, and/or bleeding gums. Nine people have tested positive for the vitamin K antagonist Brodifacoum (see my last post for explanation of its effects). Two people have died.

Three people have been arrested in Chicago in connection to selling some herbal incense/potpourri products that (according to police) have detectable amounts of Brodifacoum.

Dump your product if you have any.

Stay safe out there.



References

Bleeding and Coagulopathy Associated with Synthetic Cannabinoid Products
https://dosemakespoison.blogspot.com/2018/03/bleeding-and-coagulopathy-associated.html

Second Death of An Individual Who Used Synthetic Cannabinoids
http://www.dph.illinois.gov/news/second-death-individual-who-used-synthetic-cannabinoids
Accessed April 3, 2018.

3 Chicago Store Clerks Charged With Selling Synthetic Pot Laced With Rat Poison
http://abcnews.go.com/US/chicago-store-clerks-charged-selling-synthetic-pot-laced/story?id=54197525
Accessed April 3, 2018.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Bleeding and Coagulopathy Associated With Synthetic Cannabinoid Products

There have been warnings out of Chicago over the last couple days regarding users of synthetic cannabinoid products experiencing abnormal bleeding issues especially from the eyes and ears. As of today (Thursday, March 29), there have been 22 reports in the Chicago area since March 7. Vitamin K dependent severe coagulopathy has been observed in several cases which is consistent with exposure to a 4-hydroxycoumarin rodenticide (superwarfarin) such as brodifacoum.

 
Chemical Structure of Brodifacoum
Drawn by Kevin G. Shanks (2018)

A substance such as Brodifacoum inhibits the action of the vitamin K epoxide reductase enzyme. This enzyme inhibition interferes with the recycling of vitamin K epoxide to vitamin K and ultimately results in a steady decrease in blood vitamin K, which is a problem, because vitamin K is a vital part of the synthesis of prothrombin (coagulation factor II). Prothrombin is involved in the blood coagulation cascade, also known as blood clotting.

Low vitamin K means severely impacted blood clotting which can result in profuse bleeding.

Another effect of Brodifacoum is the increase in permeability of blood capillaries, leading to internal hemorrhaging, or when blood leaks from vessels. An individual can bleed internally progressively with time.

Brodifacoum is a highly lipophilic substance and has an extremely slow elimination pathway from the body. Biological half-life of the substance is 20-130 days. LD50 values for mammals are substantially less than 1.0 mg/kg. It is a potent substance with a long duration of action that can result in devastating effects in humans (and animals) - afterall, it's primary (only) use is to kill warfarin-resistant rodents (hence the class name superwarfarins).

Other superwarfarins include Bromadiolone, Coumatetralyl, Difenacoum, Flocoumafen, and Tioclomarol.

This is not the typical media hysteria/hyperbole that we all have grown accustomed to over the years with reporting on drugs. While no specific products have yet been implicated, my advice is that if you are a synthetic cannabinoid user (or know a user) in the Illinois area (including bordering states), discard your supply. Immediately.

Be safe.



References

Outbreak: severe coagulopathy associated with synthetic cannabinoids (K2/Spice)
http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Outbreak--Severe-coagulopathy-associated-with-Synthetic-Cannabinoids---K2-Spice--.html?soid=1100929526407&aid=_6hDV-Frs5Q; Accessed March 29, 2018.

Synthetic pot warning issued after 22 people in Illinois report bleeding from eyes, ears
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-fake-weed-synthetic-cannabis-warning-20180329-story.html; Accessed March 29, 2018.

Illinois health officials warn of synthetic pot after 17 people report of severe bleeding.
http://wgntv.com/2018/03/29/illinois-heath-officials-warn-of-synthetic-pot-after-17-people-report-severe-bleeding/; Accessed March 29, 2018.

IDPH issues warning about synthetic cannabinoids.
http://dph.illinois.gov/news/idph-issues-warning-about-synthetic-cannabinoids; Accessed March 28, 2018.

Friday, March 9, 2018

High Impact Research from JAT

One of my papers from 2014 is listed among the "highly cited articles" in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology. It involves the analytical detection of the synthetic cannabinoid 5F-PB-22 in postmortem toxicology and presentation of four deaths that were associated with its use. You can read it, along with other papers, for free at the link below. Have fun reading!

High-Impact Research from JAT

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Forensic Toxicology Valentines

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here are a few Valentine's wishes.

Roses are CO red.
Violets are cyanotic blue.
Let's hope you're neither already dead,
Nor hypoxic too.

Postmortem blood is red.
And sometimes blue,
And oftentimes green.
And maybe black too.

Decomposed liver is brown.
Decomposed liver is too.
Decomposed kidney is also brown.
Why is everything brown?

Postmortem blood is red.
It may also be blue,
Though it can be black.
It smells horrible, too.

MDMA and cannabis are Schedule I.
LSD is too.
Do they belong?
Let me ask you.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

NERD and Rihanna - Lemon

NERD and Rihanna’s song Lemon came across my Spotify list last night. The song came out a few months ago but this was my first time ever hearing it.

"Bath salt...bitin’ speakers in the face..."

Yes, the infamous 2012 Causeway Cannibal bath salts attack is referenced here - the attack that was not ever shown to be “bath salt” related, not to mention even drug related at all.

Here’s a link to the song. It's got a nice beat. Enjoy!


Friday, February 9, 2018

Kratom Redux

Kratom is back in the news. 

Long story short...

During the summer of 2016, the DEA moved to place kratom (mitragynine/7-hydroxymitragynine) into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Almost immediately there was a massive outcry from advocates of the plant, as well as members of Congress, toxicologists, and physicians. I initially wrote about this here. In an unprecedented move, the DEA rescinded their Notice of Intent in Fall 2016. In the Withdrawal, the DEA stated that they would accept public comment on the scheduling of these substances until December 1, 2016 as well as request a scientific/medical evaluation of the substances from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). During the approximate 2 month comment period, the DEA received around 20,000+ comments, with near 100% having positive comments on the plant.

The FDA has now released their report on Kratom. If you want to read the 164 page document, you can find it here.

I'm not going to go into much here, because other folks have covered it comprehensively.

Nick Wing, a senior reporter with the Huffington Post, covered the FDA report and methodically looked at the case reports where Kratom was associated with cause of death that were covered in the FDA report. You can find his article here.

Dr. David Kroll at Forbes covered it as well and his excellent work can be found here.

Kratom researchers in academia from across the USA and Canada also penned a letter to the DEA and the White House's newly established Opioid Commission. The letter can be found here.

I highly recommend reading the links as they are all spot on.

When the DEA initially moved to schedule Kratom in summer 2016, I said the move was misguided. And farcical. And that the DEA hadn't thought it completely through. 

And after reading the FDA's report, I still believe that.