For patients diagnosed with a terminal illness, the end of their physical days can be wrought with anxiety, depression, and fear. Now, these patients may have more options for relieving this emotional stress, and it falls somewhere in between Nancy Reagan ("Just Say No!") and Timothy Leary ("the most dangerous man in America" per Richard Nixon). Sixty years ago, research into the effects of psychedelic drugs was accepted -- and, dare I say, frequent -- among certain institutions and researchers.
Salvia divinorum is a member of the mint family with known hallucinogenic properties which have been known for centuries. Historically it has been used in shaman rituals in the Oaxaca Mexico region. The psychoactive substance within salvia divinorum has been isolated and is called salvinorin A (salv A). Unlike the typical hallucinogenic drugs that act on the serotonergic system, salv A primarily acts on the kappa opioid system. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has taken a recent interest in this compound and is currently investigating whether it should be scheduled as a controlled substance. Currently thirteen states heave enacted laws regarding the use of salv A. The question on the scheduling of salv A and the synthetic isomers of the drug may produce an interesting debate.
Antidepressant medications are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States – one of the top three, depending on who is counting -- owing to a dramatic rise in antidepressant use in the last 10 to 15 years. A new health policy report finds, however, that this increase in antidepressant use is driven by nonpsychiatrist healthcare providers, often without a diagnosis of depression.
Richard Asher, considered one of the preeminent medical thinkers of the 20th century, said, “If you give a man a pill there are only two things he can do with it: he can swallow it or he can throw it away.” As the production and use of medications increases worldwide, it has become clear that a solution to the problem of consumer drug disposal is essential. In the past, many consumers have been told to flush unused or expired medications; however, concerns regarding accumulation of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in the water supply and the unknown environmental impact have increased the awareness for proper disposal methods. Furthermore, imprudent disposal may increase the risk of accidental poisoning and drug misuse.