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drug trivia

May 9, 2010

So I’m reading the NY Times tonight and there’s an article that mentions opium production in Afghanistan. I couldn’t remember how opium gets used in the US, so naturally I went to wikipedia. The result: I spent a significant portion of my Sunday night perusing wikipedia articles on various hard drugs. I learned the following surprising facts that I just have to share:

Meth is available by prescription to treat obesity and ADHD. It also has the off label use of treating depression. Which I guess makes sense. Meth cheers you up and kills your appetite. Not sure about the ADHD thing though…

Both meth and heroin are sometimes used by anal or vaginal suppository. When I shared this with Erik he informed me that some people take alcohol that way too. Apparently for alcohol it’s faster? I guess I’ve just never needed needed to be drunk so urgently that drinking it wouldn’t do… As for meth and heroin, I can’t get out of my head the dichotomy of some tough street drug addict…and an anal suppository. I’m gonna go ahead and assume that this isn’t a common form of consumption.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie permalink
    May 10, 2010 2:20 pm

    Crystal meth sold on street does not equal Adderall, notably in purity/processing, dosage, and route of administration. (Chemically, I’m not 100% sure of the difference between mixed amphetamine salts and meth; I’d have to look it up. I didn’t take the Drug Abuse elective last year.) I do remember that there are a couple theories about why it works, though.

    Another fun fact: cocaine is a schedule II controlled substance, meaning that you can get a prescription for cocaine and it’s legal. (It’s mostly prescribed as a topical eye drop, but most of those eyedrops need to be compounded, meaning that a hospital can keep a stock of cocaine on hand legally.)

    Suppository forms of dosage bypass first-pass metabolism, making it useful for drugs that are metabolized, people who puke, and people who want to get high fast (because absorption can be uneven, but goes straight to the bloodstream.) Also, with meth, I wonder if part of the reason it’s used rectally is to avoid developing meth mouth (if you haven’t Google-image-searched it yet, it’s a side effect of long-term meth use that’s really nasty. Teeth rot out of head and stuff.)

    If there’s a legitimate medical usage for a drug (that’s often used illicitly), it should be a controlled substance. There’s a little bit of disconnect with certain substances, but the general idea is that [illegal] C1s have no legit medical use and/or can’t be used safely even under a doctor’s supervision, while C2s have medical use and can be used safely under a doc’s supervision.

    That was definitely more than I intended to type, but I just got home from the first day of hospital rotations and kind of feel like a walking textbook.

  2. May 11, 2010 8:32 am

    Apparently (according to wikipedia) Adderall is amphetamine, not methamphetamine. But still, didn’t know that. Crazy how some of these hard drugs are available for random prescriptions. Cocaine for eye drops…who would’ve thought.

  3. Julie permalink
    May 11, 2010 1:08 pm

    Wiki’s right. Adderall/ADHD drugs are “mixed amphetamine salts” or similar (there are a bunch of variations on the name and it’s kind of annoying.) Similar structures, but not the same thing. I love how simple chemistry changes (hey, add double bond here/oxidize this/add a carbon or two) completely changes things like oral bioavailability or even what the darn thing does.

    Speaking of which, how’s your grad program going? Doing Ph.D. research yet?

  4. Amanda permalink
    May 14, 2010 12:26 pm

    They actually prescribe amphetamines to our military members to keep them awake sometimes too. When Nathan was the only corpsmen for their whole company (there are supposed to be three) and the options were either patrols went out with no medical personnel or he went they prescribed it to him so that he could get away with only one to two hours of sleep a day in 20 minute stretches.

  5. May 14, 2010 3:07 pm

    I think I’d heard that somewhere, but I can’t remember where. That’s crazy.

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