Tag Archives | Cocaine

Altered Microbial Enzyme Digests Cocaine

Pic: Willis Kent Productions (C)

Pic: Willis Kent Productions (C)

Bioengineered enzyme that eats cocaine and can survive in the human body… sounds like the makings of a low-budget but entirely awesome cocaine zombie movie. (Please let the epidemic begin in Hollywood.)

Bacteria that live in the soil near coca plants make an enzyme called cocaine esterase, which rapidly breaks down the drug. The enzyme could theoretically be useful to  destroy cocaine ingested by people before it takes effect, but the half-life of the enzyme–which was isolated years ago–is only about 12 minutes at human body temperature, according to Chemical & Engineering News. “It would be hard to use this enzyme for therapeutic purposes,” University of Kentucky researcher Chang-Guo Zhan says.

So scientists decided to tinker with it. What if the enzyme could be made sturdy at high temperatures? In a 2008 study, Zhan and colleagues first figured out how to extend the half-life to six hours, possibly enough to treat an overdose.

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Condoms Full of Cocaine Addressed to Vatican Seized by German Customs Officers

Pic: Willis Kent Productions (C)

Pic: Willis Kent Productions (C)

Pope Rockso would approve.

Via The Guardian:

A government spokesman said a box packed with 340 grammes of the drug, valued at €40,000 (£33,470), was seized in January at the international airport in the eastern city of Leipzig.

The cocaine, posted from an unnamed South American country, was in liquid form. It had been poured into the condoms and placed in the package addressed to the main postal centre at the Vatican.

Authorities handed the parcel to a Vatican police officer with the aim of laying a trap.

Read the rest at The Guardian.

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What Americans Spend on Illegal Drugs

Number of Chronic Users of Cocaine, Heroin, and Meth (based on NSDUH) (RAND/ONDCP)

Number of Chronic Users of Cocaine, Heroin, and Meth (based on NSDUH) (RAND/ONDCP)

The RAND Corporation has prepared a facts and figures filled report for the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) entitled “What America’s Users Spend on Illegal Drugs: 2000-2010.” Make of it what you will (RAND and ONDCP aren’t exactly the most trusted institutions), but there’s plenty of interesting and thought-provoking information. You can find a PDF with the entire report here; this excerpt is from the executive summary:

A sense of scale is a prerequisite to thinking sensibly about illicit drug markets. For example, knowing whether a country consumes tens, hundreds, or thousands of metric tons (MTs) of a prohibited substance is critical for understanding the impact of a three-MT seizure at a border crossing. But decisionmakers need more than a sense of scale; they also need figures with enough precision to be able to determine whether the markets have become larger or smaller over time.

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DEA Case Threatens to Expose US Government-Sanctioned Drug-Running

DEAThe Narcosphere reports on a story that could blow the lid open on a US government program responsible for flying tons of cocaine between nations.

Federal agents this past November raided the offices of an aircraft brokerage and leasing company called World Jet Inc., based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The raid, spearheaded by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, was launched on the heels of a DEA affidavit for a search warrant, which was filed in late October last year in federal court in Colorado as part of a case that is now sealed. The search-warrant affidavit was made available on the Internet after being obtained by a reporter for the Durango Herald newspaper.

The affidavit outlines allegations against several individuals accused by the DEA of participating in a narco-trafficking conspiracy. But that is not the big story here.

Instead, the real news is buried deep in the DEA court pleadings and confirms the existence of a US undercover operation that Narco News reported previously had allowed tons of cocaine to be flown from Latin America into the states absent proper controls or the knowledge of the affected Latin American nations.

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Library Copy of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Tests Positive for Herpes and Cocaine

kittygreyA library copy of popular erotica novel Fifty Shades of Grey tested positive for the herpes virus and cocaine. There are far too many easy jokes I could make about this. Just supply some of your own in the comment section below. Just wash your hands afterward.

Via Time

Two Belgian university professors decided to apply their knowledge of toxicology screenings to the 10 most borrowed books at the Antwerp library. Each book underwent bacteriology and toxicology tests, and the findings reveal that library books are even more germ-covered than you expected.

While the experts found that all 10 books contained traces of cocaine–enough so that people who touched the books wouldn’t feel the effects, but might test positive for the drug–they also found something pretty gross: Fifty Shades of Grey, your weird aunt’s favorite mainstream erotic series, tested positive for traces of the herpes virus.

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Belgian Racing Pigeons Are Doped Up On Cocaine and Painkillers

Dr. Rockso: He does cocaine.

Shocking news for all of you who follow the sport of competitive pigeon racing.

Nothing is sacred it appears in the high-flying world of pigeon racing in Belgium, where six birds were found to have been doped with drugs such as cocaine and painkillers, Belgian media reported Thursday.

Cycling-mad Belgium is used to hearing of sports stars pumped up on performance-enhancing drugs, but officials are now homing-in on the birds used in a sport which rakes in millions in breeding and prize monies.

The Belgian pigeon-racing federation sent samples from 20 birds to the National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa after a recent exchange visit, two Flemish dailies reported.

Keep reading.

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Groundbreaking Geniuses And The Drugs They Say Inspired Them

drugsThis is your brain on drugs, via Alternet:

Sigmund Freud — Cocaine. To Freud, cocaine was more than a personal indulgence; it was a veritable wonder drug, and for many years he was a huge proponent of its use in a wide array of applications. Freud’s paper titled “Uber Coca” in 1884 was one of the first to propose drug substitution as a therapeutic treatment for addiction.

Francis Crick — LSD. Evidently, Crick – of the DNA-structure discovering Watson, Crick, and Franklin – at one point told a close friend that Cambridge University’s researchers often used LSD in small amounts as “a thinking tool” and he had actually “perceived the double-helix shape while on LSD.”

Thomas Edison — Cocaine Elixers. Thomas Edison was one of many people of the period known to regularly consume the cocaine-laced elixir “Vin Mariani,” a Bordeaux wine treated with coca leaves.

Steve Jobs — LSD.

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Brains ‘Learn Addiction’ Via Cocaine

Cocaine3Scientists are hailing a new study that shows how the brain learns addiction as soon as cocaine enters the system. Via BBC News:

Taking cocaine can change the structure of the brain within hours in what could be the first steps of drug addiction, according to US researchers.

Animal tests, reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience, showed new structures linked to learning and memory began to grow soon after the drug was taken.

Mice with the most brain changes showed a greater preference for cocaine.

Experts described it as the brain “learning addiction”.

The team at University of California, Berkeley and UC San Francisco looked for tiny protrusions from brain cells called dendritic spines. They are heavily implicated in memory formation.

Cocaine hunting

The place or environment that drugs are taken plays an important role in addiction.

In the experiments, the mice were allowed to explore freely two very different chambers – each with a different smell and surface texture.

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Rare, Unedited Interview with a Coked-Up Richard Pryor

Via Death by Films

Riveting and, at times, hilariously funny, some rare footage has surfaced of an interview with Richard Pryor on the set of 1980’s Stir Crazy.

Recorded during a lunch-break, Pryor goes off on a tangent and is quite clearly high as a kite. The first minute or two are a little slow, but keep watching as Pryor is hilariously honest throughout. The video is unedited raw footage and is full of expletives, so you have been warned…

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Colombia’s Controversial Cure for Coke Addicts: Give Them Marijuana

via The Star tumblr_ly5xcsShwF1qap9uuo1_500

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA—Marijuana has long been accused of being a gateway to deadlier vices. But could cannabis be a swinging door that might also lead people away from hard drugs? That’s what this capital city is trying to find out.

In a controversial public health project, Bogota will supply marijuana to 300 addicts of bazuco, a cheap cocaine derivative that generates crack-like highs and is as addictive as heroin.

Bogota has 7,500 bazuco users among its 9,500 homeless population, said Ruben Dario Ramirez, director of the Center for the Study and Analysis of Coexistence and Security, which is spearheading the project.

Addicts are often driven to crime to support their habit, turning parts of this thriving city into bazuco wastelands where junkies huddle to smoke the drug. In the last three years, 277 homeless people have been murdered, he said.

For the most desperate users, the cannabis cure may be the only way out.

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