The first ever vaccine for drug addiction has just been created. By combining a cocaine-like molecule with part of the common cold virus, you get a vaccine that turns the immune system against cocaine, keeping it away from the brain. So far, the vaccine has only been tested on mice, but the results are extraordinary. Mice given the vaccine no longer exhibited any of the hyperactive signs of a cocaine high when they were next given the drug. The vaccine was created by taking just the part of the cold virus that alerts the body's immune system to its presence, and then researchers connected the signalling mechanism to a more stable version of the cocaine molecule.
Tag Archives | Cocaine
Listen up drug mules: please start looking for a new job if you can. This is a hell of a way to make a living. Via SF Gate:
A CT scan taken at the University of Bern’s Inselspital Hospital shows seven packets of swallowed cocaine as light-gray circular and oblong shapes in a smuggler’s stomach above a bright white snake-like portion of bowel.
The university’s Dr. Patricia Flach led a study that found that CT scans detected cocaine contraband better than X-rays.
The supply chain of cocaine stretches around our world, bringing vast wealth to a few ... and misery to millions. Follow its trail through the eyes of peasant farmers producing cocaine paste, a trafficker tied to Mexican cartels and a 28-year-old crack dealer in Miami's poorest neighborhood. And literally see the true nature of cocaine addiction via revolutionary brain photography in a leading lab in Brookhaven, N.Y.
A replica World Cup trophy seized by anti-drugs police in Colombia is made out of cocaine, lab tests have confirmed. The 36cm (14in) statue was found in a delivery crate at Bogota airport. The crate was in an airmail warehouse waiting to be sent to an address in Spain, airport anti-drug chief Jose Piedrahita said. In another development, a submarine built by drug-traffickers was found in Ecuador before its maiden voyage. The World Cup replica was made up of 11kg (24 lb) of the drug, mixed with acetone or gasoline to make it mouldable.
Fox News reporting on a Time.com story:
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Besides making you edgy and skittish, with a propensity toward emotional highs and lows, cocaine can also rot your skin, according to a study reported Monday by Time.com.
Researchers found that the illegal drug can contain agents that contribute to low white cell count or dying skin tissue, giving people the appearance of wearing rotting flesh.
The findings were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine after a discovery by doctors at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. It was found that women who had a history of cocaine use also tended to have discolorations on various body parts like their cheeks, buttocks, thighs and earlobes.
Those symptoms are consistent with use of the medication levamisole, which is used by veterinarians for de-worming farm animals. “Almost 80 percent of the cocaine coming into this country has levamisole mixed in,” said Dr.
With all the fuss over health care dominating media coverage of what’s going down in the United States Congress, I missed this story about a Senate bill that would reduce criminal penalties for crack possession. Curious timing actually – the endless recession is causing an upswing in hard drug use where I live and I assume elsewhere, but it’s a step in the right direction I think (you? let us know in the comments section). From Big Think::
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The Senate just passed a bill drastically reducing the penalty for possessing crack cocaine. The bill would increase the amount of crack requiring a five-year mandatory minimum sentence from 5 grams to 28 grams. The bill was approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee and finally passed this week with a voice vote. According to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) it is the first time since 1970 that Congress has repealed a mandatory minimum sentence.
Flamboyant British pop icon Elton John is making headlines for a controversial interview in, of all places, Parade, the (usually) boring Sunday newspaper magazine. Some choice samples:
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“I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems. On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving. I don’t know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East — you’re as good as dead.”
“Just about every relationship I ever had was involved with drugs. It never works. But I always had to be with someone, good or bad, otherwise I didn’t feel fulfilled. I’d lost the plot.”
“For some people a gram of cocaine can last a month. Not me. I have to do the lot, and then I want more. At the end of the day, all it led to was heartache.”
“Princess Diana, Gianni Versace, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, all dead.
HAMILTON MORRIS writes on VICE:
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Hey. Did any of you read this paper on the role of G9a in cocaine-induced dendritic spine plasticity? No? OK, well did you at least read this summary of the findings in Time? Still no? Fine. The gist is that repeated coke use suppresses a protein called G9a, which slows the growth of dendritic spines in your neurons, which, as Time puts it, “can reflect learning, but in the case of addiction may involve learning to connect a place or person with the desire for more drugs.”
If you read that and thought, “Wait a second, is this a potentially beneficial effect of cocaine on your brain that they’re trying to spin as a danger?” then yes you are right. Potentially. There is a well established connection between number of dendritic spines and intelligence as measured by IQ (retarded children have long misshapen dendrites which are unevenly dispersed), but it really has to do with what pathways that extra dendritic power is being used to reinforce.
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Over the last decade, the advances in neuroscience that led doctors to view addiction as a disease, rather than a desire or personal failing, raised the natural question of whether or not addicts could be vaccinated against drug use as if it were a virus. While the theory remains valid, the recent clinical trial of one of those vaccines, called TA-CD, highlights the complexity of the issue.
TA-CD works by preventing cocaine from entering the brain, thus stopping the user from getting high. It does not, however, stop cravings, leading some test participants who received the vaccine to take 10 times as much cocaine in the hopes of overriding the vaccine and getting high, or to bankrupt themselves while trying to do so.
According to the study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, some participants in the study bumped more yeyo than the researchers conducting the study had every seen before.
Out There Radio – Episode 26: Smuggling Cocaine for the C.I.A.
In this episode, we look at the alleged CIA drug smuggling ring operating out of Mena, Arkansas in the 1980s and 90s. Barry Seal, Oliver North and three of the most recent U.S. presidents all show up in connection to this sleepy little town and the shameful crimes surrounding it. The episode is a great follow up to our previous offering on Gary Webb and the origins of the crack epidemic of the early 1980’s.