Tag Archives: drug use

Despite Pleads and Warnings, FDA Approves a New and Powerful Opioid

The opioid crisis is stronger than ever. Just last year in the United States, there were 72,000 drug overdose deaths, and over 49,000 of those people died of opioid overdoses.  Despite a bill that was signed by President Trump to help tens of thousands battling opioid addictions, the FDA has approved a new opioid which is one of, if not the most, powerful opioid ever to be produced.

The drug, which is called Dsuvia, is the tablet form of sufentanil, a synthetic opioid that has been used since the 1980s. It is 10 times stronger than fentanyl, a parent drug that has often been used in hospitals. Fentanyl has been illegally produced in different ways, which has led to tens of thousands of overdose deaths in recent years.

Even though the FDA’s advisory committee approved the drug in a 10 to 3 vote, the panel’s chairman, Dr. Raeford Brown, wrote a letter to officials that expressed deep concern about allowing the drug to be used by the public.

In the letter, Dr. Brown predicted that the new opioid will lead to abuse and death within a few months of availability on the market. The letter questioned if the FDA would succeed in the enforcement of restrictions on the drug if it were to hit the market.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA commissioner, gave the drug final approval and released a statement that defends the decision, stating that Dsuvia will only be allowed for use in hospitals and other medical settings. He also stated that the drug is ideal for serious situations and that more soldiers wounded in the battlefield would have died without the strong painkiller.

Now it is up to hospitals and the FDA to prevent this opioid from hitting the market. If they fail, it could be very bad news for addicts and families.


Increased Use of Marijuana Leads to More Car Accidents, Studies Say

We have heard of the benefits that marijuana has for people with glaucoma and seizures, and of its usefulness in stopping cancer from spreading, but it does have its disadvantages.

In March of 2017, a bus crash that killed 12 people in Texas was caused by a 20 year old man who was under the influence of marijuana. A report released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that there has been a increase in drug-related crashes, and that something must to be done to address it.

Even though the released report does not show an increase in deaths caused by legal use of marijuana, it does however show an increase in car crashes in general in correlation to the legal use of drugs.

The first study that was released by the Highway Loss Data Institute  found that crashes are up as much is 6% in states with legal weed use compared to neighboring states that haven’t legalized the drug’s use. This was done by study of insurance claims, with other studies also utilizing accidents reported by the police.

Other research found that drivers who smoke weed before driving display slower thinking, perceptual skills, and reaction times. These skills are of course are very important for someone who is operating heavy machinery, and are similarly impacted by those under the influence of more common drugs (such as alcohol) as well.

The NTSB said in their final statement that police across the country need more training and tools to handle situations like these.

Currently, there is no national standard nor standardized tests to determine if someone is under the influence of marijuana in the way that we have for alcohol. Eventually, a system will need to be created to hopefully stop accidents like the one in Texas.


Lamar Odom and the media: a journalist’s perspective

A couple weeks ago, Lamar Odom walked into a Nevada brothel for a three-day stay. However, he left in an ambulance. Odom had snorted cocaine, drank, and took some sketchy male enhancement pills.

Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian. Graphic from Us Weekly
Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian. Graphic from Us Weekly

Almost every day since Odom was committed to the hospital, the media has been updating on his condition. At first, it was questionable if Odom would leave the hospital alive. Odom’s estranged wife, Khloe Kardashian was then reported to be by his bedside along with more of the famous Kardashian clan, Odom’s family, and former teammate Kobe Bryant.

As to be expected, there’s been a large number of complaints from media audiences regarding how sick they are of hearing about Odom and the Kardashians. That’s an understandable complaint. I can’t look at my phone without seeing Kylie Jenner’s latest selfie, or another Cosmopolitan article about what the Kardashians are wearing. Honestly, Cosmo should have a story category dedicated to the Kardashians.

I follow WDBJ7 on Facebook, and when they shared an article about how Odom was recovering and able to take a few steps after he was transferred to a Los Angeles hospital, there were a plethora of negative comments. Most of the comments fell along the lines of, “who cares?” To me, that’s an idiotic question. Just because you specifically are tired of hearing about this, doesn’t mean the rest of the world doesn’t care.

However, from the perspective of a media student, I see that this is a popular story, and popular stories get likes and views.

If you go on Google News, Lamar Odom is one of the trending topics. Although it’s not unheard of for news stations to cover stories that no one cares about, this isn’t an example of that. This is a trending topic and the people who spend the most time on the internet are interested in this.

The media’s biggest priority is to bring traffic to either their TV channel or website. Overall, they want viewers and the biggest audience possible. So of course, they’re going to cover stories that produce traffic and follow people’s interests.

Although there aren’t as many people in the New River Valley who are interested in how Odom’s doing, there is still a significant enough amount of people who do care to cover it.

For example, our campus has nearly 10,000 students. Most of which are between the ages of 18-24. In other words, we’re a campus of mostly millennials who spend a lot of time on the internet.

The New River Valley also houses Virginia Tech which has over 30,000 students, many of which are also millennials. These are the people who are interested in these kinds of stories. Odom is a prominent name in the NBA as a former Los Angeles Laker’s player, and being legally separated from a woman who is, essentially, American royalty is just the icing on the cake for this story.

To conclude, it’s fine to be 100% done with the Kardashians and anyone associated with them. However, you need to understand how the media works before you make assumptions that this is a useless story that no one actually cares about.