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Peer-reviewed work under discussion includes topics related to substance abuse, neuropharmacology and cognitive neuroscience.

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  • May 15, 2012
  • 12:25 PM

Methylone, or beta-keto-MDMA, also causes fatality

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

A series of 3 Cases of fatality wherein methylone consumption was found causal by the Medical Examiner... Read more »

Julia M. Pearson, Tiffanie L. Hargraves, Laura S. Hair, Charles J. Massucci, C. Clinton Frazee III, Uttam Garg, & B. Robert Pietak. (2012) Case Report: Three Fatal Intoxications Due to Methylone . Journal of Analytical Toxicology. info:/

  • August 19, 2011
  • 04:36 PM

Racial Disparity in NIH Grants: Priority Scores

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, my NIH-focused Reader, you will have heard of the explosive findings of Ginther et al (2011) who reported on an analysis of racial and ethnic disparity in the review and funding of NIH grant applications.

There is a lot to discuss about these findings. A LOT. Well beyond the scope of one or even six blog posts. Commentary from the Office of Extramural Research, the NIMH and the Chronicle of Higher Education are worthwhile reads and there is a bit on Na........ Read more »

Ginther, D., Schaffer, W., Schnell, J., Masimore, B., Liu, F., Haak, L., & Kington, R. (2011) Race, Ethnicity, and NIH Research Awards. Science, 333(6045), 1015-1019. DOI: 10.1126/science.1196783  

  • August 18, 2011
  • 03:47 PM

Active metabolites of JWH-018 may contribute to effects of K2/Spice, etc.

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

A recent paper from Brents et al. (PubMed) presents the data that we've been hearing about for the past several months. I think leigh of the Neurodynamics blog (see posts on THC and cannabimimetic/JWH-018 pharmacology), may have been the first to report seeing these data at a meeting and then I ran across them at CPDD this past June.

As many of you are fully aware by now, the past couple years has witnessed the emergence of broad popular use of "synthetic marijuana" or cannabimimetic products........ Read more »

  • June 7, 2011
  • 07:57 PM

Do epidemiological data on exercise and substance abuse support prescriptions for prevention?

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

A Twitt from the Foundation for Alcohol Research (@AlcoholResearch) today struck my attention. It sounded to me like the usual slippery slope of creating human health prescriptions from limited scientific findings.
Teen athletes may drink more, but smoke less & use fewer drugs. How do you lessen your teen's risk? http://bit.ly/mysWna

The link is to their newsletter which overviews a paper by Terry-McElrath and O'Malley, currently in pre-print at Addiction. The overview is pretty straightforward........ Read more »

  • April 29, 2011
  • 03:53 PM

On discovering new medicines

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

A link from writedit pointed me to a review of drugs that were approved in the US with an eye to how they were identified. Swinney and Anthony (2011) identified 259 agents that were approved by the US FDA between 1999 and 2008. They then identified 75 which were "first in class", i.e., not just [...]... Read more »

Swinney, D., & Anthony, J. (2011) How were new medicines discovered?. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 10(7), 507-519. DOI: 10.1038/nrd3480  

  • February 23, 2011
  • 06:28 PM

R.I.P. Charles Robert Schuster, Ph.D.

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

An towering figure of the substance abuse research fields has passed away. According to a note posted to an ASPET mailing list, Charles Robert Schuster, Ph.D. suffered a fatal stroke on Feb 21 in Houston Texas. NIDA Director Nora Volkow has also posted a notice to the NIDA-grantees mailing list.

The CPDD biography of Dr. Schuster is a brief overview of his career.
After six years in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan, he joined the Departments of Psychiatry, Pharmaco........ Read more »

  • September 30, 2010
  • 08:33 PM

Recreational Mephedrone Brief (09/30/10)

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

Mephedrone, or 4-methylmethcathinone, is a recreational drug that got very popular in the UK in recent years, no doubt due to it being legal to sell and possess up until April of this year. There is not a tremendous amount known about the pharmacology of this drug at present, however we can deduce quite a [...]... Read more »

Sammler EM, Foley PL, Lauder GD, Wilson SJ, Goudie AR, & O'Riordan JI. (2010) A harmless high?. Lancet, 376(9742), 742. PMID: 20801405  

  • September 19, 2010
  • 01:59 PM

Mephedrone (4-Methylmethcathinone) appearing in "Ecstasy" in the Netherlands

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

A crash in the MDMA market filled by 4-MMC?... Read more »

Brunt TM, Poortman A, Niesink RJ, & van den Brink W. (2010) Instability of the ecstasy market and a new kid on the block: mephedrone. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England). PMID: 20826554  

  • August 18, 2010
  • 03:46 PM

Recreational Mephedrone Brief (8/18/10)

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

sourceThe recreational drug 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC; aka mephedrone, MMCAT) was legal in the UK up until mid April of this year. I had previously covered the only work in a behaving animal model that I could find, a paper using drug-discrimination techniques to evaluate the discriminative stimulus (aka, subjective) properties of several cathinone derivative compounds (but [...]... Read more »

  • July 24, 2010
  • 12:55 AM

MDMA for PTSD: The first peer-reviewed clinical trial report

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

My readers will recall that I have blogged now and again about ongoing efforts to get 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), the psychoactive compound preferentially sought as Ecstasy in recreational users, approved as a medication to be used in psychotherapy. The initial attempts have focused on the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is a seriously debilitating condition and we may not have sufficient resources and knowledge to deal with, e.g., an anticipated uptick due to the........ Read more »

  • April 16, 2010
  • 05:58 PM

Don't t-a-a-a-a-a-a-aze me bro!

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

sourceA report in Popular Science (authored by Jeremy Hsu) points to a recent paper published in Academic Emergency Medicine. In this, Dawes and colleagues report on an investigation on the effects of TASER on sheep intoxicated with methamphetamine (MA). I was alerted to this by Damn Good Technician who wanted a little bit of context for what would seem to be a WTF? kind of study.

The study was conducted in Dorset sheep who were anesthetized, and administered 0, 0.5, 1.0 or 1.5 mg/kg of metha........ Read more »

Dawes DM, Ho JD, Cole JB, Reardon RF, Lundin EJ, Terwey KS, Falvey DG, & Miner JR. (2010) Effect of an electronic control device exposure on a methamphetamine-intoxicated animal model. Academic emergency medicine : official journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, 17(4), 436-43. PMID: 20370784  

  • April 14, 2010
  • 10:49 AM

Impaired or improved driving in abstinent Ecstasy users?

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

A recent paper set out to examine automobile driving skills in people who had previously used Ecstasy (presumptively 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine; MDMA) but were currently not using. Dastrup and colleagues (2010) used a driving simulator task in which the job was to maintain a set distance behind a lead vehicle (LV) displayed on the computer screen. The job was to stay abut two car lengths (given as 18 meters) behind the LV while accelerating to 55mph. My Google U conversion calculation m........ Read more »

Dastrup, E., Lees, M., Bechara, A., Dawson, J., & Rizzo, M. (2010) Risky car following in abstinent users of MDMA. Accident Analysis , 42(3), 867-873. DOI: 10.1016/j.aap.2009.04.015  

  • March 15, 2010
  • 10:52 PM

Discriminating Cathinone Analogs

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

sourceMy Google news alert for MDMA, Ecstasy and the like has been turning up references to a cathinone analog called variously 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC), mephedrone (2-methylamino-1-p-tolylpropan-1-one), Meow-Meow, MMCAT and a few other things. There has been one fatality attributed* to 4-MMC that I can find and a few bits of seized-drug analysis confirming that the stuff is indeed being used. A quick scan over at PubMed finds little reported on the effects of this compound in animal models........ Read more »

  • January 28, 2010
  • 07:13 PM

Cannabis Hyperemesis

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

Most of my readers are aware of the growing head of steam being perked up by the medical marijuana movement (and that I think it is a Trojan Horse for recreational consumption). I have also described how perceptions of the harms associated with cannabis are associated with population level use. This suggests to me that it is important to identify adverse health consequences of cannabis smoking ranging from oral health complications to paradoxical potentiation of Ecstasy-induced hyperthermia, to ........ Read more »

  • January 15, 2010
  • 05:44 PM

Is it a substance use disorder or is he a substance abuser?

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

This is awesome. I've been waiting for the paper to show up ever since I saw the poster presentation at a meeting last year. Or maybe I just saw a related type of poster because I seem to recall the analysis being particularly critical of general medical doctors? At any rate, this is a pretty important finding because it speaks to the stigma that surrounds certain types of medical problems. This stigma might have serious implications for judicial decision making when crimes are involved, persona........ Read more »

  • December 23, 2009
  • 05:53 AM

In which I serve up a big fattie for my self-perceived critics

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

There is an interesting paper that I just ran across which will possibly please a certain segment of my audience. You see, it provides a bit of a test of the hypothesis frequently bandied by my commenters that anti-drug messages backfire. That if you tell adolescents all sorts of bad things are going to happen to them if they try an illicit drug once, and it doesn't happen, somehow you are actually encouraging them to try the drug again. This general area is an occasional interest of mine and yo........ Read more »

Skenderian, J., Siegel, J., Crano, W., Alvaro, E., & Lac, A. (2008) Expectancy change and adolescents' intentions to use marijuana. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 22(4), 563-569. DOI: 10.1037/a0013020  

  • October 7, 2009
  • 11:29 AM

Longitudinal analysis of street Ecstasy content

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

A topic that arises every now and again, particularly when I am discussing Ecstasy-related medical emergency and death, is the nature of the psychoactive ingredients in Ecstasy tablets. For definitional purposes, I consider 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) to be what is considered by the vast majority of consumers to be canonical "Ecstasy".

It is reasonably well-established in the peer reviewed literature and the ecstasydata.org harm reduction effort that some fraction of Ecstasy that ........ Read more »

Vogels, N., Brunt, T., Rigter, S., van Dijk, P., Vervaeke, H., & Niesink, R. (2009) Content of ecstasy in the Netherlands: 1993-2008. Addiction. DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02707.x  

  • October 6, 2009
  • 07:40 AM

Vaccination against cocaine: Incremental advance

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

I last broached the topic of immunization against drug use some time ago and I concentrated more on the ethical implications of vaccinating. I was being ever so slightly disingenuous because the current state of progress is not such that we need to consider such questions as:
Would you recommend it broad-spectrum for all children much like MMR?
Would you recommend parents be permitted to subject their drug abusing teen against his or her will?
Allow the courts to mandate inoculation?
Suppose it ........ Read more »

Killian A, Bonese K, Rothberg RM, Wainer BH, & Schuster CR. (1978) Effects of passive immunization against morphine on heroin self-administration. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior, 9(3), 347-52. PMID: 101989  

Carrera, M., Ashley, J., Parsons, L., Wirsching, P., Koob, G., & Janda, K. (1995) Suppression of psychoactive effects of cocaine by active immunization. Nature, 378(6558), 727-730. DOI: 10.1038/378727a0  

Bridget A. Martell, MD, MA, Frank M. Orson, MD, James Poling, PhD, Ellen Mitchell, RN, Roger D. Rossen, MD, Tracie Gardner, PhD, & Thomas R. Kosten, MD. (2009) Cocaine Vaccine for the Treatment of Cocaine Dependence in Methadone-Maintained Patients: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Efficacy Trial. ARCH GEN PSYCHIATRY, 66(10), 1116-1123. info:/

  • September 9, 2009
  • 04:36 PM

Diagnostic Criteria for MDMA abuse and dependence

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

A recent paper on the test / re-test reliability of diagnostic criteria for MDMA abuse and dependence is fascinating. Foremost because the nature of substance abuse is always a fun topic for discussion when you are dealing with a compound which the users argue so strenuously is perfectly benign. Even more so because the advocacy position tends to put a finer point on the argument about just how to draw lines between ordered and disordered behavior within what is very likely a continuous distribu........ Read more »

  • August 25, 2009
  • 05:59 PM

Noncaloric sweeteners might not be the solution either

by bikemonkey in DrugMonkey

The American Heart Associations recommendation to cut down on dietary sugar is all over the news. Discussion of this by Isis the Scientist triggered a comment from Callinectes :

Someone reading this may therefore assume diet drinks with Aspartame, Splenda, etc. may be okay because it's 0 calories and added "sugar". Can anyone comment authoritatively on this? The way I see it, it's still just empty calories and not very good for you when consumed regularly on a weekly or (heaven forbid) daily ........ Read more »

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