Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New data hint at oncoming cocaine epidemic

19.10.2006
Cocaine deaths nearly double in Florida over past 5 years

Like some drug déjà vu, cocaine use is once again on the rise among students and the rich and famous, a trend University of Florida researchers say likely signals a recurring epidemic of abuse.

Once known as the champagne of drugs, cocaine killed "Saturday Night Live" comedian John Belushi and basketball star Len Bias in the 1980s before use declined in the 1990s.

Now new data from UF and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show that since 2000 cocaine has increasingly been cited as the cause of death in coroner's reports, and that the number of cocaine deaths per 100,000 people in the state has nearly doubled in the past five years, from 150 in 2000 to nearly 300 in 2005. The steepest per capita rise in death rates was in college towns and wealthy, upper-class seaside communities, such as Melbourne, West Palm Beach and the Florida Keys.

What's happening in Florida is likely occurring coast to coast, says Mark Gold, M.D., a distinguished professor of psychiatry, neuroscience, anesthesiology and community health and family medicine at UF's College of Medicine. Gold and colleagues analyzed FDLE data gathered in Florida and presented their findings Oct. 15 at the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting in Atlanta.

"Our data is closest to real time to any data available in the United States," Gold said. "With death reports, there is no fudge factor. The other states will show the same thing: That we are in the early stages of a new cocaine epidemic that is being led by the rich and famous and students with large amounts of disposable income and that is responsible for more emergency room visits and more cocaine-related deaths than we have seen at any time since the last cocaine epidemic."

Prescription drugs, often abused for the immediate rush of euphoria they trigger, can cause sudden respiratory or cardiac arrest. In contrast, cocaine's cumulative effects - including blood vessel damage that increases the risk of heart attack or stroke over time - can unexpectedly kill years after abuse begins, Gold said.

"Cocaine gives them a feeling of incredible mastery, that they are immune to the laws of nature," said Gold, who is affiliated with UF's McKnight Brain Institute. "But it causes consequences. You can't say you are out of the risk window simply by surviving the use event. Death can come some time in the future." Cocaine temporarily induces a high but depletes the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine, which in turn triggers a craving for more of the drug. It is this "drive for the drug," he said, that makes it more likely for someone who has used cocaine once to use it a second time.

Gold and his colleagues, including Bruce Goldberger, Ph.D., a professor of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine at UF's College of Medicine, said models, artists and other celebrities addicted to cocaine have "advertised" the drug, enticing students and others with disposable income, who are now among the most frequent users.

Funding for the data analysis came from the UF Foundation's Substance Abuse Research Endowment.

UF experts said the recent spike in deaths should serve as a wake-up call, prompting more drug education in schools and communities nationwide. Gold said such interventions are necessary to avoid another full-fledged cocaine epidemic.

"Hopefully, with warning and prevention we can help users realize that this is a chronic problem without a cure and their longevity is at question," he said.

Michael Garrison | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vpha.health.ufl.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht When a fish becomes fluid
17.12.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

nachricht Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests
11.12.2018 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When a fish becomes fluid

17.12.2018 | Studies and Analyses

Progress in Super-Resolution Microscopy

17.12.2018 | Life Sciences

How electric heating could save CO2 emissions

17.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>