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Author Topic: Alcohol, prescription drugs beat illegal narcotics for most ambulance calls  (Read 5155 times)

Offline Chip (OP)

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http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/alcohol-prescription-drugs-beat-illegal-narcotics-for-most-ambulance-calls-20150816-gj07wk.html

Alcohol, prescription drugs beat illegal narcotics for most ambulance calls

Alcohol and prescription drugs including common painkillers are causing more ambulance calls in Victoria than illegal drugs such as heroin and ice, new data reveals.

Victorian paramedics attended about 45 patients a day because of alcohol in 2013-14, compared to an average of four people daily for crystal methamphetamine, the drug also known as ice.

The second most common class of drugs responsible for ambulance calls was benzodiazepines; tranquilisers commonly prescribed by doctors to relieve stress and anxiety and to help people sleep. Benzodiazepines, which include Valium and Xanax, led to about 11 calls per day.

They were followed by analgesic painkiller drugs including aspirin, ibuprofen, paracetamol, and codeine, which were responsible for about six calls per day.

Cannabis also led to about six calls per day and heroin was responsible for five.

The author of the Turning Point report, Belinda Lloyd, said that while ice had been getting a lot of attention in recent years, people should be reminded about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption and prescription drugs.
"There are significant potential health risks to the misuse of pharmaceutical drugs, whether they are prescribed by a doctor or whether they are purchased over the counter. Instructions on how to use these medications is very important to reduce harm," Associate Professor Lloyd, of Monash University, said.

While legal drugs were responsible for the most ambulance calls, ice-related emergencies jumped 27 per cent in regional Victoria from 231 in 2012-13 to 295 in 2013-14. In Melbourne, there was a 10 per cent surge, from 1116 to 1237 over the same two-year period.

Ambulance Victoria's acting general manager of emergency operations, Mick Stephenson, said ice could cause heart problems, strokes and mental health issues for users who could also be aggressive and violent towards people trying to help them.

In some cases, he said paramedics were having to sedate users to treat them.

The chairwoman of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine's public health committee, Diana Egerton-Warburton, said ice users were a challenge in hospitals, too.

She recently cared for one person who overcame physical restraints to rock the trolley he was lying on from side to side so hard that it nearly tipped over.

"It's very frightening and challenging," the emergency physician said.

However, Associate Professor Egerton-Warburton said given that alcohol was causing harm to so many people, more should be done to make it less affordable and available either through increased taxes or restrictions on where and when it could be sold.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the government was introducing a range of measures to support paramedics and health services to manage drug and alcohol-affected patients, and was spending $45.5 million on an Ice Action Plan to address increasing issues associated with the drug.

She said the government was also investing in "broad-based education campaigns about harmful drinking, and harm reduction initiatives".
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I do not condone or support any illegal activities. All information is for theoretical discussion and wonder.
All activities discussed are considered fictional and hypothetical. Information of all discussion has been derived from online research and in the spirit of personal Freedom.

Offline Narkotikon

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LOL at the Health Minister's name -- Hennessy.  Wonder if she like cognac. 

I can see them trying to implement some anti-meth stun gun for non-compliant patients.  Rather than a taser, it'd be some tranq dart setup. 
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Offline Chip (OP)

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damn that crystal - i have a love/hate relationship with it because it causes so much damage.
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Z

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Being an alcoholic completely wrecked my life.  Second in damage to friends and family was stims and coke.  Rounding out the bottom was opiates.  For the longest time i was very highly functioning and there was little detriment.  It really only got awful once i started onto cocaine again.

I found the calls for marijuana interesting.  At what point do you need an ambulance for weed???
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Offline neighbor

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yea, the cannabis and anti-depressant numbers are really surprising.

I'd like to believe that a majority of the cannabis related incidents were of the "sir, you shouldnt try to cook spaghetti in the oven" variety, but now Im curious.
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"I do not thus betray my enjoyments to the vulgar"

Offline Narkotikon

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I'm guessing the antidepressant calls were from people intentionally OD'ing, then getting Serotonin Syndrome. 

Weed calls would be funny.  I dunno though, the very first time I smoked weed I was convinced I was gonna die.  I had done shrooms and E a few months prior to trying weed, so weed wasn't my first drug.  I had never heard of anyone dying from a weed OD, but I was really naive at the time.  I just smoked too much and was freaking out.  I didn't call or anything, was just talked down off the ledge so to speak, but I can see someone really naive about drugs calling. 
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Z

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My methadone drug tests include wellbutrin now.  Apparently its a thang up here with some of the street fiends.  Highly toxic with a side of coke like rush.

I don't know any other abusable anti depressants.  Maybe trazodone, but it isnt really used as one anymore.
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Offline Narkotikon

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Some OTC 12-panel drug tests here consider tricyclics (trazodone is one) drugs of abuse.  In the little pamphlet that comes with the test, it says "while tricyclics aren't addictive themselves, they're often used by users of stimulants to help come down." 

Tricyclics aren't even used as much anymore for depression, mainly b/c they have more side-effects than newer antidepressants, and also b/c they're extremely dangerous in OD situations.  Why give a possibly suicidal, depressed person a med that could possibly kill them? 

I can see methadone patients using Wellbutrin as a last-ditch effort to speedball.  IMO it's not nearly as good as coke, but that shit will help you loose weight.  Anorexia is a prominent side-effect. 
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Offline Opus

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I've told this story before so I hope I don't sound repetetive, but someone I knew years ago was up tweaking on meth as she had been for days, and in a desire to try and come down: she swallowed a handful of prozac.

She became very delusional and thought her 4yo son was possessed, so she stabbed him to death, and then herself, and then she jumped off a 2 story balcony. She did about 15 years in prison for that; she was in bad shape before that incident, but prison did her no favors at all.

Some people will take anything, especially the young and/or naive. "Hey this is [psychoactive], maybe if I take a handful I'll feel different." I'd bet this kind of thinking gets many people hospitalized, they think 'HEY DRUGS!" but they don't think much about those drugs, just that they expect it to be a downer or something to tweak on, or something to make them feel different, which IMO is human nature and shouldn't be considered abnormal behavior, but that's another subject.

FWIW IDK how anyone can tolerate Wellbutrin - I tried that shit for smoking cessation years ago and was near suicidal for days, my girlfriend had a similar reaction. We both sat in the house for 3 days with white knuckles praying it would wear off SOON. I'll never forget that experience, it felt DARK - you seriously couldn't pay me to take that shit again.. That people abuse it baffles me, but we're all wired differently..

I think it's really true that in this context, EtOH is widely overlooked. I've abused the shit out of a lot of chemicals, but alcohol really REALLY fucked me up *bad*, and I hear other people say the same thing and I hear it a lot. It's as much of a "drug" as anything else out there, and probably more toxic than most..

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No artist tolerates reality -- Freidrich Neitzsche

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It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society -- Krishnamurti

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