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Doctors Unable to Treat Certain Drug Overdoses


Posted on Dec 20, 2013

Should doctors be able to treat all drug overdoses? New stories show that physicians are often unable to treat synthetic drug overdoses.

CBS reports on the issues surrounding synthetic drug overdoses. “Toxicologists say there are so many new synthetic drugs that scientists can't identify them,” according to CBS.

CBS reports, “By some counts, there are now more than 200 different substances. Ruha's laboratory has to do the detective work so that she can treat patients who have overdosed. It sometimes takes months -- and several deaths -- before a dangerous new substance is identified and then banned by the U.S. government. By then, the dealers have changed the chemical formula to make a new drug that's legal, but by no means safe.”

One man who regularly abused synthetic drugs told CBS that he regularly bought them over the counter. The chemicals that the drugs are made of are legal in the U.S. thus people (mostly youngsters) go into any smoke shop and by the drugs over the counter.

One toxicologist told CBS, “Patients will come in, they're severely agitated, we have to put them on a ventilator, we have to heavily sedate them. And then when they recover, we will ask them what they took, they often don't know or they don't remember, and we find absolutely nothing in their system. Every few months, it seemed like we were hearing about new ones, so it's just very rapid turnover, so you just can't seem to keep up with it. Patients have absolutely said to me, I didn’t think it was a big deal. It was easy to get, it was legal and I had no idea it was going to be so addictive and so dangerous."

CBS reports on the outcome of this issue at this point, “The scientists can't keep up, and neither can the law. The police and the courts are struggling to deal with these drugs, because new substances are emerging much faster than they can be banned.”

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