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Physical Side Effects of Kronic Ketamine Use

Ketamine (also known as K or Special K) has been known to be habit-forming. Some people establish routines of repeated use and find them difficult to break. Regular users may experience distress and extreme cravings when trying to quit. Furthermore, tolerance can build up pretty quickly with frequent use. The following symptoms typically occur when people binge on ketamine or use it frequently. These symptoms are less common for those who do not use ketamine on a regular basis (approximately 2-3 times a week).

 

K Pains

Heavy use of ketamine can cause the user to experience severe abdominal pains known as “k-pains.”  The pain is caused by the inflammation of the hepatic and common bile ducts, which connect the gallbladder to the liver. K pains are often extremely agonizing. Although taking more ketamine may temporarily take away the pain, it will likely only worsen the condition in the end. Depending on the severity of the inflammation, the pain can last a few minutes or up to a few days.
If you are experiencing pains:

  • Avoid taking more  ketamine (even though it may temporarily reduce pain), or try to cut down on your use.

  • Take a warm bath (when you are sober), or place a warm cloth or hot water bottle over the painful region.

  • Try to eat some vegetables or rice (they can really help).  

  • Avoid fatty foods because one of the main functions of the gallbladder is to digest fat.

  • If they are severe and do not lessen, contact your doctor, call 911, or head to the nearest hospital.

Many users have also reported a significant decrease in side-effects by not swallowing their nasal drips after railing, which can be irritating and hard to process through the stomach and digestive system. Similarly, avoiding spicy, acidic, carbonated and otherwise 'difficult' foods can prevent discomfort. Your digestive system uses muscle contractions to move food along, and ketamine slows this process, so any irritating foods will linger for longer. This is often misunderstood to be true gallbladder-related "k-pains", because of the anaesthetic and disassociative effects of ketamine making it difficult for you to properly feel and understand the sensations of indigestion.

It does appear that the bile duct returns to normal after cessation of ketamine use, although the long term effects on the gall bladder, bile ducts, and liver are still unknown.

Bladder and Urinary Tract Irritation and Damage
Ketamine can irritate the bladder and the tubes that connect it to the kidneys and to the urethra (the hole you pee through). If the bladder becomes irritated and the user continues to take ketamine, severe and irreversible damage may occur and users may become incontinent, or unable to control their bladder. Ketamine can also injure the bladder, causing ulcers (wounds) and fibrosis (stiffening of the bladder walls and shrinkage). Ulcers may scar the bladder, making it unable to expand. This bladder shrinkage results in having to urinate more often and sometimes pain in the bladder area.  Although the bladder can heal to an extent, it will never be the same as it was before. Some people require bladder surgery or removal, and in serious cases, it can also lead to kidney damage.

The symptoms of ketamine bladder irritation/damage are:

  • Burns while taking a piss

  • Pain in genitals

  • Pain in bladder

  • Sometimes unable to urinate or takes a while to start (if you are unable to pee for several hours, go to the hospital!)

  • Blood in urine (note that this might not be obvious)

  • Unable to hold piss for long periods

  • Leaking piss

  • Mucous in piss from bladder

Sometimes people or doctors will confuse these symptoms with those of a urinary tract infection or UTI. Ketamine bladder damage and UTIs are not the same thing and should be treated differently, although they may appear at the same time.

If you are experiencing genital or bladder pains:

  • Try to not take more ketamine, or cut down on your use.

  • A warm bath (sober) may help ease genital pains.

  • Refrain from ingesting acidic, sugar-heavy, or caffeinated beverages, which may worsen the pain.

  • If you are have been experiencing symptoms for a while after you stop using, or you are experiencing a great deal of pain, you should see your doctor, call 911, or visit the emergency room. Tell them you suspect you injured your bladder from ketamine use, and they may refer you to a urologist. If your doctor or urologist needs more information about ketamine cystitis (or ketamine bladder syndrome), you can refer them to the case studies referenced here, or tell them to go to  www.ketaminebladdersydrome.com

 

Prevention

Moderation is important with Special K! If you do a lot of ketamine in a single sitting, or you use constantly for days, you are are more prone to damage. If you’re going to use K,  you need to drink water to help prevent it from irritating your insides! We recommend you drink water even when you’re not on drugs, cause water’s awesome and aids in maintaining good health! But it’s very important to remember to drink plenty of water when you’re using K, especially if you’re using a lot. Just remember to eat some food or get some electrolytes (i.e. sports drinks, though beverages with little sugar are preferable). It’s good to drink water the day after as well because K is turned into other chemicals which stay in your body until the day after you use, which may also cause irritation. If you’re sufficiently hydrated, this may aid in drug metabolism and flushing toxins from the body. If you do end up with the symptoms listed above, keep drinking water, and cutting out K would be a good idea as well (or you can risk serious life-changing damage to your body).

Cranberry juice and/or cranberry extract supplements can help minimise the chances of developing urinary tract infections (UTIs) that are common in ketamine users. However, although cranberry juice may help prevent UTIs, it has no therapeutic effect if taken after bladder irritation has occurred, and it may even trigger more pain and irritation as it is naturally very acidic.

Avoiding other foods and beverages that may irritate your bladder such as artificial sugars, chocolate, coffee, tea, soda, and fruit juices may be beneficial as well.

 

It is also very important to try to refrain from mixing ketamine with other drugs (like alcohol for instance), as this can add to the strain on your body.

 

Further Treatment

Ketamine can increase the general acidity levels in your body, and most of us already eat a diet that is off-balance towards acidity. Here is a list of foods that will help balance your pH levels (it's not always intuitive - lemons are acidic at first but don't act as an acidic food once they've been digested!).

Ketamine damages the bladder in a similar way to another condition called  interstitial cystitis.  Following the guidelines for treatment and self-help for this condition may help to varying degrees with ketamine bladder syndrome.  You can find info and links here: http://ketaminebladdersyndrome.com/KBS/Self-Help.html

You can see a urologist to treat your bladder with instillations (liquids put inside the bladder) or oral medications to help your bladder heal and make it less sensitive so you don’t have to pee so much.  If your bladder becomes severely damaged, you may need surgery to rebuild it or remove it. If you get your bladder removed, you will have to wear a bag to collect your urine. You may experience loss of sexual function as well. If you suffer kidney damage, you may need dialysis (which involves getting your blood filtered by a machine).
For more information, check out these resources:

Ketamine Bladder Syndrome: 
www.ketaminebladdersyndrome.com

One man’s personal story of K use: 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/apr/21/healthandwellbeing.drugsandalcohol


References 
Hong Kong Ketamine bladder case study http://www.hkmj.org/article_pdfs/hkm0902p53.pdf

Hong Kong K Pains case study

http://www.hkmj.org/article_pdfs/hkm0708p311.pdf

Toronto Ketamine bladder Case Study (St. Michaels hospital) 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17482909


A review of 233 cases of Ketamine use Hong Kong http://www.hkmj.org/article_pdfs/hkm1002p6.pdf

For more information on ketamine generally, check out our other TRIP resources: 
http://www.tripproject.ca/trip/?q=node/14

International Drug Overdose Awareness Day - August 31

On International Drug Overdose Awareness Day this year, two people died at Electric Zoo, an EDM festival in New York. Our thoughts are with friends and family of these victims of the drug war and we are talking with local festival organizers about what we as an organization and as a community can do in our ongoing effort to keep partiers and drug users as safe possible.

 

 

  

 

In 2011 between 102,000 and 247,000 people died from drug overdoses around the world. On August 31 take part in International Drug Overdose Awareness day and help prevent and reduce the stigma around drug related deaths.

Take Part:


- Wear silver on August 31st to show your support or pay tribute to someone you’ve lost.


Take Action & Work Towards Prevention:


Know Your Source & Start Small


Try to obtain drugs of any kind from trusted and known sources. Start with a lower dose to test that you got what you paid for. You can never be 100% sure what is in a substance. You can also contact us about purchasing an adulterant screening kit.


Try not to mix drug use with alcohol consumption or other drugs (we know, it’s tough).


Do some research on the drug before doing it. Check out the TRIP website and Erowid to find out about different drugs.


Try something new with a friend who is experienced with that substance. They can help you understand if what you are feeling is “normal.”


Read all the information that comes with your prescription medication. If you experience adverse side effects speak with your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible.


Speak with you doctor about the risks involved with mixing any prescription drugs with illegal drugs or alcohol. If you are uncomfortable speaking with someone directly you can email , tweet or text the TRIPwire (647) 822-6435 us with questions or check out ‘Here To Help’ for more information on dangerous drug combinations.


Know The Signs & Symptoms:


The signs and symptoms of an overdose are different depending on the substance. The following sites give a good overview:


Overdose Day: Overdose Basics


Trip Project: OD Prevention 101


Know Your Rights:


Depending on where you are located you may be protected from criminal prosecution if you seek emergency help for a drug overdose. These laws are known as Good Samaritan Laws. This law was famously used in New York State when Jon Bon Jovi’s daughter was rescued after suffering a Heroine overdose.


If this type of law is not in effect where you live (like in Canada for example) you can still seek help and protect yourself from legal woes:  

 

- If you're at an event, send someone to find the EMS workers onsite and send someone else to call 911. Stay with the person until help arrives, doing any first aid or CPR required that you've been trainined to do.

 

- When you call 911 you do not have to mention that the emergency is drug related. Instead you can say the victim has just stopped breathing or suffered a heart attack. Give as much information as you can about their symptoms like an estimated time of the attack or how long they’ve been passed out for.


- Put away any drug paraphernalia that you have on your bodies or out in the area.


- If the overdose victim is functioning well enough, take them outside (or even to the hallway outside of the house/apartment/venue) and wait with them for help. First responders do not need to enter a house and you are not required to let police in without a warrant.

 

Seek Harm Reduction Training:


You can learn to administer Naloxone, which helps to counteract an opiate/opioid overdose at The Works anytime they’re open or at The Central Toronto Community Health Centre on every 3rd monday of the month, 1-3pm. The training only takes 20 minutes and it could help you save a life.


CPR training is offered by St. John’s Ambulance.


Email TRIP to apply for the next volunteer training session this fall (beginning October 2!)



The Essential Point:


If you suspect an overdose, call 911 and stay with the person. Every second counts! When the Emergency Medical Staff arrive, you can tell them the specific substances taken so they can more effectively treat treat the person. Worst case scenario, legal issues are still better than death.

Recovery

Recently I spent some time in a men’s detox centre. This was my experience...

Before arriving at the detox, I spent several hours in the crisis unit of my local hospital. When I arrived in the crisis unit, they took some blood and asked me several questions about why I was there. I told them “I want to get sober”. This was not a fun experience, as there were several drunk and mentally ill people yelling and being generally disruptive all night long. I waited there for almost 5 hours before my blood work was processed and the doctor on staff came to assess if I was fit to go to a detox center. He literally just looked at me and said “i think you're okay to go.”

Unfortunately they seem to have very little respect for drug users in hospitals. I don’t recommend going to the crisis unit unless you truly are in a state of crisis. If you are in crisis, go to the emergency room of your nearest hospital. Hospitals are never a nice place to be, but at least you’ll get the help you need.

I arrived at St. Mikes detox center at about 1am. It was located on the 3rd floor of a salvation army building in a sketchy downtown Toronto neighborhood. There was a shelter, and a drop in center in the building as well. The place was dingy, and there were patches of plaster all over the walls. The bathroom smelled of urine, because people would rarely flush the urinals. At the back of the washroom were three shower stalls and a small laundry room.

 

 

A day in the detox went like this...

Breakfast was from 6am to 8 am. We would wake up, get our own breakfast which would consist of mini cereal boxes, toast, fruit and coffee. We were allowed to watch TV until the morning meeting.

At 8am we would all meet to talk about our plans for the day, and to talk about any issues or announcements the staff had to make. Some of the issues that came up in these meetings were people spitting in the kitchen sink or people leaving dirty dishes in the sink. You really didn’t have to wash your dishes, because there was a sanitizer in the kitchen. All we were really expected to do is rinse them. For some reason a bunch of grown men were unable to do even this.

After morning meeting we would have another hour to watch TV until Group at 9:00. In group, we would all talk about our recovery plans and goals for an hour. We would then be given a few more hours to watch TV until lunch was served. (people watched A LOT of TV in there)

At 12:00 lunch would be served. It would consist of ham, turkey, tuna or egg salad sandwiches on white bread, canned soup (the kind Andy Warhol made a print of), crackers and milk or juice.

After lunch, we would go about our days. Some people would go off to appointments or to the recreation center across the street. Most people would just stay in the detox and watch the telly or read.


As a queer person, my time there was stressful. Many of the men in there were incredibly chauvinistic and closed-minded. They were constantly making sexist, racist and homophobic comments. The words “bitches” and “broads” were used multiple times every day.

I’m “off the wagon” again, but I don’t feel that my time there was wasted.  While there I connected with CAMH Rainbow Services. I had to wait about 2 weeks for an assessment with CAMH addictions services; however I was able to start the first stage of the program several days after the assessment. I’ve been attending weekly meetings with other queer folks where we discuss our goals, struggles and strategies plans for recovery. After a couple more group sessions, I’ll be connected with a personal therapist to start discussing options like medication and an inpatient recovery program.

Reaching out for help is not easy, but when you’re ready it’s available.


For admission to a detox or withdrawal management program in Toronto, you can call central access toll free at 1-866-366-9513. If there are no beds available, try calling again in an hour.

If you would like to seek treatment for addiction or another mental health concern, these numbers may be helpful:


Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

416-535-8501 ext. 6885


Distress Centres of Toronto

416-408-HELP (4357)


Gerstein Crisis Centre

416-929-5200


Kids Help Phone

Toll Free 1-800-668-6868


by A TRIP volunteer

A psychedelic minute...

Check out this poem by someone in our community: 

A psychedelic minute...

"TICK TICK TICK" 
reverberates in my ears.. 
Like the fabled White Rabbit, 
a slave to my watch,
a devise to measure a man made idea. 
In one minute I,
the purveyor of the psychedelic rabbit hole, 
in true shamanistic style, 
will blast off 
by way of L.S.D.
Anxiety... 
Ever on the quest 
of who's more "gangster" 
(wifey having done 10 hits the previous night) 
this "Red eyed rider of the astral planes" 
knows knows
that I fucked up.
"20 hits,
Might've been too much." 
Thinks I... 
Totally unprepared for the journey
upon which I am about to embark.. 

"TICK TICK TICK!!!", obnoxiously the clock screams.. 
Ten minutes prior to me dosing... 
As I look to the wall clock, 
of which, 
I am now enslaved 
-for I am a time watcher-
I come to a gross realization 
that this 
-strong enough mind for mind expansion-
stoner son of a hippie, 
might've taken too much... 
Palms sweat, 
to make damp, 
that which is normally dry.. 
Ears ringing, 
My stomach developed the, 
"YOU FUCKED UP!!" 
wrenching of anxiety induced, 
"OH SHIT!!!"
"Surely the clock isn't melting already"
I think 
through confused fog.. 
Ten minutes after dosing, 
the overwhelming .
"I fucked up" washes over me... 

"TICK TICK TICK!!!" the clock's metronome annoyance... 
Eyes, 
focused tunnel vision. 
Glued to the 
(drug induced, 'not-so-normal') 
shackles of clock.. 
(for surely we are all slaves of time) 
Hour hand, 
minute hand, 
and second hand.. 
Swirled and melted, 
a mending with kaleidoscopic graphics, 
in intense visual orgasm, 
barely able to make out 
that it is midnight.. 
on the dot.. 

"TICK TICK TICK!!!" 
The timepiece's song sings.. 
"SHUT THE FUCK UP!!" my mind screams.. 
As the second hand revolves 
slowly 
around the rim 
of this now melting...
Clock...
This "White Rabbit" incarnate 
peers on... 
in a curious 
"OH MY GOD DID I FUCK UP!!!" 
Wonder.. 
Riddled with 
an ever increasing, 
candid apprehension as, 
the psychedelics 
run her course...
and... 
the second hand 
(now longer, 
than the clock is wide) 
traverses the rough terrain 
of perpetual travel 
and lands on the half way point, 
the VI... 
The depictions illustrated 
by the L.S.D. 
paint a picture in which, 
the melting clock is the focal point..

"TICK TICK TICK!!!" 
"Seconds of my life melted away, in wonton fashion", 
I think as I'm overcome.. 
As a story 
of epic proportions manifests, 
behind this 
FUCKING FRUSTRATING !!! 
melting metronome, 
my eyes remain glued, 
as though skin 
to our circulatory system.. 
The second hand swirling, 
With colors... 
And liquid emotion, 
as behind it, 
A picture appears deep, 
within it's wake.. 
Hovered precariously 
atop the IX... 
thoughts race.. 
"That's definitely not natural." 
and 
"This isn't right." 
And 
"Something is wrong." 
scroll across the wall 
like the earnings across wall street. 
"In nasdaq today, gold futures are up, and YOU'RE FUCKED UP!!!" 

"TICK TICK MOTHERFUCKING TICK!!!!!" 
As the seconds melt away, 
in an absolutely, 
literal manner, 
the clock blends, 
fluidly into the 
Psychedelic Oddyssey 
portrayed upon the wall and.. 
I'm overcome by insanity.. 

"TICK TICK TICK!!", 
"What's happening to me?" 
Fear induced thought fragments, 
Right as the sweep hand of this 
"timepiece instrument of bondage" 
renders it's first 
full revolution since gazing, 
transfixed on it, 
This White Rabbit 
receives to his ass, 
with the force of a freight train, 
A boot.. 
(the boot worn by the secrets of the universe) 
which launched this hare, 
headlong,
down the rabbit hole 
of equilibrium,
into my life altering
astral projection... 
The very last thing this 
Connoisseur of Questions Un-known, 
recognizes 
before receiving ego death, 
(the instrument of my reform) 
is the second hand, 
devoid of motion 
above the XII... 
Time stops... 
I was flung into the void.. 
Starting my first... 
and last astral projection... 
ever incurred..

- Intricate B

Be sure to like my page...
https://m.facebook.com/IntricateB?__user=515975854

 

If you've got artwork of any kind you'd like us to share, send it to us!  

N-Bombs / Smiles

25-I-NBOMe blotter 

A new pair of phenethylamine research chems have been making waves lately since their appearance in 2010 through research chemical distributors. Known casually as "N-Bombs" or "Smiles" and technically as 25-I-NBOMe / 25-C-NBOMe (or 2C-I-NBOMe / 2C-C-NBOMe respectively), these 2C-I and 2C-C relatives are potent psychedelics which are active in the microgram dose range (under 1mg). This dose range is more traditionally considered "the realm of LSD" as far as hallucinogens and psychedelics go, and with a timeline and effects set that is considered comparable in ways to LSD it's no surprise that certain areas and communities have encountered dealers presenting these unpronounceable new chemicals simply as "new acid", "synthetic mescaline", as well as the somewhat more clear "Smiles." 

The photo above shows blotter paper carrying 25-I-NBOMe, ordered in this form over the internet and obviously in a form that could be confused with LSD blotter. (Of course, DOI/DOB have also been sold on blotter as fake acid for some time now.)

Here's some background information: 25-I is generally described as more visual than 25-C and sometimes more difficult to handle, psychologically and physically. These drugs are active at less than half a miligram and often overwhelming at 1mg+. (dose especially strong intranasally, which is the route of administration that has been most linked to hospitalizations and lethal overdoses). Somewhat bitter. Definitely psychedelic in effects, can pass as acid to the inexperienced.

Fairly easy to obtain and quite cheap. Presents serious risk due to improper dosing (some users report that the same dose on the same person can have widely varying degrees of effects at different times), availability has caused many people to attempt laying blotter who probably shouldn't and miscalculate the dosage of each.

Although a fair number of people have had safe and enjoyable experiences with these chemicals, hospitalizations and deaths have been reported .  It is definitely possible to have a lethal overdose situation, at least in the case of 25-I-NBOMe, and at present there is no information available as to what the LD50 "standard toxic dosage" is for a human being.

Timeline of effects is fairly close to that of LSD, a definite advantage over the DO* series.

These psychedelic stimulants are classified as phenethylamines, and not amphetamines, therefore not subject to the Canadian Controlled Drugs & Substances Acts clause regarding analogues of amphetamine. 25-I-NBOMe is more popular and widespread than 25-C-NBOMe, hence the perceived greater danger may simply be due to more cases of the first having been tried out at all.

These chemicals are not particularly active orally and have mainly been consumed sublingually (under the tongue or against the gums), which is also the reason people have attempted intranasal ingestion which is seemingly unusual for what they may have been sold as an "LSD-like" drug. When complexed with the sugar HPbCD (hydroxy propyl beta cyclodextrin), N-Bombs can gain some oral bioavailability and greater sublingual bioavailability. (How much more is the subject of debate).

More images of 25-I-NBOMe and 2C-I-NBOMe as powder, blotter, and in other forms are available on Erowid, with new ones appearing regularly. (The drugs have also been distributed diluted into liquid.) As with any research chems, tread especially carefully if you encounter or suspect you have encountered these drugs and are considering consuming them. As previously stated, the effects can be unpredictable even when a user consumes the same amount of the same batch that they previously had, and the only real research having been done on these drugs has been "in-the-wild" user reports.

If you have any information pertaining to these drugs, especially related to Canada, feel free to contact us via info@tripproject.ca or http://www.facebook.com/tripproject or http://www.twitter.com/tripproject :)

Synthetic Cannabinoid FAQ: So Do I Smoke It?

"Spice" containing JWH-018 

 

By Eric Oulster

 

The news has exploded recently about stuff being sold that is supposedly similar to pot. For the sake of this FAQ, we’ll refer to them as ‘Synthetic Smokables’. There is little research on these substances, even by professional drug researchers and lawmakers. As a result, it can be kind of hard to find information about these drugs right now. Whether you want to try them or stay clear, that’s your own decision, but maybe we can help answer some questions you might have about them.


So what is this stuff?
Well, at its most basic, these are smokable substances sold in convenience stores and head-shops. Sometimes they are called ‘spices’, but are sold under many other names, too. They are often marketed as being something unlike a drug, such as an “incense” or “potpourri”. Despite these names, they are still sold to smoke. Synthetic Smokables often come in a professional looking package, made of plastic and with a brand name. They usually range in prices from 5-15 dollars, and some places give out samples.

Is it a chem or a herb?

Most of these drugs are chemicals that are manufactured in a laboratory setting (most likely in Asia), then shipped to Canada and the U.S. Sometimes after this, the chemicals are mixed into a material that looks like dried plant matter so that it is easier to smoke and looks more ‘earthy’. Sometimes they are sold as oils. Other times, they are sold in a powdery form. Regardless, these drugs are manufactured chemicals.

How would I do these?
So far, the two routes of administration discussed regarding these drugs are in a smokable form, and on rare occasion, in an oral form.  It is advisable to consult your source on if it is a smokable or oral version, because smoking the oral form could cause an overdose and doing an oral dose of the smoking form might not affect you.

What’s in these drugs?
There are a variety of different drugs that go into these smokables, most of them being sold fall under the category of Naphthoylindoles.

What the flying f*** is a Naphtho-whatever?
You may know some of these chemicals as being under the ‘JWH’ family. Jwh-018 and Jwh-073 are in this family. Beyond that, we don’t really have a ‘street name’ for them yet. In terms of brain chemicals, they focus on the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are also used by cannabis. This may explain why many people say the drugs feel similar to pot.

So are they legal?
Yes and no...These drugs fall into a legal grey area. You are allowed to sell the substance for research purposes if you have the proper paperwork. For human consumption, things start to get a little sketchy.
The wholesale suppliers are likely getting them 100% legally, while the people who are selling them as smokable products are probably working on loopholes. However, any substance that is supposedly “like cannabis” is supposed to be illegal for sale.
As for personal possession, we can’t say for certain if any charges could be laid - but it is important to note that most of these are still above the counter substances - even if they are only quasi-legal.

Are they going to be illegal?
There seems to be a game of cat and mouse going on between lawmakers and chemists with these substances. Once lawmakers ban a specific set of substances, chemists synthesize a similar set of chemicals that aren’t illegal and start selling them in these synthetic smokables. Chemists usually know more about chemistry than lawmakers, so as a result the chemicals in these drugs shift slightly and the product as a whole stays legal.
Another sneaky tactic some synthetic smokable dealers do is to not disclose their active ingredients on the package. It becomes really hard for lawmakers to ban a chemical or to enforce its ban when they don’t even know what it is.

Aren’t they legally obliged to say what is in their drugs?
Since a lot of these products state on the packaging “Not for human consumption”, they get away with it. Unfortunately for the user, this often means you can’t be entirely sure what is in them.

What about in the US?
The United States also seems to be playing a game of cat and mouse with chemists, but the lawmakers over there seem to be a couple steps ahead of the ones in Canada. The best advice we can give is to not bring synthetic smokables over the border! For those wishing to use in America, there are likely to be some available in the States, but they are also likely to be different from the ones available here in Canada. The same goes vice-versa: don’t bring American Synthetic Smokables into Canada.


So are these Synthetic Smokables bad for you?
There is still a lot of research going into these substances, so we can’t say for certain how neurotoxic they are. There has been one overdose resulting in death confirmed on JWH-018, and there have been reports of non-fatal overdoses occurring on Synthetic Smokables confirmed as well.

It’s important to note that this ISN’T pot though. Since these chemicals haven’t been as thoroughly researched we don’t know what kind of brain or organ damage could possibly result from regular use. We strongly recommend not trying the “smoke err’y day” route that many pot smokers choose to do with Synthetic Smokables. Play it safe and don’t go too hard.
Multiple trip reports have stated that regular use results in a decreased appetite, with multiple daily uses resulting in eating as little as one or no meals a day. If you intend to or are using this frequently, make sure you are eating well!

We also don’t have too much knowledge on the addictive potential of these drugs. Just like all other drugs, however, it is important to be aware of how much, and how often, you are using.

Can I take this stuff with any other drugs?
We have very little knowledge of mixing Synthetic Smokables with other substances. At the moment, our advice is to remember that this isn’t pot and even though it works on similar receptors in the brain, mixing it with other drugs can result in drastically different, and potentially dangerous, effects when compared to mixing pot with other drugs.
Stay Safe! Though we highly recommend not mixing Synthetic Smokables, we will suggest that if you do to at least use low dosages of both substances in order to avoid more dangerous situations that can result from a bad drug combination.

I have a question related to Synthetic Smokables that isn’t covered on this FAQ.
You can always contact the Trip!wire at (647) 822-6435 for individual questions. You can also approach your friendly neighbourhood Trip! members at our next outreach event, or reach us through Facebook at
http://www.facebook.com/tripproject/

I have information about Synthetic Smokables that I feel is important to share with you.
We’d love any additional information you have on this topic!
E-mail us at info@tripproject.ca

Bad Trips Survey

Short online survey (10 questions) about a bad trip you've had! 

www.surveymonkey.com/s/badtrips

Tell us about your bad trips, how you dealt & what you learned so we can help others! 



www.surveymonkey.com/s/badtrips

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Restorative Justice & Bill C-10

A couple of weeks ago (November 18-25) was Restorative Justice Week in Canada. This is a week Correctional Services Canada and the Canadian Government has selected to recognize the importance of and promote Restorative Justice in Canada. Restorative Justice can be defined as: finding peaceful and collaborative ways of addressing crime and resolving conflict in our society while promoting recognition of harm, voluntary participation, inclusion, safety, and facilitated dialogue. The idea of restorative justice (as it relates to the criminal justice system) is to provide a way for offenders to make amends for their crime in an effort to help them further understand the full impact and scope of how their actions have affected others in their community. The other, more common option in dealing with crime is to incarcerate the offender for a set period of time based on the seriousness of the offense at the expense of taxpayers, and quite often also to the detriment of the offender.

Restorative Justice week, which this year has the theme attached to it of ‘Diverse Needs; Unique Responses,’ comes at a time when we are in the midst of a crucial turning point in the future of the Canadian Justice System. Bill C-10, otherwise known as the Safe Streets and Communities Act was passed in March of 2012, and recently the laws targeting ‘serious’ drug crimes came into effect (on November 6, 2012). While the full scope of Bill C-10 refers to unrelated issues other than just drug crimes (such as increasing penalties for sexual offenses against children), the implications of this Bill are sure to change the face of what criminal justice looks like in Canada. Numerous aspects of this bill have been the source

Monopoly jail of much controversy since being introduced. There are many accounts during the debate of this bill of expert witnesses being cut-off from speaking mid-sentence after being given only 5 or so minutes to speak about the extremely complicated, multi-faceted issues that this bill attempts to address.  There have also been allegations of the bill not properly being inspected or researched, with certain parts of it having previously been studied and amended to fit the findings of the research, only to have these changes taken out and the bill being passed in its original, unrealistic and uncompromising state.

When holding the implications of Bill C-10 up against the spirit of Restorative Justice week, many contradictions quickly come to light. First off, the passing of the laws contained in C-10 guarantee that more Canadians (many of them youth) will be put in jail for longer terms, often for less serious (non-violent) crimes. It removes much of the leeway that judges have in using their own judgment when dealing with certain offenses by imposing mandatory minimum sentences, as well as bringing into effect harsher sentencing principles and increasing wait times before individuals can apply for pardons. These are just a few of the many implications the passing of this bills holds, all of which are directly opposed to the spirit and idea of restorative justice in Canada. The concept of restorative justice is based on the idea that the punishment for an offense should in some way relate to the crime, and if possible, should give the offender the chance to make right what they have done wrong. The nature of Bill C-10 denies this foundational principle. C-10 does not seek to rehabilitate individuals and shows very little interest in deterring crime, but instead seeks to lock more people up for longer periods of time at the expense of Canadian taxpayers. It is also important to mention that there were some changes made to the Drug Treatment Court program, and that in some ways, the changes made (for example, admitting that relapses in drug use are common and a reality of drug addiction treatment) show at least a tiny glimpse of harm-reduction attitudes seeping into legislation.

As countless studies have shown, the real way to prevent crime in any society is with prevention strategies: Outreach, education and creating opportunity for people so they are not put in a position where breaking laws and committing crimes are an attractive option. What has also been proven in many different arenas is that introducing harsher penalties and stricter sentencing guidelines does not deter anyone from breaking laws, but simply increases the number of offenders any given justice system is forced to deal with. In ignoring these simple facts, the Canadian Government is guaranteeing a bleak future for many (mainly young) Canadians who are at-risk of becoming offenders, and in the process, ignoring the very essence of what Restorative Justice Week is all about, as it fails to recognize the diverse needs of Canadian offenders while providing little or no opportunity for a unique response.

What You Should Know
Bill C-10 called for amendments to The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, among many other things. Here's what you should know:

  • ImposedMandatory Minimums mandatory minimum penalties for ‘dealers (VERY vague & broadly defined), repeat offenders or people who are carrying both drugs and weapons’ as well as anyone involved in ‘organized crime’ (organized crime being defined as a group of three or more people who commit a crime for material gain) – these are referred to in the legislation as ‘aggravating factors’.

  • Minimum two year sentences now imposed for anyone caught committing a (drug related) offense ‘in or near a school, on or near school grounds, or in or near any other public place usually frequented by persons under the age of 18’ (this could be almost ANYWHERE. Again, very vague).

  • Minimum sentence of 6 months for growing 6 marijuana plants. The intent to distribute must be proven, but distribution includes giving a small amount to or sharing a joint with a friend. This increases to 9 months if the person is renting their residence.

  • Minimum sentence of 18 months for making cannabis oil, hashish, or edible products, such as cookies or brownies,. This puts a great number of medicinal cannabis users who use these products instead of smoking at risk.

  • MDMA, a substance used in the drug "ecstasy‟ rescheduled. This makes ecstasy, a drug used predominantly by young people, a schedule 1 drug along with heroin and cocaine (increasing the penalty for possession). This also means that anyone sharing ecstasy could face automatic jail time under Bill S-10.

  • Drug "trafficking‟ includes selling, but it also includes passing, giving and sharing. This blurry line between "dealer‟ and "user‟ quickly becomes dangerous as people now defined as "dealers‟ under Bill S-10 face automatic prison time, even for a first offence.

  • The Courts may choose not to impose a mandatory sentence, if the offender completes a Drug Treatment Court (DTC) program

-    The Drug Treatment Court Program facilitates the treatment of drug offenders by providing an intensive, court-monitored alternative to incarceration. It is said that drug treatment courts have a more humane approach to addressing minor drug crimes than incarceration – read more about the DTC Program here


  • A 2002 Canadian Department of Justice report concluded that mandatory minimum sentences (MMS) are the least effective strategy in combating drug offences, and further research has shown that a greater focus on criminal enforcement to address drug crime leads to higher levels of violence in those communities

  • Mandatory-sentencing policies have produced record incarceration rates of non-violent drug users in the United States.

The repercussions of Bill C-10 are simple; people caught and charged with possession of illegal substances are now MUCH more likely to go to jail. Even first time offenders. This creates a drain on tax dollars to lock more people up for longer periods of time, but also stops each offender from contributing to society (paying taxes, community service as well as contributing in other ways such as creating art and pursuing meaningful relationships). It is also likely that a large number of these young offenders will come out of prison having become a more jaded and hardened individual who is more likely to commit another crime. Harsher penalties also discourage ‘Mom and Pop’ type shops from continuing to offend, leaving more opportunity for organized crime to take over which can lead to more violence in competition for customers/territory.

Read the entire Bill C-10 legislation here
*Thanks to the CSSDP (Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy) for some of the information listed above

Educate & Protect Yourself - Know Your Rights
It is very important to know your rights, and know your options should you run into trouble with the law. Below are some links to obtaining legal information/legal counsel in Toronto:

  • The Central Toronto Community Health Centres (168 Bathurst St.): 416-703-8482 (has a youth lawyer in every Tuesday afternoon from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM that is available on a drop-in basis for helping you sort out your legal troubles.)
  • Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) www.cleo.on.ca (provides online information and materials about legal rights in many areas i.e. youth justice, immigration, language, social assistance, employment, health)
  • Justice for Children and Youth: 1-866-999-5239 | www.jfcy.org (offers summary legal advice, information and assistance to young people, legal representation for low income youth in conflict with legal, educational, social service or mental health systems, among other things)
  • Ontario Women’s Justice Network (OWJN): www.owjn.org (online information for women and youth on the law)
  • Downtown Legal Services: 416-934-4535 (For assistance with criminal matters among other things)

    Time does not stop crime

AIDS 2012 Conference Review

AIDS 2012 banner
Surving, Stories & Stigma
I came to Washington for AIDS 2012 hoping to learn from the many sessions as well as meet other's who have joined the global effort to end HIV/AIDS. While I was exposed to a diversity of panels and sessions from around the globe showcasing the hard work of individuals from all walks of life that have inspired me to continue to be an advocate, what touched me the most were the personal stories that I found throughout the conference. Stories of love, of life, and of birth, and of death. Stories of health and illness, and so many stories of survival. Some stories were accompanied by photographs or art , some were in movies screened in the Global Village. Others were not accompanied by any imagery. The words laid bare yet ever still so powerful.

As I stopped to read these stories and consider them each individually, a noticed a theme among them that I could not ignore. While many people living with HIV or AIDS continued to live productive lives, engaging in a number projects and working relentlessly in their communities, I was troubled by re occurring commonalities- discrimination, isolation, and stigma. As it was well put in the Thursday performance Music and Musings from the Life of a 27 year Survivor, many of the everyday social barriers that people living with HIV/AIDS face constitute “components for an extremely lonely existence”.

I could not help but wonder why it was that as we joined hands during this one week in Washington, making promises not only to ourselves, but to future generations, that loneliness from isolation due to social discrimination still pervaded the daily experiences of positive peoples. And for this reason I believe that we must continue in our efforts to develop not only more scientific advancements, but also engage the media in providing more educational messages concerning HIV/AIDS while highlighting the very really harms of stigma. We must make it up to personally each and every one of us to de-mystify and lessen the fears associated with HIV/AIDS.

By coupling scientific with social goals that promote equity, acceptance and compassion, we can foster a sense of community that has the potential to take us above and beyond. From the depth of my heart, I want to thank all of those who shared or contributed in the sharing of stories that have greatly changed my perspective.
 
-- Yamina Sara Chekroun (YouthRISE worker, former TRIP! Outreach Worker)  
 
 
Yamina Sara presenting TRIP! at AIDS 2012 
Yamina Sara Chekroun presenting at AIDS 2012 Conference
 
From the youthAIDS2012 website
Youth Force Declaration for Change
Youth Force Declaration for Change infographic 
 
Top 10 ideas
All young people have the right to sexual and reproductive health services that are accessible, available, safe, affordable, quality-approved, youth-friendly and adapted to their specific needs.

Meaningful youth participation at all levels of decision-making is crucial in the development of effective SRHR and HIV programmes; participation must include not only those with resources but also those on the ground levels.

We demand ACCESS to youth-friendly prevention, treatment, care and support services for all young people, including young people living with HIV, so that our right to the highest attainable standard of health may be achieved.

Comprehensive and appropriate information about HIV should be accessible to all young people including those with disabilities, in & out of schools, migrants & those living in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.

We demand increased funding for research that focuses on HIV among young people addressing not only prevalence rates but also lifestyles and behavioral patterns, risk factors and other areas needed for HIV response.

Increase ACCESS to financial & technical support that strengthens youth organizations and youth led initiatives to increase our impact in the HIV response, by creating mechanisms that assure money transfers down to the ground.

We demand universal access to sexual and reproductive health integrated services that includes the specific needs of women and girls, respecting their human rights and an emphasis on equity and respect for diversity.

Eliminate social, cultural and political barriers in accessing health services among young people by making interventions gender and age-responsive, rights-based, and sexual orientation and gender identity-inclusive.

We demand more support for capacity building programs that empower youth and enable them to participate effectively in policy making especially concerning areas that affect them like environment, health and rights.

We demand PROTECTION by the law. We must not be criminalized because of our sexual orientation and gender identity, drug use, HIV status, disability and/or sex work.

You can check out all the ideas and more information on the project site.

RC Watch vol 1, issue 2 // What RCs has Toronto seen the most of so far?

 
(Check out our previous introductory post on research chems for more background info.)
 
Here's a list of some of the trends we've seen to date in Toronto, but we're going to keep you posted on what we know is happening with Research chems locally.  If you have any questions about RCs that you'd like to know more about, or if you have noticed any emerging RC trends, please get in touch with us at info@tripproject.ca or by approaching any of our volunteers.
 
MDPV (Methylenedioxypyrovalerone)
aka "super coke"
Despite the nickname, this substance is chemically unrelated to cocaine and produces significantly different effects: it is a (much) longer-term stimulant that is better compared to speed.  While the branding helped initial sales of this substance, many users who experimented with it based on liking cocaine found themselves experiencing negative effects (generally due to the length and strong emotional levels of the high).  MDPV is a common ingredient in “bath salts” formulations sold online and via head shops.  As with any stimulant, prolonged and repeated use can result in users staying up for days in a row, potentially impairing cognitive judgement and producing delusional and paranoid mental states, i.e. psychosis. 
 
MCAT (Mephedrone)
aka "max volume" (local), "meow meow" (UK)
Mephedrone was developed in the UK and distributed quite cheaply, quickly gaining popularity amongst youth at a time when more common drugs like E became increasingly scarce.  Use has declined as more and more negative side-effects are reported, including decreased sexual ability in males, apparently high abuse potential and (in the case of some heavier chronic users) health problems including vasoconstriction leading to vein collapse.  Media scare reports in the UK and underground anti-Mephedrone campaigns emerged as use spread, it became increasingly uncool to be known as a user of the drug, and laws were tightened.  Chemical manufacturing companies marketing RCs in the UK have since made a point of pricing their new substances (like MXE) much higher so as to avoid the same explosion of underage use and the negative media attention that was associated with it.
 
2C* (2C-B, 2C-I, 2C-E and related molecules, as well as 2C-T-2, 2C-T-7, etc)
While these substances have existed for decades, being first synthesized and described by Alexander Shulgin in PiHKAL in the 1970/80s, they have had much more limited distribution and use until quite recently.  Now these phenethylamine psychedelics have began appearing in place of MDMA/E and in some cases LSD (not on blotter, which isn't large enough to contain an active amount of these substances, but in small microdot pills).  This is despite the fact that the effects differ quite a bit from MDMA/MDA - these psychedelics tend to be longer-lasting, more hallucinogenic, less euphoric, less empathogenic, more physically uncomfortable, more anxiety-producing and more likely to produce introverted states in social situations.
 
Important to note is that the 2C*s are much more potent than MDMA, especially when snorted, and anyone who is used to snorting MDMA or E pills should be very cautious with new batches because of the chance of an unpleasantly strong psychedelic trip if they have actually been given 2C*s.
As well, the related but separate 2C-T-* group has a particular warning attached to it, as 2C-T-7 has been linked to accidental lethal overdoses in experimental users (even ones who knew exactly what they were consuming), especially in those users who have been snorting rather than eating the drugs. More information can be found at http://www.erowid.org/ask/ask.php?ID=2175 (this link is over a decade old, so doesn't discuss many of the newer RCs).
 
MXE (Methoxetamine)
MXE is a ketamine derivative that was developed in the UK in 2010 with the specific intent of being distributed on the "grey market" in place of K, which was facing stiffer and stiffer legal controls in many countries.  Although many users experimenting with MXE have sought it out based on the hope that it is similar to K, most users report the effects as being more comparable to opiates.
It has been advertised as being "bladder friendly" and was designed in an attempt to avoid the bladder damage issues that have been reported by heavy, chronic ketamine users.  Being sold in the wake of the UK's mephedrone wave, distribution was originally done at a higher price than necessary in order to limit the speed at which the substance spread.  Despite the initial promise of "a safer ketamine," overdose deaths have since been reported and lawmakers are quickly moving to enact bans on the substance.  Russia and Switzerland have banned MXE since late 2011, and the UK rushed through a temporary ban while they wait to get around to discussing a permanent ban.  In Canada, MXE may be considered illegal based on PCP analogue laws - updates on this as we learn them.
 
PMA/PMMA (para-Methoxyamphetamine/para-Methoxymethamphetamine)
Two related but different amphetamine-class drugs, PMA and PMMA have increasingly appeared in place of E/MDMA and (in the case of PMA) LSD.
PMA acts as a psychedelic without being particularly stimulating or euphoric.  PMMA, instead, acts primarily as a stimulant.  Both have been linked to numerous overdose deaths, including PMMA in early 2012 in Western Canadian provinces where it was sold as pressed "ecstasy" pills.
The dangers related to PMA/PMMA are for two different primary reasons.  In the case of PMA, the substance acts as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), a substance which increases the potency and toxicity of many other drugs and even certain foods.  When PMA and MDMA are taken together (just like when any MAOI and MDMA are taken together), the risk of serotonin syndrome can be increased.
PMMA, on the other hand, acts as a physical stimulant which can raise a user's blood pressure and heart rate.  These effects can occur at doses lower than the other psychoactive effects, and so users who think they are taking normal ecstasy will assume that their pill is just "weak"/"bunk" and increase their dose. The overdose threshold for PMMA is lower than for MDMA, and users can reach the point of a dangerous stimulant overdose before they realize that they have taken anything unusual. As this is a particular health concern in Canada right now, be extra cautious about E and MDMA - test your pills and never re-dose because something seems too weak (who wants to double up on something that's crap anyway, right??). If you feel really sick after dosing & none of the normal tricks work (take a break, drink some water or something with electrolites, use the washroom, lie down, etc.) think about heading to the ER. 
 
AMT (Alpha-Methyltryptamine)
AMT is a psychedelic stimulant of the tryptamine family that is not typically found in place of other drugs.  However, as it is often described as having a particularly unique set of effects, it has achieved a fair level of popularity on its own. While not extremely common, it is definitely more common than many other experimental psychedelics. First developed in the 1960s, it experienced a boost in popularity beginning in the '90s as commercial chemical supply distribution became more widespread. AMT currently remains legal in most countries, including Canada.
 
BZP (Benzylpiperazine)
A euphoric stimulant which has been marketed under "legal high"/"ecstasy alternative" brands, BZP is now banned in a handful of countries but remains legal in Canada. Although no deaths have been reported from BZP alone, deaths have been reported in people consuming BZP and MDMA together, however BZP could not be identified as a direct cause in those cases. Nonetheless, the list of negative side-effects is substantial:
 
[Patients with mild to moderate toxicity experienced symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, palpitations, dystonia, and urinary retention. Significantly, fourteen toxic seizures were recorded with two patients suffering life-threatening toxicity with status epilepticus and severe respiratory and metabolic acidosis. It was concluded that BZP appears to induce toxic seizures in neurologically normal subjects. The results of this study and others like it showed that BZP can cause unpredictable and serious toxicity in some individuals, but the data and dosage collection were reliant on self reporting by drug users, which may result in under-reporting, and there were complicating factors like the frequent presence of alcohol and other drugs.]
The above information came from a study in Christchurch, New Zealand: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzylpiperazine 
 

 
How are we supposed to go forward from here with the possibility that any street drug could contain something we haven't even heard of yet?
 
The same old approach still holds true in this new situation:
Know yourself, know your substance and know your source!
 
Knowing yourself: Recognize when the effects of something you've taken don't match what they should. Try to familiarize yourself with information aobut RCs that you could possibly encounter and know what effects to be looking out for.
 
Knowing your substance: TEST!!! If at all possible, test every batch with a testing kit. While testing kits used to only identify a small handful of major substances, there are now kits which can detect many dozens of different things, ranging from illegal drugs to unusual RCs to major pharmaceuticals.
 
Contact TRIP! for more information on testing, and also take a look at the DanceSafe , EZ Test  and Bunk Police  websites. If you absolutely can't get something tested, you should still learn to be as skilled as possible at assessing your drugs by appearance, taste and other means (the common ketamine 'burn test' is a good example of another testing method).
 
Knowing your source: Part of this also means knowing that your source may be honest with you but still not realize that they were sold something weird. While most dealers won't be willing to tell you in-depth information about their own sources, you should try to get a sense of whether they have extremely reliable and consistent links or whether they switch suppliers and are kind of hit-or-miss every time they pick up.
 
Likewise, if you're getting RCs from a chemical supply company, realize that not all companies are the same - many of the less legitimate ones will sell impure products, poorly-made products, or even sell totally mislabelled products when they've run out.  Get as many reviews as you can, make sure that online reviews aren't just spam put out by the company, and try to get a sense of whether the company really distributes large amounts for research purposes or is just some random person in a basement somewhere. 
 
(Check out our previous introductory post on research chems for more background info.) 
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