SEARCH

Entries in Demi Moore (3)

Monday
Jan302012

Doctor: Seizures Like Demi Moore's Seen 'Quite Often' After Smoking Spice

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Medical experts say that seizures are a frequent side effect of the use of the synthetic drug "spice," which actress Demi Moore may have been smoking before worried friends called 911 last week to report that the 49-year-old star of such movies as Ghost and G.I. Jane was having "convulsions."

Throughout the distressed 10-minute call, various callers described Moore as "shaking," "semi-conscious," and "burning up" -- all very common adverse reactions to "spice," according to Louisiana Poison Control Center Director Dr. Mark Ryan.

"Seizure and seizure-like activity has been seen quite often with those types of cannabis-like products," Ryan said.

In the tape, a female caller is heard telling the Beverly Hills, Calif., police dispatcher that Moore had "smoked something."

"It's not marijuana but it's similar to -- it's similar to incense," the unnamed woman says. "And she seems to be having convulsions of some sort."

"Incense" is an alternate name for Spice and related products. Spice and related products have often been sold as incense in packaging that says the contents are not to be ingested, but authorities say they are frequently used by teens to mimic the effects of marijuana and other drugs.

According to Ryan, what makes the synthetic drugs particularly risky is that there's "no quality control" in their production process -- spraying chemicals onto plants -- meaning some batches might affect the brain's chemistry at a more dangerous level.

"When someone buys these products, they don't know exactly what ingredient they may be getting and they don't know the amount of the substance that's in there," Ryan said. "So somebody may get one batch and get 5 mg, someone may buy the product around the corner and get 2,000 mg."

In the tape, the dispatcher is heard imploring the callers not to try to give Moore any water and to make sure to keep her airways open.

"Any time that someone's having a seizure like activity, you certainly don't want to introduce anything to their esophagus or airway," Ryan said. "You don't want them to swallow at the same time they're trying to gasp for air."

By the end of the call, Moore had calmed down and stopped convulsing, but Ryan says that's not always the case with those suffering the adverse effects of synthetic drugs, with it possible that somebody can go into a "long period of sustained seizure-like activity."

The government has pushed for synthetic drugs including "spice" and "bath salts," which were previously sold legally across the county, to be taken off the shelves. In December, the House voted 317-98 to ban over 30 of the drugs; the Senate has yet to vote on the bill. The DEA also has a temporary ban in place on five chemicals commonly used in the products.

But according to Ryan, this incident demonstrates just how widely available these drugs remain.

"It doesn't matter which socioeconomic strata that you're from, we're seeing these drugs being used across the board -- all ages, all economic groups," Ryan said. "It's beyond me, but it's still there."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan302012

Doctor: Seizures Like Demi's Seen 'Quite Often' After Smoking Spice

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Medical experts say that seizures are a frequent side effect of the use of the synthetic drug "spice," which actress Demi Moore may have been smoking before worried friends called 911 last week to report that the 49-year-old star of such movies as Ghost and G.I. Jane was having "convulsions."

Throughout the distressed 10-minute call, various callers described Moore as "shaking," "semi-conscious," and "burning up" -- all very common adverse reactions to "spice," according to Louisiana Poison Control Center Director Dr. Mark Ryan.

"Seizure and seizure-like activity has been seen quite often with those types of cannabis-like products," Ryan said.

In the tape, a female caller is heard telling the Beverly Hills, California, police dispatcher that Moore had "smoked something."

"It's not marijuana but it's similar to -- it's similar to incense," the unnamed woman says. "And she seems to be having convulsions of some sort."

"Incense" is an alternate name for Spice and related products. Spice and related products have often been sold as incense in packaging that says the contents are not to be ingested, but authorities say they are frequently used by teens to mimic the effects of marijuana and other drugs.

According to Ryan, what makes the synthetic drugs particularly risky is that there's "no quality control" in their production process -- spraying chemicals onto plants -- meaning some batches might affect the brain's chemistry at a more dangerous level.

"When someone buys these products, they don't know exactly what ingredient they may be getting and they don't know the amount of the substance that's in there," Ryan said. "So somebody may get one batch and get 5 mg, someone may buy the product around the corner and get 2,000 mg."

In the tape, the dispatcher is heard imploring the callers not to try to give Moore any water and to make sure to keep her airways open.

"Any time that someone's having a seizure-like activity, you certainly don't want to introduce anything to their esophagus or airway," Ryan said. "You don't want them to swallow at the same time they're trying to gasp for air."

By the end of the call, Moore had calmed down and stopped convulsing, but Ryan says that's not always the case with those suffering the adverse effects of synthetic drugs, with it possible that somebody can go into a "long period of sustained seizure-like activity."

The government has pushed for synthetic drugs including "spice" and "bath salts," which were previously sold legally across the county, to be taken off the shelves. In December, the House voted 317-98 to ban over 30 of the drugs; the Senate has yet to vote on the bill. The DEA also has a temporary ban in place on five chemicals commonly used in the products.

But according to Ryan, this incident demonstrates just how widely available these drugs remain.

"It doesn't matter which socioeconomic strata that you're from, we're seeing these drugs being used across the board -- all ages, all economic groups," Ryan said. "It's beyond me, but it's still there."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan272012

Whip-Its: Brief Highs, Big Dangers for Demi Moore?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Inhaled nitrous oxide, a party drug more commonly known as laughing gas, whip-its and "hippie crack," provides relatively intense, brief highs, although few people realize it also can harm, or even kill.

Despite a benign reputation for reducing users to peals of laughter, the colorless, sweet-smelling gas deprives the heart and brain of oxygen and can cause damage. Nitrous oxide use is what reportedly landed actress Demi Moore in the hospital this week, according to the website TMZ.com, which posted statements from a friend who was at the 49-year-old actress's home when she lapsed into semi-consciousness.

Moore's publicist on Thursday declined to comment beyond the statement issued earlier in the week that the actress was receiving medical treatment.

"Because of the stresses in her life right now, Demi has chosen to seek professional assistance to treat her exhaustion and improve her overall health. She looks forward to getting well and is grateful for the support of her family and friends," her rep said in an email to ABC News.

Nitrous oxide interacts with the brain's reward system to cause "out-of-body, mild, hallucinatory, euphoric-type stuff," said Dr. Terry Horton, chief of addiction medicine at Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, Del. "To some folks, that's appealing."

The buzz is fleeting, lasting just a minute or two, while "the potential dangers are many," Horton told ABC News. Although Horton wasn't involved in Moore's treatment and wasn't familiar with the specifics of her case, he said coverage of nitrous oxide's effects on Moore could underscore its dangers, or backfire "if there's a sense out there that whip-its are not going to cause problems, and this PR perpetuates that."

Nitrous oxide use can be particularly dangerous for someone who has a history of abusing drugs or alcohol, according to Denise Carise, chief clinical officer at the Phoenix House Foundation in New York. "Often, the use of one drug can lead to the use of the person's drug of choice and new problems," she said. "We don't often see fatalities or brain damage from the abuse of nitrous oxide in isolation, but it's use is often associated with drinking and other risky behavior that can cause serious problems."

Nitrous oxide has legitimate uses as a mild anesthetic and pain-reliever, an engine booster in auto racing and rocketry, and to dispense whipped cream from pressurized spray cans (which is the source of its nickname -- written whip-its, whippits or whippets). Easily accessible, relatively inexpensive and generally legal -- although many states restrict sales to minors -- nitrous oxide has escaped the bad rap of other mood-altering drugs. Sir Humphry Davy, the British chemist who discovered its anesthetic properties in 1799, reported becoming intoxicated after breathing 16 quarts of the gas for almost seven minutes. Through much of the 1800s, it remained a largely recreational drug among poets and aristocrats, and had another surge of popularity among beat generation writers and artists of the 1950s.

Today, however, nitrous oxide is largely used by teenagers and young adults who inhale it from balloons they either fill from large tanks or from pressurized cans and cylinders. Law enforcement agencies, such as the Anaheim, Calif., Police Department, have been warning parents of increasing abuse, including two cases of suicide linked to the gas in September 2010. Mental health professionals worry about its effects on youngsters' developing brains, and indications that it can be a gateway to other drugs for them. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has sought to reduce its availability by asking wholesale distributors to limit sales to legitimate users and asking retail sellers to monitor sales of canned whipped cream and whipped cream chargers, the small cylinders of nitrous oxide used in whipped cream dispensers.

Horton said that nitrous oxide's potential long-term effects include interference with vitamin B-12, which can lead to a type of anemia, as well as damage to many parts of the nervous system.

"You can hypothesize that if someone was using this chronically, and they kept doing it, they could end up with some permanent nerve damage that might affect them all the way up to their ability to think," he said.

The jury remains out about whether nitrous oxide is truly addictive. "Those who inhale the Gas once are always anxious to inhale it the second time," reads a line in an 1845 handbill promoting a "Grand Exhibition" of laughing gas effects.

Anecdotal reports indicate people "develop dependence and behavioral changes that are suggestive of addiction," Horton said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio