Acetyl Fentanyl: Dangerous, Poorly-Named Street Drug
Aug30

Acetyl Fentanyl: Dangerous, Poorly-Named Street Drug

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a summary on a cluster of 14 deaths in Rhode Island earlier this year attributed to “acetyl fentanyl,” an analog of the potent, short-lived opioid used in pain management and outpatient anesthesia. The report, “Notes from the Field: Acetyl Fentanyl Overdose Fatalities — Rhode Island, March–May 2013,” appears in the August 30, 2013 issue of...

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The Cinnamon Challenge: On Being Charged with #Chemophobia
Apr23

The Cinnamon Challenge: On Being Charged with #Chemophobia

As many of you are likely to have heard yesterday, a paper from Steven Lipshultz, MD, at the University of Miami appeared in the journal Pediatrics detailing poison control center reports on an adolescent misadventure called The Cinnamon Challenge. The challenge: to swallow a teaspoon of cinnamon powder in 60 seconds without any liquids. The practice has been rummaging about the internet since 2001 but really took off on YouTube over...

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Criminal Poisoning Arrest at a Hometown Chemical Company
Nov29

Criminal Poisoning Arrest at a Hometown Chemical Company

Here’s a brief on a sad story I came across while trolling for news at home via northjersey.com.  A former employee at a Carlstadt chemical plant allegedly attempted to poison a coworker’s coffee with an antifreeze ingredient and sprayed acid on her coat, Carlstadt Police said. [. . .] A supervisor had allegedly observed a video of DeJesus putting methanol, commonly used in antifreeze, into a coworker’s coffee,...

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Naming Genes Unlike Named Reactions
Oct29

Naming Genes Unlike Named Reactions

Our best wishes to all of you in the Northeast getting ready for Hurricane Sandy. I understand that even DC is closed today. So if you still have power at home, let me share a bit of levity with you. Over the weekend I learned that my science writing student, Meghan Radford (@meradfor), had a clever piece published at mental_floss, the magazine and website, “where knowledge junkies get their fix.” Megan’s article...

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Smiles: 2C-I or not 2C-I?
Oct01

Smiles: 2C-I or not 2C-I?

Designer drugs in the news This is tiring enough for a science writer. I cannot imagine being in law enforcement. The pace at which psychoactive designer drugs are appearing on the street is about as challenging for me as keeping up with dietary supplement companies that adulterate their products with actual prescription drugs (an area I’ve been covering since 2007 but a practice that goes back decades.) This week’s...

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Poisons and Policy: Arsenic and Aflatoxins
Sep20

Poisons and Policy: Arsenic and Aflatoxins

In the past 24 hours, do you recall hearing anything about arsenic in rice? If you’re in the United States, the answer is very likely, “yes!” A great many pixels were spilled yesterday when Consumer Reports and the US Food and Drug Administration released — almost simultaneously — analytical data on inorganic arsenic concentrations in 200 samples of commercial rice products, particularly those grown in...

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