Connect with us

Articles

Methamphetamine and fentanyl use soaring across US, major urine sample study shows

Published

on

methamphetamine and fentanyl use soaring across the US

A study published last week by the JAMA Network Open journal revealed that use of methamphetamine and synthetic opioid fentanyl are soaring across the US.

Researchers from Millennium Health in San Diego analysed more than one million urine drug tests for the paper, finding that the two deadly drugs are often being used together in potentially lethal ways.

The test results, which were provided for the most part from clinics dealing with primary care, pain management or substance abuse disorders, revealed that the number urine samples testing positive for methamphetamine rose from about 1.4% in 2013 to around 8.4% last year.

For fentanyl, positive test results more than quadrupled over the same period, rising from just over 1% of samples in 2013 to nearer 5% last year.

Perhaps most worryingly, the research showed that the number tests that showed users had been abusing both substances rocketed almost 14-fold over the study period.

The results suggest methamphetamine-related overdose deaths may continue to increase, the researchers behind the paper said.

Bob Twillman, primary author of the study, commented: “While it is encouraging that drug overdose deaths are projected to decrease for the first time since 1990, we cannot get too comfortable in thinking that our nation’s substance abuse crisis is going away.

“The accelerating rate with which [urine drug test] results are positive for methamphetamine is concerning for several reasons including the severe acute and long-term health consequences for the user, and that there is no specific antidote, nor any FDA-approved medications indicated for the treatment of methamphetamine use disorder.”

The researchers said the results of the study could help policymakers reverse the alarming nationwide increase in the use of methamphetamine and rise in stimulant-related overdose deaths.

“Our ability to provide real-time [urine drug test] data regarding positivity for illicit and prescription drug use provides an important and valuable resource for clinicians, patients, and public health officials,” commented Angela Huskey, Chief Clinical Officer at Millennium Health.

Earlier this month, it was reported that researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine had discovered that US opioid addicts who also use methamphetamine may find quitting far more difficult.

In December, the New York Times reported that  provisional data from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention had revealed that the number of overdose deaths linked to methamphetamine last year reached about 13,000, more than two times as many as were recorded in 2015.

While that figure is far below the number of overall opioid deaths, data shows that methamphetamine-related overdose deaths are rising, while opioid-linked fatalities have flattened out.

Continue Reading

Articles

Scammers the world over are exploiting public fears over the coronavirus outbreak

Published

on

exploiting public fears over the deadly coronavirus outbreak

Scammers across the globe are looking to profit from public fears over the coronavirus outbreak, with reports across the world highlighting how fraudsters seek to profit from the panic created by major disease outbreaks.

On Wednesday, Kyodo News reported that authorities in China have seized more than 31 million counterfeit or substandard face masks as members of the public clamour for such products amid a countrywide shortage.

China’s Ministry of Public Safety said police in the country have dealt with 688 cases involving the manufacture and sale of fake and substandard protective materials, arresting over 1,560 people while doing so.

China’s state-backed Xinhua news agency quotes the ministry as saying that as of Monday, law enforcement officers across the country had dealt with some 22,000 criminal cases related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Addressing a press conference in Beijing today, Vice Minister Du Hangwei revealed that a total of 4,260 suspects have been detained in relation to these alleged offences.

On Sunday, the UK’s People newspaper revealed that phishing scammers are sending elderly and vulnerable British citizens emails that purport to be from the country’s National Health Service in which they demand a payment of £169.99 ($216) for access to “rapid and effective treatment” for the disease.

Elsewhere, Business Insider reports that Facebook has announced that it will take down bogus adverts that guarantee a cure, create a sense of urgency or otherwise attempt to profit from the virus.

In a statement, the company said: “In the weeks after the World Health Organisation’s declared a public health emergency, Facebook is working to support their work in multiple ways, including taking steps to stop ads for products that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention.

“For example, ads with claims like face masks are 100% guaranteed to prevent the spread of the virus will not be allowed.”

In January, NutraIngredients-USA revealed that the US Natural Products Association (NPA) had asked federal authorities to monitor dietary supplement companies that claim their products can be used to treat the coronavirus.

NPA President and CEO Daniel Fabricant commented: “We have been in touch with some of the ecommerce organisations.

“We are urging them to take a look at how marketers that sell on their sites are tagging products.”

Earlier in February, the US Federal Tarde Commission warned that fraudsters are seeking to take advantage of fears surrounding the disease by setting up websites to sell bogus products.

Continue Reading

Articles

Petition calling for Pornhub to be closed down for hosting videos of sex trafficking victims and children passes 300,000 signatures

Published

on

petition calling for Pornhub to be closed down

A petition on Change.org calling for adult website Pornhub to be closed down after it hosted videos featuring sex trafficking victims and child sexual exploitation has attracted more than 300,000 signatures.

Launched by US women’s rights group Exodus Cry, which works to end commercial sexual exploitation, the petition labels Pornhub a “super-predator”, and calls for the website’s executives to be held to account.

The petition cites the case of the mother of a missing 15-year-old girl who discovered that videos featuring the rape and sexual assault of her daughter had been uploaded to Pornhub.

The girl’s trafficker, Christopher Johnson, who can be seen in the films raping the teenager, was arrested in Florida when police matched his appearance in some of the videos and linked it with 7-11 CCTV footage.

In its petition description, Exodus Cry also highlights the case of the owners of adult websites GirlsDoPorn and GirlsDoToys, who were charged with sex trafficking offences after they allegedly tricked young woman into appearing in pornographic films that were uploaded to Pornhub.

Last month, a judge in San Diego awarded nearly $13 million to 22 women who said they were tricked into performing in adult films by GirlsDoPorn owners Michael James Pratt and Matthew Isaac Wolfe.

Noting that one of the most-searched terms on Pornhub is “teen” pornography, Exodus Cry writes in its petition description: “Pornhub is complicit in the trafficking of these women and minors and probably thousands more like them.

“Pornhub is generating millions in advertising and membership revenue with 42 billion visits and six million videos uploaded per year.

“Yet it has no system in place to verify reliably the age or consent of those featured in the pornographic content it hosts and profits from.”

In a statement issued to the UK’s Daily Star, a Pornhub spokesperson said: “In the cases of Christopher Johnson and GirlsDoPorn, the unauthorised, illegal videos were removed from our platform as soon as we were made aware of them, and Pornhub has been assisting law enforcement and legal counsel with both of these investigations.”

Earlier this month, the BBC reported on the story of a woman who was forced to contact Pornhub after it hosted a video of her being raped when she was aged just 14.

Noting that videos of the attack had been posted on the website with titles such as “teen crying and getting slapped around”, Rose Kalemba explained how she emailed the company several times over a period of six months in 2009 to ask for the videos to be taken down, making clear that they depicted het being assaulted as a minor.

The videos were only removed when Kalemba contacted Pornhub posing as a lawyer.

Continue Reading

Articles

UK ticket touts who fleeced Harry Potter and Ed Sheeran fans caged for six and a half years

Published

on

UK ticket touts who fleeced Harry Potter and Ed Sheeran fans

Two British ticket touts who made millions of pounds by ripping off fans of Harry Potter, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift were yesterday jailed for a total of six and a half years following a trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Peter Hunter, 51, was handed a four-year jail term while David Thomas Smith, 66, was sentenced to 30 months behind bars after the pair were found guilty of fraudulently and dishonestly buying and reselling tickets for high-profile music and entertainment events.

Hunter and Smith are said to have raked in at least £11 million ($14.1 million) while running their BZZ Limited company, through which they purchased and sold on hundreds of tickets at hugely inflated prices to fans desperate to see their favourite artists and shows.

The pair, who were found guilty of committing their offences between 2010 and 2017, brought in a net profit of £3.5 million over the final 32 months of their fraud alone.

As well as selling customers overpriced and sometimes invalid tickets, the court found the men had also prevented thousands of people from getting hold of tickets at face value by buying up huge quantities to sell on at a massive profit.

Both men were found guilty of three counts of fraudulent trading and one of possession or control of an article for use in fraud.

A National Trading Standards investigation into Hunter and Smith revealed the pair used a number of dishonest and fraudulent tactics in order to purchase large quantities of tickets from primary ticket providers such as Ticketmaster, Eventim and AXS.

Speaking after sentencing, Lord Toby Harris, Chair of the UK’s National Trading Standards organisation, commented: “This is an important milestone in the fight to tackle online ticket touts who fraudulently buy and resell tickets to thousands of victims to line their own pockets.

“Today’s sentences send a strong message to similar online ticket touts: these are criminal offences that can lead to prison sentences.

“I hope this leads to a step-change in the secondary ticketing market, making it easier and safer for consumers buying tickets in the future.”

In June of last year, Britain’s national fraud reporting centre Action Fraud launched an awareness-raising campaign in which it appealed to music and sports fans to be on their guard against unauthorised ticket sellers ahead of the busy summer period.

The agency said it had received 4,755 reports of ticket fraud in the 13 months to the end of April last year, noting that victims across the UK had lost more than £1.6 million to ticket scammers over that time.

Continue Reading

Newsletter

Sign up for our mailing list to receive updates and information on events

Social Widget

Latest articles

Press review

Follow us on Twitter

Trending

Shares