Are you a drug user and a diabetic?

Hi everyone –

Long time no chat -I apologise, I will not let next year be as slow as this one for blogging, my apologies friends. Today, however, I wanted to let you all know about a really great booklet we have discovered that is free to download and it’s really useful, non-hysterical info for people who are or who know drug users who are also diabetics. Its about managing diabetes when you are an active drug user – something that must actually be very difficult when you consider needing to take meds, needing to eat/avoid certain foods, trying to look after your health when you might not feel like it – or can’t manage it coz you might have other things on your mind, etc.

I really think any diabetic will appreciate this booklet -its full of really interesting information and things I didn’t know anything about. I added a final note at the end of this blog -I felt inspired to do so, so check it out if you fancy it.

(Here is a link to the booklet -repeated at the end of this blog)

Drugs-and-diabetes-A5-dimensions-Final-draft-web

person holding blood suger pen

Here are a few quotes direct from the booklet and above and below are the links to download the booklet.

The intro goes like this….“Managing diabetes can be difficult to balance with a busy lifestyle or partying. All drug use carries risk. We know that there are people who are diabetic who will choose to take drugs. So we want to highlight some things that can help you to reduce the risk if you do.  This information was written by Dr Disorderly – PhD Neuroscience and Immunology. We also collaborated with people who have diabetes and experience of taking drugs.”

Here are some of the tips inside the booklet….

“Eat a meal of long acting carbohydrates before going out.
These include: bread, potatoes, high fibre cereal, oats.
If you are going out for the day remember to eat regular meals – if
food is missed there is a greater chance of a hypo (hypoglycaemic
episode*)

“….Alcohol may cause blood sugars to rise in the short term but                                        will increase the risk of a hypo after the party…”

“….If you are going to a rave or long festival, make sure you
stock up on plenty of sugary drinks and fast acting
carbohydrates to keep in your locker, bag, car or tent…”

“…Never miss insulin doses, however, be extra careful
with taking insulin at the end of the night or just before
going to bed as you are already at risk of having a
hypo from dancing/drinking.  In this circumstance, many
people with diabetes will take a reduced dose of
insulin before consuming food and only take a
correction dose if sugar levels are very high, in which
case, they only take a small dose. Ensure that there is a
glucagon kit in the house and that people know how/when
to use it …”

“…Cannabis can lower your blood sugar levels suddenly so make                                       sure you have some fast acting carbohydrates nearby.

And on depressants…. “Avoid eating sugar /carbs to combat lethargy while taking depressant drugs – it could just be the effects of these drugs. Drugs like valium/xanax and can affect your judgement and you might forget to take insulin. Again, set alarms to check your levels and avoid falling asleep without eating carbs. Be aware of taking depressants – it may be difficult for you to recognise the symptoms of a hypo or for others to realise you are experiencing a hypo…”

And even about ketamine, God bless ’em! “The effects of ketamine can mask the signs of a hypo and reduce your ability to treat yourself. If you choose to take ketamine it is essential to check your sugar levels first – especially if it is a big
dose. Set alarms to remind you to check throughout the time you are
taking it as the effects of ketamine could make you forget…”

This is a handy booklet to know about – for drug workers, GPs, drug users, friends and lovers of diabetics and, of course drug using diabetics -especially for those who know little about managing their condition in drug using situations. That must get hard and is worth spending some time really thinking about and researching though I imagine this may be the ONLY booklet out there on this very issue of drug using and diabetes.

Well done to the guys who produced it –  Crew: mind altering  (also known as Crew2000 and Crew25). These dudes have been around in the UK for a LONG time now and have always produced good information and have lots of great stuff on psychedelics and stimulants. Well worth a visit.

Heres how you can download their booklet: Click here.

One last word on the subject of our health as active drug users: It’s really important to learn about your own body and how it reacts to taking illicit drugs; ie -do certain drugs make you forget to medicate, do certain foods work better at keeping your levels correct (ie like for how long etc, remember this to list it as a food to take before partying, for example). Like people who have seizures, keeping a diary and noting down what has been really good at keeping you well, while also noting what you did when it goes wrong for you -did you miss sleep, what drugs did you take, what foods did you eat and when etc. Take your control back and learn how to live with your illness like a pro. Tell us about your experiences of being a diabetic and a drug user. We think this booklet is great -we need more thinking like this -looking at our health even though we are active drug users. Because WE want to know! We do care about our health (despite how it might look to some) and we want to stay safe when we use our drugs! I know because of all the thousands of enquiries this website gets each month – the top 3 looked at topics looked at every single month year on year are ALWAYS; drug-related seizures, overdoses and abscesses -and, ok, there is how to freebase coke as well that is always rolling about in the top 3 or 4 as well! Well, we are drug users! Yet even that is saying – how do we get the shit out of our cocaine and make it purer. That tells me more of the same -we want to learn how to make better choices whenever we can. We might not always manage it -or even want to -but our good intentions are there and knowledge is power -the more we learn, the more able we become to make those choices as soon as the opportunity arises. Sleep well comrades, stay safe.

 

Drug Induced Seizures

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know your seizure 'triggers'

Many drug users may have experienced a seizure at one time or another –and you don’t have to be an epileptic to have a seizure.

[Epileptic] seizures can be very frightening to experience and to witness and although many ‘committed’ drug users/drinkers will have experienced a seizure at some point in our lives, there are still many myths that concern how to deal with a person who is fitting and a general lack of understanding as to what triggers ones seizure, or how to deal with it when it occurs. (look at OD Myths’ in Black Poppy 2).

There are two main types of epileptic seizures; petit mal (minor epilepsy where a person may momentarily lapse into inattention/ daydreaming without losing consciousness) and Grand Mal ( Major epilepsy) which is more serious with muscular spasms and convulsions and a short loss of consciousness. People who are epileptic may often carry an orange ID card or wear a warning bracelet. With drug use, it is the major type of seizure that occurs most often. This is usually from long term (or heavy bingeing) benzo or barbiturate use; A person may miss taking their pills for a day and find themselves fitting. However, seizures can occur alongside an overdose on most drugs, indeed they occur from too much alcohol, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, antidepressants and many others.  Interestingly, everyone has what is known as a ‘seizure threshold’ meaning that anyone can experience one given the right conditions. (BP has an indepth article on seizures, see Issue 11 for our drug induced seizure update.)

It is certain that stress increases the possibility of seizures, as does menstrual changes, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, metabolic changes (including blood pressure that is too low or drug/alcohol use), virus activity and other things, such as trauma to the head area, with seizures more likely to  re-occur if someone has had them in the past.

It is important to get to know what ‘trigger’ your seizures as it appears that the more you get them, the more susceptible you become to getting them. Thus if you can find ways to reduce the likelihood of getting a seizure, either through using certain neuroleptic drugs and improving your lifestyle, you have more chance of getting rid of them. Most people do stop or ‘grow out’ of seizures, but they can come back when your body is struggling from one thing or another.

Many of us have experienced seizures starting through too much benzodiazepines use (or from stopping them too quickly). Seizures can still happen up to a few years after benzo/barbiturate use has stopped. (see warning signs).

For the rest of the article, click here.

Constipation (Drug/Diet Induced)

Stomach colon rectum diagram.

Image via Wikipedia

The longer lasting Life Of A Constipated Tom Tit – What Can You Do About Drug/Diet Induced Constipation

It’s a scary feeling…….That large plate of spaghetti bolognese from 5 days ago is swimming around in your bowels, fighting for space alongside 7 bowls of cornflakes, a packet of custard creams, 60 vinegar-soaked chips, 2 cheeseburgers, various chocolate bars and a massive Indian curry. Your stomach’s swelling by the hour and you feel like you’re just about to give birth-but you’ve swallowed 5 laxatives and plugged in a suppository and still nothing. What do you do?

Those of us who have taken a bite out of the ‘drug misuse’ apple know that it doesn’t always come out at the other end in a quiet or comfortable fashion. Some heavy users can go 2-3 even 4 weeks without a trip to the loo and if you’re a working girl (or boy) having sex with a chock-a-block bowel can be most unpleasant. We’ve all heard of the advice, ‘fresh air, plenty of exercise and lots of fresh fruit an’ veg’. Well you might get the exercise running around chasing your gear (- it’s still exercise), but the fresh air – fruit an’ veg stuff isn’t always so easy and besides, a big enough smack or methadone habit can constipate the healthiest person.

Prevention really is the best cure, particularly for those who are susceptible to bowel troubles. Using the odd laxative or suppository is okay, just don’t go mad doing it. Using them over a long period of time is seriously bad news, eventually your sewage system will pack up altogether. It helps to know a bit about your bodily functions in order for it to receive the right attention. (There are no particularly palatable words for faeces, shit, excreta, pooh, stools, waste, pony, tom tit etc so we will mix and match, okay? )

The Journey Traveled…..

When your food reaches its final stage of digestion in the small intestine, it has become a thick, watery liquid. It is moved along its way by the continuous contraction and relaxation of the intestinal muscles (peristalsis). The surrounding large intestine or colon absorbs this liquid into its walls, feeding blood vessels and maintaining peristalsis. Whatever waste remains will then become your shit. For various reasons, the drugs we take, stress, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, the intestinal muscles slow down and bacteria from the waste gets absorbed into the bloodstream leaving your system toxic.

The degree of firmness of your faeces depends on its length of time passing though the gut – the longer the journey, the more water is absorbed back into the bloodstream, leaving your stools dried out. You end up which a pooh that takes longer to move along its passage – becoming constipating. (Charming!!)

The more sluggish the gut, the firmer the stools. Headaches, oily skin and hair, bloating and congestion of the nose, throat and lungs result as well as dried out stools. Methadone user’s will know all about dried up, sheep style pooh! Although constipation may be considered trivial, each year around one tenth of the population of the UK take laxatives regularly with over 7 million visiting their GPs.

Tried and Tested Tips (for moving that tom tit!)

When your food reaches its final stage of digestion in the small intestine, it has become a thick, watery liquid. It is moved along its way by the continuous contraction and relaxation of the intestinal muscles (peristalsis). The surrounding large intestine or colon absorbs this liquid into its walls, feeding blood vessels and maintaining peristalsis. Whatever waste remains will then become your shit. For various reasons, the drugs we take, stress, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, the intestinal muscles slow down and bacteria from the waste gets absorbed into the bloodstream leaving your system toxic.

To read the rest of this article which appeared in Black Poppy,Magazine, click here.

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