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Deyalsingh: Don’t mix energy drinks, drugs, alcohol to fete
Dr Varma Deyalsingh is sounding a warning that mixing energy drinks, steroids, other drugs and alcohol during Carnival or when partying on other occasions can have dangerous consequences. “Women have to be aware that alcohol is the most common drug to use in date rapes and is responsible for 60 to 70 per cent of all date rapes,” the secretary of the Association of Psychiatrists of T&T said on Wednesday.
Some 3.3 million people worldwide died from alcohol in 2012, the World Health Organisation has reported. “While people are now more aware of the date-rape drug Rohypnol, some predators use sleeping tablets to spike the drinks of unsuspecting women. “Rohypnol can cause drowsiness and produces a sedative effect, amnesia and blackouts.”
He said women attending parties must be extra careful and vigilant because they could have crushed valium put in their ice cubes or a chloroform-soaked rag used to wipe their face. Deyalsingh said cough mixtures like Benadryl and sleep aids such as Ambien can often be put to clandestine uses. He said mental patients' drugs were taken from them to knock out victims and most of these were eliminated from the victim’s system within 12 to 24 hours.
Deyalsingh said the drug could be lethal when mixed with alcohol and depressants. He noted that energy drinks by themselves were a cause for concern because of some of the stimulants in them such as taurine, guarana and caffeine. He said the recommended amount of taurine should be 100 milligrams. However, most energy drinks have ten times that amount. The danger was multiplied when several cans were consumed with caffeine and alcohol, Deyalsingh said.
The user is at greater risk of increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, strokes and seizures. Deyalsingh said that some party-goers who could not afford Ecstasy at $150-$200 a tablet were combining energy drinks with a diet pill called Dinintel.
He said Ecstasy could keep users awake for up to three days but after the crash they might experience extreme depression and want to kill themselves. One of the side-effects of Dinitel was insomnia and whereas some students used the drug to stay up all night to study, others took the drug to party. Masqueraders also used diuretics such as Duromine and Lasix to lose weight.
Deyalsingh said besides anabolic steroids, some bodybuilders also abused a cancer drug, Tamoxifen, in order to decrease the side effects of oestrogen in the body and not develop gynaecomastia or men’s breasts. “Some muscle men are also taking testosterone tablets which can be risky given the high incidence of prostate cancer in our population,” he said.
Deyalsingh said police were one step behind drivers who combined drugs and alcohol that registered below the legal alcohol limit of a breathalyser, and he advocated testing for drugs such as marijuana as well.
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