Drug Trends Cause for Concern on College Campuses

Posted on 10/28/2010 3:56:55 PM

Across the United States and at IUP, drug and alcohol use/misuse is cause for concern. The misuse and abuse of drugs and alcohol affects not only the user, but also their family, friends, and the safety of our campus community.

Here are some of the latest trends that have been reported at IUP and in the surrounding communities:

Latest Drug Trends: Opana, K2, Joose, and Four Loko

Opana or Oxymorphone

is in a group of drugs called narcotic pain relievers. It is similar to morphine. Opana is used to treat moderate to severe pain. The extended-release form of this medication is for around-the-clock treatment of pain. Among the warnings are this one: “Do not drink alcohol while you are taking Opana. Dangerous side effects or death can occur when alcohol is combined with a narcotic pain medicine”.


is sold under the following brand names: Spice. Spice Gold, Spice Diamond, Yucatan Fire, Solar Flare, K2 Summit, Genie, PEP Spice, and Fire n’ Ice.

These products are synthetic cannabinoid that are marketed as “natural herbal incense,” and include warnings that they “are not for human consumption.” When smoked, synthetic cannabinoid products mimic the hallucinogenic effects of marijuana. However, they can have many adverse effects, including panic attacks, agitation, tachycardia (in the range of 110 to 150 beats per minute), elevated blood pressure (in the 140-160/100-110 range), anxiety, pallor, numbness and tingling, vomiting (which can be severe), hallucinations (which can be intense), and, in some cases, tremors and seizures.

Joose and Four Loko

are caffeinated malt beverages that boast higher alcohol concentrations. They are sold in 23.5 ounce cans and range in alcohol content from 9.9 to 12 percent alcohol by volume. They can be purchased at any local six-pack shop. They’ve earned the nickname “black-out in a can.”

  • At 9.9 percent alcohol, it equals 3.9 standard drinks per can.
  • At 11 percent alcohol, it equals 4.3 standard drinks per can.
  • At 12 percent alcohol, it equals 4.7 standard drinks per can.

These drinks are full of stimulants like ginseng and taurine. Since alcohol is a depressant, when the two are combined it sends mixed messages to the nervous system. This can cause cardiac-related problems. Mixing alcohol and caffeine has a synergistic effect on the body, including: may increase dehydration, causing difficulties in processing and getting rid of alcohol from the body resulting in a higher BAC; and may create an even stronger and negative effect on coordination, balance, and ability to regulate body temperature. Caffeine is a stimulant and may allow the drinker to be more alert, which may mean consuming more alcohol than usual without feeling impaired.

Drinking these products usually results in getting much more intoxicated than intended, and can lead to unintended and serious health and safety consequences.

For more information, contact:

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs Program
G-57 Suites on Maple East