Anti diarrhea drug linked to drug abuse

A popular anti-diarrhea drug is being linked to drug abuse.

Teens and young people are using “Imodium” to get high. The over-the-counter drug is also being used to self-medicate and manage withdrawal symptoms.

National data shows there is an uptick in the number of calls associated with the active ingredient, loperimide, found in Imodium.

The Carolina Poison Center, which serves the entire state, received more calls about Imodium abuse in 2016 than any other year.

“In the dose over-the-counter, it is very safe. However, at higher doses it can get into the brain and in some cases act similar to an opioid. That is why people are taking it,” said clinical toxicologist, Anna Dulaney.

“It can cause a decrease in heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and life threatening heart arrhythmias.”

In the last four years, the center received about 20 related calls; nearly half the cases happened in 2016.

“We are also starting to get more questions from law enforcement and EMS providers as to why they are starting to see it in some of the individuals they run in into and the patients that they see,” said Dulaney.

There has been two deaths linked to high doses of the drug.

The use of Imodium as an opioid substitute began making the rounds on the internet a decade ago.

Dulaney says opioid abuse has reached epidemic proportion and attributes Imodium-related cases to the increase in people addicted to opioids.

She urges the public not to believe everything they read on the internet.

“If you are a parent of a teenager and all of a sudden you notice your child is purchasing loperimide from drug store or convenience store, I would ask questions, especially in large quantities. Again, it can be very dangerous.”

Benefits of float therapy

We’ve all been there.

You’re in a pool. You’re on your back, eyes closed, effortlessly allowing the water to hold you in a seemingly weightless state atop its tense surface.

Have you ever wondered why you feel so relaxed while floating on water? The simple answer is “it just feels good,” but an emerging trend is seeking to use science to explain its benefits and allow people to use its power of relaxation as therapy.

Below is a list of the self-purported cures of float therapy from

· Stress relief

· Muscular pain

· Rheumatism

· Chronic pain

· Fatigue

· High blood pressure

· Migraine headaches

· Jet lag

· Anxiety

· Insomnia

· Back pain

· Depression

· Pre-menstrual tension

· Post-natal depression

Have you ever tried float therapy? Stay tuned Tuesday night as THV11’s Laura Monteverdi examines the new trend herself.

Do you use any other alternative therapy methods? Tell us on social media!

Employee saw suspicious activity days before tech caught switching syringes

That employee told investigators she thought she saw Allen take something off a drug dispensing machines. It’s unclear if it was ever reported at the time.

Allen, now the subject of a federal prosecution, is at the center of a health scare that has impacted thousands of patients in four states.

Swedish Medical Center fired Allen in late January after staff say he was caught in an unassigned operating room switching a syringe. He subsequently tested positive for fentanyl and marijuana.

Federal prosecutors say Allen has a “bloodborne pathogen,” but have not specified what he has. In February, Swedish Medical Center advised 2,900 patients to get tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. It’s not clear if he has any of those diseases.

Federal court documents made public this week also paint a more detailed picture of Allen’s ability to hopscotch from hospital to hospital in three other states. Allen, according to prosecutors, was fired from four hospitals in Washington, California, and Arizona. In each termination, hospital staff suspected Allen of trying to divert narcotics.

In addition, before Allen’s employment in those hospitals, the military prosecuted Allen for diverting fentanyl while he was serving in Afghanistan. A subsequent court martial determined he stole 30 vials of fentanyl. He received 30 days of confinement after initially being sentenced to 90 days.

During the court martial in 2011, Allen said, “I know it could take months — possibly years — before I fully recover from my experiences.”

Five months later, he was working as a surgical technician at Lakewood Surgery Center in Washington. By December 2011, hospital staff believed he was diverting fentanyl and fired him.

A month later, he was working at Northwest Hospital in Seattle. He worked there until March 9, 2012. At one point during his employment, hospital staff reported seeing Allen going through a sharps (needle) container.

After he was fired from Northwest, Allen went on to work at a hospital in San Diego and two others in Phoenix. Each time, hospital staff either suspected he was diverting or caught him diverting.

On Sept. 28, 2014, while working at John C. Lincoln Medical Center in Phoenix, Allen was “found passed out in a hospital stall,” according to the newly released documents. “Allen was not coherent and kept repeating the same things over and over.”

He subsequently tested positive for fentanyl.

Less than a year later, Allen was hired at Swedish Medical Center. Prosecutors now say they believe Allen “falsely and fraudulently created a fictitious company in order to bolster his qualifications and hide his true employment history” in order to get the job.

Swedish maintains it was not aware of Allen’s troubled past when the hospital hired him. He also omitted many details of his previous employment.

For example, court records show Allen falsely told Swedish he was in the Navy from 2007 until 2013.

Allen, who is out in lieu of bond, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted in federal court

Too many antibiotics are being prescribed

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control say nearly one-third of those antibiotics prescribed by doctors every year are unnecessary.

All this over-prescribing is only helping create dangerous, drug-resistant super bugs.

So when do you need an anti-biotic and when do you not?

“We we don’t want to be faced with a situation where we’re trying to treat an infection that is so resistant we don’t have any antibiotics to use,” Pew Charitable Trust Researcher Dr. David Hyun said.

Children 3 and under receive the most antibiotics, often for ear infections which are usually viral and don’t even respond to the drugs. But parents still want them.

Meanwhile, researchers say healthy adults can often fight off bacteria infections on their own.

So when are they needed? When painful sinus infections cause a fever and last longer than 10 days or coughs linger for 14 days, which can hint at bronchitis with pneumonia or an ear infection with puss.

“The overall goal is to walk the line between adequately treating people and minimally exposing them and the population to drugs,” Dr. Larry Ramunno, chief of medicine at Sibley Hospital, said. “It’s a very fine line.”

The CDC’s goal is to cut unnecessary antibiotic use by 50 percent within four years or we may son have far fewer antibiotics that work.

Copyright (c) 2016 NBC All Rights Reserved