BOS 4201 Unit VIII Assessment

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How can toxicant absorption be reduced after exposure to the skin? How can absorption be reduced for orally consumed chemicals?

Your response should be at least 300 words in length.

In numerous cases the absorption of a toxicant that has been spilled on the skin can be reduced. The degree of reduction depends on the nature of the toxicant, the toxicants concentration, and the amount of exposure time (Richards & Bourgeois, 2014). Chemicals that come into contact with the skin should be flushed with large quantities of water. Any contaminated clothing should be removed while flushing the exposed area of the skin. Washing the exposed area with soap and water as soon as possible after coming into contact with the chemical can greatly reduce skin absorption. Washing with soap and water is particularly important when exposed to highly concentrated liquids or solid preparations. This will shorten the exposure time and dilute the chemical leading to reduced absorption through the skin.

The absorption of orally consumed chemicals can be reduced in many cases depending on the chemical ingested and the time frame. If the substance is known, vomiting can be induced if appropriate. This can be accomplished by using syrup of ipecac or a soap and water solution may be used of ipecac is not available. If the chemical is not known, is a petroleum product, or an acid or alkali then vomiting should not be induced. In certain situations, stomach pumping can be performed within 1-2 hours if the victim has consumed a life-threatening amount of a chemical. Stomach pumping is not used for ingested corrosive substances or for petroleum compounds. Activated charcoal is often administered for a wide variety of poisons because it is highly absorbent. The charcoal is typically mixed with water and swallowed. If used within 1-2 hours of ingestion, activated charcoal can reduce the amount of chemical absorption. Additional doses of charcoal solution can be administered at one- or two-hour intervals to ensure that most of the chemical has been removed.

Reference:

Richards, I. S., & Bourgeois, M. M. (2014). Principles and practice of toxicology in public health

(2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

“G” is the street name of the commonly abused street drug GHB. Like many drugs, the risk of toxicity is increased when mixed with other drugs. Identify another commonly used drug that can be toxic when mixed with GHB. Discuss the progression of effects leading to toxicity and death from the combination of the two drugs.

Your response should be at least 300 words in length.

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is central nervous system depressant and is prescribed in low doses as an experimental treatment for narcolepsy (Richards & Bourgeois, 2014). GHS is often abused in order to achieve a euphoric and uninhibited feeling. GHB is frequently sold as a liquid or as a white powder that can be dissolved in a liquid, like water, juice, or alcohol. GHB which has been dissolved in a liquid is frequently packaged in small vials or water bottles. In its liquid form, GHB is translucent, colorless and has a slightly salty taste. Combing GHB with alcohol, hypnotics, or other sedatives can lead to nausea, vomiting and aspiration, dangerous central nervous system depression, seizure, coma, severe respiratory depression, and death. Another commonly used drug that can be toxic when mixed with GHB is ketamine. Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that was developed in 1963. It is typically used in veterinary medicine as an animal tranquilizer but is also abused on the streets as an illicit drug. GHB and ketamine both have the ability to sever communications between the brain and the body. When combined it only strengthens their damaging effects on the body. The combined effects can lead to blackouts, quick increase of tolerance level, addiction, and overdose. Blackout episodes are one of the chief dangers of combining GHB and ketamine. Both substances have been labeled as a date-rape drugs and loss of consciousness leaves people vulnerable to sexual assault. When used frequently the effects of the drugs alter the chemical system of the brain and how the brain functions. The brain eventually becomes dependent on these drugs to operate on a physical and psychological level. Additionally, the risk of an overdose increases exponentially when these two drugs are mixed. GHB effects vary substantially in regard to dosage amounts and the effects of ketamine vary to an even greater degree. Therefore, even the slightest mistake in dosage amounts can lead to an overdose event which often leads to death.

Reference:

Richards, I. S., & Bourgeois, M. M. (2014). Principles and practice of toxicology in public health

(2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Identify the six toxicological principles that are applied in evaluating a poisoned individual. Give an example of two of these principles.

Your response should be at least 300 words in length.

Unintentional and intentional chemical exposures continue to be a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. The basic principle of toxicology come into play in the rational management of these individuals. There are six important toxicological principles that are applied in evaluating a poisoned individual. The six toxicological principles that are exposure and aspects related to reducing absorption, dose-response considerations, target tissue and systemic effects, chemical interactions, chemical antagonism as a management approach, and acute versus chronic effects (Richards & Bourgeois, 2014). When evaluating an individual that has been poisoned it is important to determine the route of exposure to determine how to reduce absorption. Absorption is a requirement for any systemic toxicity. Chemicals can be absorbed through the skin, ingested, or inhaled. When the route of exposure is identified then methods to reduce the absorption of the toxicant can be applied. For chemicals that have been inhaled the only ways to reduce absorption is to remove the chemical from the breathing zone or reduce the length of exposure. Chemicals that have been spilled on the individual’s skin can be reduced in many instances, the extent of which depends on the nature of the chemical, its concentration, and the duration of contact time. The chemicals spilled on an individual’s skin will have to be flushed away with large volumes of water and washed with soap in order to reduce absorption. In addition, any contaminated clothing should be removed to prevent further absorption. Exposure to hydrofluoric acid presents a corrosive and toxic hazard so it entails a two-step process to treat skin exposures. When hydrofluoric acid enters the circulation, it can generate systemic effects such as heart arrhythmias and death. The exposed area of the skin should be thoroughly washed and treated with a calcium gluconate gel. The fluoride binds to the calcium in the gel which counteracts its toxic effects.

Reference:

Richards, I. S., & Bourgeois, M. M. (2014). Principles and practice of toxicology in public health

(2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Identify the four categories of street drugs, and provide an example of each. Discuss symptoms of the use of each drug.

Your response should be at least 300 words in length.

The four categories of street drugs are stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, and narcotics (Richards & Bourgeois, 2014). Cocaine is a common stimulant that is produced from the shrub Erythroxylum coca, which is indigenous to Bolivia and Peru. Acute exposure to cocaine causes stimulation of the nervous system leading to excitement, incoherent talking, hallucinations, increased heart rate, dilated pupils, chills or fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, and muscle spasms. In more severe cases cocaine may cause irregular breathing followed by convulsions, coma, and death from cardiac arrest. Chronic cocaine exposures result in some of the same effects like, heart irregularities, abdominal pain, vomiting, irregular breathing, and death. Additionally, cocaine can cross the placenta and enter the blood of fetuses while in the womb resulting in the birth of cocaine babies. Cocaine babies may be born with physical and psychological abnormalities.

Flunitrazepam is a depressant and a clinical drug that has become a prevalent street drug. The symptoms of Flunitrazepam include decreased blood pressure, urinary retention, visual disturbances, gastrointestinal disturbances, impaired memory, dizziness, confusion, and in some cases excitement or aggressive behavior. Additionally, exposures can cause death from respiratory failure and cardiovascular collapse, particularly when combined with alcohol.

Phencyclidine (PCP) is an example of a hallucinogen. The symptoms of the use of PCP include numbness, relaxation, a sense or euphoria, problems concentration, slurred speech, loss of coordination, hallucinations, increased blood pressure, irregular breathing, increased body temperature, and death due to dangerous behaviors. Chronic exposure can lead to impaired memory, speech problems, severe depression, high anxiety, paranoia, and continuous hallucinations even when not using the drug.

Heroin is an example of a narcotic. The symptoms of heroin use include a feeling of euphoria, nausea, vomiting, flushed skin, sever itching, slowed heart rate, palpitations, anxiety, shortness of breath, tremors, headache, and chest pain. In extreme cases where there is an extreme reaction to heroin use or an overdose the symptoms will include bluish lips and/or nails, disorientation, shallow or difficult breathing, delirium, low blood pressure, drowsiness, weak pulse, coma, and even death.

Reference:

Richards, I. S., & Bourgeois, M. M. (2014). Principles and practice of toxicology in public health

(2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.




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