COPPER SULFATE – The Green Chemical

copper-sulfate-flameCopper sulfate is a fascinating substance that burns with a green to aquamarine colored flame. Often it’s used in high school chemistry classes to demonstrate just such a phenomenon. It’s also considered a “green chemical” in that the US agricultural industry has used copper sulfate in pesticides since 1956. It is approved for use even in organic farming.

The copper in copper sulfate binds to proteins in bacteria, fungi and algae. It damages their cells, causing the organism’s cells to leak and die. Copper sulfate especially inhibits the growth of Esherichia coli. E. coli is an aggressive bacterium that is often the source of contamination in commercially grown produce.96599-382x255-Japanese_Farmer

Agricultural products containing copper sulfate are available in liquids, dusts and crystals. Copper sulfate can be toxic—and even lethal—if large amounts are absorbed through the skin. Accidental poisoning with this chemical has been reported occasionally among farm workers.

Workers can be exposed to the chemical as it comes into contact with skin. The dust can be breathed in, or the accidental contamination of food or drink can occur. That’s an interesting idea for the genesis of a murder mystery or thriller plot!

images-2The chemical appears as a pale green powder, but when mixed in water it turns the liquid a bright blue—a telltale sign of the presence of copper sulfate.

Although copper is an essential element and required by the body for proper health, the human body has internal mechanisms to maintain proper copper equilibrium. Excess copper is not stored in the body but excreted in solid wastes. The body cannot handle sudden large doses of the chemical, however. It overwhelms the body’s defense mechanisms, resulting in tissue damage or even death.

As with most toxic chemicals, the degree of harm is proportionate to the dose. Smaller doses of copper sulfate cause nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, shock and diarrhea. Larger doses can lead to tissue damage, destruction of blood cells and moderate to severe damage to the liver and kidneys. Lethal doses result in multi-organ failure resulting from the chemical binding to proteins in different organs.

An ingested dose of 15-20mg of copper sulfate causes mainly gastrointestinalimages-3 symptoms, but higher doses can be lethal. Acute liver failure is the primary result of severe poisoning.

Accidental poisonings occasionally happen in the agricultural industry, but fortunately they have been on the decline with better education regarding safe handling of the chemical. Copper sulfate ingestion is also rare, and mainly is limited to the Indian subcontinent. This chemical is easily found in Sri Lanka and sold over the counter in that area of the world. Burning of copper sulfate in houses and shops as good luck charms or for religious activities has been a common practice among local Buddhists and Hindus.

The colorful flames from burning the hydrated crystals are attractive to children and a source of inadvertent ingestion and poisoning. The chemical is also commonly used there in pesticides, in the leather-making industry and for making homemade glue.

For an interesting poison in your next murder mystery, copper sulfate might be the perfect chemical weapon. It’s easy to use, readily available on the Internet and particularly lethal in sufficient quantities.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!


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A Psychedelic Silver Lining!

7bd5f5d8-dc13-48e6-bd65-e45ed27b534c-2Some time ago I happened upon an interesting article about the benefits of psychedelic drugs—WHAT?? And, being a child of the 60s, it peaked my interest.

Not that I dabbled in recreational drugs back in college when it was all the rage. I really didn’t! I’ve always had an innate fear that a little of a good thing may be fine, but too much could be injurious or even lethal.

That mindset is what interested me in this article. It focused on “a little of a good thing” and suggested that, since the late 1990s, there’s been a resurgence of medical research on the benefits of psychedelic drugs. This viewpoint particularly caught my attention since I’ve written blogs in the past about the detrimental, and even lethal, effects regarding the recreational, and sinister, use of certain chemicals.hippie-bohemian-clothing2

More than 50 years ago, the US government funded labs to study psychedelic drugs like lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and other psychedelics as promising, powerful new drugs. Unfortunately, recreational use of these drugs evolved (think Woodstock, etc) and that caused the US government to ban further testing of many hallucinogenics/psychedelics as dangerous and to classify them as having no accepted medical use.

Officially, these drugs are categorized as Schedule I drugs, meaning they are illegal in the US for any use (medical or otherwise), and the government’s more recent war on drugs has severely limited research opportunities on psychedelics.

However, some research continues—much of it outside of the United States—and the benefits of several psychedelic drugs are beginning to be appreciated once again. One overwhelming truth seems to emerge from these studies. It’s the fact that the recreational-drugs-1fears that psychedelic drugs cause an increased risk of mental illnesses are unfounded. In reality, these studies are taking a fresh, objective new look at the potential use of psychedelics to TREAT mental illnesses.

LSD is one of those drugs being studied with renewed interest. In research that goes back 40 years, LSD was shown to significantly reduce anxiety in patients facing end of life issues. A more recent Swiss-controlled study involving terminally ill cancer patients revealed a 20% reduction in associated anxiety and depression regarding their impending demise when using LSD.

Other studies indicate that long-term use of LSD resulted in a considerable reduction in outpatient mental health treatments and lowered the use of powerful psychiatric medications. Like LSD, other psychedelics are being studied and interesting benefits are being revealed.

Psilocybin—more commonly known as the hallucinogenic component of “magic mushrooms”—has been studied for its calming effects on certain brain functions. Psilocybin is said to eliminate confusing/overwhelming thoughts and leads to increased cognition and memory.

Patients treated with psilocybin recall memories more vividly and accurately, and this effect has been confirmed on a neurobiological level with MRI scanning of the brain.

Psilocybin has also been shown to have significant benefits in treatingNo_smoking_Poster_1_by_Sempliok alcoholism and smoking addiction. In fact, one study followed five patients who were given this drug to kick their smoking habit and all five completely quit smoking after one treatment. With follow-up visits of up to one year after treatment, four of the five were biologically confirmed to have continually abstained from cigarettes.

In the past I’ve blogged about a couple of interesting recreational drugs that can be deadly if used indiscriminately—MDMA (commonly called Molly) and DMT (dimethyltryptamine). Both seem to also have beneficial effects when used properly.

MDMA, the psychoactive chemical in the recreational drug ecstasy, has been shown to successfully treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans and to decrease the anxiety associated with cancer treatments.

Interestingly, a slight chemical modification of MDMA has been studied at the University of Birmingham and it’s been shown to have aggressive anti-cancer potential. The study is preliminary and further studies are being conducted regarding this intriguing effect.

Other studies on MDMA support beneficial effects for treating the social anxiety in autistic adults, with a fascinating 77% increase in both ease in social settings and the ability to communicate more effectively with others.

DMT is the psychoactive compound found in a Peruvian Amazon rainforest vine that is used to make a brew called ayahuasca. Ayahuasca is utilized for spiritual and healing purposes in that area of the world, and in recent years DMT is appearing as a recreational street drug for its hallucinogenic effects.

From a medical treatment standpoint, DMT seems to “untangle” complex and calm-state-of-mindunconscious psychological stresses and is of benefit in treating various depressions, cancer treatment anxiety, and increasing the hopefulness and quality of life for multiple sclerosis patients.

So, the silver lining is that these potentially dangerous drugs that are often abused and lead to detrimental—or even lethal outcomes—can have a more benevolent quality to them when channeled properly.

As with most things, both good and bad can result from the decisions we make and the actions we take as humans. What path results from those decisions and actions often make for great story telling.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in About James J. Murray, Benefits of Treatments With Magic Mushrooms, Blog Writers, Blogging, Dimethyltryptamine, DMT, DMT Overdose, DMT Treats Depression and Anxiety and Helps MS Patients, LSD and Anxiety Reduction, LSD and Depression Reduction, Magic Mushroom Treatments, MDMA Treats PTSD and Cancer-Associated Stress, MDMA Use, Medical Benefits of Psychedelic Drugs, Medical Research on Psychedelic Drugs, Medical Treatments Using DMT, Medical Treatments Using LSD, Medical Treatments Using MDMA, Molly, Molly Drug Benefits, Molly Drug Use, Molly Trip, New Blog, New Drug Research, Party Drugs, Plot Ideas and Where They Come From, Prescription For Murder Blog, Psilocybin Treats Alcohol and Smoking Addiction, Psychedelic Drugs Used Successfully to Treat Mental Illnesses, Psychoactive Designer Drugs, Treatments Using Psilocybin | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Create An Action-Packed New Year!


First off -> HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!

Now, before you roll your eyes at yet another lesson about New Year’s resolutions, here are some practical suggestions to help you 1) make realistic goals, 2) plan them logically, and 3) keep yourself on track to meet those goals.

Take a deep breath and smile! The new year is fresh and filled with potential. Whatever unfulfilled dreams you had last year is history. Leave them behind and don’t look back.MH900438811

It’s time to focus on what you want and need going forward. Forget about calling them New Year’s Resolutions. It’s a worn out phrase that’s often linked to failure.

Instead, whatever changes you want to make should be called New Life Goals. Each new year is a golden opportunity to make meaningful life adjustments to create a better personal world. If you’ve read my bio, you’ll know that I’ve had several opportunities to recreate myself. With each one, I’ve had to achieve specific life-changing goals.

MH900430599From those experiences, I’ve learned that deciding on the right New Life Goals can be daunting. You may have one BIG change you wish to make or there may be many small adjustments you’d like to incorporate into your life. The principles of change are the same for both: Plan, Execute, Evaluate, Adjust and Repeat.

*The key word here is REPEAT!*

In order for meaningful change to happen, you must make that change a habit. If it’s a physical change you wish to make, you must get your body used to whatever you want it to do. I’ll use myself as an example. When I’m not writing, I’m passionate about long distance running. I love the sport so much that I ran three full marathons in 57 days this past Fall. Now I volunteer my time training others to become better runners.

In helping others to become better runners, we use training cycles to achieve specific goals, such as running faster or longer distances. We achieve those goals in progressive cycles—called the Microcycle, the Mesocycle and the Macrocycle. But these same principles can apply to other endeavors in your life—no matter whether they are physical or mental changes.

The Microcycle is that initial 5-7 day period when you push yourself to begin that one thing you want to make a part of your life. This is the Planning and Executing part of change.

In running, this is when you actually start training regularly on a track or trail. If you42-15622535 want to lose weight, this is when you start passing up dessert and/or join a health club. If you want to improve your outlook on life, this is when you begin to smile more and attempt to interact better with others. In short, you plan what you want to do and then do it.

The next cycle, the Mesocycle, is a longer period, usually a minimum of three weeks and up to ten weeks. This is the cycle where you attempt to make the change a HABIT. In order for something to become a permanent part of our lives, we must make that thing a routine. We have to make it become so much a part of us that we would miss it if it no longer existed in our lives.

MH900400498This is where you evaluate how the change fits into your life and where you make small adjustments to continue the momentum to achieve that goal. If you want to eat less, stop going out to restaurants and control portions. If you have trouble finding time to go to a health club or scheduling a run, get up earlier or give up evening television.

Adjust your life to achieve your goal rather than adjusting your goal.  Create a new habit and repeat that as often as possible to make it a part of your life.

The Mesocycle is where you begin to embrace the change to achieve your goal. This is where the runner begins to enjoy the run and the dieter begins to dislike unhealthy foods. The longer you consciously think about what you are changing, the more successful you’ll be.

The last cycle is the Macrocycle and it’s the finishing touch that allows you to own your goals permanently. It can extend for months, years or for life. If you’re trying to lose weight and you achieve that goal, this is where you keep the momentum going to maintain that new weight. If you’re trying to improve a relationship with someone, you don’t stop the process when you feel good about each other. You continue to work at the relationship. You continue to repeat whatever you did to achieve a better relationship, or to maintain whatever specific goal you’ve identified.

Meaningful changes in your life happen by identifying goals, incorporatingMH900423646 them into your life and making that specific change a habit—and it’s a continual process. And keeping the momentum going in the Macrocycle is as important as that initial Microcycle step to identify the new goal.

If you’ve identified multiple goals for 2017, you’ve created an extra challenge for yourself. You can achieve all of your goals, but you simply have to work on one before starting another. Prioritize each goal and tackle them one at a time.

Attempting to achieve multiple goals at once can be overwhelming and it sets you up for failure. Achieving meaningful change takes focus. Don’t dilute your effectiveness by focusing on several changes at once.

The important thing to remember is that this is a New Year. The slate is totally clean and you have all year to achieve the goals you’ve identified.

Tackle the one goal that’s most important to you first. Attack it with gusto! Achieve it! Own it! Then move on to the next most important goal. Make them part of your bucket list for 2017!

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in A Holiday Wish, A New Year's Greeting, A New Year's Wish, About James J. Murray, About Running, About Writing, Achieving Perfection, Blog Writers, Blogging, Change in the New Year, Changing Your Life in The New Year, Create a Better You, Creating Change in the New Year, Creating New Habits in The New Year, Developing Better Life Skills, Forging a Better Life, Growing As A Writer, Happy New Year, How To Change Bad Habits, How to Create a Better Life, How to Create a More Enjoyable Life, How to Create a More Productive Life, How to Create a More Satisfying Life, How to Implement New Year's Resolutions, How to Make New Year's Resolutions, Ideas for Creating Permanent Change, James J. Murray Blog, Life Skills, Life-Altering Goals, Making Change Permanent, Murder Mayhem and Medicine, New Blog, New Life Goals, New Year's Resolutions, Prescription For Murder Blog, Skills to Create a Better Life, The Writings of James J. Murray | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment




May peace break into your home;

May thieves steal your debts;

May the pockets of your jeans

Become magnets for $100 bills.

 May love stick to you like glue;

May laughter assault your lips.

 May happiness spread across your face;

May your tears be that of joy;

May the problems you had this past year forget your address.

In short . . .

May 2017 be the BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE!


To You and Yours!!

Posted in A Holiday Wish, A New Year's Greeting, A New Year's Wish, A World of Joy, About James J. Murray, About Writing, Blog Writers, Blogging, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, James J. Murray Blog, New Blog, NEW YEAR'S WISH | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Wishing You a Joyous Winter Holiday


Happy Holidays To All My Readers


May You and Yours Be Filled

With Joy and Peace

During This Holiday Season

Posted in A Christmas Greeting, A Holiday Wish, A World of Joy, About James J. Murray, Blog Writers, Blogging, Christmas Themed Blog, Happy Holidays, Holiday Cheer, James J. Murray Blog, New Blog, The Writings of James J. Murray | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


Yes, the title of my latest book messes with my mind also!

When someone dies, they’re dead—right? Well . . . maybe not. And when someone dies at the hand of another, that’s labeled a murder—right? Well . . . maybe!

Sure, there are various degrees of murder—ranging from intentional to unintentional with legal terms such as 1st degree, 2nd degree, negligent homicide, etc—but what if the dead person simply wakes up and walks out of the morgue?

Is that considered a murder or “almost a murder” if the person wakes up the next day and recovers from that dastardly deed?

Well, that’s simply crazy. People are either dead or not, and dead people don’t just get up and walk away—or do they?

What about a person who appears dead with all the diagnostic clues: no tendon, corneal or gag reflexes? They may be pronounced dead, but are they truly dead beyond a shadow of a doubt?

I wrote a book that came out earlier this year, and I used that very premise to create a most interesting tale—two murdered people wake up the next morning and simply continue with their lives.

Impossible, you say? Maybe, but there is science to explain such events and there are pharmaceuticals to mimic death that could make such things possible.

This is a short synopsis of my book:

Detectives Rosie Young and Vince Mendez chase an elusive villain when two victims turn up alive less than twenty-four hours after their death. The body count climbs as they investigate how two unrelated victims share an identical death experience with no memory of the event. Evidence leads to startling revelations of deceit, greed and an international conspiracy in this entertaining mystery.

This relatively short murder mystery is fast-paced, dynamic and often read in one sitting. Five-star reviews state that it kept readers up at night and the book has been described as “Murder She Wrote” meets “CSI” for its attention to detail, while being fun to read.

Find out how “almost dead” may not really mean dead!

AVAILABLE NOW ~Almost Dead_3d Photo

Click Here for Amazon Download

(Also Available in Paperback –> For Easy Gift-Giving!)

Click Here for non-Kindle Downloads

Posted in A Christmas Gift Idea, A Holiday Gift Idea, A How To Blog on Murder Plot Ideas, A Murder Mystery Novel, A Mystery Novel, About James J. Murray, About Murder, About Writing, Almost Dead, Almost Dead-The Novel, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scenes, Designer Drug Deaths, Designing Murder Plots, Fast Novel Reads, Give A Book As A Gift, Growing As A Writer, Ideas for Murder Scenes, James J. Murray Blog, James J. Murray's ALMOST DEAD, Murder Mayhem and Medicine, Murder Mystery Novel, Murder With Drugs, New Blog, New Book Is Published, New Methods of Murder, New Publication, Plotting Interesting Murder Scenes, Prescription For Murder Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Smart Students Formulate Cheaper Generic Drug

The ever-increasing costs of prescription medications have made dramatic headlines over the last twelve months.

epipenOne of the more recent and visibly-reported medication increases involved Epipen, the life-saving epinephrine drug used to counteract severe allergic reactions. That drug underwent a 600% price increase over a short period while maintaining a 90% market share due to lack of competition.

Other essential medications also have undergone sharp price increases in the recent past. These include life-saving leukemia-fighting drugs, diabetic medications and anti-clotting pharmaceuticals.

But one of the most dramatic medication price increases in the last year involved a drug called Daraprim, an anti-daraprimparasitic medication used to treat infections such as malaria and toxoplasmosis. When Turing Pharmaceuticals bought the marketing rights to this drug, the price jumped almost overnight from approximately $US13.50 to about $750 per tablet—over a 5000% increase!

Daraprim is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medications and that stimulated a group of high school students in Sidney, Australia to figure out how such a price increase could be justified and took on a project to prove that there could be a more cost-effective alternative.

The students, working with University of Sydney chemist Alice Williamson, eventually created 3.7 grams of pyrimethamine, Daraprim’s active ingredient, in their high school chemistry lab for about $20—an amount that would sell in the United States for up to $110,000 at the current manufacturer’s list price.

Although the drug is extremely expensive in the United States because Turing Pharmaceuticals controls the exclusive distribution rights in the States through a loophole called “the closed distribution model”, the drug is out of patent and available in most countries around the world for about $1 to $2 instead of the $750 US pricing per tablet.

studentThe students worked through an online research-sharing platform called Open Source Malaria to duplicate the medication in a more cost-effective manner. They even found a safer way to create the drug since the usual manufacturing process of pyrimethamine from raw ingredients involved dangerous reagents not allowed in their high school chemistry lab.

They successfully synthesized the drug in a safer, more cost-effective manner and the resulting medication’s purity was confirmed by spectrograph analysis. Therefore, these industrious students creased a new version of Daraprim—a generic that could compete with the Turing Pharmaceuticals version in the US market.

Unfortunately, any competing drug for Daraprim would have to be compared to the branded drug in extensive clinical trials to receive FDA approval and that would be an expensive and arduous process. The main goal of these students was to prove that a true generic version of this malaria drug could be made inexpensively and they accomplished that.

Hopefully, an inspired generic manufacturer would attempt to useclapping-hands their research and the new technique of engineering this drug since these students were kind enough to publish their manufacturing process fully and free online.

Kudos to this brilliant, selfless group of budding scientists!

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in About James J. Murray, Alternative Drug Manufacturing Methods, Blog Writers, Blogging, Daraprim Price Increases, Future Drug Manufacturing Practices, Future of Drug Manufacturing, Future of Prescription Drug Distribution, Generic Drug Manufacturing, Generic Drugs in the US, Generic vs Brand Name Drugs, Increasing Costs of US Pharmaceuticals, Innovative Drug Manufacturing Practices, James J. Murray Blog, Medication Safety Issues, Medication Shortages in the US, Murder Mayhem and Medicine, New Blog, New Drug Manufacturing Methods, New Drug Research, Prescription Drug Safety, Prescription For Murder Blog, Prescription Trends, Synthesizing Inexpensive Generic Drugs, The American Drug Supply, The High Cost Of Medications in the US, Ways To Create More Cost-Effective Generic Drugs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments