Opiods and the U.S. The US. Americans make up less than 5% of the global population but consume 80% of the world’s supply of opioid prescription pills. Sales of the drugs have increased more than fourfold in the past 10 years, grossing $11bn annually. The result is that about 15,000 Americans are dying every year from prescription pill overdoses – triple the rate of a decade ago. The death toll exceeds that caused by heroin and cocaine combined, and in 17 states has become the No 1 killer, surpassing even car crashes. At around the same time, drug companies, led by Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the leading opioid painkiller OxyContin, embarked on a massive marketing push. In 2001, Purdue Pharma spent $200m promoting OxyContin. Primary care physicians, in particular, were targeted, and their patients induced to try out the drug with 30-day free trial periods. Concerns about potential addiction were assuaged in promotional videos that claimed the incidence of addiction was less than 1%. Sales grew and grew, to about $3bn for OxyContin in 2010. Study of Genetics, Environment and Alcoholism Leads to Pilot Prevention Program By Celia Vimont | December 4, 2012 Filed in Alcohol, Healthcare & Prevention Genes explain about 60 percent of the risk for alcoholism, while the environment accounts for the rest. Low sensitivity to alcohol is seen in groups of people at high risk for alcoholism, including children of alcoholics and Native Americans. Low sensitivity to alcohol predicts alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. This low sensitivity interacts with factors in the environment that magnify the risk, such as associating with heavy-drinking peers, higher levels of life stress and using alcohol to cope with that stress. During the course of his research, Dr. Schuckit has identified four genes related to the low response to alcohol. Parents More Important Than School in Preventing Use of Alcohol, Marijuana Use By Join Together Staff | December 6, 2012 Filed in Alcohol, Drugs, Parenting, Prevention, Research & Youth A new study concludes that parental involvement is more important than the school environment in preventing or limiting children’s use of alcohol or marijuana. Measures of family social capital include trust, open communication and active engagement in a child’s life, while school social capital includes student involvement in extracurricular activities, teacher morale and the teachers’ ability to address student needs. The researchers found students with high levels of family social capital and low school social capital levels were less likely to have used either marijuana or alcohol, or to have used them less frequently, compared with students with high levels of school social capital and low family social capital. The study appears in Journal of Drug Issues. Teaching Teens to Manage Personality Traits May Reduce Problem Drinking By Join Together Staff | January 24, 2013 Filed in Alcohol, Mental Health, Prevention & Youth High school programs that teach teens to better manage their personality traits can help reduce and postpone problem drinking, a new study suggests. “Two factors determine problem drinking: personality and peer pressure,” said study author Dr. Patricia Conrod of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry. Students filled out a personality questionnaire to determine their risk of developing future alcohol dependence. Personality traits identified with a greater risk of alcohol dependence included impulsivity, hopelessness, sensation-seeking, or anxiety, Newswise reports. School staff members trained in the personality-based program delivered group workshops targeting the different personality profiles. After two years, the study found high-risk students in the intervention group had a 29 percent reduced risk of drinking, a 43 percent reduced risk of binge drinking, and a 29 percent reduced risk of problem drinking, compared with high-risk students in the standard drug and alcohol education programs. The intervention also significantly slowed the progression to more risky drinking behavior in the high-risk students over the two years. The study appears in JAMA Psychiatry. Binge Drinking and Women A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly 14 million women and girls binge drink about three times a month. The
report says most female binge drinkers are 18 to 34 years old. On average, they have six drinks in one sitting about three times a month. CDC: 1 in 8 U.S. women binge drink 3 times a month The CDC says excess drinking increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer, heart disease and STDs. Twenty-three thousand women and girls in the United States die each year from problems associated with binge drinking. Sweeter drinks and club culture fueling the trend. Binge drinking is reported by one in five high school girls according to HHS/CDC Report Excessive alcohol use accounted for an estimated average of 23,000 deaths among women and girls in the United States each year during 2001–2005. Binge drinking accounted for more than half of those deaths. CDC analyzed data from the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to describe the prevalence, frequency, and intensity of current alcohol use and binge drinking among U.S. women aged ≥18 years and high school girls. This report summarizes the results of that analysis. Read more. Drinking Mirror App “Drinking Mirror” app, lets users upload photos of themselves to show how their faces could age if they keep imbibing at their current rate. The app is available only for Android-powered devices, although government spokeswoman said an iPhone version will be out shortly. A Web version is also available. Men and women can use the app by uploading or taking photos of themselves and entering data about their drinking habits. Then, to show the potential long-term physical toll of drinking, the app shows them a photo of how they might look in 10 years at their current rate of alcohol consumption. More Concern Emerges Over Chronic Marijuana Abuse by Adolescents Cannabis use by adolescents is a concern at any level and with any child. But attention has been focusing on the roll that persistent marijuana use in adolescence plays in cognitive decline in adulthood. For some time now, the marijuana legalization lobby has asserted that the smoking of marijuana represents a more benign alternative to the use of alcohol. This argument has been a reliable underpinning of recent
political campaigns to legalize the use of marijuana in the states of Washington and Colorado. The truth in this matter is something altogether contrary to these claims. Compared with respondents who reported adult-onset cannabis use, adolescent-onset users reported an average of an eight-point decline in IQ by the age of 38. Adolescent cannabis users in this study reported on average at least three marijuana dependence diagnoses as evidence of their abuse. Those respondents who reported adolescent onset (as opposed to adult onset) showed significant impairments across multiple forms of cognitive functioning. The data in these analyses were controlled for a variety of confounding factors, such as mental illness, alcohol abuse, and other types of substance use disorders. Causing more alarm in this study was that respondents who had quit use of cannabis one year before cognitive testing displayed little neuropsychological improvement on test outcomes. To date, research related to chronic cannabis use, especially early (adolescent) abuse has been tied to a variety of cognitive and neuropsychiatric conditions in adulthood. There has not been any research to indicate that cannabis is a more benign depressant. In fact, the accumulated data suggests that marijuana use matches the potential for disaster that alcohol does. 1] Meier MH et al. Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 2012 August 27; [e-pub ahead of print]. Dr. Volkow wrote on NIDA’s website. “The message inherent in these and in multiple supporting studies is clear. Regular marijuana use in adolescence is known to be part of a cluster of behaviors that can produce enduring detrimental effects and alter the trajectory of a young person’s life—thwarting his or her potential. Beyond potentially lowering IQ, teen marijuana use is linked to school dropout, other drug use, mental health problems, etc. Given the current number of regular marijuana users (about 1 in 15 high school seniors) and the possibility of this number increasing with marijuana legalization, we cannot afford to divert our focus from the central point: regular marijuana use stands to jeopardize a young person’s chances of success—in school and in life,” she concluded. Company Hopes to Sell Marijuana in Vending Machines in Colorado, Washington By Join Together Staff | January 4, 2013 Filed in Community Related, Drugs, Legislation & Marketing And Media A California-based company hopes to sell marijuana in vending machines in Colorado and Washington, which have legalized recreational use of the drug, NBC News reports. People using the machines to obtain medical marijuana use a fingerprint scan to verify their identity, which is linked to a prescription on file. Private Marijuana Clubs Open in Colorado By Join Together Staff | January 2, 2013 Filed in Community Related, Drugs & Legislation Some people in Colorado celebrated New Year’s Eve in private marijuana clubs, which were allowed for the first time under the state’s new recreational marijuana law. One such party took place in Denver’s Club 64. People filled out an online application and paid $30 to join. The club is named after the new law, Amendment 64, ABC News reports. Kratom Popularity on the Rise in South Florida By Join Together Staff | December 3, 2012 Filed in Community Related & Drugs According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), kratom is mainly being abused orally as a tea, but some people chew kratom leaves. Kratom has been described as producing both stimulant and sedative effects. Acute side effects include nausea, itching, sweating, dry mouth, constipation, increased urination and loss of appetite. Kratom consumption can lead to addiction, according to the DEA. Project Aims to Curb Teen Medicine Abuse Last fall The Partnership at Drugfree.org launched The Medicine Abuse Project, an action and education campaign to curb teen medicine abuse, and ultimately save lives. At MedicineAbuseProject.org there is a suite of resources for educators tailored specifically for teachers, school administrators, school nurses and other specialized instructional support personnel to help prevent medicine abuse in schools, homes and communities. Study Suggests Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse More Common in Boys A new study suggests boys are more likely than girls to abuse over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. The study of middle school and high school students in 133 schools in Cincinnati found 10 percent said they abused over-the-counter drugs such as cough syrup or decongestants. University of Cincinnati researchers noted this type of drug abuse can lead to accidental poisoning, seizures and physical and mental addictions. HealthDay reports the researchers found high rates of over-the-counter drug abuse were found among both female and male middle school students, but boys had a higher risk of longtime use, compared with girls. Teens who admitted to abusing over-the-counter drugs were more likely to say they had gone to parties where the drugs were available, or had friends who abused the drugs. Treatment Admission – Coalition resources: Data Analysis Substance abuse treatment admissions for addiction involving combined use of benzodiazepine and narcotic pain relievers rose a total of 569.7 percent, to 33,701, from 2000 to 2010, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Overall substance abuse treatment admissions of people ages 12 and older in the same period rose 4 percent, to 1.82 million, the agency said. Emergency Room Visits for ADHD Drugs More Than Doubled from 2005 to 2010 By Join Together Staff | January 25, 2013 Filed in Prescription Drugs Emergency room visits involving attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs more than doubled from 2005 to 2010, according to a new government report. The number of visits involving ADHD medications that were used non-medically almost tripled during this period. The report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found in 2005, there were 13,379 emergency room visits related to ADHD drugs. Such visits jumped to 31,244 in 2010, Newswise reports. Government Guidelines: Doctors Should Advise Youth Not to Start Smoking New government guidelines recommend primary care doctors counsel children and teens not to start smoking. Reuters reports they are based on a review of studies that found 19 percent fewer children and teens started smoking after being exposed to prevention programs. Smoke-Free Laws Lead to Fewer Children Hospitalized for Asthma Attacks: Study British researchers say there appears to be a link between smoke-free laws and a drop in the number of children hospitalized for asthma attacks. Their study found a 12.3 percent decrease in hospital admissions for childhood asthma attacks in the first year after smoke-free laws were enacted in Britain. Admission rates began to drop immediately after the law went into effect, the article notes. The trend was seen in boys and girls of all ages, in both wealthy and poor neighborhoods, and in urban and rural areas. This change was equivalent to 6,802 fewer hospital admissions in the first three years. Smokers Lose at Least One Decade of Life Expectancy, Study Finds By Join Together Staff | January 24, 2013 Filed in Research & Tobacco Smokers lose at least 10 years of life expectancy, compared with those who have never smoked, according to a study published in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine. Quitting before age 40 can reduce the excess risk of death associated with smoking by about 90 percent, USA Today reports. The study, which included data from 1997 to 2004, found women smokers die at a similar rate to their male counterparts. Previous research suggested women were less likely than men to die from smoking. “Women now lose about 11 years of life expectancy if they smoke,” McAfee says. “Men lose about 12 years.” The Attorney General’s Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence has released its final recommendations for a national
response to address children’s exposure to violence. The report emphasizes prevention and intervention and underscores the importance of trauma-informed care and victim-tailored services. Read the executive summary or full report. The State of Mental Health Among U.S. Adolescents Research shows that approximately one in five adolescents has a diagnosable mental health disorder, a leading cause of disability among this age group. In January 2013, Child Trends is issuing three briefs in itsAdolescent Health Highlights series focusing on adolescent mental health: Mental Health Disorders Access to Mental Health Care Positive Mental Health: Resilience The briefs include strategies and approaches to reducing mental health disorders among adolescents. Early intervention or prevention can be an effective way to address potential mental disorders before they reach the stage requiring treatment. The Child Trends DataBank includes brief summaries of well-being indicators, including several that are related to mental health and mental health disorders. Child Trends launched the Adolescent Health Highlights series in 2012 to review research about adolescent health, including trends, and to highlight promising approaches for improving adolescent health. Guide Offers a Blueprint for End-of-Life Conversation with Youth Enlisting the advice of adolescents and young adults with serious illness, researchers at the National Institutes of Health have developed a guide to help young people and their families address issues surrounding end-of-life care. Voicing My CHOICES is the first guide designed to help adolescents and young adults express how they would like to be comforted, supported, and cared for in the course of serious illness, and how they would like to be remembered if they do not survive. The guide is aimed at helping families and health professionals open difficult conversations, and was written using language and questions tailored to the particular needs and preferences of young people. The study team used their feedback to create a new guide for young people called My Thoughts, My Wishes, My Voice. In the current study, youth reviewed pages from this publication and Five Wishes. Their comments were incorporated in the final Voicing My CHOICES.