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Friday, July 18, 2014

Weekly ATOD & Advocacy Recap for week-ending July 18, 2014

Obscure Rule Restricts Health Law’s Expansion of Care for Addicts

On its surface, the Affordable Care Act seems like a boon for addiction treatment centers like the South Suburban Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, housed in a no-frills former hotel outside Chicago. The law allowed states to expand Medicaid to many more low-income people, meaning that drug addicts and alcoholics who were previously ineligible could now receive coverage for substance abuse treatment, which the law has deemed an “essential health benefit.” To continue reading please click here.

Alcohol Test: Does Eating Yeast Keep You From Getting Drunk?

Sometimes we drink with the sole purpose of relaxing, or drowning the week's worries. But other times we just want to savor a special craft beer or vintage wine, or make that good meal taste even better. And as we get older, we're warier of that third or fourth glass. The consequences of too much alcohol — the drowsiness, the confusion and the wobbling — are a bigger hindrance. And let's face it: A hangover at 36 isn't the same as one at 22. So when we came across a tip in for staving off intoxication, we perked up. You mean I might be able to have another glass of pinot noir or a third IPA without getting as loopy? Tell me more. To continue reading please click here.

Colorado pot use soars above experts’ early predictions: study

A new study by Colorado’s department of revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division and the state’s Marijuana Policy Group concludes that only about nine percent of Colorado’s population uses the drug, but will go through 121.4 metric tons of it every year. To continue reading please click here.

Rand Paul: Give kids a second chance after drug crime

A friend of mine's brother was convicted of a felony for growing marijuana plants in his college dorm. Thirty years later he still can't vote and his felony record prevents him from getting a good job. Because of his story and others like it, I introduced bipartisan legislation to restore federal voting rights for non-violent offenders upon release from prison. To continue reading please click here.

Commentary: Parity and the Path to Change the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders

The Treatment Research Institute recently welcomed The Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy, one of the major architects of parity legislation, and a tireless advocate for improving substance abuse care through better policy, to our hometown of Philadelphia. His important insight about how the Parity Law will transform substance abuse and mental healthcare is certainly worth talking about some more. To continue reading please click here.

Study: Counseling Via Telephone Could Cut Prescription Painkiller Use

A new study finds people with chronic pain who received counseling from a nurse over the phone were able to reduce their dose of pain medication. The researchers say the findings suggest “telecare” could reduce the risk of prescription drug abuse and accidental overdoses. To continue reading please click here.

Young adults reduce binge drinking after receiving text messages following visit to ER

Young adults who screened positive for a history of hazardous or binge drinking reduced their binge drinking by more than 50 percent after receiving mobile phone text messages following a visit to the emergency department, according to a study published online yesterday in Annals of Emergency Medicine ("A Text Message Alcohol Intervention for Young Adult Emergency Department Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial"). To continue reading please click here.

21: Science's limit when it comes to the drinking age

On July 17, 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which withheld a percentage of highway funds from any state that didn't raise the minimum drinking age to 21. To continue reading please click here.

Grieving the Loss of Addiction

An addict who has tried to kick their habit for years finally makes their way into recovery. What could they possibly have to grieve about? Actually, recovering addicts have a lot to grieve. The activity that has been the central focus of their lives is now something they can never do again. The only comfort they have known is gone, and their life requires a complete overhaul. That’s a lot to take in, especially at a time when they are least prepared in terms of ego strength and coping skills. To continue reading please click here.

Is drinking with your kids at home a good idea?

I probably think about the dangers of drinking more than the average person because there is alcoholism in my family. As a parent, I am slightly obsessed with figuring out what I can do to make sure my children, 6 and 8, don't have problems with alcohol when they get older. So, on this the 30th anniversary of the national drinking age being raised to 21, I'm asking myself the following question: Am I better off never letting my girls drink around me, at home or at family celebrations, until they reach the legal drinking age or does it make drinking less taboo and alluring if I let them start drinking at home, maybe with sips of wine and beer, during their teenage years? To continue reading please click here.

You Can’t Make Me – Or Can You? Mandated AA Attendance and the Law

Consider a woman court-ordered to a 90-day residential rehab stay which, upon completion, would take the place of her jail sentence for driving while under the influence and criminal damage to property. Although her religious practices were unconventional and she so informed the rehab, she did her best to follow the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which encourages its members to use “whatever works” as their “higher power” to foster recovery. To continue reading please click here.

Decline in Prescription Drug Misuse More than Twice as High in States with Broad Drug Abuse Prevention Programs

Five states that have implemented multi-faceted prescription drug abuse prevention programs in recent years showed the highest rate of decline in prescription drug misuse rates nationwide, according to a new study issued today by Quest Diagnostics, the world's leading provider of diagnostic information services. The findings suggest that broad, collaborative measures that include prescription drug databases and physician and patient education may be effective at curbing the nation's epidemic of prescription drug abuse. To continue reading please click here.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Weekly ATOD Recap & Advocacy for week-ending July 11, 2014

Massachusetts General to Start Screening All Patients for Alcohol, Illegal Drug Use
Patients at Massachusetts General Hospital will soon be asked questions about their alcohol and illegal drug use, no matter why they're at the hospital. The program scheduled to start this fall is part of a broader plan to improve addiction treatment at the Boston hospital and its community health centers. Please click here to continue reading.

When Airlines Serve Alcohol, and the Beverage Cart Requires a Bouncer
When Joshua Konowe, a technology entrepreneur, took his seat in an emergency exit row on a flight to Belgium last fall, he was unaware that his seatmate had washed down an anti-anxiety pill with her glass of wine. Please click here to continue reading.

We need to talk (about our drinking)
A few cocktails on a patio after work. A cold beer by the grill. A glass or two of wine with dinner or after the kids are tucked into bed. For most adult Canadians, drinking alcohol is an ingrained ritual, a way to unwind or celebrate milestones with family and friends, to simply enjoy life. What many people don’t realize is that the cumulative effects of regular alcohol consumption can take a serious toll on their health: Cancer, heart disease, depression and erectile dysfunction are just a few of the ailments that medical research has linked to drinking. Please click here to continue reading.

Once You Receive Addiction Treatment Are You Cured For Life?
Addiction is a complex, often chronic brain disease for which there is currently no cure. There is always a risk of relapse, similar to other chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Some may view this as discouraging and think, “If there is no cure, what is the point of getting treatment?” Though the thought of dealing with a life-long disease can be daunting, it is possible to live a healthy life with proper care. Please click here to continue reading.

Drunken Monkeys: What Animals Tell Us about Our Thirst for Booze
Ever since childhood, when he saw his father descend into alcoholism, evolutionary physiologist Robert Dudley has been curious about humans’ strong attraction to booze. Please click here to continue reading.

Politicians’ Prescriptions for Marijuana Defy Doctors and Data
New York moved last week to join 22 states in legalizing medical marijuana for patients with a diverse array of debilitating ailments, encompassing epilepsy and cancer, Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s. Yet there is no rigorous scientific evidence that marijuana effectively treats the symptoms of many of the illnesses for which states have authorized its use. Please click here to continue reading.

Storytelling Can Enhance Professional Training
If telling a story can bring a complex medical concept to life for a patient, can it achieve the same for a provider? Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine believe that just might be the case, having tested a patient anecdote in an effort to train emergency physicians on the risks of prescribing dependence-inducing opioids. They found that doctors who heard an anecdote about a man complaining of back pain were better able to recall details of prescribing guidelines after an hour than were doctors who simply received a straight summary of the guidelines. Please click here to continue reading.

A Different Path to Fighting Addiction
When their son had to take a medical leave from college, Jack and Wendy knew they — and he — needed help with his binge drinking. Their son’s psychiatrist, along with a few friends, suggested Alcoholics Anonymous. He had a disease, and in order to stay alive, he’d have to attend A.A. meetings and abstain from alcohol for the rest of his life, they said. Please click here to continue reading.

Many Teens May Get Several Pro-Marijuana Tweets a Day
Many American teens and young adults receive pro-marijuana tweets several times a day, according to a new study. The findings are concerning because young people may be especially receptive to social media influences, and a person's drug use patterns tend to be established in the late teens and early 20s, the study authors noted. Please click here to continue reading.

Anatomy of American Alcohol Consumption
Americans are drinking less beer, but more wine and spirits, according to data from Euromonitor International. The trend, according to the research firm’s senior alcoholic drinks analyst Spiros Malandrakis, has to do with story as much as substance. Big beer companies have remained pretty complacent in flavor and instead have focused on predictable advertising and discounts to boost sales, he said. (Craft beer, a sector that is known for its innovation in beer’s flavor, has seen huge growth but only makes up 8% of the total beer market.) Please click here to continue reading.

Ten Ways Addiction Is Different in America
Whether it's our drug use, our laws, or the treatment options we have on offer, the US frequently stands out. And that's not always something to celebrate. Please click here to continue reading.

Teens Drawn to Heavily Advertised Alcohol Brands
Though ads are in compliance with law, researchers say findings suggest current regulations aren't enough
The brands of alcohol favored by underage drinkers are the same ones that are heavily advertised in magazines read by young people, a new study reveals. The findings provide further evidence that alcohol ads can encourage young people to drink. They also show that the alcohol industry's voluntary advertising standards are inadequate, according to the authors of the study in the July issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Please click here to continue reading.

Why I'm Skeptical about Marijuana's Medical Benefits
There’s a little place up the street from me with a great beer list. My favorite is a Trappist ale that I order maybe once or twice a year (an ale whose name I never remember but simply refer to as “my medicine”). It’s great after a particularly stressful day, not because of the serenity of the monks who brew it, but because of its ridiculously high alcohol content. A glass of this medicine takes the edge off of just about anything. Please click here to continue reading.

Teen Addiction Treatment Programs that Measure Up
You’d think that a recent “special issue” of a leading magazine for addiction counselors focused on adolescents and young adults would mention at least one teen program shown in scientific studies to have sound research backing. Please click here to continue reading.

The Heroin Antidote? How Naloxone Can Help and Hurt Addicts
February 2, 2014 was the day the nation started taking heroin seriously again, the day people learned about the darkness that comes with drug addiction, it was the day we lost an incredible actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman's death ignited a media frenzy and opened the door for the public to see the heroin epidemic that as treatment providers, we've been seeing for the last decade. Something that has come out of the increased awareness of heroin addiction is a newfound interest with the controversial drug naloxone (also known under the brand name, Narcan) that can reverse the side effects and overdoses of opioids. It is a right move that more states are giving police and first responders' access to this drug, but it is one that comes with a lot of controversy.