A recent study of college students identified links between nonmedical prescription drug use, depressive symptoms, and suicidality, and raised the possibility “that students may be inappropriately self-medicating psychological distress with prescription medications.” The Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) is a compilation of data on admissions to substance use treatment that can be used to look at college students with mental disorders who have been admitted to treatment for drug abuse. Specifically, TEDS data for 2010 show that across college student substance abuse treatment admissions,2 those with a co-occurring mental disorder were more than twice as likely as those without a co-occurring mental disorder to report abuse of prescription drugs3 (31.6 vs. 15.0 percent), cocaine (14.4 vs. 5.5 percent), and heroin (14.3 vs. 5.8 percent) (Figure). They were also less likely to report abuse of alcohol (62.0 vs. 72.3 percent). Because college student admissions that have a co-occurring mental disorder are more likely to abuse prescription drugs, cocaine, and heroin, they may need to access special services, such as mental health care and pharmacotherapies that can treat and ease withdrawal symptoms from heroin and certain types of prescription drugs, including narcotic pain relievers, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and sedatives. Please click on the URL for the PDF file to see the full SAMHSA TEDS Report and the bar chart: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/spotlight/Spot094-College-Prescription-Drug-Use.pdf
A Sober Assessment of High-Risk Drinking on College Campuses
A few years ago, in the middle of a snowy night, an officer of the Cornell University Police Department found a shirtless young man sitting on a rock in the creek in one of our gorges, dangling his feet in the water. Asked what he thought he was doing, the student explained that he was calling a friend to pick him up. The majority of college students will never drink enough to wind up in a situation like this—or worse—but a significant minority will come close. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “about half of college student drinkers engage in heavy episodic consumption,” commonly defined as downing five or more drinks in a row for men and four or more drinks for women at least once in a two-week period. Since about 21.6 million Americans were enrolled in college in fall 2012, the number of students who engage in high-risk drinking on U.S. campuses easily exceeds the population of New York City. As part of its Changing the Culture initiative, the NIAAA has compiled data on the consequences of heavy drinking for college students. For example: Each year, nearly 700,000 students are assaulted by fellow students who have been drinking. Almost 600,000 students are injured—and about 1,825 students die—as a result of alcohol poisoning and alcohol-related accidents, including motor vehicle crashes. Each year, nearly 100,000 students are survivors of sexual assault, including rape, while under the influence of alcohol; 400,000 students have unprotected sex while drunk; more than 100,000 students were so intoxicated while having sex that they weren’t sure if they consented or not. The rest of the story is available here
UMass officials trying to understand why more college females than males treated for alcohol problems than in past
University of Massachusetts officials are looking at the data to better understand why more female than male students have needed medical treatment for alcohol consumption in recent months -- but the numbers actually could indicate a new campus program is working. This fall, 43 women and 32 males have been transported to Cooley Dickinson Hospital for alcohol related issues, said Amherst Fire Chief Walter O. "Tim" Nelson. And he has seen more females since he became chief two plus years ago. But he said it seems to be a national trend. Rest of the story is available here http://www.forbes.com/sites/collegeprose/2012/12/17/a-sober-assessment-of-high-risk-drinking-on-college-campuses/.
Canada getting out of medical marijuana business
Canada's Conservative government will soon stop producing and distributing medical marijuana, leaving it up to the private sector in a policy change that angered critics. Canada's Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq made the announcement on Sunday, claiming current regulations "have left the system open to abuse." "We have heard real concerns from law enforcement, fire officials, and municipalities about how people are hiding behind these rules to conduct illegal activity, and putting health and safety of Canadians at risk," the minister said. "These changes will make it far more difficult for people to game the system." Aglukkaq said Ottawa would no longer produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes. Instead, companies will be licenced to grow and sell the product at market rates. Patients with a prescription from a doctor starting in March 2013 will be allowed to purchase a variety of strains of marijuana from licensed producers, who will set prices. Also individuals will no longer be permitted to grow marijuana in their homes for their own personal use, said Aglukkaq. Police and fire officials claimed that home grow operations are at "risk of abuse and exploitation by criminal elements" and one in 22 catch fire, and so they applauded the move. Read more at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-12-canada-medical-marijuana-business.html#jCp
Oregon finds efforts to treat drug addicts paying off
Health officials and social service workers in the state find early efforts to combat drug dependency save money and lives. The guiding principle behind addiction treatment in Oregon is simple: Pay for it now, make it easy to get and you'll save money and lives down the road. Research from across the nation shows that treatment reduces crime and medical expenses while boosting employment, meaning every dollar spent on treatment actually saves an average of $7. Read the rest of the story here.
Synthetic drugs: The challenge and the opportunity
"Blueberry Spice" sounds harmless enough - like hot herbal tea for a winter's day. But a chemical compound in the synthetic drug, a THC analog that mimics the effects of marijuana, caused a wave of kidney failure among a dozen people earlier this year in Casper, Wyoming. The rise in the toxic and sometimes lethal synthetics - Spice, K2 and Bath Salts - was the topic at a two-hour-long, Hazelden-sponsored panel discussion in St. Louis Park that drew more than 400 school officials, family practitioners, emergency room staff, psychologists, law enforcement officials, social workers and family members. Click here to read the full story.
Younger teens smoking less; older teens drinking more; Marijuana use up.
Almost one-quarter of the nation’s high school seniors say they have smoked marijuana in the past month, and just over 36 percent admit to using the drug in the past year, according to the 2012 Monitoring the Future Survey. Researchers at the University of Michigan who conducted the annual survey found 6.5 percent of high school seniors smoked marijuana daily.
- The 2012 national survey results from the Monitoring the Future study show a continuation of the declines in teen smoking in all three grades under study—grades 8, 10, and 12. Based on annual surveys of 45,000 to 50,000 students, the researchers found that the percentage saying that they smoked at all in the prior 30 days fell for the three grades combined, from 11.7% to 10.6%—a statistically significant drop. There was some evidence from the study that in 2010 the long-term decline in teen smoking might have come to a halt, but the decline resumed in 2011 and has continued into 2012 with statistically significant declines both years. An increase in the federal tax on tobacco products, instituted in 2009, may have contributed to this recent decline in smoking in this age group, according to the investigators. The Monitoring the Future study, which has been tracking teen smoking in the United States for the past 38 years, found that between 2011 and 2012 the percentage of students reporting any cigarette smoking in the prior 30 days (called 30-day prevalence) has decreased among 8th graders from 6.1% to 4.9% (a statistically significant decrease), among 10th graders from 11.8% to 10.8%, and among 12th graders from 18.7% to 17.1%. One reason that the current smoking rates have declined so sharply is that the proportion of students who ever tried smoking has fallen quite dramatically. In 1996, 49% of 8th graders had tried cigarettes, but by 2012 only 16% had done so, a two thirds drop in smoking initiation over the past 16 years. Further, the initiation of smoking is still falling significantly among 8th and 10th graders. These estimates come from the study’s national surveys of 45,000 to 50,000 students in about 400 secondary schools each year. The study was designed by and is directed by a team of research professors at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, and since its inception has been funded through research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse— one of the National Institutes of Health.
- About 24 percent of the high school seniors surveyed reported binge drinking within the past two weeks in 2012 - an increase of two percent from 2011. For the purpose of the study, binge drinking was defined as having more than five drinks in a row. The percentage of U.S. teens that smoke has continued to decline in 2012, according to an annual report released Wednesday.
- High school seniors are also misusing Adderall more than students in eighth and tenth grades, where misuse rates decreased this year, according to the study.
- Continued high use of marijuana by the nation's eighth, 10th and 12th graders combined with a drop in perceptions of its potential harms in this year's Monitoring the Future survey, an annual survey of eighth, 10th, and 12th-graders conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan. The 2012 survey shows that 6.5 percent of high school seniors smoke marijuana daily, up from 5.1 percent five years ago. Nearly 23 percent say they smoked it in the month prior to the survey, and just over 36 percent say they smoked within the previous year. For 10th graders, 3.5 percent said they use marijuana daily, with 17 percent reporting past month use and 28 percent reporting use in the past year. The use escalates after eighth grade, when only 1.1 percent reported daily use, and 6.5 percent reported past month use. More than 11 percent of eighth graders said they used marijuana in the past year. The Monitoring the Future survey also showed that teens' perception of marijuana’s harmfulness is down, which can signal future increases in use. Only 41.7 percent of eighth graders see occasional use of marijuana as harmful; 66.9 percent see regular use as harmful. Both rates are at the lowest since the survey began tracking risk perception for this age group in 1991. As teens get older, their perception of risk diminishes. Only 20.6 percent of 12th graders see occasional use as harmful (the lowest since 1983), and 44.1 percent see regular use as harmful, the lowest since 1979.
New “Credentials for Youth” tool
The Employment and Training Administration’s (ETA) Division of Youth Services, within the U.S. Department of Labor, recently launched a new tool “Credentials for Youth”, to help workforce professionals identify promising occupations for youth served by the workforce system, and the credentials that help youth attain them. Click here to read the rest of the article.
Major foundation award will fuel addiction education for MDs
The Betty Ford Center on Dec. 12 announced that the Florida-based Scaife Family Foundation, a longtime supporter of the treatment center’s Summer Institute for Medical Students (SIMS), has awarded the center $1.2 million to implement the Medical Education Initiative. Click here to read the rest of the story.
Building on a rich history
The operators of recovery residences are drawing from their past as they more sharply define their place in the continuum of care.
A critical document that is newly released provides an unprecedented overview and analysis of the rapidly emerging field of recovery residences; it is aptly titled A Primer on Recovery Residences: FAQs from the National Association of Recovery Residences. Noted addictions and recovery researchers William White, Amy Mericle, PhD, Leonard Jason, PhD, and Doug Polcin, EdD, in conjunction with members of the National Association of Recovery Residences (NARR), have authored a comprehensive narrative and assessment of all types of recovery residences, heretofore known under a variety of terms (i.e., sober living, halfway houses, transition homes, extended care). Rest of the story is available here.
A Sober Assessment of High-Risk Drinking on College Campuses
A few years ago, in the middle of a snowy night, an officer of the Cornell University Police Department found a shirtless young man sitting on a rock in the creek in one of our gorges, dangling his feet in the water. Asked what he thought he was doing, the student explained that he was calling a friend to pick him up. The majority of college students will never drink enough to wind up in a situation like this—or worse—but a significant minority will come close. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “about half of college student drinkers engage in heavy episodic consumption,” commonly defined as downing five or more drinks in a row for men and four or more drinks for women at least once in a two-week period. Since about 21.6 million Americans were enrolled in college in fall 2012, the number of students who engage in high-risk drinking on U.S. campuses easily exceeds the population of New York City. As part of its Changing the Culture initiative, the NIAAA has compiled data on the consequences of heavy drinking for college students. For example: Each year, nearly 700,000 students are assaulted by fellow students who have been drinking. Almost 600,000 students are injured—and about 1,825 students die—as a result of alcohol poisoning and alcohol-related accidents, including motor vehicle crashes. Each year, nearly 100,000 students are survivors of sexual assault, including rape, while under the influence of alcohol; 400,000 students have unprotected sex while drunk; more than 100,000 students were so intoxicated while having sex that they weren’t sure if they consented or not. Click here for more.
Marines’ new alcohol policy strictest in U.S. military
The Marine Corps' new on-duty standard for drinking alcohol is so strict that less than one drink at lunch would trigger a "positive" and get a warrior in hot water. The Washington Times reported earlier this week that the Corps sent a Dec. 12 message to commanders officially beginning mandatory breath tests for all 197,000 Marines twice each year. A reading of just .01 percent subjects a Marine to counseling. A Marine who registers a .04 must be examined by medical staff for fitness for duty. The Corps is the first among the Army, Air Force and Navy to begin random mandatory testing of all personnel. The Army leaves test decisions up to a commander and prohibits a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05 percent or higher. The Air Force also instructs commanders to order alcohol tests when appropriate but has no compulsory program. The Navy said in March it plans to conduct mandatory breath tests. A spokeswoman says the program will not start until next year. Overall, this makes the new Corps' anti-alcohol testing the military's strictest. The Marine memo calls a "positive test result" a reading of .01 or greater, which results in automatic "screening and treatment as appropriate." The Marine Corps did not respond to a question from The Times on why it choose .01 as a "positive" reading requiring corrective action. Army regulations say an on-duty soldier with .05 BAC or more is subject to discipline under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and can receive a less-than-honorable discharge. Commanders may set limits below .05 and bar alcohol consumption altogether on deployment. A blood-alcohol content of .08 — which means eight one-hundredths of 1 percent of the blood by volume is alcohol — is the U.S. standard for drunkenness while driving. Concentration, reasoning, depth perception and other skills can be impaired by a blood-alcohol content lower than .08. The armed forces for years have required mandatory drug testing. The services have wrestled with the idea of doing the same for alcohol, given the belief that domestic violence and sexual assaults often are rooted in excessive drinking. In September, in a study requested by the Pentagon, the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded that drug and alcohol abuse by military personnel constitutes a "public health crisis" and "both are detrimental to force readiness and psychological fitness."