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Friday, June 1, 2012

ATOD News Recap week ending June 1

Report reveals that U.S. teens are sending and receiving more mobile phone texts than in 2009

The volume of texting among teens has risen from 50 texts a day in 2009 to 60 texts for the median teen text user. In addition, smartphones are gaining teenage users. Some 23% of all those ages 12-17 say they have a smartphone and ownership is highest among older teens: 31% of those ages 14-17 have a smartphone, compared with just 8% of youth ages 12-13. This report, sponsored by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project examines the tools teens use to communicate, with a particular focus on mobile devices, and then places the use of those tools in the broader context of how teens choose to communicate with people in their lives.

The 2011 Teens and Digital Citizenship Survey obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 799 teens ages 12 to 17 years old and their parents living in the continental United States. The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source, LLC from April 19 to July 14, 2011. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is ±4.8 percentage points.

In addition to the two surveys, this study conducted 7 focus groups with teens between the ages of 12 and 19 in the greater Washington, DC metro area in January and February 2011. Participants were recruited via word of mouth, email, schools, and non-profit organizations. A total of 57 youth participated in the focus groups, though each group averaged 8 to 14 people.

Alcohol Intoxication Plays Major Role in U.S. Suicides according research report

According to researcher Mark Kaplan, new nationally based evidence supports the need to address alcohol misuse among patients at risk for suicide. Using data collected by the National Violent Death Reporting System between 2003 and 2009, Kaplan determined that about one in five U.S. residents who killed themselves were intoxicated with alcohol at the time of death. Intoxication was more prevalent among men, younger adults, and those using firearms as a suicide means.

"There is a relationship between young age, alcohol use, and use of highly lethal means" among suicide decedents, said Kaplan. There is a lethal combination of gun availability, alcohol, and a precipitating life crisis. The message to clinicians is that they need to probe for alcohol misuse among patients at risk for suicide."  

Kaplan, who is professor of community health at Portland State University, presented his findings at the most recent conference of the American Association of Suicidology.

Source: Suicide Prevention Resource Center - The Weekly Spark

Only Small Percentage of States’ Tobacco Revenues Used Toward Smoking Prevention

Only a small fraction of revenues that states collect from the sale of tobacco products goes toward smoking prevention programs, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Tobacco manufacturers agreed to reimburse states for Medicaid costs related to tobacco use, under the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. The intent of this agreement was for states to also use this money to help prevent youth smoking, HealthDay reports. However, the agreement did not require money be used for this purpose.
The new study revealed that between 1998 and 2010, states collected a total of almost $244 billion in payments from the tobacco industry agreement, as well as from cigarette excise taxes. They have only invested about $8 billion in effective state tobacco control programs, the report notes. The rest of the funding has gone toward general expenses, or to pay for programs other than tobacco control. If states had followed the recommendations of the CDC, they would have spent more than $29 billion in tobacco control programs during that time. The CDC noted that many states face extensive cutbacks to tobacco control funding, resulting in the near elimination of tobacco control programs in those states. According to the report, states that have made larger sustained investments in comprehensive tobacco control programs have seen cigarette sales drop approximately twice as much as in the United States overall. “Smoking prevalence among adults and youths has declined faster as spending for tobacco control programs has increased in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Maine, New York, Oregon, and Washington,” the researchers note.

U.S. Senate Approves Bill to Ban Sale of Synthetic Drugs

The U.S. Senate last week passed a bill that would prohibit the sale of synthetic drugs. The bill had been held up in the Senate for months by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. New York Senator Charles Schumer was able to get the bill passed by attaching it to a larger Food and Drug Administration bill, the New York Daily News reports. The bill passed 96-1, the article notes.
“Let this be a warning to those who make a profit manufacturing and selling killer chemical components to our teens and children: the jig is up,” Senator Schumer said in a statement. “This bill closes loopholes that have allowed manufacturers to circumvent local and state bans and ensures that you cannot simply cross state lines to find these deadly synthetic drugs.”
Often marketed as legal substances, synthetic drugs are sometimes labeled as “herbal incense” or “bath salts” and sold in small pouches or packets over the Internet, in tobacco and smoke shops, drug paraphernalia shops, gas stations, and convenience stores. In December, the National Institute on Drug Abuse released new information indicating that one in nine high school seniors had used “Spice” or “K2” over the past year, making synthetic marijuana the second most frequently used illicit drug, after marijuana, among high school seniors. Poison control centers operating across the nation have also reported sharp increases in the number of calls relating to synthetic drugs.
A similar bill passed the House last December. Senator Schumer said he expects the ban to be on President Obama’s desk by July 4. When it is signed into law, the bill will make it illegal to sell synthetic marijuana and bath salts anywhere in the United States, regardless of local laws. First-time offenders will receive up to 20 years in prison, and repeat sellers will receive up to 30 years.

New York Emergency Room Visits Related to Drinking on the Rise

The number of visits to New York public hospital emergency rooms that are related to drinking shot up from almost 8,000 to 15,620 in five years, the New York Daily News reports. Drinking is now the fifth-leading cause of emergency room visits at public hospitals, according to the newspaper. Teenage binge drinking is one of the main drivers behind the increase.
“I certainly see really young people who drank enormous amounts of alcohol and have bad withdrawal,” Dr. Christopher McStay of Bellevue Hospital’s Emergency Department said. A $200,000 ad campaign launched by the city in 2011, warning about alcohol abuse, seems to have had little effect on hospital visits, the article notes.
At Bellevue, the number of alcohol-impaired patients coming to the ER rose by 191 percent, from 1,659 in 2007, to 4,844 last year. The majority of these patients have cuts or broken bones, while some need their stomachs pumped. Many of the patients are minors, according to hospital staff. The hospital currently has 50 patients enrolled in a program for repeat offenders. They receive added psychiatric care. Almost 2,000 people were admitted to the hospital’s detox center last year.

Fake Adderall Being Sold Online, FDA Warns

A counterfeit form of the drug Adderall is being sold online, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned this week. Adderall, prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy, also is used illicitly to increase attention and get high, the Los Angeles Times reports. The drug is in short supply because of manufacturing problems, the article notes. Distributors of the fake medication are taking advantage of the shortage. The ingredients in Adderall are dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate and amphetamine sulfate. The 30-milligram phony pills analyzed by the FDA contain the painkiller tramadol and acetaminophen.
Several spelling mistakes on the label of the fake medication make it easy to detect, according to the newspaper. The label says “NDS” instead of “NDC,” “Aspartrte” instead of “Aspartate,” and “Singel” instead of “Single.”
According to a FDA news release, the fake Adderall tablets are round, white and do not have any type of markings, such as letters or numbers. “The counterfeit versions of Adderall should be considered as unsafe, ineffective and potentially harmful,” the FDA notes. Genuine Adderall 30 milligram tablets are round, orange/peach, and notched down the middle, with “dp” marked on one side and “30” on the other side. They come in a 100-count bottle with the National Drug Code (NDC) 0555-0768-02 listed. Anyone who believes they have counterfeit Adderall should contact the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations.

U.S. says drug abuse needs treatment, not just jail
The United States sees drug abuse as a public health problem as much as a crime issue and is seeking to learn from countries in Europe and elsewhere about how to treat addiction as a disease, Barack Obama's drugs policy chief said on Tuesday. Gil Kerlikowske, the U.S. president's director of national drug control policy, said the United States is taking a more balanced approach to substance abusers rather than fighting a "war on drugs" centered mainly on law enforcement. Speaking to reporters during a visit to London, Kerlikowske, a former police chief, said major advances in medical science had shown that drug abuse disorders are chronic diseases of the brain that can be effectively prevented and treated.
He said the international community should recognize this and work together on program to prevent and treat abusers, help addicts recover, and explore reforms to criminal justice systems to stop the revolving door of drug use, criminal behavior, jail, release, and re-arrest. "It's very clear we can't arrest our way out of this problem," he said. "The availability of quality treatment and the engagement of the public health sector and primary care physicians in drug issues is very critical."
While officials say overall illicit drug use in the United States has dropped substantially over the past 30 years, there are upwards of 20 million Americans who could benefit from treatment and recovery programs, Kerlikowske said. Currently, only around 4 million of these get the kind of help they need. Prescription drug abuse has become a serious concern in the United States in recent years and was the second-biggest factor behind accidental deaths in 2007.
Kerlikowske, who was in London as part of a tour through Sweden, Britain and Russia this week, said the Obama administration was eager to talk to those dealing with drug addiction problems in other countries to see whether elements of their approaches could be useful in the United States. He has also previously visited Portugal and Italy, as well as Mexico, Colombia and other countries in South America to see different kinds drug treatment programs and prevention plans. He noted what he described as a "somewhat successful" fresh approach in Portugal, where since 2001 authorities have dispensed with arrests, trials and prison for people carrying a personal supply of any drug from marijuana to heroin and focused their efforts on prevention messages and treatment.
"We're happy to learn from and visit and have our eyes wide open to look at these other countries," he said. "But it should be noted that about 85 percent of all drug treatment research is conducted or funded in the United we're also happy to share with other countries what we have learned." Drug enforcement experts in the United States say the evidence strongly supports the wider use of drug courts, which seek to impose treatment programs instead of prison sentences on repeat criminals who are dependent on illegal drugs.

Health care costs drop if adolescent substance abused use 12-step programs

The use of 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, by adolescents with a history of drug and alcohol abuse not only reduces the risk of relapse but also leads to lower health care costs, according to research by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.  The study, which appears in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, is the first to examine the cost implications of 12-step programs for adolescents.

Researchers studied 403 participants between 13 and 18 years old enrolled in Kaiser Permanente alcohol and drug treatment programs in northern California and followed their progress over seven years.

Past research has shown that adolescents with drug and alcohol problems are at risk for a number of negative outcomes, including poor academic performance, violence, depression and suicide, and chronic medical conditions such as asthma.

According to Dr. Marlon Mundt, assistant professor of family medicine, for each 12-step meeting attended, medical costs were reduced by an estimated 4.7 percent or $145 per year for hospital inpatient days, psychiatric visits, and alcohol and drug treatment.  "What is important to remember is that while the exact mechanism of the effect is not known, 12-step is linked to better health, and as a result, lower medical costs in teenagers with a history of substance abuse," said Mundt.

Twelve-step programs, first established by Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson in 1939, offer meetings and one-on-one consultations with recovering drug and alcohol abusers who want to become sober. The concept is copied by groups such as Cocaine Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

"Our findings suggest that in addition to providing support for their sobriety, 12-step participation may also help adolescents meet their physical and mental health recovery needs by supplementing formal medical and psychiatric services," said Mundt. "However, while 12-step participation may be an important complement to formal treatment, it should not be considered a substitute for needed formal psychiatric or alcohol and drug rehabilitation services, simply on the basis of cost."

The study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

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