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Friday, November 8, 2013

ATOD & Advocacy Update - Week Ending November 8, 2013

Should colleges be liable when binge drinking leads to rape?
Recently cyberspace erupted into the feminist equivalent of a civil war over the connection between binge drinking and sexual assault. After Slate columnist Emily Yoffe wrote a column using statistics that showed a link between drinking on college campuses and incidents of sexual assault, and arguing that we have to warn young women on the very real  dangers of excessive drinking, she was pilloried by some female writers. Continue reading here.

With Rise of Painkiller Abuse, a Closer Look at Heroin
Abuse of prescription painkillers is a "," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Oct. 24, the Food and Drug Administration recommended putting new , sold as Vicodin and other brand names. Dr. Andrew Kolodny believes the restrictions are necessary and will prevent new people from developing addiction. But, he says, there are millions who already have the disease and need access to effective treatment. "If they don't have access to legal sources [for painkillers], many of them will turn to the black market," he tells NPR's Arun Rath. "And if they can't find black-market pills, they'll buy heroin on the black market." So while the abuse of painkillers has become a focus for concern, the corresponding rise in heroin use is also prompting calls for action. Click here to continue.

Use of Marijuana, Inhalants Higher in Teens in Child Welfare System: Study
Use of marijuana and inhalants is more common in teens in the child welfare system compared with other teens, a new study finds. Researchers found 18 percent of teens in the welfare system admitted to ever smoking marijuana, compared with 14 percent of other teens. The researchers found 12 percent of teens in the welfare system said they had abused inhalants, compared with 6 percent of other teens, MedicalXpress reports. Six percent of teens in child welfare admitted to ever using cocaine or heroin, compared with 4 percent of other teens. Teens who admitted to shoplifting, theft, running away or using a weapon were more likely to use drugs and alcohol. Teens who lived in two-parent homes, and those who said they felt close to their parents or guardian, were less likely to report drug use. “When youth perceive that their parents or caregivers are actively engaged in their lives, this may steer them away from drugs,” lead researcher Danielle L. Fettes, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Diego, said in a news release. “Youth who feel supported by parents tend to have a better sense of self and better mental health and, in this case, are less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors—which is important for this already high-risk population.” Fettes said the findings are not surprising, since children who enter the welfare system often have risk factors for drug use, such as a history of domestic abuse or mental health issues. This study quantifies the actual rates of substance abuse in this population, she noted. The study appears in the November issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Marijuana and Alcohol - NY Times Editorial
Americans are growing more comfortable with marijuana, with 58 percent favoring legalization, according to the latest Gallup poll. At the same time, some researchers believe they have identified a side benefit to increasing availability of the drug: It could lead to decreased consumption of alcohol among young people. In a paper in the winter issue of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, two researchers — D. Mark Anderson of Montana State University and Daniel Rees of the University of Colorado at Denver — report that legalization of marijuana for medical purposes has been associated with reductions in heavy drinking, especially among 18- to 29-year-olds, and with an almost 5 percent decrease in beer sales. In addition, the increase in the legal drinking age from 18 to 21 seems to encourage greater marijuana use among people under 21, usage that drops sharply when they reach the legal drinking age. Click here to read more.

Teen Boys Concerned with Body Image More Likely to Use Drugs and Alcohol
Teenage boys concerned with their body image are at increased risk of using drugs and alcohol, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health. Overall, 17.9 percent of teen boys were extremely concerned about their weight and physique. These boys were more likely than their peers to engage in risky behaviors, including drug use and frequent binge drinking. Male teens with high concerns about muscularity, who used supplements and other products to enhance their physique, were twice as likely to start binge drinking and using drugs. “Our findings show that there are males out there who are extremely concerned with their weight and shape, and they may be doing really unhealthy behaviors to achieve their ideal physique,” lead researcher Alison Field told HealthDay. “But they are not trying to get thinner, they’re using products to help them be bigger.” The findings come from a study of more than 5,000 teen boys. The researchers found 2.4 percent were very concerned about their muscularity and also used supplements such as growth hormones or steroids to enhance their physique. The results are published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Latest Synthetic Drug to Hit St. Louis: “N-Bomb”
The synthetic drug known as “N-Bomb” is being seen on the streets of St. Louis, KMOX reports. The drug is also known as “Smiles,” according to Dan Duncan, with the local office of the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. The drug is often called N-Bomb because its chemical name is 25I-NBOMe. It is made from mescaline, and is similar to LSD. It is ingested as a liquid, powder, or on a blotter, the article notes. The drug can be harmful to kidneys, and can trigger mental health issues. Last month, WHTM reported N-Bomb was believed to be responsible for the death of a high school student in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In May, police in Scottsdale, Arizona said they were investigating whether the deaths of two 18-year-olds were linked to N-Bomb.

Access to Dentists and Pharmacists Predicts Higher Rates of Opioid Abuse: Study
People who live in counties with higher concentrations of dentists and pharmacists are at increased risk of abusing prescription opioids, a new study suggests. The study of opioid abuse in Indiana counties was presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association, Everyday Health reports. The researchers found counties in Indiana with higher rates of dentists and pharmacists had more per-capita opioid prescriptions, which in turn is associated with increased rates of opioid abuse. The most widely prescribed opioid was hydrocodone (Vicodin), which accounted for 69 percent of all opioid prescriptions. Oxycodone prescriptions accounted for 12 percent of opioid prescriptions, followed by codeine-containing products at 8.5 percent, and fentanyl at 3 percent. “We must be cautious and work with public health and health care leaders to avoid ‘overcorrecting,’ unnecessarily restricting the supply of opioids, or inadvertently vilifying or punishing providers who are struggling to meet patients’ legitimate clinical needs,” lead researcher Eric Wright of Indiana University noted in a news release. He added the study underscores the need to work with healthcare provider groups to help them dispense needed medication, while avoiding potential diversion or misuse. “It is unlikely that efforts to educate and regulate individual providers, patients, or suppliers of opioids alone will be sufficient to reverse the growing supply or demand for prescription pain relievers,” he wrote in the study. “It is time for public health and healthcare leaders to develop more comprehensive, community-level strategies that address system- and individual-level factors that are driving the epidemic of prescription opioid abuse.”

Watch as heroin addict comes back to life from overdose thanks to emergency shot
In a video taken by addiction outreach volunteers, a 29-year-old woman is revived from a heroin overdose with a shot of the drug Naloxone. Click here for the rest of this story and the video.

Will Legalizing Pot Result In More Or Less Drinking?
Among the eight “enforcement priorities” that the Justice Department expects states to address in exchange for prosecutorial restraint vis-รก-vis newly legal pot businesses is “preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use.” Rest of this article is here.

ER study finds 1 in 10 older teens misuse Rx painkillers and sedatives
If confirmed, findings suggest an opportunity to screen for prescription drug abuse risk – and reduce potential for addiction or overdose
With prescription drug abuse at epidemic levels nationwide, and overdoses killing more people than auto accidents in many states, a new University of Michigan study provides striking new data about the misuse of potent prescription painkillers and sedatives by teens and young adults. Continue reading here.

Addicts May Be Seeking Relief from Emotional Lows More than Euphoric Highs
Rutgers study could lead to a better understanding of human addiction – alcohol, tobacco and food – as well as substance abuse.
Cocaine addicts may become trapped in drug binges – not because of the euphoric highs they are chasing but rather the unbearable emotional lows they desperately want to avoid.
In a study published online in Psychopharmacology, Rutgers University Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience Professor Mark West, and doctoral student David Barker in the Department of Psychology, in the School of Arts and Sciences, challenge the commonly held view that drug addiction occurs because users are always going after the high. Based on new animal studies, they discovered that the initial positive feelings of intoxication are short lived – quickly replaced by negative emotional responses whenever drug levels begin to fall. Continue reading here.

Alcohol Is Really Pissed Off at Marijuana Right Now
The marijuana industry is convincing Americans its substance is safer than alcohol, and booze lobbyists don't like it. Continue reading here.

Alcoholism may be fostered by colleges.
Growing up for Susan Hornecker meant a life that was out of control. Now a housewife in the suburbs of New Jersey and a mother of a former Purdue student, Hornecker recounts growing up with an alcoholic and abusive father as “scary.” “You never knew what the house would be like when you walked in,” Hornecker said. “We called the police sometimes. I remember saying (to them) ‘You have to take him out of here.’” Continue reading here.

Some sober homes move dangerously close to treatment
In the largely unregulated but burgeoning market of recovery residences in Florida, one of the most egregious business scenarios involves a crossing of boundaries, with many sober home operators now opening up intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) in an attempt to secure insurance dollars. “Unlawful practices have sprung up like weeds as more IOP licenses are issued in Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Broward counties,” says John Lehman, an advisory board member for the Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR), which in the state is trying to get sober home operators to adhere to national standards for recovery residence operations. “Everyone is chasing the insurance dollar.” This article continues here.

Training Course Designed to Curb Prescription Drug Abuse Shows Early Promise
An online training program designed to reduce prescription drug abuse shows promise in early results, HealthCanal reports. A three-month follow-up survey shows providers who participated in the program have changed their chronic pain management practices based on what they learned. Of those who currently manage pain patients, 84 percent said they have changed the way they practice. Almost 80 percent agreed or strongly agreed they increased their knowledge about the treatment and management of non-cancer chronic pain. In addition, 75 percent said they are more confident in managing chronic, non-cancer pain patients. Among providers who took the course but are not managing chronic pain patients, 79 percent said they now coordinate care with providers who do manage chronic patients, based on what they learned in the course. The course, called “The Opioid Crisis: Guidelines and Tools for Improving Chronic Pain Management,” was developed by a team of researchers and health care providers at the Center for Worker Health and Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health. It is designed to retrain health care providers on updated state and federal chronic pain management guidelines. It provides instructions for which evidence-based best practices should be used before prescribing opioids. Since launching last November, more than 1,000 Colorado health care providers have been enrolled.

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