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Friday, December 13, 2013

ATOD & Advocacy Update - Week Ending December 13, 2013

Mentally Ill People with Substance Use Disorders Not Most Likely to Use ER: Study
A new study dispels the myth that the most frequent users of hospital emergency rooms are people with mental illness and substance use disorders. This population accounts for only a small percentage of visits, the researchers found. The study looked at emergency room visits made by more than 212,000 Medicaid patients in New York City since 2007, HealthDay reports. The researchers found patients who frequently use the ER tend to have multiple chronic health conditions and many hospitalizations.

There is evidence for effective alcohol policy – why isn't it taken seriously?
100,000 years of working life in England and Wales are lost because of alcohol. It doesn't have to be this way. Click here to continue reading.

Why MDs Abuse Prescription Drugs
Doctors who report they abuse prescription drugs cite self-medication to help manage physical pain and emotional problems as the number 1 reason for this habit, new research shows. In the study, substance-impaired doctors participated anonymously in guided group discussions as part of a monitored state physician health program (PHP). In addition to helping manage physical and emotional pain, physicians also cited stress, recreational use, and withdrawal prevention as the main reasons for abusing prescription medications. Click here to continue reading.

If You Haven't Heard Of DMT Yet, You Might Soon
Drug researchers have found evidence that a hallucinogenic compound used in shamanic rituals in the Amazon is growing in popularity. Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), the active ingredient in ayahuasca, a plant-based mixture, can also be used by itself, often by smoking it. Rest of this story is here.

Physician Group Recommends Steps to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse
The American College of Physicians (ACP), one of the nation’s largest medical groups, has released a set of recommendations about how doctors can help reduce prescription drug abuse. The group made 10 recommendations, including forming a national prescription drug monitoring program so prescribers and pharmacists can check in their own and neighboring states before writing and filling prescriptions for substances with high abuse potential. Currently many states have drug monitoring programs. ACP also calls for increasing education programs for doctors and patients about prescription drug abuse, and promoting written agreements between doctors and patients being treated for pain. These agreements often describe the treatment, prohibited behaviors, responsibilities of the patient, and points when the treatment will be terminated. CBS News reports the group recommends that doctors should prescribe controlled substances electronically, instead of on paper, to decrease the chance they will be diverted. Doctors should first consider non-opioid treatment for pain, according to the ACP. The group does not recommend a maximum dosage or treatment time limit. The recommendations are published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Many PG-13 Movies Have Violent Characters Who Drink, Smoke and Have Sex
An analysis of almost 400 top-grossing movies from 1985 to 2010 shows about 90 percent included at least one moment of violence involving a main character. In 77 percent of those movies, the main character also smoked tobacco or drank alcohol or engaged in sexual behavior, HealthDay reports. More than half of the most popular movies rated PG-13 featured a main character who acted violently and involved either drinking, smoking or sexual behavior within a five-minute segment, the researchers found. The study found almost no difference between the most popular PG-13 movies and R-rated movies in depicting main characters who engaged in violent and alcohol use, or violence and sexual behavior.
The study appears in the journal Pediatrics.

Why Are Millions Addicted To A Drug That Eats The Flesh Off Their Bones?
Codeine, gasoline, paint thinner, hydrochloric acid, iodine and red phosphorous from matchstick heads. Those are typical ingredients in the street drug known as krokodil, a highly addictive toxic cocktail that’s three times as cheap to produce as heroin and could be becoming an international problem. Please click here to read on.

Research: Individual alcohol policies can reduce risky drinking
According to a new study, a novel composite measure consisting of 29 alcohol policies demonstrates that a strong alcohol policy environment is a protective factor against binge drinking in the U.S. The study was led by researchers at the Boston University Schools of Medicine (BUSM) and Public Health and Boston Medical Center (BMC), and is published in the current issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. To continue, please click here.

HHS Provides $50 Million to Expand Treatment for Substance Use, Mental Health
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced its plans to provide $50 million to expand treatment for substance use disorders and mental health. The funds will be used to hire staff, add services and employ team-based models of care. The funds will go to approximately 200 community health centers, UPI reports. The president’s fiscal year 2014 budget also includes $130 million to help teachers recognize signs of mental illness in students and refer them to services, and to support innovative state-based programs to improve mental health outcomes for young people. It also provides funds to train 5,000 more mental health professionals. The number of people seeking addiction treatment could double under the Affordable Care Act. Under the new law, four million people with drug and alcohol problems will become eligible for insurance coverage. How many new patients will seek addiction treatment will depend in part on how many states decide to expand their Medicaid programs.

The financial realities of living with an addict
For David Sheff, there is nothing worse than the sheer terror of witnessing your own child slip away into a life of drug abuse. The San Francisco writer felt helpless as his son Nic became addicted to substances like methamphetamine and heroin over the course of a decade, beginning in 1997 when Nic was around 15. Nic eventually triumphed, and has now been clean for more than five years, to his parents' great joy and relief. But his lengthy struggles with addiction had another long-term victim: Their family budget. "Credit cards would disappear, checks would disappear, stuff would go missing," remembers Sheff, who wrote the 2008 book "Beautiful Boy" about his family's experiences. "Eventually he even broke into his little brother's piggy bank; that's how bad it got," he said in an interview. "Then he would disappear, and we would be terrified for him, and just send more money," he says. "I did that until someone told me that sending money to a drug addict is like giving a loaded gun to someone who is suicidal." Rest of this story is here.

N.J. Assembly committee votes to expand medical marijuana program again
A state Assembly committee today (12/12/13) voted to give flexibility to New Jersey's registered medical marijuana patients by allowing them to buy the drug in another state and use it here. The bill (A-4537) received a brief hearing before it sailed through the Assembly Health Committee at the Statehouse by a vote of 7-4. But its long-term prospects may be in doubt. Gov. Chris Christie has stated he is "done expanding the medical marijuana program under any circumstances" when asked what would happen if the bill reached his desk. The bill would allow patients enrolled in the state's program to possess medical marijuana legally obtained from another state program. Patients registered with another state program also be allowed to use their medicine here, according to the bill. New Jersey patients would have to buy a form of marijuana that conforms to the state's parameters, and would not be allowed to exceed the dose recommended by their doctor. Please click here to continue reading.

Gov. Walker signs 'Brown Jug Bill' into law
Getting busted for underage drinking in Wisconsin just got a bit more expensive. A measure known as the Brown Jug Bill was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Scott Walker, giving bar owners and other establishments that sell alcoholic beverages the ability to report underage drinkers to the police and then take them to court. The underage drinker would then be required to pay the business owner $1,000 if found guilty. The fine would be in addition to the $250 to $1,000 underage drinking fine an individual would receive from law enforcement. Rest of the story is here.

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