Alcohoot is the first Israeli company to compete for "coolest" start-up in magazine's annual contest.
One of the companies in Inc. magazine’s annual contest ranking “America’s Coolest Start-up” is not like the others: It’s Israeli. Alcohoot, a start-up that aims to prevent drunk driving by selling law enforcement- grade alcohol Breathalyzers that attach to smartphones, is the brainchild of 24-year-old Jonathan Ofir, a Los Angeles native studying business at the IDC, and his Israel born friend Ben Biron, 23, studying at Wingate University in North Carolina. Rest of the story is here.
Passover without wine? For Jewish addicts, sober seders are a life-saverIt's rare that an Orthodox rabbi chooses to omit an important Jewish ritual in his holiday celebrations. But in the spring of 2000, Rabbi Yosef Lipsker cleared his living room of furniture, set up three large dining tables and invited dozens of people to a special seder that included all the standard Passover observances - except for one. “When it comes to seders, everybody thinks of the four cups of wine drunk during the service,” said Lipsker, a consultant at the Caron Treatment Center for Substance Abuse and Chemical Addiction in Reading, Pa. “But we said, 'Listen, we're going to have you at the seder, but you're going to have four cups of grape juice instead.'” Continue reading here.
Bill Would Require Tamper-Resistant Formulas for Certain DrugsA new bill introduced Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives would require new drugs, and certain generic drugs, to have tamper-resistant formulas, ABC News reports. The proposed legislation is designed to reduce prescription drug abuse. The Stop the Tamper of Prescription Pills Act (STOPP) would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to only approve drugs if they have a tamper-resistant formula. Drugs in pill form could not be easily crushed and snorted, and could not be melted into an injectable form. The measure would also require generic brands already on the market to be tamper-resistant, if their brand-name equivalents had a tamper-resistant formulation. It would not apply to drugs prescribed for chronic pain or end-of-life treatments. The FDA would be permitted to exempt drugs considered critical to national health, or in cases where a drug does not have a tamper-resistant alternative.
Bill co-sponsor Bill Keating of Massachusetts introduced the STOPP Act last summer, but it stayed in committee. Measures that would require generic drugs to have tamper-resistant formulas have been opposed by some generic drug manufacturers, who have argued it would lead to higher drug costs. Representative Hal Rogers of Kentucky, another sponsor of the bill, noted in a press release, “When OxyContin was first approved by the FDA over a decade ago, it seemed at first glance that its extended-release technology was a godsend for patients suffering from chronic pain. What no one could foresee was that when you crush these pills, they actually create pain in the form of addiction, abuse and senseless, tragic overdose deaths. Now we’ve got some promising technology to deter abuse, as well as the benefit of hindsight. This time around, we can see the train coming from a mile away – and we need to step out in front of it to stop another tidal wave of addiction.”
Critics of Mental Health Disorder Manual Say Mental Illness Being OverdiagnosedCritics of the soon-to-be-released updated manual used to identify mental illness, say it will expand the list of what constitutes mental illness and will lead to a needless increase in diagnoses, according to CNN. A growing number of psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers say depression and other normal responses to life events are too often labeled as mental illness, increasing the use of potentially dangerous medication, the article notes. In late May, the American Psychiatric Association will publish the updated version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known as the DSM-5. A group called the International DSM-5 Response Committee plans to launch a campaign designed to block the publication’s release.
Dr. Allen Frances, who led the task force that produced the DSM-IV in 2000, and is now spearheading efforts against the DSM-5, said the new version would incorrectly label one in four people who have chronic pain and irritable bowel syndrome as instead having the DSM-5′s newly created “somatic symptom disorder.” This is diagnosed when a person has spent at least six months thinking of and being anxious about their medical illness. Detractors of the manual say some of its recommendations lack scientifically conclusive field testing. They note the manual does not consider the prior effectiveness or ineffectiveness of anti-psychotic medications when considering a patient’s current diagnosis. They also criticize the manual’s combining people with a spectrum of depressions into one group. The DSM-5 will combine problem drinking and alcoholism into a single condition known as “alcohol use disorder.” A recent study suggests these changes may not improve the diagnosis of alcoholism.
Middle School Dating Linked to Increased Substance Use in New StudyMiddle school students who date report using twice as much alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, compared with their classmates without romantic relationships, a new study finds. Students who date in middle school also have significantly worse study skills, and are four times more likely to drop out of school, compared with their single classmates, Science Daily reports. Researchers at the University of Georgia studied 624 students over seven years, starting when they were in sixth grade. Each year, the students completed a survey that asked about dating, substance use and other behaviors. The study looked at the students’ high school dropout rates, and annual teacher-rated study skills. Study author Pamela Orpinas noted in a news release that the study suggests “dating should not be considered a rite of passage in middle school.” The researchers reported their findings in the Journal of Research on Adolescence.
Spring Break's Biggest Danger? Binge DrinkingIt's an annual rite of spring. Millions of teens and college-age kids migrate to beaches all over the world for spring break, posting videos on YouTube that show wild parties fueled by booze, bikinis and sex. During spring break, teens are drawn to crowds and succumb to peer pressure. Things can get downright deadly. Just last week, police said, a 20-year-old college student from Michigan died in an alcohol-related incident while on spring break in Panama City, Fla. Rest of the story is here.
Anesthesia Abuse Increases Among Health Care Professionals, Study Suggests
Abuse of the anesthesia drug propofol is on the rise among health care professionals who have easy access to it, a new study suggests. The study found the number of health care professionals treated for abuse of the drug has increased steadily, the Star Tribune reports. Most of these professionals began using propofol to get to sleep, and quickly became addicted. Propofol is used for surgery and other procedures. It takes effect quickly, and has a fast recovery time, with fewer side effects than other anesthetics, the article notes. The researchers state in a news release, “Propofol addiction is a virulent and debilitating form of substance dependence” with a “rapid downhill course.” They studied data from an addiction center specializing in substance abuse among health care professionals, and found 22 patients treated for propofol abuse between 1990 and 2010. They included doctors, nurses and a dentist. Most of the doctors and all of the nurses were anesthesia providers. Most of them had depression, in addition to a history of childhood sexual or physical abuse. A higher than expected number of patients had family members with schizophrenia. Most of the patients began addiction treatment within a few months after starting to use the drug; five sought treatment after just one propofol binge. About half of patients started treatment after a dramatic event, such as a motor vehicle accident. Some patients received facial injuries after passing out from propofol. The study will appear in the April issue of the Journal of Addiction Medicine.
New 3-ounce alcohol drink sparks concerns
A company hoping to sell 3-ounce vials of high-alcohol malt beverages in flavors like Screw Driver and Apple Pie is asking the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission to approve its packaging. Staff members with the ABC Commission rejected Stout Brewing's packaging for its Stout 21 malt beverage product last month. Read the rest here.
Report Finds Child Poisoning Often Results From Pills Found in Purses and on Floor
A new report finds small children who end up in the emergency room after being accidentally poisoned from medication are more likely to find the pills in a mother’s purse or the floor than the family medicine cabinet. Children also find pills in other easy-to-reach spots such as sofa cushions and countertops, USA Today reports. The report was released by the nonprofit group Safe Kids Worldwide. Most accidental medication poisonings in children result from ingestion of medication belonging to a child’s mother or grandparents, according to the report. The group evaluated 2,315 emergency department records for children up to age 4. In 2011, approximately 67,000 young children ended up in the emergency room after being accidentally exposed to medication. Accidental poisonings in young children rose 30 percent in a decade, they found. Of the records that stated the source of the medication, 27 percent were on the floor or had been otherwise misplaced, while 20 percent came from a purse, bag or wallet. An additional 20 percent were left on counters, tables, nightstands or dressers, 15 percent were found in a pill box or bag of pills, 6 percent were found in a drawer or cabinet, and 12 percent came from other places. In 86 percent of cases, the medications belonged to adults. Mothers accounted for 31 percent, while grandparents accounted for 38 percent. “You have some grandparents who have their whole pharmacy on the kitchen counter or the bathroom counter, and it is there for the taking,” Salvador Baeza, a pharmacist who directs the West Texas Regional Poison Center in El Paso, told the newspaper. Safe Kids advises parents and other caregivers to store medications out of sight and out of reach. SafeKids CEO Kate Carr recommends that parents ask grandparents and other relatives to secure medications when their children are visiting. “That can be an awkward conversation,” Carr said. “But you can just say that ‘I have a very curious child who is just at that age where they get into everything.’”
Connections among brain regions involved in emotion processing and cognitive control may change with increased exposure to alcohol and alcohol-related cues during the first year of college. Read the rest here.
Legislators Introduce Bill to Strengthen Restrictions on Hydrocodone
A bipartisan group of legislators introduced a bill that would tighten restrictions on hydrocodone, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Safe Prescribing Act of 2013 follows recommendations made in January by a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel. The panel voted to strengthen restrictions on hydrocodone combination drugs, such as Vicodin. The group recommended that the FDA make the drugs more difficult to prescribe. The FDA proposal forbids refills without a new prescription, as well as faxed prescriptions and those called in by phone. Distributors of the drugs would have to store the drugs in special vaults. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants would be banned from prescribing the drugs. Forty-one members of Congress from both parties signed onto the proposed legislation as co-sponsors, the article notes. “Prescription drug abuse threatens families in Massachusetts and across the country with no regard for income, education, or political party. Congress needs to step up and take action to help fight the epidemic of prescription drug abuse sweeping the country,” bill co-sponsor Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts said in a news release. He introduced the bill Wednesday, along with Representative Vern Buchanan of Florida, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois. “Too many of our loved ones are dying every day from prescription drug overdoses and are abusing hydrocodone painkillers for non-medical purposes,” Representative Buchanan said. “This epidemic has reached such violent proportions that drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in this country.”
Does Relapse Mean Failure?
We all evolve and learn in the process of parenting an addict. When I first entered this world, my way of thinking was cut and dried. You either recovered or you didn’t. If you didn’t, you failed. Well, learning is hard, especially if you happen to be an adult. And when learning involves first unlearning what you believe to be true, it is particularly difficult. Rest of the story is here.
More awareness of children’s mental health needed, say experts
Children’s mental health and how it affects families, community and business was discussed Thursday morning at the annual “Is It Good for the Children” seminar sponsored by the Rock Hill Commission on Children and Youth. More than 50 community leaders gathered at the Cotton Factory to learn more about the issue and hopefully spark more community conversation on mental illnesses. Click here to read the rest of the story.
How big is the school counselor shortage? Big
A recent survey taken in California showed that a majority of voters there believe that the best approach to preventing violence in schools is through improving mental health services and emergency response training for school staff. But in the midst of a national debate about how to keeps kids in school safe, one thing we aren’t hearing much about is the serious shortage of school counselors. Rest of the story is here.