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Friday, May 9, 2014

ATOD & Advocacy Recap - Week ending May 9, 2014

Greetings everyone. This weekly ATOD & Advocacy Update will go on hiatus for two weeks. We will be back on Friday, May 30th. Thank you!

Raising a glass to the booming alcohol industry
Marc Sorini got his first taste of life as an alcohol lawyer two decades ago as a young attorney working for the California winery that makes the wine known as “Two-Buck Chuck.” Sorini, now head of McDermott Will & Emery’s alcohol regulatory and distribution group in Washington, was part of the legal team for Bronco Wine Co., which produces Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw label — commonly known as Two-Buck Chuck. The winery was facing off against regulators who claimed the brand name of a wine, Rutherford Vineyards, was misleading because it did not reflect the region where the grapes were grown. Click here to continue reading.

Heroin’s New Hometown - On Staten Island, Rising Tide of Heroin Takes Hold
The obituaries have a certain sameness to them: full of praise and regret for lives cut short, marked by telltale details and omissions. The deaths occurred at home, or at a friend’s house elsewhere on Staten Island. The mourned were often young and white, and although how they died was never mentioned, nearly everyone knew or suspected the cause. Click here to continue reading.

We Need Al Capone Drug Laws
AFTER a ruinous 30-year experiment in harsh sentences for narcotics trafficking resulting in mass incarceration, policy makers are having second thoughts. Many states, including Texas, have reformed their laws to shorten sentences. Congress is giving serious consideration to the Smarter Sentencing Act, which would do the same. The United States Sentencing Commission has just adopted a proposal to revise federal guidelines. Click here to continue reading.

Hallucinating Away a Heroin Addiction
This junkie is about to begin a three-day, neo-African, sometimes-terrifying, ritualistic trip. Can it help her get clean?
It’s been 56 hours since Grace Bergere’s last shot of heroin—too long.
Curled into a fetal position on an outdoor, candle-lit matt in Costa Rica, the 18-year-old trembles in fear. A petrified grimace wrinkles the white clay adorning her face. Her rail thin body, wrapped in a ceremonial red sheet, looks paralyzed at points—then, without warning, her limbs thrash in revolt, as she tries to keep the demons haunting her at bay. But it’s too late. The demons are just getting started. Click here to continue reading.

Enlisting dentists to fight meth
Methamphetamine addiction is the new crack epidemic—a scourge that rips up communities, especially rural ones, and has frustrated many attempts to slow it down. Now a new project from the Tufts School of Dental Medicine suggests that an important weapon in the fight could be dentists. The idea, as explained in a recent issue of the Tufts Dental Medicine Magazine, was developed by Jennifer Towers after a vacation trip to the small Idaho town of Coeur d’Alene. Towers, the dental school’s director of research affairs, saw lots of young Idahoans with really bad teeth, a side effect of rampant addiction to methamphetamine. The drug can cause teeth gnashing so intense it leads to cracked enamel and, eventually, a grotesque state of tooth decay known as “meth mouth.” Click here to continue reading.

9 Myths about Alcohol, Busted
It's the world's most used drug, and the drug that most frequently sends users to the emergency room, and yet less than 60 percent of heavy drinkers recognize that their habits put them at high risk, according to the 2014 Global Drug Survey.
Whether it's because of alcohol's celebratory feel or -- in moderation -- its health benefits or simply its ubiquity in social gatherings, many drinkers just don't take their drinking seriously. We asked Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D., deputy director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), to help set the record straight. Click here to continue reading.

Taking Aim at 12-Step Programs - ‘The Sober Truth’: Seeing Bad Science in Rehab
Did you know that the most widely accepted treatments for alcohol and drug addiction — Alcoholics Anonymous and similar 12-step programs — rest on the flimsiest of scientific evidence? I didn’t. That and more are what the psychiatrist Dr. Lance Dodes and Zachary Dodes (father and son) claim in this polemical and deeply flawed book about the nature and treatment of addiction. Click here to continue reading.

Police Access to Prescription-Drug Records Gets Tougher
Courts, Legislators Begin to Restrict Warrantless Access to Users' Records.
For years, police across the country have had little trouble gaining records of prescription drugs used by individuals they suspect of committing a crime. But some courts and legislators are starting to restrict the data, citing privacy concerns. Click here to continue reading.

10 Percent of Older Teens Had Major Depressive Episode in Past Year
A new government report finds 10 percent of 16- and 17-year-olds had a major depressive episode in the past year. Almost 20 percent of young adults, ages 18 to 25, had any mental illness in the past year. Click here to continue reading.

DEA to boost marijuana supply for research
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is approving a massive increase in the amount of marijuana that government researchers can use for studies due to a growing interest in medical marijuana. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) will now have access to 650 kilograms of pot, after the DEA announced Friday in the Federal Register it is raising the production quota from 21 kilograms. Click here to continue reading.

Less Than Half of College Students Say Misuse of Prescription Stimulants is “Cheating”
Only 41 percent of college students say misusing prescription stimulants for academic purposes should be considered cheating, according to a survey at an unnamed Ivy League institution. The survey found 18 percent of students said they misused stimulant drugs in an attempt to gain an academic advantage at least once in college. Of students who used stimulant drugs, 24 percent said they had done so eight or more times, Inside Higher Ed reports. While 33 percent of students did not think using drugs such as Adderall or Ritalin was cheating, 25 percent were unsure, and 41 percent considered it cheating. The study included 616 college students without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder who completed an anonymous online questionnaire. More students who played a varsity sport and were affiliated with a Greek house said they misused stimulants, compared with students affiliated with only one or neither. The findings were presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting.

The Surprising History of Making Alcohol a Powdered Substance
A startup is seeking approval to sell alcohol in tiny inconspicuous packets. But the science is decades old. Click here to continue reading.

The Missing Factor
Last week, the Obama administration released an important report, “Not Alone,” addressing the daunting problem of sexual assault on college campuses. The report was accompanied by an extensive set of helpful questions and answers to guide colleges and universities in compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the law that provides the legal framework for oversight of how colleges and universities assure that all students are free from sexual harassment and assault. It was also accompanied by an advance summary of a systematic review of the literature on primary prevention strategies for reducing sexual violence conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Click here to continue reading.

Monday, May 5, 2014

ATOD & Advocacy Recap - Week ending May 2, 2014

Medication-Assisted Therapies — Tackling the Opioid-Overdose Epidemic
The rate of death from overdoses of prescription opioids in the United States more than quadrupled between 1999 and 2010, far exceeding the combined death toll from cocaine and heroin overdoses. In 2010 alone, prescription opioids were involved in 16,651 overdose deaths, whereas heroin was implicated in 3036. Some 82% of the deaths due to prescription opioids and 92% of those due to heroin were classified as unintentional, with the remainder being attributed predominantly to suicide or “undetermined intent." Please click here for more.

Higher Doses of Antidepressants Linked to Suicidal Behavior in Young Patients
When prescribing antidepressants for teens and young adults, doctors should not start with high doses of the drugs because it might raise the risk of suicidal behavior, new research suggests. The study, which was published online April 28 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that younger patients who began treatment with higher-than-recommended doses of antidepressants were more than twice as likely to try to harm themselves as those who were initially treated with the same drugs at lower, recommended doses. Please click here for more.

The world’s boozing habits revealed. There are some surprises.
Does booze play a part in world events? Don’t tell your kids — or your parents — but probably yes. Take Britain, a proud kingdom of saucing. Over the past year, the number of people seriously hurt by violence plunged 12 percent to roughly 235,000 cases. Though the decrease mirrors trends across the Western world, a new study this week said the real reason may be booze. Or the lack of it. Please click here for more.

Medical marijuana may treat MS symptoms, ineffective for other brain disorders
As medical marijuana makes its way into mainstream clinical use, there is still much mystery surrounding the drug, as not much is known about the its effects on the brain or nervous system disorders. To gain a better understanding of the benefits – or downsides – of medical cannabis, researchers from the American Academy of Neurology conducted a systematic review of available research analyzing the use of marijuana for the treatment of brain diseases. Please click here for more.

Follow up:
When Medical Marijuana Doesn’t Work
The first time Dana gave marijuana to her 13-year-old son, it was a mother’s act of desperation. Edward has absence seizures, also known as petit mal seizures. At least a dozen times a day, he blanks out for about 20 seconds. The seizures affect his school work and memory. His mother lives in constant fear that he’ll fall down a flight of stairs or step into traffic while he’s having one.  And like one-third of all people with epilepsy, medication does little to control his seizures. When Dana heard news reports about a strain of marijuana grown in her home state of Colorado that helped reduce seizures in some children, she was intrigued. For close to 4 months, Edward took medical marijuana pills. They were low in THC, the ingredient in marijuana that affects mood, but high in cannabidiol (CBDs), a non-mood-altering ingredient in pot. Supporters of CBD marijuana say it shows promise against epilepsy, but far from everyone agrees. Please click here for more.

Heroin on Campus
Officials at the University of Rochester are discussing a problem that rarely reaches the agendas of campus medical centers or presidents: How do you identify and treat students who are addicted to heroin? Please click here for more.

NIH expert warns against legalizing pot
A director from the National Institutes of Health warned House lawmakers Tuesday against legalizing marijuana use, saying it could act as a gateway drug. The testimony from Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, highlighted the split among federal agencies on drug policy and comes as the Obama administration takes a hands-off approach to state enforcement of marijuana laws. Please click here for more.

The way forward on opioid abuse: A call to action for science-based, comprehensive strategies
The recent attention paid by state policy makers around the serious public health problem of misuse, abuse, addiction, and overdose of prescription opioid painkillers is commendable. These efforts reflect the strong desire on the part of states where communities have been devastated by opioid addiction and overdose to prevent further tragic loss of life. However, it is important that such efforts comprehensively address the real root causes of the problem, are grounded in science, and will make a real and lasting difference. Please click here for more.

Nurses Aren't Immune to Prescription Drug Abuse
There's been a rash of headlines involving healthcare workers abusing—and sometimes overdosing and dying from—prescription drugs. Can you spot the addicted nurses in your organization? In December, a cardiovascular ICU nurse was found dead in the bathroom of a University of Michigan hospital. Months later, The Ann Arbor News reported that she died from an overdose of the opiate fentanyl and the benzodiazepine midazolam, two sedatives that are used for surgical patients. Please click here for more.

DEA chief says marijuana-trafficking spiking in states near Colorado
The Drug Enforcement Administration is concerned about a surge in the illegal shipment of marijuana from Colorado since the state legalized the drug, and is trying to crack down on minors’ use of the substance, the head of the agency said Wednesday. Administrator Michele Leonhart said the DEA is troubled by the increase in marijuana trafficking in states surrounding Colorado and worries that the same phenomenon could be repeated around Washington state, where recreational marijuana is expected to be sold legally soon. In Kansas, she said, there has been a 61 percent increase in seizures of marijuana from Colorado. Please click here for more.

Silk Road drug sales going strong after 'Dread Pirate Roberts' arrest
The illicit underground marketplace has bounced back from last year’s high-profile shutdown, according to an Internet safety report. The Silk Road has stabilized, brushing off any repercussions from last year's arrest of its alleged leader "Dread Pirate Roberts," an Internet safety watchdog has found. The virtual underground marketplace, made famous by a high-profile takedown in San Francisco last year, has maintained its place as the largest and best-known online black market for illegal drugs, according to a Digital Citizens report released Wednesday. Please click here for more.

Providers search for staff to meet needs of growing field
With Medicaid expansion, the Mental Health Parity Act, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the large population of people who are seeking treatment for mental health and addiction, treatment organizations are expanding and new programs are constantly opening. With this comes a need to hire additional staff. According to Kevin Gallagher, chief financial officer (CFO) at Solid Landings Behavioral Health (Costa Mesa, Calif.), there is no question where the organizational growth is coming from. “It’s been driven by adding beds,” he says. “The rapid growth of 2013 that has extended into 2014 has created significant openings.” Tanisha Porreca, chief operating officer (COO), explains that over the last year the organization hired more than 100 new employees and will mostly likely hire an additional 100 this year as well. Please click here for more.