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NCADD's Weekly Addiction News & Policy Update - Week ending December 12, 2014

Scientists reveal the ancient origins of drinking alcohol

There's an emerging branch of research called Paleogenetics that tries to answer the questions of the present by scrutinizing the genetic material of the past. And when it comes to figuring out when drinking alcohol began - igniting both merriment and alcoholism - you need to go pretty far back: 10 million years. That was when some curious primate stumbled across a rotting piece of fruit and thought, "Why not?" And boom, drinking was born. Please click here to continue reading. 

The Campus Alcohol Problem That Nobody Talks About - Worried about binge drinkers? Start at the faculty club.

This week the Chronicle of Higher Education is running a series of long-form investigations about drinking culture on American campuses. I'm as concerned about the overdoses, assaults, and general idiocy of liquored-up undergrads as anyone-perhaps even more so, given the time one of my old Ohio State students, a 90-pound junior, proudly declared her intention to down 21 shots on the upcoming birthday that made it legal to do so. When I mentioned that this could result in her actual death, she just rolled her eyes like I was a neurotic off-duty German shepherd police dog: Oh, isn't that cute; the Old thinks it's people and it knows something.
Please click here to continue reading. 

Alcohol - The Biology behind the Buzz

Our relationship with alcohol is complicated - to say the least. Not everyone can hold their drink, some hold one way too often, and some don't even get a buzz. Truth be told, we're only just starting to get the gist of how alcohol "works".

'Designer strains' of cannabis could cure more ills

An Israeli crop developer aims at maximizing marijuana's medical benefits while reducing its high. Click here to continue reading.

Doctors: Painkillers Overprescribed, But Not by Me

Doctors agree that prescription drugs are overused to treat pain, saying it is a significant problem.  Click here to read more.

Heroin treatment Suboxone exposes divide between medical community, policy makers

 There is a quiet barrier between the medical community and much of the state when it comes to medication-based substance abuse treatment, one that underscores the difficulties in addressing the state's ever-growing battle with heroin and prescription opioid addiction. Click here to read more.

Does educational attainment affect risk of opioid and stimulant abuse?

Young adults who do not attend college are at high risk for non-medical prescription opioid use, while college-educated young adults are more at risk of prescription stimulant abuse. These are the findings of a new study published in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. Click here to read the rest of this story.

Nursing Homes Rarely Penalized For Oversedating Patients

 Antipsychotic drugs have helped many people with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. But for older people with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, they can be deadly. The Food and Drug Administration has given these drugs a black box warning, saying they can increase the risk of heart failure, infections and death. Yet almost 300,000 nursing home residents still get them. Please click here to read more.

The marijuana industry is following the trail blazed by Big Tobacco

Last month, people voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Oregon, Alaska and the District. As the movement toward marijuana legalization continues, lawmakers and policy experts are looking to the experiments in Colorado and Washington for guidance. We should not overlook, however, valuable lessons from our experience with another legal drug: tobacco. Click here to read the rest of this story.

Painkiller Abuse More Likely for Those Who Skip College

Young adults who skip college are more likely to abuse prescription painkillers than their degree-bound peers, a new study finds. Please click here to read the rest of this story.

Less mental illness among southerners, less access to treatment, too

 You'd expect the socially progressive states of the Northeast and Midwest to score well in a new state-by-state ranking of mental health services, and indeed, by some measures they do. When the advocacy group Mental Health America released the first-ever such rankings Wednesday, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, North Dakota, and Delaware received the highest overall scores when prevalence of mental illness is compared to access to care. Arizona, Mississippi, Nevada, Washington, and Louisiana received the lowest marks. Click here to continue reading.

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