2 minutes reading time (372 words)

Addiction News & Policy Update for Week Ending July 23, 2021

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U.S. Overdose Deaths Soared to All-Time High in 2020

Deaths due to drug overdose in the United States surged to a record-breaking level during the pandemic last year, according to a report released July 14 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics. The rise from 72,000 fatalities in 2019 to 93,000 in 2020 represented a change of nearly 30 percent. Nora Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), called the 12-month increase the largest recorded since 1999.

Coming out about illicit drug use: 'The hush-hush attitude has to end'
A campaign to decriminalise illicit drugs is asking people to speak up about their recreational use as a way to de-stigmatise and change the conversation

Words matter: language can reduce mental health and addiction stigma, NIH leaders say
In a perspective published in Neuropsychopharmacology, leaders from the National Institutes of Health address how using appropriate language to describe mental illness and addiction can help to reduce stigma and improve how people with these conditions are treated in health care settings and throughout society. The authors define stigma as negative attitudes toward people that are based on certain distinguishing characteristics. More than a decade of research has shown that stigma contributes significantly to negative health outcomes and can pose a barrier to seeking treatment for mental illness or substance use disorders..

Kids Under Construction: Pediatric mental health
This week, parenting expert and journalist Donna Tetreault and former Harvard Medical School professor Dr. William Haseltine discuss pediatric mental health.."COVID has created a syndemic," Dr. Haseltine explains. "It's a medical crisis, it's an economic crisis, it's a personal crisis, and it's a traumatic crisis for parents and their children."

One in fives tudents have no 'real friends' at university
One in every five students in years two and three in the United Kingdom say they don't have a 'real friend' at university, according to a survey of more than 12,000 students nationally. The finding has renewed fears that students are struggling with loneliness and declining mental health.

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