Addiction News & Policy Update

ATOD and Advocacy Update - Week-Ending July 26, 2013



Nearly One-Fifth of Underage Drinkers Report Current Use of Marijuana with Alcohol

Underage drinkers are more likely than alcohol users ages 21 or older to use illicit drugs within 2 hours of alcohol use, according to data from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. One in five (20.1%) underage drinkers reported using at least one illicit drug the last time they used alcohol, compared to 4.9% of those ages 21 or older. Marijuana was the most commonly reported illicit drug used in combination with alcohol by both underage (19.2%) and older (4.4%) drinkers. In contrast, illicit drugs other than alcohol, including cocaine, heroin, and prescription drugs used nonmedically, were used with alcohol by only 2.2% of underage drinkers and less than 1% of drinkers ages 21 and older. Future research will be needed to study if the co-occurring use of alcohol and marijuana changes among residents of Colorado and Washington, which have both recently enacted laws legalizing the recreational use of marijuana by adults.

SOURCE:  Adapted by CESAR from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables, 2012.



The Mysterious History Of 'Marijuana'

Marijuana has been intertwined with race and ethnicity in America since well before the word "marijuana" was coined. The drug, , has a disturbing case of multiple personality disorder: It's a go-to pop culture punch line. It's the foundation of a growing recreational and medicinal industry. , it's also the reason for more than half of the drug arrests in the U.S. A deeply disproportionate number of marijuana arrests (the vast majority of which are for possession) befall African-Americans, despite similar rates of usage among whites and blacks, the ACLU says. Continue reading this article here.



When Relapse Turns Deadly: What You Need to Know About Drug Overdose

Friends and fans are reeling in the wake of Glee actor Cory Monteith's overdose on a mixture of heroin and alcohol. Suffering a similar fate as Kriss Kross rapper Chris Kelly and others who have passed this year, his lengthy battle with drugs ended tragically on July 13 in his hotel room. Could his story have ended differently? What can others learn from this tragedy? Monteith's passing highlights important lessons for anyone who struggles with addiction or cares aboutan addict (which, with 23 million people suffering from addiction, is most of us). While celebrity overdoses draw the public's attention, 100 people die from drug overdoses every day in the U.S. After increasing every year from 1999 to 2010, drug overdose is now the No. 1 cause of accidental death, surpassing car accidents. This increase is largely attributed to the epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently warned that more women are dying from prescription painkiller overdoses than ever before, a 400 percent increase in just the last decade. Continue here.



Commentary: My Prescription for the Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

I am an emergency physician. It is the best job in the world and I am proud to do it. However, recent media reports paint my colleagues and me as the source behind the recent dramatic rise in prescription drug abuse. We aren’t. Despite certain perceptions to the contrary, we actually account for a very low percentage of all narcotics prescribed.Rest of this commentary is here.



Life After 50: Think You Have a Drinking Problem? How To Know And What To Do

We've all read the studies: moderate alcohol consumption can be part of a healthy lifestyle for many people. Men who have two drinks a day and women who have one are less prone to heart disease, diabetes, gallstones, arthritis and even Alzheimer's. But sometimes too much Pinot Noir can be too much of a good thing. As daily consumption increases, the benefits are replaced by risks.

Drinking is on the rise in people over 50 and seems to climb as we get older. Some studies cite retirement, loss of job, divorce and death or declining health of a loved one as just a few of the reasons why. In 2010, 16 percent of people over 65 had a daily drink, compared to 10 percent of 45 to 64 year olds and 2 percent of 16 to 24 year olds. And gender is a factor: women between 45 and 64 drink more than any other age group. Continue here.





5 Ways to Avoid Addiction Relapse

If you or someone you love has attended a drug rehab program and successfully completed it, it is a huge accomplishment. While in treatment tools were provided to assist in staying clean and sober, relapse prevention plans were developed, and aftercare plans were made. Although successfully completing is a great feat, successfully completing treatment is just the beginning. Please click here to continue reading.



The Clash of Cultures Floating in a Drink - Lawrence Osborne’s Alcohol Quest in ‘The Wet and the Dry’

There are three reasons Lawrence Osborne’s new book, “The Wet and the Dry,” is instantly among the best nonfiction volumes about drinking that we have, and why, if you have a bar, it should be tucked into its corner, near the bitters. The first reason is that Mr. Osborne is a terrific writer, hardheaded and searching, and he’s getting better as he gets older. His novel from last year, “The Forgiven,” was a bite-size piece of poison candy — a persuasively creepy mix of Ian McEwan and Paul Bowles. “The Wet and the Dry” is a book in which cocktails are said to be “entered, like bodies of water or locales.” Thus a vodka martini with its bobbing olive, imbibed while in Beirut, is to the author “salty like cold seawater at the bottom of an oyster” and “sinister and cool and satisfying.” The author gets bonus points for not being a snob about vodka martinis. Rest of this story is here.





College culture? An alcohol-fueled frenzy of sexual harassment

'Hooking up' has been spun as sexual liberation for career-focused young women. It doesn't square with my campus life

It's freshman year. I'm at a new student orientation party at the University of Pennsylvania, wondering what exactly is in my cup. "Jungle juice", I'm told, as if that should explain things. I make out the words "everclear" and "blackout drunk" over the din of awful house music blasting from the expensive-looking speakers in some fraternity house. I have no idea what's going on, and neither do many of my fellow classmates, which doesn't stop them from passing out drunk. Continue reading here.



Indiana Poison Center Reports Dramatic Drop in Synthetic Drug Overdoses

The Indiana Poison Center reports major decreases in the number of reported overdoses from synthetic drugs such as bath salts and Spice, according to the Associated Press. The state passed its first synthetic drug ban in 2011. Since then, there has been an 86 percent decrease in reported overdoses of bath salts, and a 61 percent drop in overdoses of Spice, or synthetic marijuana. State Senator Jim Merritt, who sponsored the synthetic drug ban, said in a news release, “Synthetic drug use quickly became an epidemic in Indiana, with these products cropping up in convenience stores and gas stations across the state. These drugs provide absolutely no value to society, have dangerous and destructive side effects, and fuel a culture of casual drug use. I am energized to see Indiana’s rates dropping and I pledge to continue this fight.” People using bath salts have experienced side effects including paranoia and violent behavior; hallucinations; delusions; suicidal thoughts; seizures; panic attacks; increased blood pressure and heart rate; chest pain; and nausea and vomiting. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, health effects from synthetic marijuana can be life-threatening and can include severe agitation and anxiety; fast, racing heartbeat and higher blood pressure; nausea and vomiting; muscle spasms, seizures, and tremors; intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes; and suicidal and other harmful thoughts and/or actions.



A Mother's Perspective on Her Son's Addiction

Anita Devlin didn't know.

Her son, Mike, was spiraling out of control at the University of Vermont, living a life that revolved around prescription painkillers, cocaine, heroin and drinking. When he needed more money for drugs – when his side jobs and the cocaine he was selling didn't cut it – he called home and said he needed cash for textbooks, or because the rear tire had popped on his car. Her son? Her son was a drug addict? When Devlin learned how dire the situation was, she was the one who texted Mike repeatedly when he disappeared to a Motel 6 to "polish off everything he had," as he later confessed. She was the one who sought help both for herself, as someone who loved an addict, and for her son, when he was ready for it. And now, she continues to support him as he marks two and a half years of sobriety.Please click here to continue reading.



Collaboration Needed to Address Prescription Drug Abuse and Access Issues | Commentary

Partisanship usually gets the blame when Washington fails to muster an appropriate governmental response to the nation’s challenges. But when it comes to confronting prescription drug abuse, the divide within the government is caused not by the culprit of partisan stripes but rather by departmental silos. That needs to change. Currently, when it comes to prescription drug abuse, there is the response of the enforcement agencies and there is the response of the health agencies. These approaches all too often remain separate and out of sync. As a result, stories of those ravaged by drug abuse are pitted against stories of those deprived of access to prescription medications they need for legitimate purposes. Both aspects of human suffering need to be figured into the solution. Please click here for more.



Ad at NASCAR race says pot less harmful than alcohol

Fans attending a major NASCAR race this weekend will see a most unlikely video posted on a giant video screen shortly before entering the track: a pro-marijuana legalization ad. (You can watch the entire ad deeper in this story) Outside the NASCAR Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis, the same track that hosts the famed Indianapolis 500, Marijuana Policy Project, the nation's largest pro-marijuana legalization advocacy group, has purchased space to air - dozens of times over the weekend - a video that pushes the theme that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. It marks the first time a pro-marijuana legalization ad will appear so close to an entrance gate of a major sporting event. The Brickyard 400, in its 20th year, is regarded as one of NASCAR's biggest races. Click here for the story and the video.





Sleep Problems and Substance Use Disorders: An Often Overlooked Link

Sleep problems and substance use disorders often go together, according to a specialist who says many people continue to have insomnia even after they are able to successfully stop abusing drugs and alcohol. Doctors who treat sleep disorders and those who treat substance use disorders need to be aware of the possible connection between the two, particularly when prescribing sleep medications, according to Khurshid A. Khurshid, MD, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville. Click here to read more.



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