Addiction News & Policy Update

Weekly ATOD Recap & Advocacy for week-ending June 6, 2014



Good News for People Who Want to Get Drunk At Church

With religious affiliation and attendance at worship services on a steady decline, some churches have begun to think outside of the box, in an effort to boost attendance among the younger generation. One particular church in Portland, Oregon has even begun offering a monthly service of "beer and hymns", which provides exactly that: the opportunity to freely imbibe while singing of the Lord's Prayer. Please click here for the rest of the story.

The Drunkest State in America Isn't the One You Would Expect
The news: America's drunkest state isn't a college spring break spot, but rather a quiet skiing destination. According to a new report by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the hardest-drinking state turns out to be New Hampshire. Please click here for the rest of the story.

Drugs for treating heroin users: a new abuse problem in the making?
Evidence is mounting that certain drugs used to treat heroin users are themselves being sold on the streets – and may even be a 'gateway' to heroin or opioid use. As some experts herald their value for treating addiction, others ask if the 'cure' is making things worse. Please click here for the rest of the story.

More Americans Are Smoking Pot, But Use Among Teens Is Down
As lawmakers take steps to protect marijuana businesses, a new government report shows that the drug’s popularity is mostly growing among adults. Please click here for the rest of the story.

Innovative Campus-Based Model Supports College Students in Recovery
With addiction best conceptualized as chronic for many, recovery support services are increasingly adopting a continuum of care approach. Acute episodes of intensive treatment may help initiate recovery but relapse too often follows lest ongoing support is available. Please click here for the rest of the story.

The New Joe Camel? E-Cigarette Ads Spook Anti-Smoking Activists
Some anti-smoking advocates fear the rise of a new, battery-powered Joe Camel as researchers find that more young people are being exposed to unregulated electronic cigarette ads mixed in with popular TV shows. Please click here for the rest of the story.

House OKs plan to protect state medical marijuana laws
The U.S. federal government would not be allowed to spend money to block states from implementing their own medical marijuana laws under legislation passed by the House of Representatives as more states legalize using it to treat various ailments. Please click here for the rest of the story.

College women swapping food for alcohol
While most people acknowledge the dangers of anorexia and bulimia, there are many more individuals who have unhealthy approaches to eating. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders gives specific criteria for diagnosing an eating disorder. Signs include refusal to maintain minimal body weight for size, height gender; distorted view of actual body weight and appearance; too much influence of weight on self-esteem or denial of dangerously low weight; and an intense fear of becoming overweight. Many people do not exhibit all of these symptoms, though. A new breed of eating disorder that couples starvation diets with excessive alcohol consumption is sweeping through college campuses, affecting scores of young women, experts say. To avoid gaining weight, the coeds devote their calories to the booze. Please click here for the rest of the story.

Heroin Has Expanded Its User Base
Compared with 50 years ago, today's heroin user is whiter, more suburban and had prescription opioids for a gateway.
In the last half century, heroin contributed to thousands of deaths, from Janis Joplin to Philip Seymour Hoffman to legions of people now remembered only by their friends and families. Please click here for the rest of the story.

Marijuana Can Be Addictive: NIDA Director
Marijuana is linked to several significant adverse health effects, and can be addictive, National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Dr. Nora Volkow writes in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine. The drug can disrupt the brain function and learning of young users, she said. Marijuana has been proven to contribute to fatal motor-vehicle crashes, Dr. Volkow noted. She argued legalizing marijuana will lead to nationwide health problems similar to those seen with alcohol and tobacco, HealthDay reports. “By making marijuana legal, you have more widespread use and many more health implications,” Dr. Volkow said. “We don’t need a third legal drug. We already have enough problems with the two we have.” She noted 9 percent of people who try marijuana will become addicted. In young people under 18, the addiction rate is 17 percent, she wrote. “This is something that a lot of people who are pro-marijuana deny. The evidence shows otherwise.” She added people intoxicated by marijuana are three to seven times more likely to cause a motor vehicle accident than someone who is sober. Frequent marijuana use by teens has been linked to lower IQ and a higher risk of dropping out of school, she noted. Other research has shown marijuana can impair school performance, worsen mental illness such as schizophrenia, and increase the risk of health problems such as heart disease and chronic bronchitis, she wrote. “It is important to alert the public that using marijuana in the teen years brings health, social, and academic risk,” Dr. Nora Volkow said in a news release. “Physicians in particular can play a role in conveying to families that early marijuana use can interfere with crucial social and developmental milestones and can impair cognitive development.”

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