Addiction News & Policy Update

Weekly ATOD Recap & Advocacy for week-ending May 29, 2014



Recovery apps introduced to enhance peer support, reduce relapse
This is the age of technology—most everyone across the age span is constantly seen using mobile devices. The addiction industry has caught on to the technological trend, with recovery apps continuing to gain momentum as a post-treatment tool. More than five years ago, Matt Feehery, CEO of Memorial Hermann Prevention and Recovery Center (PaRC) in Houston, decided that mobile technology was something he wanted the program to be able to provide for its patients and alumni. The type of communication that was desired was more private than Facebook – something that could be specific to recovery initiatives and connect individuals with sponsors and other supporters. To continue reading please click here.

Why the treatment system is failing adolescents
While field professionals have long lamented the gaps in the treatment of addictions and mental illness, there is particular urgency on this when discussing adolescent care. More than 90% of adults who have a substance use disorder (SUD) began using as a teenager, says Kathleen Meyers, PhD, a senior scientist at the Treatment Research Institute (TRI). To continue reading please click here.

Prescription drug scheme highlights national problem
A recent spate of high-profile prescription drug diversion schemes has led to a renewed focus on the safety and security of the nation's pharmaceutical supply chain. The schemes put consumers at risk and prompted Congress last year to act to strengthen oversight and eliminate a patchwork of state laws that opened loopholes for the criminal enterprises, drug experts said. To continue reading please click here.

How Teen Social Life Affects Drug Abuse (And How Drug Abuse Affects Social Life)
What do you picture when you think of teen drug abuse? Is it parties at the home of an out-of-town parent, or sneaking drinks from the family liquor cabinet, or hiding in a bedroom with a “no parents allowed” sign on the door while slipping deeper and deeper into addiction? The fact is all of these are models of adolescent use, and a study published in the journal Psychopharmacology shows a common denominator: when a teen’s social life turns south, drug abuse can follow. The opposite is also true, that drug abuse itself can destroy a teen’s otherwise successful social life. To continue reading please click here.

Welcome to America’s Drug Laboratory
Weed hasn't destroyed Colorado—so far. What happened was far more interesting.
There was Gov. John Hickenlooper standing on the steps of the Colorado Capitol last week, making a speech holding a live baby goat calmly resting in his arms. And before you even ask: No, it had nothing to do with legal marijuana. But it was one of the few things, frankly, taking place around the building in the final week of the legislative session that didn’t. To continue reading please click here.

Alprazolam misuse still sending tens of thousands to emergency rooms
Misuse of the popular sedative alprazolam, known by the trade name Xanax, sent more than 123,000 people to the emergency room in 2011, slightly fewer than the year before but more than double the number who went to the emergency room in 2005, a new report shows. To continue reading please click here.

When heroin use hit the suburbs, everything changed
Last month, NBC News ran a series of stories about the United States’ “growing heroin epidemic.” Two things stand out in the reports: One is their sympathetic tone; the other is that almost everyone depicted is white. Drug users and their families aren’t vilified; there is no panicked call for police enforcement. Instead, and appropriately, there is a call for treatment and rehabilitation. Parents of drug addicts express love for their children, and everyone agrees they need support to get clean. To continue reading please click here.

Alcohol Taxes Should Be Tripled - The war on drugs has been a failure. But the war on booze deserves a second chance.
America is rushing headlong toward legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. A growing majority—54 percent as of a Pew survey released just last month—favor legalization, and an even larger majority of millennials (69 percent) feels the same way. Colorado and Washington are the first states to move decisively in this direction, but they won’t be the last. I basically think this is an OK development. Like Mark Kleiman, a public policy professor at UCLA who is my guru on the regulation of controlled substances, I see full commercial legalization as a truly terrible idea, while I think noncommercial legalization, ideally via monopolies owned and operated by state governments, would be an improvement over the status quo. Regardless, marijuana legalization is coming, one way or another. To continue reading please click here.

New highs -- As traditional drugs lose their lure, novel ones are filling the gap in the market.
“WHEN he first sees her, Raf is sitting on a washing machine about to swallow an eighth of a gram of what is apparently a mixture of speed, monosodium glutamate and an experimental social anxiety disorder medication for dogs.” So begins “Glow”, the latest novel by Ned Beauman, a British author. The scene captures a global reality: in much of the world, traditional mood-altering substances such as cocaine and heroin are in decline. But a pharmacopoeia of synthetic drugs is rapidly taking their place. To continue reading please click here.

Health insurers just say no to marijuana coverage
Patients who use medical marijuana for pain and other chronic symptoms can take an unwanted hit: Insurers don't cover the treatment, which costs as much as $1,000 a month. Marijuana in recent years has gained increased mainstream acceptance for its ability to boost appetite, dull pain and reduce seizures in people with a wide range of disorders and diseases, including epilepsy and cancer. To continue reading please click here.

Can Protective Software Help Addicts Maintain Sobriety?
Can Protective Software Help Addicts Maintain Sobriety? Battling Tech with Tech! It’s no secret that access to 24/7 digital technology can facilitate addiction. The Internet and related technologies have greatly increased the average person’s ability to affordably and anonymously access an almost endless array of addictive substances (illicit drugs, prescription medications, and the like) and activities (spending, gambling, video gaming, pornography, non-intimate sexual encounters, and the like). The simple truth is that if you know where to look, you can find anything you want online. As a result, over the last two decades, as digital technology has proliferated, the number of people walking into therapists’ offices with addiction-related issues (especially behavioral addictions) has steadily and significantly increased. To continue reading please click here.

Chardonnay Frappuccino, Please?
A cup of coffee in exchange for a table and internet bandwidth for several hours may be a good deal for customers, but it’s apparently a bad deal for Starbucks. This seems clear from the company’s plans to increase revenue per drink—particularly in the slower, evening hours—by adding alcoholic beverages to its menu. In last week’s Washington Post, Greg Williams, who wrote and produced the documentary The Anonymous People, argued that Starbucks’ decision will force out a key consumer base: individuals in recovery. He views this business move as short-sighted since it means that 23 million Americans may take their business elsewhere. To continue reading please click here.

The Drunken Monkey: Why We Drink and Abuse Alcohol, by Robert Dudley
Like the author of this intriguing book, I grew up with an alcoholic parent and understand the devastating effects it can have on both sufferers and their families. But unlike its author, and despite being an evolutionary biologist myself, I had never considered viewing alcoholism as an evolutionary problem. To continue reading please click here.

Alcohol delivered to your door? Ultra hopes you’ll drink to that.
Used to be, you had to leave the house to satisfy your vice (or vices, plural, depending on your spiritual ability to juggle multiple indulgences). If you wanted to gamble, you had to hop in the car and find the nearest casino. If you wanted porn, you had to locate the shadiest, most concealed parking spot at the adult book store. Continue reading please click here.

The dramatic shift in heroin use in the past 50 years: Whiter, more suburban
There are plenty of recent signs of heroin's move away from cities into the suburbs and rural areas. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) even devoted his entire 2014 state of the state address to what he labeled a "full-blown heroin crisis" after the state saw treatment for the drug increase by 250 percent since 2000. Now a new study in JAMA Psychiatry underscores just how dramatically heroin abuse has shifted away from predominately minority men living in cities. Compared to 50 years ago, heroin users today are older, live in nonurban areas, and are almost evenly male and female. Perhaps most strikingly, these users probably came to heroin after taking a prescription opioid, the study shows. Continue reading please click here.

When Cannabis Goes Corporate
Hershey stopped producing chocolate in Smiths Falls, Ontario, six years ago. The work went to Mexico, but the factory remains, along with reminders of the glory days: A sign that once directed school buses delivering children for tours. A fading, theme-park-style entrance that marks what used to be the big attraction — a “Chocolate Shoppe” that sold about $4 million of broken candy and bulk bars a year. Continue reading please click here.




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Weekly ATOD Recap & Advocacy for week-ending June ...
ATOD & Advocacy Recap - Week ending May 9, 2014

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