Bleak Job Outlook for Less-Educated Whites Leads to Death by Drugs, Alcohol, Suicide

Bleak Job Outlook for Less-Educated Whites Leads to Death by Drugs, Alcohol, Suicide
A new study concludes a lack of steady, well-paying jobs for whites who don’t have college degrees has led to an increase in deaths by drugs, alcohol and suicide. The mortality rate for whites ages 45 to 54 without a college degree increased by a half-percent each year from 1999 to 2013, NPR reports. Whites with college degrees have not seen the same loss of life expectancy, Princeton University researchers report in Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. Researcher Ann Case told NPR , “The rates of suicide are much higher among men [than women]. And drug overdoses and alcohol-related liver death are higher among men, too. But the [mortality] trends are identical for men and women with a high school degree or less. So we think of this as people, either quickly with a gun or slowly with drugs and alcohol, are killing themselves. Under that body count there’s a...
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Soldiers’ Alcohol Abuse Fought with Telephone-based Intervention

Soldiers’ Alcohol Abuse Fought with Telephone-based Intervention
It’s an unfortunate fact. Alcohol abuse is pervasive in the military, where a culture of heavy drinking and the stress of deployment lead many soldiers down a troubled path. According to a 2012 report by the Institute of Medicine, 47 percent of active-duty military members in the United States were binge-drinkers in 2008, up from 35 percent a decade earlier. According to an article on the University of Washington website , rates of heavy drinking also rose during that period. But many in the military avoid seeking help for alcohol abuse, fearing disciplinary action or other repercussions, and few soldiers are referred for evaluation or treatment. The article notes that there is little research on what type of treatment is most effective for active-duty military members. To shed new insight on that question and remove obstacles to seeking treatment, a team of researchers tested a telephone-based intervention geared specifically to...
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NIH Releases Improved Guidelines for Diagnosing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

NIH Releases Improved Guidelines for Diagnosing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
A group of experts on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), organized by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and has produced proposed clinical guidelines for diagnosing FASD, which can result when a mother drinks during pregnancy. The new guidelines clarify and expand upon widely used guidelines issued in 2005, which were the first to help clinicians distinguish among the four distinct subtypes of FASD described by the Institute of Medicine. The updated guidelines, developed over one year by a cadre of experts in the field, are based on analysis of 10,000 individuals involved in studies of prenatal alcohol exposure funded by NIAAA, part of the National Institutes of Health. The proposed guidelines include a new definition of documented prenatal alcohol exposure, guides to evaluating facial and physical deformities characteristic of FASD, and updated information about the cognitive and/or behavioral impairments seen in different FASD subtypes. The updated...
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Nearly 10 Million Americans Say They Misused Opioid Medications in 2012-2013

Nearly 10 Million Americans Say They Misused Opioid Medications in 2012-2013
Almost 10 million Americans say they misused opioid medications in 2012-2013, according to a new study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Nonmedical use of prescription opioids more than doubled over a 10-year period, the study found. The researchers found in 2012-2013, 4.1 percent of the adult population misused prescription opioids, compared with 1.8 percent in 2001-2002. This means they used the drugs without a prescription, or not as prescribed (in greater amounts, more often, or longer than prescribed) in the past year. The study found that more than 11 percent of adults said they used prescription opioids nonmedically at some point in their lives, compared with 4.7 percent a decade earlier. In addition, 2.1 million adults meet the criteria for prescription opioid addiction. “The increasing misuse of prescription opioid pain relievers poses a myriad of serious public health consequences,” Nora D. Volkow, MD, Director of...
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Alcohol Abuse More Likely in U.S.-Born Asian Americans Than in Those Born Abroad

Alcohol Abuse More Likely in U.S.-Born Asian Americans Than in Those Born Abroad
Problematic drinking is more likely among Asian Americans born in the United States compared with those born abroad, a review of studies finds. Overall, the prevalence of alcohol abuse among Asian Americans ages 18 to 25 increased fivefold between 1991 and 2002. Studies of drinking patterns tend to lump all Asian Americans together, the review’s lead author, Derek Iwamoto of the University of Maryland, College Park, told NBC News . “The population tends to be overlooked given the model minority stereotype,” he said. “A lot of times larger national studies aggregate Asian Americans all together, meaning that they aggregate first, second, and third generations ... it really pulls the averages down for Asian Americans.” Alcohol abuse prevalence among young adult Asian Americans rose from .74 percent in 1991 to 3.89 percent in 2002, Iwamoto reported in Alcohol Research Current Reviews. “There was no statistically significant difference between white men and...
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Survey Suggests Medical Students May be at Risk for Alcohol Abuse

Survey Suggests Medical Students May be at Risk for Alcohol Abuse
A new survey finds medical students have double the rate of alcohol abuse or dependence, compared with surgeons, U.S. physicians or the general public, HealthDay reports. The researchers cite burnout and school debts as possible factors. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic contacted 12,500 medical students. Of the one-third who responded, approximately 1,400 said they experienced clinical alcohol abuse or dependence. That translates to about one-third of respondents, compared with 16 percent of peers who are not medical school students. The findings appear in the journal Academic Medicine . “Our findings clearly show there is reason for concern,” study senior author Dr. Liselotte Dyrbye said in a news release. “We recommend institutions pursue a multifaceted solution to address related issues with burnout, the cost of medical education and alcohol abuse.” The study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between being a medical school student and an increased risk of alcohol problems,...
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Attorneys Have Higher Rates of Alcohol Abuse and Depression Than Other Professionals

Attorneys Have Higher Rates of Alcohol Abuse and Depression Than Other Professionals
A new study finds U.S. attorneys have higher rates of alcohol abuse, depression and anxiety than other highly educated professionals. More than one-fifth of licensed, employed attorneys consume alcohol at levels consistent with problem drinking, compared with 12 percent of other professionals. The study, co-funded by the American Bar Association and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, is published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine . It included data from 12,825 attorneys. It is the first major study in 25 years to assess the prevalence of substance abuse among lawyers. “This is a mainstream problem in the legal profession,” said study lead author Patrick Krill, Director of the Legal Professionals Program at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. “There needs to be a systemic response.” He noted lawyers’ workloads, office culture and unwillingness to seek help put them at high risk for substance abuse. “I haven’t seen a professional population out there...
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