NIH Study Suggests Kids Should Be Part of Treatment for Moms Fighting Substance Use

NIH Study Suggests Kids Should Be Part of Treatment for Moms Fighting Substance Use
A Study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that family therapy leads to faster recovery Mothers in therapy for drug and alcohol use recover faster if their children take part in their treatment sessions, according to a first-of-its-kind study. An article in Medical News Today noted that researchers found that women who were in family therapy - which included their 8- to 16-year-old children - showed a quicker decline in alcohol, marijuana and cocaine use over 18 months compared to mothers who were in individual therapy. This is the first study to examine the effectiveness of family therapy for mothers who are substance users, said Natasha Slesnick, lead author of the study and professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University. "Interpersonal stress, especially within the family, has been shown to be an important factor in drug and alcohol abuse," Slesnick said. "So it makes sense that having...
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Tramadol – A Global Issue

Tramadol – A Global Issue
Global consumption of the opioid Tramadol, a drug that in some parts of the world is unregulated, increased 186 percent between 2000 and 2012, reports the International Narcotics Control Board. In the United States, the synthetic opioid analgesic received government approval in 2010. By 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration had placed it on the controlled substances list with a Schedule IV classification. Tramadol was developed by German scientists in the early ’60s and goes by the trade name Ultram. The drug, which many believed held non-addictive properties, is prescribed for moderate to severe pain in adults. The DEA’s Schedule IV classification suggests a “low potential for abuse” but that is simply not true, and people are getting addicted in large numbers. Unlike other opiates, the low potential for abuse is only when the drug is injected. Tramadol is an oral medication though, and The Wall Street Journal writes that recent research...
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Synthetic Opioid Known as “Pink” Is Legal in Most States

Synthetic Opioid Known as “Pink” Is Legal in Most States
A synthetic opioid known as “pink” is legal in most states, even though it is almost eight times stronger than morphine, CNN reports. The drug, also known as U-47700, is responsible for dozens of deaths nationwide, the article notes. Adam Kline, Police Chief of White Lake, Michigan, told CNN the drug can be legally purchased on the “dark web” in the form of a powder, pill or nasal spray. Last month, the Drug Enforcement Administration told NBC News it is aware of confirmed deaths associated with the drug in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. The drug, along with other synthetic opioids, is being shipped into the United States from China and other countries.
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State Votes on Recreational Marijuana Could Raise Stronger Challenge to Federal Ban

State Votes on Recreational Marijuana Could Raise Stronger Challenge to Federal Ban
Five states will vote next month whether to legalize recreational marijuana. If the states vote to legalize the drug, the federal government’s ban on marijuana will face a stronger challenge, The New York Times reports. California, Massachusetts, Maine, Arizona and Nevada will be voting on legalization initiatives. Recreational marijuana is already legal in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. In August, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced that it would not reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses. Marijuana is a Schedule I drug with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” A recent report estimated that if California legalizes recreational marijuana, the nation’s current $6 billion legal marijuana industry would triple in size.
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Some Doctors Find Complications in Adding Probuphine to Their Practice

Some Doctors Find Complications in Adding Probuphine to Their Practice
Doctors say they are finding it challenging to add the newly approved addiction treatment medicine Probuphine to their practice, WBEZ reports. They say they have to learn how to implant the drug in the upper arm of patients. They must also deal with new requirements. Despite the obstacles, some doctors say they welcome the new treatment. In May the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Probuphine, an implant that contains the opioid addiction treatment buprenorphine. The drug has been available inoral form for 14 years. Probuphine consists of four small stick-like implants that are inserted in the upper arm, during a doctor’s visit that typically lasts less than 15 minutes. The implant remains in the arm for six months, and is removed by the doctor. It is available only by prescription. The implants are designed to provide a constant, low-level dose of buprenorphine in patients who are already stable on low-to-moderate...
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Drug and Alcohol Abuse Linked to Self-Medicating Chronic Pain

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Linked to Self-Medicating Chronic Pain
Many people who abuse drugs or alcohol are self-medicating chronic pain, a new study suggests. Researchers at Boston University studied 589 people who fit the criteria for drug abuse or illicit drug use, and found 87 percent reported chronic pain. Of the 576 patients who used illicit drugs (marijuana, cocaine and/or heroin), 51 percent reported using drugs to treat pain. The study found 81 percent of the 121 people who said they misused prescription opioid painkillers reported they did so to treat their pain. Of the 265 patients who reported any amount of heavy drinking in the past three months, 38 percent said they were self-medicating chronic pain. The researchers found 79 percent of patients determined to be high-risk drinkers were self-medicating, according to Medical Daily. The results appear in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. “While the association between chronic pain and drug addiction has been observed in prior studies,...
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Drug Overdoses May Play Role in Slight Drop in Life Expectancy for White Americans

Drug Overdoses May Play Role in Slight Drop in Life Expectancy for White Americans
A new government report finds there was a slight decline in the life expectancy of white Americans in 2014. Drug overdoses, liver disease and suicide were the main factors in the decrease, according to the lead researcher from the National Center for Health Statistics. The report found life expectancy for whites decreased to 78.8 years in 2014, from 78.9 the previous year, according to The New York Times. Women’s life expectancy declined from 81.2 in 2013 to 81.1 in 2014. Men’s life expectancy stayed the same, at 76.5 years. The death rate increase was most pronounced among whites in their mid-20s to their mid-50s, the report found. “The increase in death in this segment of the population was great enough to affect life expectancy at birth for the whole group,” said lead researcher Elizabeth Arias, a statistician at the National Center for Health. “That is very unusual.” The overall life expectancy...
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Senate Committee Requests Help for Elderly American Tricked into Drug Smuggling

Senate Committee Requests Help for Elderly American Tricked into Drug Smuggling
Members of the Senate Special Committee on Aging are seeking help for a retired pastor from Maine who is imprisoned in Spain for smuggling drugs. The New York Times reports the pastor was tricked into carrying contraband. Recently, nine senators called on Secretary of State John Kerry or James Costos, the American ambassador to Spain, to raise the case of J. Bryon Martin directly with the Spanish government. Martin, 77, is serving six years in prison for smuggling drugs. “We find it terribly unfair that an older American who by all indications is a victim and did not understand that he was being used to transport illegal drugs remains incarcerated abroad while the criminals who masterminded this scheme remain free,” the senators wrote in the letter. The senators also called on the State Department to take similar steps on behalf of other American citizens being held by foreign governments. Dozens of...
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FDA Panel Recommends Approval of Buprenorphine Implant to Treat Addiction

FDA Panel Recommends Approval of Buprenorphine Implant to Treat Addiction
An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended recently that the agency approve the buprenorphine implant Probuphine as a treatment for opioid addiction. The FDA is not required to follow their advisory panels’ advice, but usually does so. Probuphine provides a steady dose of buprenorphine, which eases withdrawal symptoms, decreases cravings and reduces the risk of relapse, according to USA Today. Buprenorphine is currently sold as a pill or dissolvable film placed under the tongue. Patients can get buprenorphine at a doctor’s office. Physicians who prescribe the drug must be certified to dispense it. They are only permitted to treat 100 patients at the time, the article notes. Buprenorphine is generally considered to be safer than methadone, because it is less likely to cause an overdose, the newspaper reports. About one million people took buprenorphine in 2012, according to the FDA. Probuphine consists of four rods the size...
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Massachusetts Officials Report Eight Deaths in One Week From “Hollywood” Heroin

Massachusetts Officials Report Eight Deaths in One Week From “Hollywood” Heroin
Massachusetts State Police report eight people have died in one week from a deadly strain of heroin known as “Hollywood” heroin. Officials say they are not sure how long the strain has been in the state. The deaths were reported in small cities in Western Massachusetts, CNN reports. State officials say they are investigating why this strain of heroin is so deadly. There may be additional dangerous chemicals added to the batch, according to Holyoke Police Department Lt. Jim Albert. The strain may be so pure that even some people addicted to heroin can’t handle it, he noted. A few people who used the deadly strain of heroin were saved by the opioid overdose antidote naloxone. While police seized 9,000 bags of heroin with the “Hollywood” stamp and arrested four people on heroin trafficking charges, there still may be more of the heroin circulating, according to Springfield Police Sgt. John Delaney....
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