Some Opioid-Related Deaths May be Missed When People Die from Infectious Diseases

Some Opioid-Related Deaths May be Missed When People Die from Infectious Diseases
A new government study suggests some opioid-related deaths may not be counted when people die from pneumonia or other infectious diseases that are worsened by drug use. In these cases, the death certificate may only list the infection as the cause of death, according to the researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Opioids at therapeutic or higher than therapeutic levels can impact our immune system, actually make your immune system less effective at fighting off illness,” lead researcher Victoria Hall told HealthDay . She added that the sedative effect of opioids also affects a person’s respiratory system, causing breathing to become slow and shallow. This makes a person less prone to cough, which allows pneumonia to develop.
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Is Marijuana Use Cause for Mysterious illness in States with Legal Weed?

Is Marijuana Use Cause for Mysterious illness in States with Legal Weed?
Did you ever hear of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS? According to CBS News, it is caused by heavy, long-term use of various forms of marijuana. For unclear reasons, the nausea and vomiting are relieved by hot showers or baths. CHS can lead to dehydration and kidney failure, but usually resolves within days of stopping drug use. CHS has only been recognized for about the past decade, and nobody knows exactly how many people suffer from it. But as more states move towards the legalization of marijuana, emergency room physicians are eager to make sure both doctors and patients have CHS on their radar.
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American Teens Have Higher Rates of Illicit Drug Use Than European Peers

American Teens Have Higher Rates of Illicit Drug Use Than European Peers
American 10th graders have a higher rate of illicit drug use than their European peers, researchers at the University of Michigan have found. American teens have lower rates of drinking and smoking. The researchers compared data from the U.S. Monitoring the Future study’s national survey of 10th graders with data from the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs, which includes 35 countries. On average, only 18 percent of the European students had used an illicit drug in their lifetime, compared to 35 percent of U.S. students the same age, the study found. Only the Czech Republic ranked higher than the U.S. at 37 percent.
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Regulating Availability of Cocaine and Meth Ingredients Helped Reduce Drug Use

Regulating Availability of Cocaine and Meth Ingredients Helped Reduce Drug Use
A new study suggests restrictions put into place by the U.S. government on a chemical needed to produce cocaine have led to a reduced use of the drug in the past decade. Mexican police action against a company importing pseudoephedrine, which is used to make meth, also contributed to the decline. The U.S. government cracked down on the availability of the chemical used in making cocaine, sodium permanganate, in 2006, UPI reports. Since then, the number of people using cocaine in the past year decreased by 1.9 million people, or 32 percent. After the Mexican government closed down a company accused of importing more than 60 tons of pseudoephedrine, the supply of meth was reduced significantly, researchers report in the journal Addiction . The researchers reported a 35 percent decrease in past-year use of meth after that action.
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Naloxone Critics Say Overdose Antidote Encourages Repeated Drug Use

Naloxone Critics Say Overdose Antidote Encourages Repeated Drug Use
Critics of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone say the treatment encourages repeated drug use, according to The New York Times . Many people overdose more than once, sometimes many times, and naloxone brings them back each time. Proponents of naloxone say it allows people to get into treatment. The nation’s death toll from opioids would be much higher without naloxone, the article notes. Lawmakers in every state except Kansas, Montana and Wyoming have passed legislation making the antidote easier to get. Dr. Alexander Y. Walley, an addiction medicine specialist at Boston Medical Center, told the newspaper that arguing naloxone encourages riskier drug use was like saying seatbelts encourage riskier driving.
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National Survey Results on Drug Use 1975-2015 Released

National Survey Results on Drug Use 1975-2015 Released
A full report on The Monitoring the Future Study has been released by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. The 663-page report is the 41st consecutive survey of 12th-grade students and the 25th such survey of 8th and 10th graders. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has funded the report since its inception in 1975. This new volume based on the 2015 Monitoring the Future Survey presents results from the samples of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders looking at 40-year trends (1975-2015). Since 1975 the MTF survey has measured drug, alcohol, and cigarette use and related attitudes among adolescent students nationwide. Survey participants report their drug use behaviors across three time periods: lifetime, past year, and past month. Overall, 44,892 students from 382 public and private schools participated in the 2015 Monitoring the Future survey. The survey is funded by the NIDA, a component of the...
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Suicide Rate on the Rise; Experts Say Rising Drug Use May Be Contributing Factor

Suicide Rate on the Rise; Experts Say Rising Drug Use May Be Contributing Factor
The suicide rate in the United States rose 24 percent between 1999 and 2014, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The researchers say increasing drug use may be one of the contributing factors. The economy is another possible factor in the increasing suicide rate, The Wall Street Journal reports. Suicide is the tenth-leading cause of death in the United States, the report notes. The suicide rate continued to increase in the first half of 2015, the CDC found in a separate study. There were more suicides among men than women, but the suicide rate for women increased faster during the study period. “Exactly where the major influences are—we don’t know all of the answers to that yet,” said CDC researcher Alex Crosby. “It is usually an interaction of multiple behaviors.” He noted abuse of prescription opioids, heroin and other drugs has increased...
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Teen Girls Start Drinking Before Their Male Peers

Teen Girls Start Drinking Before Their Male Peers
A new study finds teenage girls start drinking before their male peers, even though most strategies to reduce underage drinking are aimed at boys. Researchers at Michigan State University analyzed data of about 390,000 teens and young adults, ages 12 to 24, who took part in government surveys on drug use and health. They found in the middle teenage years, girls are more likely than boys to start drinking. After age 19, males drink more than females, HealthDay reports. “This new evidence from the United States shows that the so-called ‘gender gap’ in risk of becoming a drinker has narrowed to the point of there being no gap at all,” the researchers wrote in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research . “We really don’t know why girls are surpassing boys — that’s the next question we want to answer,” said lead researcher Dr. Hui Cheng. She noted that drinking...
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Study Links Economic Downturns and Drug Use

Study Links Economic Downturns and Drug Use
A new study concludes economic downturns lead to an increase in substance use disorders involving prescription pain relievers and hallucinogens. The connection is strongest among middle-aged white males with low levels of education. The researchers studied the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and its potential impact on substance use, The Wall Street Journal reports. They find “clear evidence that substance-use disorders involving analgesics and hallucinogens are both strongly countercyclical,” meaning that such drug use increases when the economy falters. The relationship between unemployment and painkiller abuse is especially strong among people who work in sales and service occupations, the researchers wrote in a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper. They found in fields such as construction, maintenance, machine operators, transportation workers and the armed forces, heroin use was strongly countercyclical. “As state budgets contract during economic downturns, drug-treatment funding is particularly vulnerable,” the researchers wrote. “Our findings suggest that such...
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