New Report: Reward with Prizes. Cut Alcohol and Tobacco Use

New Report: Reward with Prizes. Cut Alcohol and Tobacco Use
It would seem that offering prizes- - from simple shampoo to DVD players -- can be an effective, low-cost treatment for alcohol abuse, the nation's third leading preventable cause of death, suggests a new report. An article in Science Daily noted that researchers at Washington State University have shown that offering prizes -- from simple shampoo to DVD players -- can be an effective, low-cost treatment for alcohol abuse, the nation's third leading preventable cause of death. A surprise benefit of the treatment was that it decreased study participants' tobacco and drug use. Findings from the study, which appears in the current American Journal of Psychiatry, could expand treatment options for an estimated 15 million U.S. adults who abuse alcohol. The study followed 79 outpatients at a community mental health center in the Seattle area. About half received the 12-week rewards intervention, which offered small prizes for addiction treatment attendance and...
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Police Programs Focusing on Treatment Over Jail May Lose Support Under Trump

Police Programs Focusing on Treatment Over Jail May Lose Support Under Trump
Police organizations promoting an approach to opioids that emphasizes treatment over jail are concerned the incoming Trump Administration may focus on prosecution rather than treatment, Scientific American reports. So-called ANGEL programs, which started in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 2015, have been expanded to hundreds of police departments nationwide. The Obama Administration has supported the programs, the article notes. Comments from Senator Jeff Sessions, the nominee for Attorney General, indicate the incoming administration may focus first on reducing the supply of illegal drugs coming in from Mexico. In December, researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that between June 2015 and May 2016, 94.5 percent of the 376 people seeking help through Gloucester’s ANGEL program were offered placement in a detox or treatment program, and 89.7 percent enrolled. Lead researcher Davida Schiff of Boston Medical Center said in order for police-led treatment referral programs to be successful, more treatment facilities are...
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Specific Gene-Targeting Could Help Treatments to Reduce Desire For Alcohol In Problem Drinkers

Specific Gene-Targeting Could Help Treatments to Reduce Desire For Alcohol In Problem Drinkers
A report recently published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, announced the identification of a hormone link between the brain and the liver that may control people's alcohol consumption. This depends on which version they carry of a particular gene. An article in Medical News Today quote Paul Elliott, one of the senior investigators and a professor in the School of Public Health at Imperial College London in the U.K., who stated: "Alcohol drinking in excess is a major public health problem worldwide and we need to find new ways of reducing the harmful effects of alcohol in the population. Even small shifts downward in the average amount of alcohol people drink may have major health benefits." According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2012, about 3.3 million deaths - or 5.9 percent of all deaths worldwide - were attributable to alcohol consumption. The Medical News Today...
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ADHD Treatment Linked to Lower Risk of Substance Use Disorder

ADHD Treatment Linked to Lower Risk of Substance Use Disorder
Children and teens who are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and take medication for the condition are less likely to have a substance use disorder than youth with ADHD who don’t take medication, a new study finds. Researchers at Princeton University found children and teens with ADHD who received medication were 7.3 percent less likely to have a substance use disorder. They also were 3.6 percent less likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease and 2.3 percent less likely to be injured, HealthDay reports. The findings are published in Labour Economics. Study co-author Anna Chorniy said young people with ADHD tend to have problems with self control, which can lead to injury and engaging in risky behaviors.
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Switching to Other Pain Treatments Can be Challenging

Switching to Other Pain Treatments Can be Challenging
As the Obama Administration and public health officials push for a reduction in prescription opioids, they are facing some resistance from both patients and doctors, experts tell The New York Times. Insurance coverage for alternative treatments is inconsistent, the article notes. The plans may not cover all treatments, or they may impose strict limits on coverage. Alternative pain treatments include acupuncture, yoga, chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, massage, meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy. Medicaid does cover physical therapy for patients who gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act, but the level of coverage varies by state. Matt Salo, Executive Director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, says benefits for alternative treatments are often the first to be eliminated when budgets are cut, because they are considered optional. A complicating factor is the widely varying amounts of evidence about the effectiveness of these treatments. Many patients resist nondrug treatments for pain, because...
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Study Shows Opioids Increase Risk of Death When Compared To Other Pain Treatments

Study Shows Opioids Increase Risk of Death When Compared To Other Pain Treatments
Long-acting opioids are associated with a significantly increased risk of death when compared with alternative medications for moderate-to-severe chronic pain, according to a Vanderbilt study released in the Journal of the American Medical Assocation (JAMA). Not only did long-acting opioids increase the risk of unintentional overdose deaths, but they were also shown to increase mortality from cardiorespiratory events and other causes. The story appeared in Vanderbilt University’s Research News @ Vanderbilt. Lead author Wayne Ray, Ph.D., and colleagues with the Vanderbilt Department of Health Policy studied Tennessee Medicaid patients between 1999-2012 with chronic pain, primarily back and other musculoskeletal pain, who did not have cancer or other serious illnesses. Researchers compared those starting a long-acting opioid to those taking an alternative medication for moderate-to-severe pain. Alternative medications included both anticonvulsants — typically prescribed to prevent seizure activity in the brain, treat bipolar disorder or neuropathic pain — and low doses of...
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Insurance Plans Not Covering Necessary Services for People with Addiction: Report

Insurance Plans Not Covering Necessary Services for People with Addiction: Report
A new report finds insurance plans around the country are not covering the necessary services for people with addiction. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse reviewed addiction benefits offered in the 2017 Essential Health Benefits benchmark plans and found more than two-thirds violate the Affordable Care Act. None of the plans are adequate, the report concluded. “Our findings reveal that people with addiction may not be receiving effective treatment because insurance plans aren’t covering the full range of evidence-based care,” Lindsey Vuolo, JD, MPH, Associate Director of Health Law and Policy at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, and lead author of the report, said in a news release. “For example, our review did not find a single state that covers all of the approved medications used to treat opioid addiction.” The Essential Health Benefits benchmark plans determine which addiction benefits are available to the 12.7 million...
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Program Providing Treatment, Not Jail, for Those Surrendering Drugs Shows Promise

Program Providing Treatment, Not Jail, for Those Surrendering Drugs Shows Promise
One year after it began, a program in Gloucester, Massachusetts that provides treatment instead of jail for those surrendering drugs is showing promise, according to WBUR. The program lets people come to the Gloucester police department for help getting into treatment. Since it began, more than 400 people have gone to the city’s police for help. More than 100 police departments nationwide are implementing similar programs. Last year, Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello posted on Facebook, “We will walk them through the system toward detox and recovery. We will assign them an ‘angel’ who will be their guide through the process. Not in hours or days, but on the spot.” He said he started the program after witnessing a jump in overdose deaths and drug-related crimes, and seeing officers arresting the same people repeatedly. In the first five months of last year, there were five fatal drug overdoses in Gloucester, compared...
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U.S. Efforts to Eliminate Cocaine in Colombia a Bad Return on Investment

U.S. Efforts to Eliminate Cocaine in Colombia a Bad Return on Investment
Two anti-cocaine efforts in Colombia, funded by American taxpayers, were not cost-effective, according to an analysis by two economists. The interventions “are inefficient and socially costly ways of reducing drug consumption,” they conclude. Between 2000 and 2008, the United States spent $4.3 billion on efforts to eradicate cocaine in Colombia, The Washington Post reports. According to economists from MIT and Colombia’s Universidad de los Andes, it cost the U.S. government $940,000 to eliminate a single kilogram of cocaine from the domestic market through herbicide spraying in Colombia. Eliminating a single kilogram through interdiction efforts to block cocaine transit routes and seize shipments of cocaine cost $175,000. The report considered the tactics that coca growers and drug traffickers use to respond to enforcement efforts, such as increasing production and changing trade routes, the article notes. The findings are published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Reducing cocaine consumption through drug...
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Senators: Allow Doctors to Treat 500 Patients at a Time With Buprenorphine

Senators: Allow Doctors to Treat 500 Patients at a Time With Buprenorphine
A group of senators is urging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to raise the number of patients a doctor can treat with the opioid addiction medication buprenorphine to 500, The Huffington Post reports. Currently, federal regulations limit the number of patients a doctor can treat with buprenorphine to 30 in the first year they are certified to prescribe the drug, and 100 in subsequent years. Earlier this year, HHS proposed changing the rules to allow certified doctors to treat as many as 200 patients at a time in their third year of prescribing, the article notes. Recently, a group of 22 senators sent a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell, saying they believe the new regulation does not go far enough. “The current 100 patient cap is one of several factors that have created a huge disparity between those who can prescribe opioids for treatment of pain and...
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