Prescription Drug Abuse Fueling Rise in Heroin Addiction

 

heroin-in-hallway-The increase in prescription drug abuse is fueling a rise in heroin addiction, NBC News reports. A growing number of young people who start abusing expensive prescription drugs are switching to heroin, which is cheaper and easier to buy.

Prescription pain pills cost $20 to $60, while heroin costs $3 to $10 a bag. Many young people who use heroin start off snorting the drug, and within weeks, most start shooting up, according to the news report.

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Drinking Can Lead to Increased Social Stress and Poor Grades in Teens

Teen in schoolAlcohol consumption can lead to increased social stress and poor grades in teens, a new study shows.

Teens who drink are more likely than their non-drinking peers to feel like social outcasts, according to HealthDay.

 Social isolation that comes with drinking is most evident in schools that have tight cliques and fewer student drinkers. This suggests that teens who drink feel like outcasts when they are not with other drinkers, the University of Texas researchers said. They looked at data from a national survey of almost 8,300 teens at 126 schools. They found a direct connection between teens' feelings of isolation and worse grades.

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Alcohol in Medicines Can Affect Some Kids

41831015Many cough and cold liquids and other over-the-counter products contain some alcohol. In the formulation, this helps to dissolve certain ingredients or preserve the product. Most people wouldn't give this a second thought, and rightly so, but now and then the amount of alcohol in medicines becomes extremely important. One situation is with young children.

Not too long ago we received a report from a woman whose 11 year old child began having seizures while taking a shower. The family immediately called for help. Paramedics took the child to a nearby hospital for examination. All scans and x-rays were negative. Doctors then ordered blood tests on the child. The family was surprised to learn that the child had an elevated blood alcohol level, which was most likely the cause of the child's symptoms.

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New Studies Shed Much-Needed Light on Alcohol-Induced Memory Blackouts

headacheNational survey studies suggest that roughly one in four college students who drink will experience a blackout in a given year, making blackouts a surprisingly common outcome of excessive drinking.

Blackouts are periods of amnesia, caused by excessive consumption of alcohol, during which a person actively engages in behaviors but the brain is unable to create memories for what transpires. This leaves holes in a person's memory that can range from spotty recall for the events of the previous night (known as fragmentary blackouts) to the utter absence of memory for large portions of an evening (known as en bloc blackouts).

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Weight-Loss Surgery Increases Alcohol Use Disorders Over Time

OverweightNIH-funded study sheds light on risk of bariatric procedures

Adults who had a common bariatric surgery to lose weight had a significantly higher risk of alcohol use disorders (AUD) two years after surgery, according to a study by a National Institutes of Health research consortium.

Researchers investigated alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders symptoms in 1,945 participants from the NIH-funded Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery (LABS), a prospective study of patients undergoing weight-loss surgery at one of ten hospitals across the United States.

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Government Study Finds More Teenagers Smoke Marijuana Than Cigarettes

Marijuanaore teenagers smoke marijuana than cigarettes, according to a survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The survey found 23 percent of high school students said they recently smoked marijuana, compared with 18 percent who said they had smoked cigarettes.

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Prescription Painkillers Containing Hydrocodone May Become More Tightly Regulated

vicodin1Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will meet this fall to discuss whether prescription painkillers containing hydrocodone should be more tightly regulated, Bloomberg reports. They will evaluate the risks and benefits of hydrocodone preparations that are used to treat pain and coughs.

Emergency room visits related to hydrocodone, the key ingredient in Vicodin and other painkillers, have soared since 2000.

Vicodin, which also contains acetaminophen, is subject to fewer regulations than pure hydrocodone, the article notes.

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Addiction is a Disease, Not a Moral Failure : Kerlikowske

KerlikowskeAddiction is a disease, not a moral failure, according to Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He is scheduled to speak about addiction and drug control policy Monday at the Betty Ford Center in California.

He will call for more alternatives to current drug policy, including early intervention through health care, better access to treatment, more support during recovery, and effective public education, The Desert Sun reports.

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More High School Students Using ADHD Drugs to Get Better Grades

High-school-studentsA growing number of high school students are using attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs, such as Adderall and Ritalin, to help them get better grades, The New York Times reports. Teens get them from friends, buy them from student dealers, or pretend to have ADHD in order to get prescriptions.

Gary Boggs, a special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), told the newspaper it is a nationwide problem.

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Workplace Insurers Spend More Than $1 Billion on Narcotic Painkillers

Amphetamines2Costs related to narcotic painkillers are growing for workplace insurers, which are currently spending an estimated $1.4 billion on the drugs, The New York Times reports. The companies are facing payouts to workers with injuries who are being treated with opioids, including many who do not return to work for months—or who don't return at all.

Opioids can increase disability payouts and medical expenses by delaying employees' return to work, if the drugs are used too often, too early in treatment, or for too long. A study by the California Workers Compensation Institute conducted in 2008 found workers taking high doses of opioids to treat injuries, such as back strain, were out of work three times longer, compared to those with similar injuries who took lower doses of medication.

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