Many Teens Who Take Adderall as “Study Drug” Unaware it is Amphetamine

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Many teens who take the attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder drug Adderall as a “study drug” are unaware it is an amphetamine, a new study finds. Some high school and college students take Adderall because they think it will improve their mental function and school performance, according to HealthDay . Nonmedical (not using a drug as directed by a doctor) use of amphetamines, such as Adderall, can lead to abuse and dependency, as well as medical problems such as seizures and heart problems, the article notes. The new study included 24,000 high school seniors. Although 8 percent reported nonmedical amphetamine use, and 7 percent reported nonmedical Adderall use in the past year, 29 percent of those who used Adderall nonmedically reported no nonmedical amphetamine use. “Our findings suggest that many young people are unaware that Adderall is an amphetamine,” lead author Joseph Palamar of NYU said in a news release. “In addition, such...
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Drug Overdose Death Rates in Rural Areas Exceed Those in Cities

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A new government report finds drug overdose death rates are now higher in rural areas of the United States than in urban areas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found drug overdose death rates in 1999 were 6.4 per 100,000 in cities, compared with 4 per 100,000 in rural areas. By 2015, the rate was 17 per 100,000 in rural areas and 16.2 per 100,000 in cities, HealthDay reports. “The drug overdose death rate in rural areas is higher than in urban areas,” CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, said in a news release. “We need to understand why this is happening so that our work with states and communities can help stop illicit drug use and overdose deaths in America.” Most overdose deaths occurred in homes, where rescue efforts may fall to relatives who have limited knowledge of or access to life-saving treatment and overdose follow-up care,...
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FDA Encourages Use of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will encourage widespread use of medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, the agency’s commissioner said recently. The FDA has approved three medication-assisted treatment drugs: buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone. A report issued last year by Pew Charitable Trusts concluded that medication-assisted treatment is the most effective way to deal with opioid use disorder. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, appearing before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said, “Unfortunately, far too few people who are addicted to opioids are offered an adequate chance for treatment that uses medications. In part, this is because insurance coverage for treatment with medications is often inadequate.” In his remarks, Gottlieb noted that some people may need medication-assisted treatment for years, if not for their entire lives. He said the FDA will issue guidance to drug manufacturers to promote the development of new addiction treatments, The Washington Post reports.
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DEA Releases 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment

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  DEA Acting Administrator Robert Patterson recently announced results of the 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA), which outlines the threats posed to the United States by domestic and international drug trafficking and the abuse of illicit drugs. “This report underscores the scope and magnitude of the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States,” said Acting Administrator Patterson. “The information in the report represents data gathered over the past year, but of critical importance is the real time information we get every day from our partners. It has never been a more important time to use all the tools at our disposal to fight this epidemic, and we must remain steadfast in our mission to combat all dangerous drugs of abuse.” Over the past 10 years, the drug landscape in the United States has shifted, with the opioid threat – including controlled prescription drugs (CPDs), fentanyl and other synthetic opioids,...
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President’s Opioid Commission Focuses on Insurance Companies’ Role in Crisis

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President Trump’s opioid commission last week focused on health insurance companies’ role in contributing to the addiction crisis. The commission is scheduled to deliver its final report on November 1. Some health insurance companies favor opioids over less addictive but more expensive drugs to treat pain, according to USA Today. Some insurers also cover only one type of addiction treatment, the article notes. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is leading the commission, said the final report will place new demands on health insurance policies. Although health insurers are required to treat mental health and substance use disorders the same as any other disease, a government report last year found insurers still place limits on coverage, such as stricter pre-authorization requirements.
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National Prevention Week 2018

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National Prevention Week is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, mental and/or substance use disorders. Mark your calendars! SAMHSA’s next National Prevention Week will be from May 13 to 19, 2018. Each year around this observance, communities and organizations across the country come together to raise awareness about the importance of substance use prevention and positive mental health. The theme for NPW 2018 is: Action Today. Healthier Tomorrow . National Prevention Week is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. Purpose of National Prevention Week The three primary goals of National Prevention Week are to: Involve communities in raising awareness about behavioral health issues and implementing prevention strategies; Foster partnerships and collaboration with federal agencies and national organizations dedicated to behavioral and public health; and Promote and disseminate quality behavioral health...
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Smoking Marijuana and Driving

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A new study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) found that a third of all teens surveyed think it is legal to drive under the influence of marijuana in states where it has been legalized for recreational use. In the same study, 27 percent of parents surveyed believe it to be legal as well. The study found that while 93 percent of parents think driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous, only 76 percent feel that driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous. The results indicate that teens are receiving mixed messages about the dangers of marijuana use and driving. This thinking puts themselves and fellow drivers at risk, particularly with 22 percent of teens admitting that driving under the influence of marijuana is common around their friends. However, marijuana use has a direct impact on your body, similar to alcohol. According to...
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Statement from The NIH Director on Combating the Opioid Crisis with Scientific Solutions

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Opioid misuse and addiction is an urgent and rapidly evolving public health crisis. An estimated 2 million Americans are addicted to opioids, and approximately 25 million suffer daily from chronic pain. The urgency and scale of this crisis calls for innovative scientific solutions, from prevention to intervention and treatment. Today, the President declared America's opioid crisis a public health emergency. The National Institutes of Health is committed to bringing the full power of the biomedical research enterprise to bear on this crisis. That effort ranges from basic science of the complex neurological pathways involved in pain and addiction, to services and implementation science to develop and test treatment models, to integrating behavioral interventions with medication-assisted therapy, to forging strategic partnerships to advance safer, non-addictive treatments for pain. In 2016, NIH spent $483 million on pain research ranging from cell and molecular mechanisms of acute and chronic pain, to safe, effective...
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SAMHSA Reaffirms Efforts to Address the Public Health Emergency on the Opioid Crisis

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President Trump’s declaration of the opioid crisis as a public health emergency reaffirms the role of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as leaders in solving one of America’s most pressing public health issues. The President recently appointed Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz as the first Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, underscoring the urgency of the issue. “SAMHSA looks forward to continuing its role in helping American communities fight the opioid crisis through evidence-based programs in prevention, treatment, and recovery services,” said Dr. McCance-Katz. “The announcement today by President Trump reflects our commitment to this cause and inspires us to redouble our efforts on behalf of all who have suffered the effects of opioid addiction.” HHS is implementing five specific strategies that are guiding SAMHSA’s response. The comprehensive, evidenced-based Opioid Strategy aims to: Improve access to...
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29% of College Students Think ADHD Drugs Help School Performance

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A survey of college students finds 29 percent mistakenly think drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) increase school performance. An additional 38 percent are unsure of the drugs’ effects on school performance, HealthDay reports. There is no evidence that stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall are effective study aids, the article notes. The survey included almost 7,300 students, none of whom had been diagnosed with ADHD. The belief that stimulant drugs increase school performance was especially high among students who misused the drugs. Among the 11 percent of students who said they had used stimulant medication for non-medical reasons in the past six months, almost two-thirds believed the drugs would boost their grades. The findings appear in the journal Addictive Behaviors.
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