Democrats Ask Drug Policy Office to Do More to Combat Opioid Epidemic

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Twenty Democratic senators are asking the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to do more to combat the opioid epidemic, according to the Associated Press. In a letter to ONDCP Acting Director Richard Baum, the senators urged the Trump Administration to implement recommendations made by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. The senators criticized an administration budget proposal that would cut almost $400 million from drug and mental health programs. They also voiced opposition to the Department of Justice’s increasing insistence on treating drug addiction as a criminal justice issue. The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, chaired by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, recently pushed back its deadline to release a report. It was the second such delay for the commission. Senators who signed the letter included Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.
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NIH-Funded Mouse Study Sheds Light on Neural Risks Associated With Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

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Prenatal exposure to even low doses of alcohol may lead to severe and highly variable deficits in the brain of a fetus, according to a new study conducted in mice. Researchers report that the unpredictable nature of the deficits may be due to inconsistencies in how fetal brain cells activate a protective response to alcohol and other harmful compounds. The new findings may help explain the range of behavioral and learning deficits and other symptoms observed in individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and other congenital brain disorders. The study, supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, is now online in Nature Communications. FASD is an umbrella term for a range of effects caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. Individuals with FASD may experience growth retardation, facial abnormalities, and organ damage, including to the brain, which can result in...
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SAMHSA Issues Report on Understanding Adolescent Inhalant Use

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A recent Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report found that: In 2015, about 684,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 used inhalants in the past year. Adolescents were more likely than adults aged 18 or older to have used inhalants in the past year to get high (2.7 vs. 0.4 percent). Female adolescents were more likely than male adolescents to have used inhalants in the past month (3.2 vs. 2.3 percent). In 2015, more than half of adolescents who used inhalants in the past year (59.0 percent) had used 1 to 11 days in the past year; about 1 in 5 (19.3 percent) had used 12 to 49 days. The report notes that the types of inhalants adolescents used to get high varied. Felt-tip pens/markers, or magic markers were the most commonly identified types of inhalants adolescents used to get high in 2015. Inhalants are highly accessible, cheap,...
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NDEWS Report Finds Shift in Patterns of Heroin Poisoning Death

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National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) recently issued a report titled “Geospatial Analysis of Drug Poisoning Deaths Involving Heroin in the USA, 2000–2014”. The report found that the geographic pattern of poisoning deaths involving heroin has shifted from the west coast of the USA in the year 2000 to New England, the MidAtlantic region, and the Great Lakes and central Ohio Valley by 2014. The evolution over space and time of clusters of drug poisoning deaths involving heroin is confirmed through the SaTScan analysis. For this period, White males were found to be the most impacted population group overall; however, Blacks and Hispanics are highly impacted in counties where significant populations of these two groups reside. Their results show that while 35–54-year-olds were the most highly impacted age group by county from 2000 to 2010, by 2014, the trend had changed with an increasing number of counties experiencing higher death...
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Fort Worth’s Recovery Resource Council Turns 60

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The Fort Worth Recovery Resource Council recently celebrated its 69th anniversary. The Recovery Resource Council began in 1957, but its roots date back to 1944, the year that the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism (now known as the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence) was formed. That year, the Council became an affiliate of NCADD and has since grown its presence as one of the leading recovery centers in North Texas. On average, the council services over 75,000 people each year. Some of the Council’s major accomplishments include the Enduring Families program and Project New Start, as well as its youth programs like the Sunshine Club and Camp L4. Enduring Families provides counseling to servicemen and women with PTSD-related issues. To date, the Council has served more than 450 veterans and family members. Project New Start, a housing program for homeless or disabled men and women, is celebrating...
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Amount of Opioids Prescribed Declined from 2010-2015, But Remains High

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There was an overall decline in the amount of opioids prescribed in the United States between 2010 and 2015, but the quantity of prescriptions is still extremely high, according to a new government report. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the amount of opioids prescribed was three times higher in 2015 than in 1999, The New York Times reports. The amount of opioids prescribed varies county by county, the CDC found. Half of U.S. counties have seen a decrease in the amount of opioids prescribed from 2010 to 2015. The highest prescribing counties still dispense six times more opioids than the lowest prescribing counties. Far more opioids are prescribed per capita in parts of Maine, Nevada and Tennessee than in most of Iowa, Minnesota and Texas.
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“Molly” Sold at Music Festivals Often Contains Other Drugs

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People who think they are buying “Molly” at music festivals often end up with pills or powder that contain other drugs, according to a new study. Researchers studied data collected by the organization DanceSafe, which tested samples of pills or powder sold as Molly at music festivals in the United States between 2010 and 2015, The Washington Pos t reports. They found Molly, or MDMA, was present in only 60 percent of the samples collected. The rest contained a mix of ingredients. While most of the chemicals could not be identified, some samples contained methamphetamine. Several contained a potent form of the amphetamine PMA, which is more likely than many other drugs to be lethal with a single dose. The findings are published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
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A.G Says He Supports Bringing Back D.A.R.E. Anti-Drug Program

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions voiced support this week for bringing back the anti-drug program D.A.R.E. The program has been criticized for not providing effective results, the New York Daily News reports. “D.A.R.E. is, I think, as I indicated, the best remembered anti-drug program today,” Sessions said at a training conference in Texas. “In recent years, people have not paid much attention to that message, but they are ready to hear it again.” He added, “We know it worked before and we can make it work again.” In 2003, the Government Accountability Office issued a report that looked at six long-term evaluations of the D.A.R.E. elementary school curriculum and found “all of the evaluations suggested that D.A.R.E. had no statistically significant long-term effect on preventing youth illicit drug use.”
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NIH Findings Link Aldosterone with Alcohol Use Disorder

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A new study led by scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, demonstrates that aldosterone, a hormone produced in the adrenal glands, may contribute to alcohol use disorder (AUD). The novel research, conducted in collaboration with a team of investigators in the United States and Europe, appears in the journal Molecular Psychiatry . Aldosterone helps regulate electrolyte and fluid balance by binding to mineralocorticoid receptors (MRs), which are located throughout the body. In the brain, MRs are mainly located in the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex -- two key brain areas involved in the development and maintenance of AUD. In AUD, amygdala dysfunction heightens activation of brain stress systems resulting in anxiety and other negative emotions, while disruption of the prefrontal cortex impairs executive control systems involved in the ability to make decisions and regulate one's actions, emotions, and...
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CDC Awards $12 Million to Help States Fight Opioid Overdose Epidemic

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Support will strengthen state efforts to prevent and track opioid overdoses The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be awarding more than $12 million to 23 states and the District of Columbia to support their responses to the opioid overdose epidemic. The funds will be used to strengthen prevention efforts and better track of opioid-related overdoses. CDC expects to announce additional funding awards for state opioid overdose prevention programs later in the summer. Increased funding for opioids in the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill is allowing CDC to support all states that have applied for funding through the Enhanced State Surveillance of Opioid-Involved Morbidi ty and Mortality and Mortality (ESOOS) program and the Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States (PfS) program. Under the ESOOS program, $7.5 million will go to 20 additional states and the District of Columbia to better track and prevent opioid-involved nonfatal and...
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