A new study of every county in the United States finds deaths due to drug use increased more than 600 percent between 1980 and 2014. Almost 550,000 deaths were attributed to drug use over the study’s 35 years. In some counties in Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and eastern Oklahoma, increases in drug-related deaths exceeded 5,000 percent, according to ABC News . The study did not distinguish between illegal and prescription drugs. Death rates decreased for alcohol use disorders, self-harm, and interpersonal violence at the national level between 1980 and 2014, the researchers wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “To our knowledge, this study is the first at the county level to consider drug use disorders and distinguish between intentional and unintentional overdoses,” lead researcher Dr. Laura Dwyer-Lindgren of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said in a news release.
Philadelphia officials are encouraging organizations to open facilities where staff members provide clean needles and guard against overdoses. Advocates for these facilities say they would save lives. Opponents say they sanction an illegal activity, and make it easier for people to use drugs, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Philadelphia facilities would offer a wide range of services, including referrals to treatment and social services, wound care, medically supervised drug consumption, and access to sterile injection equipment and the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, according to a news release. City officials said a scientific review of studies of supervised injection facilities showed they reduce deaths from drug overdose; prevent HIV, hepatitis C and other infections; and help people who use drugs get into treatment. The review estimated that one site in Philadelphia could prevent up to 76 deaths from drug overdose each year.
In addition to making the headlines of major newspapers from across the country, addiction is also gaining traction on the silver screen. This season, many of our favorite TV shows are addressing substance use disorders and risky drinking or drug use. However, they often sacrifice precision for plot points. Here, we’ve provided some suggested reading to accompany three of television’s most talked about shows and help set the record straight. If you’re watching THIS IS US… In season 2, episode 12, America’s favorite family sat down for a family therapy session to address character Kevin Pearson’s addiction (played by Justin Hartley). The session begins tensely as the therapist interrogates Kevin’s mother (played by Mandy Moore) and it escalates into a full-blown confrontation between brothers Kevin and Randall Pearson (played by Sterling K. Brown). While there are many flaws in how the dramatic scene portrayed family therapy, our expert, Aaron Hogue,...
People who inject drugs in a facility where staff members provide clean needles and guard against overdoses say they have reduced their use of public spaces for drug use, a new study finds. Using supervised injection facilities also has given them a greater ability to use hygienic injecting practices and provides better protection from fatal overdoses, they told authors of the study. More than 100 supervised injection facilities operate legally in 166 cities throughout the world, Reuters reports. There are no such facilities that are legally sanctioned in the United States. The study involved one staff member and 22 participants from one community-based organization that has successfully operated an underground facility since September 2014. Lead author Peter Davidson of the University of California, San Diego told Reuters no one has ever overdosed in a supervised injection facility, where staff members are equipped with the opioid overdose antidote naloxone. The findings...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...