People Who Become Addicted to Drugs Later in Life More Likely to Relapse

People Who Become Addicted to Drugs Later in Life More Likely to Relapse
A new study finds people who become addicted to drugs later in life are more likely to relapse during treatment, compared with those whose addictions started earlier. For every year increase in the age of starting to abuse opioids, there is a 10 percent increase in relapse, according to Science Daily . The study of people being treated with methadone for their opioid use disorder found those who injected drugs were more than twice as likely to relapse by using opioids while on treatment, compared with those who did not inject drugs. Use of benzodiazepines also increased the risk of relapse, the study found. For every day of benzodiazepine use in the previous month, the researchers found a 7 percent increase in relapse. The older the patient is when in treatment, the less likely they are to relapse, the researchers report in Substance Abuse Research and Treatment . The study...
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Senate Committee Requests Help for Elderly American Tricked into Drug Smuggling

Senate Committee Requests Help for Elderly American Tricked into Drug Smuggling
Members of the Senate Special Committee on Aging are seeking help for a retired pastor from Maine who is imprisoned in Spain for smuggling drugs. The New York Times reports the pastor was tricked into carrying contraband. Recently, nine senators called on Secretary of State John Kerry or James Costos, the American ambassador to Spain, to raise the case of J. Bryon Martin directly with the Spanish government. Martin, 77, is serving six years in prison for smuggling drugs. “We find it terribly unfair that an older American who by all indications is a victim and did not understand that he was being used to transport illegal drugs remains incarcerated abroad while the criminals who masterminded this scheme remain free,” the senators wrote in the letter. The senators also called on the State Department to take similar steps on behalf of other American citizens being held by foreign governments. Dozens...
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Doctors Still Overprescribing Addictive Drugs Despite Warnings

Doctors Still Overprescribing Addictive Drugs Despite Warnings
Doctors who write many more prescriptions than their peers for potentially addictive drugs, such as opioids or stimulants, are not likely to reduce the number they write after they receive a warning from the government, a new study finds. The study looked at prescribers who were writing many more prescriptions for potentially addictive drugs than prescribers in similar specialties who practiced nearby, Reuters reports. “Even though we weren’t able to show that the letters were effective, this information is still useful for policymakers,” lead researcher Adam Sacarny of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University said in a news release. “Based on these results, we’re now experimenting with different letter designs and making other changes to see if another approach can yield reductions in overprescribing.” Sacarny told Reuters that previous research has found sending letters to doctors comparing them to their peers can encourage them to vaccinate their...
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New Head of FDA Pledges to Support Development of Abuse-Deterrent Opioids

New Head of FDA Pledges to Support Development of Abuse-Deterrent Opioids
The new head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Robert Califf, told a panel of advisers this week that the agency will support the development of abuse-deterrent opioids, the Associated Press reports. Califf told the FDA advisers he will do “everything possible under our authority to prevent abuse, save lives and treat dependence.” He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate last week, after some senators said the FDA has not done enough to fight the opioid epidemic. “What we can do is work with prescribers, professional associations, patient advocates and state and local partners — essentially the entire country — to encourage safe use and disposal of opioid medications,” Califf said recently. He had previously stated the FDA will add stronger warning labels to the most commonly prescribed opioids. He also pledged to consult more with outside advisers. Califf said while abuse-deterrent opioids may not be 100 percent...
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Sedative-Related Overdoses on the Rise

Sedative-Related Overdoses on the Rise
Fatal overdoses from benzodiazepines—sedatives sold under brand names such as Xanax, Valium and Ativan—are on the rise, a new study finds. Overdoses from benzodiazepines accounted for 31 percent of the almost 23,000 deaths from prescription drug overdoses in the United States in 2013, according to HealthDay . “As more benzodiazepines were prescribed, more people have died from overdoses involving these drugs,” said study author Dr. Joanna Starrels of Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “In 2013, more than 5 percent of American adults filled prescriptions for benzodiazepines. And the overdose death rate increased more than four times from 1996 to 2013.” She noted while there has been a large public health response to the epidemic of prescription opioid use, addiction and overdose, there has not been much response to the increase in prescription benzodiazepine deaths. Dr. Starrels said the rate of deaths from benzodiazepines is still lower than deaths from opioid...
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Study Links Marijuana Use to Greater Risk for Developing Addiction to Other Drugs

Study Links Marijuana Use to Greater Risk for Developing Addiction to Other Drugs
A new study suggests marijuana smokers may be significantly more likely to develop an addiction to other drugs and alcohol than people who don’t use marijuana. People who used marijuana were not more likely to develop a mood or anxiety disorder, HealthDay reports. “This new finding raises the possibility that the recent rise in marijuana use may be contributing to the coincident rise in serious harms related to narcotics and other drugs of abuse,” said lead researcher Dr. Mark Olfson of Columbia University Medical Center. The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry , included almost 35,000 adults who were interviewed three years apart. At the time of the first interview, almost 1,300 used marijuana. After three years, two-thirds of people who used marijuana had some form of substance use disorder, compared with less than 20 percent of people who did not use marijuana in the previous year. People who used marijuana...
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FDA Announces Plan to Reassess Approach to Opioids

FDA Announces Plan to Reassess Approach to Opioids
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced it will reassess its approach to opioid medications, in an effort to reverse the epidemic of abuse. The plan comes in response to pressure from Congress, The New York Times reports. FDA Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco Dr. Robert Califf said Thursday the agency will toughen its response to the opioid crisis, while still allowing patients in pain to have access to effective relief. The agency said it will convene an expert panel before approving new opioids. It will toughen requirements to study drugs after they come to market, and increase access to pain management training for physicians and other prescribers. “Things are getting worse, not better, with the epidemic of opioid misuse, abuse and dependence,” Califf said in a news release. “It’s time we all took a step back to look at what is working and what we...
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Some States Remain Staunch Opponents of Marijuana Legalization

Some States Remain Staunch Opponents of Marijuana Legalization
While marijuana, both recreational and medical, is legal in a growing number of states, some states remain unlikely to legalize the drug any time soon, according to USA Today . These include states in the South, West and Midwest. The newspaper predicts that the 11 states least likely to legalize marijuana are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming. Recreational marijuana is legal in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, while medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states, the article notes. In all of the states least likely to legalize marijuana, possessing the drug is a felony under certain circumstances. Marijuana use rates are below averages in these states. All of the states voted for the conservative candidate in the 2012 presidential election, according to the newspaper. In Alabama, 9.7 percent of residents 12 years and older report using marijuana, compared with the national...
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Kratom Used as Alternative to Heroin, But Can Lead to Addiction

Kratom Used as Alternative to Heroin, But Can Lead to Addiction
The drug kratom is being used by some people as an alternative to heroin and other illegal drugs even though it, too, can be addictive, The New York Times reports. Kratom is increasingly popular and easily available, the article notes. Some people using kratom go back to using heroin, which is stronger and less expensive. Powdered forms of kratom, which come from a leaf found in Southeast Asia, are sold in head shops, gas station convenience stores and online. The drug is categorized as a botanic dietary supplement. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cannot restrict the sale of kratom unless it is proved unsafe, or manufacturers claim it treats a medical condition. The FDA banned the import of kratom into the United States in 2014. Kratom is not controlled under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has listed kratom as a “drug and chemical of...
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Americans Are Taking Too Many Medications

Americans Are Taking Too Many Medications
In a study titled “Trends in Prescription Drug Use Among Adults in the United States From 1999-2012” a recent issue of Medscape Multispeciality announced that researchers retrospectively analyzed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database to determine if the prevalence of prescription drug use changed from 1999-2000 to 2011-2012. Some of the main findings included: The percentage of adults reporting use of any prescription drugs increased from 51% in 1999-2000 to 59% in 2011-2012. The use increased as people became older. Polypharmacy (use of five or more prescription drugs) increased from 10% to 15% among those 40-64 years old and from 24% to 39% for those over 65 years. The 10 most commonly used individual drugs in 2011-2012 were simvastatin, lisinopril, levothyroxine, metoprolol, metformin, hydrochlorothiazide, omeprazole, amlodipine, atorvastatin, and albuterol. All of the reported increases from 1999 to 2012 were not explained by changes in the age distribution of...
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Facing Addiction and The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) are proud to announce the merger of our organizations – creating a national leader in turning the tide on the addiction epidemic.
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