Teens Who Misuse Prescription Drugs More Likely to Engage in Risky Sexual Behavior

Teens Who Misuse Prescription Drugs More Likely to Engage in Risky Sexual Behavior
Teens who misuse prescription medications are more likely to have sex and engage in risky sexual behavior, a new study concludes. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found teens who misused prescription drugs were more likely than their peers who didn’t use prescription drugs for recreational reasons to be sexually active, not use a condom, use drugs or alcohol before sex, and have more sexual partners. The more teens misused prescription drugs, the more likely they were to engage in all of these risky behaviors, the study found. Teens in the study misused drugs such as the prescription painkillers OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet or codeine; sedatives such as Xanax or Ativan, or stimulant drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall, HealthDay reports. The study of more than 29,000 high school students appears in Pediatrics. “About one out of every five high school students reported non-medical use of prescription drugs,”...
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Primary Care Physicians Prescribe the Most Opioid Painkillers

Primary Care Physicians Prescribe the Most Opioid Painkillers
A new study of Medicare data finds primary care physicians prescribe significantly more opioid painkillers than any other type of doctor. The study of data from Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage claims found family practice doctors issued 15.3 million opioid prescriptions in 2013, while internal medicine physicians issued 12.8 million. Nurse practitioners wrote 4.1 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers, HealthDay reports. Physician assistants wrote 3.1 million opioid prescriptions. The results appear in JAMA Internal Medicine . In a news release, lead researcher Dr. Jonathan Chen of Stanford University said, “These findings indicate law enforcement efforts to shut down pill-mill prescribers are insufficient to address the widespread overprescribing of opioids. Efforts to curtail national opioid overprescribing must address a broad swath of prescribers to be effective.” He added, “Being a physician myself, I am acutely aware of the emotional angst that can occur when deciding whether to prescribe opioids to...
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Mix of Drugs Often to Blame for Overdose Deaths in Massachusetts

Mix of Drugs Often to Blame for Overdose Deaths in Massachusetts
The vast majority of overdose deaths in Massachusetts in the first six months of 2014 were caused by heroin or a prescription opioid taken along with some other drug or alcohol, according to NPR . Heroin was involved in 39 percent of the state’s 501 overdose deaths during that period, following by other opioids (37 percent) and the synthetic opiate fentanyl (37 percent). Cocaine was cited in 23 percent of cases, alcohol was involved in 19 percent, and benzodiazepines such as Klonopin and Xanax were involved in 13 percent. Fentanyl was involved in many multi-drug deaths. Fentanyl is especially deadly when combined with heroin or other opioids. Alcohol, cocaine and other prescription medications were all implicated, but to a lesser extent, according to an analysis by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Doctors treating patients in recovery say it is difficult to figure out what to prescribe for...
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Treatment Admissions Increase for Heroin and Painkillers

Treatment Admissions Increase for Heroin and Painkillers
A growing number of Americans are seeking treatment for addiction to heroin and prescription painkillers, while alcohol-related treatment admissions are declining, according to a new report. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found 19 percent of admissions to publicly funded substance-use treatment programs were related to heroin in 2013, up from 15 percent in 2003. Admissions for opioid painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin increased from 3 percent to 9 percent during that period, HealthDay reports. Alcohol-related admissions declined from 42 percent to 38 percent during that period. Overall admissions decreased from almost 1.9 million to just under 1.7 million. Admissions for marijuana rose from 16 percent to 17 percent, while those for methamphetamine/amphetamines increased from 6 percent to 9 percent. Cocaine-related admissions (including crack) decreased from 14 percent to 6 percent. In 2013, 55 percent of patients admitted for treatment said they used more than one...
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Addiction to Prescription Painkillers Growing Among Seniors

Addiction to Prescription Painkillers Growing Among Seniors
A growing number of the elderly are becoming addicted to prescription painkillers, experts tell U.S. News & World Report . Caretakers and doctors often fail to spot the signs of addiction in older patients. “The problem is certainly ubiquitous, and often missed, to be honest,” said Dr. Joseph Garbely, Medical Director of Caron Treatment Centers. “Caretakers oftentimes miss the signs and symptoms of a substance use disorder. Doctors do too, and often aren’t asking the questions when seniors are there for their monthly checkups.” An elderly person who is addicted to painkillers may appear more anxious or depressed, Garbely said. They may injure themselves and appear confused or disoriented. A recent study presented at the Gerontological Society of America found a 78 percent increase in the number of emergency department visits among older adults who misused prescription or illicit drugs between 2006 and 2012. About 11 percent of the misuse...
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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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AMA Urges End to Direct-to-Consumer Advertising for Prescription Drugs

AMA Urges End to Direct-to-Consumer Advertising for Prescription Drugs
The American Medical Association (AMA) recently called for an end to direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs and implantable medical devices, according to CBS News . The ads contribute to increasing costs, and lead to patient demand for inappropriate treatment, the group says. “Today’s vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially driven promotions and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices,” AMA Board Member Dr. Patrice Harris said in a news release. “Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate.” Drug manufacturers spent $4.5 billion for ads in the last two years, a 30 percent increase, according to the AMA. Prices for prescription drugs rose almost 5 percent this year, the article notes. “Patient care can be compromised and delayed when prescription drugs are unaffordable and...
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The White House Tackles Opioid Addiction With New Plan

The White House Tackles Opioid Addiction With New Plan
President Obama traveled to West Virginia this week to announce steps to curb the rise in deaths from prescription drug overdoses. He is mandating more training of federal doctors and requiring federal health insurance plans to treat addiction, reported The New York Times . In the Times article, a White House official stated that they had “identified prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse as critical problems.” Previously, the Obama administration has worked to address excessive prescribing practices, being mindful that patients experiencing pain, like those suffering from cancer, can get the medicine they need. Currently, the federal government does not regulate the practice of medicine, and only West Virginia and nine other states require specialized training for doctors who prescribe opioids. Deaths from prescription drug abuse total to more than 20,000 people in the United States each year, making it the country’s leading cause of death by injury. Recently, this...
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He Thought He Could Handle It

Jason was the kind of person people were drawn to.  He made friends easily and had a great sense of humor.  He was a caring person and a loving son who respected his family.  He was helpful around the house and in the winter he always shoveled our neighbor’s walk.  He loved kids, he was active in his youth group and he often volunteered for various community projects--he even worked for the agency I work for, a community-based group in Middlesex County, New Jersey that works to prevent substance abuse. When Jason was a little boy, he’d lie about little things.  When he was seven years old and swore he had taken a shower, even though the tub was completely dry.  He got caught in lies like that all the time, but as he grew into a young man we talked about it and he said he realized how silly...
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Adderall -- A Personal Story

It was the toughest semester of my life. I was taking six classes, my grandmother had passed away just days before finals, and I was too emotionally and mentally shot to focus on anything. Hours slid by and nothing was getting done. My worst fear was coming true—I was going to fail my exams. After venting to my friend about my troubles, he responded by handing me a little blue tablet marked AD 10. Having never taken any prescription pill, I was a bit hesitant, but considering my desperate circumstances, I decided to down it. Subtle stimulation is one thing, such as a caffeine rush, but encephalic overdrive characterized by robotic like tunnel vision that allows you to scan hundreds of pages of bland text with no desire to stop, is literally a mind blowing sensation. An electric wave of euphoria pulsated through my body giving me a sense 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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