Some high schools are teaching teens about the dangers of heroin and prescription opioids. One school in West Virginia has a drug-free club, which meets to learn about drug use and addiction. “All of our students have a story of somebody in their family who is an addict or a friend of a family member or something of that nature,” Erin Parsons, a history teacher at John Marshall High School in Glen Dale, West Virginia, told U.S. News & World Report . The more than 300 club members go on field trips and take part in community service projects. At Bucks County Technical High School in Pennsylvania, students created a public service announcement featuring the mother of a person addicted to heroin. Some schools around the country are showing the film “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict,” produced by the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
A new study suggests a lack of adequate sleep may increase the risk of drug and alcohol use in male teens. The study of 186 boys found duration and quality of sleep at age 11 were associated with early substance use throughout adolescence. “If we just look at age 16, the group of kids getting the most sleep... only about half of them had tried alcohol,” lead researcher Brant Hasler told CBS Pittsburgh . “If we look at the group of kids getting the least sleep, nearly three quarters of them had tried.” Boys who slept the least, compared to those who slept the most, were more likely to report earlier use, intoxication and repeated use of both alcohol and marijuana.
The rate of smoking and drinking is declining among American teens, a survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) finds. Last year 9.6 percent of teens ages 12 to 17 said they used alcohol in 2015, compared with 17.6 percent in 2002, The New York Times reports. About 20 percent of teens said they smoked last year, compared with 32 percent in 2002. The survey also found that last year, one out of five adults in American met criteria for a mental illness or substance use disorder, but only 3 percent of them received services. “These are potentially life-threatening, disabling conditions,” SAMHSA Principal Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto said in a news release. “Our country must redouble its efforts to provide evidence-based prevention and treatment services in every community to ensure all Americans get the help and hope they need to lead healthy and productive lives.”
A new study finds a link between teens’ exposure to alcohol ads and how much of those brands they drink. Researchers at Boston University studied more than 1,000 13- to 20-year-olds who said they had consumed alcohol in the past month. Underage drinkers who didn’t see any alcohol ads drank about 14 drinks per month, compared with 33 drinks for those who had seen an average amount of alcohol ads, CNN reports. The findings appear in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs . “I think one of the implications for the broader society is that currently our controls on television advertising for alcohol are minimal and they’re self-regulatory, so I think we should definitely tighten up that seam,” said lead researcher Timothy Naimi, MD, MPH.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is recommending that pediatricians consider offering medication-assisted treatment, such as buprenorphine, for teen and young adult patients with severe opioid use disorders, USA Today reports. Pediatricians who do not prescribe the drugs themselves should refer patients to doctors who do, the group advises. According to the AAP, between 1991 and 2012, the rate of “nonmedical use” (use without a prescription or more than prescribed) of opioid medication by teens and young adults up to age 25 more than doubled. The rate of opioid use disorders, including heroin addiction, also jumped. The rate of fatal opioid overdose more than doubled between 2000 and 2013.
A new study finds an increased risk of suicide attempts in teens is associated with prescription drug abuse, Reuters reports. Teens who said they used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes at the start of the study were almost three times as likely to report a suicide attempt a year later. The study of 3,300 Chinese teens is published in JAMA Pediatrics. The researchers found teens’ suicide risk was more than tripled if they abused opiates. Overall, fewer than 3 percent of teens in the study reported misusing any prescription drugs, including 1.8 percent who said they misused opiates or stimulants, and 1 percent who said they abused sedatives.
Teens who have easy access to drugs or alcohol may be at increased risk of substance use in adulthood, a new study suggests. The effects are stronger for white people and males, UPI reports. Researchers from Michigan State University analyzed data from 15,000 teens and young adults. The study found teens with easy access began using drugs and alcohol at a younger age, and were more likely to be using one or both substances later in life. The findings appear in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse . “These findings provide evidence that the availability of illegal drugs and alcohol in the home while growing up is a critical factor in the later use of substances,” lead researcher Cliff Broman said in a news release.
Teens who participate in daily sports and exercise activities are less likely to transition from opioid pain reliever use to heroin, according to research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and published in Pediatrics . There have been anecdotal reports of teen athletes being prescribed opioid pain relievers for injuries, who later transition to nonmedical use of opioid pain pills and then turn to heroin. However, this study found that sports activities may have a protective effect related to that potential transition. Researchers from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor looked at 18 cross sections of eighth and tenth grade responses in NIDA’s Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey, answered between 1997 and 2014. While the survey measures prevalence of drug use, it also collects secondary data, including information related to involvement in athletics. NIDA’s MTF survey is conducted annually by a separate team of scientists at...
Many teens who report using e-cigarettes say they tried them because it was cool, fun and new, according to a survey. Few teens said they used e-cigarettes to try to quit smoking regular cigarettes, HealthDay reports. The survey of almost 2,400 Canadian teens ages 14 and 15 appears in CMAJ. Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it is extending its oversight to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. The agency will ban sales of e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and hookah tobacco to people under age 18.
Two new studies suggest parents can play an important role in preventing teens from drinking, NPR reports. One study in the journal Prevention Science finds parents who set effective and strict alcohol-related rules, while maintaining a warm and supportive family environment, reduce the risk of binge drinking in their teens. In the second study in the same journal, children who participated in a five-month, home-based alcohol prevention program while they were in third grade were significantly less likely to drink when they were in seventh grade, compared with children who were not in the program. In the first study, researchers at Claremont Graduate University looked at data from a long-term study that followed more than 9,400 teens from 1994-1995 through 2008, when participants were in their 20s or early 30s. The teens’ parents were interviewed in the first year of the study. The researchers found teens were more likely to...
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. The merged organization will be called: