Category Archives: Substance Abuse

Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Could Changing Dry Counties to Wet Counties Cut Down on Meth Labs?

Published by:


Counties that ban the sale of alcohol (dry counties) tend to have higher numbers of meth labs, a new study by a group of economists from the University of Louisville suggests.

Kentucky in particular attracted the attention of the economists, as the state has a lot of dry counties, and also has a rising number of meth labs. A White House report says that the number of “meth lab incidents” jumped from 297 in 2007 to 696 in 2009.

Researcher Jose Fernandez and his colleagues discovered when they looked at the data that “dry” counties, where alcohol sales are banned, had twice as many meth-lab seizures (when accounted for population) when compared to “wet” counties, which allow alcohol sales.

Based on this analysis, the research team estimated that if all dry or “moist” counties (where only limited areas within a county are allowed to sell alcohol) were converted to wet counties, the number of meth labs in those areas could fall by more than a third.

Although the economists only draw a correlation between dry counties and meth labs, the team speculated why this correlation exists and came up with the following reasoning:

  1. Bans on alcohol sales makes booze relatively expensive and makes meth a more affordable alternative.
  2. Drinkers who get alcohol from illegal sources are more likely to hear about other illicit products, like meth, than they would if they bought alcohol legally from a supermarket or other alcohol retailer.
  3. In dry counties, the punishment for getting caught with drugs is not that much more severe than getting caught with illegal alcohol.

While the data is limited to Kentucky, previous studies show that the spread of meth labs appears similar in other states with dry countries.


Health & Wellness Pregnancy & Fertility Substance Abuse

Smoking While Pregnant Increases Asthma Risk of Grandchildren

Published by:

grandmother smoking while pregnant

Previous studies have emphasized the adverse effects of smoking while pregnant on the health of children, but a new study goes further — by two generations.

A Swedish study discovered that a woman who smokes while she is pregnant may increase the risk of asthma on her grandchildren (i.e. the child of her child). This study is the first of its kind to investigate the effects of smoking two generations after. “We found that smoking in previous generations can influence the risk of asthma in subsequent generations,” said study co-author Dr. Caroline Lodge in a news release.

The researchers conducted a survey on close to 45,000 grandmothers whose names are listed in the Swedish Registry between 1982 and 1986. Meanwhile, the study also checked for use of asthma treatment and medication in more than 66,000 grandchildren. Results showed that kids had up to 22 percent higher risk of developing asthma if their grandmothers smoked during pregnancy. The data was applicable even though the children’s respective mothers did not engage in cigarette smoking.

The study proponents believe that smoking changes the genetic makeup of offspring, which may be carried over to subsequent generations.

The number of asthma cases has escalated quickly in the last 50 years according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), affecting 6.8 million children in the U.S. alone.



Addiction Substance Abuse

Interview with Clare Waismann Registered Addiction Specialist at Waismann Method Medical Group

Published by:

pills prescription drugs


Clare WaismannWe recently sat down with Clare Waismann, a registered addiction specialist with the Waismann Method Group to talk about the trends she is seeing in opiate addiction and how the Waismann Method helps people break their addiction to opiate painkillers and heroin.

Waismann said one of the biggest trends she is seeing in opiate addiction is that people who initially get addicted to prescription painkillers are switching to heroin because it is abundantly available. This includes people who would never have thought about taking an illegal drug.

The addictions specialist also said some people’s tolerance for opiate drugs is at an alarming level, as they seem more willing to take a risk to get high. In fact, she is seeing tolerance levels unlike anything she’s seen before in decades of treatment.

To read more about what Waismann has to say about synthetic drugs, prescription drug abuse in the workplace and among veterans, plus what makes the Waismann method effective in treating opiate addiction, click here to read the full interview.


Addiction Pregnancy & Fertility Substance Abuse

Women Quit Smoking During Pregnancy, But Return After Childbirth

Published by:

woman smoking pregnant

A team of researchers from the U.K.’s University of East Anglia discovered that pregnant mothers who stopped smoking tend to return to their unhealthy habit after giving birth.

The study, published in the journal Addiction, revealed that 75 percent of pregnant women who decided to stop smoking took it up again within six months after childbirth. In addition, up to 90 percent of these women returned to smoking within a year after delivering the child.

The research team led by Dr. Caitlin Notley said in a news release that 45 percent of expectant mothers are able to immediately kick the habit due to many factors, including preservation of the baby’s health, natural opposition to cigarette smoke due to biological changes, and the pressures of society. However, many of them return to smoking because of the following reasons:

  • Misconception. Most women think that smoking after giving birth won’t harm the baby.
  • Stress. Due to the pressures of parenthood, some mothers relapse to pick up a cigarette.
  • Withdrawal. Some women feel that their bodies are experiencing withdrawal symptoms caused by not having smoked for a while.

Some women, meanwhile, understood the potential effect of cigarette smoking on breast milk. As a result, a number of them decided to wean their babies earlier so that they could start smoking again.

The study investigated the cases of more than 1,000 women in the U.S. and Canada across 16 studies to evaluate the tendency to smoke again after pregnancy.


Substance Abuse

Study: Smoking Cessation Drug Does Not Increase Risk Of Depression and Heart Failure

Published by:

smoking lung cancer

Contrary to earlier claims, a recently discovered smoking cessation drug does not heighten the risk of cardiovascular diseases and depression, according to a new study.

Varenicline, which was identified as a very effective drug to help people quit smoking, was investigated by a team of researchers who evaluated the drug’s adverse side effects.

Data of more than 150,000 people from England who were identified as smokers were investigated as to the effectiveness of their smoking cessation techniques. Aside from varenicline, other anti-smoking methods evaluated by the researchers include the drug bupropion and nicotine replacements (patch, lozenge, or gum). The participants were tracked for six months to see if any of the quit-smoking aids affected their health.

“On the basis of our extensive analysis, we believe it is highly unlikely that varenicline has any significant adverse effects on cardiac or mental health,” said Professor Aziz Sheikh in a news item. Sheikh works at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Medical Informatics.

The research team comes for the Universities of Edinburgh and Dusseldorf and was in close coordination with researchers from Harvard Medical School, Maastricht University, and University College London. Results of the study were published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.


Health & Wellness Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Students More Likely to Try New Drugs in Specific Months

Published by:


Students tend to try different drugs at certain times of the year, a new analysis has found.

College students tend to try stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin for the first time in the months of November, December and April. The reason these months stand out could possibly have to do with college kids believing these drugs will help them with their examinations, even though there is no medical data to back up the belief.

The data comes from an analysis of 12 years of government survey data.

testcountry banner
Addiction Substance Abuse

Increase in Wages Helps Workers Quit Smoking

Published by:

dollars salary wages

According to a recent study published in the Annals of Epidemiology, increasing the pay of workers results to lower smoking rates in men. “Increasing the minimum wage could have a big impact on a significant health threat,” according to study senior author Paul Leigh, who also works at the University of California – Davis Health System Center for Healthcare Policy and Research.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from UC Davis who looked into data on full-time employees between the ages of 21 and 65, as acquired from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics from 1999 to 2009. Information such as status of smoking and amount of wages were correlated using instrumental variables analysis as a statistical framework, as reported in a news item.

The researchers discovered that increasing wages by 10 percent resulted to a decrease of 5 percent in smoking rates for male workers. The same scenario was observed for people whose educational attainment is high school or lower. Meanwhile, the 10 percent rise in pay also increases the chances of current smokers to quit smoking by up to 20 percent.

“Our findings are especially important as inflation-adjusted wages for low-income jobs have been dropping for decades and the percentage of workers in low-paying jobs has been growing nationwide,” Leigh expressed. He added that their research supports the long-standing belief that financial status affects a person’s health. “Our findings add to the existing body of epidemiological literature showing that lower income predicts poor health habits… They also show that higher minimum wages could reduce the prevalence of smoking,” the senior author added.


Substance Abuse

Education Program Helps Doctors Issue Correct Opioid Prescription

Published by:

pills prescription drugs

Prescription drug abuse has become a worldwide health issue, prompting governments and medical organizations to pursue programs that prevent the problem from escalating. One of these programs comes from the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), who has been successfully educating clinicians on how to properly prescribe opioid medication to patients.

The program is called Safe and Competent Opioid Prescribing Education (SCOPE of Pain), a three-hour educational program that participants may view either in person or online. The program is aligned with the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) requirement of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As of June 2014, more than 10,000 individuals have undergone SCOPE of Pain since it started in 2013. Roughly 27 percent of this population are clinicians, who are the primary targets of this program.

To monitor the effectiveness of the program, a group of researchers led by Dr. Daniel Alford of BUSM checked the prescription practices of the participants before and after completing SCOPE. According to a news release, about 87 percent of the participants committed to change something in their regular routine to support the objective of the program. After two months, the study discovered that roughly two-thirds of the SCOPE of Pain participants said that they have become more confident in prescribing opioids to follow the guidelines. “Our program improved knowledge, attitudes, confidence and clinical practice in safe opioid prescribing,” said Alford, who also works as course director of the program.


Substance Abuse

Chewing Tobacco Leads To More Than 200,000 Deaths Worldwide

Published by:

smokeless tobacco

Many players in professional baseball, including Major League Baseball (MLB), have long been engaged in the practice of chewing tobacco during games. However, a recent research reveals the impact of this practice on the health of players.

The study — a collaboration of Imperial College London and the University of Edinburgh, with financial support from the Medical Research Council and Leeds City Council — revealed that use of smokeless tobacco led to more than 200,000 fatalities in 2010 alone. Direct causes of the deaths range from mouth cancers to cardiovascular diseases. Data for the study came from several surveys, including the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study.

Despite the alarming death rate caused by smokeless tobacco use, study co-author Dr. Kamran Siddiqi said that their findings may just be scratching the surface. “It is possible that these figures are underestimated and future studies may reveal that the impact is even bigger. We need a global effort to try and address and control smokeless tobacco,” according to Siddiqi as reported in a news item.

The research team believes that the current laws and regulations that have succeeded in reducing cigarette smoking need to translate to regulating smokeless tobacco as well. “There is a need to build on the insights obtained from efforts to reduce cigarette smoking and to investigate strategies to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco,” Siddiqi added.

The state of California announced a proposed bill that prohibits chewing tobacco in MLB games. The bill authored by Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) was passed in June 2015, according to a news report.


Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Top 5 Health Hazards Of Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Published by:

excessive alcohol consumption heavy drinking

Alcohol remains to be one of the most abused substances, bringing health hazards to millions of people in the world. Consumption of alcohol comes in all shapes and sizes, but one hazardous way of ingesting the substance is through chronic heavy drinking.

Excessive alcohol consumption — whether in the form of binge drinking or chronic alcoholism — has long been proven to cause detrimental effects on the human body. Although the body can metabolize alcohol in moderate amounts, excess of this tolerable level goes to the bloodstream, where it is brought to the different parts and organs of the body. This distribution causes slight alterations in bodily functions and natural metabolic processes.

Medical News Today has recently released the most common diseases and health problems caused by chronic heavy drinking. The top five health hazards due to alcoholism are the following:

  1. Liver disease
  2. Pancreatitis
  3. Cancer
  4. Gastrointestinal issues (including ulcers)
  5. Dysfunction of immune system

The effects of excessive alcohol intake may differ from one person to other, depending on several factors such as age, gender, body mass index, genetics, and health status. On a general perspective, heavy drinking may be defined as consumption of more than 8 alcoholic beverages per week in women, and above 15 drinks for men.

Excessive alcohol consumption is considered to be one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.