Category Archives: Substance Abuse

Addiction Substance Abuse

Nicotine Spray Passed Around 20 U.K. Students, Caused Vomiting

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Students at the Wolstanton High School in Staffordshire, U.K. suffered signs of toxicity after inadvertently trying out a nicotine spray prescribed to a 12-year-old female student. According to a news report, the prescription nicotine spray was passed around students from Years Seven and Eight, causing 20 of them to experience nausea, vomiting, and headache. One of the students was rushed to the hospital due to severe sickness.

High school principal Alan Aston said that the unfortunate incident was a one-time slip. “The spray was shared with other pupils and they became nauseous. We have dealt with the pupil involved using our own sanctions,” Aston said. As soon as the situation was discovered, school teachers immediately informed the parents of affected pupils.”We already have procedures in place to protect pupils but unfortunately this was a prank that went wrong,” the school principal added.

The student who distributed the Nicorette spray to her fellow pupils was prescribed the medication through the National Health Service (NHS) program called Time To Quit. Program service manager Ian Saberton said the school did not violate any procedures to help kids quit smoking. “All pupils who request support receive an appointment after which they are required to do some preparation for a quit attempt, medication is only recommended at the following appointment… All protocols for stop smoking support had been followed in this case,” Saberton said.

School officials have already disciplined the erring student.

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Addiction Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Indiana Dealing with HIV Outbreak Due to Prescription Drug Abuse

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Indiana has called in federal experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help with an HIV outbreak that has swelled to 55 confirmed cases and 13 other preliminary positive cases, the Indiana State Department of Health said.

“We are engaging local, state, and national partners to determine where we can most effectively focus our efforts,” Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams said in a news release. “Extra care is being taken to invest resources in getting people off drugs and into treatment, since drug abuse is the clear driving force behind this outbreak.”

Most of the infected people had shared needles while injecting the painkiller Opana, a prescription drug that’s more potent than Oxycontin, the agency has reported, while some of the HIV cases have been linked to unprotected sex.

Indiana’s health department said it has created a public awareness campaign dubbed “You Are Not Alone” that provides information on drug abuse, safe sex, needle disposal and HIV testing and treatment. The three-month campaign began recently and will include radio, digital and social media ads and billboards along Interstate 65.

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Addiction Substance Abuse

Abuse-Deterrent Drugs Not A Guarantee To Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse

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Several studies aimed to combat prescription drug abuse involve altering the medicine formulation in order to prevent or tame down addiction. However, a recent study claims that some measures are still abuse-prone.

The study was conducted by St. Louis’ Washington University School of Medicine, and involved conducting a survey on close to 11,000 drug dependents listed in drug treatment centers all over the U.S. Despite the modification of components in the prescription painkiller Oxycontin, survey results showed that nearly 25 percent of drug users checked into rehab facilities admitted to abuse the drug, according to a news item.

Study lead author Theodore J. Cicero, who works at the university as professor of neuropharmacology in psychiatry, said that some users “who have figured out how to circumvent abuse-deterrent formulation.” This is contrary to claims by Oxycontin manufacturer Purdue Pharma L.P., which has reformulated the product to prevent abuse. “The product’s label states that OxyContin has physical and chemical properties expected to make abuse via injection difficult and to reduce abuse via snorting,” said Purdue Pharma VP for corporate affairs Raul Damas.

The study suggests that prescription drug dependents have created ways to skip past the reformulation and still use Oxycontin against its intended purpose. Some survey respondents said that procedures to circumvent abuse-deterrent drugs are available in online chat rooms and forums. Worse, some people who find it difficult to abuse the prescription opioid have turned to heroin use. “It used to be an inner city problem, heroin use involving poor minority groups… That problem has now moved in to the suburbs and in rural areas, white middle class individuals who are basically now peddling heroin,” Cicero added

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Addiction Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Guidelines Released To Help Cancer Patients Quit Smoking

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Lung cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of death, with smoking being the primary culprit. This is the reason why a network of non-profit agencies have drafted a set of guidelines to help patients kick the habit.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recently released the Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for Smoking Cessation, which delineates proper instructions and procedures on helping smokers diagnosed with cancer off the deadly practice. NCCN Chief Executive Officer Robert W. Carlson, MD expressed the importance of the NCCN Guidelines for Smoking Cessation. “Addressing the physical and behavioral impact of cigarette smoking dependency and offering a support system for people with cancer can positively impact their quality of life, both during treatment and during survivorship,” Carlson said in a news release.

The panel of experts who formulated the guidelines include Peter G. Shields, MD, deputy director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital . As a lung cancer specialist, Shields said that addiction to smoking is a very difficult thing to reject, but the need to do so will benefit the health condition of cancer patients. “Science has shown us that smokers with cancer have a high level of dependence and smoking cessation leads to improvement in cancer treatment effectiveness and decreased cancer recurrence,” Shields said.

NCCN believes that a sustainable and effective method of ensuring that cancer patients are tobacco-free involves a combination of medical therapy and preventive counseling.”Our hope is that by addressing smoking cessation in a cancer patient population, we can make it easier for oncologists to effectively support their patients in achieving their smoking cessation goals,” Shields added.

Data from the American Cancer Society showed that more than 25 percent of cancer-related deaths are caused by cigarette smoking.

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Substance Abuse

Study: TV Ads on E-Cigarettes Trigger Increased Craving For Tobacco Smoking

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Manufacturers of electronic cigarettes may be dubbing their products as the answer to quit smoking tobacco, but a recent survey seems to indicate the opposite.

The study, conducted by researchers from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, monitored about 800 individuals who were either actively smoking, doing so on irregular intervals, or have quit the habit. The participants were made to watch e-cigarette ads on television and answered a set of questions to assess their response in terms of wanting to smoke.

Results of the study revealed the following findings:

  • Regular smokers who watched a TV ad of someone smoking an e-cigarette were more inclined to reach for a cigarette than those who saw a TV ad without someone vaping on screen.
  • Many of those who already quit smoking expressed that they may find themselves unable to refuse tobacco when they see a person vaping on TV, as opposed to participants who didn’t see a person smoking in the advertisement.

Study co-author Dr. Erin K. Maloney expressed in a news release that the power of the human eye can influence a person to do something, as confirmed by the survey results. “We know that exposure to smoking cues such as visual depictions of cigarettes, ashtrays, matches, lighters, and smoke heightens smokers’ urge to smoke a cigarette, and decreases former smokers’ confidence in their ability to refrain from smoking a cigarette,” Maloney said.

The study proponents believe that traditional tobacco companies are in full support of the e-cigarette trend in order to boost their sales. “Given the sophistication of cigarette marketing in the past and the exponential increase in advertising dollars allotted to e-cigarette promotion in the past year, it should be expected that advertisements for these products created by big tobacco companies will maximize smoking cues in their advertisements, and if not regulated, individuals will be exposed to much more e-cigarette advertising on a daily basis,” the researchers expressed.

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Substance Abuse

Children Face Risk Over Marijuana Candy Products

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Marijuana is now sold in different forms to excite and entice buyers, but a recent discovery might led young kids to inadvertently take pot.

Researchers from Stanford Law School said U.S. states that legalize marijuana have already welcomed dispensaries and licensed stores that sell candylike marijuana products such as Munchy Way and Twixed. Robert MacCoun, co-author of an investigatory piece published in the New England Journal of Medicine, said that this increases the risk of children to ingest marijuana without their knowledge. “There’s the concern that young children will find these products and eat them, thinking they are ordinary sweets… This can be a very traumatic experience, and there are even some indications it can be physically dangerous for young children,” said MacCoun in a news item.

MacCoun expressed that marijuana in candy form is usually more potent in terms of THC per serving, and is processed unnaturally by the human body. “At high doses, THC can produce serious anxiety attacks and psychoticlike symptoms,” MacCoun added.

MacCoun and fellow Stanford Law School professor Michelle Mello recommend more stringent measures on edible marijuana products. Although marijuana product manufacturers in Washington and Colorado use packaging materials that prevent children from eating the product accidentally and put a “keep out of reach of children” warning, researchers said these may not be enough. “A package should have a predictable standard dose [and] adequate warning labels, and it should not look like candy or a cola drink,” MacCoun said.

[ Image source ]

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Substance Abuse

Study: Drinking Frequency Increases As Men Age

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If you’re in your early 20s and you think you’re drinking too much, a new study reveals that your current drinking problem may become more regular and consistent as you age.

According to researchers from the University College London led by Dr. Annie Britton, men who start drinking during adolescence find themselves falling into a more regular drinking pattern going into mid-life and older age. The study investigated male drinking behavior in terms of quantity and frequency, based on 34 years worth of observations on 174,000 cases between 1979 and 2013.

Results of the research showed a spike in alcohol consumption in the teenage years, but it is during the age of 25 when the average consumption was highest at roughly 10 pints of beer. The volume of alcohol intake starts to dwindle upon approaching mid-life and decreases further into retirement age. However, the researchers noticed that adolescents consumed alcohol in irregular intervals — sometimes leading to binge drinking up to twice a week — but older males had the tendency of drinking almost daily, albeit in smaller quantities.

The research team believes that studying drinking patterns across various age groups can improve the intervention programs to tailor-fit the needs and psychological maturity of the person. “”Understanding how drinking behaviour fluctuates throughout life is important to identify high risk groups and trends over time. Research on the health consequences of alcohol needs to incorporate changes in drinking behaviour over the life course. The current evidence base lacks this consideration. Failure to include such dynamics in alcohol is likely to lead to incorrect risk estimates,” Britton said in a news item.

Complete details and results of the study were published in the journal BMC Medicine.

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Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Video: The Truth About E-Cigarettes, From American Chemical Society

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The American Chemical Society just released an informational video that discusses some truths about electronic cigarettes and whether they are what manufacturers claim them to be: safer alternatives to tobacco smoking.

Here are some of the highlights from the entertaining and highly informative video:

  • 42 million people in the U.S. are still hooked onto cigarettes.
  • Each puff of a cigarette exposes the smoker’s body to more than 7,300 compounds, 70 of which are known carcinogens.
  • Despite the fact that e-cigarette companies have different ways of manufacturing their products, electronic cigarettes contain cancer-causing substances, albeit less than the amount in tobacco cigarettes.
  • Some of the harmful compounds found in e-cigarette vapor include formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.
  • Scientists are still in the process of identifying electronic cigarette compounds in their full extent, but it’s safe to say that e-cigarettes are not a completely healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes.

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Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

E-cigarettes Easily Accessible To Teenagers Online

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It might be best to check what your teenagers are purchasing over the Internet, as a new study reveals an almost-unrestricted access of teens to electronic cigarettes.

A group of researchers led by Rebecca Williams of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill discovered that most young individuals between the ages of 14 and 17 were able to buy e-cigarettes through online shops without being required to divulge their age. The study involved teenagers who were monitored during a simulated purchase of electronic cigarettes from online establishments, to check if the stores would restrict them from buying.

The study revealed that as high as 94 percent of attempts to buy e-cigarettes by the teenagers resulted to a successful sale and delivery of the goods, according to a story in USA Today. Researchers believe that the age verification system supposedly implemented by online shops are not effective to prevent teenagers from buying electronic cigarettes. Worse, about 95 percent of deliveries were left at the destination without the need to personally receive them.

Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association president Phil Daman believes that more stringent measures must be put in place to avoid teenage procurement of e-cigarettes. “We certainly don’t want teenagers to have access to them,” Daman said. “Implementing the use of age verification software is a reasonable, highly effective and cost-efficient way for the vapor products industry to prevent minors from making unauthorized purchases online.”

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Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Proposed California Bill Bans Baseball Practice of Chewing Tobacco

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Baseball has long welcomed the notorious habit of “dipping” tobacco in chewing gum, defined in Wikipedia as “placing a lump or ‘dip’ of tobacco between the lip and the gum.”

As part of the government’s actions to clean up the sport, California State Assembly member Tony Thurmond forwarded a bill that seeks to prohibit Major League Baseball (MLB) players from chewing tobacco during games. The proposed bill also includes banning smoking of tobacco and use of e-cigarettes in MLB venues.

One of the most famous baseball players who were confirmed to have enjoyed dipping tobacco is San Diego Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn, who succumbed to cancer of the salivary glands last year. “I’m hopeful that this bill will lend to his legacy, that it will help to prevent illness for young people and young athletes,” Thurmond said in a news item. “Tony Gwynn was somebody I thought was a spokesman for baseball, a great role model as a person.”

MLB released a statement last February 24 as a support to Thurmond’s bill. “We ardently believe that children should not use or be exposed to smokeless tobacco, and we support the spirit of this initiative in California and any others that would help achieve this important goal,” a statement from the league said.