Testing It Up

New Gallup Pole Shows Americans Still Not Interested in Changing Drinking Age


Courtesy of Gallup

Americans are still widely opposed to lowering the legal drinking age to 18 from 21, with 74% saying they would oppose such legislation, while 25% would favor it.

All major subgroups are opposed to lowering the drinking age with political ideology being one of the major dividing lines on the issue. Liberals (34%) are among the most supportive of lowering the drinking age and conservatives (18%) are among the least supportive subgroups.

Another major predictor of support for lowering the drinking age is whether one personally drinks alcohol, with 29% of those who drink alcohol at least on occasion favoring lowering the drinking age compared with 18% who never drink. Among those who drink regularly on a weekly basis, 35% favor lowering it.

Also, support for lowering the drinking age tends to be higher among those who have higher levels of education, with 37% of those with a postgraduate degree supporting such a change in the law.

October 20, 2014 at 8:07 am Comments (0)

Cairo University Begins Mandatory Drug Testing for Students

Egypt’s premier university has recently unveiled its drug testing mandate on students without receiving any objections thus far.drug testing

Cairo University has reportedly finished drug testing more than 4,000 students, with thousands more pending. Amidst the ongoing series of democratic protests in the country, Cairo University released a statement on its website saying university students will be allowed residence in the school’s hostel only if they agree to drug testing procedures administered by the university’s National Center for Clinical and Environmental Toxicology.

Results of drug testing on university students are released on the same day of administration and sent to the hostel. The school website also stated that approximately 13,000 students eligible to stay in Cairo University’s hostel are set to be tested under the new procedures.

University president Gaber Nassar expressed that the drug testing policy “is in the interest of students” and emphasized the importance of “finishing analysis procedures to students quickly and easily.”

October 20, 2014 at 7:41 am Comments (0)

New Drug Shows Promise in Fight Against Addiction

A new drug has been developed that could potentially help people kick their drug addictions. cocaine addiction

Developed by Dr. Stanley Glick, former head of the Department of Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience at Albany Medical College, 18-methoxycoronaridine (18-MC) has been successful in getting rats who are hooked on cocaine to completely stop craving the drug.

It has a similar effect on animals addicted to methamphetamine, morphine, alcohol, and nicotine and even seems to work with sugar, indicating potential as an obesity treatment.

“We hope it’s a paradigm shift in the way substance abuse is treated,” Steve Hurst, CEO of Savant HWP, which produces 18-MC, said. “But we’re still trying to figure out if it’s OK to give to people in doses that are safe enough to replicate what we see in animal models.”

18-MC works by blocking the pleasurable effects of cocaine and other substances by “dampening the response” to dopamine.

18-MC has its roots in ibogaine, a bitter white powder derived from the roots of a plant indigenous to the rainforests of Central Africa. Ibogaine is a potent hallucinogen used to induce spiritual visions during tribal ceremonies. Although side effects of ibogaine include nausea and intense hallucinations, Glick and other researchers have managed to formulate a strain of the drug that has the ability to block cravings while not producing any of the side effects.

The drug is ready to start human trials, but because ibogaine is a Schedule I drug in the United States and few pharmaceutical companies are interested in anti-addiction medicine, it has faced a lot of hurdles in its development.

October 14, 2014 at 8:37 am Comments (0)

Alaska, Oregon, District of Columbia Sets Voting On Marijuana Legalization in November

In an unprecedented turn of events, two U.S. states and the capital city are set to vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana by next month.

marijuana legalization alaska oregon district of columbiaAccording to a news release, the month of November will see votes in the states of Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia as the push for legalizing the recreational use of pot is under way. These three areas have already approved the use of medical marijuana, so it’s just logical that the next step would be to say yes to recreational marijuana.

They have all signed on to the “Yes to Marijuana Ballot Measures” movement, which supports the legal use of the illicit drug other than for medical use. The three regions may have the same goal, but are attacking the issue through varying approaches:

  • Alaska pot supporters are pushing for a Marijuana Control Board to facilitate the price regulations on the drug.
  • Oregon wants the state’s Liquor Control Commission to take charge in the regulation of selling marijuana.
  • A proposal in D.C. aims to give adult locals the right to cultivate marijuana in their homes.

Should any of these states vote the affirmative, they will be joining Washington and Colorado as the only U.S. states that have legalized cannabis for all uses.

October 10, 2014 at 3:22 am Comments (0)

Children of Dads Who Smoked Pre-Conception More Likely to Have Asthma: Study

Children are more likely to have asthma if their fathers smoked prior to conceiving them, a new German study has found. kid with asthma

The research looked at the smoking habits of 13,000 men and women who responded to survey questions, including whether they have smoked, when and for how long. They also indicated whether they stopped smoking before conceiving, according to a news release about the study, which found fathers who smoked prior to conception raised the chances of their unborn children having asthma. Fathers who had been smoking longer and fathers who began smoking before 15 were more likely to have babies born with asthma.

Mothers smoking prior to conception was not associated with increased asthma risk among the women in the survey.

It isn’t exactly clear how smoking before conception could cause asthma, but air pollution is certainly a factor, the authors said.

“This study is important as it is the first study looking at how a father’s smoking habit pre-conception can affect the respiratory health of his children,” said one of the study authors, Dr. Cecile Svanes, of the University of Bergen, Norway, in a statement. “Given these results, we can presume that exposure to any type of air pollution, from occupational exposures to chemical exposures, could also have an effect.”

Asthma is a condition that causes the airways to swell, leading to labored breathing and tightness around the lungs. At least 25 million Americans have asthma, and 7 million of them are children, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.


September 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm Comments (0)

Prescription Drug Disposal Program Expanded

The Drug Enforcement Administration has expanded its prescription drug disposal program by allowing the medication to be dropped off at hospitals, pharmacies, clinics and other authorized drop-off sites in an effort aimed at curbing rising drug addiction and abuse.prescription drug disposal

Long-term care facilities will be able to collect controlled substances turned in by residents. Prescription drug users also can mail unused medications to collectors using pre-paid packages, a statement from the DEA said.

“I am committed to ending the national epidemic that has already stolen too many lives and torn apart too many families,” Attorney General Eric Holder.

A 2013 survey showed that about 6.5 million Americans 12 and older were non-medical users of prescription drugs, the statement said. In 2011, more than half of the 41,300 unintentional U.S. drug overdose deaths involved prescription drugs. Opioid pain relievers caused about 17,000 of those deaths.

Sept. 27 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. For more information about the day and what you can do to promote it in your community, click here.

September 8, 2014 at 12:03 pm Comments (0)

Government Tightens Restrictions on Commonly Abused Prescription Drug

Ahead of International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31st, the federal government tightened restrictions on the prescribing of hydrocodone,  the most common form of painkiller in the country.prescription drug abuse

Hydrocodone, is the most widely prescribed painkiller in the United States and is an ingredient in drugs like Vicodin.

The rule places hydrocodone in a tougher, more restrictive category. Doctors will no longer be able to call in prescriptions by telephone, and patients will not be allowed to get refills on the same prescription, but will have to return to a health care professional to get a new prescription. The drug will have to be kept in special vaults in pharmacies.

The Drug Enforcement Administration published the rule on Thursday and it will take effect in 45 days.

“This is substantial,” said Dr. Nathaniel Katz, assistant professor of anesthesia at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. “It’s a sign of a shift toward more cautious opioid prescribing. This will be an inconvenience to some, but policy is a machete, not a scalpel, and you have to figure out where to use it. I think people will be more helped than harmed.”

Abuse of painkillers now claims the lives of more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined, according to federal data, and the number of Americans who die from prescription drug overdoses has more than tripled since the late 1990s.

August 27, 2014 at 10:22 am Comments (0)

Marijuana Use May Lower Risk of Domestic Violence

New research has found that couples who frequently use marijuana are at a lower risk of intimate partner violence (IPV).medical marijuana

“More frequent marijuana use generally predicted less frequent IPV for both men and women over the first 9 years of marriage,” researchers from Yale University, University of Buffalo and Rutgers wrote in their study. Not only that, couples who both used marijuana frequently — compared to one spouse using it more than the other — had the lowest risk for partner violence.

Researchers hypothesize that the positive side effects of using marijuana may reduce conflict and aggression by blunting emotional reactions, which could in turn decrease violent or aggressive behavior between spouses.

The researchers conducted the study by recruiting 634 couples from 1996 to 1999 while they were applying for a marriage license in New York State.

After an initial interview, the researchers followed the couples over the course of nine years using mail-in surveys to measure the effects of marijuana use on intimate partner violence (IPV), defined as acts of physical aggression, such as slapping, hitting, beating and choking, and it was measured by asking couples to report violence committed by them or toward them in the last year. The couples were also asked about their marijuana intake.

August 26, 2014 at 1:46 pm Comments (0)

Ebola Drug Experimentation Under Way After FDA Hold

Roughly a month after testing was held by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Ebola drug being developed by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is now ongoing development anew.

ebola virus africaThe FDA recently lifted its hold on medical experiments by the Canadian company, probably due to the urgency of the Ebola situation. As of this writing, no vaccines or medicines have been developed and released for treatment of the Ebola virus, amidst official reports that about a thousand people have already died from the lethal virus.

Tekmira Chief Mark Murray expressed positivity in light of the latest FDA decision. “We have been closely watching the Ebola virus outbreak and its consequences, and we are willing to assist with any responsible use of TKM-Ebola,” Murray said in a news item.

The pharmaceutical company was given the green light by the U.S. government to develop a drug that could treat people infected with Ebola. The government-approved project was pegged at $140 million, but was held by the FDA last July due to reported safety issues when tested on human trial subjects.

Although the hold has been loosened, Tekmira’s anti-Ebola drug has yet to be tested for safety and effectiveness by the FDA. Meanwhile, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to ravage locals and neighboring countries, and worldwide fear of the virus’ spread is still escalating.

August 11, 2014 at 4:34 pm Comments (0)

Substance abuse largely depends on friends’ usage

In one of the least surprising conclusions ever reported in a study, researchers found that the more friends ex-inmates have who abuse drugs, the more likely they are to abuse drugs. teen substance abuse

In the study, which was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Elizabeth Malouf and colleagues at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia studied the drug abuse patterns of 322 male and female inmates of a county jail, asking them to rate their self-control prior to being released, and to report on their own and their friends’ use of alcohol and illicit drugs in a followup visit one year later.

At the followup meeting one year after release:

  • three-fourths of the ex-inmates reported that they drank alcohol,
  • one-third reported using marijuana, and
  • 28 percent reported using cocaine;
  • 43 percent reported at least one symptom of substance dependence.

And the researchers found that the ex-inmates’ levels of substance use and dependence symptoms a year after their release correlated with the number of friends they had who used substances. Participants with few or no substance-using friends reported less use than they had engaged in before their incarceration, and those whose friends mostly or all used reported increased use.

Dr. Redonna Chandler, chief of NIDA’s Services Research Branch, said inmates might get a false sense of security when leaving prison because they are getting away from an environment that facilitates addiction.

“Dr. Malouf found that prisoners’ pre-release self-assessment of their ability to use self-control to avoid drug use had only an indirect relationship to their actual drug use a year later,” she said. “The finding highlights the fact that many prisoners develop a false sense of security about their ability to resist drugs. Imprisonment removes people from the environmental cues that trigger their cravings, which can lead them to think that they are cured of their addiction. However, when they get out and encounter the cues again, they may be just as susceptible as they were before they went in.”

August 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm Comments (0)

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