Close to 19 percent of American adults, representing 43.8 million people, smoke cigarettes. Smoking is the leading cause of deaths that could be prevented, and accounts for one in five deaths in the U.S, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A new study published in the online journal Biological Psychiatry provides the first evidence that prenatal exposure to the stress hormones glucocorticoids predicts smoking and nicotine dependence later in life among women. The study confirmed previous research on prenatal smoking, and suggested that this increased risk of nicotine addiction is the result of exposure to increased levels of stress hormones in mothers during pregnancy.
In a major policy shift, the federal Food and Drug Administration seeks to place stronger restrictions on a class of prescription painkillers that contain hydrocodone, the highly addictive painkiller that has grown into the most widely prescribed drug in the U.S. The changes are expected to take place as early as next year. The FDA recommends reclassifying Vicodin and other products that contain hydrocodone more restrictively -- from Schedule III controlled substances to Schedule II. An example of a current Schedule II drug is OxyContin, another opioid painkiller. They are considered the most addictive, legally prescribed drugs. Schedule I is a classification reserved for illicit substances which are rarely (usually never) used medically, such as LSD, heroin, ecstasy, marijuana and peyote.
You may have seen Terrie Hall and struggled to watch her talk. Hall was once a competitive cheerleader, but now her mouth sags on one side and she’s lost her voice to smoking. In her halting YouTube account seen by millions, the North Carolina ex-smoker still fighting cancer makes a suggestion to those who’ve yet to quit: Record yourself reading nursery rhymes and singing lullabies. “I wish I had,” she says, a gravely sound emitting from the hole in her neck. “The only voice my grandson’s ever heard is this one.”
When a medication is effective, we give thanks. Drugs that can alleviate problem symptoms help patients live normal lives and restore a positive and hopeful outlook that brings many other desired outcomes. But when good medications are misused, everyone suffers. Patients are greeted with more skepticism and eventually medications become harder to obtain. Doctors are concerned that abuse of stimulant drugs used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be taking us in that very direction.
If methadone is used to help with heroin addiction and nicotine replacement products are used to help with nicotine addiction, could a stimulant like Ritalin help with addiction to a stimulant like cocaine? That’s the question researchers asked in a new study, conducted at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York and recently published in JAMA Psychiatry. The results indicate that as little as one dose of the ADHD medication Ritalin (methylphenidate) could help cocaine addicts by improving their brain function through the modification of brain circuit connectivity.
Deaths from prescription painkiller overdoses among women have increased more than 400% since 1999, the Centers for Disease Control reported July 2. In fact, every three minutes a woman goes to the emergency room for prescription painkiller use or abuse. "The big picture is that this is a big problem that has gotten much worse quickly," Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the CDC, told the Associated Press. The death rate for men from prescription painkillers was up 265 percent since 1999. Officials with the CDC said that because women are more likely to have chronic pain, be prescribed prescription painkillers, be given higher doses, and use them for longer time periods than men, they are most at risk for overdose. The agency urged doctors to take advantage of prescription drug monitoring programs to identify patients who may be improperly obtaining or using painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Opana and methadone, noting that women are more likely than men to "doctor shop" for narcotics. Dr. David Sack, CEO of Promises Treatment Centers, told CBSNews.com that doctors are prescribing these opioid painkillers too freely. While 40 years ago many physicians held off on giving out pain medication, in the 1970s many medical...
For the last several years, headlines have told the story of the new drug scourge in the U.S. Prescription narcotic painkillers are being used and abused like never before. From young teens experimenting, to adults with legitimate prescriptions, to junkies needing a new, cheap high, the number of people falling victim to abuse continues to grow. The statistics point to the seriousness of the problem. From 2002 to 2010, the number of people abusing prescription painkillers rose 75 percent. Among teenagers, the increase was 25 percent. For some drugs, the numbers are even higher. The abuse of painkillers reaches across all demographics, including pregnant women. As a result of the rise in abuse, doctors and emergency rooms are witnessing a disturbing trend. They are seeing more and more infants born with an addiction to narcotics.
The nature-nurture debate is alive and well in the world of drug addiction research. Scientists and addiction experts have long-speculated whether the biological factors—genetic variations and the resulting susceptibility—or the psycho-social factors—like depression, parental substance abuse, or socioeconomic disadvantage—are responsible for addiction. It’s generally agreed that both factors contribute to addiction, with at least 50 percent of addiction susceptibility being related to genes. The precise mechanisms by which genetic factors create a pre-disposition to addiction are an area of ongoing research, and a new study has uncovered that a specific enzyme could play an important role.
Chronic pain has a profound effect on anyone’s life. If you’re saddled with chronic pain, you may not be able to work or exercise, let alone enjoy life in general. Pain causes sleep disturbances and, when chronic, often triggers symptoms of depression. In short, life with chronic pain can be miserable. It’s no surprise that it can also spark substance abuse in some individuals in a desperate attempt to alleviate it. And for those who already struggle with addiction or have a history of drug rehab treatment, treating the pain with medications – which often have a high potential for dependence – becomes a complicated endeavor.
New survey results released by The Partnership at Drugfree.org find that one in four teens has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once – a 33 percent increase over the last five years. The study is actually the 24th annual survey used by the organization to track and research drug use in this country. The survey involved 3,884 teens in grades 9 through 12 along with 817 parents. The margin of error for teen responses was 2.1 percent and the margin for parents was 3.4 percent.
The widespread misuse of prescription painkillers has prompted the medical community to look for ways to better understand and regulate them. The doctors, pharmacists and policymakers involved in seeking to promote responsible use of prescription painkillers intend to provide solutions that prevent misuse of the drugs, but without threatening the relief that they offer to millions of people who suffer from diseases associated with significant pain, such as many types of cancer.
Health care is a controversial and complex issue, especially now as political wrangling is hitting full tilt in states that are reluctant to accept Medicaid expansion on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Today, only one penny of every dollar that is spent on health care will go to assist a person facing debilitating addiction issues. For states that have accepted the healthcare overhaul offered by the Obama administration, which was signed into law in 2010, millions more addicts will become eligible for insurance coverage.
New survey results released by The Partnership at Drugfree.org find that one in four teens has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once – a 33 percent increase over the last five years. The study is actually the 24th annual survey used by the organization to track and research drug use in this country. The survey involved 3,884 teens in grades 9 through 12 along with 817 parents. The margin of error for teen responses was 2.1 percent and the margin for parents was 3.4 percent. The study suggests that many parents are blind to the immediacy of the issue of prescription drug abuse. This is not a problem that parents view as liable to occur in their home.
“Drug addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disorder characterized by a compulsion to take a drug with loss of control over drug intake.” - Scripps Research Institute Both alcoholics and drug addicts struggle with the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical consequences of their substance abuse. But what, exactly, is the difference between an alcoholic and a drug addict? The simple fact is: there is there is no difference. Both alcohol addicts and drug addicts fall under the same definition of “addiction” or as some call it, “substance abuse disorder.”
The quest for a leaner, more toned physique has led to many crazy potions, fad diets and pills. But who would have thought that Viagra would top that list? A new study suggests that in addition to sexual benefits for men, Viagra may also help with weight loss.
The national spotlight has been focused on professional cycling with seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong finally coming clean on his use of steroids and blood boosters. But baseball isn’t far behind--some of its biggest stars are also under the microscope, not for steroid use, but for an anti-inflammatory drug called Toradol.
Eighty-eight percent of the world's legal amphetamine supply is produced in US, and over-worked college students, celebrities, and sports stars seem to be taking to the drug with increasing regularity. It doesn't seem like too long ago that Xanax was the nation's drug of choice, but it looks like a new prescription drug has entered the scene. Prescribed legally for ADHD and narcolepsy, Adderall is one of the most addictive medicines that doctors can prescribe, with 30 to 40 percent of those who take it abusing it at least once. It's a Schedule II Controlled Substance, but despite the additional constraints that have been placed on prescribing, it is still widely abused.
OxyContin (also known simply as Oxy) is a branded form of oxycodone, an opioid prescription medication with a strong chemical resemblance to codeine. Unlike most other forms of oxycodone, it contains an extended-release formula that remains active in the body for as long as 12 hours. When OxyContin first entered the US market in the 1990s, it came in a readily crushable capsule that made the medication very easy to abuse. In order to correct this situation, the medication's manufacturers re-introduced it to the market in a new, non-crushable form in 2009. While this action significantly decreased abuse of OxyContin, current evidence indicates that it also led to a significant increase in the abuse of other types of opioid drugs.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) almost 34 million Americans were misusing or abusing time-released opioid painkillers in 2007. News reports and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) statistics reveal that the problem has steadily worsened in our country.
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