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Increases in Heroin Overdose Deaths — 28 States, 2010 to 2012

October 13, 2014 Comments off

Increases in Heroin Overdose Deaths — 28 States, 2010 to 2012
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Nationally, death rates from prescription opioid pain reliever (OPR) overdoses quadrupled during 1999–2010, whereas rates from heroin overdoses increased by <50%.* Individual states and cities have reported substantial increases in deaths from heroin overdose since 2010. CDC analyzed recent mortality data from 28 states to determine the scope of the heroin overdose death increase and to determine whether increases were associated with changes in OPR overdose death rates since 2010. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which found that, from 2010 to 2012, the death rate from heroin overdose for the 28 states increased from 1.0 to 2.1 per 100,000, whereas the death rate from OPR overdose declined from 6.0 per 100,000 in 2010 to 5.6 per 100,000 in 2012. Heroin overdose death rates increased significantly for both sexes, all age groups, all census regions, and all racial/ethnic groups other than American Indians/Alaska Natives. OPR overdose mortality declined significantly among males, persons aged <45 years, persons in the South, and non-Hispanic whites. Five states had increases in the OPR death rate, seven states had decreases, and 16 states had no change. Of the 18 states with statistically reliable heroin overdose death rates (i.e., rates based on at least 20 deaths), 15 states reported increases. Decreases in OPR death rates were not associated with increases in heroin death rates. The findings indicate a need for intensified prevention efforts aimed at reducing overdose deaths from all types of opioids while recognizing the demographic differences between the heroin and OPR-using populations. Efforts to prevent expansion of the number of OPR users who might use heroin when it is available should continue.

See also: Heroin overdose deaths increased in many states through 2012

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What has research over the past two decades revealed about the adverse health effects of recreational cannabis use?

October 10, 2014 Comments off

What has research over the past two decades revealed about the adverse health effects of recreational cannabis use? (PDF)
Source: Addiction

Research in the past 20 years has shown that driving while cannabis-impaired approximately doubles car crash risk and that around one in 10 regular cannabis users develop dependence. Regular cannabis use in adolescence approximately doubles the risks of early school-leaving and of cognitive impairment and psychoses in adulthood. Regular cannabis use in adolescence is also associated strongly with the use of other illicit drugs. These associations persist after controlling for plausible confounding variables in longitudinal studies. This suggests that cannabis use is a contributory cause of these outcomes but some researchers still argue that these relationships are explained by shared causes or risk factors. Cannabis smoking probably increases cardiovascular disease risk in middle-aged adults but its effects on respiratory function and respiratory cancer remain unclear, because most cannabis smokers have smoked or still smoke tobacco.

Deaths Related to Drug Poisoning in England and Wales, 2013

October 7, 2014 Comments off

Deaths Related to Drug Poisoning in England and Wales, 2013
Source: Office for National Statistics

Key Findings

  • 2,955 drug poisoning deaths (involving both legal and illegal drugs) were registered in 2013 in England and Wales (2,032 male and 923 female deaths).
  • Male drug poisoning deaths increased by 19% compared with 2012. Female drug poisoning deaths have increased every year since 2009.
  • Male drug misuse deaths (involving illegal drugs) increased by 23%, from 1,177 in 2012 to 1,444 in 2013. Female drug misuse deaths increased by 12%, from 459 in 2012 to 513 in 2013.
  • Heroin/morphine remain the substances most commonly involved in drug poisoning deaths. 765 deaths involved heroin/morphine in 2013; a sharp rise of 32% from 579 deaths in 2012.
  • Deaths involving tramadol have continued to rise, with 220 deaths in 2013. This is almost 2.5 times the number seen in 2009 (87 deaths).
  • There was a sharp increase of 21% in the number of drug misuse deaths in England in 2013, with no change to the number of these deaths in Wales. However, mortality rates from drug misuse were still significantly higher in Wales than in England.
  • Male mortality rates significantly increased in three substance categories: heroin/morphine, benzodiazepines and paracetamol. Conversely female mortality rates remained relatively stable except for a sharp increase in the cocaine-related death rate.
  • In England, the North East had the highest mortality rate from drug misuse in 2013 (52.0 deaths per million population), and London had the lowest (23.0 deaths per million population).
  • All figures presented in this bulletin are based on deaths registered in a particular calendar year. Out of the 2,955 drug-related deaths registered in 2013, 1,488 (just over half) occurred in years before 2013.

Perceived neighborhood illicit drug selling, peer illicit drug disapproval and illicit drug use among U.S. high school seniors

September 25, 2014 Comments off

Perceived neighborhood illicit drug selling, peer illicit drug disapproval and illicit drug use among U.S. high school seniors
Source: Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy

Background
This study examined associations between perceived neighborhood illicit drug selling, peer illicit drug disapproval and illicit drug use among a large nationally representative sample of U.S. high school seniors.

Methods
Data come from Monitoring the Future (2007-2011), an annual cross-sectional survey of U.S. high school seniors. Students reported neighborhood illicit drug selling, friend drug disapproval towards marijuana and cocaine use, and past 12-month and past 30-day illicit drug use (N = 10,050). Multinomial logistic regression models were fit to explain use of 1) just marijuana, 2) one illicit drug other than marijuana, and 3) more than one illicit drug other than marijuana, compared to “no use”.

Results
Report of neighborhood illicit drug selling was associated with lower friend disapproval of marijuana and cocaine; e.g., those who reported seeing neighborhood sales “almost every day” were less likely to report their friends strongly disapproved of marijuana (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.38, 95% CI: 0.29, 0.49) compared to those who reported never seeing neighborhood drug selling and reported no disapproval. Perception of neighborhood illicit drug selling was also associated with past-year drug use and past-month drug use; e.g., those who reported seeing neighborhood sales “almost every day” were more likely to report 30-day use of more than one illicit drug (AOR = 11.11, 95% CI: 7.47, 16.52) compared to those who reported never seeing neighborhood drug selling and reported no 30-day use of illicit drugs.

Conclusions
Perceived neighborhood drug selling was associated with lower peer disapproval and more illicit drug use among a population-based nationally representative sample of U.S. high school seniors. Policy interventions to reduce “open” (visible) neighborhood drug selling (e.g., problem-oriented policing and modifications to the physical environment such as installing and monitoring surveillance cameras) may reduce illicit drug use and peer disapproval of illicit drugs.

How Much Crime is Drug-Related? History, Limitations, and Potential Improvements of Estimation Methods

September 22, 2014 Comments off

How Much Crime is Drug-Related? History, Limitations, and Potential Improvements of Estimation Methods (PDF)
Source: National Criminal Justice Reference Service
From NCJRS abstract:

Goldstein’s model of drug-related crime identifies three categories of DAFs: “economic-compulsive” (crimes committed to obtain money for buying drugs); “psychopharmacological” crime (crimes committed due to the effect of drugs, such as assaults and homicides); and “systemic” crime (crimes committed by individuals and organizations in the course of operating a drug-trafficking enterprise). In addition to these three categories of DAFs, this paper proposes four additional types of DAFs indirectly related to drug supply and demand. Although these drug-related harmful effects may not involve specific law violations, they constitute part of the cost of drug supply and consumption. One of the four additional drug-related costs to society is the diminishment of positive contributions to society the drug-user might have provided had he/she not become dependent on drugs. A second indirect effect pertains to the adverse impacts the drug-user has on his/her children and other family members because of drug dependence. A third indirect effect is the impact of drug market activities on the neighborhood environment and constructive influence. The fourth indirect cost of drug use is the general diminishment of the informal ability of a society to mold the moral development of its members and thus deter crime. 3 figures and 53 references

Emergency department visits linked to zolpidem overmedication nearly doubled

September 3, 2014 Comments off

Emergency department visits linked to zolpidem overmedication nearly doubled
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

The estimated number of emergency department visits involving zolpidem overmedication (taking more than the prescribed amount) nearly doubled from 21,824 visits in 2005-2006 to 42,274 visits in 2009-2010, according to a new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The report also indicates that 68 percent of all zolpidem overmedication visits in 2010 involved females, the number of zolpidem overmedication emergency department visits for males increased 150 percent from 2005-2006 to 2009-2010 compared to an increase of 69 percent for females over the same time period.

In 2010 there were a total of 4,916,328 drug-related visits to emergency departments throughout the nation.

Other prescription drugs were involved in 57 percent of the emergency department visits involving zolpidem overmedication. These medications included benzodiazepines (26 percent) and narcotic pain relievers (25 percent). Alcohol was also combined with zolpidem in 14 percent of these hospital emergency department visits.

Spreading information on the risks of drug use: a European challenge

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Spreading information on the risks of drug use: a European challenge
Source: Eurobarometer

Young Europeans are less informed about the effects and risks of drugs than just a few years ago. While they widely use the Internet to gather knowledge, a new Eurobarometer survey shows that compared to 2011, respondents are less likely to have received such information from most sources, in particular from media campaigns and school prevention programmes.

More than one quarter of young people (29%) say they have not been informed at all in the past year about the effects and risks of so-called legal highs – currently legal substances that imitate the effects of illegal drugs. This comes at a time when the number of young people saying they have used ‘legal highs’ has risen to 8%, from 5% in 2011.

More than 13,000 citizens aged 15-24 were interviewed for the Eurobarometer “Young People and Drugs” across the EU. Drug use and drug-related problems continue to be a major concern for EU citizens. They are also a significant public health and public safety issue. According to studies by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), drug experimentation often starts in the school years, and it is estimated that one in four 15-16 year-olds have used an illicit drug. In recent years, the use of ‘legal-highs’ has become increasingly popular, and the European Commission is working to strengthen the EU’s ability to protect young people by reducing the availability of harmful substances, as part of an overall drug policy regulatory framework

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