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Drunk driving declines, while drug use behind the wheel rises

February 9, 2015 Comments off

Drunk driving declines, while drug use behind the wheel rises
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The nation’s decades-long campaign to combat drunk driving continues to make our roads safer, but use of marijuana and prescription drugs is increasingly prominent on the highways, creating new safety questions, according to a pair of ground-breaking studies released today by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

One study, the latest version of NHTSA’s Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers, found that the number of drivers with alcohol in their system has declined by nearly one-third since 2007, and by more than three-quarters since the first Roadside Survey in 1973. But that same survey found a large increase in the number of drivers using marijuana or other illegal drugs. In the 2014 survey, nearly one in four drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could affect safety.

A second survey, the largest of its kind ever conducted, assessed whether marijuana use by drivers is associated with greater risk of crashes. The survey found that marijuana users are more likely to be involved in accidents, but that the increased risk may be due in part because marijuana users are more likely to be in groups at higher risk of crashes. In particular, marijuana users are more likely to be young men – a group already at high risk.

This was the most precisely controlled study of its kind yet conducted, but it measured the risk associated with marijuana at the levels found among drivers in a large community. Other studies using driving simulators and test tracks have found that marijuana at sufficient dosage levels will affect driver risk.

Government of Canada Reveals New Research on Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Use

February 6, 2015 Comments off

Government of Canada Reveals New Research on Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Use
Source: Health Canada

The Government of Canada published today the results of the 2013 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs Survey (CTADS), which demonstrate progress made in sustaining all-time lows in smoking rates, while also highlighting the need for continued attention to issues such as marijuana use among youth and prescription drug abuse.

The CTADS is a national general population survey of tobacco, alcohol and drug use among Canadians aged 15 years and older, with a focus on 15-24 year olds. More than 14,500 Canadians were interviewed for the survey, conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of Health Canada.

The survey includes the first national data on e-cigarette use, which will add to the growing body of knowledge Health Canada is gathering to determine next steps in regulating this product. Last fall, Minister Ambrose asked the Standing Committee on Health to study the potential risks and benefits of e-cigarettes and to seek the advice of a variety of health stakeholders. The Standing Committee report is expected to be released in early 2015.

Understanding trends in tobacco, alcohol and drug use is vital to the effective development and implementation of strategies, policies and programs. The CTADS data will contribute to sources of evidence as the Government of Canada continues to create policies and programs that respond to the needs of Canadians and protect health and safety.

This is the first release of the CTADS, which merged two previous survey tools – the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) and the Canadian Drug and Alcohol Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS), streamlining federal efforts and representing the first time that tobacco, drug and alcohol data has been reported together.

Drug Treatment Graduation Ceremonies: It’s Time to Put This Long-Cherished Tradition to Rest

February 6, 2015 Comments off

Drug Treatment Graduation Ceremonies: It’s Time to Put This Long-Cherished Tradition to Rest
Source: Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly

Over past decades, graduation ceremonies have become a prominent, long-standing, traditional centerpiece of substance use disorder treatment programs and settings. In total, graduations provide clients with a platform to look back at their time in treatment, consider the things they’ll take away from that experience, and voice the particularities of their own personhood (“my addict personality” or “parts of the old me”) that they wish to symbolically bury and “leave behind.” As such, graduation ceremonies are celebratory in nature and socially reinforce milestones, accomplishments, and memories of clients’ journeys in treatment recovery. However, lack of survey data on client and professional perceptions of graduation ceremonies, in combination with the virtually nonexistent body of evidence on how they affect the recovery process, raise provocative and potent questions about how this tradition has perpetuated itself throughout treatment practices. This article explores the place and orientation of graduation ceremonies as part of the therapeutic context of treatment and recovery. Challenging the apparent taboo against questioning such ceremonies permits new suggestions for how treatment staff and clients might proceed with graduation ceremonies in the future.

Impacts of Emerging Contaminants on Surrounding Aquatic Environment from a Youth Festival

January 16, 2015 Comments off

Impacts of Emerging Contaminants on Surrounding Aquatic Environment from a Youth Festival
Source: Environmental Science & Technology

The youth festival as we refer to Spring Scream, a large-scale pop music festival, is notorious for the problems of drug abuse and addiction. The origin, temporal magnitudes, potential risks and mass inputs of emerging contaminants (ECs) were investigated. Thirty targeted ECs were analyzed by solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (SPE-LC-MS/MS). Sampling strategy was designed to characterize EC behavior in different stages (before and after the youth festival), based on multivariate data analysis to explore the contributions of contaminants from normal condition to the youth festival. Wastewater influents and effluents were collected during the youth festival (approximately 600 000 pop music fans and youth participated). Surrounding river waters are also sampled to illustrate the touristic impacts during peak season and off-season. Seasonal variations were observed, with the highest concentrations in April (Spring Scream) and the lowest in October (off-season). Acetaminophen, diclofenac, codeine, ampicillin, tetracycline, erythromycin-H2O, and gemfibrozil have significant pollution risk quotients (RQs > 1), indicating ecotoxicological concerns. Principal component analysis (PCA) and weekly patterns provide a perspective in assessing the touristic impacts and address the dramatic changes in visitor population and drug consumption. The highest mass loads discharged into the aquatic ecosystem corresponded to illicit drugs/controlled substances such as ketamine and MDMA, indicating the high consumption of ecstasy during Spring Scream.

Clinical Use of Extended-Release Injectable Naltrexone in the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorders: A Brief Guide

January 8, 2015 Comments off

Clinical Use of Extended-Release Injectable Naltrexone in the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorders: A Brief Guide
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Offers guidance on the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with extended-release injectable naltrexone for the treatment of an opioid use disorder. Covers patient assessment, initiating MAT, monitoring progress, and deciding when to end treatment.

Use of alcohol, cigarettes, and a number of illicit drugs declines among U.S. teens

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Use of alcohol, cigarettes, and a number of illicit drugs declines among U.S. teens (PDF)
Source: University of Michigan Monitoring the Future Survey

A national survey of students in U.S. middle schools and high schools shows some important improvements in levels of substance use.

Both alcohol and cigarette use in 2014 are at their lowest points since the study began in 1975. Use of a number of illicit drugs also show declines this year.

These findings come from the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study, which tracks trends in substance use among students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades. Each year the national study, now in its 40th year, surveys 40,000 to 50,000 students in about 400 secondary schools throughout the United States.

See also: E-cigarettes surpass tobacco cigarettes among teens (PDF)

America’s Pain Points

December 12, 2014 Comments off

America’s Pain Points
Source: Express Scripts

America claims less than 5% of the world’s population, yet it consumes roughly 80% of the world’s opioid supply. Knowing the potential for misuse of these medications, and facing an increase in opioid-related deaths in this country, we wanted a deeper understanding of how patients in the U.S. are using these medications so we can identify additional ways to protect them from the risks associated with their use.

In A Nation in Pain, our research revealed a drop in short-term use of opioids, and stabilization in the number of patients using these medications longer term, which is in contrast to the increases seen in the past. Both trends indicate that doctors are being more cautious about prescribing these pain medications.

However, the research uncovered some concerning increases in the amount of prescription opioid medications Americans use, and the frequency in which these medications are used in dangerously high doses and in risky combinations with other medications.

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