Young People’s Memories Improved When They Stop Using Marijuana

SCIENCE NEWS (10/30) – Taking a monthlong break from pot helps clear away young people’s memory fog, a small study suggests. The results show that not only does marijuana impair teenagers’ and young adults’ abilities to take in information, but that this memory muddling may be reversible. Read more

Rural Community Treats Its Opioid Problem Like A Natural Disaster

NPR (10/28) – […] Last year, leaders declared the opioid epidemic a life-threatening emergency. The county is now responding to the drug crisis as if it were a natural disaster, the same way it would mobilize to respond to a landslide or flu pandemic. Read more

Studies on Student Alcohol Use Can Inform ways to lower Blackouts

SCIENCE DAILY (11/02) – College students who drink alcohol don’t typically intend to drink to the point that they “black out,” and they also don’t fully grasp what specific drinking behaviors present the greatest risk of blackouts, a new series of studies finds. Read more Further Reading: Alcohol Changes Memories on a Much Deeper Level Than […]

AP Analysis: ‘Obamacare’ Shapes Opioid Grant Spending

AP NEWS (10/22) – With Republicans and Democrats joining forces again in a bipartisan effort to target the U.S. opioid crisis, an Associated Press analysis of the first wave of emergency money from Congress finds that states are taking very different approaches to spending it. Read more Further Reading: Three Deep Red States Vote to […]

Methamphetamine Roils Rural Towns Again Across the U.S.

NPR (10/25) – […] No longer chiefly made by “cooks” in makeshift labs in the U.S., methamphetamine is now the domain of Mexican drug cartels that are mass-producing high-quality quantities of the drug and pushing it into markets where it was previously unknown. Read more

How Technology Fails Us in The Battle Against Opioid Addiction

FORBES (11/06) – […] The proliferation of prescription medication (not to mention synthetic opioids and heroin) on the Internet and particularly the Dark Web has made it relatively easy for addicts, dealers, and children to get their hands on opioid painkillers. Read more

3 States Legalize Marijuana for Recreational Or Medical Use

HUFFINGTON POST (11/07) – […] Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit substance in the United States. And the trend of states bucking prohibition in favor of legal regulation of the plant reflects a broad cultural shift toward greater acceptance of legal marijuana that has continued to grow in recent years. Read more

Despite Warnings, FDA Approves Potent New Opioid Painkiller

NPR (11/02) – The Food and Drug Administration has approved a potent new opioid painkiller, despite warnings from physician critics who say the drug will contribute to the addiction epidemic. Read more

Democrats Took the House. Here’s What It Means for Health…

STAT NEWS (11/06) – Democrats rode a wave of health care messaging into a majority of the House of Representatives, projections showed Tuesday, propelled by vows to protect Americans with pre-existing health conditions and dramatically lower prescription drug costs. Read more

Addiction Treatment Gap Is Driving a Black Market for Suboxone

NPR (10/05) – […] Buprenorphine is one of just three federally approved medications to treat opioid addiction. It’s an opioid itself, so some people misuse it — they snort or inject the medication to get high. And patients who have prescriptions for buprenorphine sometimes sell or give it away, which is known as diversion. Read more

Fentanyl Test Strips Lead to More Caution Among Drug Users

THE WASHINGTON POST (10/03) – Illicit drug users who are certain that fentanyl is mixed into the heroin they consume are much more likely to take precautions that reduce their chances of overdosing, researchers reported Wednesday in a small study. Read more

NIH director: More Treatments for Opioid Addiction, Chronic Pain

USA TODAY (10/03) – The head of the National Institutes of Health said Wednesday that science can help the nation find newer and smarter ways out of an epidemic that resulted in more than 49,000 opioid overdose deaths last year. NIH Director Francis Collins told the USA TODAY Editorial Board that his agency will fund […]

Study Specifies the Neuropsychological Deficits of Alcoholic Abusers

MEDICAL XPRESS (09/27) – A University of Valencia psychology and neuroscience team has defined the specific neuropsychological profile of men with several patterns of alcohol consumption and a history of violence against women in couple relationships. The study, published in Alcohol, seeks to facilitate adherence to treatment, as well as the detection of the chances […]

Congress Targets Misuse of Hospice Drugs

KAISER HEALTH NEWS (10/04) – Hospice workers would be allowed to destroy patients’ unneeded opioids, reducing the risk that families misuse them, according to one little-noticed provision in the bipartisan opioids bill headed to President Donald Trump’s desk for his likely signature. The bill would empower hospice staff to destroy opioid medications that are expired, […]

Employee Mental Health, Substance Abuse Issues Increase

BIZWOMEN (10/11) – Mental health and substance abuse problems among employees have grown. Sixty percent of U.S. and Canadian organizations say they’re seeing more of those issues than two years ago, according to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. In addition, 40 percent of organizations report their employees are very or extremely stressed, and […]

How to Help Pain Patients Cut Back on Opioids

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN (10/2018) – […] Alas, few of the 10 million or so Americans taking opioids long term for chronic pain have access to such a stellar program. Around the country, state and federal authorities and insurance companies are cracking down on opioid prescriptions in the wake of a 345 percent spike in opioid-related deaths […]

Club Drug GHB Associated with Brain and Cognitive Changes

SCIENCE DAILY (10/08) – Scientists have discovered that regular use of the party drug GHB, and especially unconsciousness following GHB use, is associated with brain changes including negative effects on long-term memory, working memory, IQ, and higher levels of stress and anxiety. This work is presented at the ECNP conference in Barcelona, following partial peer-review […]

Colleges Create Opioid Response Plans Amid National Crisis

VICE (06/26) – Some experts predict practices like MDMA therapy will be legal in as little as three years…“The FDA has essentially told us that what we’re doing is important and that the science is good,” says Lourido Ali. “They’re really trying to expedite the process and help us through this.” Read more

Psychedelics Are Going Mainstream, Because the Mainstream Needs Them

VICE (06/26) – Some experts predict practices like MDMA therapy will be legal in as little as three years…“The FDA has essentially told us that what we’re doing is important and that the science is good,” says Lourido Ali. “They’re really trying to expedite the process and help us through this.” Read more

Newly Developed Therapeutic Shown to Combat Drug Addiction

MEDICAL XPRESS (06/29) – A new therapeutic may help reverse chemical imbalances made to the brain by habitual drug use and could one day help recovering drug addicts avoid future drug use. Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston developed and tested a treatment on rats and found it effective in reducing […]

Gender Differences in Drug Use Often a Barrier to Help

THE INTELLIGENCER (06/29) – Women tend to develop substance abuse problems faster than men, and relapse under different circumstances, studies show. Pressures of caregiving, a history of abuse and even biological factors make them more resistant than men to seek help. Read more

Native American Teens at Higher Risk for Substance Abuse

MEDICAL XPRESS (06/23) – Native American teens are at greater risk of alcohol and drug abuse than other American teens, a new study finds. Still, “we do not want these data to be used to stigmatize American Indian kids,” said study author Randall Swaim, director of Colorado State University’s Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research. Read […]

House Approves Bill Expanding Treatment for Opioid Abuse

U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT (06/22) – The House has overwhelmingly approved legislation designed to give health care providers more tools to stem an opioid crisis that is killing more than 115 people in the United States daily. The legislation passed Friday by a vote of 396-14. It incorporates dozens of opioid-related bills that lawmakers […]

What’s in the House’s Bills to Address the Opioid Crisis — and What’s Not

STAT (06/21) – The House spent much of the last two weeks passing dozens of bills aimed at addressing the opioid crisis, an effort top lawmakers from both parties have long identified as a priority. Many are consensus proposals, though a few have generated controversy. Some are substantial in their scope, though many fund pilot […]

This Is Why Xanax Is Blowing Up in America

VICE (06/12) – It’s not exactly breaking news that Xanax has been having something of a moment. Famous musicians, at least until prominent voices like Lil Xan (yes, even him!) and Chance the Rapper began swearing off the stuff, have long been inclined to hype it. And Xanny bars have been touted across social media […]

Stigma Hinders Response To Opioid Epidemic, Study Says

THE FIX (06/11) – Stigma around addiction is beating back public support for well-studied harm reduction interventions like needle exchanges and safe injection facilities (SIFs), according to a new study published in Preventive Medicine. Read more

First Ketamine Guidelines for Pain Released

WEBMD (06/15) – New research shows that ketamine can be effective for treating pain, and could be an alternative to opioids. Ketamine has captured headlines recently as a possible treatment for severe depression and posttraumatic stress syndrome. Ketamine is also being used more in inpatient and outpatient settings to manage pain. Read more Further reading: […]

FDA Approves First Generic Versions of Suboxone Sublingual Film, Which May Increase Access to Treatment for Opioid Dependence

FDA (06/14) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved the first generic versions of Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) sublingual film (applied under the tongue) for the treatment of opioid dependence. “The FDA is taking new steps to advance the development of improved treatments for opioid use disorder, and to make sure these medicines […]

Origins of an Epidemic: Purdue Pharma Knew Its Opioids Were Widely Abused

NEW YORK TIMES (05/29) – [… A] confidential Justice Department report shows that federal prosecutors investigating the company found that Purdue Pharma knew about “significant” abuse of OxyContin in the first years after the drug’s introduction in 1996 and concealed that information. Read more

Court-Mandated Substance Abuse Treatment: Exploring the Ethics and Efficacy

PSYCHIATRY ADVISOR (05/29) – Mandatory treatment is defined as “treatment ordered, motivated, or supervised under the criminal justice system.” Going beyond the more common drug court approaches that offer a person charged with a crime the choice of treatment instead of incarceration, several US states mandate that people with addiction enter treatment against their will, […]

How Fentanyl Could Alter Global Drug Policy

WASHINGTON POST (05/22) – Policymakers and the public are acutely aware that the powerful opioid fentanyl has significantly worsened the country’s opioid epidemic, accounting for almost 20,000 deaths in 2016. But few people appreciate fentanyl’s potential to permanently alter illegal drug markets and international relations along with them. Read more

‘The Police Aren’t Just Getting You in Trouble. They Actually Care.’

POLITICO (06/02) – In 2015, police in towns across eastern Massachusetts began to embrace a new way to respond to a public health crisis with a rapidly escalating death toll. … [A]nyone who showed up at the police station and asked for help overcoming an opiate addiction would get it, without fear of arrest, no […]

Social Media Usage Linked to Underage Drinking

EUREKA ALERT (05/23) – Social media often features celebrities drinking cocktails, boozy how-to posts, and party pictures. This is the environment American teens are immersed in every day, with 71 percent of teens using more than one social media site, spending an average of nine hours a day using media. Despite the popularity of social […]

Native American Tribes Fight to Not be Forgotten in Massive Opioid Litigation

CLEVELAND.COM (05/30) – […] Camp-Horinek, one of more than 3,000 members of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, said members of her tribe turned to drugs for various reasons, including mistreatment by the government, environmental problems and having a lower standard of living than other parts of the country. Many got addicted simply by listening to […]

A Growing Number of Sober Programs Support College Students Recovering From Addiction

NBC NEWS (05/29) – […] Last year, 5.3 million young adults needed treatment for substance abuse, nearly one in six people between the ages of 18 and 25, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This has put renewed attention on the lack of specialized services on college campuses for those who […]

Human Drug Addiction Behaviors Tied to Specific Impairments in 6 Brain Networks

SCIENCE DAILY (06/06) – Specific impairments within six large-scale brain networks during drug cue exposure, decision-making, inhibitory control, and social-emotional processing are associated with drug addiction behaviors, according to a systematic review of more than 100 published neuroimaging studies by experts at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published Wednesday, June 6 […]

Unseen Face of the Opioid Epidemic: Drug Abuse Among the Elderly Grows

WASHINGTON POST (05/25) – […] “Older Americans are among those unseen in this epidemic,” said Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (Pa.), the top Democrat on the panel. “In 2016, one in three people with a Medicare prescription drug plan received an opioid prescription. This puts baby boomers and our oldest generation at great risk.” Read […]

Origins of an Epidemic: Purdue Pharma Knew Its Opioids Were Widely Abused

NEW YORK TIMES (05/29) – [… A] confidential Justice Department report shows that federal prosecutors investigating the company found that Purdue Pharma knew about “significant” abuse of OxyContin in the first years after the drug’s introduction in 1996 and concealed that information. Read more

Moving toward Performance-based Practice

Substance use disorder treatment, along with the entire behavioral health treatment industry, operates without any performance data on either the patient or therapist. The link below is a white paper, which will soon be published in a leading social work practice journal. This paper explores and exposes some of the shortcomings within our treatment industry […]

Teens are Choosing Marijuana Over Cigarettes, Alcohol as Their First Drug

THE FIX (05/21) – Young people are putting marijuana first. A new national study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) looked at more than 275,000 people over a 10-year period and found that kids are more likely to turn to weed for their first substance experience than they are alcohol, […]

Trying Physical Therapy First for Low Back Pain May Curb Use of Opioids

NPR (05/23) – […] It turned out that patients who saw a physical therapist before trying other treatments had an 89 percent lower probability of eventually needing an opioid prescription, a 28 percent lower probability of having any advanced imaging services, and a 15 percent lower probability of making one or more ER visits. Read […]

Is Addictive Behavior Compulsive?

SCIENCE TRENDS (05/17) – […] Given the centrality of the concept, it is a surprising fact that it is not at all clear what exactly compulsion is supposed to mean in relation to addiction. A review of the relevant literature soon reveals that different authors and different institutions mean different things by the term. Read […]

Could Brain Stimulation be the Answer to Ending Drug Addiction?

BIG THINK (05/23) – […] Although many treatment options are available, no matter the type of addiction, recidivism rates are exceptionally high. Now, researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina believe they can reboot the brain’s reward center and halt addiction. This is done through something called repeated trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). Read more