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Two-Drug Combo May Help Fight Meth Addiction

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- In what may signal a seismic shift in the treatment of methamphetamine addiction, a pair of prescription drugs appears to help patients significantly reduce their stimulant use, or quit altogether.

The combination therapy involves an injectable medication called extended-release naltrexone and a daily generic pill called bupr...

Pot Use Ups Odds for Suicide in Young People With Bipolar Disorder

Marijuana addiction increases the risk of death by suicide, homicide and other causes (such as car crashes) in youth and young adults with mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, a new study warns.

For the study, the researchers reviewed data on nearly 205,000 young people, aged 10 to 24, in Ohio who were diagnosed with mood disorders from July 2010 through December 2017.

Marijuana...

As More Legal Pot Dispensaries Open, More Young Adults Start Using

As more states legalize marijuana and more shops begin to sell it, more young adults are using pot and developing drug-use disorders, a new study finds.

For the study, researchers looked at young adults in Los Angeles County before and after retail sale of recreational marijuana was legalized in California.

The study linked areas with many pot shops, particularly unlicensed retaile...

Youth Vaping Triples Odds for Adult Smoking

Vaping may not be a way for kids to avoid the smoking habit, after all. A new study finds that teens who start vaping are three times more likely to smoke cigarettes in adulthood than those who never started with electronic cigarettes.

Although the number of teens who start smoking cigarettes in high school has declined, vaping has soared. From 2016 to 2019, the number of cigarette smoke...

Hope Can Save People From Making Bad Choices: Study

Hope may help prevent you from doing things that aren't good for you, a new study claims.

The investigators wanted to find out why some people are more likely to fall into risky behaviors, such as gambling, drinking too much, taking drugs and overeating.

To do this, the team at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom focused on something called relative deprivation, whic...

Even 'Light' Smoking Can Quickly Become Addictive

Think your 'light' smoking habit isn't really all that dangerous? A new study finds that people who are casual cigarette smokers can also be addicted to nicotine.

Those who smoke one to four cigarettes per day or fewer meet the criteria for nicotine addiction and should be considered for treatment, researchers say.

"In the past, some considered that only patients who smoke around 1...

5 Tips to Help Quit Smoking in 2021

Many smokers make a New Year's resolution to quit, so the American Lung Association offers advice to improve their chances of success.

Smoking is a risk factor for severe COVID-19, so quitting is more important than ever, the association noted.

But keep in mind: Switching to electronic cigarettes is not quitting, the lung association stressed. E-cigarettes are tobacco products that ...

Binge Drinking Soared During Lockdown: Survey

The COVID-19 pandemic and the life stresses it triggers are exacerbating binge drinking, a new study finds.

Researchers conducted an online survey of nearly 2,000 U.S. adults from mid-March to mid-April 2020, coinciding with a pandemic-related stay-at-home order ("lockdown"). Based on the answers, each participant was categorized as a binge drinker, a non-binge drinker or a non-drinker. <...

Youth Vaping Rates Have Plunged During Lockdown: Study

Vaping among teens and young adults has decreased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, with two-thirds of e-cigarette users reporting that they've either cut back or quit, a new study says.

About 32% of e-cigarette users said they quit this year and another 35% reported cutting back, according to survey results published Dec. 3 in JAMA Network Online.

Concerns about l...

Nurse Practitioners Key to Opioid Treatment in Rural U.S.: Study

In isolated areas of the United States, nurse practitioners are filling an important role in helping people access treatment for opioid addiction, according to a Washington State University (WSU) study.

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants have only been authorized to prescribe buprenorphine (a drug that can treat opioid addiction) for the past few years with the implementation of...

FDA Adds Abuse Warning to Labels for Xanax, Valium

Reacting to an upsurge in abuse of benzodiazepine sedatives such as Valium, Xanax and Ativan, U.S. officials on Wednesday added a "Boxed Warning" to the drugs' labels, cautioning about the danger.

Benzodiazepines are tranquilizers commonly prescribed to help ease issues such as anxiety, seizures, insomnia and panic disorders.

But "while benzodiazepines are important therapie...

COVID-19 Poses Added Risk for People With Addiction Disorders: Study

People with addiction disorders are at greater risk for COVID-19 and more likely to become seriously ill if infected, a new study finds.

The researchers analyzed non-identifiable electronic health records of more than 73 million patients in the United States. People with addiction disorders accounted for just over 10% of those in the study, and nearly 16% of COVID-19 cases.

Almost 14 Million U.S. Adults Vape, With Use Rising Fastest in Young

The number of Americans using electronic cigarettes is soaring, especially among youth, a new study finds.

Nearly 14 million U.S. adults vaped in 2018, up from just over 11 million adults in 2016. The increase was seen in all socioeconomic groups, the researchers found.

"An increasing number of individuals are using e-cigarettes, especially in the younger age groups, which...

Each Day Sober Slowly Helps Alcoholics' Brains Recover

A new brain scan study shows why the "one day at a time" approach works for recovering alcoholics.

"For people with AUD [alcohol use disorder], the brain takes a long time to normalize, and each day is going to be a struggle," explained senior study author Rajita Sinha, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Yale University's Child Study Center. "For these people, it really is ...

Nearly Half of U.S. Teens Who Vape Want to Quit

Addictive e-cigarettes have made inroads among American teens, and government campaigns to prevent vaping among the young are everywhere.

But a new survey suggests another focus: Helping teens already hooked on vaping to quit.

The survey of nearly 500 12- to 17-year-olds who vape found that almost half (44.5%) said they were "seriously thinking about quitting," with one ...

Many Deaths Labeled 'Cardiac Arrest' Could Be Drug ODs: Study

Americans have long known that there's an epidemic of opioid abuse and deaths in the United States. But a new report suggests the true extent of these tragedies has been underestimated.

The study, from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, finds that 1 in every 6 deaths attributed to sudden cardiac arrest among San Franciscans between 2011 and 2017 may, in fact, ...

PTSD Therapy Doesn't Trigger Drug Relapse in Addiction Patients: Study

Talk therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) doesn't appear to increase addiction treatment patients' risk of relapse, a small new study says.

Roughly a quarter of people with drug or alcohol use disorders also have PTSD, typically caused by a traumatic or stressful life event such as combat or rape.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the leading PTSD treatment, but s...

5 Years, No Fatal ODs: Study Finds 'Safe Injection Sites' Can Save Lives

Safe injection sites for users of illicit drugs such as heroin: They've been tried and legalized in countries such as Canada and the Netherlands, and a new study suggests they might save American lives, too.

In the study, published online July 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers analyzed five years of data (2014 to 2019) from an unsanctioned safe drug consumpt...

Pandemic Is Changing Addiction Care, for Better and Worse

The COVID-19 pandemic is shaking up America's approach to addiction treatment, but the fallout hasn't been all bad, experts say.

In-person support meetings either aren't happening or have been severely curtailed, and addiction centers are facing financial ruin because folks are too afraid of the coronavirus to seek treatment.

But paradoxically, people might have better acces...

Avoiding Pain and Addiction After Sports-Injury Surgery

With opioid addiction soaring in the United States, it should come as good news that an opioid painkiller may not be needed after a sports-injury repair.

A mix of non-addictive medicines may be safer and equally successful in managing pain after shoulder or knee surgery, a study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit indicates.

Concerned about the opioid abuse epidemic, doctors...

1 in 10 Americans Uses a Prescription Painkiller: CDC

Americans continue to look to the medicine cabinet for pain relief, with 1 in 10 using some type of prescription painkiller, a new U.S. government report says.

But use of prescription opioid painkillers leveled off from 2015 to 2018, while prescriptions for nonopioid pain meds rose, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This surv...

Heart Surgery Leads to Long-Term Opioid Use for Some

About one in 10 heart surgery patients who is prescribed an opioid painkiller after the procedure still uses the drugs more than 90 days later, a new study finds.

And those prescribed the highest doses are most likely to be long-term users of opioids, researchers say.

"Our findings support a much-needed shift toward decreasing opioid dosages at discharge and using alternativ...

Loneliness May Make Quitting Smoking Even Tougher

Being lonely may make it harder to quit smoking, a new British study suggests.

Using genetic and survey data from hundreds of thousands of people, researchers found that loneliness makes it more likely that someone will smoke. This type of analysis is called Mendelian randomization.

"This method has never been applied to this question before and so the results are novel, b...

Are Painkillers After Childbirth a Prescription for Addiction?

Many women are prescribed opioid painkillers after giving birth, and it may in some cases lead to addiction and overdose, a new study finds.

Looking at data on more than 200,000 births in Tennessee, researchers found that nearly all women who had a C-section were prescribed an opioid like oxycodone (OxyContin). The drugs were also prescribed in 59% of vaginal births.

Exp...

Ex-Smokers Who Take Up Vaping Are More Prone to Relapse: Study

Far from helping them avoid cigarettes, longtime ex-smokers who try vaping are taking a big risk that they'll relapse, a new study finds.

People who've spent a year off smokes are nearly four times more likely to start lighting up again if they experiment with vaping, compared with those who don't, according to findings published June 5 in JAMA Network Open.

"Even sam...

Juul-Type E-Cigarettes May Be Especially Addictive for Teens: Study

Talk to a teacher if you want an idea of how addicted teenagers can become using Juul and other pod-based e-cigarettes.

That's the suggestion of Patricia Folan, director of the Center for Tobacco Control at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y.

"We've had teachers tell us that once they confiscate a Juul from kids in school, the teens beg to get them back because they're so u...

High-Potency Pot Tied to Big Rise in Psychiatric Issues

Marijuana has long been linked to a host of mental health risks, but the potent strains sold today may amplify those dangers, new research suggests.

"We know that people who use cannabis are more likely to report mental health problems than those who don't use cannabis, but we don't fully understand how recent increases in the strength and potency of cannabis affects this," explained ...

If Prescribed Opioids for Pain, Ask Lots of Questions: FDA

If your doctor prescribes opioid painkillers such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine or morphine for you, there are a number of questions you should ask, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises.

Opioids can be used to treat certain kinds of acute and chronic pain, but can have some serious side effects, most notably addiction.

If you're prescribed opioids, the FDA says...

Kids' ER Visits for Mental Health Problems Soared Over 10 Years

Children treated in America's emergency rooms for mental health disorders jumped 60% over a recent decade, a new study finds.

Between 2007 and 2016, visits for self-harm like suicidal thoughts and cutting soared 329% and treatment for drug abuse rose 159%, according to the study led by Charmaine Lo, from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

"This is...

Religion Helps Protect Against 'Deaths of Despair': Study

As the world reels from the coronavirus pandemic, researchers say religion may provide protection from so-called deaths of despair, new research suggests.

The study, conducted in 2018-2019, found that those who attend worship services once a week are less likely to die by suicide, drug overdoses or alcohol poisoning.

"These results are perhaps especially striking amidst the...

Heavy Pot Use Linked to Mental Problems, Even After Quitting

Marijuana dependence goes hand in hand with poor mental health, and problems may persist long after stopping the drug, according to Canadian researchers.

Nearly half of people who have been or are now dependent on pot have some form of mental illness or dependence on another substance, according to a report this month in the journal Advances in Preventative Medicine. That compare...

Marijuana Withdrawal Is Real, Study Shows

It's widely believed that marijuana is not addictive, but a major new evidence review suggests that's not true.

Not only can people suffer withdrawal symptoms when they quit pot, but nearly half of those who regularly or heavily use marijuana will go through withdrawal when they stop, according to the study published online April 9 in JAMA Network Open.

About 47% ...

For Addicts in Recovery, Technology Preserves Bonds Despite COVID-19 Crisis

Recovering alcoholic Catherine Collins normally attends five to seven face-to-face program meetings a week.

Collins still attends meetings, but now they're online -- and there's something important that's missing.

"In the real world, you're in a room full of people who have the exact same feelings. If I said 'I'm really struggling and I feel like picking up a drink,' people ...

Coronavirus Crisis Could Help Trigger Relapse Among Those Fighting Addiction

The social distancing and isolation of the coronavirus pandemic may put people struggling with addiction at risk for relapse, an expert says.

Feeling stressed, isolated and scared may drive them back to substance abuse, said Dr. Lawrence Brown Jr., CEO of the nonprofit START Treatment & Recovery Centers, New York's largest independent drug treatment agency.

"Whatever str...

Meth Use, Addiction on the Rise Among Americans: CDC

Methamphetamine use is soaring again, with nearly one million Americans hooked on it, according to federal health officials.

Between 2015 and 2018, about 53% of the 1.6 million meth users were addicted to it and slightly more than 22% said they injected the drug, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC noted that mental illn...

Opioid Withdrawal Raises Health Risks for Injection Drug Users: Study

Having opioid withdrawal symptoms increases the odds that injection drug users will share needles or have a non-fatal overdose, new research suggests.

For the study, the researchers questioned more than 800 injection drug users in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Eighty-five percent said they had had at least one withdrawal episode in the previous six months. More than one-third reporte...

AA Still Best to Beat Problem Drinking, Review Finds

For people who want to stop drinking, the world's oldest alcohol support group is still the best way, a new review concludes.

In an analysis of 27 studies, researchers found that Alcoholics Anonymous was typically more effective than behavioral therapies when it came to helping people remain abstinent. AA also appeared as good as those therapies in reducing excessive drinking, and the...

Do Any Medications Help Ease Marijuana Dependence?

Of the medications that have been studied to treat problem marijuana use, none have proved effective, a new analysis shows.

The review, of 26 trials, found that no tested drugs -- including antidepressants, anxiety medication and synthetic cannabinoids -- showed clear benefits for people with cannabis use disorder (CUD).

CUD may be diagnosed when a marijuana habit becomes a ...

5 Tips for Fighting Addiction

Overcoming addiction can be difficult, with powerful cravings often causing relapse. But a psychiatrist offers some tips for success.

Know your triggers, said Dr. Nahla Mahgoub, of Gracie Square Hospital in New York City.

People in recovery are vulnerable to various environmental and emotional triggers, said Mahgoub.

That helps explain why an estimated 40% to ...

Anti-Addiction Meds Key to Saving Lives of People Hooked on Opioids

People treated for an opioid addiction stand a much better chance of breaking their dependency if they take opioid-blocking medications, a new study finds.

In fact, addicts who took methadone or buprenorphine had an 80% lower risk of dying from an overdose than those in treatment who are not using these drugs. Yet, many treatment programs don't offer these drugs as part of their ...

Don't Try to Kick the Smoking Habit Alone

Going solo when trying to quit smoking isn't enough, one lung health expert says.

"Smokers develop a physiological dependence on nicotine, and they need more than willpower to quit," said Dr. Danish Ahmad, a pulmonologist with Penn State Health's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

The American Cancer Society says that smokers typically try quitting eight to 10 times before s...

Even After Stroke, Many Smokers Still Light Up

While fewer Americans are smoking these days, the habit has remained stubbornly persistent among stroke survivors, new research shows.

The researchers found that the prevalence of smoking among U.S. stroke survivors has not improved since 1999 and, as of 2016, stood at 26%.

That's in contrast to the trend among Americans in general, who are gradually leaving cigarettes b...

Family Members Are Swiping Hospice Patients' Painkillers: Study

In another sign of just how bad the U.S. opioid abuse epidemic has become, a new study finds family members often steal painkillers from dying relatives in hospice care.

In a survey of 371 hospices, 31% reported at least one case in which drugs were taken from a patient in the past 90 days. The thieves were most often relatives.

Lead researcher John Cagle said it's not c...

U.S. Heroin Use Nearly Doubled Over Two Decades

Nearly twice as many people in the United States used heroin in 2018 as did in 2002, a new government study shows.

"I think the rise in heroin use is probably precipitated by prescription opioid abuse. People tend to move from prescription opioids to heroin because it's cheaper and easier to obtain," said Dr. Lawrence Brown Jr., an addiction treatment specialist. He's CEO of START Tr...

What's the Best Way to Administer the Opioid OD Antidote?

In the midst of a U.S. epidemic of opioid abuse, knowing how to quickly administer the anti-overdose drug naloxone could save a life.

Now, research finds that delivering naloxone via nasal spray could be the quickest and easiest of three methods of administration.

"Our goal was to see if there was a method that was the most intuitive," said William Eggleston, a clinical ass...

Can Siri or Alexa Help You Beat Addiction? Don't Count on It

Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri are little help for people seeking information about how to quit drinking, smoking, vaping or taking opioids, a new study finds.

"Alexa can already fart on demand, why can't it and other intelligent virtual assistants also provide lifesaving substance use treatment referrals for those desperately seeking help? Many of these same people likely hav...

Eating Disorders, Exercise Addiction Go Hand in Hand: Study

People with an eating disorder are much more likely to have exercise addiction than those with normal eating habits, British researchers say.

They analyzed data from more than 2,100 people who took part in nine studies in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Italy.

People with an eating disorder were 3.7 times more likely to have an exercise addiction than those ...

'Dabbing' Marijuana a Gateway to Heavy Use of Pot

"Dabbing" cannabis concentrate is the type of marijuana experimentation most likely to lead teens into frequent and heavy use of the drug, researchers say.

"We really wanted to understand whether the type of cannabis that youth experiment with influences the likelihood that they will continue to use cannabis and use more heavily," said Jessica Barrington-Trimis, an assistant professor...

When Pharmacists Allowed to Give Anti-Opioid Med Without Rx, Access Soars

Allowing pharmacists to provide the opioid overdose drug naloxone without a prescription led to a huge increase in dispensing of the lifesaving drug in Ohio.

Ohio state lawmakers gave that permission in 2015. Since then, there's been a 2,328% increase in naloxone dispensing, according to University of Cincinnati researchers.

The study also found that counties with low-em...

Just 1% of Doctors Prescribe Nearly Half of Opioids in U.S.

Nearly half of all opioid doses and more than a quarter of all opioid prescriptions in the United States come from 1% of health care providers, a new study says.

The authors said this suggests that efforts to reduce overuse of prescription opioid painkillers should not focus on strict limits for all doctors but on a small percentage.

"Most p...