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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...

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...

ADHD Raises Adult Suicide Risk, Especially for Women

Adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a strikingly high prevalence of attempted suicide, with women being at particular risk, researchers say.

The study of nearly 22,000 Canadian adults found that 14% of those with ADHD had attempted suicide. That was roughly five times the rate of adults without ADHD, at 2.7%.

The findings among women were particular...

U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths Reach Record Highs

The number of U.S. drug overdose deaths reached a record high as the coronavirus pandemic held the country in its grip last spring, new government data shows.

For the 12 months ending in May, more than 81,000 people died from an overdose. That is the highest number ever recorded during a 12-month period, scientists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

"The ...

Depression in Youth Ups Odds for Adult Illnesses: Study

Having depression during childhood or in the teen years appears to increase the odds of illness and early death later on, researchers say.

The new long-term study included nearly 1.5 million Swedes. Of those, more than 37,000 were diagnosed with depression at least once between the ages of 5 and 19 years.

The study participants were followed for 12 years. Those with an early history...

ADHD Medication ODs Rising in U.S. Kids, Teens

Growing numbers of younger kids are overdosing on stimulant medications commonly used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new study indicates.

The researchers called for greater efforts to identify kids at risk for overdose, and more education on safe storage of prescription and over-the-counter medications for parents and caregivers.

"Stimulant prescribing h...

Pandemic Is Driving U.S. Surge in Cardiac Arrests Tied to Overdose

Blame it on the pandemic: For people struggling with drug addiction, 2020 has triggered a big rise in emergency room visits for cardiac arrest tied to drug overdoses, new research shows.

The finding was based on data involving 80% of emergency medical services (EMS) "activations" across the United States. It showed "a large-magnitude, national surge in overdose-related cardiac arrest duri...

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...

Yes, Pot Is Stronger Now Than in Decades Past, Study Finds

Marijuana packs a lot more punch than it did 50 years ago, making it a greater threat to health, researchers say.

"As the strength of cannabis has increased, so too has the number of people entering treatment for cannabis use problems," said study co-author Tom Freeman, director of the addiction and mental health group at the University of Bath in England.

In Europe, more people no...

'Diseases of Despair' Skyrocket in America

Even before the coronavirus pandemic began, Americans were already suffering: A new study reports that alcohol and drug misuse were up dramatically, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors were up 170% between 2009 and 2018.

Researchers call these conditions "diseases of despair."

"The origin of these conditions isn't strictly medical. Rather, they seem to follow conditions of despair i...

1 in 3 High School Seniors Who Misuse Prescription Opioids Turn to Heroin

Among high school seniors, nearly a third of those who misuse prescription opioids use heroin by age 35, a new study shows.

"It is a very timely study given the number of adolescents and young adults who were overprescribed opioids and who are now aging into adulthood," said study author Sean Esteban McCabe, director of the Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking and Health at the...

More Young Adults in the U.S. Are Saying No to Alcohol

In a sign that many young Americans may no longer be boozing it up, a new study finds that fewer young people are drinking alcohol now than 20 years ago.

In fact, the number of men and women in the United States between the ages of 18 to 22 who abstained from drinking increased from 20% to 28% for college students and from 24% to 30% for those not in school, the resea...

Many Using Cannabis for Pain Take Opioids, Too

People using cannabis for pain may still be taking opioid painkillers, a new study suggests.

Researchers looked at cannabis and nonprescription opioid use among 211 individuals in the New York City area. Over 90 days, the investigators found that opioid use was at least as high when cannabis was used as when it wasn't, regardless of participants' pain levels.

"Our study is...

Overdose Deaths From Cocaine Rising Dramatically

While opioids were grabbing the headlines, cocaine overdose deaths in the United States have marched upward, nearly tripling over five years, a new government report shows.

After a period of stability, cocaine-induced deaths rose by about 27% per year, on average, from 2013 through 2018, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

"While mu...

FDA Warns of Danger From 'Benadryl Challenge,'  Asks TikTok to Remove Videos

Parents and other caregivers need to be more aware of the potentially lethal "Benadryl Challenge" circulating on social media, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday.

The new internet dare, broadcast widely on teen-friendly TikTok, urges kids to overdose on the over-the-counter antihistamine Benadryl to achieve a hallucinatory state.

However, attempts to do s...

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.

TikTok 'Benadryl Challenge' Has Killed at Least One Teen

A new internet dare, broadcast widely on teen-friendly TikTok, urges kids to overdose on the over-the-counter antihistamine Benadryl.

But the "Benadryl Challenge" has already killed one teen and sent others to the ER, experts warn.

According to News4 in Oklahoma City, one 15-year-old girl suffered a fatal overdose while reportedly trying the challenge late last month....

Dangerous Abuse of Anxiety Drug Phenibut Is on the Rise

A growing number of Americans may be having serious reactions after taking phenibut -- an unapproved anxiety drug sold in some dietary supplements.

That's the finding of a new study looking at calls to U.S. poison control centers. The numbers are not huge: Between 2009 and 2019, there were 1,320 calls related to phenibut.

But there was a sharp rise beginning in 2015, researc...

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...

Older Gays, Lesbians at Higher Odds for Drug, Alcohol Abuse: Study

Alcohol and drug use is more common among older adults who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual than among their straight counterparts, a new study finds.

For the study, New York University (NYU) researchers analyzed 25,880 responses from adults aged 50 and older who participated in a nationwide survey on alcohol and drug use between 2015 and 2017. Of the participants, 2.5% identi...

Mental Health is Big Issue For Police Officers  Around The World: Study

Mental health problems and substance abuse are common among cops, and more needs to be done to address those issues, researchers say.

Previous studies have suggested that first responders have a higher risk of mental health issues than the general public, but it wasn't clear how police officers were affected.

To learn more, researchers reviewed 67 studies that included more ...

COVID-19 Pandemic May Lead to 75,000 'Deaths of Despair'

COVID-19 has directly claimed tens of thousands of U.S. lives, but conditions stemming from the novel coronavirus -- rampant unemployment, isolation and an uncertain future -- could lead to 75,000 deaths from drug or alcohol abuse and suicide, new research suggests.

Deaths from these causes are known as "deaths of despair." And the COVID-19 pandemic may be accelerating conditions that...

Sexual Victimization Persists in U.S. Military for LGBTQs: Study

Lesbian, gay and bisexual members in the U.S. military are at higher risk for sexual harassment, sexual assault and stalking, a new study reports.

And that sexual victimization can trigger mental health problems such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use and suicidal behavior, researchers say.

They surveyed 544 active-duty U.S. service members, includi...

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% ...

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...

Legal Pot Products Too Potent for Chronic Pain

Most legal medical marijuana -- more than 90% -- is stronger than what doctors recommend for chronic pain relief, a new study finds.

"We know that high-potency products should not have a place in the medical realm because of the high risk of developing cannabis-use disorders, which are related to exposure to high THC-content products," said lead author Dr. Alfonso Edgar Romero-Sa...

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...

Opioid OD Deaths Fall Despite Growing Use of Synthetic Drugs: CDC

Overall, opioid-related deaths in the United States fell 2% between 2017 and 2018, according to newly released data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC said deaths involving prescription opioids were down 13.5%, while heroin-related deaths fell 4%. But fatal overdoses involving synthetic opioids (excluding methadone) were up 10%.

Being Bullied About Weight May Raise Risk of Drug Use

Teens who are bullied about their weight are at increased risk for alcohol or marijuana use -- and this is especially true for girls, a new study suggests.

Researchers surveyed more than 1,300 students at five public middle schools in Connecticut. The students were asked if siblings, parents or peers had teased them about their weight, body shape or eating during the past six months.<...

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 ...

Use of Club Drug 'Special K' Could Be Underreported

Ketamine use among electronic dance music party-goers is much higher than previously thought. And unintentional use appears to play a role, a new study finds.

Ketamine is known as Special K on the party scene. The operating room anesthetic was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2019 as a treatment for depression. But it has long been used as a club drug.

"I...

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...

Life Expectancy in U.S. Increases for First Time in 4 Years

After four years of declines, life expectancy in the United States increased in 2018, health officials reported Thursday.

The jump in longevity comes as deaths from opioid overdoses dropped for the first time in 28 years, as did deaths from six of the 10 leading causes.

The new data could be a glimmer of good news for Americans' health, with recent declines in average lifesp...

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...

Could You Save a Life From Opioid Overdose?

As the United States grapples with an opioid abuse crisis, Americans are being urged to learn how to recognize and respond to overdoses from these and other drugs.

A populace better prepared to spot and respond to opioid ODs could help reduce the nearly 200 U.S. deaths per day linked to drugs and alcohol, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) said.

Every day in the...

Opioid Addiction Med Under-Used in Younger People, Study Finds

Treatment with the opioid addiction drug buprenorphine is on the rise among most age groups in the United States, but falling among 15- to 24-year-olds, a new study finds.

"While it's encouraging to see an overall increase in prescription rates for buprenorphine, the data suggest that the youngest group is having difficulty accessing this potentially lifesaving treatment," said study ...

Just 2% of Patients Who Need It Get Anti-Opioid Drug Naloxone

Naloxone can prevent opioid overdose deaths, but only a tiny percentage of Americans at risk are prescribed the lifesaving drug.

That's the key finding from an analysis of nationwide data on adults with private health insurance.

The researchers found that while naloxone (Evzio, Narcan) prescriptions in this group rose between January 2014 and mid-2017, only 1.6% of thos...

U.S. Drug Deaths Might Be Twice as High as Thought

Drugs may kill twice as many Americans as government records suggest, a new study claims.

In 2016, the reported rate of drug-related deaths among 15- to 64-year-olds was 9% -- compared with about 4% several years earlier -- with 63,000 deaths classified as drug-related.

However, the new study concluded that the actual number of drug-related deaths could have been abo...

U.S. Saw Big Rise in Meth, Fentanyl Use in 2019

A study of over 1 million urine drug tests from across the United States shows soaring rates of use of methamphetamines and fentanyl, often used together in potentially lethal ways.

The drug test results came primarily from clinics dealing with primary care, pain management or substance abuse disorders.

The results showed that between 2013 and 2019, urine samples testing pos...

As Manufacturing Jobs End, Opioid OD Deaths May Rise

It's a connection that health officials might miss, but an alarming new study shows that when factories close, deaths from opioid overdoses soar.

"There's this sense of increasing despair among people -- especially people who are working-class who have seen in the last several decades a lot of their economic opportunities wither away," said lead researcher Dr. Atheendar Venkataraman...

Heavy Drinking Plus Xanax, Valium: A Dangerous Mix

People who regularly drink to excess are also likely to use benzodiazepines, a new study finds.

These drugs -- like Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), and Restoril (temazepam) -- are used to treat depression and anxiety.

But when heavy drinkers use them, benzodiazepines (sometimes referred to as "benzos") may increase the risk...