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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...

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...

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.

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...

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 ...

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 ...

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, ...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

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% ...

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 ...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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" 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...

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...

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...

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 ...

The epidemic of addictive vaping among youth continues, with e-cigarette devices by Juul continuing to surge in popularity among teens and young adults, new research shows.

The number of Americans aged 15 to 34 who said they had at least tried one of the small, convenient Juul devices more than doubled between 2018 and 2019, researchers report.

And the number of current Juul...

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...

The Medicaid expansion brought in by Obamacare may have prevented thousands of deaths from opioid overdoses, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that in U.S. states that expanded their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, fatal opioid overdoses dipped by 6%, compared to states that opted out. That included an 11% lower death rate from heroin overdoses, and a 10...

The number of Americans dying from alcohol abuse each year has doubled since 1999, a new study reveals.

Between 1999 and 2017, alcohol-related deaths jumped from nearly 36,000 a year to almost 73,000. That's about 1 million deaths lost to booze over less than two decades, with white women experiencing the greatest annual increases.

"Those deaths are associated with despair...

Even after surviving an opioid overdose, few U.S. teenagers receive the recommended treatment for their addiction, a new study shows.

Researchers found that of nearly 3,800 teenagers and young adults who'd suffered an opioid overdose, less than one-third went into addiction treatment within a month. And only one in 54 received the medication recommended for tackling opioid dependence....

The crisis of opioid abuse continues in the United States. However, a new study finds there still aren't enough doctors authorized to prescribe the leading drug treatment for opioid addiction.

This shortfall occurs even though the number of physicians approved for the drug, called buprenorphine, has risen dramatically over the past decade, researchers say.

Right now, fewer ...

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...

Opioid addiction is tough enough to beat, but new research shows that having an accompanying methamphetamine habit may make quitting far more difficult.

For the study, researchers looked at 799 people receiving opioid addiction treatment at three sites in Washington State. They found that methamphetamine use was associated with a more than twofold higher risk of dropping out of treatm...