Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Fewer Young People Smoking, Drinking and Using Drugs – New survey reveals encouraging trend

Heaven knows I post enough somewhat depressing health statistics items…
Here’s some good news for a change..and an example of a public health measure that seems to have worked (as always be careful when inferring cause/effect!)

From the 31 May 2012 Health Canada press release (via an RSS feed I subscribe to…Full Text Reports)

May 31, 2012
For immediate release

OTTAWA – According to the latest results of the Youth Smoking Survey, only three per cent of Canadian students in grades 6-12 said they smoked daily in 2010-2011, down from 4% in 2008-2009.

The school-based survey also found that fewer students have even tried cigarettes once; a decline among those who had ever tried little cigars; and a drop in the percent of students reporting using alcohol, cannabis and other drugs.

“After seeing smoking rates hit historic lows in Canada recently, these new statistics are encouraging,” said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. “In particular, the drop in little cigar smoking suggests that the Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act is having an impact on consumption of these products by youth.”

The Youth Smoking Survey, funded by Health Canada and conducted by the University of Waterloo’s Propel Centre for Population Health Impact, is a survey of Canadian youth in grades 6-12 that captures information related to tobacco, alcohol and drug use. Among the findings for 2010-2011:

  • Nearly three-quarters (74%) of youth in grades 6-12 said they have never tried smoking a cigarette, not even a puff, a significant increase from 67% in 2008-2009.
  • Among younger students, just 2% of those in grades 6-9 smoked daily or occasionally, the lowest smoking rate recorded by the survey since it began, in 1994.
  • Just 6% of youth in grades 6-9 had ever tried smoking little cigars, a significant decrease from 10% in the previous survey. Similarly, in grades 10-12, 26% of youth reported having ever tried smoking little cigars, also a significant decrease from 35% in 2008-2009.
  • Among students in grades 7-12, alcohol use in the past 12 months fell to 45% from 53% in 2008-2009. Although one-third (33%) of students in the past year reported binge drinking (i.e., five or more drinks on one occasion), this is a significant decrease from 39% in 2008-2009.
  • Cannabis use was reported by 21% of students in grades 7-12, compared to 27% in 2008-2009. There were also significant decreases in the use of MDMA (ecstasy), hallucinogens and salvia, and in the abuse of psychoactive pharmaceuticals.

These and other results of the survey are available on Health Canada’s website.

In recent years, the Government of Canada has taken steps to reduce smoking among Canadian youth. The Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act, in force since 2010, prohibits the sale of little cigars and blunt wraps in packages of fewer than 20 units, and prohibits the sale of little cigars and other tobacco products that contain specified additives, including most flavouring agents.

June 9, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol- WHO report

Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol

February 17, 2011 20:30

From the  WHO (World Health Organization) press release:

Wider implementation of policies is needed to save lives and reduce the health impact of harmful alcohol drinking, says a new report by WHO. Harmful use of alcohol results in the death of 2.5 million people annually, causes illness and injury to many more, and increasingly affects younger generations and drinkers in developing countries.

Alcohol use is the third leading risk factor for poor health globally. A wide variety of alcohol-related problems can have devastating impacts on individuals and their families and can seriously affect community life. The harmful use of alcohol is one of the four most common modifi able and preventable risk factors for major noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). There is also emerging evidence that the harmful use of alcohol contributes to the health burden caused by communicable diseases such as, for example, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

Read the report

Related WHO Web pages

Related Resources
  • Rethinking Drinking provides research-based information about how your drinking habits can affect your health. Learn to recognize the signs of alcohol problems and ways to cut back or quit drinking. Interactive tools can also help you calculate the calories and alcohol content of drinks. (US National Institutes of Health)

February 23, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Public Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alcohol Studies Database

Alcohol Studies Database

From the Web site

Welcome to the new Alcohol Studies user interface. New features include:

  • Improved subject selection

  • Ability to email citations

  • More flexible boolean operators

  • Better error checking

This site provides access to the Alcohol Studies Database.  The database contains over 80,000 citations for journal articles, books, book chapters, dissertations, conference papers, and audio-visual materials.
With this release we are offering a more intuitive interface which also provides much faster response times. Feedback appreciated.

The site was developed by the Scholarly Communication Center, the Center of Alcohol Studies , and the Rutgers University Libraries

Search the Database

 

February 14, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Evidence mounting on the harms of alcohol industry sponsorship of sport

Evidence mounting on the harms of alcohol industry sponsorship of sport

From the February 1, 2011 Eureka news alert

While policy makers in Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand debate whether alcohol advertising and sponsorship should be banned from sport, new research provides evidence that alcohol industry sponsorship is associated with more hazardous drinking in sportspeople compared to non-alcohol sponsorship.

Health scientists from Monash University, the University of Manchester, Deakin University and University of Western Sydney, asked Australian sportspeople about their drinking behaviours, sport participation, and what sorts of sport sponsorship they currently receive.

After accounting for other influences receipt of alcohol industry sponsorship in various forms was associated with significantly higher levels of drinking. Receipt of similar forms of sponsorship from non-alcohol industries such as, building firms, food or clothing companies was not related to higher drinking levels.

Of the 30 per cent of sportspeople reporting receiving alcohol industry sponsorship, 68 per cent met World Health Organisation criteria for classification as hazardous drinkers.

The research, published online in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, is the first to compare alcohol industry sponsorship to non-alcohol industry sponsorship…..

….

Sport is being misused to promote alcohol to sportspeople and the general population. The public do not need more encouragement to drink, and there are ways of replacing alcohol advertising and sponsorship dollars in sport,” Dr O’Brien said.

“Much like was done with tobacco, a proportion of the excise duty currently gathered by governments from alcohol sales could be ring fenced (hypothecated) for funding sport and cultural events. This would replace alcohol industry funding many times over,” Dr O’Brien said.

Norway and France have had longstanding bans in place with little apparent effect on sport, and this year Turkey banned all alcohol advertising and sponsorship of sport. France successfully hosted the 1998 FIFA World Cup with their alcohol sponsorship and advertising ban in place, and currently host the multi-nation Heineken Cup Rugby competition, renamed the H-Cup in France….

…Deakin University scientist Dr Peter Miller said “This study provides new evidence of the harms associated with alcohol industry sponsorship of sport and we believe that any sporting association serious about the well-being of young people should support calls for governments to provide alternative funding. It’s simply not worth gambling with their future for the sake of some easy money.”

 

 

 

February 4, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Drug Abuse Treatment Rates on the Rise: U.S. Report

Drug Abuse Treatment Rates on the Rise: U.S. Report
A 15% drop for alcohol abuse while cases of marijuana, prescription painkiller abuse rise

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

From a December 29, 2010 Health Day news item by Randy Dotinga

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) — Admissions for alcohol abuse treatment have remained the same in parts of the Midwest and South while dropping elsewhere in the United States, while treatment rates for illegal drugs are increasing across the country, especially for marijuana abuse, according to a new report.

The report, issued by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), includes these findings:

  • The overall rate of substance abuse admissions in the United States remained stable from 1998 to 2008, at about 770 admissions per 100,000 people.
  • Admissions for alcohol use dropped by about 15 percent nationally, but stayed stable in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.
  • Admission rates for marijuana use rose by 30 percent nationwide, and were highest in the eight states listed above and in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
  • An earlier SAMHSA report revealed that admission rates for abuse of opiates other than heroin — including some prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin — rose by 345 percent from 1998-2008. The new report says admission rates for painkiller abuse rose in every part of the country and were highest in the New England states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) and in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee.
  • The admission rate for treatment of methamphetamine abuse was 53 percent higher in 2008 than in 1998, although it’s down from its peak in 2005.
  • Admissions for cocaine abuse fell by 23 percent nationally.

“This study provides insight into the regional nature of substance abuse by highlighting the shifting trends in the reasons for admission to substance abuse treatment,” SAMHSA administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in an agency news release.

SOURCE: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, news release, Dec. 23, 2010

The full report is available at: http://wwwdasis.samhsa.gov/teds08/teds2k8sweb.pdf. It provides detailed charts and tables showing the admission rates for a wide variety of substances for each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico for each year over the course of this 11 year period. It also provides data by Census divisions — groups of states delineated by the Census Bureau. These materials allow easy analyses of changing admission trends for any state or region of the country.

The SAMHSA Web site includes numerous links with information about its products and services, as

Related Articles

March 30, 2011

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published its strategic initiatives paper – an overview of SAMHSA’s goals, priorities and action steps for accomplishing its mission of reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. Carefully developed from months of public discussion and input from a wide variety of SAMHSA’s stakeholders, the strategic initiatives paper lays out how SAMHSA will focus its resources in meeting the new opportunities and challenges it faces in the near future…

December 31, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alcohol Causes More Harm Than Crack

From a November 1, 2010 Sky News online article by Graham Fitzgerald
(nice accompanying 30 second video!)

Alcohol causes more widespread harm than drugs like heroin or crack cocaine, according to a study published in respected medical journal The Lancet. [Full text of this article is free upon registration]

The research evaluates recreational drugs on a wide range of factors, weighing up the mental and physical damage users suffer alongside crime and costs to the community.

It found the most dangerous drugs to individual users were heroin, crack cocaine and crystal meth.

But when all factors were taken into account alcohol was found to be most harmful, followed by heroin and crack.

Ecstasy and LSD were found to be the least damaging.

The study ranks alcohol as three times as harmful as cocaine or tobacco and eight times more harmful than ecstasy.

It also contradicts the Home Office’s [This is a British government agency ]decision to make so-called legal high mephedrone a Class B drug, saying it is only one-fifth as damaging as alcohol.

The study was led by drugs expert Professor David Nutt**, who has hit the headlines before for arguing that the current approach to regulating recreational drugs is fundamentally flawed…….

Another summary of this article may be found here (Science Daily article: Alcohol “Most Harmful Drug” According to Multivariate Analysis)

 

** Wikipedia article about David Nutt

David Nutt’s blog

Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs

 

 


November 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1 in 4 High School Students and Young Adults Report Binge Drinking


[http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/BingeDrinking/]

Excerpts from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Oct 5 press release

More than 1 in 4 high school students and adults ages 18 to 34 engaged in a dangerous behavior known as binge drinking during the past month, according to the findings from a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report shows that each year more than 33 million adults have reported binge drinking, defined as having four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men over a short period of time, usually a couple of hours. And the report said levels of binge drinking have not declined during the past 15 years.

The CDC report found men are more than twice as likely to binge drink than women (21 percent compared to 10 percent). It said binge drinking is more common among non-Hispanic whites (16 percent of whom binge drink) than among non-Hispanic blacks, (10 percent of whom binge drink).

“Binge drinking, increases many health risks, including fatal car crashes, contracting a sexually transmitted disease, dating violence, and drug overdoses,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Excessive alcohol use remains the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States and leads to a wide range of health and social problems.”

[snip]

“Alarmingly, almost 1 in 3 adults and 2 in 3 high school students who drink alcohol also binge drink, which usually leads to intoxication,” said Dr. Robert Brewer, M.D., M.P.H., alcohol program leader at CDC and one of the authors of the report. “Although most binge drinkers are not alcohol-dependent or alcoholics, they often engage in this high risk behavior without realizing the health and social problems of their drinking. States and communities need to consider further strategies to create an environment that discourages binge drinking.”

Drinking too much, including binge drinking, causes more than 79,000 deaths in the United States each year. Binge drinkers also put themselves and others at risk of car crashes, violence, the risk of HIV transmission and sexually transmitted diseases, and unplanned pregnancy. Over time, drinking too much can lead to liver disease, certain cancers, heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. Binge drinking can also cause harm to a developing fetus, such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, if a woman drinks while pregnant.

Binge drinking varies widely from state to state, with estimates of binge drinking for adults ranging from 6.8 percent in Tennessee to 23.9 percent in Wisconsin. It is most common in the Midwest, North Central Plains, lower New England, Delaware, Alaska, Nevada, and the District of Columbia.

For more information on binge drinking, visit www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns or www.cdc.gov/alcohol. Members of the public who are concerned about their own or someone else’s binge drinking can call 1-800-662-HELP to receive assistance from the national Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service. For state-specific estimates of alcohol-related deaths and Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL) by condition, visit the Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI) system athttps://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/ardi/HomePage.aspx.

October 7, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , | 1 Comment

   

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