With the school system failing them, many children are turning to drugs. Heard this one before, right? Well, how about the part where the pusher is your pediatrician, and the fed is subsidizing?
“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”
A recent NYT article spot lighted increasing psych diagnoses in children for the purpose of acquiring “brain boosting” pharma creations to increase academic performance. The purpose is to make a child more competitive on a college application, and increase funding for a school district as test scores rise. Children are being force-fed drugs instead of given the attention they need or the freedom to be creative and learn discipline on their own as pharmaceutical “solutions” are abused as steroids for the brain. Worse yet, the behavior is sanctioned by those in authority, who are supposed to advocate for their well-being–their parents, doctors and the federal government…
Education is a highly competitive arena, whether it’s a student vying for a scholarship or admission to their college of choice, or a district teaching to standardized test scores and praying for funding. The Obama administration’s lauded “Race to the Top” initiative even goes so far as making funding an actual competition–schools submit innovative proposals for education reform in an effort to win federal money.
An anonymous California superintendent pontificated that “diagnosis rates of A.D.H.D. have risen as sharply as school funding has declined.” Poor children are being prescribed stimulants at increasing rates, and Medicare is paying the bill. If we are not directly funding public education in this country, we are indirectly doing so in efforts to respond to the problem….
- Athletes and Drug Abuse (ajochum23.wordpress.com)
- Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse by Teens Up 33 Percent, According… (prweb.com)
- Prescription Drug Abuse: Top 10 Things CDC Says You Should Know (pbs.org)
Source: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (Columbia University)
Forty million Americans ages 12 and older have addiction involving nicotine, alcohol or other drugs, a disease affecting more Americans than heart conditions, diabetes or cancer according to a five-year national study released today by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia). Another 80 million people are risky substance users – using tobacco, alcohol and other drugs in ways that threaten health and safety.
The report, Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap between Science and Practice, reveals that while about 7 in 10 people with diseases like hypertension, major depression and diabetes receive treatment, only about 1 in 10 people who need treatment for addiction involving alcohol or other drugs receive it. Of those who do receive treatment, most do not receive anything that approximates evidence-based care.
The CASA Columbia report finds that addiction treatment is largely disconnected from mainstream medical practice. While a wide range of evidence-based screening, intervention, treatment and disease management tools and practices exist, they rarely are employed. The report exposes the fact that most medical professionals who should be providing treatment are not sufficiently trained to diagnose or treat addiction, and most of those providing addiction treatment are not medical professionals and are not equipped with the knowledge, skills or credentials necessary to provide the full range of evidence-based services.
- Well: Effective Addiction Treatment (well.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Young Adults Want to Recover from Addiction but Need Help to Make It Happen (addictionts.com)
- 8 reasons addiction carries a stigma (salon.com)
- Outpatient Rehab in Delray Beach, Florida Follows New Study that… (prweb.com)
- 15 Myths about Addiction (challengingaddiction.wordpress.com)
Watch your kitchen cupboards this season as thrillseekers look to common holiday baking ingredients for a rise — cinnamon, nutmeg and even marshmallows are the primary ingredient in trendy risky behavior. “The envelope is always being pushed to create something new that will get attention, potentially create a drug-like effect and can pass under the radar of law enforcers,” says Christina Hantsch, MD, toxicologist, Department of Emergency Medicine at Loyola University Health System…
In 2011, poison centers received 51 calls about teen exposure to cinnamon. In the first three months of 2012, poison centers received 139 calls. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that of those, 122 were classified as intentional misues or abuse and 30 callers required medial evaluation.
Hantsch is concerned that what was once horseplay by older teenagers is now being copied by young children. “They have easy access to ingredients like cinnamon and marshmallows and think it is cool to do what their older peers are doing,” says Hantsch.
Another challenge that continues to attract followers is called Chubby Bunny. “You stuff as many marshmallows in your mouth as possible and then try to say the words Chubby Bunny,” explained Hantsch. “Two children have actually choked to death attempting this game so it is not to be taken lightly.” Ground nutmeg has been snorted, smoked and eaten in large quantities to produce a marijuana-like high. “Nutmeg contains myristicin which is a hallucinogenic, like LSD,” says the toxicologist. Other common household products that are also being abused are hand sanitizer, aerosol whipped cream, aerosol cooking spray, ink markers and glue.
“There actually is a synthetic marijuana called Spice, or K2, that is very popular right now because it cannot be detected in standard drug tests,” says Hantsch. “Spice is popular right now because it is marketed as a legal high, which it is not, but is dangerous because it has more adverse effects than cannabis.” The poison centers received 4,905 calls about exposure to K2 or Spice between Jan. 1 — Nov. 30, 2012.
Respiratory, cardiac and nerve damage have all been documented in relation to substance abuse by users. “Seemingly silly games can have sinister effects and the holidays are the worst time for this to happen,” says Hantsch. “Kids have more free time, greater access to the Internet and more opportunities to get together during vacations. And at Christmas, the kitchen pantry is loaded for holiday baking. Adults are wise to keep an eye on their children to make sure they are using the ingredients for their proper use.”…
- Growing Number of Kids Getting High off Common Holiday Spices, Toxicologist Warns (medicaldaily.com)
- Legal high calls worry toxicologist (nzherald.co.nz)
- Utah parents unaware of dangerous teen fads (abc4.com)
- Legal high firm pushes ‘Crack’ in dairies (nzherald.co.nz)
Stumbled on this Web site today through Facebook.
While I am still a bit wary of legalizing drugs, I am beginning to see substance abuse as more a public health issue rather than a criminal issue.
At the very least, the current war on drugs needs re-examination.
Count the Costs: 50 Years on the War on Drugs includes related reports in the areas of public health, environment, human rights, crime, and economics.
There is a growing recognition around the world that the prohibition of drugs is a counterproductive failure. However, a major barrier to drug law reform has been a widespread fear of the unknown – just what could a post-prohibition regime look like?
For the first time, ‘After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation’ answers that question by proposing specific models of regulation for each main type and preparation of prohibited drug, coupled with the principles and rationale for doing so.There is a growing recognition around the world that the prohibition of drugs is a counterproductive failure. However, a major barrier to drug law reform has been a widespread fear of the unknown – just what could a post-prohibition regime look like?
For the first time, ‘After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation’ answers that question by proposing specific models of regulation for each main type and preparation of prohibited drug, coupled with the principles and rationale for doing so.
- The Mexican Mormon War (Drug Cartels vs. Mormons Full… (geocrises.org)
- War on drugs is an ‘obstacle to black progress’ (current.com)
- Google This: The War On Drugs Has Failed (bigthink.com)
- Eugene Jarecki, Bill Maher Agree: The War On Drugs Is Bullsh*t (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Uruguay takes ‘war on drugs’ in new direction: state monopoly over the production and distribution of marijuana (rawstory.com)
- The War on Drugs was never about Drugs (urbanhorror.wordpress.com)
- U.S.-led “war on drugs” questioned at U.N. (themoderatevoice.com)
- Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico Beg for an End to the Murderous War on Drugs (alternet.org)
- Grisly War on Drugs fact of the day (aei-ideas.org)
“Good things happen when state prescription drug monitoring programs shift to a proactive strategy,” said Dr. Nathaniel Katz, assistant professor of anesthesia at Tufts University School of Medicine. “Not only can it prevent painkillers from being misused or distributed illegally in the first place, but it can also enable health professionals to identify patients who need help overcoming addiction.”
From the summary at The Nation’s Health [September 2012]
More than 40 million Americans suffer from the disease of addiction, but their treatment needs are largely overlooked by a U.S. medical care system that continues to be influenced by unscientific misperceptions about addiction, a recent report finds.
Released in June by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, the report found that 16 percent of Americans ages 12 and older have addictions involving nicotine, alcohol or other drugs, and another 80 million people are abusing substances in ways that threaten their health and safety. And while more people suffer from the disease of addiction than heart conditions, diabetes or cancer, only about one in 10 addiction sufferers receives treatment. By comparison, seven out of 10 people with diseases such as high blood pressure, major depression and diabetes receive treatment.
The consequences of the medical system’s inattention to the disease of addiction are profound, the report said. As the nation’s largest preventable and most costly health problems, addictions are responsible for more than 20 percent of deaths in the United States. Moreover, addictions cause or contribute to at least 70 other conditions that require medical care, have a wide range of costly social consequences and account for one-third of all hospital in-patient costs.
Contributing to the medical system’s inattention to addiction treatment is a lack of knowledge about the science of addiction, the report said.
“Right now there are no accepted national standards for providers of addiction treatment,” said Susan Foster, CASA Columbia’s Vice President and Director of Policy Research and Analysis, who was the principal investigator for the report. “There simply is no other disease where appropriate medical treatment is not provided by the health care system and where patients instead must turn to a broad range of practitioners largely exempt from medical standards. Neglect by the medical profession has resulted in a separate and unrelated system of care that struggles to treat the disease without the resources or knowledge base to keep pace with science and medicine.”
The full report is available at www.casacolumbia.org/templates/NewsRoom.aspx?articleid=678&zoneid=51.
- Complete video of Russell Brand speaking to the Parliamentary Committee today. Video is from the Parliament ArchiveWhy Addiction Treatment Is a Disaster (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
As an ex-addict Russell Brand speaks very convincingly of the need for there to be an abstinence based recovery for addicts, and for us to view addiction as a public health problem rather than a criminal offense.
[He says] we need to welcome people back into the community, as this is where they came from before they became addicts.
- In Focus with Martin Sheen to Examine Addiction Treatment Programs (prweb.com)
- Non-medical treatments are essential (addictionandrecoverynews.wordpress.com)
- Broken Treatment: How the Addiction Industry is Failing its Clients (addiction-dirkh.blogspot.com)
- The Great Addiction Divide (psychologytoday.com)
- Yet Another Way to Misunderstand President Obama’s Record on Addiction Treatment (samefacts.com)
- A Collaboration of Behavioral Health Care Plus Addiction Treatment is a Turning Point for Two New Jersey Organizations (paramuspost.com)
- Addiction-Treatment.com Launches Website to Help Millions Struggling With Drug and Alcohol Addiction (prweb.com)
- Rethinking Everything We Thought About Addiction (psychologytoday.com)
- Doctors and dealers battle for addicts (salon.com)
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.
- Canadian kids still smoking flavoured cigarillos (canada.com)
- Study charts declines in teen smoking, drinking, drug use (ctv.ca)
- Teen cigarette and pot smoking rates fall (cbc.ca)
- Are teens becoming abstainers? Study charts declines in smoking, drinking, drugs (vancouversun.com)
- B.C. youth more likely to toke, smoke and drink – but overall use in Canada dropping (theprovince.com)
- BNB Online Tobacco Shop Caters to Younger Males as Cigar Smoking Becomes More Popular Among the Twentysomethings (prweb.com)
- Who is still smoking in Canada? (cbc.ca)
- Fewer Young Americans Smoking, Survey Finds (nlm.nih.gov)
From the 26 April 2012 edition of StatelineDaily
No one disputes the need for more information about prescription drug abuse. But who should have access to the information is a divisive issue.
Dr. Shawn Jones, an ear, nose and throat surgeon in Paducah, Kentucky, was conducting a routine office appointment when he got a phone call from a worried pharmacist. The pharmacist had just received a prescription from Jones for 90 Percocet pain pills, an unusually large order for a doctor who rarely prescribes more than 20 pills at one time.
Jones asked the pharmacist to fax over the prescription, and he immediately recognized it as a forgery. It was for a female patient he hadn’t seen in five years. She had somehow gotten hold of one of his prescription pads. Jones asked the pharmacist to delay filling the prescription, went back to the exam room and talked with a policeman who happened to be in the office at the time. The policeman called in to the precinct to have the woman arrested.
Under Kentucky’s current prescription drug laws, only a vigilant pharmacist could have stopped these fraudulent prescriptions. The regulations don’t allow physicians to monitor their own prescribing habits to check for fraud, and the Kentucky board of medical licensure can look up a prescribing record only if a formal complaint against a physician is filed.
That will change under new legislation passed last week in a special session. To deal with the growing problem of prescription drug abuse, Kentucky legislators enacted tougher regulations on doctors and pain management clinics. The law mandates that all physicians and pharmacists who prescribe schedule II and III drugs, such as oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin), check the patient’s prescription record before writing or filling a prescription. They also have to register prescriptions for those drugs in a state database within 24 hours of writing or filling the prescription.
Currently, only about 25 percent of the states’ doctors use the database. Now, all of them will be expected to.
All of this may not sound very controversial. But it is. The database can also be a tool for law enforcement investigations, and these agencies want as much access to it as they can get. This has created a debate about how to balance patient privacy and law enforcement needs in fighting a serious criminal and public health problem….
- States struggle with prescription drug abuse (stateline.org)
- Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse-A National Online Database (forbes.com)
From the 20 January Medical News Today article
A study of a controversial housing project that allows chronically homeless people with severe alcohol problems to drink in their apartments found that during their first two years in the building residents cut their heavy drinking by 35 percent.
For every three months during the study, participants drank an average of 8 percent fewer drinks on their heaviest drinking days.
They also had fewer instances of delirium tremens, a life-threatening form of alcohol withdrawal.
The findings were published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Housing for chronically homeless people usually comes with many conditions, including abstinence from drugs and alcohol and compliance with psychiatric and substance abuse treatment. But such requirements can become barriers to staying in housing.
“These individuals have multiple medical, psychiatric and substance abuse problems, and housing that requires them to give up their belongings, adhere to curfews, stop drinking and commit to treatment all at once is setting them up to fail. The result is that we are relegating some of the most vulnerable people in our community to a life on the streets,”
- Alcohol OK in Housing for Formerly Homeless (nlm.nih.gov)
- Alcohol OK in Housing for Formerly Homeless, Study Says (nlm.nih.gov)
- Study: Housing helps street alcoholics drink less (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- ARTICLE: Non-abstinence Housing for Chronically Homeless ppl with Alcohol Problems (julianbuchanan.wordpress.com)
- Housing the homeless in vacant buildings? (sfgate.com)
- How to Curb Chronic Homelessness? First, a Home! (abcnews.go.com)
Researchers have found clear associations between marijuana use in young males and cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS), where patients experience episodes of vomiting separated by symptom free intervals.
The study, published in the January issue of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, looked at 226 patients seen at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York, USA, over a 13-year period.
These were broken into three groups. Eighty-two patients with CVS were randomly matched with 82 patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) based on age, gender and geographic referral region. Researchers also examined the records of 62 patients with functional vomiting (FV), recurrent vomiting that cannot be attributed to a specific physical or psychiatric cause.
“Our study showed that CVS and FV had very similar clinical features, apart from marijuana use” says Dr G Richard Locke III from the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Clinic.
Key findings of the study included:
- Members of the CVS group were younger than members of the FV group (30 versus 36 years) and more likely to be male (53% versus 46%).
- No statistically significant association was detected between membership of the CVS and FV groups and marital status, education level, body mass index, employment status, alcohol use or smoking history.
- 37% of the CVS group had used marijuana (81% male), together with 13% of the FV group (equally split between male and female) and 11% of the IBS group (73% male).
- Association Between Marijuana Use And Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome In Young Males (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Marijuana use associated with cyclic vomiting syndrome in young males (addictionts.com)
- Marijuana and Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (allbleedingstops.blogspot.com)
- Marijuana: A Missed Medical Opportunity (bigthink.com)
- Smoking marijuana not bad for the lungs (Medical News Today)
- Marijuana in America: A Chronic Issue (gameofroles.wordpress.com)
- Legalizing Medical Marijuana Doesn’t Up Kids’ Pot Use (newser.com)
- Twenty-year study suggests smoking marijuana is healthier than tobacco. (eddieeinbinder.com)