Federal data shows that prescription drug abuse now sends twice as many people to the emergency room (ER) as it did five years ago -- outstripping illegal drugs for the third year in a row, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) reported in a Jan. 6 press release. The data come from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), which provides estimates on emergency room visits linked to drug use and abuse. DAWN data from 2009 showed almost 4.6 million total visits to emergency rooms that were drug-related, of which 45.1 percent were linked to abuse and misuse of drugs, both legal and illegal. Nearly a third (27.1 percent) of all visits -- or 1.2 million visits -- were due to prescription drug abuse, an increase of 98.4 percent from the 627,291 visits recorded in 2004. Illicit drug use accounted for 1.0 million visits to emergency rooms, and alcohol was implicated in 31.8 percent of all visits related to abuse or misuse of drugs.
The Center for Health and Safety Culture and MOST of Us are pleased to announce the following trainings: We will be hosting the Spring 2011 Positive Community Norms (PCN) Institute in Bozeman, MT at the Hilton Garden Inn May 17th-19th. This three day Institute provides the best opportunity to learn about the Positive Community Norms Process and the theory upon which it is built, The Science of the Positive. If you are interested in working with PCN in the future, attendance at this Institute is the beginning of your journey. Please visit our website for more information, http://www.mostofus.org/institute/pcninstitute/ . We also will host the 2011 Montana Summer Institute on July 12th-14th at the Big Sky Resort in Big Sky, MT with the Pre-Institute on July 11th. For more information please visit http://www.mostofus.org/institute/montana-summer-institute/ .
A small Virginia company, Star Scientific, Inc., is seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market one of its smokeless tobacco products as less harmful than other tobacco products, the Associated Press reported Jan. 4. Star Scientific said its new Stonewall Moist-BDL dissovable tobacco lozenge has 90 to 99 percent fewer carcinogens than similar products and should qualify for a new "modified-risk" label being developed by the FDA. Two similar applications to the agency from Star are still under consideration. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smokeless tobacco is not safer than cigarettes because it has 28 cancer-causing ingredients. The United Kingdom's Royal College of Physicians has taken a different position. In a 2007 report, the College said that some smokeless tobacco products were less harmful than cigarettes.
A group of physicians and experts on pain policy have published an article arguing that while opioid treatment contracts between patients and their physicians can be useful, they can be harmful for the patient-physician relationship unless presented in the right way, American Medical News reported Dec. 27. Doctors use the agreements -- also known as "pain contracts" -- to warn patients not to give away or sell their prescription pills. According to American Medical News, other physicians treating patients for pain have undergone "high-profile prosecutions," and the contracts are seen as a way to protect physicians from liability.
According to the subscription-based Harvard Mental Health Letter article, "Pain killers fuel growth in drug addiction," prescription painkillers kill about twice as many people as cocaine and five times as many as heroin. Nearly two million Americans are dependent on or abusing opioid pain relievers-nearly twice as many as are addicted to cocaine. Because opioid painkillers target the same brain receptors as heroin, causing euphoria, they carry the risk of addiction, the article states.
While parents may not like to hear the cold, hard truth about drugs and alcohol and their kids, the truth remains that they nonetheless try alcohol in high school and during college, even years before their 21st birthdays. According to research on the subject, about 80 percent of kids have already attempted to try alcohol while still in high school. The danger with experimentation is that it is neither legal nor safe for kids to attempt it, despite the fact that many still give in to temptation and bad judgment and try alcohol. The way to try to curb these worrying statistics and trends is by discussing alcohol and drug abuse with kids at quite an early age and continue talking to them about it as they grow up.
Tobacco companies led by Altria Group Inc. must get U.S. approval for product changes, helping regulators keep more addictive items off the market. Products introduced after Feb. 15, 2007, must also be reviewed, the Food and Drug Administration said today in a statement. New or modified items that aren?t "substantially equivalent" to those already for sale on that date and raise health questions may be banned or withdrawn, the agency said. The reviews are required under a 2009 law that empowered the FDA to restrict tobacco marketing, and forced makers to pay the agency fees to fund reviews. Altria Group?s Philip Morris USA, the biggest U.S. cigarette maker, broke with competitors to back the law as a way to standardize manufacturing and spur development of less-harmful products.
A press release dated December 30, 2010, reported that hospital emergency department visits involving underage drinking increased more than 250 percent on New Year's Day 2009. The new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that in 2009 there were an estimated 1,980 emergency department visits involving underage drinking, compared to 546 such visits on an average day that year - a 263 percent increase. The New Year's Day underage drinking admission levels even surpassed other National holiday levels, which past SAMHSA studies have revealed often far exceed normal daily rates. For example, the 2009 New Year's Day estimate was 191 percent higher than the Memorial Day level (676) and 110 percent higher than the Fourth of July level (942).
Page last updated: 12/27/2010