An investigation into drug sting operations conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) finds most people arrested are racial or ethnic minorities, according to USA Today.
ATF has more than quadrupled use of sting operations in the past 10 years, the article notes. The bureau entices suspects to rob a drug stash house that does not actually exist, in exchange for a promise of as much as $100,000. Prison sentences resulting from the sting operations can be a decade or more.
The newspaper reviewed court files and prison records, and found at least 91 percent of those arrested were racial or ethnic minorities–almost all of them black or Hispanic. That rate is much higher than among people who are arrested for violent crimes in big cities, or for other drug and gun offenses or other federal robbery.
Full story of ATF drug arrests reviews at drugfree.org
A new study finds mixing energy drinks with alcohol increases the urge to drink. People who consume the mixture may drink more alcohol than they planned, according to the researchers.
“Obviously these findings are not going to deter young people from drinking if they want to get drunk, but they need to be mindful that they may be unwittingly putting themselves at a greater risk of accidents and injuries because they end up drinking more than they had intended,” lead author Rebecca McKetin told Reuters.
The study included 75 participants ages 18 to 30. They were assigned to drink either vodka mixed with soda water or vodka mixed with an energy drink. Both groups also had fruit juice in their drinks. Participants did not know which drink they were receiving.
Full story of energy drinks and alcohol at drugfree.org
Missouri is the only state that does not have a prescription drug monitoring database, The New York Times reports. The state’s decision not to use such a drug-tracking tool has hampered efforts to fight prescription drug abuse.
People from neighboring states are coming to Missouri to stockpile pills and bring them home to use themselves or to sell to others, the newspaper reports.
The databases are used to identify people who go “doctor shopping” for multiple painkiller or tranquilizer prescriptions, and the physicians who overprescribe these medications. Almost all states either allow or require pharmacists to enter filled prescriptions into the database. Doctors or pharmacists review the data before deciding to fill another prescription. Rules vary from state to state. Forty-eight states have operational databases, and New Hampshire will begin using its database this year.
Full story on the prescription drug database at drugfree.org
A new study finds smokers are two to four times more likely than nonsmokers to commit suicide. State public health interventions such as indoor smoking bans and cigarette taxes could reduce suicide rates by as much as 15 percent, the researchers say.
“It is an open question whether smoking is a direct risk factor for poor mental health outcomes, and by extension, suicide,” the researchers write in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco. “If so, this would have significant implications for public health and clinical practice because it would establish smoking as a common and modifiable risk factor for suicide. In this case, more effective tobacco control policies and other smoking interventions could be promising means for suicide risk mitigation.”
Full story of smokers and suicide study at drugfree.org
A new study finds people with chronic pain who received counseling from a nurse over the phone were able to reduce their dose of pain medication. The researchers say the findings suggest “telecare” could reduce the risk of prescription drug abuse and accidental overdoses.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association included 250 veterans with chronic pain. Half of the veterans received traditional pain care from their primary physician, and half received counseling from nurses via telephone and internet,NBC Los Angeles reports. The nurses’ goal was to reduce patients’ pain medication doses, and in some cases to have them stop taking painkillers altogether, the article notes.
Telecare consisted of automated symptom monitoring and pain management counseling by a nurse care manager. Patients in the telecare group received interactive voice-recorded phone calls or online messages asking them about their pain, their reaction to medication and whether they wanted to speak with a nurse. They met with the nurse once in person, and then received phone counseling from the nurse throughout the study.
Full story of telephone counseling at drugfree.org