Restricting Locations for Alcohol Sales May Help Reduce Domestic Violence: Study

December 19, 2014 Posted by

Reducing the number of bars, restaurants, liquor stores and other locations where alcohol is sold in a community may help reduce domestic violence, a new study suggests.

The findings come from research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which reviewed 16 previous studies that examined the link between alcohol sales in communities and rates of domestic violence. The investigators evaluated many factors, including the number of hours and days alcohol was sold, alcohol pricing and taxes, and the number of locations where alcohol was sold.

Only the number of alcohol sales outlets was consistently associated with rates of domestic violence, HealthDay reports. Most of the studies found a link between a greater number of locations where alcohol was sold and higher rates of domestic violence. The link held even when factors such as local poverty and unemployment rates were taken into account.

Full story of alcohol sales and domestic violence at

State-by-State Ranking of Mental Health Services Reveals Some Surprises

December 18, 2014 Posted by

A new report that ranks mental illness and mental health services at the state level reveals some surprises, The Washington Post reports. Some states with the lowest rates of mental illness and substance abuse are in the South, even though southern states also score low on measure of physical health.

The new report, released by the advocacy group Mental Health America, found Florida, Alabama, Texas and Georgia have the lowest rates of mental illness. Nine of the 10 states with the lowest rates of substance abuse are also in the South, the group found.

Five northern states—Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, North Dakota and Delaware—received the overall highest scores when prevalence of mental illness was compared with access to care.

Full story of mental health state rankings at

No Rush for Addiction Treatment Services in Wake of Healthcare Reform: Oregon Study

December 17, 2014 Posted by

Despite predictions that healthcare reform would greatly increase the number of people seeking drug and alcohol treatment, a new study conducted in Oregon suggests so far, no big changes are occurring in that state.

“We’re not seeing any upticks in the number of people with drug or alcohol diagnoses, or changes in access to medications to treat alcohol and drug disorders,” says Dennis McCarty, PhD, Professor in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland.

McCarty, Principal Investigator for the Western States Node of the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network, presented his findings at the recent American Psychological Association annual meeting.

Full story of addiction treatment and healthcare reform at

One-Third of U.S. Cancer Deaths Due to Cigarette Smoking, Study Finds

December 16, 2014 Posted by

Cigarette smoking causes about three in 10 cancer deaths in the United States, according to a new study by researchers at the American Cancer Society. The estimate does not include deaths from secondhand smoke.

The researchers also excluded deaths due to other types of tobacco including cigars, pipes and smokeless tobacco, HealthDay reports. The findings are published in Annals of Epidemiology.

The study is the first in more than 30 years to estimate the percentage of cancer deaths in the United States that are due to smoking, the researchers said. The previous study also found 30 percent of U.S. cancer deaths were caused by smoking. Since then, smoking rates have dropped, but new cancers have been added to the list of those established as caused by smoking, the researchers said. In addition, lung cancer death rates among female smokers have risen.

Full story of cancer deaths and cigarette smoking at

Federal Government Rarely Penalizes Nursing Homes for Overusing Antipsychotic Drugs

December 15, 2014 Posted by

Although the federal government began a campaign in 2012 to get nursing homes to reduce their use of antipsychotic drugs, it rarely penalizes institutions that continue to use the drugs at high rates, NPR reports.

These drugs, designed to treat people with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, can be deadly for older people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Despite this risk, almost 300,000 nursing home residents across the country are given antipsychotic medications, according to the article.

In Texas, more than one-quarter of nursing home residents are given antipsychotic drugs, compared with a nationwide average below 20 percent. The state has conducted a series of trainings for nursing home employees to teach them about alternatives to giving residents antipsychotic medications. Employees are encouraged to learn enough about residents to determine why they exhibit challenging behaviors, and to find ways to deal with these behaviors without antipsychotic drugs.

Full story of nursing homes and overuse of anti-psychotics at