Energy Drinks Could be Big Public Health Problem for Young People: Report

October 24, 2014 Posted by

The risks of heavy consumption of energy drinks among young people could soon become a significant public health problem, according to a new report. Adverse health effects from consuming energy drinks with alcohol are a special concern, Time reports.

“The consumption of high amounts of caffeine contained within energy drinks reduces drowsiness without diminishing the effects of alcohol resulting in a state of ‘wide-awake- drunkenness,’ keeping the individual awake longer with the opportunity to continue drinking,” the authors wrote in Frontiers in Public Health.

The researchers say consuming high levels of caffeine very quickly may lead to “caffeine intoxication,” which can cause nausea, high blood pressure and heart palpitations.

Full story of energy drinks as a public health problem at drugfree.org

Colleges Join Program to Help Prevent Accidents Caused by Substance Abuse

October 23, 2014 Posted by

More than 55 universities and colleges have joined a program designed to help schools prevent the two leading causes of death in young adults—accidents, including those caused by prescription drug overdoses or alcohol poisoning, and suicide.

The Jed and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program will evaluate substance abuse, mental health and suicide prevention programs at the participating institutions, USA Tody reports. The colleges have made a four-year commitment to the program. Participants include Cornell, Georgetown, Boston University, Princeton, the University of California, Los Angeles, and New York University.

The Campus Program is a joint initiative of The Jed Foundation and the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Health Matters Initiative. Schools will take a self-assessment survey on their mental health promotion, substance abuse and suicide preventing programming. The Campus Program team will compare the findings to a comprehensive set of recommended practices. Schools will receive customized feedback and suggestions for improvements, in addition to support with their planning process.

Full story of campus substance abuse program at drugfree.org

Deaths From Painkillers Drop, While Heroin Fatalities Rise: Government Report

October 22, 2014 Posted by

Prescription painkiller deaths are on the decline, while deaths from heroin are increasing, according to a new government report. The findings suggest some people may have switched from prescription medications to illicit drugs in response to laws aimed at reducing prescription drug abuse, USA Today reports.

Between 1999 and 2011, prescription painkiller overdose deaths quadrupled, from 4,030 to 16,917, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. In 2012, painkiller overdose deaths dropped 5 percent to 16,007. The findings will be released Wednesday by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the newspaper notes.

“It’s some really encouraging news after many years of really grim news,” Michael Botticelli, Acting Director of ONDCP, told USA Today. He said the findings give him hope that some government strategies to reduce prescription drug abuse have worked. These include prescription drug monitoring programs that make it harder for people to get prescriptions from multiple doctors, and crackdowns on physicians who overprescribe painkillers.

Full story of deaths from painkillers at drugfree.org

Most Doctors Registered to Use Prescription Database Check it When They Suspect Abuse

October 21, 2014 Posted by

A survey of doctors in Oregon who are registered to use their state prescription drug monitoring database finds 95 percent say they consult it when they suspect a patient is abusing or diverting medication. The survey found 54 percent of doctors registered to use the database report they have made mental health or substance abuse referrals after consulting it.

Thirty-six percent said they sometimes discharge patients from their practice because of information in the database. Fewer than half say they check it for every new patient or every time they prescribe a controlled drug. Almost all doctors who use the program say they discuss worrisome data with patients.

Registered users of the state’s database were more frequent prescribers of controlled substances than non-users, Newswise reports. The survey included 650 doctors who frequently used the database, 650 who used it infrequently and 2,000 who did not use it at all.

Full story of prescription database check for doctors at drugfree.org

Children More Likely to Take ADHD Drugs During School Year Than in the Summer

October 20, 2014 Posted by

A new study finds children are 30 percent more likely to take drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) during the school year than in the summer.

The study found children from wealthier families who live in states with stricter academic standards are more likely to use ADHD drugs only during school months, compared with children in lower-income families in states with less strict school standards.

The findings suggest higher-income families are more likely to make their own decisions about when their child needs ADHD medications, while lower-income families tend to follow doctors’ recommendations to fill prescriptions for the drugs throughout the year, according to USA Today.

Full story of ADHD drugs during school year at drugfree.org