Pain linked to non-medical prescription opioid use in young adults

Physical pain — often “self-medicated” without help from healthcare professionals — is an important contributor to non-medical prescription opioid (NMPO) use by young adults, suggests a study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

Young men with severe untreated pain are at especially high risk of frequent NMPO use, according to the new research, led by Brandon D.L. Marshall, PhD, of Brown University School of Public Health. Dr. Marshall comments, “Sex-specific patterns of pain and experiences interacting with health professionals could conceivably impact the way men and women report pain to health care providers, and thus the way young adults with severe physical pain are treated.”

Full story of non-medical opioid use in young adults at Science Daily

The blink of an eye may predict risk for alcohol problems

The startle response, often recorded as an eye-blink reflex, is a defensive measure believed to reflect emotional processing. Patients with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) show abnormal startle-reflex responses to alcohol-related stimuli. This study examined startle-reflex responses to various visual stimuli among heavy drinkers, and assessed whether certain patterns predict the development of AUDs four years later.

Researchers measured the startle-reflex responses of 287 men recruited from public health-care centers in Spain: 239 non-dependent, heavy-drinking men and 48 healthy men who comprised the control group. All participants were exposed to four types of pictures: alcohol-related, aversive, appetitive, and neutral. The participants were subsequently examined four years later to determine the predictive value of their startle response on drinking status.

Full story of eye-blink reflex and AUDs at Science Daily

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Alcohol marketing in popular movies doubles in past two decades

Alcohol brand placements in popular movies of all ratings nearly doubled during the past two decades, new research shows, but particularly in child-rated movies. Researchers presenting these findings at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco found the alcohol brands on the movie set are often those young people report drinking the most.

“Children and young people look to movie stars as role models.” said James D. Sargent, MD, FAAP, a professor in the departments of Pediatrics and Community & Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and an author of the study. “For alcohol companies, when a favorite star uses a certain brand of alcohol, that brand gets linked to all the characteristics young admirers see in their movie idol. That’s why it’s no surprise that the brands commonly shown in movies are the most highly advertised brands, and the same brands underage drinkers tend to drink,” he said.

Full story of alcohol marketing in movies at Science Daily

Leaked E-mail Indicates White House Proposes Slashing Drug Policy Office Budget

The White House is proposing a cut of 94 percent to the budget of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), according to an e-mail to agency employees by Acting Director Richard Baum. He asked employees not to share the information, but the e-mail was quickly leaked, NPR reports.

The proposed budget fully eliminates several programs involved in fighting the opioid epidemic, the article notes.

Full story of White House slashing drug policy budget at drugfree.org