How do people decide: Should I go, stay, drink?

Many studies of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) use tasks that involve monetary rewards or losses to examine individual decision-making vis-à-vis alcohol and other substance use. Yet drinking typically occurs in specific social and incentive contexts that do not involve economic decision-making. This study examined decisions about attending, and drinking in, hypothetical drinking/social contexts wherein several different incentive and disincentive options were provided to the individual.

Researchers used community advertisements to recruit 434 adults (240 men, 194 women), between 18 and 30 years of age, who varied widely in lifetime alcohol use as well as antisocial problems. Using a computer screen, all participants were presented with six different hypothetical scenarios of drinking at a party; incentives involved party-time fun activities and disincentives involved next-day responsibilities.

Full story at Science Daily

Very low rate of early use of prescription smoking cessation medications among older patients after heart attack

Only about 7 percent of older adults who smoked used a prescription smoking cessation medication within 90 days after being discharged from a hospital following a heart attack, according to a study published by JAMA Cardiology.

The immediate period after a myocardial infarction (MI; heart attack) represents a unique window of opportunity to encourage patients to quit smoking. Using data (from between April 2007 and December 2013) from a large MI registry, Neha J. Pagidipati, M.D., M.P.H., of Duke University, Durham, N.C., and colleagues examined patient factors associated with early prescription smoking cessation medication (SCM) use (defined as filling of a prescription within 90 days postdischarge or supply remaining from a pre-admission fill). Prescription SCMs included in the study were bupropion and varenicline.

Full story of SCMs use after heart attacks at Science Daily

Democrats Ask Drug Policy Office to Do More to Combat Opioid Epidemic

Twenty Democratic senators are asking the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to do more to combat the opioid epidemic, according to the Associated Press.

In a letter to ONDCP Acting Director Richard Baum, the senators urged the Trump Administration to implement recommendations made by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. The senators criticized an administration budget proposal that would cut almost $400 million from drug and mental health programs. They also voiced opposition to the Department of Justice’s increasing insistence on treating drug addiction as a criminal justice issue.

Full story of the Democratic party’s fight on the opioid crisis at drugfree.org

The dangers of driving after restricted sleep and moderate alcohol intake

In a recent study, combining moderate alcohol consumption (within legal limits for driving) and moderate sleep restriction led to greater drowsiness and increased deficits in attention, compared with either sleep restriction or alcohol intake alone.

The synergistic effects lasted between 2 and 3 hours. Also, peak impairment occurred not at peak alcohol levels but 30 to 60 minutes after, despite receiving rest intervals in between testing.

Full story of alcohol intake and sleep at Science Daily

Depression among young teens linked to cannabis use at 18

A study looking at the cumulative effects of depression in youth, found that young people with chronic or severe forms of depression were at elevated risk for developing a problem with cannabis in later adolescence.

The study led by UW Medicine researchers interviewed 521 students recruited from four Seattle public middle schools. Researchers used data from annual assessments when students were ages 12-15 and then again when they were 18. The results were published in the journal Addiction.

“The findings suggest that if we can prevent or reduce chronic depression during early adolescence, we may reduce the prevalence of cannabis use disorder,” said lead author Isaac Rhew, research assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Full story of depression among young teens related to cannabis at Science Daily