Addiction Issues Magnified During Hurricanes

Authorities planning for natural disasters such as hurricanes must prepare for its effect on people struggling with drugs or alcohol, experts tell the Associated Press. The stress of hurricanes leads to an increased danger of relapse and overdose.

Before Hurricane Irma hit Florida, a needle exchange program in Miami distributed extra syringes, while patients at methadone clinics picked up advance medication. Florida, in cooperation with the federal government, allowed methadone clinics to provide up to five days of medication ahead of the hurricane.

Full story at drugfree.org

First secondhand smoke, now secondhand harm from drinking

It’s no secret that university life often includes alcohol use, which can sometimes cause harm. Yet harm can also extend beyond the drinker, such as “secondhand harm” that is caused by intoxicated people: accidents or domestic, physical, or sexual violence; interrupted sleep or property destruction; and arguments, problems with relationships, or financial problems. Prior research suggests that more than 70 percent of college undergraduates have experienced harm from other students’ drinking. This study examined the prevalence and types of secondhand harm among Canadian undergraduates, and whether certain personality risks for alcohol use disorder — impulsivity, sensation seeking, hopelessness, anxiety sensitivity — can predict secondhand-harm exposure.

Researchers administered an online survey to 1,537 first-year Canadian undergraduates (two-thirds of whom were women) during 2015. Problematic alcohol use was measured by the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and personality was measured by the Substance Use Risk Profile Scale (SURPS). The 11 secondhand-harm choices given to students ranged from “interrupted your studies” to “sexually harassed/insulted you.”

Full story at Science Daily

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

Fewer Australian teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Aussie students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

More than 2800 Australian students aged 12-17 took part in a survey of drinking behaviour, conducted by researchers from the University of Adelaide’s School of Psychology and the Population Health group at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

The results of the study, now published in the journal BMC Public Health, provide a snapshot of the prevalence of alcohol consumption among students, and the factors that most influence their drinking behaviour. This research has been supported by Cancer Council SA and SA Government.

Full story at Science Daily

Rate of Fatally Injured Drivers Who Test Positive for Prescription Opioids Surges

A new study finds the percentage of drivers involved in fatal car crashes who tested positive for prescription opioids rose seven-fold between 1995 and 2015.

Researchers from Columbia University analyzed data from nearly 37,000 drivers who died within one hour of a motor vehicle crash. They found 24 percent had drugs in their system, of which 3 percent were prescription opioids, HealthDayreports. Among drivers who tested positive for prescription opioids, 30 percent also had high blood alcohol levels, and 67 percent had traces of other drugs.

Full story at Science Daily

Opioids and obesity, not ‘despair deaths,’ raising mortality rates for white Americans

Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according to new CU Boulder research.

The study, published online today in the International Journal of Epidemiology, also found that, contrary to widely reported research findings, suicide and alcohol-related deaths are not to blame for increasing mortality rates among middle-aged whites.

The results call into question recent reports suggesting that what have become known collectively as “despair deaths” — by suicide, alcohol and drugs — are on the rise among white Americans, particularly men, facing a lack of economic opportunity and an increase in chronic pain.

Full story of opioids and obesity at Science Daily