Non-Drug Approach to Treating Pain Could Help Prevent Opioid Addiction: Researchers

A new study finds a non-drug approach to pain management that combines behavioral therapy and social support is effective. The researchers say such an approach could help reduce addiction to opioid painkillers, Science Daily reports.

The study included veterans who were being treated for both pain and addiction. Veterans treated with the non-drug approach to pain reported a decrease in the intensity of their pain and an increase in their ability to function. They also consumed less alcohol than veterans in a traditional support group.

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Almost 8 Percent of College Students Say They’ve Had Drugs Put Into Their Drinks

A survey of college students finds almost 8 percent say they have had drugs put into their drinks, known as “drink spiking.”

About 80 percent of victims of drink spiking were female. Women were more likely than men to say sexual assault is a motive for drink spiking, HealthDay reports. Men were more likely to say the reason behind drink spiking was “to have fun.” Other motives students cited were to calm someone down or to make them go to sleep.

The survey of more than 6,000 students at three universities found that 1.4 percent said either they had drugged someone, or they knew someone who had drugged another person.

“These data indicate that drugging is more than simply an urban legend,” study leader Suzanne Swan of the University of South Carolina said in a news release.

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Global Alcohol Sales Decrease for First Time in Last Two Decades

Sales of alcohol decreased worldwide in 2015 for the first time since the market research firm Euromonitor International began tracking sales in 2001, CNN reports.

The overall volume of alcohol consumed fell by 0.7 percent worldwide in 2015, while sales in dollar terms rose by about 2 percent. Economic slumps in major emerging markets appear to be a factor in the decrease, the article notes.

Alcohol consumption in China—which drinks more alcohol than any other nation—dropped 3.5 percent last year. Brazil’s alcohol consumption decreased 2.5 percent, while Eastern Europe fell by 4.9 percent. Brazil is facing a severe economic slump and political scandals, while fighting between Ukraine and Russia has impacted alcohol sales in Eastern Europe.

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Alcohol Abuse More Likely in U.S.-Born Asian Americans Than in Those Born Abroad

Problematic drinking is more likely among Asian Americans born in the United States compared with those born abroad, a review of studies finds. Overall, the prevalence of alcohol abuse among Asian Americans ages 18 to 25 increased fivefold between 1991 and 2002.

Studies of drinking patterns tend to lump all Asian Americans together, the review’s lead author, Derek Iwamoto of the University of Maryland, College Park, told NBC News. “The population tends to be overlooked given the model minority stereotype,” he said. “A lot of times larger national studies aggregate Asian Americans all together, meaning that they aggregate first, second, and third generations … it really pulls the averages down for Asian Americans.”

Alcohol abuse prevalence among young adult Asian Americans rose from .74 percent in 1991 to 3.89 percent in 2002, Iwamoto reported in Alcohol Research Current Reviews.

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Teen Girls Start Drinking Before Their Male Peers

A new study finds teenage girls start drinking before their male peers, even though most strategies to reduce underage drinking are aimed at boys.

Researchers at Michigan State University analyzed data of about 390,000 teens and young adults, ages 12 to 24, who took part in government surveys on drug use and health. They found in the middle teenage years, girls are more likely than boys to start drinking. After age 19, males drink more than females, HealthDay reports.

“This new evidence from the United States shows that the so-called ‘gender gap’ in risk of becoming a drinker has narrowed to the point of there being no gap at all,” the researchers wrote in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

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