States Report Resurgence of Meth in Rural Areas

Officials in a number of states are reporting a resurgence of meth, particularly in rural areas, NBC News reports.

Ohio, Texas, Montana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Iowa and South Dakota have seen an increase in meth use. Law enforcement officials and health workers say meth doesn’t get as much attention as opioids, because it kills slowly and at lower rates.

Full story of meth resurgence in some states at drugfree.org

Using science to combat addiction

In this Policy Forum, Keith Humphreys and colleagues highlight the need for science, and particularly neuroscience, to inform policies that address addiction. Their recommendations are timely given that on 27 June, a U.S. presidential task force is slated to present policy recommendations to combat opioid addiction. On average in the U.S., 91 people per day die of opioid overdose.

Over the course of recent history, technological advances have enabled addictions to become more prevalent and overpowering, the authors say. For example, in the mid-nineteenth century it took a factory worker about one minute to roll a cigarette, and the resulting product was so harsh that few people could inhale it deeply enough to become addicted to nicotine.

Now, in one minute a machine can roll 20,000 cigarettes, which are sweetened and blended to allow deep inhalation that promotes nicotine addiction. Although technological advances have contributed to increasing rates of addictions, science can also be used to counteract addictions. Humphreys et al. cite ways in which science can inform better drug regulation, for example in the context of marijuana.

Full story of using science to combat addiction at Science Daily

Addiction Experts Warn Republican Health Care Plan Will Deepen Opioid Crisis

The Republican health care plan, which would roll back the Affordable Care Act and reduce or terminate health coverage for millions of Americans, will deepen the nation’s opioid crisis, addiction experts tell the Los Angeles Times.

“It would essentially write off a generation,” said Dr. Shawn Ryan, President of BrightView Health, a network of drug treatment clinics in Cincinnati. “It would be catastrophic.”

Full story of Republican health care plan and opioid crisis at drugfree.org

Rates of marijuana use, heavy use, and cannabis use disorder depend on where you live

Adult marijuana use rose significantly in states that passed loosely regulated medical marijuana laws (MMLs) according to a new study by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Medical Center. Highest increases were reported among adults ages 26 and over. Little change was found in past-month marijuana use among adolescents or young adults between the ages 18 and 25. The findings are published online in the journal Addiction.

Adults 26 years of age and older living in states with less regulated medical marijuana programs increased past-month marijuana use from 4 percent to 6.59 percent after the laws were enacted. No significant change was found in the prevalence of cannabis use disorder among adolescents or adults after states enacted medical marijuana laws, regardless whether programs were highly regulated or “loose.”

Using data from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health from 2004-2013 the researchers analyzed trends over time with particular emphasis on age groups. This included obtaining prevalences of marijuana use outcomes at the state level by year and whether the enacted laws included a highly regulated (“medicalized”) or less regulated (“non-medical”) program. Participants were classified as having marijuana abuse or dependence based on DSM-IV criteria.

Full story of marijuana use rates depending on location at Science Daily

Medications underutilized when treating young people with opioid use disorder

Only one in four young adults and teens with opioid use disorder (OUD) are receiving potentially life-saving medications for addiction treatment, according to a new Boston Medical Center (BMC) study published online in JAMA Pediatrics.

Buprenorphine and naltrexone are medications used to treat OUD that help prevent relapse and overdose when used appropriately. In late 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended, for the first time, that providers offer medication treatment to adolescents with OUD.

Prior studies have shown that among all adults in treatment for opioids, one-third started using opioids before age 18, and two-thirds started before age 25. Unlike methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone can be offered in the primary care setting. However, few teens receive medication due, in part, to a widespread shortage of physicians who have received a waiver certification required to prescribe buprenorphine. And, as researchers note, of all of the physicians who are certified in the United States, only one-percent are pediatricians.

Full story of treating young people with opioid use disorder at drugfree.org