Surgeon General Releases Report on Ways to Prevent, Talk About Addiction

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams released a report Thursday that recommends ways families, doctors, educators and business leaders can talk about and prevent addiction, according to The Washington Times.

The “Spotlight” report urges companies to reduce work-related injuries that could lead to opioid misuse, and encourages family members to carry naloxone and be trained on how to use it. “Be supportive (not judgmental) if a loved one has a problem,” the report advises.

Full story at drugfree.org

Drug overdose epidemic has been growing exponentially for decades

Death rates from drug overdoses in the U.S. have been on an exponential growth curve that began at least 15 years before the mid-1990s surge in opioid prescribing, suggesting that overdose death rates may continue along this same historical growth trajectory for years to come, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health analysis published today in Science.

The type of drug and the demographics of those who die from overdoses has fluctuated over the years. When the use of one drug waned, a new drug filled in, attracting new populations from different geographic regions at faster rates. These findings suggest that, to be successful, prevention efforts must extend beyond control of specific drugs to address deeper factors driving the epidemic.

“The current epidemic of overdose deaths due to prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl appears to be the most recent manifestation of a more fundamental, longer-term process,” said senior author Donald S. Burke, M.D., Pitt Public Health dean and UPMC-Jonas Salk Chair of Global Health. “Understanding the forces holding these multiple individual drug epidemics together in a tight upward exponential trajectory will be important in revealing the root causes of the epidemic, and this understanding could be crucial to prevention and intervention strategies.”

Full story at Science Daily

Can a heart treatment lower depression and anxiety?

Many people who have atrial fibrillation experience symptoms of mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Do particular treatments for this condition help resolve such symptoms? A new study suggests they might.

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is a common condition characterized by an irregular heart rhythm.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 2.7–6.1 millionpeople in the United States have A-fib.

Studies show that about a third of people with this heart condition also have symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Full story at Medical News Today

Opioid users could benefit from meth-relapse prevention strategy, study finds

New research raises the possibility that a wider group of people battling substance use disorders may benefit from a Scripps Research-developed relapse-prevention compound than previously thought.

The research, published recently in the journal Learning and Memory, shows that the compound appears to be effective even if multiple drugs of abuse are involved, such as methamphetamine in combination with either opioids or nicotine. Polysubstance use is common among people addicted to methamphetamine, in part because the rate of smoking is high among meth users. In addition, the meth available today is so potent that many users turn to opioids to dampen the high.

The potential medication, a modified form of the compound blebbistatin, works by breaking down methamphetamine-linked memories that can trigger craving and relapse. The opportunity to boost treatment success by modulating emotional memory is a novel concept, and a promising one, says Courtney Miller, PhD, associate professor on the Florida campus of Scripps Research and senior author of the study.

Full story at Science Daily

Using the immune system to combat addiction

According to new research, harnessing specific proteins that the immune system produces may lead to improved treatments for addiction, which is a notoriously difficult condition to treat.

In 2011, at least 20 million people in the United States had an addiction, excluding tobacco.

An estimated 100 people per day die from drug overdose, a figure that has tripled in the past 2 decades.

Addiction is a complex topic, involving interplay between neuroscience, psychology, and sociology.

Full story at Medical News Today