Marijuana Research Review Details Harmful Outcomes of Use

A review of 20 years of marijuana research concludes there are real risks to using the drug, according to U.S. News and World Report. These include increased risk of car crashes, dropping out of high school and cognitive impairment. Marijuana does not produce fatal overdoses, the review notes.

According to the review, published in the journal Addiction, research in the past 20 years has shown that driving while marijuana-impaired approximately doubles the risk of car crashes. About 10 percent of regular marijuana users develop dependence. Regular use of the drug during the teenage years doubles the risks of dropping out of high school and of cognitive impairment in adulthood. “Regular adolescent cannabis users have lower educational attainment than non-using peers but we don’t know whether the link is causal,” the researchers note in a press release.

Full story of harmful outcomes of marijuana use at drugfree.org

Cellphone addiction harming academic performance is ‘an increasingly realistic possibility’

Women college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cellphones and men college students spend nearly eight, with excessive use posing potential risks for academic performance, according to a Baylor University study on cellphone activity published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions.

“That’s astounding,” said researcher James Roberts, Ph.D., The Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business. “As cellphone functions increase, addictions to this seemingly indispensable piece of technology become an increasingly realistic possibility.”

The study notes that approximately 60 percent of college students admit they may be addicted to their cell phone, and some indicated they get agitated when it is not in sight, said Roberts, lead author of the article “The Invisible Addiction: Cellphone Activities and Addiction among Male and Female College Students.”

Full story of cellphone addiction and academics at Science Daily

Brief Interventions May Not Be Useful in Counteracting Drug Use: Studies

Two new studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggest that brief counseling may not be effective in counteracting drug use. Previous research has shown brief interventions can help some problem drinkers, NPR reports.

Public health officials have been urging primary care doctors and hospital emergency rooms to ask patients about drug use, and to immediately give those with a drug problem a 10- to 15-minute counseling session, known as a brief intervention.

One of the new studies looked at more than 500 people who were determined to have a drug problem, based on a verbal screening at a primary care clinic. They were divided into three groups. The first two groups received brief counseling, while the third group received no counseling. After six months, those who had received brief counseling had not reduced drug use any more than people who received no counseling.

Full story of counteracting drug use at drugfree.org

Study: Heroin Addiction Treatment Should Include Inpatient and Outpatient Therapy

Treatment for heroin addiction is most effective if it includes both inpatient and outpatient therapy, according to a new study.

Researchers at Boston Medical Center compared two groups of patients addicted to heroin: those who started buprenorphine treatment while in the hospital and then were referred directly to an outpatient buprenorphine treatment program, and patients who took a tapered dose of buprenorphine in the hospital to help with withdrawal, but only received referral information about local community treatment programs. Buprenorphine is an opioid substitute used to treat opioid addiction. It helps curb opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Full story of heroin addiction treatment therapy at drugfree.org

Tobacco Companies Have Changed Cigarettes to Make Them More Addictive: Report

Tobacco companies have made design changes to cigarettes to make them more addictive and more attractive to children, according to a new report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The report concludes cigarettes are more harmful today than 50 years ago, when the first Surgeon General report linked tobacco to health risks, according to ABC News. The group is calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to more closely regulate cigarettes’ design and ingredients.

Full story of tobacco change by companies at drugfree.org