Who Falls to Addiction, and Who Is Unscathed?

By Richard A. Friedman

Shortly after the singer Amy Winehouse, 27, was found dead in her London home, the airwaves were ringing with her popular hit “Rehab,” a song about her refusal to be treated for drug addiction.

The man said “Why you think you here?”

I said, “I got no idea.”

I’m gonna, gonna lose my baby

So I always keep a bottle near.

The official cause of Ms. Winehouse’s death won’t be announced until October pending toxicology reports, but her highly publicized battle with alcohol and drug addiction seems to have played a significant role. Indeed, her mother echoed a sentiment heard everywhere when she told The Sunday Mirror that her daughter’s death was “only a matter of time.”

Full story at The New York Times

Many College Students See Heavy Drinking Through ‘Rose-Colored Beer Goggles’

By Rick Nauert, PHD

A new study finds that many college students believe the positive effects of heavy drinking outweigh the negative consequences.

According to study participants, heavy drinking increases courage, eases communication, and has other social benefits that overshadow negative effects of hangovers, fights and regrettable sexual situations.

University of Washington researchers believe the findings offer a new direction for programs targeting binge drinking, which tend to limit their focus to avoiding alcohol’s ill effects rather than considering its rewards.

“This study suggest why some people can experience a lot of bad consequences of drinking but not change their behavior,” said co-author Kevin King, Ph.D.

Full story at PsychCentral

‘Teen Marijuana Check-Up’ Leads To Less Marijuana Use For A Year Or More

By Christopher Fisher, PhD

Marijuana is the most prevalent illicit drug used by teenagers and adults around the world. Nearly a third of high school students in the United States report smoking it, and most high schoolers say they have access to the drug. To many people, smoking pot is no big deal. They cite reasons such as: “it isn’t dangerous or addictive” and “everybody is doing it.” Denise Walker, co-director of the University of Washington’s Innovative Programs Research Group, disagrees.

“It’s not a risk-free drug,” she said. “Lots of people who use it do so without problems. But there are others who use it regularly – almost daily – and want to stop but aren’t sure how.”

Walker hopes to help these people, many of whom feel stigmatized by their drug use. She is lead author of a paper showing that a brief, voluntary conversation with an adult led to up to a 20 percent decrease in marijuana use for teenagers who frequently used the drug. The paper was published online June 20 in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Full story at The Behavioral Medicine Report

Text Message Support for Smokers Doubles Quit Rates

By ScienceDaily

Cell phones could hold the key to people giving up smoking after a programme involving sending motivational and supportive text messages to smokers doubled quit rates at six months.

The findings of the txt2stop trial, which was led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and funded by the Medical Research Council, are published in The Lancet June 29.

Text messaging is an innovative approach to the deadly problem of smoking, which is estimated to cause more than five million deaths each year worldwide. Putting cigarettes out for good has huge implications for health but although two out of three smokers would like to give up, they often fail. Almost 6,000 people took part in the txt2stop trial, which evaluated this new way of helping smokers beat their addiction.

Full story at ScienceDaily

On the Future of Addiction

By Stanton Peele

After selecting me for their list of most influential addiction experts, yet disparaging my reputation and ideas, The Fix allowed me to present my ideas for myself. (There is some dispute about that, though; I say they encouraged me, but in a lengthy introduction to my piece, which repeats the same knocks against me, they claim that I twisted their arms.)

I took the opportunity to describe what I see as the future of addiction in the 21st century. In one kind nod by a copyeditor, the introduction notes, “To a surprising degree, many of his once-heretical beliefs have increasingly been adopted by mainstream medicine. Whether or not you agree with him, it’s a safe bet that his alternative approach will be at the center of the most critical debates in the coming decades.”

Full story at Huffington Post