Drinking alcohol while pregnant could have transgenerational effects

Soon-to-be mothers have heard the warning — don’t drink while pregnant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued numerous statements about the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, as it can lead to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in newborns.

Despite this, many women drink during pregnancy, a choice that scientists have known for years could hurt these mothers’ children. Today, there is a new reason why an expectant mother should put down that glass of wine — drinking alcohol during pregnancy will not only affect her unborn child, but may also impact brain development and lead to adverse outcomes in her future grand- and even great-grandchildren.

Full story of alcohol during pregnancy and FASD at Science Daily

Increase in Drug Overdoses Contributes to Rising U.S. Death Rate: Report

A rise in drug overdoses contributed to the increasing U.S. death rate last year, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The death rate increased for the first time in a decade, The New York Times reports.

The overall death rate increased to 729.5 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015, up from 723.2 in 2014.

The CDC found the death rate for drug overdoses increased to 15.2 per 100,000 people in the second quarter of 2015, compared with 14.1 in the second quarter the previous year. The rate for unintentional injuries, which include drug overdoses and car accidents, increased to 42 per 100,000 in the third quarter last year, up from 39.9 in the same quarter the previous year.

More people also died from suicide and Alzheimer’s disease last year, the report found. The findings are preliminary, and are not broken down by race, the article notes.

Full story of increasing drug overdoses at drugfree.org

Suicide Rate on the Rise; Experts Say Rising Drug Use May Be Contributing Factor

The suicide rate in the United States rose 24 percent between 1999 and 2014, according to anew report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The researchers say increasing drug use may be one of the contributing factors.

The economy is another possible factor in the increasing suicide rate, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Suicide is the tenth-leading cause of death in the United States, the report notes. The suicide rate continued to increase in the first half of 2015, the CDC found in a separate study. There were more suicides among men than women, but the suicide rate for women increased faster during the study period.

Full story of suicide rates rising due to drug use at drugfree.org

Federal Effort to Curb Painkiller Prescribing Faces Opposition

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) face stiff opposition to its effort to reduce prescribing of opioid painkillers, the Associated Press reports. Critics of new prescribing guidelines include drug manufacturers, industry-funded groups and some public health officials.

The guidelines, which were originally scheduled to be released this month, are designed to reverse the increase in deadly overdoses of opioid painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet. They are not binding.

Opponents of the guidelines say they have been largely written behind closed doors, the AP notes. Officials from the Food and Drug Administration and other health agencies called the guidelines “shortsighted,” relying on “low-quality evidence.” The officials said they plan to file a formal complaint.

Full story of curbing painkiller prescriptions at drugfree.org

Flavored Tobacco Products Popular With Teens: Study

Among middle and high school students who have used tobacco products in the last month, 70 percent have used at least one flavored product during that time, a new government study finds.

“Flavored tobacco products are enticing a new generation of America’s youth into nicotine addiction, condemning many of them to tobacco-related disease and early death,” Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said in a news release.

The CDC found 63 percent of students who used tobacco products (almost 1.6 million young people) had used a flavored e-cigarette. Among students who used tobacco, almost 61 percent used a flavored water pipe tobacco, 63 percent smoked a flavored cigar, 59 percent used flavored smokeless tobacco, 54 percent smoked menthol cigarettes, and 42 percent used flavored tobacco in pipes.

Full story of flavored tobacco products popular with teens at drugfree.org