Transgender Students Face Higher Rates of Substance Abuse, Study Finds

Transgender adolescents have higher rates of illicit and prescription drug use when compared to non-transgender adolescents, according to a new study.

The study, published in the Journal of School Health, found transgender students were 2.5 times more likely than non-transgender students to use cocaine and methamphetamines in their lifetime and twice as likely to report the misuse of prescription pain medication.

The findings were the result of a secondary analysis of the 2013-2015 California Health Kids Survey (CHKS) — a statewide survey of elementary, middle and high school students — that examined the recent, in-school and lifetime use of drugs and alcohol among 4,778 transgender and 630,200 non-transgender students.

Full story at NBC News

Serotonin contributions to cocaine’s allure

Once a hip drug of the ’70s and ’80s party scene, cocaine is not only making a comeback, it’s proving its staying power thanks to its potent allure. In fact, Drug Enforcement Administration officials say that traffickers are producing more cocaine now than at the height of the notorious era of the “cocaine cowboys” in the 1980s.

According to Florida’s Medical Examiner Commission, overdose deaths from cocaine are at their highest level in the state since 2007. From 2012 to 2015, cocaine deaths in Florida increased from 1,318 fatalities to 1,834 fatalities. Only fentanyl, a powerful synthetic painkiller, surpassed deaths from cocaine overdose in Florida. Nationally, more than 1 in 3 drug misuse or abuse-related emergency department visits (40 percent) involved cocaine.

This highly addictive psychostimulant induces complex molecular, cellular and behavioral responses. Despite various approaches and years of pre-clinical studies, effective, mechanism-based therapies to assist with cocaine abuse and dependence are still sorely lacking.

Full story of serotonin’s impact on cocaine use at Science Daily

Sons of cocaine-using fathers have profound memory impairments

Fathers who use cocaine at the time of conceiving a child may be putting their sons at risk of learning disabilities and memory loss. The findings of the animal study were published online in Molecular Psychiatry by a team of researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The researchers say the findings reveal that drug abuse by fathers — separate from the well-established effects of cocaine use in mothers — may negatively impact cognitive development in their male offspring.

The study, which was led by Mathieu Wimmer, PhD, a post-doctoral researcher in the laboratory of R. Christopher Pierce, PhD, a professor of Neuroscience in Psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, found evidence that the sons of fathers that ingested cocaine prior to conception struggle to make new memories. Their findings demonstrated that the sons — but not the daughters — of male rats that consumed cocaine for an extended period of time could not remember the location of items in their surroundings and had impaired synaptic plasticity in hippocampus, a brain region critical for learning and spatial navigation in humans and rodents.

Full story of fathers using cocaine and sons impairments at Science Daily

Regulating Availability of Cocaine and Meth Ingredients Helped Reduce Drug Use

A new study suggests restrictions put into place by the U.S. government on a chemical needed to produce cocaine have led to a reduced use of the drug in the past decade. Mexican police action against a company importing pseudoephedrine, which is used to make meth, also contributed to the decline.

The U.S. government cracked down on the availability of the chemical used in making cocaine, sodium permanganate, in 2006, UPI reports. Since then, the number of people using cocaine in the past year decreased by 1.9 million people, or 32 percent.

Full story of availability on cocaine and meth use at drugfree.org

Regulating Availability of Cocaine and Meth Ingredients Helped Reduce Drug Use

A new study suggests restrictions put into place by the U.S. government on a chemical needed to produce cocaine have led to a reduced use of the drug in the past decade. Mexican police action against a company importing pseudoephedrine, which is used to make meth, also contributed to the decline. The U.S. government cracked down on the availability of the chemical used in making cocaine, sodium permanganate, in 2006, UPIreports. Since then, the number of people using cocaine in the past year decreased by 1.9 million people, or 32 percent. After the Mexican government closed down a company accused of importing more than 60 tons of pseudoephedrine, the supply of meth was reduced significantly, researchers report in the journal Addiction. The researchers reported a 35 percent decrease in past-year use of meth after that action.

Full story of regulating cocaine and meth ingredients at drugfree.org