U.S. saw big rise in meth, fentanyl use in 2019

A study of over 1 million urine drug tests from across the United States shows soaring rates of use of methamphetamines and fentanyl, often used together in potentially lethal ways.

The drug test results came primarily from clinics dealing with primary care, pain management or substance abuse disorders.

The results showed that between 2013 and 2019, urine samples testing positive for methamphetamine (“meth”) have skyrocketed sixfold, from about 1.4% of samples testing positive in 2013 to about 8.4% in 2019.

Similarly, the percentage of drug urine tests coming back positive for the highly potent—and sometimes fatal—opioid fentanyl have more than quadrupled since 2013, the study found. In 2013, just over 1% of the urine samples tested positive for fentanyl, but by 2019 that number was nearing 5%, said a team led by Dr. Eric Dawson, of Millennium Health in San Diego.

Full article at US News

A molecular map of the brain’s decision-making area

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have come one step closer toward understanding how the part of our brain that is central for decision-making and the development of addiction is organized on a molecular level. In mouse models and with methods used for mapping cell types and brain tissue, the researchers were able to visualize the organization of different opioid-islands in striatum. Their spatiomolecular map, published in the journal Cell Reports, may further our understanding of the brain’s reward-system.

Striatum is the inner part of the brain that among other things regulates rewards, motivation, impulses and motor function. It is considered central to decision-making and the development of various addictions.

In this study, the researchers created a molecular 3D-map of the nerve cells targeted by opioids, such as morphine and heroin, and showed how they are organized in striatum. It is an important step toward understanding how the brain’s network governing motivation and drug addiction is organized. In the study, the researchers described a spatiomolecular code that can be used to divide striatum into different subregions.

Full story at Science Daily

Exercise Plus Counseling May Help Treat People Addicted to Methamphetamine: Study

People addicted to methamphetamine may be helped by exercise along with addiction counseling, a new small study suggests. The researchers report exercise increased the number of dopamine receptors in the brain, which can lower the desire for the drug.

Using methamphetamine causes a release of dopamine, a substance in the brain that provides sensations of pleasure and satisfaction. It also causes methamphetamine’s high. Repeated meth use causes the number of dopamine receptors to decrease.

As a person recovers from meth addiction, the number of dopamine receptors increase over time, but the recovery rate varies widely. Other studies have suggested chronic use of meth can cause long-term problems in brain function that can affect a person’s self-control and judgment, the researchers said.

Full story exercise and counseling to treat meth addiction at drugfree.org

Quantum Units Education: New CEU Courses

Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress – An Applied Developmental Perspective

There are seven key principles that summarize the understanding of self-regulation development.  This CEU course provides a comprehensive framework for understanding those key principles of self-regulation in context, using a theoretical model that reflects the influence of biology, caregiving, and the environment on the development of self-regulation.  Consideration of how stress and adversity may impact self-regulation, along with the developmental tasks of self-regulation from birth through young adulthood, with particular attention to contextual factors that may impact development are also discussed.

Legal Protection for Older Adults During All-Hazards Emergencies

The guidance offered in this course is intended to help close many of the gaps in emergency planning and preparedness for vulnerable older adults.  In particular, this CEU course seeks to give public health officials, the Aging Services Network, emergency management personnel, and essential partners from other sectors and at all jurisdiction levels the critical information, strategies, and resources they need to improve the planning for and protection of vulnerable, community-dwelling older adults during all types of emergencies.

Competencies for Counseling the Multiracial Population

The goal of this CEU course is for the competencies discussed to serve as a resource and provide a framework for how counseling and other helping professionals can competently and effectively work with and advocate for members of the multiracial population, including interracial couples, multiracial families, multiracial individuals, and transracial adoptees and families.

The Problem of Prescription Drug Use in the United States

This CEU course sets out to improve the understanding of current prescription drug abuse activities and analyze a report which provides a review of current initiatives and identifies opportunities to ensure the safe use of prescription drugs with the potential for abuse and the treatment of prescription drug dependence.

For more information on these new courses and many more, visit Quantum Units Education

 

Some Strategies to Protect College Students Against Drinking Too Much May Backfire

Some strategies college students use to help protect them against drinking too much may backfire, a new study suggests. Some of these strategies are associated with greater alcohol use and an increased number of consequences, the researchers tell Reuters.

Protective strategies can include making sure you go home with a friend, having a friend let you know when you’ve had enough to drink, avoiding drinking games or drinking water between alcoholic drinks.

The findings come from a study of almost 700 undergraduate college students, and 131 of their friends, who intended to go on a spring break trip and drink heavily on at least one day. They answered an online survey before and after the trip about drinking activities, protective strategies and negative consequences of drinking, such as fighting, passing out, or taking foolish risks.

Full story of protecting college students against drinking at drugfree.org