Painkillers now deemed most dangerous drugs

By Courtney Vaughn

Painkiller AddictionMORONGO BASIN — The newest health epidemic isn’t something you catch from others, and there is no vaccine for it, but it’s available at your local pharmacy.

A federal health agency is reporting a spike in prescription painkiller abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription pill abuse kills more people annually than heroin and cocaine combined. 

“Prescription painkiller overdoses killed nearly 15,000 people in the U.S. in 2008. This is more than three times the 4,000 people killed by these drugs in 1999,” a CDC report states. The findings led the agency to declare the issue a public health epidemic.

In 2010, 12 million Americans surveyed by the CDC said they used prescription painkillers for non-medical purposes within the last year.

Painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin are opiates. In addition to adverse health effects, they can become highly addictive.

“Along with changes to the body’s organs from abuse of painkillers, there are also psychological and psychosocial implications,” Donna Johnson, the registered nurse who directs emergency services at Hi-Desert Medical Center, said. “The medication becomes the center of the addict’s life, and the pursuit of more medication to feed the addiction.” 

Full story at The Desert Trail

Steven Tyler: Substance abuse ‘not the issue’

By Inside Track

Steven Tyler Substance AbuseBruised and battered Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler yesterday insisted that his fall in a hotel shower in Paraguay was not accompanied by a fall off the wagon!

“It’s not the issue,” said Tyler during a call into Matt Lauer yesterday morning on “Today” from Buenos Aires.

“People thinking that is natural and normal, it still bothers me,” said the “American Idol” judge, who went public a few months ago about tripping on his 12 steps. “But it’s something I have to deal with for the rest of my life.

“We flew last night from Paraguay after that incident and (now) we’re in Argentina for two hours. And anyone knows anyone who uses substances wouldn’t be up at this hour having a talk with Matt Lauer and the rest of America.

Full story at Boston Herald

Should High School Athletes Be Tested for Drug Use?

By Keith Ablow

High School Athlete Drug TestSooner or later, we need to respond to the fact that we have an epidemic of substance abuse that is taking a real toll on the lives of young people in America. 

These are not, by the way, only inner city or impoverished teens who wish to escape the realities of economic or social hardships. They are also suburban young men and women with every opportunity and resource. And they are not using only alcohol and marijuana (although these would be concerning enough).

They are snorting heroin, which is now plentiful in every single community in America. They are grinding up and snorting Adderall, the medication used to treat attention deficit disorder. They are taking prescription drugs bought on the streets or stolen from their parents—medications like Klonopin and Percocet. They are sniffing household cleaning supplies and aerosol products. They are buying and using products like Salvia from the Internet. They are doing anything and everything they can to get high. They are hooked.

Full story at Fix News

States Adding Drug Test as Hurdle for Welfare

By A.G. Sulzberger

Drug Testing For WelfareKANSAS CITY, Mo. — As more Americans turn to government programs for refuge from a merciless economy, a growing number are encountering a new price of admission to the social safety net: a urine sample.

Policy makers in three dozen states this year proposed drug testing for people receiving benefits like welfare, unemployment assistance, job training, food stamps and public housing. Such laws, which proponents say ensure that tax dollars are not being misused and critics say reinforce stereotypes about the poor, have passed in states including Arizona, Indiana and Missouri.

In Florida, people receiving cash assistance through welfare have had to pay for their own drug tests since July, and enrollment has shrunk to its lowest levels since the start of the recession.

Full story at The New York Times

Fact-Check: A Survey Links Facebook to Drug Use in Teens

By Maia Szalavitz

Facebook teen drug connection

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) released its annual “Back to School” survey on Wednesday. Among the findings: teens who use social networking sites like Facebook are five times more likely to use tobacco, nearly three times more likely to use alcohol and nearly twice as likely to smoke marijuana than those who do not.

In a statement accompanying the release of the report, CASA founder Joe Califano writes, “The results are profoundly troubling. This year’s survey reveals how the anything goes, free-for-all world of Internet expression, suggestive television programming and what-the-hell attitudes put teens at sharply increased risk of substance abuse.

Full story at Time Healthland