Meth Seizures on the Rise: DEA

Methamphetamine seizures by law enforcement are on the rise, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The DEA is concerned about an increase in meth trafficking and related deaths around the United States, The Wall Street Journal reports. Meth is becoming more common in areas such as the Northeast. According to the DEA, 347,807 law-enforcement meth seizures were submitted to labs in 2017, up 118 percent from 2010.

“Everybody’s biggest fear is what’s it going to look like if meth hits us like fentanyl did,” said Jon DeLena, second-in-command at the DEA’s New England office.

Full story at drugfree.org

Many Heroin Users Unprepared for Fentanyl OD

Though they know that nearly all heroin is laced with the dangerous synthetic opioid fentanyl, many Baltimore users aren’t prepared to prevent or treat fentanyl-related overdoses, a new study finds.

Baltimore has a thriving heroin trade and 1,000 opioid overdose deaths a year.

The study, by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, included 316 people who admitted recent illicit opioid use. All had heard of fentanyl and about 56 percent suspect most or all of Baltimore’s heroin is laced with it.

Nearly 75 percent said they were “quite a bit” or “very worried” about acquaintances overdosing on fentanyl, which is 30 to 50 times more potent by weight than heroin. Fentanyl and related synthetic opioids are the leading cause of drug overdose deaths in the United States — more than 70,000 in 2017 alone.

Full story at Health Day

Drinking and drug-use dreams in recovery tied to more severe addiction history

Vivid dreams involving drinking and drug use are common among individuals in recovery. A study from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Recovery Research Institute, published in the January issue of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment after online release in October 2018, finds these relapse dreams are more common in those with more severe clinical histories of alcohol and other drug problems.

“Anecdotally, the occurrence of drinking and drug-using dreams is a known phenomenon among people in recovery, but very little is known from an epidemiological standpoint about the prevalence of such dreams, their relation to relapse risk, and how they decay with time in recovery,” says lead author John F. Kelly, PhD, founder and director of the Recovery Research Institute. “Given that these dreams can be deeply unnerving, more information could help treatment providers, those in recovery and their families know what to expect going forward.”

Recovery from every kind of substance use disorder — alcohol, heroin, cocaine, cannabis — has been characterized by dreams that follow a common pattern: in the dream the person has a drink or ingests their primary substance. They experience disbelief and are overcome with fear, guilt and remorse until they wake up, relieved to realize it was only a dream.

Full story at Science Daily

How does smoking marijuana affect sperm?

With the increased legalization of cannabis, especially medical marijuana, researchers are interested in finding out more about its effects on health. One area that is currently under exploration is that of marijuana’s effect on fertility.

As recent research shows, men in Western countries are facing a fertility crisis. Sperm count in males of reproductive age more than halved between 1973 and 2011.

According to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, approximately 9 percent of men in the United States have faced infertility.

Full story at Medical News Today

Doctor-Targeted Marketing Linked With Rise in Deaths From Opioid Overdoses

Increased marketing of opioid drugs to doctors is associated with higher opioid prescribing rates and higher rates of overdose deaths, according to a new study.

Researchers found that counties where opioid makers offered doctors more meals, trips and consulting fees had higher overdose deaths involving prescription opioids, compared with counties where such marketing tactics were less aggressive, The New York Times reports.

The drug industry spent about $40 million to promote opioid medications to almost 68,000 physicians from 2013 through 2015, the study found.

Full story at drugfree.org