Almost 8 Percent of College Students Say They’ve Had Drugs Put Into Their Drinks

A survey of college students finds almost 8 percent say they have had drugs put into their drinks, known as “drink spiking.”

About 80 percent of victims of drink spiking were female. Women were more likely than men to say sexual assault is a motive for drink spiking, HealthDay reports. Men were more likely to say the reason behind drink spiking was “to have fun.” Other motives students cited were to calm someone down or to make them go to sleep.

The survey of more than 6,000 students at three universities found that 1.4 percent said either they had drugged someone, or they knew someone who had drugged another person.

“These data indicate that drugging is more than simply an urban legend,” study leader Suzanne Swan of the University of South Carolina said in a news release.

Full story of college students and spiked drinks at drugfree.org

Use of Stronger Painkillers on the Rise: Study

The percentage of Americans who take painkillers stronger than morphine is on the rise, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These drugs include oxycodone, hydromorphone, fentanyl and methadone.

The study found 37 percent of people who used a prescription narcotic painkiller in 2011-2012 used a drug stronger than morphine, compared with 17 percent in 1999, USA Today reports.

An estimated seven percent of adults use a narcotic painkiller, according to the CDC. Women are more likely than men to use opioid painkillers. The findings indicate that the use of opioid analgesics among U.S. adults has more than doubled since 1988–1994, when 3.4 percent used opioid painkillers, the CDC noted.

Full story of painkiller abuse at drugfree.org

Smokers Can Increase Quit Rates if They Take Medication Before They’re Ready to Stop

A new study finds smokers who start taking smoking-cessation medication before they are ready to quit have greater success once they do want to stop.

Doctors are currently advised to follow clinical practice guidelines that recommend patients set a quit date before they are prescribed smoking cessation pills such as Chantix, the medication used in the new study. Chantix is made by Pfizer, which funded the study, according to The New York Times.

The study included 1,500 smokers at 61 clinics in the United States and abroad. None of the smokers said they wanted to quit right away, but they all said they wanted to smoke less, and to quit within three months. Half of the smokers took Chantix twice a day, and the other half took placebo pills. Almost one-third of smokers who took Chantix quit within six months, compared with 6 percent of those taking the placebo.

Full story of smokers and smoking-cessation medication at drugfree.org

Federal Spending Measure Provision Ends Prohibition on Medical Marijuana

The federal spending measure passed over the weekend includes a provision that will end the federal government’s prohibition on medical marijuana in states where it is legal, The Los Angeles Times reports.

The provision, included in the 1,603-page spending bill, prohibits federal drug agents from raiding retail marijuana operations, the article notes. President Obama has said he plans to sign the spending bill this week.

Marijuana continues to be illegal under federal law. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies it as a Schedule I drug, which is defined as a drug with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Full story of prohibition ending on medical marijuana at drugfree.org

New Cigarette From Reynolds Will Heat Tobacco Instead of Burning it

A new cigarette made by tobacco giant Reynolds American will heat tobacco instead of burning it, the Associated Press reports. The product, called Revo, uses a carbon tip that heats tobacco after being lit.

Sales of Revo will begin in Wisconsin in February. The company said it is a “repositioning” of Eclipse, a cigarette it launched in the mid-1990s that has had disappointing sales.

Reynolds is trying to cash in on consumers’ growing interest in cigarette alternatives, the article notes. Unlike e-cigarettes, Revo contains real tobacco, which could make the product more attractive to cigarette smokers, said J. Brice O’Brien, who heads consumer marketing for Reynolds cigarette brands Camel and Pall Mall. According to O’Brien, Revo will cost about the same as a premium pack of regular cigarettes.

Full story of heating tobacco instead of burning it at drugfree.org