Juul Will Stop Selling Flavored E-Cigarette Pods to Stores

The e-cigarette company Juul Labs announced this week it will stop selling most of its flavored e-cigarette pods in retail stores, The New York Times reports. The company will also shut down its social media accounts.

The company made its announcement in the face of increasing government pressure and a public outcry over teenage vaping, the article notes.

“As of this morning, we stopped accepting retail orders for our Mango, Fruit, Creme, and Cucumber JUUL pods to the over 90,000 retail stores that sell our product, including traditional tobacco retailers (e.g., convenience stores) and specialty vape shops,” the company said Tuesday in a news release.

Full story at drugfree.org

How exercise could help fight drug addiction

The siren call of addictive drugs can be hard to resist, and returning to the environment where drugs were previously taken can make resistance that much harder. However, addicts who exercise appear to be less vulnerable to the impact of these environmental cues. Now, research with mice suggests that exercise might strengthen a drug user’s resolve by altering the production of peptides in the brain, according to a study in the journal ACS Omega.

Re-exposure to drug-related cues, such as the location where drugs were taken, the people with whom they were taken or drug paraphernalia, can cause even recovered drug abusers to relapse. Prior studies have shown that exercise can reduce craving and relapse in addicts, as well as mice. Although the mechanism was unknown, exercise was thought to alter the learned association between drug-related cues and the rewarding sensations of taking a drug, possibly by changing the levels of peptides in the brain. Jonathan Sweedler, Justin Rhodes and colleagues at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign decided to explore this theory by quantifying these peptide changes in mice.

Full story at Science Daily

Newly Approved Opioid 10 Times Stronger Than Fentanyl

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new opioid painkiller that is 10 times stronger than fentanyl, USA Today reports.

The drug, Dsuvia, is also 1,000 times more potent than morphine. It will be restricted to limited use only in health care settings, such as hospitals, emergency rooms and surgery centers. Dsuvia comes in tablet form, in a single-use package.

Critics say the drug could fuel the opioid epidemic. While an FDA advisory committee recommended approval of Dsuvia last month, the committee’s chair voiced his opposition, HealthDay reports. Dr. Raeford Brown, a professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics at the University of Kentucky, urged the FDA to reject the opioid.

Full story at drugfree.org

Moving the motivation meter

Two novel drugs kickstart motivation in rats suffering from apathy and a lack of oomph, UConn researchers reported at the Society for Neuroscience conference in San Diego on Nov. 5.

Apathy steals the excitement from life. It’s a feeling of being fatigued, uninterested, and emotionally flat. People who suffer from apathy find it hard to exert effort, and life can seem tremendously difficult. One of the primary symptoms of depression, it’s also a side effect of certain medications. It can also be caused by inflammation from an infection or chronic disease such as multiple sclerosis.

Apathy and lack of motivation are hard to treat. Many medications that help with other symptoms of depression don’t help much with them.

But now, UConn behavioral neuroscientist John Salamone and graduate student Renee Rotolo have found that two new drugs can restore normal behavior in rats who lack motivation, pointing the way to potential treatments.

Full story at Science Daily

Pain isn’t just physical—why many are using painkillers for emotional relief

Australians are increasingly using prescription or over-the-counter painkillers to ease emotional, rather than physical, pain. Our cultural understanding of pain is changing, and as a result it’s becoming more difficult to distinguish intoxication from relief.

In my recently published book A Fine Line: Painkillers and Pleasure in the Age of Anxiety, interviewees who used painkillers non-medically said they did so mainly to ease forms of suffering they acknowledge may not be medically defined as pain. Yet they experienced them as “painful”.

The US is currently going through what many term an “opioid epidemic”, while more than 1,000 Australians died of an opioid overdose in 2016, with 76% of these deaths related to prescription opioids. Recently, the ABC reported that the high-dose opioid patch fentanyl has fuelled an opioid dependence crisis in regional Australia.

Full story at Medical Xpress