Opioid Treatment Program Helps Keep Families Together

Velva Poole has spent about 20 years as a social worker, mostly in Louisville, Ky. She’s seen people ravaged by methamphetamines and cocaine; now it’s mostly opioids. Most of her clients are parents who have lost custody of their children because of drug use. Poole remembers one mom in particular.

“She had her kids removed the first time for cocaine. And then she had actually gotten them back,” she says. But three months later, the mother relapsed and overdosed on heroin.

“She had to go through the whole thing all over again — having supervised visits with the kids, then having overnights,” Poole recalls. Starting again from the bottom, the mom took steps to reclaim her life.

And, eventually, she did regain custody of her children. Poole recently ran into the woman at the grocery store.

Full story at npr.org

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

Binge drinking in adolescence may increase risk for anxiety later in life

A growing body of evidence supports the idea that alcohol exposure early in life has lasting effects on the brain and increases the risk of psychological problems in adulthood. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have found that adolescent binge drinking, even if discontinued, increases the risk for anxiety later in life due to abnormal epigenetic programming. The findings of the study, which was conducted in animals, was published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

“Binge drinking early in life modifies the brain and changes connectivity in the brain, especially in the amygdala, which is involved in emotional regulation and anxiety, in ways we don’t totally understand yet,” said Subhash Pandey, professor of psychiatry in the UIC College of Medicine, director of the UIC Center for Alcohol Research in Epigenetics and lead author of the study. “But what we do know is that epigenetic changes are lasting, and increase susceptibility to psychological issues later in life, even if drinking that took place early in life is stopped.”

“Epigenetics” refers to chemical changes to DNA, RNA, or specific proteins associated with chromosomes that change the activity of genes without changing the genes themselves. Epigenetic alterations are required for the normal development of the brain, but they can be modified in response to environmental or even social factors, such as alcohol and stress. These kinds of epigenetic alterations have been linked to changes in behavior and disease.

Full story at Science Daily

Is it safe to mix ibuprofen and alcohol?

Many people are aware that taking ibuprofen at the same time as alcohol is not always safe, but what are the risks, and when is it dangerous?

Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter medication that people use to reduce pain, inflammation, and fever. It is available under various brand names, such as Advil and Motrin, and in some combination medications for colds and the flu.

Alcohol and ibuprofen can both irritate the lining of the stomach and intestines. Mixing the two can cause side effects that vary in severity from mild to serious depending on the dose and how much alcohol a person ingests.

Full story at Medical News Today