More Schools Stocking Naloxone in Response to Heroin Epidemic

A growing number of schools across the country are stocking the opioid overdose antidote naloxone in response to the heroin epidemic, The New York Times reports.

Schools in Massachusetts, Kentucky, Connecticut and New Mexico have naloxone for emergency use. New York State provides naloxone for free to schools, and almost 250 schools in Pennsylvania have received a free supply. In Rhode Island, all middle schools and high schools must have naloxone on the premises.

Full story of schools stocking up on Naloxone at drugfree.org

Brain scans could predict teens’ problem drug use before it starts

There’s an idea out there of what a drug-addled teen is supposed to look like: impulsive, unconscientious, smart, perhaps — but not the most engaged. While personality traits like that could signal danger, not every adolescent who fits that description becomes a problem drug user. So how do you tell who’s who?

There’s no perfect answer, but researchers report February 21 in Nature Communications that they’ve found a way to improve our predictions — using brain scans that can tell, in a manner of speaking, who’s bored by the promise of easy money, even when the kids themselves might not realize it.

That conclusion grew out of a collaboration between Brian Knutson, a professor of psychology at Stanford, and Christian Büchel, a professor of medicine at Universitätsklinikum Hamburg Eppendorf. With support from the Stanford Neurosciences Institute’s NeuroChoice program, which Knutson co-directs, the pair started sorting through an intriguing dataset covering, among other things, 144 European adolescents who scored high on a test of what’s called novelty seeking — roughly, the sorts of personality traits that might indicate a kid is at risk for drug or alcohol abuse.

Full story on predicting teen drug use with brain scans at Science Daily

Drug and Alcohol Use Among Teens at Lowest Rate Since 1990s: Study

American teens’ use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco has declined to the lowest rate since the 1990s, according to an annual nationwide study.

The Monitoring the Future study found marijuana use declined this year among 8th- and 10th graders, but remains flat among 12th graders, USA Today reports.

Full story of teen drug and alcohol use lowest since 1990 at drugfree.org

Experts: Universities Should Use Social Media to Reduce Student Drinking

Universities should use social media to convince students to reduce their drinking, according to a group of alcohol and public health experts. They suggest borrowing tactics from the alcohol industry to target alcohol-related messages toward specific groups.

The experts met at Boston University to discuss how to use social media to reach college students with anti-drinking messages. In a report on the meeting, the experts said educational quizzes could be targeted at students less likely to engage in risky drinking. Messages about therapy and rehab could be sent to students who may have alcohol dependence, Forbes reports. Messages could be tailored to a particular college’s drinking culture, the experts noted.

“I think for any organization trying to curtail alcohol use or binge drinking, it’s almost imperative to have a social media presence because that’s where the kids are,” said Michael Siegal , a professor at Boston University who studies the effects of marketing on youth substance use. “Especially since it looks like the alcohol companies have a presence, it can’t be a one-way street.”

Full story of social media reducing student drinking at drugfree.org

Rate of Substance Abuse High Among Pregnant Teens: Study

Almost 60 percent of pregnant teens say they have used one or more substances in the past year, nearly double the rate of non-pregnant teens, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have found.

Use of these substances continues during pregnancy, especially among younger teens, the study found. More than one-third of all pregnant teens ages 12 to 14 said they used one or more substances in the previous month, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Pregnant teens were most likely to use alcohol (16 percent), followed by marijuana (14 percent) and other illicit drugs (5 percent). The findings are published in Addictive Behaviors. The researchers found pregnant teens were less likely to use drugs or alcohol once they moved into their second or third trimester.

Full story of substance abuse among pregnant teens at drugfree.org