NIH-funded study finds teens prefer mint and mango vaping flavors

A new analysis suggests that teens prefer mint and mango as their vaping flavors of choice for e-cigarettes. Previous research showed that teens were attracted to nicotine vaping by the candy and fruit-flavored products offered by manufacturers. Products and trends are quickly evolving, and estimates of the specific e-cigarette flavors teens use are lacking; therefore, scientists wanted to find out which flavors are now preferred by teens. The report, published in JAMA, was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Cancer Institute, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Tobacco Products.

The study focused on JUUL products, the most widely used brand, which is available in multiple flavors. Data were from the 2019 Monitoring the Future (MTF) study, which annually surveys eighth, 10th, and 12th grade students in U.S. schools. A randomly-selected third of MTF respondents were asked, “Which JUUL flavor do you use most often?”

Full story at National Institute of Drug Abuse

CDC: 6% of teens take psychotropic drugs

The debate around adolescents and psychotropic drug use may be quieted – ever so slightly – by new data.

More than 6% of adolescents reported using psychotropic medications during the past month, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Six percent is pretty much what I would expect for the prescription of psychotropic medications based on what we know about new disorders and how prevalent they would be among adolescents,” said Bruce Jonas, a mental health epidemiologist with the National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC, who compiled the data.

Psychotropic medications are used to alter the mood, behavior or overall functioning of persons with certain mental health conditions.

According to the survey, which accounts for medication use between 2005-2010, adolescents were evenly split between taking antidepressants (3.2%) and drugs to address attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (3.2%), with relatively smaller numbers reporting taking drugs to treat conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

About 8% of 12-17 year olds in the United States have major depression, while about 11% of 4-17 year olds are diagnosed with ADHD, according to federal data.

Full story of teens on psychotropic drugs at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Study Points to Differences in High-School Crack, Powder Cocaine Use

The use of crack and powder cocaine both varies and overlaps among high school seniors, researchers at New York University and NYU Langone Medical Center have found. Their findings, which appear in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, point to the need to take into account both common and different at-risk factors in developing programming and messaging to stem cocaine use.

“Powder cocaine and crack are commonly collapsed into a single ‘cocaine use’ category in research, despite different contexts of use, reasons for use and rates of dependence, and adverse outcomes associated with use,” explains Danielle Ompad, a faculty member in NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and one of the study’s co-authors.

“While powder and crack cocaine do have many similar determinants, this study helped delineate overlapping, but different risk profiles associated with use,” adds Joseph Palamar, an assistant professor at NYU Langone Medical Center, Departments of Population Health and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Rates of powder cocaine and crack use have fluctuated among adolescents in recent decades, yet little attention has been paid to differences between users of powder cocaine and crack — two forms of the substance that are commonly reported together as “cocaine” use, despite having different effects and rates of negative consequences. For example, even in light of recent changes to sentencing guidelines, disparities between crack and powder cocaine remain high — possessing 500 grams of powder cocaine results in a five-year sentence while just 28 grams of crack brings on the same prison term.

Full story of crack cocaine in high school at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Warning signs parents can’t ignore

A state senator stabbed, his son dead from a gunshot wound.

A tragedy, to be sure. But for many parents of children struggling with mental illness — a wrenching experience in itself — it can be a truly chilling scenario.

Virginia State Police on Tuesday said Sen. Creigh Deeds was stabbed after an altercation with his 24-year-old son, Austin “Gus” Deeds. The younger man then shot himself, authorities said.

Austin Deeds withdrew from The College of William & Mary last month after being enrolled off and on since 2007, according to a statement from the school.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Tuesday that he had received a mental health evaluation under an emergency custody order on Monday, but was released because no psychiatric bed could be found in the area.

The vast majority of young adults with mental health issues do not become violent, although young adulthood is typically when symptoms of mental illness, including schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, surface, experts say.

Full story of mental health warning signs at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

‘Emerging’ tobacco products gaining traction among young, CDC survey finds

The percentage of middle-school and high-school students using so-called emerging tobacco products is increasing even as their rate of tobacco use in general is remaining relatively constant, federal scientists reported Thursday.

Last year, 6.7% of middle-school students and 23.3% of high-school students said in a survey reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that they had used a tobacco product at least once in the previous 30 days.

Last year’s overall rate of tobacco use differs little from what it was in 2011, when 7.5% of middle school students and 24.3% of high school students said they had used a tobacco product.

One in seven (14.0%) said last year that they smoked cigarettes, down from 15.8% in 2011.

But the surveys found a bigger change when they asked about hookahs, snus, dissolvable tobacco and e-cigarettes.

E-cigarette use nearly doubled between 2011 and 2012 for middle-school students, from 0.6% to 1.1%, and the use of hookahs by Latinos rose from 1.7% to 3.0%.

Full story of teens using tobacco products at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education