What Influences Transition from Prescription Opioid Misuse to Injection Drug Use?


A new study finds there are no significant differences between young adults who misuse prescription opioids and those who inject heroin, except for the amount of time they have used drugs. The study of young adults in rural upstate New York found on average, it took four to five years between the time a young person started using prescription opioids and the time they started to inject drugs. “Unless they receive treatment, in another year or two it’s likely those who are misusing prescription opioids are on a trajectory to start injecting,” said lead researcher Holly Hagan PhD, MPH, RN, Professor at the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and co-director of the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research. “We have to figure out how to intervene now to help these young people with their substance use problem.” Most of the young adults in the study who were in treatment...

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Study Aims to Reduce Hep-C Transmission in Young Adults Who Inject Drugs


A new study aims to reduce hepatitis C (HCV) transmission among young adults who inject drugs. The study will equip participants with strategies to avoid situations and practices that put them at risk of contracting HCV. “What makes this intervention model different from others is that we are not focusing just on the moment a person injects drugs,” said study researcher Honoria Guarino, Ph.D., a principal investigator at the National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. and a researcher with the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research at NYU Meyers College of Nursing. “We are looking at the bigger picture—what factors are putting them in situations where they are likely to inject unsafely. We want to give them planning skills to help them avoid those situations or deal with them more effectively if they come up.” The growing population of young people who inject drugs is at extremely high risk for...

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Over 1.6 Million Could Die From Drugs, Alcohol and Suicide Over Next Decade: Report


More than 1.6 million Americans could die from drugs, alcohol and suicide over the next decade, a new report concludes. USA Today reports the findings come from the Trust for America’s Health and the Well Being Trust. The nonprofit group found in 2015, there were 39.7 deaths per 100,000 U.S. residents due to drugs, alcohol and suicide, compared with 23.1 deaths per 100,000 in 1999—a 72 percent increase. That number could rise to 56 deaths per 100,000 by 2025, the group said. “We see a connection among the three epidemics,” said John Auerbach, President and CEO of the Trust for America’s Health. “They are all behavioral health-related — that is, they have a substance abuse or mental health diagnosis associated with them.”

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Fentanyl is Key Factor Driving Opioid Overdose Deaths: CDC


Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is a key factor driving opioid overdose deaths, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fentanyl and similar drugs, such as carfentanil, are increasingly contributing to a complex illegal opioid market with significant public health implications, the CDC said. The CDC analyzed toxicology reports from almost 5,200 fatal opioid overdoses in 10 states between July and December 2016. They found fentanyl and similar drugs were directly responsible for more than half of the opioid overdose deaths, HealthDay reports. In most cases, fentanyl or similar drugs were mixed into heroin, often without the knowledge of the people who overdosed. In almost half of fatal overdoses involving fentanyl, the drugs were injected. Fatal overdoses also occurred when drugs were swallowed or snorted, the CDC said.

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29% of College Students Think ADHD Drugs Help School Performance


A survey of college students finds 29 percent mistakenly think drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) increase school performance. An additional 38 percent are unsure of the drugs’ effects on school performance, HealthDay reports. There is no evidence that stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall are effective study aids, the article notes. The survey included almost 7,300 students, none of whom had been diagnosed with ADHD. The belief that stimulant drugs increase school performance was especially high among students who misused the drugs. Among the 11 percent of students who said they had used stimulant medication for non-medical reasons in the past six months, almost two-thirds believed the drugs would boost their grades. The findings appear in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

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FDA: Don’t Mix Opioid Addiction Medication with Anti-Anxiety Drugs


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new warning about mixing medication to treat opioid addiction with anti-anxiety drugs. Both types of drugs slow breathing and brain activity. Combining opioid addiction medications with anti-anxiety drugs can lead to difficulty breathing, coma or death, the agency said. In addition to anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium and Xanax, other drugs that should not be combined with opioid addiction medication include Ambien and Lunesta for insomnia, muscle relaxers Soma and Zanaflex, and antipsychotic drugs Abilify, Invega, and Saphris, the Associated Press reports. Buprenorphine and methadone, also known as medication-assisted treatment, reduce opioid cravings and withdrawal without producing a high. The FDA is requiring changes to medication-assisted treatment drug labels. The new labels recommend that health care providers develop a treatment plan that closely monitors any simultaneous use of these drugs.

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Women Who Inject Drugs May Be At Greater Risk of HCV Than Men


There is a clear body of research assessing sex and gender differences in risk behaviors among people who inject drugs, however little or no research has investigated sex differences in hepatitis C (HCV) susceptibility. A newly published analysis examining data from more than 1800 people suggests that women who inject drugs have a 38% higher risk of contracting HCV than their male counterparts. Interestingly, while sharing of syringes and other injection equipment is a significant risk factor for HCV, differences in these behaviors did not account for the higher risk among women. The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National institutes of Health. The analysis used data from the International Collaboration of Incident HIV and HCV in Injecting Cohorts, a project of pooled biological and behavioral data from ten prospective cohorts of people who inject drugs, including the United States, Australia, Canada and...

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International Overdose Awareness Day Coming August 31st


International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event held on August 31st each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. An overdose means having too much of a drug (or combination of drugs) for your body to be able to cope with. There are a number of signs and symptoms that show someone has overdosed, and these differ with the type of drug used. All drugs can cause an overdose, including prescription medication prescribed by a doctor. It is important to know your correct dosage, what drugs definitely should not be mixed, and know to seek help if you feel you are not in control of your drug use. Globally, there is an estimated minimum of 190,000 – in most cases avoidable – premature deaths from drugs, the majority attributable to the use of opioids. The United States accounts for approximately...

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“Molly” Sold at Music Festivals Often Contains Other Drugs


People who think they are buying “Molly” at music festivals often end up with pills or powder that contain other drugs, according to a new study. Researchers studied data collected by the organization DanceSafe, which tested samples of pills or powder sold as Molly at music festivals in the United States between 2010 and 2015, The Washington Post reports. They found Molly, or MDMA, was present in only 60 percent of the samples collected. The rest contained a mix of ingredients. While most of the chemicals could not be identified, some samples contained methamphetamine. Several contained a potent form of the amphetamine PMA, which is more likely than many other drugs to be lethal with a single dose. The findings are published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

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Teens at Elite High Schools May Face Increased Addiction Risk as Young Adults


Teens who attend elite high schools may face an increased risk of addiction as young adults compared with national norms, a new study suggests. Researchers assessed more than 500 students from affluent communities starting when they were high school seniors through age 27. They found rates of addiction to drugs or alcohol among 19 to 24 percent of women by age 26—three times the national average—and 23 to 40 percent among men—twice the national average. The researchers said possible reasons for the increased addiction rate include pressure to succeed, having the money needed to buy drugs, alcohol and high-quality fake IDs, widespread peer approval of substance use, and parents’ lack of awareness, HealthDay reports. “Paradoxical though it may seem, these ostensibly privileged youth, many of who start experimenting early and often with drinking and drugs, could well be among the groups at highest risk for alcoholism and addiction in adulthood,” study...

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