Drugs and Alcohol in the News

Substance Abuse Headlines

Young People Drinking
Some Students Take Partying to Extremes. © Getty Images

Below are the latest drug- and alcohol-related news stories from sources around the world.

College Drinking Continues at Alarming Levels
Of the nine million full-time college students in the United States, one million of them drink alcohol on an average day, according to data from a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report. The report also estimates that 700,000 students are smoking marijuana on any given day.

FDA Approves Buprenorphine Implant for Opioid Addiction
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of a medical implant to treat opioid addiction. The approved Probuphine device contains the medication buprenorphine, which has been used in oral form for years to reduce withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to opioids.

Coping With Grief After Community Violence
Following the mass shooting in Orlando, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a reminder about several resources available to survivors and the community, including its "Tips for Survivors" brochure and the toll-free Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text "TalkWithUs" to 66746.

Opioid Addiction Growing in Older Adults
To deal with the aches and pains brought about by aging, more older adults are becoming addicted to powerful pain pills, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Women may become addicted to pain relievers more quickly than men as reflected in an increase in overdose deaths.

Overdoses Blamed for Record Number of Accidental Deaths
Preventable injuries, otherwise known as "accidents," claimed a record 136,053 lives in 2014, an increase of 57 percent over 1992. Poisoning, mostly from drug overdoses, is the leading cause of preventable death among adults ages 25 to 64, according to the National Safety Council.

Synthetic Drugs Pose 'Unprecendented Threat'
The spread of illicit fentanyl and other synthetic drugs pose an unprecedented threat for overdoses and deaths, especially among young people, according to testimony by DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. "Fentanyl and fentanyl derivatives represent the deadly convergence of the synthetic drug threat and current national opioid epidemic," Rosenburg told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Brochure Outlines Substance Abuse Parity Rights
A new brochure is available that explains the rights of individuals under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). The resource provides examples of common limits placed on mental health and substance use disorder benefits and services that are now subject to parity and gives tips on health plan benefits and coverage for substance abuse treatment.

Previous Headlines

Shortage of Addiction Counselors Intensifies
A shortage of qualified addiction treatment personnel is becoming a problem as the number of people seeking treatment for heroin and opioid addiction increases across the United States.

A high turnover rate for addiction workers - including psychiatrists, licensed counselors, and house aides - is only one reason for the shortage.

Suicide Increase Blamed Partially on Drug Use
After a period of nearly consistent decline in suicide rates in the U.S. from 1986 through 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that suicide rates have increased almost steadily from 1999 through 2014. CDC officials blame drug use and an economic downturn for the 24% increase.

Painkiller Abuse Costing Employers Billions
Opioid abuse may cost U.S. employers up to $8 billion annually, according to a report by the employee benefits advisory company Castlight Health. The firm reports that one of every three opioid prescription is abused and prescription medication abusers cost employers nearly twice as much in medical expenses on average annually as non-abusers each year.

New Synthetic Drug Is Super-Potent
Canadian authorities have seized four kilograms of a powerful synthetic drug, called W-18, they say is "100 times more powerful than fentanyl and 10,000 times more powerful than morphine." The amount seized in Edmonton was enough to manufacture hundreds of millions of pills.

Groups Warns of Mental Health Consequences of Marijuana
A group of scientists in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Australia have issued a warning of frequent use of marijuana increasing the risk of psychotic disorders in vulnerable people. The group believes that deterring heavy marijuana use could prevent 8% to 24% of psychosis cases.

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