Drugs and Alcohol in the News

Substance Abuse Headlines

Heart Patient
Is There a Benefit to Moderate Drinking?. © Getty Images

Below are the latest drug- and alcohol-related news stories from sources around the world. For more information about alcoholism and recovery-related news, check the homepage.

Another Study Debunks Benefits of Moderate Drinking
Although some research has suggested that light alcohol consumption may actually reduce the risk for coronary artery disease (CAD), a study of 1,925 patients using coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) has found no association between light to moderate alcohol consumption and CAD.

Heroin Most Frequently Involved in Overdose Deaths
Between 2010 and 2014, heroin was the drug most often involved in overdoses that resulted in death, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. More than 47,000 people in the United States were victims of drug overdoses in 2014, including overdoses from heroin, oxycodone, methadone, morphine, morphine, hydrocodone, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium).

Deaths From Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids Increase
According to another CDC report, 33,091 people died from overdoses of illicit and prescription opioid painkillers in 2015. Deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids rose 72 percent from 2014 to 2015 with the highest increases in overdoses reported in New York, Connecticut, and Illinois.

Expert Says All Pain Patients Should Have Naloxone Too
Due to the risk of opioid overdose, all pain patients who have been on long-term opioid treatment should also be prescribed the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, according to Dr. Joanna Katzman, director of the University of New Mexico Pain Center.

The risk of overdose in pain patients can go from low to moderate to high too quickly, Katzman says.

Increase Seen in Risky Alcohol Consumption in Older Adults
An NYU study found an alarming increase in alcohol consumption among adults age 50 and over between the years 2005 and 2014. The researchers were particularly surprised at the increase in binge drinking among older women.

New Data Files Added to SAMHSA Archive
New files have been added to the enhanced Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive (SAMHDA) including 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) Public-Use Files; 2012 National Mental Health Services Survey (N-MHSS); 2013 and 2014 Treatment Episode Data Sets for Admissions (TEDS-A); 2012 and 2013 Treatment Episode Data Sets for Discharges (TEDS-D); and the 2014 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS).

Previous Headlines

Voters Expand Recreational Marijuana Legalization
Voters in California, Nevada and Massachusetts approved measures legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, while similar measures failed in Arizona and a recount is expected in Maine where legalization passed by a vote of 381,060 to 376,658. Florida and North Dakota voters approved medical marijuana use, but voters in Arkansas and Montana rejected legalized medical use of the drug.

DEA Moves to Ban Synthetic Drug Pink
After receiving reports of 46 deaths linked to the drug, the Drug Enforcement Administration has moved to temporarily ban the synthetic drug pink.

Also known as U-47700, pink has been placed on the list of Schedule I drugs for at least 24 months. A few states have also moved to make the drug illegal.

Groups Welcome Surgeon General's Landmark Report
The Legal Action Center, National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and Treatment Research Institute issued a joint statement in support of the Surgeon General's new report: "Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health." The report "calls for a cultural shift in the way Americans talk about the issue."

Can Antibiotic Help Treat Alcoholism?
Tigecycline, a drug already approved by the FDA for treating infections, may also be effective in the reduction of alcohol drinking, withdrawal symptoms, and pain, studies at Texas Tech and the Oregon Health and Science University indicate. The antibiotic's anti-inflammatory properties are believed to be the reason it has been shown to reduce binge and chronic consumption, in both dependent and non-dependent animals.

Nurses, PAs to Administer Buprenorphine Treatment
To address the need for expanded access to opioid treatment, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will begin training nurse practitioners and physician assistants to administer the opioid use disorder treatment buprenorphine. Once trained, they will be able to treat up to 30 patients. Previously, only physicians could do so.

Mom's Warmth a Key to Prevention?
A mother's warmth and sensitivity during interactions with their young children may be a key ingredient in preventing early onset substance abuse, according to researchers at the Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions. Children without maternal sensitivity shown to them as toddlers were more likely to develop higher engagement with substance-using and delinquent peers and drinking in early adolescence.

Continue Reading