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Republished from drugs.comThe U.S. “epidemic” of prescription-painkiller abuse may be starting to reverse course, a new study suggests.Experts said the findings, published Jan. 15 in the New England Journal of Medicine, are welcome news. The decline suggests that recent laws and prescribing guidelines aimed at preventing painkiller abuse are working to some degree.But researchers also found a disturbing trend: Heroin abuse and overdoses are on the rise, and that may be one reason prescription-drug abuse is down.“Some people are switching from painkillers to heroin,” said Dr. Adam Bisaga, an addiction psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City.While the dip in painkiller abuse is good...

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TV, Movies Are Spreading the Message That Recovery Is Cool(not rated)Turn on the TV, and you’re bound to see someone who is in active addiction or in recovery. HBO’s Girls, Netflix’s Loved and CBS’ Mom are all exploring addiction story lines. Where maybe 25 years ago, addiction and recovery were taboo topics, now, there are dozens of TV shows, movies, plays and musical acts that are portraying addiction—and recovery. “The times are changing,” says Harry Haroutunian, physician director of the Professionals Program at the Betty Ford Center and author of Not As Prescribed: Recognizing and Facing Alcohol and Drug Misuse in Older Adults (Hazelden, 2016). Haroutunian, in a column for The Desert Sun, gi...

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A striking feature of the rollout of the state-legalized retail sales of marijuana has been the tremendous popularity of edible marijuana products. Marijuana brownies have long been a staple of cannabis coffee shops in the Netherlands, but the new products are quite different. They are skillfully produced and packaged to closely mimic popular candies and other sweets (see photoEarly Examples of Prepackaged Marijuana Edibles.). These products can now be purchased legally in four states; retail stores are operating in Colorado and Washington State, and voters recently approved retail sales in Alaska and Oregon.The new edibles raise public health concerns, including a risk of consumption by children. Although the states that have legalized ...

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When Jack O’Connor was 19, he was so desperate to beat his addictions to alcohol and opioids that he took a really rash step. He joined the Marines.”This will fix me,” O’Connor thought as he went to boot camp. “It better fix me or I’m screwed.”After 13 weeks of sobriety and exercise and discipline, O’Connor completed basic training, but he started using again immediately.”Same thing,” he says. “Percocet, like, off the street. Pills.”Percocet is the brand name for acetaminophen and oxycodone. Oxycodone is a powerful opioid. It’s one of the most commonly prescribed painkillers, and is a key factor in one of the country’s most pressing public health problems...

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Addiction is a chronic brain disorder and not simply a behavior problem involving alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex, experts contend in a new definition of addiction, one that is not solely related to problematic substance abuse.The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) just released this new definition of addiction after a four-year process involving more than 80 experts“At its core, addiction isn’t just a social problem or a moral problem or a criminal problem. It’s a brain problem whose behaviors manifest in all these other areas,” said Dr. Michael Miller, past president of ASAM who oversaw the development of the new definition. “Many behaviors driven by addiction are real problems and sometimes cri...

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It’s Not Just You….

Addiction blinds us to everything. It makes us selfish and so we don’t bother to remember that it is not just you that it’s affecting. It bleeds into everything in our lives.Five years ago, I lost my best friend to heroin. The thing is, he never even touched the stuff. The woman he loved, however, had an addiction to it and put her life in danger everyday. She had gotten herself into the deepest of trouble when her drug dealers came knocking because she hadn’t been able to pay. They beat my friend and took what they could to put toward her debt. This was the first time she finally saw it was not just her. The second time they came knocking, though, would be the last. He was shot and kill...

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Are Heroin overdoses on the rise as Prescription Opioid overdoses decline?According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., “Reducing inappropriate opioid prescribing remains a crucial public health strategy to address both prescription opioid and heroin overdoses. Addressing prescription opioid abuse by changing prescribing is likely to prevent heroin use in the long term.”Is this strategy responsible for the latest rise in heroin deaths indicating that these efforts to reign in the supply of prescription painkillers is pushing addicts to use heroin?Some say that the switch from opioids to heroin is due to the fact that states are making it harder to gain access to prescrip...

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