About Addiction: Drug use, Addiction Recovery, and smoking

We’re back with our weekly post about addiction news and research. We’ve got harm reduction in Australia, heroin ads that don’t work, the impact of drug abuse on children, and more. Get your 30 seconds of education for the day.

Using Drugs – Heroin, HIV, the law, and recovery

The Australian– There is a state approved heroin injecting room in Australia. The center opened to create a safer place for drug users to shoot heroin. 3500 individuals have overdosed on the premises without a single fatality, making for a very interesting way of combating drug addiction that would definitely fall under that harm-reduction model American hate so much!

Star Advertiser– When it comes to scaring individuals into not using drugs, specifically heroin, fear appeals do not seem to work in preventing future drug users. Fear appeals ads show drug users as violent, and often have missing teeth or skin problems. Apparently, audiences are smart enough to see these as not really representative of heroin users in general and they’re not buying it, making the ads useless in combating drug addiction.

Global Development– Eastern Europe and Central Asia have the fastest growth rate of HIV infection in the world (Russia accounts for between 60% and 70% of the epidemic). This may be due to sharing dirty needles when using drugs and the biggest problem is likely lack of prevention efforts for high risk groups.

Guardian– A senior police officer from Britain thinks that individuals should not be criminally prosecuted for possessing marijuana. By focusing less on drugs found among youth the police can focus on things they see as more important like hard core criminals. I’m sure our legalization friends will love this, although again, this isn’t legalization but decriminalization and parents will hate it.

Addiction Inbox– Meditation and exercise play a role in drug addiction recovery. Both methods apparently help to eliminate the panic and anxiety that plays a role in detoxification. Although it may not be the most popular method of recovery, we at A3 have already written about this and think you should give it a try!

Breaking the cycles–  A program called Partnership for a Drug Free America has five new drug programs in order to eliminate drug use among teens. These programs educate teens as well as their parents with a variety to drug information.

Smoking, pregnancy, and attitude

Science Daily- Women who smoke during pregnancy can hinder their children’s coordination and physical control (likely affecting boys more). Smoking during pregnancy can damage development in the fetal stage, so if you are expecting try not to light up (as our other post on pregnancy and smoking recommends).

Decoder– You are in for a good read on the changing attitudes of smoking. This blog gives an inside perspective on smoking and how it has evolved from the time it was considered “cool”.

Addiction’s impact on others

Philly Daily News- Addiction impacts not only the drug addict but their children as well. 15% of all children live in a household with an alcoholic and one in four children is exposed to a family member’s alcohol abuse or dependence. These children are often neglected when their parents are under the influence and that neglect can lead to some pretty terrible outcomes for the children themselves down the line.

Addiction Recovery– This is an excellent read on the importance of patience when it comes to addiction recovery. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will a drug addict’s wonderful new life. Recovery takes time so take a deep  breath and enjoy!

About Addiction: Prescription drugs, Alcohol prices, and prevention among teens

You know you care about addiction, and you know you love reading addiction news and research – A3 does it all for you and gathers things up in a nice little package we call our weekly “about addiction” post. It’s the fastest way to get the information you want, even if you didn’t know it was out there!

Prescription Drugs, drug safety, and sales

Reuters– Walgreen’s offers its customers a convenient way of disposing of their prescription drugs. This allows individuals to safely dispose of unwanted or expired drugs. The way that the program works is to place the unwanted prescription drugs in an envelope and send it to a medication incinerator. Controlled substances however are excluded from the program, I guess they’re afraid of bags of heroin and cocaine showing up at Walgreen offices?

Wales online– After being bugged to see if a man was in possession of illegal drugs, a number of men were sentenced to 48 years in jail for selling heroin. This undercover investigation lasted for six months, revealing a magnificent economy of drug use, abuse and profit.

Discovery News– Authorities discovered that eight illicit drugs, including cocaine, ecstasy, and methamphetamines, were detectable in the waterways of a Spanish national park. They’re worried about the threat of the drugs’ side effects to animals, but I have to say it makes me wonder why so many drug addicts are dumping their drugs there…

Alcohol Prices

Telegraph (U.K.)– A “price fixing”  system for alcohol prices has been suggested in the U.K., which is supposed to help reduce binge drinking encouraged by bottom priced alcohol. Economics experts in England suggest that all the policy will likely do will be increase profits for store that sell cheap alcohol. If our work here is any indication though, driving alcohol price up (as much as 100% in some stores) will certainly have an effect on some drinkers.

Health DayTax increases in alcohol prices may aid in alleviating alcohol problems. A study was conducted which showed that increasing the alcohol prices will result in significant reductions in many of the undesirable outcomes associated with drinking. So next time you go to buy alcohol and the price is too high just think of all the help you’re providing the community.

Addiction interventions and addiction treatment of teens

Time to act!- Perhaps one of the most important ways to prevent an addiction from happening is to catch it in its early stages and prevent it from ever developing. This website promotes primary prevention of as a means of addiction intervention and urges parents to act as soon as possible if you think your child is using drugs or alcohol.

DBtechno– Children who have regular meals are less likely to drink (read our coverage of teen drinking). This was attributed to parents having better, more consistent, interactions with their children at the dinner table. Kids who did not eat regular meals were twice as likely to drink and use cigarettes. Talk about a great way at starting on an addiction intervention early on in life – a nice relaxing dinner, and maybe some dessert…

ABC News– This article tells of the ill effects that alcohol can have to a child when alcohol is consumed during pregnancy. It tells the story of one family who could not stand their child’s “out of control behavior” likely brought on by FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). Read All About Addiction’s coverage of drinking during pregnancy.

Addiction Inbox– A great article using Dock Ellis’ perspective on LSD. Ellis is now speaking to inmates in correctional facilities, telling his story of how he was addicted to drugs and alcohol while playing baseball.

About Addiction: Drinking age, Drugs and violence and Addiction Treatment

What did you already learn about addiction today? I bet we can double, no wait, triple that in this post alone!!! Check out this week’s coverage of the most interesting, and informative online content about addiction.

Drinking Limits and the (really) young

Telegraph– Sir Terry Leahy, an owner of Britain’s largest super market chain, wants to change the drinking laws in order to prevent teens from becoming binge drinkers. Leahy points out that a lot of alcohol is consumed in homes, so he wants to create a law which will raise the age in which children can drink in the home. Currently, children can legally drink at home as early as 5 years of age. I hope they’re not throwing keg-parties that early!

Drugs, sex, violence, and more young

USA Today- Researchers in Scotland found that when an anti-smoking bans was in place the number of children hospitalized for asthma dropped 18% in the first year and they saw a decline in heart attacks. I guess their anti-smoking campaigns work better than U.S. ones.

Addiction Inbox-Check out this article on the effects of different drugs on sexual performance.

Decoder– This site give tips and tricks for raising drug free teens, it is a good read that includes tips on teachable moments, showing how you care, tips for talking about potential alcohol and drug use, and knowing what kids are facing today. Do keep in mind that about 80% of children engage in some kind of deviant behavior during their teens.

Fox News– Two of Mexico’s rival drug gang leaders have been captured, possibly marking the beginning of a new era in the country’s drug war. Many drug lords  have started surrendering, and “the criminals are no longer putting up resistance” when surrounded, according to a leader of Mexico’s anti-drug-cartel campaign. As we’ve written on A3, more than 28,000 people have died in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon launched the offensive against drug cartels soon after taking office in 2006, it would be nice if the drug war is soon over.

Addiction Treatment

Join together– Is it fair that older adults have to pay more for treatment? Substance-abuse treatment admissions for individuals who are  50 and older  has more than doubled between 1992 and 2008.  This can be attributed to unemployment,   homelessness, and the aging baby-boomer population. Maybe it’s the 60’s catching up with everyone.

Breaking the cycles– When individuals are several months into recovery from addiction there are often feelings of  anxiety, of being unsettled or worried, and all these emotions can affect  a person’s long-term recovery. One of the major reasons for this is worrying about financial matters. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission tries to help Americans in debt through its helpful website, Knee Deep In Debt.

News stories about addiction

The Hollywood reporter– Pat O’ Brien writes a letter to Lindsay Lohan asking her to look at her life and try to live in a way that will benefit her.

Justice Policy Institute– It has been reported that crime is down in all regions of the country. This is being attributed to reductions in incarceration times brought about by the tough economic reality. Policy makers apparently realized that locking people up for long periods of time is not smart economically and apparently this decrease in incarceration has brought with it a reduction in crime.

About Addiction: Stress, personal stories, alcohol and drug facts

Stress, PTSD, and a sex doll

Addiction Inbox– After many years of fighting in a war solders often experience post traumatic stress when they return to living their civilian life. There is no known cure for PTSD but there are medications that alleviate the stress experienced by many. Seroquel is prescribed to treat PTSD but  there have been many reported cases of  abuse of the drug. In this story, Dirk covers some of the facts, and consequences of duch drug abuse among PTSD soldiers.

Orange News– Talk about not getting over a breakup ! An Italian man paid  £12,000 to recreate a sex doll of his ex girlfriend. The man wanted the doll to look exactly like his ex though with some enhanced features. Is this sex addiction or simply a case of someone going a little too far after a tough experience? I don’t know but it’s worth a read.

Alcohol abuse facts and fiction 

Irish Times– The Maliebaan centre, has a unique way of  dealing with the care and rehabilitation of alcoholics. They believe that its residents will never stop consuming alcohol and therefore they try to help them end the dangerous binge-drinking by controlling their alcohol intake. Clients are allowed to order up to five liters of beer daily, with an hour between each half liter. The bar opens at 7.30am and closes at 9.30pm, and the only criterion for being served is that the drinker must be able to get up themselves from their chair, walk to the counter and be able to hold their half-liter glass steady. Hey, they are Irish!

Breaking the cycles– Reducing the drinking ages does not stop abuse of alcohol for individuals who are underage. Lisa talks about the reality of underage alcohol abuse in Europe.

Personal addiction stories and Addiction research drug facts

Popeater- Jamie Lee Curtis opens up about her previous drug addiction and tells how recovery was the single greatest accomplishment of her life. She said that without her recovery her life would have fallen apart. She thinks that recovery is an acceptance that your life is in a shambles and you have to change it. Curtis was previously addicted to painkillers but she has been sober for over ten years.   

PsyPost– A protein which is linked to mental retardation may be the controlling factor in drug’s effect in the brain. A study found that a protein known as methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2) interacts with a type of genetic material known as microRNAto control an individual’s motivation to consume cocaine. It is thought that MeCP2 may regulate vulnerability to addiction in some people through its inhibitory influence on miR-212. Without this influence, the expression of miiR-212 would be far greater in response to cocaine use, and the risk of drug abuse and addiction would likely be far lower.

Everything Addiction– Ezlopitant, a drug that has been shown to decrease preference for alcohol, has been found to decreased appetite in rodents, indicating another link supporting the relationship between alcohol and drug addiction and compulsive eating.

UCLA coverage of All About Addiction – Adi in the news

We don’t normally toot our own horn, but this one is big!

If you haven’t yet had a chance to check it out, make sure you read the recent UCLA Newsroom story about Adi Jaffe, A3’s originator, and about All About Addiction.

The story chronicles much of the stuff we’ve already talked about on A3, including Adi’s drug addiction history, his studies about addiction at UCLA, and his dissertation research, which we’re sure he’ll talk about more on here soon.

Also mentioned is the new A3 Rehab-Finder, which we’re certain will soon become one of the most utilized tools to make finding addiction treatment in the U.S. (and around the world?) easier and more efficient.

As a UCLA fan and participant for over 12 years, Adi couldn’t be more excited to have one of the first big stories written about his work published directly on the school’s website. The story’s also been picked up by the general University of California Newsroom and by PhysOrg and a number of other great online resources.

Hard work pays off!!!

About Addiction: Addiction Treatment, distress, kids with drugs, and your brain

This week our wrap-up includes articles about addiction, sometimes in kids, and the stress that can often accompany them As usual, we’ll educate you in 30 seconds flat and give you a window to this week’s hot stories.

Addiction treatment access

Boston Globe – Read about the often sad reality of American soldiers who become addicted to medications prescribed to them during service by medical staff and are then left holding the tab when it comes time to pay. Hopefully this practice is a thing of the past now that TRICARE, the military’s heath-insurance provider is allowing for future claims.  This should speed up the process and reimburse addicted service members for the out-of-pocket costs they have previously owed when they were using these drugs.

Addiction Inbox– Check out Charlie Lloyd’s account of the devastating effect of drug addiction stigma on treatment seeking. If we want to help, and not simply reinforce, the problem we must focus on education about addiction and not scare tactics.

Youth and drugs/addiction

Fox News– A two year old Indonesian boy has finally kicked his habit of smoking two packs a cigarettes a day. The toddler apparently first obtained the cigarettes from his father and became addicted quickly. Gives a whole new meaning to starting early…

The Vancouver Sun– Lindsey Lohan has opened up about her addiction in an interview with Vanity Fair. Lindsay conducted this interview before she went to serve her jail sentence and admitted that her actions were irresponsible and that she is addicted to prescription pills. LiLo would like to put the past behind her and get her career back. Good luck.

UPI– A Hawaiian man is suing a video games creator claiming that it lead to an addiction that left him unable to bathe, eat, dress, or wake during the day. Smallwood claims he spent more than 20,000 hours on his addiction and believes that the game should issue a warning that it may cause addiction because Smallwood still has a “compulsive urge and need” to play the game.

Body, brain, (di)stress, and death

Psypost – Young adults who get fewer than eight hours of sleep have a greater risk of developing  psychological mental  distress as well as depression and anxiety. This distress increased 14% for each hour lost in a night’s sleep. Get those ZZZZZZZZ’s !!!

Neurodynamics – A great read if you want to learn about the way in which the brain responds to stress. The amygdala,  the hippocampus, and the prefrontal cortex all play important parts, and this article will help you understand why and how.

Time– Abstainers apparently have shorter life expectancies than moderate drinkers. While the effect is similar to the reduced life-span of heavy drinkers, it’s a quirky finding that keeps showing up. There are a slew of suggestions and interesting ideas if you follow this article all the way to the study itself. The bottom line – Light and moderate drinkers likely do better than abstainers or heavy drinkers (alcoholics?) in the long run, even when a whole bunch of other factors are accounted for.

Breaking the cycles-What would you do if a police officer pulled you over and arrested you for driving under the influence if you BAC was not .08? This is a reality and the reason for the DUI is  the inability to drive a car with the same caution characteristic of a sober person. This inability to drive as carefully as a sober person is determined by the manner in which the car was driven, the physical signs and symptoms of the driver and the driver’s performance on field sobriety tests. This definitely give a new meaning to being careful when you have a few drinks and drive home.

Believing in Recovery: Addiction treatment and faith

Faith Hill seems to believeSarah Henderson return with another article about addiction treatment and recovery. This time, Sarah gets all philosophical with us and discusses the concept of faith in recovery. Personally, my faith is and always has been very logic-based. I’m not a very spiritual person, and the things that are most important to me are usually right around me – my family, my work, and my new baby boy Kai. I’m not against the concept of a higher power, I just don’t feel a deep need for it and it’s probably the one concept that doesn’t keep me up at night (which is weird now that I think about it). But in the addiction treatment and recovery field, faith is a common word that can take on different connotations so I think it’s important to talk about.

Believing in Recovery: Articles of faith

I have a friend who is researching the history of the Bible. He’s on a bit of a mission, searching for some verifiable proof of certain articles of faith. He and I have lengthy discussions on this, going back and forth on the nature of faith, on whether or not one needs proof to believe. His position is, wouldn’t it completely change everything if we COULD verify the existence of God? My position is, yes it would; proof would make faith irrelevant.

Think about it. If you have proof of the existence of something, then believing in it is no longer faith, is it? It’s not even belief. It’s just actuality. I believe there’s a reason that we as a species have never been given proof of the existence of a higher being. (From here on out, I’m going to refer to this being as God.) I don’t believe that we, with our tiny human brains, have the capacity to understand or conceive of God. I also think part of the wisdom in perpetuating the mystery is that it keeps us engaged, keeps us seeking, keeps us wondering.

Faith is a very common word around addiction treatment and recoveryThe character House, MD (who is an atheist) said on one episode, “I love how people are always so proud of believing in something that isn’t there, like that’s some sort of accomplishment.” Well, actually is IS an accomplishment. Believing in nothing doesn’t take a whole lot of work. But believing in God without any verifiable evidence? That takes effort, takes devotion, takes love. Faith is a difficult path, no matter what you believe in. I also think that in believing in something outside of ourselves teaches us to believe in each other. For instance, when falling in love; you have to hold out your heart with no certainty that this person will not crush it. When forgiving someone; you are risking that they will hurt you again, but trusting that they won’t. When learning something new; you may fall flat on your face, but you have to believe that you can do it. If people never took a chance on each other, no one would ever get married, move away, try a new career, or have kids. Eventually, we all have to have faith in something, even if it’s just our own capabilities.Can you imagine a world without faith? I can’t. It’s what helps us believe in the future, surrender to the moment, look up when the world is falling apart and trust that things will right themselves soon.

When it comes to recovery, faith is essential- and I’m not just talking about God or religion. While attempting to recover from an addiction or other self-destructive behavior, you must have belief. First, you need to believe in yourself. You have to have confidence in your own ability to fight, to know that you have it in you to make it. And when that belief falters, as it inevitably does, you need to have faith in something outside of yourself too. You’ve got to hold on to something- God, a friend, the stars, the color blue- some entity to turn to when your confidence in yourself is flagging. And of course, there will be times when you are overwhelmed and feel like the pain of the transition is going to last forever. You have to be loyal to the concept that if you continue on the path of recovery, eventually you will find peace; that’s the “fake it ’til you make it” part. But it doesn’t happen without faith.

The word “faith” in itself has become so loaded that I think we often lose sight of what it really means; though truthfully, I think we each have to create our own personal definitions. To me, faith mean taking chances. And in recovery, that meant everything from eating when I wasn’t sure if it wold make me gain weight to reaching out to a friend without being sure I would get a response. All of those little risks built on each other until I developed some true self-confidence. With that in hand, I was able to make more proactive choices that have helped me get to the place I am now.

No matter what you believe in or how you define faith, I think we can all agree that recovery is something that cannot be done alone. It requires both external AND internal resources. At some point we all are faced with the fact that it will probably feel worse before it feels better; and in most cases, the only thing that keep us walking across that painful bridge is having faith that we’ll reach the other side.

A final word from Adi about  faith and believing in recovery

As I mentioned above, my faith is centered the things close to me and I don’t dedicate too much time to wondering about the existence of that god everyone is fighting about. Unlike Sarah, I see belief as something different than religious faith. As a scientist, I can believe information and data about addiction without having to make any leap other than in the objectivity of science and the honesty of scientists (which has certainly proven to be wrong at times). However, while I can see why people believe in a god, from the beautiful shafts of light that bounce off an ocean after a storm to the notion that there must be a master plan to make sense of all the pain and suffering in the world, I sometimes wish that I believed in a real higher power.

That’s not to say that I can’t see any power out there as greater than my own – Nature, humanity, my family, and the love I feel for my son are all ideas who’s incredible power is easy for me to grasp. Personally, that’s enough. When it comes to addiction treatment and recovery, I’ve seen the information, I’ve read the research, and I’ve personally experienced and viewed many success stories so belief doesn’t take a leap for me. That’s why I think education is so important and anonymity can be dangerous – By making successful recovery a point-of-fact, we make it easier for active addicts, and their loved ones, to believe that a different life is possible.