Even though the formula of OxyContin has been changed to prevent the abuse of the drug through crushing or dissolving it in water for snorting or injection purposes, addiction to opioids still poses a problem.
"We're now seeing reports from across the country of large quantities of heroin appearing in rural and suburban areas," Dr. Theodore J. Cicero, vice chair of research at Washington University's department of psychiatry, told the Los Angeles Times. "Unable to use OxyContin easily, which was a very popular drug in rural and suburban areas, drug abusers who prefer snorting or IV drug administration now have shifted to more potent opioids if they can find them, or to heroin."
FDA mandates drugmakers to provide more painkiller education for doctors, patients
Purdue Pharma LP conducting children's trial of OxyContin
Analysis: High prevalence of painkiller sales turning America into painkiller nation
In a new correspondence, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on July 12, Cicero and his fellow researchers collected surveys from more than 2,500 patients at 150 drug treatment centers in 39 states. The subjects had been at the centers for about a year and a half before and after the release of abuse-resistant OxyContin and were being treated for prescription opioid abuse.
About 36 percent of the patients at the end of 2009 said their drug of choice was OxyContin, but only 13 percent of them still used it as their primary drug at the beginning of 2012.Continue »
(CBS/AP) Manufacturers of powerful prescription painkillers will be required by the government to train U.S. doctors, nurses and other health professionals in the safe use of the drugs.
Prescribers will not be required to attend the sessions because making them mandatory would require a new law by Congress. However, medical professionals who take the sessions will be able to complete some continuing education credits - which are often funded by prescription drug companies - through this program.
The new FDA plan covers about 30 opioid drugs, including Purdue Pharma's OxyContin, Johnson and Johnson's Duragesic patch and Pfizer's Embeda. Opioids are drugs that simulate the effects of natural narcotics, such as the opium poppy. They are typically prescribed to people already taking pain medications, including cancer patients, to treat severe pain flare-ups.Continue »
(CBS News) Teenagers aged 13 to 17 are more likely to start smoking cigarettes or weed on an average day in June and July than any other month in the year, according to study results released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
An average of 5,000 youth start smoking cigarettes each day for the first time during the two summer months, compared to about 3,000 to 4,000 a day during the rest of the year. About 4,500 teens used marijuana for the first time each day in June and July. Average levels range from 3,000 to 4,000 kids a day the rest of the year.
"More free time and less adult supervision can make the summertime an exciting time for many young people, but it can also increase the likelihood of exposure to the dangers of substance abuse," SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde said in the press release. "That is why it is critically important to take every opportunity we can throughout the year to talk to our young people about the real risks of substance abuse and effective measures for avoiding it, so they will be informed and capable of making the right decisions on their own."Continue »
(CBS News) Alcohol in Scotland is about to get more expensive. The Scottish Government announced today that it will set a minimum price of 50 pence per unit (10 milliliters) of alcohol - or about $0.81 for every 0.34 fluid ounces of booze.
In U.S. dollars, that means a 750ml bottle of wine that costs $5.14 will shoot up in price to $7.56, or a bottle of cheap whiskey will go from $16.07 to $22.56 - about a 40 percent increase.Continue »
(CBS/AP) Pot use is becoming a big problem for U.S. teens, a new survey suggests. The Partnership at Drugfree.org released a new survey Wednesday that found nearly 1 in 10 teens said they smoke marijuana at least 20 or more times a month.
That amounts to a whopping 80 percent rise in past-month marijuana use among teens since the organization's 2008 survey. The report by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and MetLife Foundation also said abuse of prescription medicine may be easing a bit among young people in grades 9 through 12, but still remains high.
(CBS News) Why do some teens turn to drugs while others don't? According to new research, the answer may be found in newly discovered networks in teens' brains.Continue »
(CBS News) Some teens may think that 4/20 is a harmless stoner holiday to get high, but one concerned mother believes it's the gateway to a dark, drug-addicted path.
To help combat potential drug abuse that may result from smoking marijuana today, Debbie Moak, founder of notMYkid, is handing out home drug tests around the country in order to give parents a way to verify if their kid is drug-free -- and give kids an easy excuse to say no to drugs.
"After a discussion about methods (to say no to drugs), I would introduce the test because it gives accountability," Moak told HealthPop. "A kid could say, 'I can't do drugs because my parents will know.' Just like photo radar deters my speed, having a drug test will have them think twice about accountability."Continue »
(CBS News) There may be an antidote for cocaine overdoses just a few human trials away. Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego have created an injectable solution that has reversed the effects of what would have been a fatal cocaine overdose - in mice.
"This would be the first specific antidote for cocaine toxicity," senior author Dr. Kim Janda, professor in the department of immunology and microbial science and director of The Worm Institute for Research and Medicine at the Scripps Research Institute told Science Daily. "It's a human antibody so it should be relatively safe, it has a superior affinity for cocaine, and we examined it in a cocaine overdose model that mirrors a real-life scenario," he said.Continue »
(AP) A federal appeals court Tuesday weighed the constitutionality of requiring large graphic photos on cigarette packs to show that smoking can disfigure and even kill people, with two of the three judges questioning how far the government could go.
Some of the nation's largest tobacco companies, including R.J. Reynolds, sued to block the mandate. They argued that the government's proposed warnings go beyond factual information into anti-smoking advocacy. The Obama administration responded that the photos of dead and diseased smokers are factual.Continue »
(AP) NEW YORK - Sales of the two most popular prescription painkillers in the United States have exploded in new parts of the country, an Associated Press analysis shows, worrying experts who say the push to relieve patients' suffering is spawning an addiction epidemic.
Drug Enforcement Administration figures show dramatic rises between 2000 and 2010 in the distribution of oxycodone, the key ingredient in OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan. Some places saw sales increase sixteenfold.
Meanwhile, the distribution of hydrocodone, the key ingredient in Vicodin, Norco and Lortab, is rising in Appalachia, the original epicenter of the U.S. painkiller epidemic, as well as in the Midwest.Continue »
(CBS News) - Drinking and drug use may begin early for a lot of young Americans. A new study shows that by the time most teens reach late adolescence, most of them have drank alcohol and abused illicit substances.
The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, looked at a representative sample of 10,123 teens between the ages of 13 to 18. Researchers asked the teens in person about their drinking and drug habits, and then compared it to lifetime estimates of alcohol and illicit substance abuse.
The results revealed that 78 percent of U.S. teens had drank alcohol, and 47 percent of the group said they'd consumed 12 or more drinks in the past year. When it came to drug use, 81 percent of teens said they had the opportunity to use illicit substances, with 42.5 percent actually tried them.
Houston's toxicology report found "cocaine and metabolites" were contributory to Houston's death, but it also found other substances in her body including marijuana, Xanax, Flexiril, and Benadryl. The other substances did not contribute to her death, the coroner said.Continue »
Dissolvable tobacco is finely milled tobacco pressed into shapes like tablets that slowly dissolve in a user's mouth. It is gaining the attention of tobacco companies looking to make up for a decline in cigarette use as smokers face tax hikes, growing health concerns, smoking bans and social stigma.Continue »
(CBS News) Smokers sometimes have gruesome stories to share, as a lifetime of tobacco use can be damaging to a persons' health. The CDC wants to share those stories. In its largest national anti-smoking effort ever, the CDC launched a campaign of print, radio and TV ads featuring people whose lives have been ruined by smoking cigarettes. The spots will air for at least 12 weeks.
Although U.S. smoking rates have experienced decades of decline, the rate has stalled at about 20 percent in recent years. Last month, a federal judge blocked proposed graphic warning labels on cigarette packages, saying the images overstepped the bounds of free speech. But these CDC ads are more graphic than any other that have aired nationally. Will the ads be effective at helping the CDC reach it's goal of helping 50,000 smokers quit this year - or do they go too far? Keep clicking to see the ads from the CDC and decide for yourself...Continue »
(CBS News) Heroin addicts are often prescribed treatment with another opiate drug, methadone, to help them through painful withdrawal symptoms.
A new study suggests it might be cheaper and more effective to just use actual heroin.
Medically-prescribed heroin, known as diacetylmorphine, was found to be more cost-effective at helping ween addicts from opioid dependence than methadone maintenance treatment, the study shows.Continue »
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