Archive for August, 2013

New Anti-Prescription Drug Abuse Website Now Available for Hoosiers

Indiana officials are stepping up their campaign against prescription drug abuse with the launch of a new website and a series of public service announcements.

prescription drug abusewww.in.gov/bitterpill/ is a joint effort between Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force. Its goal is to educate Hoosiers about the dangers of Rx medicine abuse, how to properly store and dispose prescription medicines,  how to talk to kids about prescription drug abuse, and more.

Data provided by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) showed more than 700 residents of Indiana died from accidental drug overdoses in 2011. The new website hopes to reduce this number and steer kids away from potential addiction.

“Statistics show that abuse and misuse among all age groups is a serious problem in Indiana and that’s a bitter pill for our state to swallow,” Zoeller said in a news release. “Whether you are seeking ideas on how to talk to your teenager about whether they are abusing prescription drugs, searching for help for yourself or a loved one or just want to know how to properly dispose of your unwanted medications, this new website serves as a one-stop shop. I believe consumers need to be armed with information and the right resources so we can try to put an end to this epidemic.”

Zoeller mentioned the top five features of www.BitterPill.IN.gov, namely: Knowing the dangers, Dealing with addiction, Proper prescription disposal, Clinical resources, and Reporting illegal activities.

State Rep. Steve Davisson (R-Salem) agreed that the new website is a great resource in fighting the epidemic that “threatens the health of our state.”

The new website was unveiled in conjunction with the launching of a series of online, print, television and radio service announcements which will officially air on September 2.

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Recreational Use of Painkillers May Lead to Heroin Abuse Later in Life

A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) finds that people who use prescription pain relievers for nonmedical reason are at greater risk of heroin abuse.

prescription drug abuseThe Associations of Nonmedical Pain Reliever Use and Initiation of Heroin Use in the United States, which covered the period of 2002 to 2011, revealed that 12 to 49-year olds who had used pain relievers without a doctor’s prescription were 19 times more likely to have used heroin within the past 12 months of being interviewed for the report. It also indicated that 79.5 percent of heroin users had formerly engaged in nonmedical use of pain relievers.

“Prescription pain relievers when used properly for their intended purpose can be of enormous benefit to patients, but their nonmedical use can lead to addiction, serious physical harm and even death,” Dr. Peter Delany, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, said in a news release. “This report shows that it can also greatly increase an individual’s risk of turning to heroin use – thus adding a new dimension of potential harm.”

Even though the report said that only 3.6 percent of those who used pain relievers without prescription went on to use heroin within five years, the findings shouldn’t be regarded very lightly given the increasing number of people, especially teens, who turn to prescription drugs to get high.

From 2007 to 2011, the number of people who reported use of heroin in the past 12 months increased from 373,000 to 620,000. Heroin dependents in the past 12 months likewise rose from 179,000 in 2007 to 369,000 in 2011. The number of people starting to use heroin the first time in the past 12 months also increased from 106,000 people to 178,000 people during the same period.

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Hollywood Stars Who Confessed Using Drugs

Celebrities are role models. But they are not perfect. Sure they look flawless and their lives seem magical most of the time, but some of them often embrace certain habits that could lead to their own downfall and sometimes demise. As we all know, drugs and alcohol are a big thing in the world of glitz and glamour. And while some stars would usually deny ever using such substances, others are brave enough to admit that they have gone astray at some point in their lives.

Here are well-known celebrities who revealed their drug use and still managed to redeem themselves before it was too late:

drug abuse1. Angelina Jolie

The Golden Globe-winning actress confessed that she had tried “about every drug possible” such as cocaine, ecstasy, LSD and heroin. ” I went through heavy, darker times and I survived them,” she said during 2011 interview with 60 Minutes. “I didn’t die young, so I’m very lucky. There are other artists and people who didn’t survive certain things.”

2. George Clooney

He’s one of the most sought-after actors in his generation, but even that wasn’t enough to keep him out of trouble. In one of his old interviews, he said: “I’ve slept with too many women, done too many drugs and been to too many parties. I loved acid when I was at college. It was an escape. I liked mushrooms. They were like easy acid. I did like blow…Blow would dress you up for a party, but never take you there. You’re always like. This is going to be great! Then you’re just depressed.”

3. Drew Barrymore

She was America’s favorite child star. But unlike other kids, her past time included smoking cigarettes and marijuana, drinking alcohol, and snorting cocaine. She confessed having her first taste of rehab at 14.  In 1989, she told People magazine about her first experience with pot at the age of 10. She said: “… my addict mind told me, ‘Well, if smoking pot is cute, it’ll also be cute to get the heavier stuff like cocaine.’ It was gradual. What I did kept getting worse and worse, and I didn’t care what anybody else thought.”

4. Nicholas Cage

In 2010, the National Treasure star admitted in the David Letterman Show that he once used hallucinogenic magic mushrooms with his cat. “I had a bag of mushrooms in my refrigerator. My cat used to sneak into the refrigerator and eat them. … He ate them voraciously; it was like catnip to him. So I thought, ‘What the heck, I better do it with him,'” he said.

5. Johnny Depp

He’s portrayed way too many quirky roles since he started his showbiz career. But he was no different than other boys who tried vandalism, breaking and entering schools, even experimenting with drugs. “I don’t trust anyone who hasn’t been self-destructive in some way. Who hasn’t gone through some sort of bout of self-loathing. You’ve got to bang yourself around a bit to know yourself,” he told GQ in 2011.

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Synthetic Drug Ban in Florida Reaping Positive Outcomes

The impact of outlawing the sale of synthetic marijuana and bath salts in the Sunshine State is something that can’t be ignored. Even though some clandestine sellers are still offering Mr. Nice Guy, Cloud Nine, and Maui Wowie to a select number of buyers, new data show a significant decline in the number of emergency room visits and calls to Poison Control centers due to synthetic drug use.

synthetic drugsAround the state, calls to Poison Control centers dropped from 537 in 2012 to 109 in the first seven months of 2013. It’s been also noticeable that most gas stations and convenience stores have stopped carrying the so-called “herbal incense” and bath salts that were usually seen in fancy packages.

“The bans are working,” David Gross, special agent supervisor with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, told The Huffington Post. “They’re not nearly as prevalent and on display. The genie is out of the bottle and they know they need to conceal it or they are going to pop up on law enforcement’s radar.”

So far, more than a dozen cities and counties within Florida have banned synthetic drugs since last year. But officials warn the public, especially parents, to remain vigilant as there are others who’ll do everything to tweak the chemical ingredients of synthetic marijuana and bath salts in order to skirt the law and continue their business.

Funky Green Smoking Blend, for example, was recently seen being sold behind the counter for nearly $15/packet. It’s a fairly new brand of synthetic marijuana whose ingredients were possibly changed by illegal drug manufacturers in order to avoid the law.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has led a crackdown on synthetic drugs to keep them off the shelves for good. She continues to work with legislators and law enforcement to go after those selling the drugs as well as to identify emerging compounds and add them to the list of controlled substances.

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Poll Finds Anti-Smoking Supporters in America are Increasing

“Cigarette Smoking is Dangerous to Your Health”

smokingThat’s the phrase we see in cigarette packs for years and it seems that an increasing number of Americans are paying more attention to it than ever before.

According to a new Gallup survey, 22 percent of Americans today support a complete ban on smoking compared to the 12 percent in 2007. Twenty-five percent of those living in the western and eastern part of the country say they would support making smoking illegal while twenty-three percent in the south and twelve percent in the midwest would do the same.

More Americans are also becoming conscious about the negative effects of smoking, with 82 percent saying they recognize that smoking  is “very harmful” while 13 percent say it’s “somewhat harmful.”

As expected, very few of the country’s current smokers support smoking ban.

A report by the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation shows that as of July 2013  more than 22,400 municipalities across the U.S. are covered by a smoking ban in workplaces, and/or restaurants, and/or bars. A total of 24 states, including the District of Columbia, have enacted statewide bans on smoking in all enclosed public places. These states include Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Colleges and universities across the country are also taking aim on cigarette smokers with at least 1,182 of them implementing a smoking ban as a way to promote healthier lifestyle.

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