Archive for March, 2015
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper addressed students at the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools’ Career Center to discuss prescription drug abuse and relaunch his awareness campaign on the issue. Roughly 35 students listened to the Attorney General during digital media and health science classes. Cooper visited the career center and Kennedy High School together with Judy Billings, who works with the Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit of the State Bureau of Investigation.
Cooper’s Stop Rx Abuse video campaign was a huge success in the state, and that’s why on its fourth year of running the campaign, he is opening up the contest to interested applicants as early as 12 years old. The competition invites high school and middle school students to submit PSA videos 30 seconds long to fight prescription drug abuse. Video entries must be uploaded to YouTube before the April 15 cutoff. Contestants who are awarded the best videos will receive any of the following: Apple iPad, iPod Touch, or Amazon gift cards.
Cooper believes that teenagers need to be aware of the dangers of this lingering drug issue. ““For most teens, finding prescription drugs to abuse is as simple as opening up the medicine cabinet… When used incorrectly of mixed with alcohol or other drugs, just one pill can kill and it’s critical that young people help us get this message out to their friends and classmates,” Cooper said in a news release.
The California Department of Public Health recently released two ads that target electronic cigarettes as the industry’s new addictive and highly toxic commodity. Two videos posted on the TobaccoFreeCA YouTube page highlights big tobacco as the primary driving force behind the rise in fame of e-cigarettes. Both ads claim that “there’s a lot the e-cig industry isn’t telling us about vaping.”
The first video ad entitled “Kids Aren’t Alright” shows how kids are being lured towards the seemingly innocent and ultra-trendy reputation of the electronic cigarette. Set to the tune of “Lollipop”, the ad reveals the exploitation of big tobacco companies on kids who don’t know any better.
Meanwhile, the second ad called “What Could Go Wrong” sends a strong message that e-cigarettes are backed up by the big tobacco industry.
The hazards of e-cigarette use have not been completely identified, but the Department of Public Health says that the chemicals inhaled through vaping can cause lung cancer as well.
The hippocampus is the human brain’s storage for long-term memory, and was recently found by scientists to be one of the casualties of heavy cannabis use by teenagers.
This discovery was based on a study by researchers from the Northwestern Medicine who conducted memory tests on young adults who took marijuana for about three years starting at age 16 to 17. Results of the study showed that these individuals fared 18 percent worse in tests that assessed long-term memory, compared to those who did not engage in marijuana abuse.
Study senior author Dr. John Csernansky, who works at the university’s Feinberg School of Medicine as head of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, said that marijuana use may lead people to serious repercussions not only to memory but also to relationships. “The memory processes that appear to be affected by cannabis are ones that we use every day to solve common problems and to sustain our relationships with friends and family,” Csernansky said in a news statement.
The study discovered that part of the reason behind the disruption of memory storage is the abnormal shape of the hippocampus in people engaging in chronic marijuana use. This was confirmed by lead study author Matthew Smith, based on not only the current study but also an earlier one. “Both our recent studies link the chronic use of marijuana during adolescence to these differences in the shape of brain regions that are critical to memory and that appear to last for at least a few years after people stop using it,” Smith said. Although further studies are needed to prove a direct causality of marijuana to create brain changes, Smith added that the team’s study is already proof that “marijuana may be the cause.”
As authorities zero in on prescription drug abuse and its effects on society, drug agencies are fearing that the situation — if left untreated or intervened — may lead to worse effects.
The San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse issued a statement via a news item, saying that unwarranted use of prescription drugs may eventually lead to dependence on other illicit substances such as heroin. “We see a lot of pain medications that are being abused, and that becomes a gateway drug for heroin abuse,” according to Abigail Moore of the San Antonio drug council.
What’s scary is the fact that many teenagers believe that prescription drugs are not dangerous compared to other types of drugs, which could probably explain why more adolescents are hooked on opioid medication. “Whether it’s adolescents abusing or taking prescription from their parents, or adults a using prescriptions that are prescribed to them or other family members, this is on the rise,” Moore said.
To make things worse, dependence on painkillers may lead to tolerance. “We’ve taken assessments where people have admitted to taking 30-40 pills day,” Moore expressed. In addition, heroin continues to be a growing business as proven by the rise in arrests due to heroin use by up to four times since 2008.
Early and successful intervention to treat anxiety in children and adolescents may decrease the likelihood of considering suicide during adulthood, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Study lead author Courtney Benjamin Wolk, who works as the school’s Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, expressed the importance of treating anxiety at a young age. “”This study underscores the importance of the identification and evidence-based treatment of youth anxiety,” Wolk said in a news release.
The study involved following up the condition of 66 patients who were identified during their childhood to be diagnosed with anxiety (generalized, separation, or social). Forty of the patients were able to successfully complete cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). After 7 to 19 years from the completion of the therapy, the remaining 26 patients who did not respond to CBT intervention were revealed to have thought about committing suicide within a year before the follow-up.”This study suggests the importance of ongoing monitoring of anxious youth who are not successfully treated for later suicidal ideation,” said study co-author Rinad Beidas, assistant professor of the research center.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.