A pernicious distinction of the first decade of the 21st century was the rise in painki ller abuse, which ultimately led to a catastrophic increase in addicts, fatal overdoses, and blighted communities. But the story of the painkiller epidemic can really be reduced to the story of one powerful, highly addictive drug and its small but ruthlessly enterprising manufacturer.
Researchers at Yale and Boston University and their Russian collaborators have found that occasional heroin use by HIV-positive patients may be particularly harmful to the immune system and worsens HIV disease, compared to persistent or no heroin use.
The findings are published in the journal AIDS and Behavior. READ MORE…
In the past 20 years recreational cannabis use has grown tremendously, becoming almost as common as tobacco use among adolescents and young adults, and so has the research evidence. A major new review in the scientific journal Addiction sets out the latest information on the effects of cannabis use on mental and physical health.
“E-cigarettes have the same physiological effects on the brain and may pose the same risk of addiction to other drugs as regular cigarettes, especially in adolescence during a critical period of brain development. We don’t yet know whether e-cigarettes will prove to be a gateway to the use of conventional cigarettes and illicit drugs, but that’s certainly a possibility. Nicotine clearly acts as a gateway drug on the brain, and this effect is likely to occur whether the exposure comes from smoking cigarettes, passive tobacco smoke, or e-cigarettes.”
A new, lifesaving product aimed at reducing the death toll from heroin abuse — developed by a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy — is in its final round of clinical trials and has received Fast Track designation by the Food and Drug Administration.
Naloxone is the standard treatment for suspected opioid overdose, already in use by emergency rooms and emergency medical technicians across the country. Opioids are the class of pain-killing drugs that are related to morphine, including prescription drugs such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, as well as illegal drugs such as heroin.
Currently, naloxone is administered by injection. MORE…
According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, of adolescents visiting the emergency department for any reason, one in five girls and one in eight boys reported dating violence in the past year. According to a study, dating violence among adolescents was also strongly associated with alcohol, illicit drug use and depression.
Newborns whose mothers were exposed during pregnancy to any one of a variety of environmental stressors — such as trauma, illness, and alcohol or drug abuse — become susceptible to various psychiatric disorders that frequently arise later in life. However, it has been unclear how these stressors affect the cells of the developing brain prenatally and give rise to conditions such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and some forms of autism and bipolar disorders.
New findings, published online in Neuron, identify a molecular mechanism in the prenatal brain that may help explain how cells go awry when exposed to certain environmental conditions. Read more…