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To end drug crisis, bring addiction out of the shadows

11/8/21--Far too often, shame and stigma fuel addiction and prevent treatment, argues Nora Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. But replacing judgment with compassion can save lives. Volkow emphasizes that if we’re going to end the current addiction and overdose crisis, we must treat combating stigma as no less important than developing and implementing new prevention and treatment tools. Read

Withdrawal from Psychostimulants restructures functional architect of brain

9/27/21--In a new paper, publishing September 27, 2021 in the journal eNeuro, a multi-institution team of researchers describe how withdrawal from nicotine, methamphetamine and cocaine altered the functional architecture and patterns in the brains of mice, compared to control animals. Read

Blog: The cannabis industry and the term ‘medical cannabis’

9/9/21--In a Society for The Study of Addiction article, Dr Bobby Smyth MRCPsych PhD, a consultant child & adolescent psychiatrist at Tallaght, Dublin and a clinical senior lecturer with the Department of Public Health & Primary Care in Trinity College Dublin, shares his personal views about ‘big cannabis’ falling into the same category as ‘big alcohol’ and ‘big tobacco’ stating that in fairness to alcohol and tobacco corporations, they are at least subject to some regulations while it seems to be the ‘wild west’ for the cannabis industry. He further states that, sadly, there is absolutely no line dividing the “medical” cannabis industry from the “recreational” cannabis industry. Read

Beyond dopamine: New reward circuitry discovered

9/1/21--In a paper published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers from the Bruchas Lab at the University of Washington School of Medicine pushed the science forward on our reward pathways and found there is another pathway beyond dopamine. The Bruchas Lab is expanding knowledge of the inner workings of the brain and identifying treatments for psychiatric diseases. Read

Words matter: language can reduce mental health and addiction stigma, NIH leaders say

7/18/21--Leaders from the National Institutes of Health address how using appropriate language to describe mental illness and addiction can help to reduce stigma and improve how people with these conditions are treated in health care settings and throughout society. Read

Chapter Six – Exposure to drugs of abuse induce effects that persist across generations

4/29/21--This segment of the study highlights intergenerational and transgenerational phenotypes in offspring following a history of parental drug exposure. Special attention is paid to parental preconception exposure studies of five drugs of abuse (alcohol, cocaine, nicotine, cannabinoids, and opiates) and associated behavioral and physiological outcomes in offspring. The highlighted studies demonstrate that parental exposure to drugs of abuse has enduring effects that persist into subsequent generations. Read

Addiction should be treated, not penalized

4/27/21--Abundant data show that Black people and other communities of color have been disproportionately harmed by decades of addressing drug use as a crime rather than as a matter of public health. Nora D. Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), expresses in her Health Affairs article that it has been known for decades that addiction is a medical condition—a treatable brain disorder—not a character flaw or a form of social deviance. Yet, despite the overwhelming evidence supporting that position, drug addiction continues to be criminalized. Read

Teenage brains may be especially vulnerable to marijuana and other drugs

3/29/21--According to a new study, published in JAMA Pediatrics and led by a team of scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, adolescents and teenagers who experiment with marijuana and prescription drugs are more likely to get hooked on them than young people who try these drugs for the first time when they are college-aged or older. Read

Researchers at UTMB find that frustration is an additional factor of addiction based on studies with rats

3/2/21--A team from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) focused on drug addiction research have pioneered a new way to study frustration as a factor in substance use disorders. Traditional addiction research has focused on three aspects of substance use disorders: craving, impulsivity, or habit. Scientists hypothesized that a fourth factor, frustration, could also lead to escalation of drug use and addiction. Read

More than half of people using cannabis for pain experience multiple withdrawal symptoms

1/8/21--More than half of people who use medical marijuana products to ease pain also experience clusters of multiple withdrawal symptoms when they’re between uses, a new study finds. And about 10% of the patients taking part in the study experienced worsening changes to their sleep, mood, mental state, energy and appetite over the next two years as they continued to use cannabis. Read

Progression of cannabis withdrawal symptoms in people using medical cannabis for chronic pain

Cannabis-related psychosis, addiction, ER visits: For young users, marijuana can be a dangerous game

12/23/20--Marijuana is generating increasing concern as a dependency-causing drug capable of serious impairment and harm, particularly among its youngest users. While it was once doubted as an addictive substance, treatment professionals now say they are seeing more adolescents and young adults with cannabis use disorder. Often starting in their early teens, many graduate to daily use. Read

Uncovering genetic roots of marijuana use disorder

10/23/20--A large study exploring possible genetic influences on cannabis use disorder has identified two regions in our DNA—one newly identified and a second that replicates a past finding—that appear to contribute to one's risk of becoming dependent on marijuana. Read

A large-scale genome-wide association study meta-analysis of cannabis use disorder

10/20/20--The aim of the study was to conduct a large genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify novel genetic variants associated with cannabis use disorder. The findings support the theory that cannabis use disorder has shared genetic liability with other psychopathology, and there is a distinction between genetic liability to cannabis use and cannabis use disorder. Read

Genetics: The Blueprint of Health and Disease

10/12/20--Family studies that include identical twins, fraternal twins, adoptees, and siblings suggest that as much as half of a person's risk of becoming addicted to nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs depends on his or her genetic makeup. Finding the biological basis for this risk is an important avenue of research for scientists trying to solve the problem of drug addiction. Read

Dear Abby: Mom, who recently quit smoking pot, wonders how to make up for lost time

9/18/20--Dear Abby was presented with a question from a mother who recently stopped smoking after 20 years. She regrets all the time she missed with her family during that time and is seeking advice to establish a good relationship with family members. In response, Dear Abby states: You have already taken the first step in making it up to your family by admitting your smoking was hurting them and quitting. The next step will be to apologize to each of your family members for your behavior and let them know you know it was wrong and hurtful and that it won’t continue. Read

Does anxiety sensitivity predict addiction severity in opioid use disorder?

9/6/20--Increased anxiety sensitivity (AS), defined as the fear of anxiety-related cognitive, social, and physical symptoms which are misinterpreted as having harmful implications, has shown a relationship with substance use disorders. People with substance use disorders also experience addiction-related problems across several domains of life functioning. Read

Why ‘one day at a time’ works for recovering alcoholics

8/27/20--"One day at a time” is a mantra for recovering alcoholics, for whom each day without a drink builds the strength to go on to the next. A new brain imaging study by Yale researchers shows why the approach works. Read

Look beyond opioids to solve national substance use epidemic

8/28/20--A new study published reveals that three-quarters of participants in an inpatient addiction intervention program came into the hospital using more than one substance. The findings suggests that a singular focus on opioids may do more harm than good if doctors overlook the complexity of each individual's actual substance use. Read

COVID-19 pandemic impact on patients, families & individuals in recovery from a SUD

6/8/20--This report from the Addiction Policy Forum sheds light on the experiences of patients and impacted individuals on emotional and health consequences of COVID-19, overdose rates and barriers in safely accessing care during the pandemic. Supported in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Read

What is the Prevalence and Risk of Cannabis Use Disorders Among People Who Use Cannabis?

5/20/20--A systematic review was conducted of epidemiological cross-sectional and longitudinal studies on the prevalence and risks of a cannabis use disorder (CUD) among cannabis users. Study results indicate that cannabis users need to be informed about the risks of developing CUDs and the higher risks among those who initiate early and use frequently during adolescence. However, future studies are needed to examine how changes in cannabis policies may affect the risks of CUDs in the population. Read

What a father learned after losing both sons to drug overdoses

2/2/20--Steve Grant, who lost both of his children to drug overdoses, his older son at 21 years old and his younger one, five years later, at 24, tells their story in his recent book in hopes of his experience helping others. Read

Cannabis use disorder is declining among young adolescents and young adults

10/31/19--The prevalence of cannabis use disorder decreased in 2002 to 2016 among frequent users. Changes in social attitudes and the traits of frequent users may explain the decline, according to researchers. This is one of the first studies to examine the general health profile of people using cannabis daily or almost daily and the trends in the prevalence of cannabis use disorder in this population. Read

Addiction often begins with a ‘beautiful’ boy or girl

11/5/18--Robert L. DuPont, M.D., president of the Institute for Behavior and director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, discussed his perspective on the movie, "Beautiful Boy," a new film about the relationship between a good father and his good son as the teenager dives into addiction. According to DuPont, this movie is a cautionary story for teens and families, and one of the many reasons he highly recommends seeing "Beautiful Boy" is because of the riveting, relentless, and powerful portrayal of how addiction hijacks the brain. Read

Did my brother’s teen pot use lead to his schizophrenia?

1/19/18--Because pot is being legalized in more and more states, many young people assume it must be safe. However, when used by people whose brains are still developing (up to age 25), there is an increased risk of developing a mental illness. Recent studies have shown this vulnerability. Not everyone who smokes pot will become psychotic, but it is not harmless. Kids need to be warned about the huge risks associated with teen marijuana use. Read

A quarter of problematic pot users have anxiety disorders, many since childhood

10/24/17--According to new data from Duke Health researchers, about a quarter of adults whose marijuana use is problematic in early adulthood have anxiety disorders in childhood and late adolescence. The findings, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, also shed light on an estimated 4 percent of adults who endured childhood maltreatment and peer bullying without resorting to chronic marijuana abuse, only to develop problems with the drug between the ages of 26 and 30. Read

Brain region that affects drug use habits

6/27/17--Researchers have identified a brain region involved in cocaine addiction. The findings could lead to targeted drugs or improved behavioral treatments for substance addiction, including opioid dependency. Read

How to deliver a more persuasive message regarding addiction as a medical disorder

6/19/17--This commentary suggests that the problem with identifying addiction as a legitimate medical disorder which should be compassionately addressed as a health problem rather than a criminal justice problem may be in the messaging. Furthermore, it states that it would be more persuasive if addiction was recognized as being different from most medical disorders because of its high negative externalities, and that this makes the public more scared of and angry about addiction than they are about conditions like asthma, type II diabetes, and hypertension. Read

The AP learns to talk about addiction. Will other media follow?

6/6/17--The Associated Press took an important step in recognizing people with addiction as having a medical problem, not a moral one. The new edition of its widely used AP Stylebook declares that “addict” should no longer be used as a noun. “Instead,” it says, “choose phrasing like he was addicted, people with heroin addiction or he used drugs.” In short, separate the person from the disease. The style guide also clarifies other important language to maximize precision and reduce bias in addiction coverage. Read

Illegal pot use is rising in states that have legalized medical marijuana

4/26/17--According to a new study led by Deborah Hasin, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University in New York City, illegal marijuana use has risen faster, in recent years, in states that have legalized medical marijuana than in states without such laws. In addition, the percentage of people with "marijuana use disorders" — people who use the drug in unhealthy ways, or abuse it — has also increased at a higher rate in these states. Read

Drug and alcohol addiction treatment improved when teens stopped smoking

11/21/16--A Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researcher has found that addiction treatment results improved when teens in a residential program stopped smoking. The findings hold important implications for success in treating addiction since up to three out of four people with such disorders are smokers, try a significantly higher proportion than the overall national smoking rate of one out of every four Americans. Read

High-potency pot doubles risk of marijuana dependence

10/21/16--The more potent the pot is, the more likely a person who uses it is to become dependent on it, a new study from the United Kingdom finds. The researchers found that 43 percent of the participants who preferred high-potency pot were dependent on the drug, compared with 22 percent of the participants who did not prefer high-potency pot. Read

Brad Pitt’s battle with marijuana

9/20/16--According to a news source, Brad Pitt's love of marijuana tore apart Hollywood's alpha couple. It allegedly created what Jolie considered an inappropriate environment for their children. Over the years Pitt has discussed his lifelong battle with the demon weed, taking pains to distance himself from his youthful stoner image, with unsuccessful results. Read

The language of addiction and life-saving treatments

8/15/16--According to an article published in the Harvard Health Blog, generic the language used by the media is often problematic in addition to the pessimistic portrait painted about addiction. Read