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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

Tracking the number of registered medical patients by state

11/10/21--A study analyzing medical and adult-use sales numbers looked at average basket size and category preferences in both medical and adult-use markets. Findings indicate that currently there are 39 states that have legalized medical cannabis, and 19 states that have legalized adult use. Besides South Dakota, every state that has legalized adult use had already legalized medical cannabis at an earlier date. Read

Harm reduction infographic

11/3/21--The tobacco industry has been trying to co-opt the term 'harm reduction' as part of its business strategy to expand its user base and grow the total market for nicotine products. Read

One in five 13-14-year-olds has seen drugs being sold on social media

11/3/21--One in five 13-14-year-olds in England have seen drugs sold on social media, a new survey has shown. The survey findings, shown exclusively to The Independent, show school children as young as 13-years-old are seeing drugs - including class A substances cocaine and MDMA - being sold on social media platforms. Read

Stop Overdose

11/2/21--To address the increasing number of overdose deaths related to both prescription opioids and illicit drugs, the Centers for Disease Control created a website to educate people who use drugs about the dangers of illicitly manufactured fentanyl, the risks and consequences of mixing drugs, the lifesaving power of naloxone, and the importance of reducing stigma around recovery and treatment options. Together, we can stop drug overdoses and save lives. Read

The gateway drug phenomenon

11/2/21--The International Academy on the Science and Impact of Cannabis (IASIC) has a medical library translated for a common understanding of the many harms of cannabis or marijuana. According to IASIC, drug abuse literature and the public press periodically embrace or push back against the “Gateway” phenomenon of drugs like marijuana. The theory behind the notion of a “Gateway” effect has been recognized by parents and addiction treatment professionals since at least the early 1980s, and to understand the gateway effect, it is important to also understand adolescent brain development. Read

Opioid makers win major victory in California trial

11/2/21--Four manufacturers of prescription opioids won the pharmaceutical industry’s first major legal victory in the opioid crisis, turning aside claims by local California governments that they contributed substantially to the epidemic. Read

Tobacco and cannabis poly-substance and poly-product use trajectories across adolescence and young adulthood

11/3/21--This study characterized the prevalence, patterns, and racial/ethnic and sex differences of developmental trajectories of use and poly-use of 8 different widely-marketed tobacco and cannabis products across adolescence and young adulthood. Results indicate that over 40% of AYAs (adolescents and young adults) were classified into one of four poly-using trajectories involving use of multiple tobacco and cannabis products, including a sizeable subgroup characterized by substantial increases in poly-use after adolescence. Read

E-cigarette use and change in plans to quit cigarette smoking among adult smokers in the United States” Longitudinal findings from the PATH Study 2014-2019

11/3/21--In this study, U.S. nationally representative data was used to evaluate whether e-cigarette use by smokers initially not planning to ever quit is associated with change in plans to quit. Study results indicate that among adult daily cigarette smokers initially not planning to ever quit, subsequent daily e-cigarette use is associated with subsequent plans to quit smoking. Population-level research on e-cigarette use that is focused on smokers already motivated to quit may limit a complete evaluation of the smoker population. Read

Variations in Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) device and association with cigarette quit attempts

11/3/21--This study examined electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) devices classified as disposable, non-refillable cartridge, refillable cartridge, refillable tank, and refillable mod systems and examined if cigarette quit attempts varied by device type among daily and non-daily ENDS users. Read

Independent effects of entering recovery as a young versus older adult on long-term functioning and quality of life: Results from a U.S. national study of recovering persons

11/3/21--This study examined the relationship between the life-stage at which individuals entered AOD recovery, demographic and clinical correlates, and its relationship to a variety of indices of current functioning, QoL and well-being. Read

Prevalence and pathways of recovery from drug and alcohol problems in the United States population: Implications for practice, research, and policy

11/3/21--A study conducted to examine how, and by what means, individuals successfully resolve AOD problems indicates that tens of millions of Americans have successfully resolved an AOD problem using a variety of traditional and non-traditional means. Findings suggest a need for a broadening of the menu of self-change and community-based options that can facilitate and support long-term AOD problem resolution. Read

The association of type of cannabis product use and frequency of use with problematic cannabis use in a sample of young adult cannabis users

11/3/21--According to a study examining and exploring patterns and predictors of problematic cannabis use behaviors among young adults, differences in cannabis use problems across these classes and their predictors reveal the heterogeneity in cannabis-related problems experienced by young people. Combustible cannabis, vaporized cannabis, and blunt cannabis use may confer the most risk for cannabis abuse and dependency outcomes, with more frequent days of use contributing to increased patterns of risk. Read

Tobacco and cannabis poly-substance and poly-product use trajectories across adolescence and young adulthood

11/3/21--This study characterized the prevalence, patterns, and racial/ethnic and sex differences of developmental trajectories of use and poly-use of 8 different widely-marketed tobacco and cannabis products across adolescence and young adulthood. 3322 AYAs from Los Angeles, California completed 5 surveys from fall of 11th grade (2015) to 1–2 years post-high school (2018–2019). Read

One in five 13-14-year-olds have seen drugs sold on social media

11/2/21--One in five 13-14-year-olds in England have seen drugs sold on social media, a new survey has shown. The survey findings, shown exclusively to The Independent, show school children as young as 13-years-old are seeing drugs - including class A substances cocaine and MDMA - being sold on social media platforms. Read

Alcohol abstinence and mortality in general population sample of adults in Germany: A cohort study

11/2/21--The objective of this study was to analyze former alcohol or drug use disorders, risky drinking, tobacco smoking, and fair to poor health among persons who reported abstinence from alcohol drinking in the last 12 months before baseline in relation to total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality 20 years later. Data indicates that the majority of the alcohol abstainers at baseline were former alcohol consumers and had risk factors that increased the likelihood of early death. Read

Association of racial disparity of cannabis possession arrests among adults and youths with statewide cannabis decriminalization and legalization

10/29/21--In this case-control study of 43 US states with and without cannabis policy changes, decriminalization and legalization were associated with large reductions in race-based arrests among adults; however, the timing of effects suggests differential policy effects. Among youth, only decriminalization was associated with reductions in arrests and arrest disparities; cannabis arrests for adults and youth increased over time in states that did not implement a cannabis policy change. Read

Cigarette sales went up in 2020 for the first time in 20 years

10/27/21--Cigarette sales went up last year for the first time in 20 years, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Although it was only a 0.4% increase, it's still alarming since the number has been going down each year of the 21st century. It’s not known exactly why people are buying more cigarettes; however, some experts say more isolation and uncertainty increase the risk of substance abuse. Read

Public health impacts to date of the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis use in the USA

11/3/21--This study leverages the decades-long experience of legalization in the U.S. to provide an overview of the associated changes in public attitudes, cannabis markets and adverse health effects. Read

From Neil Young to John Lennon: 7 classic songs written about the crippling effects of drug addiction

10/23/21--According to an article written by Mick McStarkey and published in Far Out magazine, addiction has given rise to some of the most iconic songs ever written. A deeply personal and often very bleak subject, music has proven itself time and time again to be the greatest healer. McStarkey further expresses in his article that as the journey from addiction to recovery is often a very tortuous and never-ending time for the beholder, in many ways, lyrics and music have acted as another mode of therapy, helping those affected on their way to the light. Read

Alcohol is one of the biggest risk factors for beast cancer

10/20/21--Alcohol consumption is one of the major modifiable risk factors for breast cancer, causing 7 of every 100 new breast cancer cases in the European Region. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, WHO encourages everyone to understand that the risk of breast cancer can be significantly reduced by simply reducing alcohol consumption. Read

Perspectives of pediatric oncologists and palliative care physicians on the therapeutic use of cannabis in children with cancer

10/21/21--The purpose of this study was to determine the perspectives and practices of pediatric oncologists and palliative care physicians regarding the use of cannabis for medical purposes among children with cancer. Findings indicate that most pediatric oncologists and palliative care physicians recognize a potential role for cannabis in symptom control in children with cancer. Read

Nearly 100 civil rights, policy organizations urge congress to reject Biden’s harmful sentencing proposal

10/21/21--Today, nearly 100 leading civil rights organizations, community organizers, and policy groups issued a joint letter to congressional leaders opposing President Biden’s proposal to permanently classify fentanyl-related substances (FRS) as Schedule I drugs. The coalition calls on Congress to let the classwide scheduling policy expire and focus on passing public-health solutions, like expanding access to harm reduction and treatment. Read

State plans for government-sanctioned ‘Injection Sites,’ would evaluate quality of hard drugs and allow users to shoot up

10/24/21--Rhode Island is nearing the start of a pilot plan to give drug users a legal place to use illegal drugs. The two-year pilot is a first for any state, the Wall Street Journal reported. Rhode Island hopes to finish crating the rules for the sites in January and determine where the sites will be located in March. Some have questioned the project, but legislators who supported the project say the time is right. Read

Prevalence of adolescent cannabis vaping: A systematic review and met-analysis of US and Canadian studies

10/25/21--The findings of this study suggest that the prevalence of cannabis vaping has increased among adolescents in the US and Canada and that more effective preventive and response measures are required. Read

Frequent teenage cannabis use: Prevalence across adolescence and associations with young adult psychopathology and functional well-being in an urban cohort

11/1/21--This study aims to 1) examine the prevalence of cannabis use during adolescence, and 2) investigate links of frequent (i.e., weekly or daily) teenage cannabis use with psychopathology and functional well-being at age 20—compared to no or occasional use. Results indicate that frequent teenage cannabis use was common and associated with problematic substance use, more delinquency, and poorer functional well-being at age 20. Accordingly, frequent teenage cannabis users could experience increased difficulties in mastering the transitions of young adulthood. Read

CDC Reports record high 12-month drug overdose death toll

10/14/21--Drug overdose deaths in the United States hit a new record for the 12-month period ending March 2021, new government data shows. A record high 96,779 drug overdose deaths occurred between March 2020 and March 2021, representing a 29.6% rise, new statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics found. Read

Marijuana legalization was a mistake. Highly concentrated pot is destroying my son’s life.

10/17/21--Aubree Adams, director of Every Brain Matters and parent coordinator for a Houston recovery community, openly discusses in an op-ed her eldest son's addiction to marijuana and her initial denial of the fact until he attacked his younger brother and then tried to kill himself. She explains that marijuana, which has been linked to mental illness and psychosis in teens and young adults, slowly takes away your humanity, and says that this is what it did to her son. Read

National Hispanic cannabis council releases report on ‘State of the Hispanic Cannabis Industry in the U.S.’

10/14/21--The National Hispanic Cannabis Council unveiled Thursday a first-ever report on Hispanics in the Cannabis Industry report detailing the “State of the Hispanic Cannabis Industry in the U.S.” The inaugural report, authored by Nucleus One, a leading cannabis industry and business management consulting firm, delivers an informative overview of Hispanic engagement in the industry and the challenges and opportunities currently facing Hispanic businesses and individuals. Read

Study could pave way for creating safer opioids

10/14/21--In a study published in Nature Oct. 13, researchers looked at how opioids may have become so widely abused, and researchers may have uncovered answers on how to create a safer opioid: Design it to bypass the part of brain that feels pleasure, but retain the analgesic properties, which make opioids one of the most effective pain relievers. Read  

With overdose deaths soaring, DEA warns about fentanyl-, meth-laced pills

9/27/21-The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a public warning Monday that a growing number of fake pills bought online are laced with potentially lethal amounts of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, and blamed social media sites for not doing more to protect their users. DEA Administrator Anne Milgram reported that the amounts are staggering, and she believes we're in the midst of an overdose crisis, and the counterfeit pills are driving so much of it. Read

Murders spiked in 2020 in cities across the United States

9/27/21--The year-to-year increase in homicides from 2019 was the largest since national record-keeping began in 1960. But overall, major crimes declined last year. Overall, the toll of some 21,500 people killed last year is still well below the record set during the violence of the early 1990s. Still, several cities, like Albuquerque, Des Moines, Indianapolis, Memphis, Milwaukee and Syracuse, recorded their highest homicide numbers ever, according to the report. Read

Medical cannabis authorization and the risk of cardiovascular events: a longitude cohort study

9/10/21--Cannabis is increasingly used for therapeutic purpose. However, its safety profile is not well known. This study assessed the risk of cardiovascular-related emergency department (ED) visit and hospitalization in adult patients authorized to use medical cannabis in Ontario, Canada from 2014 to 2017. Read

In search of a better way to assess the risk of youth exposure to nicotine and tobacco products

9/27/21--The CDC examines middle school and high school students’ current (past 30 days) use of multiple tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, hookahs, pipe tobacco, and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). In addition to assessing current use of each product individually, the CDC tracks past 30-day use of any tobacco product (ATP). Both e-cigarette and ATP use rose dramatically in 2018 and 2019, leading public health authorities to label youth vaping an epidemic. Both measures declined in 2020. Read

Alcohol regulations show that bipartisanship can cost the public

9/27/21--According to an article published in The Hill by James M. Hohman, there can be public benefits when the government regulates a dangerous product. However, other pieces of alcohol policy offer few benefits to the public. States do things such as grant exclusive regional monopolies to wholesalers and distributors. The Brewer’s Association says that 43 states do this for beer. This does nothing to protect public health, but it does a lot to give wholesalers and distributors monopoly profits. Read

Why corporate social responsibility is BS

9/26/21--According to Robert Reich, author and former US secretary of labor who is also professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, big corporations would violate laws on worker safety, wages and hours and pensions, whenever doing so was cheaper than obeying the laws. And they’d fight like hell against such laws to begin with – all the while telling the public what wonderful citizens they were. 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

PMPSA’s Population Health Impact Model

9/13/21--Stanton Glantz and his colleagues at the UCSF TCORS submitted this public comment to the FDA stating that the PMPSA’s Population Health Impact Model for IQOS underestimates the health impact of IQOS, does not adequately address new published research and information on population health impacts, and does not demonstrate benefits to individual or population health, so FDA should not issue an exposure modification MRTP order for IQOS 3. Read

Fireside Project Partners with UCSF to study effectiveness of psychedelic peer support line

9/8/21--The non-profit Fireside Project announced its collaboration with researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) on a study of the effectiveness of its Psychedelic Peer Support Line for assisting people with their challenging psychedelic experiences. This will be the first study to analyze the potential public health impact of a psychedelic peer support line. Read

FDA can and should prioritize youth over Juul and other e-cigs sales while it ponders the long term

9/10/21--Health groups successfully sued FDA to force action after years of delays and deadline extensions that allowed thousands of e-cigarettes to remain on the market without any FDA premarket review and millions of kids to become nicotine addicts. The order provided that any product that did not submit a PMTA by September 9, 2020, or that had not obtained a permissive marketing order from FDA by September 9, 2021, was being marketed illegally and was subject to enforcement action by FDA. Read

Longitudinal trajectories of E-cigarette use among adolescents: A 5-year, multiple cohort study of vaping with and without marijuana

9/1/21--This longitudinal study sought to identify and differentiate between developmental trajectories of past 30-day e-cigarette use with and without marijuana (i.e., liquid THC) across adolescence (11–19 years old). With one exception, all trajectories of e-cigarette use escalated with age. Moreover, age of onset and progression in use were positively related. The most problematic trajectories, corresponding to more frequent use, were observed among the younger cohorts compared to the oldest. Read

Delta-8 available in 29 states while others try to ban it

9/1/21-- has been a sensation in the country. The popularity of Delta-8 THC soared throughout 2020 and many believed its reign of euphoric bliss would continue into 2021 and beyond. However, the federal government and the DEA are coming down in it, and several U.S. states are restricting or banning delta-8 is the result of confusing, conflicting, and unclear federal guidelines. Read

Marijuana use at historic high among college-aged adults in 2020

9/8/21--Marijuana use continued to rise among college students over the past five years and remained at historically high levels among same-aged peers who are not in college in 2020, according to survey results from the 2020 Monitoring the Future (MTF) panel study. This represents the highest levels of marijuana use recorded since the 1980s. Read

Legal woes of CEO’s spouse bring marijuana MSO Trulieve unwanted attention

9/9/21--The recent criminal conviction of the husband of Trulieve Cannabis CEO Kim Rivers has cast an unflattering spotlight on the multistate marijuana operator, focusing attention on how the profitable company secured its Florida business license and renewing questions about its dealings with a construction firm partly owned by Rivers’ spouse. Read

Canadian cannabis industry ‘increasingly fragmented’ despite M&A

9/9/21--According to a report by Bank of Montreal analyst Tamy Chen, the Canadian cannabis industry is becoming more fragmented than ever, with the biggest licensed producers continuing to lose market share as a whole. Citing data from analytics firm Hifyre, the report notes that the top five licensed producers represented less than 40% of the Canadian market in August, down substantially from a year ago when the producers accounted for more than half of all retail sales. Read

Opioid prescribing to US children and young in 2019

9/9/21--This study identified opioid prescriptions dispensed to children and young adults in 2019 in the IQVIA Longitudinal Prescription Database. Results indicate that almost half of pediatric opioid prescriptions are high risk, and to reduce high-risk prescribing, initiatives targeting high-volume prescribers may be warranted. However, broad-based initiatives are also needed to address the large share of high-risk prescribing attributable to other prescribers. 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

Recent cannabis use and myocardial infraction in young adults: a cross sectional study

9/7/21--The purpose of this study was to assess the association between recent cannabis use and history of myocardial infarction (MI) in young adults (aged 18–44 yr) using pooled data from the 2017 and 2018 cohorts of the American Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey of US adults. The association between any recent cannabis use and history of MI using a weighted logistic regression model that adjusted for demographic factors, socioeconomic factors, health-related behaviors, concomitant substance use and other comorbidities were assessed. They also assessed this association after stratifying by frequency of use and by primary method of consumption. Read

The vapes as strong as 125 cigarettes: Health fears over new craze among young people for super-strength nicotine devices

9/6/21--Health fears are sparked as a result of children buying super-strength vapes – equivalent to smoking 125 cigarettes. They are so powerful that young users have reported lengthy nosebleeds, coughing up blood, headaches, chest pains and dizzy spells. Last night experts warned vaping was a ‘huge crisis for young people’ and called for action. TikTok also launched an investigation after being alerted by the Mail and pledged to ban accounts and remove videos that promoted the possession or consumption of the products by minors. Read

Association of marijuana legalization with marijuana use among US high school students, 1993-2019

9/7/21--Using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) for the period 1993-2017, Anderson et al found that RML adoption was associated with an 8% decrease in the odds of marijuana use among high school students. These authors, however, had prelegalization and postlegalization data from only 7 states and pre– and post–recreational sales data from only 3 states, calling into question the generalizability of their results. Read

Lawsuit files in B.C. argues criminalization of drugs is a charter violation

9/2/21--A group representing drug users has filed a lawsuit against the federal government in British Columbia Supreme Court seeking to decriminalize the possession of illicit drugs, arguing criminalization during the overdose crisis violates charter rights. Read

Safety and tolerability of transdermal cannabidiol gel in children with developmental and epileptic encephalopathies

9/3/21--In this nonrandomized controlled trial, CBD transdermal gel was well tolerated over 6.5 months of treatment, with 60% of patients experiencing a treatment-related adverse event, 96% of which were mild or moderate. A 43.5% reduction in seizure frequency was observed in focal impaired awareness seizures and tonic-clonic seizures. These results suggest that CBD transdermal gel is well tolerated in children with developmental and epileptic encephalopathies and may be associated with a reduction in epileptic seizures. 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

Phillip Morris International vets launch new agency for regulated industries

8/31/21--Jaime Suarez and Albert Moufarrij, , who both worked client side with tobacco company Philip Morris International, announced the launch of MACH9, which specializes in helping brands meet regulatory requirements while engaging with audiences online in a socially responsible way. Read

Delta-8-THC craze concerns chemists

8/30/21--The popularity of another cannabinoid, ∆8-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8-THC), is on the rise. Found in gummies, vape cartridges, tinctures, and other products, delta-8-THC is popping up in gas stations, convenience stores, tobacco shops, and cannabis dispensaries throughout the US and beyond—often with no age restrictions. Regardless of whether delta-8-THC is legal, chemists are sounding the alarm after finding several unidentified compounds in products labeled as delta-8-THC. Read

Federal Taxation of Cannabis: A Primer

8/30/21--According to the research documentation outlined and presented by Gordon Gray, Director of Fiscal Policy at the American Action Forum, as federal and state governments remain somewhat in limbo on the overarching question of legalization and associated taxation, the practicalities of how much and how effectively these products are taxed have policy implications for governments, local economies, consumers, and even complementary industries. Read

Substance use screening and rates of treatment referral among justice-involved youth

8/30/21--Data on screening and linkage to treatment within the justice system is lacking. Therefore, to further inform the juvenile justice behavioral health cascade of care, this study examined factors associated with identified problematic substance use and treatment referral using two screening tools. Study results indicates that regardless of tool used, treatment referral was low, highlighting the need for accurate identification of treatment needs of substance-using, justice-involved youth. Interventions to facilitate referrals for youth with problematic substance use are needed. Read

Addiction should be treated, not penalized: An interview with Nora D. Volkow

8/25/21--As part of the SDG3 good health and wellbeing initiative at Springer Nature, BioMed Central talks to Nora Volkow, research psychiatrist, scientist, and Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, on her views about the treatment of addictions. She argues that current laws and policies that criminalize and incarcerate people who use drugs are counter-productive, and exacerbate the current opioid overdose crisis and other addiction-related problems. Read

Bernstein Litowitz told to try again in effort to inspect JUUL’s books

8/24/21--Bernstein Litowitz, one of the leading plaintiffs firms for class actions against companies that suffer, drops in their values. They will have to try to make their inspection request again, this time under Delaware law. Grove represents Daniel Grove, who did not waive his rights to inspect corporate records under the California Corporations Code, threatened to bring an action in California to enforce inspection, and JUUL filed a case against Grove in Delaware seeking to declare he had no right to the books. Read

Use of electric cigarettes as a predictor of cannabis experimentation: A longitudinal study among German youth

8/12/21--This study aimed to investigate whether e-cigarette use longitudinally predicts experimentation with cannabis, and results indicate that e-cigarette use is associated with a subsequent initiation of cannabis use. This association seems to be stronger for youth who have a lower risk for substance use in general. Future studies need to investigate whether this is only true for experimental or also more frequent cannabis use. Read