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Friday, February 22, 2013

2013 National Rx Drug Abuse Summit

As the prescription drug epidemic continues to ravage the American people many have come together to discuss solutions to this ever growing problem - a problem that continually steals loved ones from their family. The 2013 National Prescription Drug Abuse Summit is approaching fast, the dates are April 2nd through the 4th, 2013. Please take a moment to read the President and CEO of Operation Unite Karen Kelly’s commentary on the event:

"Underscoring the importance of collaboration in the national fight against prescription drug abuse, the 2013 National Rx Drug Abuse Summit will focus on ways participants can “Make an Impact” not only in their communities, but on the country as a whole. 

With accidental prescription overdose deaths occurring at 1 every 15 minutes (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), emergency room visits nearly doubling in the past five years, and hospital admissions increasing 400 percent over the past decade, it is imperative we act immediately. 

The second National Rx Drug Abuse Summit – to be held April 2-4, 2013, at the Omni Orlando Resort at Champions Gate in Florida – will help in this effort. By bringing together professionals from many disciplines, the Summit provides all stakeholders timely, relevant and evidence-based information. This type of collaboration enables bringing impactful solutions to communities across the United States. 

An example of how a holistic approach can succeed can be found in New York City, where their High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) law enforcement team partnered with public health agencies to analyze data and create a game plan to tackle the issues. Collaborations of this type need to be shared and replicated in other communities. By learning from the success of others we can have the greatest impact. 

Keynote presentations will include: Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);Dr. Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of food and drugs with the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Frances Harding, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention; Joe Rannazzisi, deputy assistant administrator of the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control; Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP); and Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, chair of the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations, among others. 

The Summit includes 30 break-out sessions grouped in tracks – Law Enforcement, Education/Advocacy, Clinical, Treatment, Pharmacy and Third-Party Payer – workshops, vision sessions, and a panel discussion featuring members of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. 

All breakout sessions, workshops and most general sessions will have multiple Continuing Education credits available. These credits will include medical professionals (physicians, nurses and pharmacists), social workers, attorneys, addiction and prevention specialists, human resources, criminal justice and insurance professionals. The Appalachian Regional Commission is once again our Educational Partner. 

Identifying opportunities to strategize and partner in seeking solutions to our prescription drug abuse epidemic is what the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit is all about.”

Friday, February 15, 2013

Teens Not Getting the Message

The battle against youth addiction is one that should be taken seriously and considered a high priority amongst leading officials and media conglomerates. Teenagers absorb more information from schools and television than any other source, yet there seems to be lack of prevention messages reaching America’s youth. In fact, the percentage of teenagers who received substance abuse prevention messages from the media in the past year dropped from 83.2 percent in 2002, to 75.1 percent in 2011, a new government report has found.

There have also been fewer school-based prevention messages, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates. Such messages reached 78.8 percent of teens in 2002, and 74.5 percent in 2011.

Teen attitudes about the risk of substances like alcohol and marijuana have changed in recent years, according to a recent SAMHSA report. Fortunately, between 2002 and 2011, teens who perceived great risk from heavy drinking increased from 38.2 percent to 40.7 percent; there was also a decline in binge drinking among teens, from 10.7 percent to 7.4 percent.

About 40 percent of teens did not speak with their parents in the past year about the dangers of substance abuse, Newswise reports. 

It comes as no surprise that the report found that teens who perceived great risk from marijuana use once or twice a week dropped, from 54.6 percent in 2007, to 44.8 percent in 2011. The rate of past-month marijuana use increased amongst teens during that time, from 6.7 percent to 7.9 percent.

“To prevent substance abuse among our adolescents, our young people have to know the facts about the real risks of substance abuse, and we’re not doing a very good job of that right now,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a news release. “It is time for all of us – the public health community, parents, teachers, caregivers, and peers – to double our efforts in educating our youth about substance use and engaging them in meaningful conversations about these issues, so that they can make safe and healthy decisions when offered alcohol or drugs.”

Friday, February 8, 2013

Teenage Mental Health and Substance Abuse

It’s a sad reality that most people who suffer from mental illness rarely receive the treatment that they require to lead a normal and healthy life. Unfortunately, lack of treatment often leads to self medicating in one way or another, a home remedy for coping with one’s mental struggle. Self-medicating is rampant amongst teenagers and young adults with mental illness. In fact, according to a new study conducted in Australia, about 10 percent of young teens with mental illness frequently use alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana.

What’s worse, substance abuse patterns become more common as teenagers grow older, often leading to years of struggle with addiction on top of one’s battle with mental illness. Substance abuse among teens with mental illness commonly contributes to increased risk of poor physical and mental health outcomes, researchers at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute said.

More than 2,000 participants between the ages 12 to 30, involved in a national mental health program, took part in the study. The study found 12 percent of participants ages 12 to 17 consumed alcohol at least once a week, compared with 39 percent of those ages 18 and 19, and almost half of those ages 20 to 30. The younger the teen, the more frequent the use, being twice as likely to drink alcohol every week compared to their peers in the general population.

About 7%t of teens used marijuana at least once a week, compared with 14% of those ages 18 and 19, and 18% of those between ages 20 to 30. An estimated 23% of teens smoked cigarettes daily, compared with 36 percent of older teens, and 41% of those between 20 and 30.

“Traditionally there have been mental health services, and substance abuse services, but both have been quite separate. Our study shows that we need to integrate mental health interventions with substance use interventions in order to help at-risk young people,” lead researcher Dr. Daniel Hermens said in a news release. “There is a lot of evidence for the co-morbidity of mental health problems and substance misuse. More people have both mental health and substance use problems than either alone – in other words, it’s the rule rather than the exception.”

The findings are published in the British Medical Journal Open.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Open Home Drug Robberies

Addicts caught in the grips of their addiction will often do just about anything to get high just one more time. Lying, cheating, and stealing come right out of the addict's handbook to success when it comes to getting their fix in many cases. Now, prescription drug thieves are going in to Open Homes for sale just to see what’s in the medicine cabinet, ABC News reports.

Most homeowners typically lock up valuables, such as jewelry - but who thinks to lock up their meds? A San Diego realtors’ group is warning homeowners about these thefts.

“The take away here is common sense,” Anthony Manolatos of the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors told ABC News. “When an agent is showing your home and you’re not there, take your valuables with you or lock them in a safe.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has observed this trend. “Stealing drugs from open houses is indeed a technique drug thieves use to obtain controlled substance prescription drugs,” said the DEA’s Barbara Carreno. She said drugs stolen during open houses include opioid painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs, ADHD drugs, Xanax and Valium.

DEA enforcement groups, called tactical diversion squads, have found drugs on the street that originated at someone’s open home, Carreno added.
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