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Friday, June 24, 2011

New Report: Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is never a good idea, in a blink of an eye entire families lives can be changed by one bad decision. There is not an adult in this country that does not know the risks involved in getting behind the wheel intoxicated; yet, every year so many people lose their lives or end up in jail for taking someone else's life operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. A new study found that one-quarter of drivers who died in single-vehicle crashes between 1999 and 2009 tested positive for drugs, with 37 percent having had blood alcohol levels above the legal limit of .08.

Researchers studied data of more than 44,000 drivers gathered from a government database of traffic deaths. Finding 58 percent of drivers did not have any alcohol in their systems, according to the report published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Of those drivers who tested positive for drugs:

  • 22 percent were positive for marijuana
  • 22 percent for stimulants
  • 9 percent for narcotics

Surprisingly, only 19 states have laws that forbid any presence of a prohibited substance or drug in the driver’s body while in control of the vehicle, according to the Governors' Highway Safety Association. Obviously it should be forbidden in every state simply because we know the fact that even if something is condoned, it is still may be very dangerous. There is simply not a good reason to ever get behind the wheel, even if the drug you are taking has been prescribed to you and the drug is taken as the doctors prescribed. There are too many variables on the road to consider when one is completely sober, throwing drugs and alcohol into the mix is never a good choice.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Prescription Drug Overdose Suicides

Prescription drug
related suicides are on the rise according to a new study, which found a 55 percent jump in emergency room visits for drug-related suicide attempts in men ages 21 to 34 between 2005 and 2009. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) was responsible for the study, finding suicide attempts involving antidepressants rose by 155 percent and suicides involving anti-anxiety and insomnia medications increased by a staggering 93 percent.

“I think a lot of these people don’t see these drugs as dangerous because it’s a nice, clean little pill,” Peter Delany, Director of the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality at SAMHSA, told USA Today. This is the case for many Americans who take prescription non-narcotics; they simply don't realize the potential for suicidal thoughts when taking psychotropic drugs. Emergency room visits for suicide attempts among males aged 35 to 49 involving narcotic pain relievers almost doubled from 2005 to 2009, and rose almost triple among men 50 and older, according to the new study.

In 2009:
  • 77,971 emergency room visits for drug-related suicide attempts among males of all ages
  • 29,407 such visits by men ages 21 to 34
“While we have learned much about how to prevent suicide, it continues to be a leading cause of death among people who abuse alcohol and drugs,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., said in a news release. “The misuse of prescription drugs is clearly helping to fuel the problem. Greater awareness about the warning signs and risk factors for suicide, including abuse of alcohol and drugs, can help people take action and save lives.”

The most important thing someone can do when being prescribed drugs that have the potential for suicidal thoughts is to have an open direct line of communication with your physician. If suicidal thoughts arise, the doctor will have time to adjust your medication, hopefully finding something better suited for your brain chemistry. The worst thing anyone can do is ignore such thoughts.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Can Preschool Prevent Alcohol Addiction?

It is hard to believe that participation in preschool may reduce the risk of addiction according to a new study. It has long been clear that our early years are ever so important, we are like blank slates just waiting for impressions and influences to steer us in the right direction. Unfortunately, many young children are exposed to things that have the potential to give the wrong idea about drugs and alcohol. The study of more than 1,500 children concluded those who had gone to preschool were 28 percent less likely to develop substance abuse problems.

The study followed the children from age 3-4 to age 28. The children in the study lived in low-income neighborhoods in Chicago and most were African American. Those who attended preschool were less likely to develop alcohol and drug problems or to end up in jail or prison, the researchers found. Preschool attendance makes it 24 percent more likely that they will attend a four-year college, and their incomes were higher, the researchers wrote in Science. The families of the children enrolled in preschool were actively involved in the program.

Preschool had the biggest positive effect for boys and for children with the least educated parents. Children need to be constantly surrounded by good influences, people and activities that will lead them in the right direction on the road of life. Idle time for children can be like a poison, giving children the opportunity to get into trouble. If you have young children you should consider preschool, it will do more good than harm. It is well worth a try!

Friday, June 3, 2011

New Mental Illness and Addiction Study

Severe cases of addiction often are coupled with mental illness of one kind or another, this not only contributes to the gravity of the disease but it also makes getting sober much more difficult. You can take all the drugs and alcohol out of one's system by choosing abstinence, however, there is no way to wish away mental affliction especially since most cases go without being diagnosed. If problems like depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress go untreated, the reality of finding sobriety is slim to none. A new government survey backs up the former information, finding that alcohol dependence is four times more likely among adults with mental illness, compared with those without mental illness.

The survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found the rate of alcohol dependence in adults with mental illness was 9.6 percent, compared with 2.2 percent for those without mental illness. Not surprising, the rate of alcohol dependence increases along with the severity of mental illness, according to a report by Medical News Today.

  • 7.9 percent of adults with mild mental illness were alcohol dependent
  • 10 percent for those with moderate mental illness
  • 13.2 percent for those with serious mental illness

“Mental and substance use disorders often go hand in hand. This SAMHSA study adds to the evidence of this connection,” SAMHSA Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., said in a news release. “Co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders are to be expected, not considered the exception. Unfortunately, signs and symptoms of these behavioral health conditions are often missed by individuals, their friends and family members and unnoticed by health professionals. The results can be devastating and costly to our society.”

Dual diagnosis patients, otherwise known as people with co-occurring disorders need the assistance of doctors who can properly handle medication in order to give the patient a fighting chance at sobriety.
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