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Friday, March 30, 2012

National Prescription Drug Database

Most states have a prescription drug database in one form or another which helps doctors monitor people who doctor shop and abuse pharmaceuticals. Such programs have proven to be effective, but do very little if someone decides to travel out of the state and into another. There is a need for a national prescription drug database that would link all of the preexisting databases together.

Fortunately, a federal bill introduced Thursday would do just that by combining all of the monitoring systems. The bill was introduced by a bipartisan group of House and Senate legislators and is being called the Interstate Drug Monitoring Efficiency and Data Sharing Act, The Hill reports.

“While my region of Southern and Eastern Kentucky became ground zero for the abuse of prescription drugs a decade ago, it is now wreaking havoc on communities small and large and cutting across socioeconomic and gender lines,” Rogers said in a news release.

“Prescription drug monitoring programs are one of the most efficient and cost-effective tools in our arsenal to cut back on this abuse, bridging the gap between legitimate medical need and potential misuse.”

Currently, 48 states have prescription drug monitoring programs.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cocaine Contributed to Whitney Houston Death


It was no secret that over the years Whitney Houston struggled with drugs - especially cocaine. The initial autopsy conducted by the Los Angeles County Coroner showed that cocaine use and heart disease both played a part in Whitney Houston’s death when she accidentally drowned in a hotel bathtub.

Chief Coroner Craig Harvey said the singer had appeared to have used cocaine “in the time period just immediately prior to her collapse in the bathtub at the hotel” on February 11. Coupled with a 60 percent narrowing of her arteries, suggesting that “a cardiac event complicated by the cocaine use” led to Houston’s slipping underwater.

The toxicology tests showed that other substances were also present, but did not contribute to her death, according to the report.

Those drugs included:
  • marijuana
  • Xanax
  • Flexeril
  • Benadryl

The final coroner report is scheduled to be made public within the next two weeks.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Smoking and Drinking Major Concern With Children

There is no question, the early years of our life are the most important. At no other time in our life are we more Susceptible to outside influences. What we see, what we hear can dramatically affect the course of our lives.

A new study just released found that children ages 10 to 12 feel ambivalent about smoking and drinking! The most important time to guide people on the right course is in their youth, naturally it is the most delicate time. It is fair to say that lead researcher Dr. Roisin O’Connor of Concordia University in Canada believes the same.

She says the recent results indicate the “tween” years are an important time to prevent substance abuse. “We need to be concerned when kids are ambivalent because this is when they may be more easily swayed by social influences,” she said in a news release.

400 children participated in a computer-based test that required them to place pictures of cigarettes and alcohol with positive or negative words. The children initially thought cigarettes and alcohol were bad, however, they able to start thinking of them as good with ease, when they were asked to place them with positive words.

“From this we saw how well the participants were able to categorize the pictures in the way that was asked. Using a mathematical formula of probabilities, we were able to identify how often responses were answered with impulsive and thoughtful processes as they related to drinking and smoking,” she said.

You can view the study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Alcohol In The Movies

It is no secret that in today’s age our children’s most influential medium is film. What children and young adults see in movies can greatly influence one’s behavior - including drug and alcohol use. A new study conducted in six European nations has found that when children see drinking in movies it will influence their own drinking habits.

More than 16,000 students, ages 10 to 19, in: Germany, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Scotland were given surveys. They were asked to check off which of 50 movies that were popular in their country they had seen. Researchers then counted how many times characters were shown drinking alcohol, according to Reuters. At least 86 percent of the movies had at least one drinking scene.

The amount of exposure to alcohol in the movies was compared with how many teens reported having had taken part in binge drinking (having five or more drinks on a single occasion). Twenty-seven percent of the students reported binge drinking at least once. Between 10 to 20 percent of students who viewed the least on-screen drinking had binged themselves, compared with 40 percent who had seen the most on-screen drinking.

Study author Reiner Hanewinkel, PhD, told Reuters that teenagers “have seen at least thousands of impressions of smoking and drinking, so it shapes their attitude that these kinds of behavior are adult-like behavior. It makes the alcohol drinking look cool and sexy and so-on.”

Friday, March 2, 2012

Interstate Sharing of PMP’s

There are an estimated seven million Americans abusing prescription drugs, and there were 1.2 million emergency department visits related to misuse or abuse of prescription drugs in 2009 alone. There is no longer any question as to whether or not prescription drug abuse is an epidemic that costs people their lives and costs this nation billions of dollars every year.

Every state is dealing with this problem in its own way, but, there are some standard practices being used to cut down on the problem. Prescription drug databases, known as prescription monitoring programs (PMPs), is one way states have been fighting prescription drug abuse. These programs have proven to be quite effective as long as the right people have access to them. There are number of people who will cross state lines in order to doctor shop in a state where they have no record in the states PMP, then they will travel back to their home state with their drugs to sell or abuse.

All 50 states need to work together by sharing access to their databases to target doctor shopping and pill mills. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) PMP InterConnectSM enhances the ability of prescription monitoring programs (PMPs) to prevent the diversion of controlled substance drugs by facilitating the transfer of PMP data across state lines to authorized PMP users in participating states. If every state worked together using the same PMP it would make it much harder for people to get their hands on prescription narcotics.

The implementation of state PMPs, will better identify doctor shoppers and pill mills and surely help curb this terrible epidemic.
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