Teenage Marijuana Use On The Rise

teenage-marijuana-useIn the United States, preventing the use of mind altering substances among teenagers is a top priority for public health officials and lawmakers. The use of drugs and alcohol can have a dramatic impact on developing minds, and can lead to addiction. In recent years there has been a lot of concern about the changing mood regarding marijuana, and the message that new laws might send to America’s youth. While research on medical marijuana programs and legalization laws is limited as to its impact on adolescents, new research suggests that teenage marijuana use is on the rise, HealthDay reports. Although, teenage cigarette and alcohol use is declining. Researchers at Penn State analyzed data from a survey of almost 600,000 high school seniors. Before 2011, teenage American whites were more likely to smoke cigarettes than marijuana, according to the article. In 2013, the analysis showed that nearly 25 percent of black teens used marijuana, and nearly 10 percent smoked cigarettes. In the same year almost 22 percent of white teens used marijuana, and about 19 percent smoked cigarettes.
Our analysis shows that public health campaigns are working — fewer teens are smoking cigarettes,” said lead researcher, Stephanie Lanza, in a news release. “However, we were surprised to find the very clear message that kids are choosing marijuana over cigarettes.”
When it came to teenage alcohol use, the researchers found that teenage alcohol use has been on the decline since the mid-1970s; however, white teens still used alcohol more than any other substance, the article reports. Over the course of the study, white teenagers used alcohol more than black teenagers. The indication of declining alcohol and cigarette use rates is promising. However, it is important to keep in mind that past research has shown that the use of marijuana can have an adverse effect on developing brains. The rise in teenage marijuana use should be of concern. The findings are published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. ___________________________________________________________________________ If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol or marijuana, please contact Pace Recovery Center.

Back Pain, Anxiety, and Depression – Opioid Abuse

A large percentage of people who seek treatment for substance or alcohol use disorder also have other mental health disorders on board, such as depression or anxiety. When this is the case, it is referred to as having a co-occurring disorder, and successful recovery hinges on treating both. What’s more, people’s depression or anxiety may play a part in people forming an addiction. In fact, new research suggests that people living with high levels of depression or anxiety, and experience chronic lower back pain, are significantly more prone to developing a problem with prescription opioids, Medical News Today reports. People with chronic lower back pain and high levels of depression or anxiety were 75 percent more likely to abuse opioids than people with low levels, and their back pain was less likely to improve. The researchers involved in the study examined 55 patients with chronic lower back, as well as major or minor levels of anxiety or depression, according to the article. Over the course of 6-months, the patients were given oral forms of morphine, oxycodone or a placebo. The patient's pain levels and the amount of drugs taken were recorded daily. There was 50 percent less improvement and 75 percent more opioid abuse among patients who had high levels of depression or anxiety, compared with patients with low levels. The findings suggest that doctors treating patients with lower back pain, who show symptoms of mental illness, should make sure that the mental illness is being treated rather than "refusing to prescribe opioids," according to lead researcher Prof. Ajay Wasan, at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. This may reduce the likelihood of opioid abuse and reduce pain. “High levels of depression and anxiety are common in patients with chronic lower back pain,” Wasan said in a news release. “Learning that we are able to better predict treatment success or failure by identifying patients with these conditions is significant. This is particularly important for controlled substances such as opioids, where if not prescribed judiciously, patients are exposed to unnecessary risks and a real chance of harm, including addiction or serious side effects.” The study is published in Anesthesiology. ___________________________________________________________________________ If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction and depression or anxiety, please contact Pace Recovery Center.

Personalized Feedback About Alcohol Can Reduce Drinking

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The consumption of alcohol is a common occurrence among college students, especially freshman - free from the nest for their first time. While many students are able to moderate their alcohol intake, there are those whose drinking gets out of hand, and can result in academic, social, and addiction problems. Naturally, limiting alcohol consumption is a top priority for faculty members on every campus across the country. New research suggests that sending students personal feedback about their drinking habits via text message and websites can reduce alcohol consumption, The Wall Street Journal reports. In-person interventions appear to reduce drinking by as much as 13 percent. Robert Leeman, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, says that electronic interventions “dramatically increases access to techniques that have been proven to work.” The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that 4 out of 5 college students drink alcohol, and around half of them engage in “binge drinking” - the practice of drinking as much as you can as fast as you can. Opening up a dialogue with students about drinking practices can save lives, which is important when you consider that 1,825 students lose their life each year from alcohol-related injuries. “Most students overestimate the amount and frequency that other students are actually drinking, and research has shown that if you can correct this misperception, students’ drinking tends to decrease to be more in line with the true norm,” said study co-author Jessica Cronce of the University of Washington. In 2011, researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle published a study which indicated that electronic intervention programs were more likely than general alcohol awareness programs to reduce college drinking, according to the article. ___________________________________________________________________________ Excessive alcohol consumption is not only dangerous, it results in an alcohol use disorder. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol, please do not hesitate to reach out for help.

Differing Views Regarding E-Cigarettes

e-cigarettesE-Cigarettes: A Smoking Cessation Aid or A Temptation?
In a short period of time, e-cigarettes have become extremely popular, with sales growing exponentially with every year that passes. While many e-cigarette users believe that the product(s) are effective smoking cessation devices and are healthier than traditional cigarettes, medical professionals and researchers have varying opinions. A lack of governmental oversight and regulation has allowed e-cigarette sales to grow faster than research can keep up with. Without a complete and accurate understanding of e-cigarettes, many users may be mistaken in their beliefs. A new study has found that a number of former smokers see e-cigarettes a temptation, one that may prompt them to begin smoking again, Reuters reports.
Because e-cigarettes are relatively new products we are only beginning to learn about the health risks,” said senior study author Amanda Amos, a researcher at the Center for Population Health Sciences at the University of Edinburgh Medical School.
The Research
In Scotland, the researchers conducted interviews with 64 smokers. In the past year, the research team conducted 12 focus groups and 11 individual interviews with former and current smokers. The findings produced little consistency, the participants had differing views regarding the pros and cons of the devices, according to the article. The varying opinions on e-cigarettes by the participants included:
  • Some found e-cigarettes as more satisfying than traditional cigarettes.
  • Some found the devices to be less satisfying.
  • Others found e-cigarettes to be a potential threat to smoking cessation.
The findings appear to indicate that, while e-cigarettes may help people quit smoking or be used as an alternative to traditional tobacco products, the findings suggest that smokers view e-cigarettes differently than gums, patches and medicines. The findings were published in Tobacco Control.
An Outside View
This paper shows that the public’s view of e-cigarettes is far from being clear, with a great deal of ambiguity around the product and its intended use,” said Dr. Ricardo Polosa, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Catania.
Polosa wasn’t involved in the study, but he believes:
E-cigs are a much safer alternative to smoking and are intended for smokers who are unable to quit using other methods.”
___________________________________________________________________________ More research will be needed to determine if e-cigarettes are a promising smoking cessation option. Nicotine addiction is a difficult habit to recover from, and tobacco products are the leading cause of cancer. If you or a loved one struggles with nicotine addiction, please do not hesitate to reach out for help.

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