Category Archives: News

Latest News from the NCPP

NEWS: Social Host Ordinances and the Issue of Underage Drinking

Click on the image below to download the PDF.

SHO

“At OJJDP Experts Address Best Ways To Tackle Issue of Underage Drinking”

Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug in the united states, playing a significant role in the United States’ youth homicide, suicide, and violent crime rates. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Administrator Robert Listenbee encourages officials from both law enforcement agencies and the justice system to form partnerships with local community groups in order to address this issue. Listenbee also said that it is vital that advocacy organizations never think of children as “mini adults”.

Advocates need to have a sharp focus on science-based strategies, emphasizing the most effective, evidence-driven approaches. Click here to read more about what OJJDP experts say are the best ways to tackle the issue of underage drinking.

“BUZZKILL: Serve Under 21 and the Party’s Over”

Drug Free Action Alliance has developed a program to hep colleges educate their students on the responsibilities and consequences of social hosting. The program addresses an issue univeral to all college campuses and communities, is easy to implement, and comes in a user-friendly Program Kit that is available here.

NEWS: Study finds that high-fat/sugar diets during mothers’ pregnancies put babies at risk of drug and alcohol abuse

Click here for the article referenced.

The animal experiments showed that offspring of rats that ate high-fat or high-sugar diets while pregnant weighed more as adults, drank more alcohol, and also had stronger responses to commonly abused drugs.

The majority of women int he U.S. at child-bearing age are overweight, most likely due to overeating. Because of the rising prenatal and childhood obesity and the rise in number of youths abusing alcohol and drugs, Nicole Avena, a research neuroscientist at the University of Florida, supports looking into all the possible causes of these problems.

This phenomenon is likely due to how overeating foods that taste good alters brain reward systems while diets with excessive fat and sugar can lead to increased appetite as well as some addiction-like behaviors.

In related news, another research study saw a bump in substance abuse treatment during pregnancy. Treatment is crucial since “any kind of substance use by pregnant women can result in miscarriage, premature birth or a variety of behavioral and cognitive problems in the children they carry,” SAMHSA administrator Pamela Hyde said.

SAMHSA, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, has a Services Grant Program for Residential Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women which promotes the availability of substance abuse treatment, prevention and recovery support programs for low-income women and their young children.

Click the image below to visit the SAMHSA website to learn more.

samhsa

NEWS: CSUs Peer-to-Peer Alcohol Poisoning Awareness Campaign/Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

An alcohol poisoning awareness program started in memory of Cal Poly freshman, Carson Starkey, will be expanded to all 23 California State Universities. This nonprofit program will teach students how to recognize and respond to alcohol poisoning when they see it. The Aware Awake Alive program was introduced to Cal Poly in 2011 by the Starkey family. The Starkeys support a peer-to-peer method to give students information about alcohol poisoning prevention because they “didn’t want to preach to students”. Although little data exists about how effective the program has been at Cal Poly, the University of Michigan’s Healthy Minds Study found that Cal Poly students intervene in binge drinking incidents at a rate of more than 43 percent, 9 percent above the national average.

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Click the image below to visit the Aware Awake Alive website and to learn more about Carson’s story.

AwareAwakeAlive

The website provides people with many informational resources such as signs of alcohol poisoning, blood alcohol concentration, resources for parents, Good Samaritan information, and more.

To read more about the CSU program, click here.

NEWS: Penn Medicine Study Finds that Topiramate May Help Curb Cocaine Addictions

 

Researchers in the department of Psychiatry at Penn Medicine conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial and found that the drug topiramate may help people addicted to both cocaine and alcohol. Because cocaine and alcohol addictions often go hand in hand, therapies that target both may be the best method for treatment. 170 alcohol and cocaine dependent people were tested in the 13-week clinical trial. The results showed that people with more severe cocaine withdrawal symptoms seemed to benefit the most from the drug. The drug also reduced alcohol cravings, but did not reduce drinking.

Topiramate is believed to reduce the dopamine release associated with cocaine and alcohol use, reducing the drugs’ euphoric effects.

“This study further supports topiramate as a promising medication for people who are both alcohol and cocaine dependent,” said Dr. Kampman. “Future studies are planned in which topiramate will be combined with other promising medications for the treatment of cocaine dependence in the hope of achieving even higher levels of cocaine abstinence than were achieved with topiramate alone.”

Topiramate is commonly used alone or with other medications to prevent and control seizures, prevent migraine headaches and decrease how often you get them, and aid in weight loss. Some side effects of topiramate include tiredness, drowsiness, dizziness, loss of coordination, tingling of the hand/feet, loss of appetite, bad taste in mouth, diarrhea, and weight loss. Topiramate may also decrease your ability to sweat, making you more likely to get heatstroke. Those who use topiramate are advised to avoid activities that may cause them to overheat.

For more information about the Penn Medicine Study, click here for the Penn Medicine News Release.

Information about topiramate is from WebMD.

NEWS: Mentions of “Adderall” on Twitter help to identify use patterns among college students

A group of BYU health science and computer science researchers tracked public-facing twitter mentions of the ADHD medication Adderall between November 2011 and May 2012. The results showed that there was an average of 930 mentions per day. The analysis did not sort out “legal” versus “illegal” use, but Adderall tweets spiked during finals periods on December 13 and April 30. The research also supported previous research that shows that college student abuse of ADHD medications do so during times of academic stress and are not used as  a party drug.

The Adderall tweets are also most common amongst college and university clusters in the northeast and south regions of the United States. 9 percent of Adderall tweets mentioned another substance, usually alcohol and stimulants like coffee or Red Bull. Other substances included cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, and depressants such as Xanax. These tweets are concerning because of the increased risk of morbidity and mortality when substances are combined.

Although there is evidence of widespread abuse of Adderall and other “study drugs”, only one in 100 parents of teens 13-17 years old believes that their teen has used a study drug. There is a clear disparity between what parents believe and what their children are reporting.

Sometimes students without ADHD take someone else’s medication in order to stay awake and alert to try to improve their grades. However, taking study drugs has not been proven to improve students’ grades. There are also many dangerous side effects of taking these medications when they are not prescribed such as acute exhaustion, abnormal heart rhythms, and even confusion and psychosis. Misuse of stimulant medicines has also been associated with risky behaviors such as unsafe sexual activity and gambling.

There is widespread need and desire to crack down on students’ use of prescription stimulants to achieve academic excellence. Click here for an article from USA Today about proposed policy changes.

Articles referenced are from ScienceDaily (May 1, 2013), ScienceDaily (May 20, 2013), and University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

 

NEWS: “Targeting Impulsive Adolescents May Reduce Drinking Problem” and information about addiction

In a recent research study at the University of Liverpool, scientists have shown that young people who show impulsive tendencies are more prone to drinking heavily at an early age. The research team tested inhibitory control, the ability to delay gratification, and risk-taking in more than 280 youth aged 12 to 13 for two years. Those who were more impulsive in the tests went on to drink more heavily or have problems with alcohol later on. Although there is a link between impulsive behavior and adolescent drinking, there is insufficient evidence to support how alcohol could lead to increased impulsive behavior in the short run.  Because of this research, they believe that targeting impulsive personality traits could possibly be a successful approach to preventing alcohol problems in adolescents later in life.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, “addiction is a chronic brain disease that causes compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences”. Drug and alcohol use is the leading cause of preventable disease and premature death in the United States and is also associated with high-risk sexual behaviors and injection drug use.

Alcohol, a legal drug, can produce dangerous effects such as reckless behavior (a leading cause of serious injury and accidental death) when consumed in large quantities.  Besides recklessness, excessive drinking may lead to alcoholism, an illness that is often associated with depression. Although alcoholism can cause serious damage to our bodies, abruptly ending alcohol use in a person who is alcohol dependent can be dangerous. A person who is dependent on alcohol should consult a physician when he or she wants to stop the use of alcohol.