Poverty, Stress a Factor in Overdose Deaths

Drug-related deaths have grown to be a major US public health problem over the past two decades. Between 2006 and 2015 there were more than 515,000 deaths from drug overdoses and other drug-related causes. The economic, social, and emotional tolls of these deaths are substantial, but some parts of the US are bearing heavier burdens than others. Evidence from the first national study of county-level differences suggests that addressing economic and social conditions will be key to reversing the rising tide of drug deaths, reports the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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Late Teen Drinking Can Lead to Liver Problems

Alcohol is the leading cause of liver cirrhosis and liver-related deaths. Results of a large long-term study in Sweden have confirmed that drinking during late adolescence could be the first step towards liver problems in adulthood and that guidelines for safe alcohol intake in men might have to be revised downwards, reports the Journal of Hepatology.

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Parental Attention Can Reduce Drug Abuse Risks

Parents who require children to follow rules and keep a constant eye on their activities, endeavoring to know where they are, who they are with and what they are doing, run less risk of facing problems when their children enter adolescence, such as abuse of alcohol and other drugs.

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Program Closes Gap in Addiction Treatment

A program at Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction is showing that connecting patients to addiction treatment when they are hospitalized for other conditions can be a powerful tool in closing a gap in addiction treatment. In fact, early results show that many of these patients continue treatment after they are discharged, underscoring the importance of reaching patients who might otherwise not get treatment for their addiction.

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Daily Marijuana Use Raises Concerns

Health officials are concerned that the rates of daily marijuana use by college-age Americans have returned or exceeded previously high levels seen in the early 1980s, especially among a population whose brains are still not completely developed.

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Opioid Abuse Can Be Treated in Primary Care

A new model of collaborative care - combining substance abuse treatment with regular medical care - has been found to be more accessible, more effective and at a lower cost than traditional specialty care methods, according to a RAND Corporation study.

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Peer Influence Doubles Teen Smoking Risk

Peer influence has long been known as a major risk factor for adolescent smoking, but findings have varied about how big the risk is or how this dynamic unfolds. A new, rigorous meta-analysis of 75 longitudinal teen smoking studies finds that having friends who smoke doubles the risk that children ages 10 to 19 will start smoking and continue smoking. It also found that peer influence is more powerful in collectivist cultures than in those where individualism is the norm.

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Some Prevention Efforts Can Actually Backfire

Some prevention campaigns aimed at stopping young drinkers from risky drinking habits can actually backfire if not worded properly. Campaigns designed to stop young people "bolting" drinks can be ineffective and can even make them more likely to do it, new research suggests.

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Early Brain Injury Linked to Alcoholism

Researchers at Ohio State University have surveyed previous studies to investigate the relationship between traumatic brain injuries and alcohol abuse. They found evidence that traumatic brain injuries in children and adolescents could be a risk-factor for alcohol abuse in later life.

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12 Steps Improve Youth Treatment Outcomes

A treatment program for adolescents with a substance-use disorder that incorporates the practices and philosophy of 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) produced even better results than the current state-of-the-art treatment approach in a nine-month, randomized trial.

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