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Many in Recovery Have Chronic Health Problems

Alcohol and other substance-use problems take enormous psychological and societal tolls on millions of Americans. Now a study from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Recovery Research Institute shows that more than a third of individuals who consider themselves in recovery from an alcohol or other substance use disorder continue to suffer from chronic physical disease. The study, published online in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, is the first to look at the national prevalence of medical conditions that are commonly caused or exacerbated by excessive and chronic alcohol and other drug use among people in addiction recovery.

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Peers Key to College Drinking Intervention

Peer approval is the best indicator of the tendency for new college students to drink or smoke, even if the students don't want to admit it, according to new research from Michigan State University.

This new finding is key to help universities address the problems of underage or binge drinking, said Nancy Rhodes, professor and lead author of the study published in the journal Health Education and Behavior.

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Many Women Ignore Alcohol-Breast Cancer Risk

Middle aged women in Australia aren't getting the message about the proven link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer, at a time when more are drinking while cancer rates in their age bracket are increasing, according to a new study.

More women aged between 45 and 64 years aren't aware of the potential risks, and indicate negative impacts on their weight, relationships or lifestyle would more likely result in a reduction in drinking, rather then warnings about an increased risk of cancer.

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Fears Over Naltrexone Unfounded, Study Finds

Fears over a drug that can be used to treat alcohol addiction are unfounded, according to its first ever systematic review, led by academics at The University of Manchester. Though the study found no evidence of any serious side effects linked to Naltrexone, many doctors hold back from prescribing the drug, often citing liver toxicity as a reason

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Alcohol Frequently Considered Migraine Trigger

In a European Journal of Neurology study of 2,197 patients who experience migraines, alcoholic beverages were reported as a trigger by 35.6 percent of participants. Additionally, more than 25 percent of migraine patients who had stopped consuming or never consumed alcoholic beverages did so because of presumed trigger effects.

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ACOAs More Likely to Marry Alcoholics

Children of parents who have alcohol use disorder are more likely to get married under the age of 25, less likely to get married later in life, and more likely to marry a person who has alcohol use disorder themselves, according to a new study by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden.

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Even Light Drinking Increases Risk of Death

Drinking a daily glass of wine for health reasons may not be so healthy after all, suggests a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Analyzing data from more than 400,000 people ages 18 to 85, the researchers found that consuming one to two drinks four or more times per week -- an amount deemed healthy by current guidelines -- increases the risk of premature death by 20 percent, compared with drinking three times a week or less. The increased risk of death was consistent across age groups.

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Study: No Safe Level of Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol is a leading risk factor for death and disease worldwide, and is associated with nearly one in 10 deaths in people aged 15-49 years old, according to a Global Burden of Disease study published in The Lancet that estimates levels of alcohol use and health effects in 195 countries between 1990 to 2016.

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Barriers to Getting Substance Abuse Treatment

For patients with substance use disorders seen in the emergency department or doctor's office, locating and accessing appropriate treatment all too often poses difficult challenges, according to a study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

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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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Legal Marijuana Laws Affect Teen Use

A study by researchers at Dartmouth has found that adolescents living in medical marijuana states with a plethora of dispensaries are more likely to have tried new methods of cannabis use, such as edibles and vaping, at a younger age than those living in states with fewer dispensaries. The study will appear in the August issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

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Alcohol's Health Benefits Overstated?

The benefits of light alcohol consumption, as well as the risks associated with not drinking at all, might not be as great as previously thought, according to Penn State researchers who examined the drinking habits of middle-aged adults.

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Strong Policies Lower Drunk Driving Deaths

Stronger alcohol policies protect young people from dying in crashes caused by drunk driving according to researchers at Boston Medical Center. The study, which is published online in the journal Pediatrics, supports the importance of comprehensive alcohol control policies to reduce the number of young people who die in alcohol-related crashes.

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Trusting Counselor Vital to Treatment Success

A positive, trusting relationship between counselor and patient, known as a "therapeutic alliance," can be key to successful treatment of alcohol use disorder, a study finds. Gerard Connors, PhD, senior research scientist at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions, studied more than five dozen people engaging in a 12-week program of cognitive behavior therapy for alcohol use disorder.

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Binge Drinking Quickly Leads to Liver Disease

Alcohol consumed during just seven weeks of intermittent binge drinking harms the liver in ways that more moderate daily drinking does not, according to researchers at UC San Francisco. The scientists discovered that just 21 binge drinking sessions were enough to cause symptoms of early-stage liver disease.

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119,000 Children With FAS Born Each Year

Worldwide, an estimated 119,000 children are born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) each year, a new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) shows. The study, published in The Lancet Global Health, provides the first-ever estimates of the proportion of women who drink during pregnancy, as well as estimates of FAS by country, World Health Organization (WHO) region and worldwide.

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Alcohol Increases Risks of Heart Conditions

Alcohol abuse increases the risk of atrial fibrillation, heart attack and congestive heart failure as much as other well-established risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and obesity, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Primary Care Should Include Drug Screening

The misuse of both prescription and illicit drugs is so prevalent in Tijuana and East Los Angeles that community clinics in those areas should routinely, though discreetly, screen for it, according to new UCLA research. The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Substance Use and Misuse, found that 19.4 percent of people answering a computerized self-administered survey in East Los Angeles community clinics admitted to moderate-to-high drug use.

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Drug-Use Can Hamper Moral Judgment

Regular cocaine and methamphetamine users can have difficulty choosing between right and wrong, perhaps because the specific parts of their brains used for moral processing and evaluating emotions are damaged by their prolonged drug habits. This is according to a study among prison inmates by Samantha Fede and Dr. Kent Kiehl's laboratory at the University of New Mexico and the nonprofit Mind Research Network. The findings of the study, which was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, are published in Springer's journal Psychopharmacology.

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How Is Weed Linked to Drinking Alcohol?

Adults who use marijuana are five times more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD) -- alcohol abuse or dependence -- compared with adults who do not use the drug. And adults who already have an alcohol use disorder and use marijuana are more likely to see the problem persist.

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Early Binge Drinking Linked to Hypertension

Having an occasional drink is fine, but "binge" drinking is a known health hazard and now high blood pressure may need to be added to the list of possible consequences. Young adults in their twenties who regularly binge drink have higher blood pressure which may increase the risk of developing hypertension, concludes a study conducted by researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM)

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Marijuana Poses Danger in Early Pregnancy

Marijuana is up to 20 times more potent than it was 40 years ago and most pregnant women who use the drug are unaware that it could harm their unborn child before they even know they are pregnant. Writing in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis, American researcher's state the argument that marijuana is a harmless drug is no longer valid due to the emergence of 'high potency' marijuana and synthetic marijuana which pose a potential real threat for pregnant women.

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Teen Pot Use Leaves Lasting Mental Deficits

The persistent, dependent use of marijuana before age 18 has been shown to cause lasting harm to a person's intelligence, attention and memory, according to an international research team. Among a long-range study cohort of more than 1,000 New Zealanders, individuals who started using cannabis in adolescence and used it for years afterward showed an average decline in IQ of 8 points when their age 13 and age 38 IQ tests were compared.

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Childhood Defiance Linked to Addiction

Children who exhibit oppositional behavior run the risk of becoming addicted to nicotine, cannabis and cocaine while inattention symptoms represent a specific additional risk of nicotine addiction. Nevertheless, hyperactivity in itself does not seem to be associated with any specific risk of substance abuse or dependence.

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Substance Use Reduces Educational Achievement

Although various kinds of substance use are associated with reduced educational attainment, these associations have been mixed and may also be partially due to risk factors such as socioeconomic disadvantages. A study of substance use and education among male twins from a veteran population has found a strong relationship among early alcohol use, alcohol dependence, daily nicotine use, and fewer years of educational attainment.

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Opioids Linked With Highest Risk of Death

People with an opioid addiction had the highest risk of death when compared with rates for alcohol and other drugs, according to a new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). For those dependent on opioids, the risk of death was 5.71 times higher than healthy individuals in the population of the same age, gender and race.

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Chronic Cocaine Use Hastens Aging of Brain

Research by scientists at the University of Cambridge suggests that chronic cocaine abuse accelerates the process of brain ageing. The study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, found that age-related loss of grey matter in the brain is greater in people who are dependent on cocaine than in the healthy population.

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Teens Can Benefit From 12-Step Involvement

Adolescents who misuse alcohol and other drugs to the point where they need treatment must contend with costly and limited options for youth-specific care, as well as high relapse rates following treatment. Mutual-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are widely available but little research has addressed their benefits for adolescents. An assessment of 12-step meetings and recommended activities has found that attendance, participation, and finding a sponsor promote greater abstinence among adolescents.

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Smoking Reduction Quickly Lowers Death Rates

A study by the University of Liverpool has found that a decrease in smoking rapidly reduces mortality rates in individuals and entire populations within six months. Research by Professor Simon Capewell and Dr Martin O'Flaherty at the Institute of Psychology, Health and Well-being, examined evidence from clinical trials and natural experiments.

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Heavy Smoking Doubles Alzheimer's Risk

Heavy smoking in midlife is associated with a 157 percent increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and a 172 percent increased risk of developing vascular dementia, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. This is the first study to look at the long-term consequences of heavy smoking on dementia.

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Child Abuse: Malicious Use of Pharmaceuticals

Child abuse is a serious problem that affects nearly one million children a year in the United States alone. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Department of Health and Human Services classify child abuse into four categories including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. None of these categories, however, clearly includes the abusive use of drugs on children. A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics investigates the malicious use of pharmaceuticals and attempts to shed light on this under-recognized problem.

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Addiction: a Loss of Plasticity of the Brain?

Why is it that only some drug users become addicts? This is the question that has been addressed by the teams of Pier Vincenzo Piazza and Olivier Manzoni, at the Neurocentre Magendie in Bordeaux (Inserm unit 862). These researchers have discovered that the transition to addiction could result from a persistent impairment of synaptic plasticity in a key structure of the brain. This is the first demonstration that a correlation exists between synaptic plasticity and the transition to addiction.

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Ignoring Stress Leads to Drug Cravings

Recovering addicts who avoid coping with stress succumb easily to substance use cravings, making them more likely to relapse during recovery, according to behavioral researchers. "Cravings are a strong predictor of relapse," said H. Harrington Cleveland, associate professor of human development, Penn State. "The goal of this study is to predict the variation in substance craving in a person on a within-day basis. Because recovery must be maintained 'one day at a time,' researchers have to understand it on the same daily level."

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Peer Drug Use Increases Genetic Tendency to Use

The nature-nurture debate is usually about how much of something is due to our genes and how much is caused by our environment. New research just published in the academic journal Addiction shows that the case is more interesting for young women who smoke, drink, or use drugs, for two related reasons.

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Smoking Bans Reduce Heart Attack Admissions

A nationwide smoking ban in public places would save more than $90 million and significantly reduce hospitalizations for heart attack, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study. After analyzing data from the 13 states that don't have a law banning smoking in public places, researchers concluded that more than 18,596 fewer hospitalizations for heart attack could be realized from a smoking ban in all 50 states after the first year of implementation, resulting in more than $92 million in savings in hospitals costs for caring for those patients.

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Teen Smokers Don't Recognize Signs of Dependence

Kids who have just started smoking, but not on a daily basis, don't seem to recognize the early symptoms of dependence, according to a study. Published in the journal Pediatrics by Chyke Doubeni, MD, MPH of the University of Massachusetts, the study found that among kids who have started smoking, "an urge to smoke or being irritable because they are not able to smoke is a sign of early dependence. But they don't seem to recognize that symptoms such as irritability are harbingers of addiction."

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Test Could Identify Smokers at Risk of Emphysema

Using CT scans to measure blood flow in the lungs of people who smoke may offer a way to identify which smokers are most at risk of emphysema before the disease damages and eventually destroys areas of the lungs, according to a University of Iowa study.

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Cocaine Use a Significant Teen HIV Risk Factor

Teens with a history of crack or cocaine use are significantly more likely to engage in unprotected sex than youth who have never used these drugs, putting themselves at increased risk for HIV, according to a study in the <i>Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse</i>.

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