We give hope.
The miracle of recovery can be yours too

Monday, December 30, 2013

E-Cigarette Nicotine Linked to Heart Disease

As the New Year approaches many will attempt to quit smoking as one of their resolutions. The popularity of e-cigarettes is off the charts, with more people turning to them as a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco use. While e-cigarettes have been found to be better for you than regular cigarettes, new reports are showing that e-cigarettes may not be a safe as people think.

In the past, a number of studies have linked tobacco use to heart disease, or rather the active ingredient nicotine. A new study showing that nicotine contributes to a higher risk of developing heart disease, also found that e-cigarettes are not good for the heart, CNN reports.

At the American Society of Cell Biology, researchers reported that human and rat heart cells exposed to nicotine showed changes after only six hours. 

“These findings suggest that e-cigarettes, the battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine in steam without the carcinogenic agents of tobacco smoke, may not significantly reduce smokers’ risk for heart disease,” researcher Chi-Ming Hai, PhD, of Brown University, said in a news release.

If one turns to e-cigarettes to assist them in quitting smoking it should be temporary. Long term use of e-cigarettes may be equally detrimental to the heart. Using e-cigarettes indoors may expose other people to the nicotine as well.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Obama Commutes Crack Cocaine Sentences

A pile of crack cocaine ‘rocks’
Last week, President Obama commuted the sentences of eight federal inmates, six of which were doing life sentences for possession of crack cocaine, The New York Times reports. There is no doubt that under current drug laws all of the inmates would have received less harsh sentences, but in the 1980’s and ‘90’s the state viewed crack cocaine differently than powder cocaine.

In the past, an individual caught with a small amount crack cocaine was charged in the same way as a dealer who sold a 100 times more powder cocaine. The disparity between the two forms of the same drug was enormous, and in some states life sentences were handed out for small amounts of crack cocaine.

In 2010, the Fair Sentencing Act was enacted, reducing the disparity from 100 to 1 to 18 to 1. People who are caught with small amounts of crack are no longer subject to mandatory prison sentences of five to 10 years.

In a statement, President Obama said, “Commuting the sentences of these eight Americans is an important step toward restoring fundamental ideals of justice and fairness. But it must not be the last. In the new year, lawmakers should act on the kinds of bipartisan sentencing reform measures already working their way through Congress. Together, we must ensure that our taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, and that our justice system keeps its basic promise of equal treatment for all.”

Congress is currently considering a bill that would make crack cocaine mandatory minimum sentences retroactive, in line with the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. Approximately 8,800 federal prisoners, sentenced before August 3, 2010, would be able to petition the court for a sentence in line with the Fair Sentencing Act, according to Families Against Mandatory Minimums.

All eight commuted inmates will be released in 120 days.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, December 23, 2013

Total Smoking Bans Prevent Relapse

Quitting smoking is difficult, even with the aid of smoking cessation products like gum, patches, and medications. While there are steps one can take to reduce the risk of relapse, it takes most users of tobacco products years to finally quit for good. A new study has found that banning smoking in all areas of the home can help smokers quit.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, conducted the study which included 1,718 smokers in California. They found smokers who live in cities with total public smoking bans are more likely to attempt quitting, and to succeed, UPI reports.

“When there’s a total smoking ban in the home, we found that smokers are more likely to reduce tobacco consumption and attempt to quit than when they’re allowed to smoke in some parts of the house,” lead researcher Dr. Wael K. Al-Delaimy said in a news release.

“California was the first state in the world to ban smoking in public places in 1994 and we are still finding the positive impact of that ban by changing the social norm and having more homes and cities banning smoking,” Al-Delaimy said. “These results provide quantitative evidence that smoking bans that are mainly for the protection of non-smokers from risks of secondhand smoke actually encourage quitting behaviors among smokers in California. They highlight the potential value of increasing city-level smoking bans and creating a win-win outcome.”

The findings appear in the journal Preventive Medicine.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Teenagers See Less Risk With Marijuana Use

English: A photograph of hemp (Cannabis sativa...
Despite research indicating that marijuana use has a profound effect on the developing brain of teenagers, the number of teens who think there's a serious risk from being a regular marijuana user is declining, according to a new survey. It is likely that the drop is associated with the changing views of adults and for the first time even more than half of the country feel that marijuana should be legal, according to a new Gallup poll.

The annual, Monitoring the Future, survey found that 39.5 percent of 12th graders believe regular marijuana use is harmful, down from 44.1 percent last year. The survey measures drug use and attitudes among students in grades 8, 10 and 12. A month prior to the survey, almost 23 percent of seniors said they smoked marijuana and just over 36 percent smoked it during the past year. 

The numbers indicate that 6.5 percent of high school seniors smoke marijuana daily, up from 6 percent in 2003 and 2.4 percent in 1993, CNN reports. 


“This is not just an issue of increased daily use,” National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora D. Volkow, MD said in a news release. “It is important to remember that over the past two decades, levels of THC – the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – have gone up a great deal, from 3.75 percent in 1995 to an average of 15 percent in today’s marijuana cigarettes. Daily use today can have stronger effects on a developing teen brain than it did 10 or 20 years ago.”

Fortunately, research showed that synthetic marijuana use is on the decline by 3.4 percent amongst high school seniors and less than 1 percent of all students used bath salts. 


“Synthetic drugs are particularly dangerous because their ingredients are unknown, they have not been tested for safety and their ever-changing ingredients can be unusually powerful,” said lead researcher Lloyd Johnston. “Users really don’t know what they are getting.”
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, December 16, 2013

Heavy Marijuana Use May Damage Brain Structures

MRI of the Human brain.
In the United States, peoples' opinions are changing regarding marijuana use, with more and more states adopting medical marijuana programs and two states who have started the process of recreational legalization. Despite relaxed views on the drug, researchers are still working to find out the effects of the drug on the brain. A new study suggests that heavy use during the teenage years may damage brain structures vital to memory and reasoning.

Researchers observed changes in the sub-cortical regions of the brain using MRI scans, those regions are home to the memory and reasoning circuits, NBC News reports. Teenagers who had experienced changes to the sub-cortical region of the brain performed worse on memory tests (after two years of non-use) than their peers who had not used marijuana.

“We see that adolescents are at a very vulnerable stage neurodevelopmentally,” said lead researcher Matthew Smith of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “And if you throw stuff into the brain that’s not supposed to be there, there are long-term implications for their development.”

Study participants were:
  • 10 people with a history of cannabis use disorder.
  • 15 people with a history of cannabis use disorder and schizophrenia.
  • 28 people with schizophrenia but no regular marijuana use in their past.
  • 44 healthy people without a history of marijuana use.
“We saw poor performance in the marijuana groups…” Smith said. “And the younger somebody started using, the more abnormal they looked.”

The results appear in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Quitting Smoking Impact On Addiction Treatment

There are two schools of thought about smoking cigarettes while in addiction treatment programs. One that says the patient should quit all harmful substances, the other that says that the focus should be primarily on the more harmful substances with quitting smoking being preferable but secondary as it may cause unnecessary stress.

New research has shown that smokers who are addicted to methamphetamine or cocaine can stop smoking while in treatment for their addiction to stimulants, without impacting their treatment.

63 percent of people with a substance use disorder in the past year also reported current tobacco use, according to SAMHSA. Tobacco is responsible for more deaths among patients in substance abuse treatment than the drug of choice that brought them to treatment in the first place, yet most treatment programs fail to promote smoking cessation, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“Substance abuse treatment programs have historically been hesitant to incorporate concurrent smoking cessation therapies with standard drug addiction treatment because of the concern that patients would drop out of treatment entirely,” Dr. Nora D. Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in a news release. “However, treating their tobacco addiction may not only reduce the negative health consequences associated with smoking, but could also potentially improve substance use disorder treatment outcomes.”

Smoking cessation therapy significantly increased quit rates, without negatively impacting participation in treatment for stimulant addiction.

“These findings, coupled with past research, should reassure clinicians that providing smoking-cessation treatment in conjunction with treatment for other substance use disorders will be beneficial to their patients,” said study author Dr. Theresa Winhusen of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.  

The results are published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, December 9, 2013

Most Common Emergency Room Visits Not From Substance Abuse

People suffering from mental health disorders often turn to substance abuse as a form of treatment, or chronic substance abuse is sometimes the result of some form of mental illness. Over the years, there have been a number of reports that have linked frequent emergency room visits to mental health patients that have substance abuse problems.

New research flies in the face of the idea that the most frequent patients of hospital emergency rooms are people with mental illness and substance use disorders. In fact, only a small percentage of visits are the mental illness and substance use population.

More than 212,000 emergency room visits in New York City since 2007 were observed in the new study, according to HealthDay. Those who are most frequent to use the ER tend to have multiple chronic health conditions and many hospitalizations.

“Urban legend has often characterized frequent emergency department patients as mentally ill substance users who are a costly drain on the health care system and who contribute to emergency department (ED) overcrowding because of unnecessary visits for conditions that could be treated more efficiently elsewhere,” the researchers wrote in the journal Health Affairs.

“This study of Medicaid ED users in New York City shows that behavioral health conditions are responsible for a small share of ED visits by frequent users, and that ED use accounts for a small portion of these patients’ total Medicaid costs.”
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Oxycodone More Popular Than Hydrocodone

Prescription opioids are abused more often than any other drug, both legal and illicit. Drugs like oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin) can be acquired with relative ease from doctors and on the black market. Oxycodone is a stronger drug than hydrocodone, so it makes sense that a study of opiate addicts going to substance abuse treatment facilities choose oxycodone over hydrocodone.

3,520 people who abused opioids took part in the study which found that 44.7 percent of patients favored oxycodone, while 29.4 percent preferred hydrocodone. 75 percent of opioid addicts use either oxycodone or hydrocodone, Science Daily reports.

Ninety percent of the study participants said they used prescription opioids to alter their mood. Only 50 of oxycodone users and 60 percent of hydrocodone users said they also were treating pain with the medications.

Researchers found that people who abuse oxycodone tampered with the drug more often than hydrocodone users, enabling them to inject or inhale the medication. Hydrocodone has additives like acetaminophen (Tylenol) that make it less desirable to tamper with.

“The data show that hydrocodone is popular because it is relatively inexpensive, easily accessible through physicians, friends, and families, and is perceived as relatively safe to use, particularly by risk-averse users,” researcher Theodore J. Cicero, PhD, of the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, said in a news release. “This group includes generally risk-averse women, elderly people, non-injectors, and those who prefer safer modes of acquisition than dealers, such as doctors, friends, or family members. In contrast, we found that oxycodone is much more attractive to risk-tolerant young male users who prefer to inject or snort their drugs to get high and are willing to use riskier forms of diversion despite paying twice as much for oxycodone than hydrocodone.”

It has yet to be seen if the release of the pure hydrocodone drug Zohydro will tip the scales on prescription opioid popularity. One thing's for sure, Zohydro will be heavily abused just like its predecessors and more than likely it will be tampered with like oxycodone.

The findings are published in the journal Pain.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, December 2, 2013

High Rate of ADD with MLB Players

Major League Baseball has been in the headlines for performance enhancing drugs quite a bit over the last decade. Players have been questioned for taking human growth hormones (HGH), as well as steroids in order to give themselves an edge. Now, players are turning to stimulants at an alarming rate, drugs like Adderall (an amphetamine based attention deficit disorder [ADD] drug) have become popular.

The number of MLB players authorized to use drugs to treat ADD is increasing, the Los Angeles Times reports. 119 exemptions were given to players last season, granting them the ability to use ADD drugs - an all-time high.

What’s more, one in 10 players has been diagnosed with ADD, double the rate in the general population, according to the report. ADD medication exemptions have been on the rise since the MLB banned amphetamines in 2006. The league granted 28 players exemptions in 2006; by 2007 the number rose to 103.

In 2012, the MLB decided that the league could investigate a player’s need for ADD medication. Last year, seven players were disciplined for the use of Adderall without a prescription.

More than likely players are turning to ADD drugs to enhance their focus and increase their energy level for the game. It seems unlikely that baseball players are more prone than the general public to having ADD.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Speak to an Addiction Specialist
About Our Programs


Insurances We Work With

33171 Paseo Cerveza
San Juan Capistrano
CA 92675