NIH Launches Landmark Study on Substance Use and Adolescent Brain Development

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded 13 grants to research institutions around the country as part of a landmark study about the effects of adolescent substance use on the developing brain. The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study will follow approximately 10,000 children beginning at ages 9 to10, before they initiate drug use, through the period of highest risk for substance use and other mental health disorders.  Scientists will track exposure to substances (including nicotine, alcohol, and marijuana), academic achievement, cognitive skills, mental health, and brain structure and function using advanced research methods.

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CADCA 2016 National Leadership Forum Call for Presentations

Looking for an opportunity to showcase your community-level prevention efforts?  The Call for Presentations is open to all community anti-drug coalitions; community-based prevention organizations; government agencies with a focus on substance abuse, mental health, criminal justice, public health, public safety, and related disciplines; coalition sector member organizations; and other organizations with an interest in substance abuse prevention and advocacy.  Presentations will be offered during 75-minute workshop periods offered on Tuesday and Thursday of the National Leadership Forum.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 11:59AM EDT on Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Forum Dates: February 1-4, 2016 | Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center | National Harbor, MD

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The Role of Physicians in Addressing Prescription Med Abuse

According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, more than 100 million people in this country suffer from chronic pain, and for some opioid therapy may be the only option for relief.  Physicians often walk a thin line in the desire to confront the public health emergency while upholding our oath to reduce the suffering of our patients.

Robert E. Schaaf, M.D., president of the N.C. Medical Society, says “We, as physicians and physician assistants, have a responsibility to stop the abuse of opioids, as it saps the human and economic resources of our state and country.”  This responsibility includes the use of the Controlled Substance Reporting System, an online registry to track prescriptions for controlled substances and to help ensure patients are getting the medications they need while not abusing them.

Unfortunately, a woefully small number of licensed practitioners in North Carolina use CSRS.  According to the state’s Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disability and Substance Abuse Services, as of April 2014, approximately 18,700 dispensers and practitioners were registered to use the system.  At the end of 2014, approximately 43,000 physicians and PAs were licensed to practice in the state by the North Carolina Medical Board.

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NC Law: Underage Drinking and Private Parties

Although it is legal in some states for minors to drink alcohol at private parties with permission from their parents, North Carolina is not one of those states.

Officials with the state Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement said any adult who allows a minor to consume alcohol or reasonably should have known that underage drinking was occurring in their home can be criminally charged for misdemeanor aiding and abetting.

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DEA Schedule Changes for Opioids

Prescription medication abuse has become an issue of great concern.  The DEA moved hydrocodone combination pills, also known as opioids, from a Schedule III to a Schedule II drug.  The final ruling goes into effect in 45 days.

Drugs are categorized into one of five “schedules” by the DEA based on “whether they have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, their relative abuse potential and their likelihood of causing dependence when abused.”  Other drugs, such as Adderall and morphine, are also labeled as Schedule II.

Now, in order to use these drugs, patients will have to get a written prescription from a doctor — instead of one submitted orally by phone.  And refills are prohibited; patients would have to check in with their doctors to get another prescription.

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