Caremark Pressures Pharmacies to Abandon Tobacco Sales

Some customers will soon be required to make a $15 co-payment on prescriptions filled at pharmacies that sell tobacco products, under new rules issued by Caremark, the pharmacy benefits management arm of CVS. The rules will encourage customers to fill prescriptions at CVS-owned pharmacies, which stopped selling tobacco products in September. This will also put financial pressure on other pharmacies that are part of the Caremark network to stop selling tobacco products. More than 54,000 pharmacies are part of the Caremark network, including more than 20,000 independent pharmacies. “For clients who choose a tobacco-free network, plan members would be provided…

DEA Expands Controlled Substance Take Back

As of today, October 9th,  DEA will allow the transfer of unused or unwanted pharmaceutical controlled substances to authorized collectors for the purpose of disposal.  Authorized collectors will include:  manufacturers, distributors, reverse distributors, narcotic treatment programs, retail pharmacies, and hospitals/clinics with an on-site pharmacy.  Additionally, long-term-care facilities will do the same on behalf of residents or former residents of their facilities. “These new regulations will expand the public’s options to safely and responsibly dispose of unused or unwanted medications,” said DEA Administrator Leonhart.  “The new rules will allow for around-the-clock, simple solutions to this ongoing problem.  Now everyone can easily play a…

SAMHSA Awards Grant to NC Central to Address Alcohol, Drug Abuse, HIV

                            N.C. Central University plans to use a three-year grant to develop techniques for reducing rates of alcohol and drug abuse and HIV transmission among 18 to 24 year olds. The grant totals nearly $898,000.  The initiative known as the Campus Community Coalition taps the expertise of five academic departments within NCCU and two outside agencies. An initial phase of the project started earlier this year and involved on-campus surveys to explore prevailing habits and attitudes regarding sex and drug and alcohol use among young adults.  A…

NC ABC Preparing Campaign Against Underage Drinking

According to an ABC survey, up to 40 percent of children in North Carolina have consumed alcohol before they get to the ninth grade. ABC Chairman Jim Gardner says part of the motivation behind the campaign is another, more stark, statistic. “I was staggered when I heard the figure that we lose a child per week,” Gardner said in an interview.  “And I have to always stop and think: per week, not per month, in North Carolina, to underage drinking accidents.” Gardner says he expects the campaign to last several years.  It will seek to motivate parents to speak with…

Connection Between Early Age of First Drink and Heavy Drinking

“Our research suggests that teenagers who have their first drink at an early age drink more heavily, on average, than those who start drinking later on,” said Meghan E. Morean, assistant professor of psychology at Oberlin College, Ohio and adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine.  “Our work also suggests that how quickly teenagers move from having their first drink to getting drunk for the first time is an important piece of the puzzle.  In total, having your first drink at a young age and quickly moving to drinking to the point of getting drunk are associated…

Report reveals the scope of substance use and mental illness affecting the nation

A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides insight into the nature and scope of substance use and mental illness issues affecting America.  The report shows that 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users – 9.4 percent of this age group.  Marijuana was by far the most commonly used illicit drug, with nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers as a close second. The SAMHSA report also shows that 34.6 million adults aged 18 or older (14.6 percent of the population aged 18 or older) received mental health…

Consequences of Teen Alcohol, Marijuana Use Studied

Now a new study asked high school seniors to indicate whether they experienced various adverse psychosocial outcomes resulting from use of each substance.  The most alarming finding was that alcohol use was highly associated with unsafe driving, especially among frequent drinkers,” said Dr. Palamar, , PhD, MPH, a CDUHR affiliated researcher and an assistant professor of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center (NYULMC).  “Compared to non-drinkers, frequent drinkers were over 13 times more likely to report that their alcohol use has led to unsafe driving. Marijuana users, compared to non-users, were three times more likely to report unsafe driving as…

Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms in Teens

Although cannabis — commonly known as marijuana — is broadly believed to be nonaddictive, a study has found that 40% of cannabis-using adolescents receiving outpatient treatment for substance use disorder reported experiencing symptoms of withdrawal, which are considered a hallmark of drug dependence.  The current study enrolled 127 adolescents between ages 14 and 19 being treated at an outpatient substance use disorder clinic, 90 of whom indicated that cannabis was the substance they used most frequently.  The commonly reported cannabis withdrawal symptoms reported were: anxiety, irritability, depression and difficulty sleeping.    Of the 90 cannabis-using participants, 84% met criteria for cannabis…

Greenville Considers Alcohol Policy in Parks

With the exception of the Bradford Creek golf course, alcohol is prohibited at parks across Greenville, NC. A potential policy change, brought up at the City Council’s August meeting, would allow people to sell and drink alcohol in designated locations.  And only for specific events. So far the Greenville City Council unanimously approved postponing a decision on whether to allow alcohol in five parks. The councilmembers wanted to give people enough time to better understand the proposal which allows alcohol under heavy restrictions at Town Common, River North Nature Center, Magnolia Arts Center, the area of Eppes Recreation Center leased…

‘Big Marijuana’ is like ‘Big Tobacco’

The National Conference on Addiction Disorders (August 25, 2014) was a natural venue for a forthright discussion about the impact of marijuana use in the two states that have legalized it (Colorado and Washington).   Legalization, which was the result of a sophisticated strategy by companies with deep pockets, has taken the form of normalization of marijuana use.  ‘Big Marijuana’ is like ‘Big Tobacco.’  They’re using the same strategies and tools that have been seen in activities by Big Tobacco.  “The strategy,” says Andrea Grubb Barthwell, Medical Director, Encounter Medical Group, Director of the Two Dreams Facilities, Chicago, “is to normalize…