New Documentary Strives to Transform Public Opinion on Recovery

The Anonymous People, a new documentary film about the over 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction, examines the deeply entrenched social stigma has kept recovery voices silent and faces hidden for decades. Check it out below…

Combination of Smoking and Heavy Drinking ‘Speeds Up Cognitive Decline’

  Researchers from UCL (University College London) found that smokers who drank alcohol heavily had a 36% faster cognitive decline compared to non-smoking moderate drinkers.  Smoking and heavier alcohol consumption often co-occur, and their combined effect on cognition may be larger than the sum of their individual effects.  The research team found that in current smokers who were also heavy drinkers, cognitive decline was 36% faster than in non-smoking moderate drinkers. Click here for full story…

Building Public Awareness and Community Support

SAMHSA offers webcast focused on examining the strategies and messages for building public awareness and community support around substance use disorders and mental illness, including the impact of health reform and the integration of behavioral health care into the primary health care setting. Check it out…

Brain’s Response to Sweets May Indicate Risk for Development of Alcoholism

  Several human and animal studies have shown a relationship between a preference for highly sweet tastes and alcohol use disorders.  Furthermore, the brain mechanisms of sweet-taste responses may share common neural pathways with responses to alcohol and other drugs.  A new study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has found that recent drinking is related to the orbitofrontal-region brain response to an intensely sweet stimulus, a brain response that may serve as an important phenotype, or observable characteristic, of alcoholism risk. “Our study was designed to determine which brain areas responded to sweet taste — as compared to plain…

FDA Approves New Drug for Opiod Addiction

  Pharmaceutical company proposes treating prescription drug addiction with another prescription drug, and has the green light from the FDA to begin selling the pill solution in the U.S. to combat opioid addition. According to Reuters, the drug Zubsolv is designed to treat addiction to prescription opioids like codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl and methadone (which is ironically the prescription solution for heroin addiction).  Together, these drugs are responsible for about 75 percent of prescription drug overdoses each year. Click here for full story…

Long-Term Cannabis Use May Blunt the Brain’s Motivation System

  Researchers found that dopamine levels in a part of the brain called the striatum were lower in people who smoke more cannabis and those who began taking the drug at a younger age.   They suggest this finding could explain why some cannabis users appear to lack motivation to work or pursue their normal interests. The cannabis users in the study had their first experience with the drug between the ages of 12 and 18. There was a trend for lower dopamine levels in those who started earlier, and also in those who smoke more cannabis.  The researchers say these…

Children of Military Families at Increased Risk for Substance Use

  In a paper published in the journal Addiction, researchers report that children of military families have a higher risk for alcohol and other substance use than do their peers in nonmilitary families. On the basis of their findings, the researchers suggest that schools and health care providers consider parental military deployment as an opportunity to provide early intervention and screening for substance abuse for young people in military families. The researchers’ data indicated that substance use overall was higher among those in the currently deployed or recently returned groups than in the nonmilitary group. Deployment often means that children…

Family Physicians Group Offers Doctors Online Tools for Addiction Treatment

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) in cooperation with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is offering its members online tools to help them care for patients and families struggling with addiction.  The tools include the Addiction Performance Project, designed to reduce the stigma often associated with addiction, and to help doctors better identify and assist patients who abuse drugs.