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…

Synthetic Drug More Potent Than Heroin

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said acetyl fentanyl is an opioid analgesic drug that is up to five times more potent than heroin.  It is an analog of fentanyl – a powerful narcotic analgesic – and is not available as a prescription drug in the United States.  It often goes by the street name “China White.” On Wednesday 2/19/2014, North Carolina health officials said that three deaths have been linked to the synthetic drug acetyl fentanyl, and they’ve issued a health advisory.  Click HERE to see the news story

Troubling Trend: Internet Drinking Game

There’s a new horrifying drinking game making global headlines that’s already taken the lives of several young adults and the dignity of some who survive. It’s called #NekNominate or #NekNominations (hashtag used for social media purposes), and it’s an online craze spreading rapidly across countries thanks to Twitter and Facebook. Here’s how it works: kids are nominated by their peers to take video of themselves downing — or “necking” — strong drinks under bizarre or dangerous circumstances before challenging others to film an even more shocking video by the next day. Read more:

2014 Summer Research Opportunity to Students

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) invites high school and under-graduate students to submit applications for the 2014 Summer Research Program.  Under this program students underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences are paired with NIDA funded scientists at research institutions across the United States for 8-10 weeks during the summer to work in the field of substance abuse and addiction research.  Internships may involve a variety of experiences including laboratory experiments, data collection, data analysis, patient interviews, library research and literature reviews. Student interns receive a stipend, and if necessary and eligible, provisions for travel and housing expenses….

Hookah Use: Myths and Misperceptions

Commentary by Thomas Eissenbug, PhD == In recent years, there has been an increase in hookah use around the world, most notably among youth and university students.  The United States is not immune.  The Monitoring the Future survey for 12th grade students found that in 2012, 18.3% of high school seniors in the United States had used hookahs in the past year, up from 17.1% in 2010.  Other studies of young adults indicate that hookah smoking is more prevalent among university students in the United States, with past-year use ranging from 22 percent to 40 percent. The Food and Drug…

Colorado: Marijuana Legalization and School Disciplinary Problems

(The Denver Post) — In two years of work as an undercover officer with a drug task force, Mike  Dillon encountered plenty of drugs.  But nothing has surprised him as much as  what he has seen in schools lately. There are no hard numbers yet because school disciplinary statistics do  not isolate  marijuana from general drug violations. But school resource  officers, counselors, nurses, staff and officials with Colorado school safety  and disciplinary programs are anecdotally reporting an increase in  marijuana-related incidents in middle and high schools. “We have seen a sharp rise in drug-related disciplinary actions which,  anecdotally, from credible sources,…

Flavored Tobacco On the Rise

(CNN) — More than two out of every five middle- and high-school students who smoke report using flavored little cigars or flavored cigarettes, according to the report.  And the bigger concern may be that the majority of the kids who smoke the flavored cigars — some 60% — say they don’t plan to quit anytime soon (compared to 49% of all cigar smokers). This coupled with the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes and e-hookahs makes for an inevitable resurgence of tobacco as a popular product…. Click HERE to continue reading  

School Policies Reduce Student Drinking – If They’re Perceived to Be Enforced

  University of Washington professor of social work Richard Catalano and colleagues studied whether anti-alcohol policies in public and private schools were effective for eighth and ninth-graders.  What they found was that each school’s particular policy mattered less than the students’ perceived enforcement of it. So, even if a school had a suspension or expulsion policy, if students felt the school didn’t enforce it then they were more likely to drink on campus. But, even if a school’s policy was less harsh — such as requiring counseling — students were less likely to drink at school if they believed school officials…

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…