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Prescription drug epidemic among young people
Date: 2012-10-17 18:28:43

A study conducted by the University of Colorado (UC), Denver revealed that pharmaceuticals like Vicodin, Valium and Oxycotin, which can detected in the body using a lab test, are being abused 40 percent more by adolescents today compared to past generations. Pharmaceuticals are the second most commonly used drug, next to marijuana according to UC Denver.

"Prescription drug use is the next big epidemic," said Richard Miech M.D., one of the authors of the study. "Everyone in this field has recognized that there is a big increase in the abuse of nonmedical analgesics but our study shows that it is accelerating among today's generation of adolescents."

The study, which was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, was a compilation of data acquired from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which spanned from 1985 to 2009.

Subgroups of non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics were shown to be especially affected by the trend. One of the factors that Doctor Miech attributed to the increased abuse of prescription drugs was their availability: Between 1991 and 2007, the number of hydrocodone and oxycodone prescriptions rose from 40 million to nearly 180 million.

He also noted that children see their parents taking analgesics, or painkillers, and they grow up thinking that taking them is acceptable.

... Full Story

Diabetes medication may help curb drug addiction
Date: 2012-10-24 14:51:19

According to research conducted at Vanderbilt University, exendin-4, which is used to manage diabetes, may be helpful in treating addiction to stimulant drugs.

"What we have demonstrated is that a brain mechanism already known to be therapeutic for the treatment of diabetes also appears to be implicated in at least certain types of drug addiction," said one of the research authors Gregg Stanwood, Ph.D.

Stanwood noted that when exendin-4 was tested on animals, it showed an ability to decrease the reward effects of cocaine. He and his colleagues predict that this same mechanism can be utilized to treat addiction in humans to other stimulants like amphetamine and methamphetamine, which can be detected with a blood test.

Stanwood also reported that metabolic disorders, such as diabetes, and psychiatric disorders, like addiction and schizophrenia, have a tendency to be diagnosed together and this treatment may be able to target disorders that are related to dysregulated dopamine.

Although Stanwood believes exendin-4 and the subsequent medications that may come from this research will prove to be successful, he stated they will not be a "magic bullet" for addiction, but rather it will be helpful when paired with therapy and behavioral support.

Drug abuse... Full Story

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