Tag Archives | Addiction

Ten Studies That Shook the Addiction World

wir.skyrock

via Substance.com:

Over the past decade, addiction has come out of the shadows and into popular culture as never before. This is a time when the very definition of addiction is hotly contested, and we appear to be a tipping point where the “spiritual” framing of addiction is fast yielding to the “scientific” one. Some of us wonder what has taken so long.

Science rarely progresses in a straight line, and the science of addiction is no exception. Since the mid-1960s, when the approach to substance use disorder began to shake off the dark cloak of moral stigma, the fields of medicine, psychology, neuroscience, sociology and advocacy have, at times, competed and, at other times, collaborated to advance our understanding of the nature, causes, course and, most important, treatment of addiction. As moralism gave way to medicine, so abstinence expanded to include controlled drinking and spontaneous remission. No sooner does one model gain ascendance than cracks appear in its certitudes and it is forced to make room or make way for new thinking.

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3rd Generation Kennedy Fears Marijuana Legalization

Congressional Portrait of Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI)

Congressional Portrait of Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI)

via Reason.com:

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) has just published an op-ed in Ozy titled, “What No One is Saying about Marijuana,” where he sounds the alarm that “Addiction is big business, and with legal marijuana it’s only getting bigger.”

A recidivist drug and alcohol abuser (who has miraculously avoided jail time despite committing crimes while under the influence that would send lesser mortals to prison on felony convictions) arguing for the continued imprisonment of adults choosing to responsibly consume a substance is rich in its own right. But for a third-generation Kennedy to argue against ending marijuana prohibition because major profits will be made off of it is head-exploding irony and hypocrisy.

Perhaps the ex-Congressman missed the just-concluded final season of Boardwalk Empire, which included a major subplot depicting his grandfather, Joseph P. Kennedy, shrewdly anticipating the end of alcohol prohibition and getting in on the ground floor of legally importing liquor into the United States.

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Watching Friends Recover From Addiction on Facebook

By Mr. Theklan via Flickr (CC by-sa 2.0)

By Mr. Theklan via Flickr (CC by-sa 2.0)

via The Atlantic:

Through likes and comments, I’ve watched my hometown of Perry, Ohio, disappear into and come back from heroin addiction.

The U.S. is facing a massive heroin epidemic, and nowhere is it more evident than in Ohio, where fatal drug overdoses surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death in 2007, and increased by 60 percent from 2011 to 2012. Addicts in rehabilitation say heroin is the easiest drug to find. State legislators have called for Republican Governor John Kasich to declare the prevalence of heroin a public-health emergency, and in May he agreed to an Obamacare Medicaid expansion largely because the state badly needed the federal help in funding treatment for heroin addiction.

Perry, Ohio, is a microcosm of the epidemic, which is now infiltrating upper-middle-class suburbs. Thirty minutes east of Cleveland, the town of 1,500 has a median annual income $31,000 higher than that of Ohio overall, but it also lacks opportunities for young adults to start their lives.

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New 20-Year Study Shatters Myths About Marijuana Use

Professor Wayne Hall has published the results of a 20-year study of the use of marijuana in the journal Addiction (PDF of Full Study article here), which summarizes his findings as follows:

Adverse effects of acute cannabis use

  • Cannabis does not produce fatal overdoses.
  • Driving while cannabis-intoxicated doubles the risk of a car crash; this risk increases substantially if users are also alcohol-intoxicated.
  • Cannabis use during pregnancy slightly reduces birth weight of the baby.

Adverse effects of chronic cannabis use

  • Regular cannabis users can develop a dependence syndrome, the risks of which are around 1 in 10 of all cannabis users and 1 in 6 among those who start in adolescence.
  • Regular cannabis users double their risks of experiencing psychotic symptoms and disorders, especially if they have a personal or family history of psychotic disorders, and if they start using cannabis in their mid-teens.
  • Regular adolescent cannabis users have lower educational attainment than non-using peers but we don’t know whether the link is causal.
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Extinction Burst

Other than Filmspotting, the only podcast I listen to regularly is You Are Not So Smart. Out of all of the episodes, I felt compelled to share “Extinction Burst” because it’s filled with useful information about addictions and why they’re so difficult to overcome. Whether it’s food, alcohol, smoking, or some other vice, most of us struggle with addiction to varying degrees.

Via You Are Not So Smart’s Soundcloud page:

Why do you so often fail at removing bad habits from your life?

You try to diet, to exercise, to stop smoking, to stop staying up until 2 a.m. stuck in a hamster wheel of internet diversions, and right when you seem to be doing well, right when it seems like your bad habit is dead, you lose control. It seems all too easy for one transgression, one tiny cheating bite of pizza or puff of smoke, and then it’s all over.

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Pythagorean Cup: The Cup For Gluttons

I’d venture to say there’s a glutton hiding inside all of us. Some of us are gluttons for food, some for money, and some for that enchanting nectar – alcohol. Alcohol addiction has plagued human kind since we first discovered the joys of that sweet, fermented liquid. The ancient Greeks were no less immune to gluttonous drinking and Pythagoras of Samos cleverly designed a cup that would expose the greedy: the Pythagorean Cup.

Pythagorean cup, (Author: Nevit Dilmen)

Pythagorean cup diagram, (Author: Nevit Dilmen)

From Wikipedia:

A Pythagorean cup (also known as a Pythagoras cup, a Greedy Cup or a Tantalus cup) is a form of drinking cup that forces its user to imbibe only in moderation. Credited to Pythagoras of Samos, it allows the user to fill the cup with wine up to a certain level. If they fill the cup only to that level, the imbiber may enjoy a drink in peace. If they exhibit gluttony, however, the cup spills its entire contents out of the bottom (onto the lap of the immodest drinker).

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Altered Microbial Enzyme Digests Cocaine

Pic: Willis Kent Productions (C)

Pic: Willis Kent Productions (C)

Bioengineered enzyme that eats cocaine and can survive in the human body… sounds like the makings of a low-budget but entirely awesome cocaine zombie movie. (Please let the epidemic begin in Hollywood.)

Bacteria that live in the soil near coca plants make an enzyme called cocaine esterase, which rapidly breaks down the drug. The enzyme could theoretically be useful to  destroy cocaine ingested by people before it takes effect, but the half-life of the enzyme–which was isolated years ago–is only about 12 minutes at human body temperature, according to Chemical & Engineering News. “It would be hard to use this enzyme for therapeutic purposes,” University of Kentucky researcher Chang-Guo Zhan says.

So scientists decided to tinker with it. What if the enzyme could be made sturdy at high temperatures? In a 2008 study, Zhan and colleagues first figured out how to extend the half-life to six hours, possibly enough to treat an overdose.

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How Much Do You Drink? Liar!

Are you lying about how much you drink or just grossly underestimating? It’s pretty much going to be one or the other for the average person writes Keith Humphreys at New York Mag’s Science of Us blog:

One of the enduring mysteries of alcohol research is that when you tally up all the booze that people report consuming when they are surveyed about their drinking habits, it rarely adds up to even half of the alcohol sold.  So either we pour half of the liquor we purchase into the sea (could this be the origin of the phrase “drank like a fish”?) or we tend to forget — or intentionally lie about — how much sauce we imbibe. A clever new study in the journal Addiction provides clues about who is worst at owning up to the full extent of their drinking.

Alcoholic beverages montage

The researchers surveyed over 40,000 people with standard alcohol survey questions about their quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption — “How many drinks have you had in the past month?” and so on.

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Heroin Addicts: Powerless to a Flower

Opium Poppy:  Papaver somniferum

Opium Poppy: Papaver somniferum

Editor’s Note: This opinion piece was written by a contributor. It examines substance addiction, a controversial topic. No endorsement is implied by its publication. The Disinformation Company encourages you to speak with your medical provider(s) regarding this or any other health-related topic.

An old drinking buddy of mine overdosed on heroin recently. He moved out to the Pacific Northwest to skate or die, and wound up doing both, joining a hundred other Americans who go out that way every day. I hadn’t seen or thought about him in years, but by coincidence, I was in town when he passed. A mutual friend told me there would be a memorial at a local skate park. I stopped by to pay my respects.

I found a bundle of droopy balloons hovering over beer can tabs, a condom wrapper, and a melted candle. Mourners had written dedications all over the squeaky balloon skins.… Read the rest

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