Dr. Sanjay Gupta describes how prescription opioids act on the brain and why over-prescribing and misuse can lead to heroin addiction. Click here to view the report.
Study shows twofold increase in teen use of performance enhancing drugs
The results of a national survey released July 22nd by the Partnership for Drug Free Kids found that the percentage of teens in grades 9 to 12 who reported using synthetic human growth hormone (hGH) more than doubled, rising from 5 percent in 2012 to 11 percent in 2013. The use of other performance enhancing substances, such as steroids, also rose. The increases mirror a reduction in the perceived risk of harm teens associate with using the substances.
It is unclear if all those reporting the use of synthetic hGH actually used prescription grade hGH or if some used unregulated over-the-counter products that claim to contain the substance or to stimulate the body's production of hGH. All prescriptions are evaluated and tested by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure quality and efficacy. However, OTC products, which are untested and unregulated by the FDA, are not required to be proven safe and can only be removed from shelves after being proven unsafe. To read the Partnership's article, click here.
CVS to halt sales of tobacco products
CVS Caremark, the second largest U.S. drugstore chain announced Wednesday that it will discontinue sales of all tobacco products in its stores. The phaseout of cigarettes, chew tobacco, and other tobacco products is to be completed by Oct. 1.
CVS Caremark, which has been working with doctors and hospitals to improve healthcare delivery, acted on the recognition that selling a product that is responsible for thousands of deaths annually is inconsistent with its new direction as part of the healthcare delivery system.
PACE Coalition, which has been a leader in the fight to reduce adult tobacco use and to prevent youth from taking up tobacco, applauds the decision by CVS and hopes that other pharmacy operators will follow the company's lead.
PACE Coalition and the role of prevention
Prevention as public policy is based on the idea that avoiding problems is less costly than dealing with their consequences. Changing your vehicle’s oil regularly to prevent engine damage and avoid costly future repairs is one example of prevention at work.
Prevention, as a public health policy, follows the same logic: Preventing threats to individual and community health from becoming major problems is far less costly for all than dealing with the aftermath of social ills that were allowed to fester and spread. Since it saves capital and resources, prevention has gained momentum in recent years as lawmakers scramble to find more effective ways to use taxpayer money.
At PACE Coalition, although we work in the broad field of prevention, we also think of what we do as sustaining healthy communities through education. Our goal is to inform individuals, families and communities about avoiding harm, whether from substance use, poor nutrition, or dangerous practices like texting while driving.
Supporting healthy families and youth with programs like the Summer Activities Fair that make it easier for busy parents to enroll young people in multiple summer activities is another way in which PACE and its community partners work to maintain healthy communities.
Anyone who does things like changing furnace filters, or getting annual flu shots is practicing prevention and can understand how PACE Coalition and prevention work in our communities.
50 years ago: A momentous decision
When Surgeon General Luther Terry released his report on the effects tobacco on public health, the veil of misinformation began to lift and the American public reacted. So too, did the tobacco industry which continued to fight back as the number of smokers began a long slide. Read "Professor Hanington's Speaking of Science" article in the Jan. 11, 2014 Elko Daily Free Press. Click here.
Research finds correlation between marijuana use and damage to critical brain structures
In December, NBC News reported that according to researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, heavy marijuana use may damage brain structures critical to memory formation and cognitive function. The research was published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin last month.
The study found that regular marijuana users perfomed worse than non-users on tests of cognitive function even months or years after last use of the drug. The report came out just as Colorado prepared to begin the sale of marijuana for recreational use and other states continue to look at legalizing marijuana sales.
To read the full NBC story, click here.