Posts Tagged 'drug test'

Trends Increase in Women 50 and Older for Drug-Related Suicide Attempts

Evidence of the troubling increase in prescription drug abuse has reached hospital emergency rooms, which report increasing medication-related suicide attempts among women 50 and older.

From 2005 to 2009, suicide attempts in which drugs played some role rose from 11,235 to 16,757 among women ages 50 and up, a federal survey found. The increase, driven in part by the last of the Baby Boomers entering their sixth decade, provides a new example of the toll wrought by the nation’s prescription painkiller epidemic. In 2009, 16 million Americans age 12 and up had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant or sedative for non-medical reasons in the previous year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

The trends involving women and suicide appeared in a Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report dated May 12, 2011, but released Thursday to coincide with a meeting of the public-private Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The report, prepared by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, wasn’t limited to suicide attempts involving deliberate overdoses; its authors counted any suicide attempt in which drugs were involved, such as a woman slashing her wrists while smoking marijuana.

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Among women of all ages, emergency hospital visits for attempted suicide involving alcohol or illicit drug use remained “relatively stable” from 2005 to 2009, but increased for particular drugs. Drilling deeper into the report reveals that:

 ER visits for suicide attempts associated with women taking drugs intended to counter anxiety and insomnia rose 56 percent, from 32,426 to 50,548. Hospital visits for attempted suicides involving a class of anxiety drugs known as benzodiazepines rose 67 percent. Those involving alprazolam (Xanax) went up 74 percent. Hospital visits for suicide attempts in which the insomnia drug zolpidem (Ambien) played a role rose 158 percent, from 2,177 visits to 8,190 visits, for all women, but only were statistically significant among women 35 to 49.

 ER visits for women’s suicide attempts associated with pain relievers grew more than 30 percent, from 36,563 to 47,838. Suicide attempts involving narcotic pain relievers remained relatively stable overall, but climbed 67 percent among women who took hydrocodone (Vicodin), from 4,613 to 7,715. They soared 210 percent for suicide attempts involving oxycodone (Oxycontin), from 1,895 to 5,875. A closer analysis found statistically significant increases in ER visits for attempted suicide involving oxycodone for women 21 to 34, and attempted suicide involving hydrocodone for women 35 to 49. Those age ranges span the years during which women typically marry, have children, build careers and reach menopause, all of which can contribute to stress.

Adult addiction specialist Dr. Elizabeth F. Howell, a past president of theAmerican Society of Addiction Medicine and associate professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, said the report findings reflected higher overall rates of prescription abuse and addiction. They weren’t surprising, she said, because as doctors spend less time with their patients, they rely more on pharmaceutical treatments for physical and psychological problems.

“When you go to the physician, there’s not as much time to talk to the doctor. If I’m not sleeping very well, the doctor is more likely to give me a prescription, rather than talk to me for 5 minutes about sleep hygiene,” she said. “There are not as many psychiatrists as we need. Even suicidal patients have trouble getting to see a psychiatrist.”

Primary Care Doctors Prescribing Meds for Problems Psychiatrists Once Handled

As a result, “many more primary care professionals are put in the position of prescribing for anxiety and depression,” even when their patients have health insurance and the means to see a specialist. Patients initially prescribed powerful pain medications for sports injuries or after surgery may discover those drugs help them relax or sleep better and begin “self-medicating their psychiatric symptoms and not just the physical pain,” Howell said.

Howell said she suspects that women in their 50s, who tend to suffer aged-related aches and pains and have problems stemming from hormonal changes, are complaining to their doctors about “things that may not sound totally like depression or anxiety.” She said they leave with prescriptions for anti-anxiety drugs, painkillers or sleeping pills, when they might benefit more from therapy, antidepressants or in some cases, hormonal therapy.

With so many primary care doctors and specialists handing out so many powerful pills, it’s little wonder that patients end up with more medications than they need in their medicine cabinets. “If you paid for it, you tend to hang onto it,” Howell said. “And then if you become depressed or otherwise impulsively suicidal, you look at your medicine cabinet. Overdose is a very common way to try to attempt suicide.”

Although statistics show men more likely to kill themselves than women, women are more frequently treated for attempted suicide, according to 2011 figures compiled by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2009, there were more than 215,000 ER visits by women trying to hurt themselves and women accounted for 3 out of 5 ER visits for drug-related suicide attempts.

The DAWN report said hospital emergency rooms are key places to identify at-risk women and refer them for “appropriate mental health and social services” that address underlying anxiety, depression and domestic abuse, before they can succeed in ending their lives. But it said much of that intervention could also take place by having doctors “monitor the frequency of requested refills, assess medical need, and refer to mental health services when indicated.”

“The steep rise in abuse of narcotic pain relievers by women is extremely dangerous and we are now seeing the result of this public health crisis in our emergency rooms,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, an attorney and former state mental health director. “Emergency rooms should not be the front line in our efforts to intervene.”

Given that older women represent one of the fast-growing populations, and that pain and sleep disorders increasingly are treated with prescription drugs, report concluded by saying that “expanded research on women’s aging issues and the potential use of these drugs as a method of, or influence on, suicide attempts is critical.”

Article By JANE E. ALLEN, ABC News Medical Unit

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What Happens if You Get Caught With K2 in Texas?

Recently the Texas Department of State Health Services has outlawed marijuana-like substances that are commonly found in K2, Spice and other synthetic marijuana products.

So what happens if you are caught with distributing or in possession of these substances?

After the DEA’s action, DSHS is required by state law to place the substances on the Texas Schedules of Controlled Substances.

Schedule 1, the most restrictive category on the Texas Schedules of Controlled Substances, is reserved for unsafe, highly abused substances with no accepted medical use. Five chemicals, JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47, 497 and cannabicyclohexanol that are found in K2 were placed on the Schedule.

Penalties for the manufacture, sale or possession of K2 are subject to a fine not to exceed 4,000 and or confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year.

Since January 2010, approximately 600 calls were made to the Texas Poison Center Network related to K2 exposure. Reported adverse effects associated with use of these marijuana-like substances include chest pain, heart palpitations, agitation, drowsiness, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and confusion.

SOURCES:

http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/layouts/contentpage.aspx?pageid=33953&id=8589952196&terms=synthetic+marijuana

http://houstoncountylife.com/2011/04/20/state-outlaws-k2-and-other-synthetic-marijuana-products/

News Media Contact: Christine Mann, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-458-7511.)

DSHS Press Office on Twitter

Bath Salts Blamed for Deaths

March 21, 2011: In the last six months, a rash of crimes and deaths have swept across the Southern states as the result of a street drug called bath salts. Joel Eisenbaum reports. Click here for the video and the full article.

http://www.click2houston.com/video/27271268/index.html

Top Signs Your Child May Be Using Drugs or Alcohol

Drugs and Alcohol

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) 2008 “Monitoring The Future” study on illicit drug and alcohol use by teens and youth, drug use trends that concern both parents and schools reflect:

Schools

  • 10.9% of 8th graders, 23.9% of 10th graders and 32.4% of 12th graders use marijuana
  • 15.4% of 12th graders have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. Vicodin continues to be abused at high levels.
  • 2.7% of 8th graders, 7.2% of 10th graders and 9.6% of 12th graders had abused Vicodin
  • 1.8% of 8th graders, 3.9% of 10th graders and 5.2% of 12th graders had abused OxyContin for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed

From peer pressure to looking for a way to deal with family and life challenges, drug and alcohol use by teens is a problem. More importantly, parents and schools may work hand-in-hand in monitoring and managing substance abuse.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of teen drug and/or alcohol use? The short list includes:

  • Behavioral issues
    • Changes in relationships with family members or friends
    • Mood changes or emotional instability
    • Withdrawn or depressed; uncommunicative
    • Periods of sleeplessness or high energy, followed by long periods of sleeping
  • Absenteeism or loss of interest in school or extracurricular activities
  • Failure to fulfill responsibilities at school or home
  • Disappearance of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as alcohol or money
  • Personal appearance, habits or action changes
    • Poor hygiene and personal care
    • Track marks on arms or legs
    • Frequently breaking curfew
    • Using over-the-counter eye reddening washes and/or breath mints and gum more frequently

ExperTox supports both parents and schools through its drug and alcohol testing services designed to target those most vulnerable areas of substance abuse by youth and teens. Alternative specimen testing options allow for drug detection over varying time periods, from recent use to six months or more, including oral fluid, blood, urine, hair and nails.

These tests include:

  • Drug Tests
  • Alcohol Tests
  • Synthetic Opiates such as Hydrocodone and Oxycodone (OxyContin)

Top Signs that Point to Prescription Drug Abuse

If you are worried about a friend or loved one abusing prescription drugs, you aren’t alone. The use and abuse of prescription drugs has amplified in the last 20 years.

According to the Center for Disease Control, narcotic prescription use rose 1,000 percent in the U.S. between 1990 and 2009. As well, nationally we experienced a 500 percent increase in the number of prescription narcotic-related deaths.

Psychiatrist and author, Stephen Seager, wrote an article on the dangers of abusing prescription health meds. In this article he states, in an effort to treat pain more effectively and with the advent of may newer forms of opiod (narcotic) pain relievers – Oxycontin, Lortab, Methadone, Percodan, Percocet, Tramadol, Fentanyl – millions of Americans now take these medications on a regular basis for a wide range of diagnoses. While generally meant for short-term use, opiate pain medications have slowly been used for longer periods and for many ailments previously untreated with narcotics. While some benefit has been noted, an unfortunate, tragic consequence ensued.

We find ourselves in the midst of what the U.S. government and many state health agencies have called an accelerating “epidemic of prescription drug misuse, addiction and overdose.” This new narcotic epidemic seems to be almost the exclusive province of middle-age and older people. The number of narcotic overdose cases peaks in the 34-54 age group, while the total number of people who overdose in their 60s, 70s and 80s has doubed in the past five years. Before you or some one you love becomes a statistic, be aware of the seven sure signs of narcotic addiction and impending problems.

• Has a trusted loved one or family member expressed concern about your prescription opiate use?

• Do you have more than one doctor who prescribes the same medication? Or multiple prescriptions from multiple providers?

• Do you have medications secretly hidden in more than one location around your home?

• Have you taken these medications on a regular basis for more than two weeks? Or a month?

• Do these medications help you to function? Have you returned to work? If not, why? What tasks do the medications help you to perform? If you cannot answer these questions and you continue taking opiates, this is a very dangerous sign.

• Take a step back and look at your life since you began taking opiate medications. Are things getting better or worse? Have bad things begun to happen? Lose your job? Wreck your car? Divorce? Arrest?

• Last, and most importantly, have you ever been admitted to a hospital, for any reason, due to prescription drug use?

Solutions to the national prescription opiate problem are elusive and multi-factorial. But two issues stand out. Doctors give these medications too liberally, for longer periods than are warranted and for pain issues that might better be treated by other modalities. But patients ask for these medications specifically and often insist upon them. More education on both parts seems to be in order.

If these medications are part of your life or the life of someone about whom you care, take a look at the issue of opiate use. Be honest. Talk with your family. Talk with your doctor. Ask if there aren’t other less dangerous medications that might also be effective. Ask if there are other treatment options — physical therapy, acupuncture, support groups — which might allow you to talk a lower dose of narcotic medications or perhaps wean off them entirely. And, equally importantly, discuss whether a formal drug detox and rehabilitation program might be needed.

Stephen Seager is a psychiatrist and author of “The God Gene: The Promise of Prometheus.” Please click here for more information.

Possible Addition to the K2 Legislation in Texas

This was on the news on KHOU Channel 11 in Houston, TX this week. http://www.khou.com/home/Texas-could-consider-banning-Bath-Salts-114880629.html


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