Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Murphy, Courtney visit area to discuss heroin crisis

The Day, March 29, 2016

"Groton Town Police and other local law enforcement leaders are hopeful after a Monday morning visit from U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy that the region soon will see more federal dollars to fight the heroin epidemic.

Murphy, who met with law enforcement and other members of the Regional Community Enhancement Task Force at the Groton Town Police headquarters, spent most of his half-hour visit trying to learn more about the region's issue and asking members what resources would be most helpful to them.

'The one part that we in law enforcement find most distressing is at the time when we're seeing this spike (in overdoses) and this problem continuing on an upward trend, we're seeing a reduction in dollars coming in to address it,' said Groton Town Police Chief Louis J. Fusaro Jr. Read more

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Letter to My Heroin Addict Daughter

Lifezette, by Ella Cross

"This mother 'lost' her child too soon — and wants her back

Dear Daughter,

I have lost you. Gone is the baby girl I held in my arms while whispering words of adoration. Gone is the little girl whose fingernails I painted a soft, innocent pink while we sang, “I love you, you love me.”

Gone for now are the dreams I had for your life as I watched you walk into your kindergarten room on the first day of school. Dashed are the hopes that swelled up in my heart when I saw you sing in your school’s choral concerts, as you went on your first date, as you walked down the aisle with your high school diploma in hand. How could I fathom I was watching you march toward the devastation called addiction?" Read more

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Committee to vote on expansion of Connecticut’s medical marijuana law

New Haven Register (Hartford), March 20, 2016

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow qualified patients under 18 years old to use medical marijuana to treat their debilitating illnesses.

Under the proposal, patients under 18 who’ve met the necessary requirements would need the consent of a parent or guardian in order to receive the drug. Currently, a patient must be at least 18 years old.

The bill would also expand the number of illnesses that can be treated with medical marijuana. The new conditions include cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, irreversible spinal cord injuries, uncontrolled intractable seizure disorder and terminal illness requiring end-of-life care. Read more

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Some States Limiting Prescribing of Opioids

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, March 15, 2016

"Some states are limiting how opioids are prescribed, in an effort to reduce the number of deaths from prescription painkillers, The New York Times reports. These states are frustrated by a lack of action by the federal government.

Last week legislators in Massachusetts passed a measure that would limit opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply after surgery or an injury. The bill is expected to be signed this week.

The Massachusetts Medical Society supported the seven-day limit on opioid prescriptions. 'Usually we are opposed to carving anything in stone that has to do with medical practice,' said Dr. Dennis Dimitri, President of the Massachusetts Medical Society. 'But we are willing to go forward with this limitation because we recognize this is a unique public health crisis.'” Read more

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Half-Ton Of Meds Safely Recycled In Plainville, Southington, Health District Says

Courant Community, March 11, 2016

"About 1,000 pounds of unwanted prescription medicines were recycled in the past year at drop-off boxes at the town police stations in the Plainville-Southington Regional Health District, the district's director said Thursday.

People left 800 pounds of medicines in the box of the Southington police station and 200 pounds in the drop box at the Plainville police station.

'That's a lot of little pills,' Health Director Shane Lockwood said. The program is intended to cull unwanted meds from being flushed away, tossed in landfills, or abused, resold or misused by people. Read more

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Generation ‘H’: The Gateway Drugs — Is Heroin the Real Problem?

CBS New York, March 3, 2016

"According to the CDC, 2014 saw the highest number of drug overdose deaths than any other recorded year, and opioids were involved in 61 percent of those fatalities. The CDC report says, 'past misuse of prescription opioids is the strongest risk factor for heroin initiation and use.'

In fact, addiction specialists, law enforcement officials, and psychologists who spoke to 1010WINS.com agree that prescription opioids are today’s main gateway drugs to heroin. That is a dramatic change. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 80 percent of 'people entering treatment for heroin addiction' started directly with heroin use in the 1960s. In a near complete reversal, more than 75 percent of heroin addiction in the 2000s began with a prescription opioid. The table below illustrates the marked difference over the decades: Read more

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Friday, March 4, 2016

The surprising path from student athlete to heroin addict

CBS News, March 2, 2016

"When Robert King was a high school wrestler, he broke his foot and doctors prescribed him Percocet to help ease the pain. But he became addicted to the pain medication, and within a few years he moved on to a cheaper alternative: heroin.

'Once I started taking pills I never really stopped,' King told CBS News.

The now 24-year-old is now a recovering addict and struggling to get back on track.

King's story is not an uncommon one. As the heroin epidemic continues to rage throughout the country, high school athletes are falling victim to addiction in alarming numbers." Read more

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University Addresses Substance Abuse Through Living and Learning Program

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, March 2, 2016

"The University of Vermont is pioneering a program that integrates residential and curricular elements to address substance abuse, according to NBC News.

The program’s participants are 120 freshmen who live in a substance-free dorm. They receive a Fitbit, gym passes and nutrition coaching. They take a neuroscience course, “Healthy Brains, Healthy Bodies.” The class begins with meditation, and covers research on the benefits of clean living, the article notes.

The program, called Wellness Environment, was founded by Dr. James Hudziak, Chief of Child Psychiatry at the College of Medicine and the University of Vermont Medical Center. The program has four pillars of health: exercise, nutrition, mindfulness and mentorship." Read more

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

White House Concerned About Lack of Funding in Bill Aimed at Combating Addiction

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, March 2, 2016

"The Obama Administration on Tuesday voiced concern over the lack of funding in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, The Hill reports. The U.S. Senate voted 89-0 on Monday to begin considering the measure, which would increase addiction treatment and prevention.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, a Democrat, has proposed an amendment that would provide $600 million in anti-drug spending.

CARA is sponsored by Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, a Democrat, and Rob Portman of Ohio, a Republican. The bill has bipartisan support and would expand prescription drug take-back programs and establish monitoring to prevent over-prescribing of opioid painkillers. It would expand the availability of medication-assisted treatment, including in criminal justice settings, and would support treatment as an alternative to incarceration." Read more

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How the Heroin Epidemic Differs in Communities of Color

PBS CTTV, February 23, 2016

"Most of the media attention in the current nationwide heroin epidemic has focused on the uptick in overdose deaths among suburban, white, middle-class users — many of whom turned to the drug after experimenting with prescription painkillers.

And it’s among whites where the most dramatic effect has been seen — a rise of more than 260 percent in the last five years, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

But the epidemic has also been seeping into communities of color, where heroin overdose death rates have more than doubled among African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans, but gone largely overlooked by the media." Read more

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Pot and the Teen Brain

Protomag.com, February 12, 2016

"A more relaxed attitude toward legal marijuana may mean more use among teens. The long-term effects may not be good.

THE YOUNG MAN WAS A GOOD SCHOLAR and a gifted athlete. But his grades plummeted when he was a junior at Westford Academy, a public high school about 35 miles northwest of Boston. When a drug test ordered by his worried parents confirmed that the student had been using marijuana, the news came as no surprise to James Antonelli, the school’s principal. And although Antonelli met with the family many times, the young man eventually flunked out.

Antonelli has seen at least two dozen students go down the same path. And so he was receptive when researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Addiction Medicine (CAM) approached him about recruiting Westford Academy students to participate in a study of teen marijuana use. The research will examine whether smoking the drug affects teens’ ability to think, learn and remember information—a hypothesis with a growing body of support—and whether users of cannabis products who quit may be able to sharpen their cognitive skills, a question that has not been well studied.' Read more

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Marijuana Tourism in Colorado Leads to Increase in Emergency Room Visits

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, February 25, 2016

"A growing number of 'marijuana tourists' in Colorado are ending up in the emergency room, a new study finds.

The number of out-of-state tourists in Colorado who visited the emergency room with marijuana-related medical problems at the University of Colorado Hospital doubled between 2013 and 2014, researchers report in the New England Journal of Medicine. Retail sales of marijuana began in 2014.

During the same period, marijuana-related visits to the ER by Colorado residents remained steady, HealthDay reports. Study co-author Dr. Andrew Monte said this suggests that local residents have become better educated about marijuana use. Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 2000." Read more

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