Medscape Psychiatry reports that the “man-made epidemic” of opioid abuse in the United States is the result of over-prescription and poor research. Doctor Gary Franklin, vice president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, has done research which indicates that opioids are being overused for conditions that they are not intended to treat. "Not only is there no evidence to support their use in these conditions, there is quite a bit of evidence against doing so, and these are probably the most routine patients we have who are on chronic opioids and who have become dependent and addicted to them in our country."
New York State has investigated five large insurance companies for violating state and federal mental health parity laws by illegally denying to cover claims for behavioral health conditions and drug abuse treatment, according to a report by North County Public Radio (ncpr).
Parents Opposed to Pot, a group opposed to the legalization of marijuana, criticizes a recent University of Pittsburgh study which found no correlation between pot use and mental health. They contest the results and insist that since the long-term study began in 1987, “skunk” or high THC pot has been on the rise.
Bertha Madras, professor of psychobiology at Harvard Medical School, has printed a critique listing 20 flaws to a recent study finding no differences in physical or mental health problems between users and non-users of marijuana. More →
Writing for Truth-Out, hurricane Katrina survivor G. Maris Jones writes: “To adapt to a changing climate, survivors of these catastrophes - especially those in marginalized, low-income communities - need long-term physical and mental health services.” She adds a concurrent call to “assume our responsibility to make positive change through action on climate change.”
Tania Lombrozo for New Hampshire Public Radio (nhpr) asks, “could it be that some people believe psychiatric disorders can be contagious?” A new study in the Journal of Memory & Cognition says “yes,” and adds that this perception influences the way people interact with mental health category members.
Willingness to interact with someone with a mental health diagnosis may be tied to the misperception that disorders can be transferred from one person to another, according to a new study published in the Journal of Memory & Cognition. More →
A long-term study that followed 408 seventh-graders for over 20 years found no association between marijuana use at a young age and an increased risk of psychosis, depression, and anxiety in adulthood. The study, published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, was led by Jordan Bechtold of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. More →
A Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health survey of 1000 US primary care physicians found that many do not understand important facts about the addictive nature of the opioids they are prescribing or about how people become addicted to them. The study was published in The Clinical Journal of Pain. More →
In what a press release described as "a major advance in the field of neuropsychiatry," researchers from Oregon Health & Science University said they believe that they have gained a clearer understanding of precisely how cocaine, amphetamines and related psychostimulant drugs "disrupt the normal functioning of the dopamine transporter in the brain." The study appeared in Nature. More →
There are strong links between substance abuse and homelessness, according to three Australian researchers writing in Social Science & Medicine. However, they argue, contrary to common beliefs, there seem to be no causal relationships between the two, with the possible exception of "risky" alcohol consumption. More →
In Psychiatric Times, Robin Murray discusses a number of studies and what the balance of evidence seems to be saying about the relationship between cannabis use and increased risk of short or long-term psychotic reactions in some people. More →
In letters to The Lancet Psychiatry, James Coyne and others criticize a UK study for deliberately trying to be politically manipulative. The study made global headlines this year with a finding that smoking high potency marijuana tripled the risk of developing psychosis and schizophrenia. More →
About 17% of college students take stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall, primarily because they believe the drugs will help them improve their academic performance, according to a meta-analysis published in Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review. More →
A medical study that was widely hailed in Swedish media and led to new treatment guidelines was a "fraud," states health reporter and researcher Janne Larsson. The study involved giving prisoners high doses of the ADHD drug Concerta to help "treat" addiction. More →
Instead of hope and enthusiasm for their futures, too many children now grow up believing they are inherently defective, and controlled by bad genes and biochemical imbalances. They are shackled by the idea that they have ADHD and then subdued by the drugs that inevitably go along with the diagnosis. Unless something intervenes, many of them will go on to pass their days on Earth in a drug-impaired, demoralized state.
People's perceptions of their own life stories are carefully and methodically changed during the course of treatment for drug addiction, according to an ethnographic study published in Sociology of Health and Illness. And some self-perceptions and stories are significantly less welcomed by treatment providers. More →
While I was in charge of the public systems for both mental health and addictions in Oregon, I found it a challenge to maintain an equal focus on alcohol/drug problems compared to mental health. One big reason for the emphasis on mental health was that the mental health budget was big, about 6 times greater than that for addictions. And that doesn’t even count the hidden funding for psychiatric drugs which probably added another 30 or 40% to mental health —atypical antipsychotics are a lot more expensive than Antabuse.
The former CEO of the UK's National Treatment Agency explains in The Conversation why the vast majority of people who use addictive drugs don't ever become addicted, and why that's important when it comes to developing social policy. More →
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