Addiction Archive

Articles

Teen drug use is down: Better parenting, or more smartphones?

Data from an annual survey show that use of illicit drugs among teenagers is in decline, and has been for some time. It’s possible that this can be partially attributed to the popularity of smartphones.

Parents: As more states legalize marijuana, here’s what you need to know and do

As marijuana becomes legal or is decriminalized in more states, teens are less likely to view its use as risky, so parents need to talk with their children about safety, especially if they use it themselves.

The downside of taking pills to treat chronic pain

When the risks of medication outweigh the benefits.


 Image: © iStock

Taking over-the-counter or prescription painkillers may seem like a simple solution for chronic pain. It's actually a bit more complicated, yet many older adults aren't aware of potential problems. "They think that if it doesn't require a prescription, it's safe. But there are some long-term health risks," says Dr. Edgar Ross, director of the Pain Management Center at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Here's what you should know about some commonly used pain relievers.

Keep tabs on your drinking

When it comes to alcohol, moderation is still the mantra. But even one drink a day may pose a risk to the heart.

Wine, champagne, and cocktails are standard fare at many holiday gatherings. But before you raise your glass, make sure you're aware of just how much alcohol you're actually consuming—and how it may affect your heart.

As part of a standard health history, most physicians will ask about your drinking habits. In general, moderate drinking—defined as one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men—is considered safe. But there are some caveats.

Saving lives by prescribing naloxone with opioid painkillers

Unintentional opioid overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. These drugs are prescribed to patients to help relieve pain, but overdoses happen because opioids can also depress breathing, sometimes stopping it altogether. But naloxone, also called Narcan, can help reverse the effects of an overdose. If doctors prescribe naloxone at the same time as opioids, overdose deaths may decrease.

At what age is alcohol use unsafe?

When older adults drink alcohol, they may be increasing their risk of falls. Otherwise, drinking alcohol in the older years poses the same risks as it does in the younger years.

Fentanyl: The dangers of this potent “man-made” opioid

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid. It is far more potent — and potentially more dangerous — than heroin and morphine. Overdose deaths related to fentanyl are on the rise. The drug is cheaper than heroin and recently is being used to dilute heroin or substitute for it. Users may be unaware that they are taking this potent drug, or may even seek its intense high. People at risk from using fentanyl can be treated successfully with therapies used for other opioid use disorders, but taking steps to prevent overdose are critical until a person is ready to seek care.

Quitting smoking during the second half of the menstrual cycle may help women kick the habit

Studies have shown that not only do women have a harder time quitting than men, but they also experience more severe health consequences from smoking. However, new research suggests that it may be easier for women to quit smoking during the second half of their menstrual cycle. During this time, the hormone progesterone is higher, and this appears to aid in quitting and avoiding relapse.

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