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THURSDAY, July 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- In a finding that could mean more patients desperate for a heart transplant get a new lease on life, two new studies show that hearts from donors who abused drugs can be safely donated.

In the past two decades, the U.S. opioid crisis has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans -- often young, otherwise healthy pe...

There's been a sharp rise in schizophrenia cases linked with marijuana use since the mid-1990s, a new Danish study finds.

Prior research has suggested that marijuana -- particularly very heavy use -- is associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia. Although strict cause-and-effect can't be proven by the new study, many experts believe that heavy pot use might work in conjuncti...

Giving high doses of buprenorphine in the emergency department is a safe and effective way of treating withdrawal symptoms in patients battling opioid addiction, according to a new study.

"Emergency departments are at the front lines of treating people with opioid use disorder and helping them overcome barriers to recovery such as withdrawal," said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the U.S. Na...

As America went into lockdown and treatment centers closed their doors, drug overdose deaths in the United States jumped by nearly a third last year, new data show.

The estimated 93,331 drug overdose deaths recorded during 2020 are a sharp increase -- a 29.4% rise -- over the 72,151 deaths estimated in 2019, according to preliminary data from the National Center for Health Statistics (N...

President Joe Biden plans to nominate Dr. Rahul Gupta as the head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Gupta led the Biden transition team for that office, was the former health commissioner of West Virginia, and is chief medical and health officer for the March of Dimes, CNN reported.

If confirmed as the so-called drug czar, Gupta would be the first p...

WEDNESDAY, July 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- In a finding that demonstrates methamphetamine's power to destroy the human heart, new research shows hospitalizations for heart failure related to the illicit drug have soared by 585% in California.

"Our study results should bring urgent attention to this insidious, yet rapidly growing, form of severe heart failure — metha...

Teens and adults with autism may be less likely than others to use drugs and alcohol, but new research finds those who do are nearly nine times more likely to use these substances to mask symptoms, including those related to autism.

This is known as camouflaging, and it has been linked to mental health issues and increased risk for suicide among people with autism.

"Seeing such star...

Many patients who are prescribed opioids after surgery could get the same level of pain relief with non-opioid alternatives such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen without the risk of addiction, researchers say.

"Opioids have been a routine part of postsurgical pain care for decades, but the risk that they could lead to persistent use has been clearly documented," said lead author Dr. Ryan How...

Methamphetamine users are at increased risk for physical and mental health problems as well as other substance use disorders, new research shows.

Meth is an illegal and highly addictive stimulant drug that can harm organs such as the heart, lungs, liver and neurological system, and injecting it can increase the risk of infectious diseases, the researchers noted.

Their analysis of da...

Use of the opioid overdose reversing medication naloxone has declined in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers found.

The study authors said their findings suggest that people with opioid misuse disorders may be facing a dangerous decrease in access to naloxone.

"In March of 2020, we saw a sharp reduction in the average number of individuals filling naloxone pr...

Herbal kratom is used by less than 1% of the U.S. population, but the rate is much higher among those who misuse opioid painkillers, a new study finds.

Kratom is used to manage pain and opioid withdrawal. However, it carries the risk of addiction and harmful side effects, which has led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration to identify kratom as a "d...

Being jailed puts teens with untreated psychiatric disorders at increased risk for long-term mental health struggles, researchers say.

"These are not necessarily bad kids, but they have many strikes against them," said study lead author Linda Teplin. "Physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect are common. These experiences can precipitate depression. Incarceration should be the last resort....

Doctors are seeing such cases around the world: About a third of COVID-19 patients go on to develop "long-haul" neurological or psychiatric conditions months after being infected, new research shows.

The findings suggest a link between COVID-19 and a higher risk for later mental health and neurological disorders, researchers report.

The new analysis of data from more than 236,000 ...

Overdose deaths resulting from a dangerous combination of cocaine and opioids are outpacing fatalities linked to cocaine abuse alone, a new U.S. government report warns.

"Much of the increase in the rate of drug overdose deaths involving cocaine in recent years is due to the co-occurrence of opioids," said study author Dr. Holly Hedegaard.

A similar trend has started taking hold bec...

Illegal drug sales on the dark web are common, hard to detect and are fueling America's opioid epidemic, a University of Texas study reveals.

Opioids include prescription painkillers (such as oxycodone) and illegal drugs (such as heroin and fentanyl).

"People are struggling from the effects of addiction," said Tiffany Champagne-Langabeer, senior author of a new investigation of ille...

Teens who try marijuana or other drugs are at greater risk of developing a drug addiction than those who wait a few years before experimenting with drugs, a new study finds.

"Though not everyone who uses a drug will develop addiction, adolescents may develop addiction to substances faster than young adults," said study co-lead author Dr. Nora Volkow. She is director of the U.S. National I...

Makers of inhalers that contain the nasal decongestant propylhexedrine should make design changes to prevent misuse, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

Propylhexedrine is a nasal decongestant in over-the-counter inhalers, and right now is "only marketed under the brand name Benzedrex," the FDA said. The agency said that propylhexedrine is effective and safe when used for short pe...

One Ohio medical center has seen a sharp rise in heart infections and strokes related to IV drug abuse -- pointing to one more consequence of the U.S. opioid epidemic, researchers say.

In a preliminary study, the researchers found that between 2014 and 2018, their hospital saw a 630% increase in infectious endocarditis related to IV drug use.

Infectious endocarditis arises when bact...

Seizures of illegal drugs fell sharply in the United States during early COVID-19 lockdowns, but spiked once stay-at-home orders eased.

Researchers studied seizures of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl in five locations between March 2019 (a year before the pandemic began in the United States) through September 2020, six months into the pandemic.

During that t...

Who is more likely to relapse after opioid addiction treatment -- women or men?

A new study that followed 1,100 recovering opioid users reveals that their risks are different.

The researchers followed the men and women for one year after treatment at more than 100 substance-use treatment facilities across the United States. During that time, 55% of the women and 51.5% of the men use...

Schoolyard bullies have been making life difficult for kids for eons, often causing lasting damage to their victims. Now, new research shows these bullies can also suffer lasting consequences as they age.

Bullies may be more likely to abuse drugs, alcohol and tobacco later in life, and this risk is greater for childhood bullies than those who picked on others during their adolescent ...

Combining drugs with driving is a potentially deadly but all too common combination in the United States, according to a new report.

University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers found that almost 9% of adults reported driving under the influence of alcohol. Marijuana use among drivers was more than 4%, while many adults also use both pot and other drugs in combination with alcohol.

T...

Many young Americans are prescribed psychiatric drugs to treat medical conditions, but nearly one-third of them wind up misusing the medications, a new study finds.

"Misuse of prescription substances is alarmingly high among U.S. youth and young adults," said lead researcher Israel Agaku, a part-time lecturer in oral health policy and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine,...

Philadelphia is seeing a surge in overdose fatalities involving heroin and/or fentanyl plus an animal tranquilizer not approved for human use, according to a new study.

The tranquilizer -- called xylazine -- is a non-opioid sedative and painkiller approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration solely as a veterinary drug. In Philadelphia, it goes by the street name "tranq."

Tranq...

Cannabidiol (CBD) products are seemingly everywhere these days, but they won't help cure a cocaine addiction, a Canadian study finds.

CBD, a chemical in the cannabis plant, has long been touted as a treatment for cocaine addiction. But researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center found that it doesn't lessen addicts' craving for cocaine or reduce their risk of relaps...

Marijuana addiction increases the risk of death by suicide, homicide and other causes (such as car crashes) in youth and young adults with mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, a new study warns.

For the study, the researchers reviewed data on nearly 205,000 young people, aged 10 to 24, in Ohio who were diagnosed with mood disorders from July 2010 through December 2017.

Marijuana...

As more states legalize marijuana and more shops begin to sell it, more young adults are using pot and developing drug-use disorders, a new study finds.

For the study, researchers looked at young adults in Los Angeles County before and after retail sale of recreational marijuana was legalized in California.

The study linked areas with many pot shops, particularly unlicensed retailer...

Hope may help prevent you from doing things that aren't good for you, a new study claims.

The investigators wanted to find out why some people are more likely to fall into risky behaviors, such as gambling, drinking too much, taking drugs and overeating.

To do this, the team at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom focused on something called relative deprivation, whic...

Adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a strikingly high prevalence of attempted suicide, with women being at particular risk, researchers say.

The study of nearly 22,000 Canadian adults found that 14% of those with ADHD had attempted suicide. That was roughly five times the rate of adults without ADHD, at 2.7%.

The findings among women were particular...

The number of U.S. drug overdose deaths reached a record high as the coronavirus pandemic held the country in its grip last spring, new government data shows.

For the 12 months ending in May, more than 81,000 people died from an overdose. That is the highest number ever recorded during a 12-month period, scientists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

"The ...

Having depression during childhood or in the teen years appears to increase the odds of illness and early death later on, researchers say.

The new long-term study included nearly 1.5 million Swedes. Of those, more than 37,000 were diagnosed with depression at least once between the ages of 5 and 19 years.

The study participants were followed for 12 years. Those with an early history...

Growing numbers of younger kids are overdosing on stimulant medications commonly used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new study indicates.

The researchers called for greater efforts to identify kids at risk for overdose, and more education on safe storage of prescription and over-the-counter medications for parents and caregivers.

"Stimulant prescribing h...

Blame it on the pandemic: For people struggling with drug addiction, 2020 has triggered a big rise in emergency room visits for cardiac arrest tied to drug overdoses, new research shows.

The finding was based on data involving 80% of emergency medical services (EMS) "activations" across the United States. It showed "a large-magnitude, national surge in overdose-related cardiac arrest duri...

In isolated areas of the United States, nurse practitioners are filling an important role in helping people access treatment for opioid addiction, according to a Washington State University (WSU) study.

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants have only been authorized to prescribe buprenorphine (a drug that can treat opioid addiction) for the past few years with the implementation of...

Marijuana packs a lot more punch than it did 50 years ago, making it a greater threat to health, researchers say.

"As the strength of cannabis has increased, so too has the number of people entering treatment for cannabis use problems," said study co-author Tom Freeman, director of the addiction and mental health group at the University of Bath in England.

In Europe, more people no...

Even before the coronavirus pandemic began, Americans were already suffering: A new study reports that alcohol and drug misuse were up dramatically, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors were up 170% between 2009 and 2018.

Researchers call these conditions "diseases of despair."

"The origin of these conditions isn't strictly medical. Rather, they seem to follow conditions of despair i...

Among high school seniors, nearly a third of those who misuse prescription opioids use heroin by age 35, a new study shows.

"It is a very timely study given the number of adolescents and young adults who were overprescribed opioids and who are now aging into adulthood," said study author Sean Esteban McCabe, director of the Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking and Health at the...

In a sign that many young Americans may no longer be boozing it up, a new study finds that fewer young people are drinking alcohol now than 20 years ago.

In fact, the number of men and women in the United States between the ages of 18 to 22 who abstained from drinking increased from 20% to 28% for college students and from 24% to 30% for those not in school, the resea...

People using cannabis for pain may still be taking opioid painkillers, a new study suggests.

Researchers looked at cannabis and nonprescription opioid use among 211 individuals in the New York City area. Over 90 days, the investigators found that opioid use was at least as high when cannabis was used as when it wasn't, regardless of participants' pain levels.

"Our study is...

While opioids were grabbing the headlines, cocaine overdose deaths in the United States have marched upward, nearly tripling over five years, a new government report shows.

After a period of stability, cocaine-induced deaths rose by about 27% per year, on average, from 2013 through 2018, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

"While mu...

Parents and other caregivers need to be more aware of the potentially lethal "Benadryl Challenge" circulating on social media, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday.

The new internet dare, broadcast widely on teen-friendly TikTok, urges kids to overdose on the over-the-counter antihistamine Benadryl to achieve a hallucinatory state.

However, attempts to do s...

Reacting to an upsurge in abuse of benzodiazepine sedatives such as Valium, Xanax and Ativan, U.S. officials on Wednesday added a "Boxed Warning" to the drugs' labels, cautioning about the danger.

Benzodiazepines are tranquilizers commonly prescribed to help ease issues such as anxiety, seizures, insomnia and panic disorders.

But "while benzodiazepines are important therapie...

People with addiction disorders are at greater risk for COVID-19 and more likely to become seriously ill if infected, a new study finds.

The researchers analyzed non-identifiable electronic health records of more than 73 million patients in the United States. People with addiction disorders accounted for just over 10% of those in the study, and nearly 16% of COVID-19 cases.

A new internet dare, broadcast widely on teen-friendly TikTok, urges kids to overdose on the over-the-counter antihistamine Benadryl.

But the "Benadryl Challenge" has already killed one teen and sent others to the ER, experts warn.

According to News4 in Oklahoma City, one 15-year-old girl suffered a fatal overdose while reportedly trying the challenge late last month....

A growing number of Americans may be having serious reactions after taking phenibut -- an unapproved anxiety drug sold in some dietary supplements.

That's the finding of a new study looking at calls to U.S. poison control centers. The numbers are not huge: Between 2009 and 2019, there were 1,320 calls related to phenibut.

But there was a sharp rise beginning in 2015, researc...

Americans have long known that there's an epidemic of opioid abuse and deaths in the United States. But a new report suggests the true extent of these tragedies has been underestimated.

The study, from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, finds that 1 in every 6 deaths attributed to sudden cardiac arrest among San Franciscans between 2011 and 2017 may, in fact, ...

Talk therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) doesn't appear to increase addiction treatment patients' risk of relapse, a small new study says.

Roughly a quarter of people with drug or alcohol use disorders also have PTSD, typically caused by a traumatic or stressful life event such as combat or rape.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the leading PTSD treatment, but s...

Safe injection sites for users of illicit drugs such as heroin: They've been tried and legalized in countries such as Canada and the Netherlands, and a new study suggests they might save American lives, too.

In the study, published online July 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers analyzed five years of data (2014 to 2019) from an unsanctioned safe drug consumpt...

The COVID-19 pandemic is shaking up America's approach to addiction treatment, but the fallout hasn't been all bad, experts say.

In-person support meetings either aren't happening or have been severely curtailed, and addiction centers are facing financial ruin because folks are too afraid of the coronavirus to seek treatment.

But paradoxically, people might have better acces...

Alcohol and drug use is more common among older adults who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual than among their straight counterparts, a new study finds.

For the study, New York University (NYU) researchers analyzed 25,880 responses from adults aged 50 and older who participated in a nationwide survey on alcohol and drug use between 2015 and 2017. Of the participants, 2.5% identi...