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Marijuana and Drug Use Increasing Among Middle-Aged and Older Adults

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The use of marijuana or cannabis for medical purposes is now legal in 33 states. Eleven states have also declared marijuana as legal for recreational use. This legalization of marijuana use has seen significant increases in its use among middle-aged and older Americans. There is also an increasing concern for the alarming rise in the number of opioid and benzodiazepine prescription abuse.

Marijuana Use

An annual survey on the drug use of Americans has been tapped and found trends on increased use of marijuana among middle-aged and older adults. Analysts from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) conducts the survey annually among 70,000 Americans of various ages.

Statistics gathered for 2015 to 2016 indicate a nine percent increase in marijuana use among those between the ages of 50 to 64. This is equal to a 27 percent increase in cannabis use when compared to statistics gathered in 2012 to 2013. The increase, when compared to statistics gathered between 2006 to 2007, is even more dramatic with a 107 percent increase.

Here are other significant results found:

  • – The increasing use of marijuana among older adults is a consequence of the acceptance and legalization of cannabis use for medical and recreational purposes;
  • – Those who use it do so as prescribed by their doctors;
  • – Those who use marijuana twice a week have not felt any negative effects;
  • – Older adults who are using marijuana now have tried or used it during their teenage years;
  • – The older adults were found to also have nicotine dependence; and
  • – They use marijuana to alleviate depression

Opioid and Heroin Use

“Alarming” is the very word used by medical experts with regards to findings on increasing hospital admission cases related to opioid and heroin among older adults aged 55 and above. Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine indicate an alarming increase in admission cases due to opioid and heroin use disorders among this age bracket.

Here are the significant findings:

  • – There is an increasing trend in opioid and heroin use disorders among older Americans;
  • – Records from 2004 to 2012 indicate a yearly increase of eight to ten percent;
  • – The number dramatically increased to 25 percent annually from 2013 to 2015;
  • – The number of older Americans using heroin doubled (from 2,725 to 5,636) between the years 2012 to 2015;
  • – Forty-nine percent of those who used heroin administered it through IV;
  • – Most of the older heroin users were found to be Black Americans, Males, Retired, Lives in urban areas

Close Monitoring

Medical experts and researchers have called on healthcare providers to closely monitor this age group, and to immediately address the increasing health risks among them.

Studies indicate that the alarming increase is due to emotional problems faced by older adults. Being retired and alone most of the time, they become depressed and, therefore, turn to marijuana, opioid, and heroin as a means to alleviate their moods. There is also a need for close coordination among physicians and addiction specialists, as well as community groups to address the risks among these older adults who use drugs.

Disease Burden – The Aftermath for Those Who Recover from Addiction

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The latest research shows that more than 33% of individuals who are recovering from addiction continue to experience chronic physical illnesses. Many of us know the addiction effects but few understand the aftermath. When uses excessively, alcohol and drugs can lead to mental and physical health problems like diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, anxiety, and depression. Most of these conditions may get better after recovery, but some do not. 

A recent study by the Massachusetts General Hospital Recovery Research Institute in Boston studied the impact of recovery on certain medical conditions that result from alcohol and drug abuse. Their findings were published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, in a paper titled “Medical burden of disease among individuals in recovery from alcohol and other drug problems in the United States.”

David Eddie, Ph.D., a research scientist and the lead author of the study says, “The prodigious psychological, social, and interpersonal impact of excessive and chronic alcohol and other drug use is well-characterized,” He added, “Less well-appreciated is the physical disease burden, especially among those who have successfully resolved a significant substance use problem.”

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2016 states that more than 20 million people ages ranging from 12 or older had a substance abuse-related disorder in 2017. About 15 million of these individuals were addicted to alcohol, and more than 7 million had a disease of illicit drug use.

The same study disclosed that about 21 million people in the U.S. aged 12 or older required drug use addiction treatment, including nearly 4 million people receiving any therapy for the problem and about 2 million people receiving therapy at a specific facility.

The latest research explores how addictive behavior is correlated to one’s environment. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that approximately 88,000 individuals die each year from triggers related to alcohol, making alcohol the third major preventable cause of death in America.

In 2017, according to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, more than 70,200 people in the country died from a drug overdose. The researchers behind the current study took data from the 2017 National Recovery Survey and developed a sample of over 2,000 adults in the United States who recovered from addiction to substance use.

37 percent of this group had been diagnosed with one or more of the following health issues: HIV or other sexually transmitted infections, liver disease, tuberculosis, cancer, hepatitis C, chronic lung disease, heart disease, and diabetes.

If an individual is not treated, all of these circumstances can substantially decrease the individual’s quality of life and his life expectancy. The study found that diseases such as diabetes, hepatitis C, COPD, and heart disease were more common among recovering people relative to the general population.

The sort of addiction-related drug influenced the disease’s incidence: In opioid and stimulant groups, hepatitis C was more prevalent than the alcohol group. In the stimulant group, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases were more prevalent than the alcohol group.

The prevalence of the cardiac disease in the opioid group was lowest. In the cannabis group, diabetes was less prevalent. There were no significant differences between the groups concerning tuberculosis and COPD rates. The connection between injected drugs and an enhanced risk of hepatitis C or HIV was intuitive for the scientists, but less so were other results.

A Possible End to Opioid Crisis

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Davis professor Bruce Hammock of the University of California has spent 50 years studying insects. He would probably not be the most probable Ph.D. to shake up the multibillion-dollar painkiller prescription industry. Nevertheless, he has created a chronic pain medication which he said has proved efficient as well as non-addictive in animal testing.

Could this finally be the solution to end the catastrophic death toll of opioids such as fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone, which raised revenues of $24.5 billion in 2018? William Schmidt, a veteran pharmaceutical investigator, is convinced of the possibility. He said he discovered the novel drug candidate of Hammock so promising that he even volunteered to work without charge until they could transfer the technology out of the university and secure funding for the business of Hammock.

“We have a drug candidate lacking the side effects of both opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that can potentially lead to an entirely new way to treat chronic pain,” Schmidt explains. Hammock and Schmidt cleared with the United States a main regulatory obstacle. Just last week, they said, the U.S Food and Drug Administration is expecting to launch human tests by August or September.

Clinical studies have already got more than $4 million in assistance from the National Health Institutes, they said, and this week the Open Philanthropy Foundation proclaimed it would invest $5 million in human clinical trials.

The foundation supports causes that can have a profound and wide impact on humanity, that other funders have neglected, and that indicates how an investment contributes to progress.

In Hammock’s press release on his studies, he traces his drug’s genesis back to the 1970s. At that time, he tried to prevent small brown moths from consuming as much as half of the world’s food supply. To solve this issue, the reproductive process could be disrupted, said Hammock. His facility found that the moth’s transformation from corn earworm to a winged insect was facilitated by an enzyme, Hammock said, and if they could remove that enzyme, the caterpillar would die before it ever evolved into a point where it could grow.

It turned out there were more cost-effective methods of managing brown moths, Hammock said, but the discovery of his team was useful in managing the growth of flea and mosquito. Hammock’s team had naturally curious. They started to wonder if plants and animals and humans had the same enzyme. They looked, he said, and they discovered that they had done everything. Then they questioned: What is the function of this enzyme in animals? As it turned out, he said, how much pain human beings experience played a part.

The discovery resulted in a group of compounds that occur naturally in the body, reducing pain. These compounds are typically quickly broken up in the body, Hammock said, but his team figured out a way to block their destruction. Davis-based eicOsis (pronounced EYE-co-sis) plans to have the drug’s intravenous, topical, and oral forms, Hammock said, and it will probably be four or five years before the drug is released to the market. Initial human trials will be conducted on healthy volunteers to test for side effects.

18 Facts About Alcohol You Probably Didn’t Know

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Alcohol has various effects on our bodies. There are alleged advantages as well as pitfalls. It causes instant physiological changes among other organs in the brain, heart, and liver once it enters your system. Eventually, if you drink too much alcohol, these changes can lead to long-term health complications.

You may not understand much about this common substance found in some of your favorite cocktails, liquors, beers, and wines. Here are some of the alcohol facts that you may want to know about:

1. Alcohol has a broad range of impacts. It causes the release of dopamine in the brain, a neurotransmitter linked to enjoyment and happiness.

2. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health NSDUH also discovered that in the past year 70.1 percent of American adults had a drink, and in the past month 56.0 percent had one.

3. 86.4 percent of adults reported drinking alcohol at some stage in their lifetime, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

4. Alcohol is a depressant. This implies that it slows down a person’s brain activity.

5. Ethanol also is known as ethyl alcohol, is the “alcohol” in alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer, and spirits. It is the only form of alcohol you can drink without causing severe bodily harm.

6. Another side-effect of drinking alcohol is stress relief. This is normally triggered by an increase in the uptake of another neurotransmitter, called GABA.

7. Alcohol is one of the addictive drugs that are most frequently used. Approximately 12.7 percent trusted Source of American adults meets the alcohol use disorder (AUD) criteria. That’s one out of eight adults.

8. The same research discovered that blue-eyed Americans of European descent had the greatest alcohol abuse rates, indicating a genetic connection that makes them more vulnerable to AUD.

9. Alcohol is processed in the human liver, in which enzymes help break down ethanol into acetaldehyde and acetate.

10. The drinking-related impacts happen when ethanol enters the bloodstream and passes through a person’s brain, heart, and other organs.

11. ResearchTrusted Source indicates that between 2001 and 2013 alcohol consumption levels, as well as high-risk consumption, increased.

12. AUD is known to have a genetic component. Researchers estimate that genes represent about 50 percent of the risk.

13. Males are more likely to use alcohol than females.

14. Alcohol has distinct effects on both males and females in terms of health. Long-term drinking is more likely compared to males, Trusted Source has adverse health impacts for females, even if the female drinks less for shorter periods.

15. Women dependent on alcohol are 50 to 100 percent more probable than males dependent on alcohol to die from alcohol-related causes.

16. Deaths attributable to alcohol are America’s third-leading preventable cause of death. Every year in the United States, 88,424 individuals die from alcohol-related causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

17. Alcohol can be almost as ancient as civilization. Residues from a 7,000 to 6,600 B.C. alcoholic beverage was discovered in China.

18. Archeologists also discovered proof indicating that beer was paid to the laborers who constructed the Great Pyramids of Giza.

The Significant Link Between Mental Disorders and Drug Addiction

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Among the most misunderstood factors of drug addiction is its biological basis. Addiction is a neurological condition – a problem because of irreparable changes to an individuals head chemistry which requires medical treatment. Overcoming substance abuse is thus not a question of willpower or maybe purely psychological treatment as numerous laypeople believe. Read more at chiropractor Livonia

Nevertheless, there are a number of psychological ailments that drive their victims to use drugs and create addictions. Sadly, numerous individuals do not learn these circumstances within themselves until they develop addictions and go to other therapies and counseling. An even better understanding of these psychological problems is able to assist addicts to maintain sobriety, though it is able to in addition help avoid patients from developing addictions in the very first place. Allow me to share several of the mental illnesses normally linked with drug abuse.

Depression

Depression, as well as drug addiction often co, occur in a vicious cycle. Individuals with pre-existing hormone imbalances may frequently have deep despair and sadness. To relieve or even mask these thoughts, they consume alcoholic beverages, heroin, marijuana, along with other drugs that generate strong euphoric feelings. When they come down from these “highs,” they’re equally despondent as before, if no more so. They consume ever-larger quantities of these things to remain high until they develop tangible dependencies. Their addictions point them to eliminate their careers, drop their friends, and also alienate their families – almost all consequences that make depression much more terrible.

Anxiety

Based on the National Comorbidity Study, individuals with anxiety problems are 2 to 3 occasions as apt as the ordinary person to struggle with drug addiction. Just like depression, anxiety, as well as drug addiction, usually happen in cycles. Individuals that suffer from chronic panic or fear attacks might use calming substances like opiates or alcohol to relieve their symptoms. They enter into states of constant alternation between deep euphoria and overwhelming tension – states that rapidly lead to abuse and dependency.

An anxiety disorder may also earn post-acute withdrawal syndrome a lot harder for recovering addicts to withstand. Many addicts – whether they experience intense anxiety or otherwise – report feelings of nervousness during their recoveries. Those who have this co-occurring condition are especially vulnerable to high stress and panic attacks levels as they try and stay away from cravings and compromising circumstances. It’s important that these addicts develop useful coping systems for the cravings which will inevitably occur.

Schizophrenia

Many researchers today believe that drug use is able to exacerbate or possibly cause schizophrenia – a problem characterized by hallucinations, acute mental disarray, and paranoia. Marijuana, meth, cocaine, and alcohol have all been connected with schizophrenia, along with a vast majority of schizophrenics abuse these synthetic drugs. A few addiction experts specifically blame weighty marijuana use on patients’ schizophrenic tendencies. Due to the ethical concerns surrounding drug experimentation, nonetheless, it’s nearly impossible for healthcare professionals to learn for sure whether these things actually cause individuals to have schizophrenia.

General, these psychological illnesses are able to help make it more difficult for non-addicts and addicts alike to stay away from medications. In case you or maybe somebody you know in case fighting with alcoholic beverages or drugs, do not hesitate to reach out for professional help. There are dedicated addiction experts who are standing by night and day to provide their services.