Though it's not the kind of click they'd normally hang out with, teenagers with substance abuse issues may benefit from 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), according to researchers. The new study—published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research—involved 127 teens (95 males, 32 females, aged 14 to 19), who were put in outpatient treatment for substance abuse. The youngsters were assessed when they began treatment at three, six, and then 12 months later. "We found that about one-quarter to one-third of the youth attended AA/NA throughout the year-long study period following treatment, and that more meeting attendance was associated with significantly better substance use outcomes—particularly attending meetings at least once per week or more," said John F. Kelly, associate director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Many 12-step programs are easily available but research had never looked at how successful they are for teens in particular. According to Kelly, counselors, doctors, and health professionals can encourage teens to attend and participate in AA/NA early in their substance abuse treatment to maximize the benefits. "Starting an on-site NA or AA young persons' meeting is another good idea. Not all youth will be motivated to attend, but the more severely substance-involved ones will be more likely to give meetings a try and these are the ones most likely to benefit."
- 15 Arrests in International Online Drug Probe [Associated Press]
- States Uncork New Booze Bills [Politico]
- Alcoholism Harms Short-Term Memory Functioning [Medical XPress]
- Quebec's 21 and Under Booze Driving Ban Starts Sunday [CTV]
- Mobile technology May Help Curb Nicotine Addiction [Orlando Sentinel]
- Alcohol Advertisers Launch Self-Regulation Pact in Europe [Ad Age]
- Taylor Armstrong's Friends Concerned About Her Drinking, Urging Her To Go To Rehab [RadarOnline]
- Bobby Brown Pleads Not Guilty to Driving Under Influence [Washington Post]
A new generation of addicts is getting hooked later in life, with many senior citizens and baby boomers revealed to be "late blooming" substance abusers. A study conducted by the Hanley Center found that over a third of older addicts surveyed claim not to have abused substances until reaching their fifties. Depression and anxiety seem to be the major contributing factors, and economic trouble and the pressures of retirement may also put older individuals at risk. "Older adults face a distinct set of challenges as they enter their golden years," says Hanley Center Medical Director Dr. Barbara Krantz. “Without the proper tools to manage their emotions, older adults turn to quick fixes such as alcohol and drugs, creating the perfect storm for dependency." The survey found that while 78% of older adults reported a first experience with drugs or alcohol before the age of 25, 40% said they didn't become substance abusers until after the age of 48. "Many of these individuals have abused substances for a long time and that's why they require a customized treatment plan, which we offer at the Hanley Center, to help them successfully achieve a lifestyle that is free of drugs and alcohol,” says Krantz. In general, the number of elderly individuals seeking treatment for substance abuse and dependence is rising fast. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that the number of seniors who admit to using illegal drugs within the last year almost doubled between 2002 and 2007. And the abuse of nonmedical pharmaceuticals also increased from 2.2% in 2002 to 3.9% in 2009.
On last night’s episode of the Showtime dramedy Nurse Jackie, now in its fourth season, the pill-popping RN Jackie Peyton finally checked into a treatment facility—and promptly decided, in classic addict fashion, that pretty much everyone else in the place was nuts, including an older woman who gets off on clowns. (Perhaps a fair assessment, there.) It’s an experience that Edie Falco, who plays Nurse Jackie, likely didn’t have to dig too deep to identify with: the actress—of Carmela Soprano fame—is herself a real-life recovering alcoholic. In the episode, Jackie bonds with an unlikely confidant: a green-haired kid played by Jake Cannavale, son of actor Bobby Cannavale (also on the show), who is the only one willing to take Jackie to task for how she acts during group therapy. According to Falco, her character and the punk kid are going to grow closer over the course of the season, which makes sense. “On some level, addicts are ageless and they all understand what it's like to be at the mercy of this stuff, so he's a real compadre,” Falco tells The Hollywood Reporter. “They want to help each other." Here's a trailer for the episode:
Kids these days may be turning to more than drugs to get high: many are reportedly playing the "choking game," and those who do are more likely to engage in other "risky" activities including sex, substance abuse and gambling, according to a new study by Oregon Health Authority in Portland . The treacherous activity involves using a belt or rope around the neck to limit oxygen flow to the brain; releasing the pressure can result in a euphoric "high" feeling as blood rushes back to the brain. The study of 5,300 middle schoolers revealed that 22% of them had heard of the game, and 6% had tried it. Boys and girls were equally likely to have participated, and of those who had taken part, 64% admitted to choking themselves multiple times. The study also showed that sexually active girls were four times more likely to have played the game, and girls who had gambled were twice as likely. Of the boys surveyed, those who had used alcohol recently were four times more likely to have choked themselves. The findings suggest that exhibiting these other risky behaviors may indicate a child's increased likelihood to try choking—and vice versa. Doctors are advised to look out for signs of the activity, such as red markings around the neck. And both pediatricians and parents should warn teens about the dangers of the activity, which is responsible for at least 82 known child deaths between 1995 and 2007.
Iran has predictably blamed the US and NATO for Afghanistan's drug trafficking problems, which have seen an alleged 40-fold increase in drug production since the US took over the country in 2001. Iran's Deputy Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi said that outside interference in resolving a regional problem is unnecessary, and that only Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan should work together to settle the issue. "The main reason for the considerable increase in narcotics is the presence of foreign forces, specially the US and the NATO and today drug production and trade are done under the control and supervision of the Americans," said Rayeesi. His comments were reported by the Iran-based Fars News Agency, described by CNN and Reuters as a "semi-official news agency with ties to the government," and claimed by the Wall Street Journal to be affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Afghanistan is world's biggest opium producer. Over the past five years, its neighbor Iran, a favored transit route for heroin heading to Europe, has contributed more than $50 million per year to Afghan anti-narcotics efforts.