WBEZ | drug abuse http://www.wbez.org/tags/drug-abuse Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Surge in use of 'synthetic marijuana' still one step ahead of the law http://www.wbez.org/news/surge-use-synthetic-marijuana-still-one-step-ahead-law-113769 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-483036588_custom-bbaa484af5354fa4824d60d5a86c445511667b26-s600-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455630086" previewtitle="The drug sold as K2, spike, spice or &quot;synthetic marijuana&quot; may look like dried marijuana leaves. But it's really any of a combination of chemicals created in a lab that are then sprayed on dried plant material."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The drug sold as K2, spike, spice or &quot;synthetic marijuana&quot; may look like dried marijuana leaves. But it's really any of a combination of chemicals created in a lab that are then sprayed on dried plant material." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/11/gettyimages-483036588_custom-bbaa484af5354fa4824d60d5a86c445511667b26-s600-c85.jpg" style="height: 406px; width: 620px;" title="The drug sold as K2, spike, spice or &quot;synthetic marijuana&quot; may look like dried marijuana leaves. But it's really any of a combination of chemicals created in a lab that are then sprayed on dried plant material. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>A street drug made of various chemicals sprayed on tea leaves, grass clippings and other plant material continues to send thousands of people suffering from psychotic episodes and seizures to emergency rooms around the country.</p></div></div></div><p>In 2015, calls to poison control regarding the drug already have&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aapcc.org/alerts/synthetic-cannabinoids/">almost doubled</a>, compared to last year&#39;s total,&nbsp;and health professionals and lawmakers are struggling to keep up with the problem.</p><p>Some call the drug K2, or spice. It&#39;s also widely known as &quot;synthetic marijuana,&quot; because the key chemicals in the spray are often man-made versions of cannabinoids, a family of psychoactive substances found in marijuana.</p><p>But the ingredients and concentrations used in this street drug vary widely, and it can be very different from marijuana in its effects.</p><div id="res455629891" previewtitle="Edwin Santana, 52, entered a detox program at Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare to help break his heroin addiction and daily habit of smoking the synthetic drug known as spike."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Edwin Santana, 52, entered a detox program at Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare to help break his heroin addiction and daily habit of smoking the synthetic drug known as spike." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/11/spice21-a9463c1e36d190400e432919594a9d4a3518c77d-s600-c85.jpg" style="height: 464px; width: 620px;" title="Edwin Santana, 52, entered a detox program at Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare to help break his heroin addiction and daily habit of smoking the synthetic drug known as spike. (Hansi Lo Wang/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>At a drug rehabilitation center a short drive north of Syracuse University, where 52-year-old Edwin Santana has come for treatment, they call the drug &quot;spike.&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>Santana, who was born in the Bronx, is a few weeks into his detox program at Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare. A longtime heroin user, he became homeless after multiple run-ins with the law. Then, he says, a couple years ago he developed a problem with spike.</p><p>&quot;It was getting out of hand,&quot; Santana says. &quot;I was starting to smoke every day. And you know, spike is a drug I respect, because you don&#39;t know what you&#39;re getting.&quot;</p><p>The drug also inspires fear in him.</p><p>&quot;Not a little bit of fear. A&nbsp;lot&nbsp;of fear,&quot; he adds.</p><p>It&#39;s hard to guess what will happen after you smoke or ingest spike, both&nbsp;users and drug enforcement officials say, because the chemists who make it are constantly changing the main ingredients &mdash; tweaking a cannabinoid&#39;s chemical structure, or mixing it with other substances entirely, which can change its effects.</p><p>&quot;You get stuck when you&#39;re on spike,&quot; Santana says. &quot;And it makes you do all kinds of crazy things, man. I&#39;ve seen people roll around on the floor and stuff like that.&quot; Smoking the drug landed him in the hospital.</p><p>Angel Stanley, a psychiatric nurse at the rehab center, ticks off the symptoms she&#39;s seen in patients who have smoked spike: &quot;Auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations, disorganized thinking, delusional thinking. Paranoia is a big one.&quot;</p><p>Many of these patients, she says, expected that smoking spike would be just like smoking regular pot, because the drug was sold as &quot;synthetic marijuana.&quot; The drug first became popular with teens, who were looking for a new way to get high for just a few dollars.</p><p>But now, Stanley says, she&#39;s seeing older users, too.</p><p>&quot;They&#39;ve gone from using some marijuana in the past, a little bit of alcohol use over the years, and now all of a sudden, they&#39;re in their 50s and they&#39;re addicted to spike,&quot; she says.</p><p>Often users are also homeless.</p><p>&quot;A lot of people who use it, their reality is pretty bleak, so they use spike to escape that reality,&quot; explains Matthew, who asked that we not use his last name. He just finished an inpatient program at Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare to help him stop using spike and cocaine, and doesn&#39;t want future employers to find out about his past.</p><p>&quot;The main thing with spike,&quot; Matthew explains, &quot;is this: It is the cheapest, most effective high in Syracuse right now. Is it the most enjoyable high? Probably not. But it&#39;s the cheapest, hands down.&quot;</p><p>The question facing workers at rehab centers and emergency rooms is how to effectively treat users of a drug that&#39;s essentially an unknown mixture.</p><p>&quot;We know how to treat an alcoholic,&quot; says Jeremy Klemanski, who heads Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare. &quot;We know how to treat an opiate patient. We know how to treat somebody&#39;s who&#39;s using cocaine. But, when we say we know how to treat somebody who is using synthetics &mdash; to a&nbsp;certain extent&nbsp;we do.&quot;</p><p>Health professionals faced with such a patient are usually flying blind, Klemanski says. Some types of spike can be detected in drug tests, but not all.</p><p>&quot;Until we get to a point where the treatment system has as sophisticated testing as the labs that are inventing and creating these things, we&#39;ll struggle,&quot; he says.</p><p>Lawmakers are paying attention. The federal government has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/rules/2013/fr0104.htm">permanently banned</a>&nbsp;more than a dozen types of synthetic cannabinoids.</p><p>But packets of &quot;spike&quot; and &quot;K2&quot; and &quot;spice&quot; are still sold in many mom-and-pop convenience stores, because they contain versions of cannabinoids not covered by the ban, says Matt Strait of the Drug Enforcement Administration.</p><p>&quot;They are in a legal grey area,&quot; Strait explains, &quot;because they&#39;re not specifically named in the statute.&quot;</p><p>That keeps makers and dealers of spike one step ahead of state and federal laws. Congress is weighing how to streamline the process of regulating new versions. Meanwhile, the Drug Enforcement Administration has been investigating and temporarily banning some new forms of the drug.</p><p>But back in Syracuse, some health professionals and spike users say the government can&#39;t move fast enough to keep up with new varieties hitting the streets.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/11/455616893/surge-in-use-of-synthetic-marijuana-still-one-step-ahead-of-the-law?ft=nprml&amp;f=455616893" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 10:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/surge-use-synthetic-marijuana-still-one-step-ahead-law-113769 To prevent addiction in adults, help teens lean how to cope http://www.wbez.org/news/prevent-addiction-adults-help-teens-lean-how-cope-113768 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/kid-blue-shirt_custom-2220c2f153bf62b6dbdd782c0ab2a1dded92eddb-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455667331" previewtitle="Madison Square Boys &amp; Girl Club, which operates four clubs in Brooklyn and the Bronx, reaches about 200 teenagers with an substance abuse prevention curriculum called Empowerment."><p data-crop-type=""><img alt="Madison Square Boys &amp; Girl Club, which operates four clubs in Brooklyn and the Bronx, reaches about 200 teenagers with an substance abuse prevention curriculum called Empowerment." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/11/kid-blue-shirt_custom-2220c2f153bf62b6dbdd782c0ab2a1dded92eddb-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Madison Square Boys &amp; Girl Club, which operates four clubs in Brooklyn and the Bronx, reaches about 200 teenagers with an substance abuse prevention curriculum called Empowerment. (Robert Stolarik for NPR)" /></p><div><div><p>Addiction is a pediatric disease,&quot; says Dr. John Knight, founder and director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at Boston Children&#39;s Hospital. &quot;When adults entering addiction treatment are asked when they first began drinking or using drugs, the answer is almost always the same: They started when they were young &mdash; teenagers,&quot; said Knight.</p></div></div></div><p>Smoking, drinking and some forms of drug use among teens have declined in the U.S. in recent years, but an estimated 2.2 million adolescents &mdash; 8.8 percent of youth aged 12 to 17 years old &mdash; are currently using an illicit drug, according to a<a href="http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/National_BHBarometer_2014/National_BHBarometer_2014.pdf">&nbsp;2014 Behavioral Health Barometer</a>&nbsp;prepared for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).</p><p>Drug use changes brain development, and when substances are used during adolescence, young people are much more likely to become addicted, Knight said. &quot;When people start using at younger ages, the changes in brain structure and function are very, very pronounced,&quot; he explained. &quot;If we could only get kids to postpone their first drink or their first use of drugs, we could greatly diminish the prevalence of addiction in the U.S.&quot;</p><p>And in some places, teenagers may be using more, sooner. &quot;In the last several years, it seems like the kids that we see in services are far sicker than in the past,&quot; said Sara Ellsworth, clinical supervisor at True North Student Assistance and Treatment Services in Olympia, Wash.</p><p>Last year, True North served nearly 700 students in 44 mostly rural school districts. Increasingly, she said, kids who come for help have a history of victimization or significant trauma, such as domestic violence, physical or sexual abuse, parental incarceration or substance abuse, rape or homicide. More than half also had at least one mental health disorder.</p><p>Despite some improvements in the national youth substance abuse numbers, Ellsworth has witnessed a disturbing new pattern: kids who start using alcohol or marijuana at ever younger ages as a form of self-medication, who quickly escalate to more dangerous drugs, and who wind up using multiple substances in extreme amounts. &quot;Maybe the average kid is using less and doing better, but the kids who are falling through the cracks are spiraling down, really fast,&quot; she said.</p><p>About 10 percent of Americans will develop a substance use disorder at some point in their lives and need therapeutic services, according to Rob Vincent, a SAMHSA public health analyst. But those services are hard to come by, especially for youth.</p><p>&quot;Once a child 12 to 17 years old is identified as needing treatment, only 1 in 20 of those adolescents is actually getting treatment. That is not a good number,&quot; said Vincent.</p><div id="res455675848" previewtitle="Yolanda Roberson, who directs the Empowerment program, teaches a class at a Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx. The classes are funded by the state of New York."><p data-crop-type=""><img alt="Yolanda Roberson, who directs the Empowerment program, teaches a class at a Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx. The classes are funded by the state of New York." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/11/yolanda_custom-65e43a1848b947f8adfc69539a2c6f57fb7a07d9-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 426px; width: 620px;" title="Yolanda Roberson, who directs the Empowerment program, teaches a class at a Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx. The classes are funded by the state of New York. (Robert Stolarik for NPR)" /></p><div><div><p>So public health officials and researchers are making the case for prevention instead. Dealing with drug and alcohol abuse after the fact is a costly, impractical approach, so public health officials and researchers are making the case for early detection and intervention instead.</p></div></div></div><p>The leading prevention strategy, dubbed SBIRT &mdash; Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment &mdash; is deployed in schools, afterschool programs and most widely, in primary and public health care.</p><p>Most pediatricians routinely screen patients for substance problems during annual visits. That&#39;s a big change from just 20 years ago, when the American Academy of Pediatrics found that fewer than half of pediatricians reported they were screening adolescents for substance use. By 2013, that percentage had risen to more than 80 percent, according to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.childrenshospital.org/doctors/sharon-levy">Dr. Sharon Levy</a>, director of the adolescent substance abuse program at Boston Children&#39;s Hospital.</p><p>&quot;I interpret that as a real shift in culture, from one in which there was controversy over whether drug use was a legitimate topic for pediatricians to address to one in which it&#39;s now part of the standard of care,&quot; Levy said. She sees the pediatrician&#39;s office as an ideal place to discuss substance abuse. &quot;It&#39;s a unique setting in which an adolescent gets to have a confidential conversation&quot; with an adult who is not their parent.</p><p>Doctors use one of a variety of screening tools, including one, called CRAFFT, that was developed by Knight. It asks six questions, including: &quot;Have you ever ridden in a car driven by someone (including yourself) who was &quot;high&quot; or had been using alcohol or drugs?&quot;</p><p>In many doctors&#39; offices, the survey is now computerized or given as a questionnaire before the medical visit, so doctor and patient can discuss the results. (You can take the CRAFFT screening test<a href="http://www.ceasar-boston.org/CRAFFT/selfCRAFFT.php">&nbsp;here</a>; it&#39;s available in 13 languages, including Khmer and Haitian Creole.)</p><p>Other screening tools widely in use are called frequency-based screens. Those tools use multiple-choice questions which ask teenagers how often they have used alcohol or marijuana to predict their risk of developing an addiction.</p><p>If screening turns up troubling behavior, the second step is brief intervention. In the doctor&#39;s office, that could be a five-minute conversation with the two elements that Knight says comprise a good brief intervention: science and stories. &quot;What they want from doctors is, &#39;Tell us what the science is, don&#39;t tell us what to do; give us the information and trust us to make the right decisions.&#39; &quot;</p><p>The intervener can also be a therapist, counselor or youth development worker. They often use what&#39;s called &quot;motivational interviewing.&quot; That&#39;s the approach used by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rand.org/about/people/d/damico_elizabeth_j.html">Elizabeth D&#39;Amico</a>, a licensed clinical psychologist and senior behavioral scientist at RAND Corporation, who developed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.childtrends.org/?programs=choice">CHOICE</a>, a voluntary afterschool prevention and intervention program in California.</p><p>&quot;Motivational interviewing is about guiding someone to make a healthy choice,&quot; D&#39;Amico said, &quot;versus saying, &#39;Okay, you have a problem and you need to change.&#39; &quot;</p><p>Counselors have to acknowledge there are reasons why young people use alcohol or drugs, D&#39;Amico said. &quot;You lose all your credibility if you just say, &#39;It&#39;s bad for you, stop.&#39; &quot;</p><p>Instead, motivational interviewing is more collaborative, said D&#39;Amico. For example, if a teen says he drinks to relax, the counselor can help him to think of other, healthier ways to relieve stress. Studies have found a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3353018/">modest benefit</a>&nbsp;in the program, with some students delaying drinking.</p><p>The third step of a prevention strategy, referral to treatment, connects youth who need more care with specialty treatment. Levy said most teenagers with a drug or alcohol problem don&#39;t need a residential program, or even an intensive outpatient program. Instead, they&#39;ll do fine working one-on-one with a counselor, she said.</p><p>In Washington, Ellsworth at True North Student Assistance and Treatment Services says that students served by the prevention programming have done better. In the last academic year, students said their use of marijuana and cocaine declined by half after participating in the program, and alcohol use declined by one-third. Participants also had better grades and fewer behavior problems at school.</p><div id="res455666785" previewtitle="Students in the Empowerment program talk about myths surrounding substance abuse. The program emphasizes healthy lifestyles."><p data-crop-type=""><img alt="Students in the Empowerment program talk about myths surrounding substance abuse. The program emphasizes healthy lifestyles." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/11/hand_custom-3897531e31c7a388b1f855840b9d45acbe8856ad-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 420px; width: 620px;" title="Students in the Empowerment program talk about myths surrounding substance abuse. The program emphasizes healthy lifestyles. (Robert Stolarik for NPR)" /></p><div><div><p>Even the computerized CRAFFT screening, with a few minutes of counseling by a pediatrician, has been shown to deter substance use, according to a&nbsp;<a href="http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=203511">study</a>&nbsp;led by Knight and published in the journalPediatrics&nbsp;in 2002.&nbsp;&quot;The intervention resulted in 40 percent less substance use three months after the visit, and 12 months later there was still 25 percent less use, without any reinforcement. That&#39;s pretty powerful,&quot; said Knight.</p></div></div></div><p>Prevention is a cost-effective proposition, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), with every dollar invested in keeping kids off drugs saving from $4 in health-care costs to $7 in law enforcement and other criminal justice costs. According to NIDA, research-based prevention programs can significantly reduce early use of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.</p><p>Yet according to Knight, &quot;of all the money that is spent by the federal government on the so-called war on drugs, only 5 percent goes to prevention.&quot; That&#39;s a short-sighted approach, he said. &quot;The evidence is compelling that addiction is a pediatric disease, and if we don&#39;t prevent it during the teen years, we&#39;re really missing the boat.&quot;</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:20px;">Brothers and sisters</span></strong></p><p><em>Hurt. Grief. Anger. Three sisters and one brother reflect on their dead siblings&#39; drug addictions.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" mozallowfullscreen="" src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/144760358" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe></p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/12/455654938/to-prevent-addiction-in-adults-help-teens-learn-how-to-cope?utm_campaign=storyshare&amp;utm_source=twitter.com&amp;utm_medium=social" target="_blank"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 09:50:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/prevent-addiction-adults-help-teens-lean-how-cope-113768 Illinois joins network to track prescription drug use http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-joins-network-track-prescription-drug-use-104171 <p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &mdash; An Illinois medicine-monitoring program has joined a national data-sharing network to help prevent prescription drug abuse.</p><div><p>The Department of Human Services will link its prescription monitoring program to a National Association of Boards of Pharmacy network. It will help Human Services officials to better identify patients who have been issued duplicate prescriptions for controlled substances in different states.</p><p>To prevent abuse of prescriptions it will alert physicians and pharmacies when a patient has been given more than recommended dosages.</p><p>The program began in Illinois in 1986 but monitored only certain drugs.</p><p>Last year, the program collected 18 million prescription records which 19,000 doctors and pharmacies consult regularly.</p><p>A federal grant is funding the program&#39;s expansion.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 04 Dec 2012 07:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-joins-network-track-prescription-drug-use-104171 Can frequent family dinners help teens resist drugs? http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-22/can-frequent-family-dinners-help-teens-resist-drugs-92379 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-23/istock_000017748950large_custom.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Before you hit the drive-through for dinner with the family in tow, consider what a sit-down meal, well, brings to the table.</p><p>Sit-down family meals yield a whole heap of benefits for teenagers, including a disinclination to try drugs and better-quality family relationships, according to a <a href="http://www.casacolumbia.org/upload/2011/2011922familydinnersVII.pdf">report</a> from the <a href="http://www.casacolumbia.org">National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse</a>. The study surveyed more than 1,000 teens and found that 58 percent eat dinner with their families at least five times per week — a number that's held steady over the years, according to <a href="http://www.casacolumbia.org/templates/AboutCASA.aspx?articleid=293&amp;zoneid=39">Kathleen Ferrigno</a>, director of marketing at the center.</p><p>In the comparison study, teens who ate with their families between 5 and 7 times a week said they were four times less likely to use alcohol, tobacco or marijuana than teens who dined fewer than three times per week with their families.</p><p>The report, titled "<a href="http://www.casacolumbia.org/upload/2011/2011922familydinnersVII.pdf">The Importance of Family Dinners VII</a>," is much like the endless incarnations of the "Halloween" horror movie series: The results remain fairly consistent since the earlier surveys. (Side note: "Halloween" actress <a href="http://www.casacolumbia.org/templates/AboutCASA.aspx?articleid=23&amp;zoneid=1">Jamie Lee Curtis</a> is a director emeritus for the center.)</p><p>"Having a set time for dinner when the kids come home shows teens that they can depend on parents," Ferrigno tells Shots. "It's a direct message telling teens that 'my parents love me and care about me.'"</p><p>But it's not a hungry herd's meal alone that helps teens resist the temptations of drugs and alcohol.</p><p>"It's all about parental engagement," Ferrigno says. "Conversations can be about what you watched on TV, about your favorite team winning the game or what's going on at school and what their friends are doing. It's an opportunity to listen to kids."</p><p>The teens who reported having frequent family dinners were also more likely to say they had excellent relationships with their mother, father and siblings.</p><p>This makes sense, since kids look up to their older brothers or sisters on the substance issue. The study found that teens who believed their older siblings had tried an illegal drug were more likely to try it themselves — compared to those teens who didn't believe big sister or brother had tried drugs.</p><p>And it's not just teens who may benefit: As Shots <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/01/26/133243471/a-psychoanalyst-calls-for-eating-with-culinary-mindfulness">has reported</a>, family meals eaten with "culinary mindfulness" can be good for everyone's mental health.</p><p>But what if you don't have time for beef bourguignon in the dining room or even pizza after basketball practice? Don't fret. Find another way to hang with your kids.</p><p>"Creating opportunities to connect is what's important," Ferrigno says. "If your schedule can't be rearranged to include family dinners, engage in other kinds of activities with your children so that you are a reliable, involved and interested presence in their lives."</p><div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</div></p> Thu, 22 Sep 2011 12:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-22/can-frequent-family-dinners-help-teens-resist-drugs-92379