Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Heroin Alert

The Poison Control Center has been notified that doctors in the region have recently encountered heroin overdoses that have seemed particularly potent, and which have required higher than normal doses of naloxone for reversal.  As contamination of heroin with other drugs has been a frequently encountered phenomenon in our region, health care providers and public health officials are advised to be aware.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Antidepressant Prescribing Has Increased Almost 400%

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antidepressant prescribing has risen almost 400% since 1988.  The study, which is based on the responses of 12,000 participants from 2005-08, found that more than 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 12 now take antidepressants.  National statistics show that 9.1% of adults will suffer from depression at any given time in their lives, with women being more than two times more likely than men to develop the illness.

Depression most frequently hits people between the ages of 45 and 64, and the CDC found that Americans in this age group were more likely to receive prescription drugs to treat depression.  Race also played a part in depression statistics.  The findings show that although African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to be depressed than whites, more antidepressants were taken by whites (14%), compared with just 4% of African-Americans and 3% of Hispanics.  Teens are also affected by depression.  According to data from the National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2005, about 9% of teens ages 12 to 17 had a major depressive episode in the previous year, with only 2.8% of boys and 4.6% of girls taking antidepressants. 

The most concerning finding in the CDC study is that people who take antidepressants are taking them long term. Approximately 60% of people had taken the medications for two years or longer, and 14% had taken antidepressants for more than a decade.  Finally, the study finds that antidepressant prescriptions are more common than the prevalence of depression.  Although earlier data show that about one-fifth of the prescriptions are written to treat other conditions such as anxiety disorders, pain and menopausal symptoms, there is still a 2% excess of prescriptions written.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Prescription Drug Abuse on the Rise


Delaware’s The News Journal ran a three day special from November 6-8 focusing on the epidemic of prescription drug abuse in DE.  Prescription drug abuse is a serious issue that is striking close to home.  In DE, there is one death every other day due to the abuse of prescription pills.  Approximately one in eighteen people living in DE have admitted to taking prescription pain killers for non-medical use, ranking the state as 14th in the nation. The problem with prescription drugs has seriously affected DE, mainly because the state hasn't begun tracking prescriptions for narcotics and other controlled drugs.

The rates for prescription pill deaths in the state of DE have greatly surpassed even stereotypically more serious drugs such as heroin and cocaine.  In the past few years, opiates and anti-anxiety drugs contributed to the 354 deaths in Delaware, which is 72 percent higher than heroin, cocaine, and alcohol combined.

BCCS’ Domenica Personti was interviewed for the article that ran on November 6th entitled, “Pills' Artificial Sense of Safety Can Lull Many into Addiction.”  Domenica said, "They say, 'We pop pills. That's the cool thing to do.'” "They think you don't become the stereotypical drug addict, but you absolutely are."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NIDA Kicks-off National Drug Facts Week

The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) Drug Facts Week began Monday, October 31 and runs through Sunday, November 6, 2011.  National Drug Facts Week (NDFW) works to bring together teens and scientific experts in communities across the country to discuss the real facts and shatter the myths about drug abuse.

Research has shown that a key ingredient for preventing drug use is ensuring that communities, parents, and kids have the most up-to-date, scientific information about drug use and their effects on the brain and body.  By joining forces and bringing young adults and scientific experts together with a common goal, NDFW aims to educate teens and encourage conversations.

NIDA will hold community events across the country through November 6.  For more information and to view the latest version of NIDA’s “Shatter the Myth” booklet, click here.