Archive for December, 2010

New Study Finds Drug Addiction Rates Up for both Prescription Drug Treatment and Illegal Drug Addiction

December 29, 2010

Dr Richard Miech Health and Behavioral Sciences University of Colorado Denver drug abuse accidental poisoning deaths prescription drug treatment medications illegal drug overdose baby Drug Enforcement Administration DEA painkillers Vicodin Dr Wilson Compton director Division of Epidemiology Services Prevention Research National Institute on Drug Abuse death epidemic under the influence driving while impaired DWI prevent impaired drivingAccording to Dr. Richard Miech, lead author of the study and head of Health and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver, the baby boomer generation’s impact on the death rates from drug abuse was overshadowed by a “huge increase” in accidental poisoning deaths overall. Miech attributed the increase to the growing number of prescription drug treatment medications used in the U.S. by all age groups. This new research indicates that an increasing number of people are dying from drug abuse or misuse, including both prescription drug abuse and illegal drug addiction. Moreover, the study found that in some groups, “accidental poisonings” as they are called, mostly the result of drug overdose, are more than ten times higher than they were in the late 1960s.

The famous drug-loving baby boomers make up a significant part of the recent increase in drug abuse, as they age and embrace prescription medications, but also death from accidental poisonings is higher across nearly all age groups than it was a few decades ago, especially among white Americans.

The study found that overall, white men and women were nine times as likely to die from accidental poisoning in 2005 through 2007 than they were in 1968-69, while black men and women were about three times more likely to die from accidental poisoning in recent years than they were 40 years ago. According to the analysis, changes in the body or changes in drug treatment use shifted the greatest proportion of drug overdose cases to people in their 40s and 50s, and that age group, which currently includes the tail-end of the baby boomer generation, is the segment in which some of the biggest changes in poisoning rates were registered. For instance, in 1968 about one in 100,000 white women in their early 50s died from accidental poisoning, while the current rates increased to 15 out of 100,000.

The study authors could not precisely determine what drugs caused the most accidental poisonings, however according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) most prescription drug abuse involves painkillers, with Vicodin as the most commonly abused prescription drug treatment in the U.S. According to a 2004 government report, nearly half of all Americans, across all age groups, take a prescription drug treatment. Moreover, Dr. Wilson Compton, director of the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, found that death from prescription painkiller overdose has been “an epidemic in the past ten years”.

And, if you think that these individuals are not driving under the influence, I’ve a some ocean front property in Oklahoma I would like to sell you.  When you know your loved one is using or abusing prescription drugs or any type of drug and driving while impaired (DWI) there is a way to stop them.  Before Cleared2Drive all you could do was pray, but now you can take action.  Have a Cleared2Drive system installed on their vehicle and prevent impaired driving forever.

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When Does Moderate Drinking Turn Into A Problem?

December 28, 2010

Moderate Drinking Problem Health consumption Psychologist Will Corbin binge drinking alcohol abuse Arizona State University scientific laboratory cocktails bar alcohol problems problem drinkers Harvard epidemiologist Eric Rimm alcoholic Drink and Drive Cleared2Drive stop drinking and driving vehicle peace of mind impaired

 

Ever wonder when you reach for that third, or fourth, or fifth drink if maybe you’re pushing it? Well, you’re not alone.

How Much Is Too Much?

Health experts consider two drinks per day as a safe amount of consumption for men, and one drink per day as safe for women. Psychologist Will Corbin defines risky drinking as binge drinking, more than five drinks for a man and more than four drinks for a woman over a two-hour period.

Corbin says some people can probably drink within the range of safe drinking and binge drinking without getting into too much trouble. But others may be at higher risk for alcohol abuse if they get up to two, three, even four drinks per day.

At Arizona State University, Corbin is studying this gray zone of drinking to try to figure out who’s at risk for problems and who’s not. He does his research in a bar lab. It’s a scientific laboratory dressed up to simulate a bar environment, complete with dark floors, black ceilings, chandeliers, a flat-screen TV and rows of bottles behind the bar.

Who’s At Risk?

Volunteers come to the bar for one night only, fill out a questionnaire, and then they’re served three cocktails over a 30-minute period. Everyone is served the same drink of vodka mixed with 7-Up, cranberry juice and lime.

One of the questions Corbin wants to answer by observing and questioning these drinkers is whether their expectations about alcohol affect how much they actually drink. For example, for some people, just coming in to the bar lab affects their behavior before they’ve even had a thing to drink, says Corbin. “And people can observe that in the real world, too,” Corbin says. “If you go with a group of friends into a bar, before they’ve finished the first drink, often times they’re acting more social and talking more loudly.”

Once his research volunteers have consumed their three drinks, Corbin asks them how they’re feeling. Are they invigorated, for example? Do they feel excited or happy? Or do they feel a little depressed, dizzy, sleepy, and maybe even a bit sick? What Corbin is finding is that people who feel stimulated by alcohol are more likely to keep drinking if given the chance.

Other researchers are looking at known risk factors for alcohol problems, like family history and an impulsive personality. And eventually, researchers hope to have a full picture of what turns “moderate” drinkers into “problem” drinkers. Harvard epidemiologist Eric Rimm says, for example, that if you’re a child of a mother or father who’s an alcoholic, then maybe the healthiest amount of alcohol is zero.

Always Remember to Never Drink and Drive

What Cleared2Drive is finding is that people don’t know when it is safe to drive after they have had a drink or two or three or four.  For family members that don’t seem to be able to stop drinking and driving, there is help.  A Cleared2Drive system on your loved one’s vehicle will provide you with peace of mind knowing that never again will they be able to start their vehicle when they are impaired.

Studies find binge drinking on the increase

December 27, 2010

University of Texas School Public Health drinking alcohol study health surveys National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Dr. Raul Caetano dean university's Southwestern School of Medical Professions Gallup government surveys binge drinking driving under the influence of alcohol prevent impaired driving Cleared2Drive According to a report from researchers at the University of Texas School of Public Health the percentage of people drinking alcohol is the highest it has been since the mid-1980s, and binge drinking has also risen sharply.

The study looked at two national health surveys of adults (18 and older) in 1991-92 and 2001-02 by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and found that more people overall were drinking at the start of the millennium. More recent data were not available to the researchers. “The reasons for the uptick vary and may involve complex social and demographic changes to the population, but the findings are clear: More people are consuming alcohol than in the early ’90s,” said Dr. Raul Caetano, dean of the university’s Southwestern School of Medical Professions.

“Drinking” was defined during both survey periods as having consumed at least 12 drinks with at least 0.6 ounces of any kind of alcohol within the past year. Anyone who had consumed less than that much alcohol or said they never drank was classified as a nondrinker. By that definition, drinking was up 5% to 7% during that decade among men of all ethnic groups, so that 64% of white men, 60% of Hispanic men and 53% of black men were drinking. Among women, the rate rose by 8% to 9%, to 47% of whites, 32% of Hispanics and 30% of blacks. Those numbers seem to fit closely with a midsummer Gallup survey that found 67% of adults drank any alcohol at all, versus totally abstaining. That was the highest drinking rate since 1985.

The government surveys showed binge drinking — having more than five drinks in one day — increased among all ethnic groups and genders, but particularly among men. The share of white men who consumed five drinks a day at least once a week rose from 9% to 14%, and there was a similar increase among Hispanic men. Among women, whites are also more likely than other ethnic groups to binge drink.

All of this translates into more people driving under the influence of alcohol as well which we are seeing in other studies.  Other than total abstention, the only way to prevent impaired driving is to install a Cleared2Drive system on your vehicle.

Marijuana use up in teens – Alcohol use down

December 21, 2010

alcohol students binge drinking underage drinking laws Mothers Against Drunk Drive MADD survey positive influence substance abuse Cleared2Drive system prevent impaired driving under the influence DUI DWI arrest college scholarshipsAccording to the 2010 “Monitoring the Future” survey released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) the numbers are rising on marijuana use among young teens. Sixteen percent of surveyed eighth grade students in the U.S. reported using marijuana in 2010, compared to just over 14 percent last year. It appears that high school students are smoking more marijuana than cigarettes.

What accounts for the increase? Principal investigator Dr. Lloyd D. Johnston, research professor at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research believes many teens no longer see marijuana as dangerous. “The most visible influence in today’s culture that would explain such a change in perceived risk among teens is the extended national discussion about the desirability of medical marijuana use combined with the more recent discussion of legalizing it in California,” Johnston says.

And, marijuana use isn’t the only thing that’s up.  Increasingly more teens are also using Ecstasy. “I think it has been so long since the main Ecstasy epidemic, which peaked in 1991, that a lot of today’s teens never heard about some of the adverse consequences that were widely reported back then,” Johnston explains. He says NIDA has been warning for years that use of the drug could go back up, as young people become less aware of the dangers.

There is some good news in the survey, however. Alcohol use among teens is down substantially. Johnston points out that in 1999, 31% of 12th-grade students reported binge drinking. In 2010, that number decreased to 23%. Johnston thinks the decline is due in part to retailers doing a better job of cooperating with underage drinking laws.  He also believes that the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) ad campaigns, and the increase in minimum driving age has helped curb teen access to and interest in alcohol.

Some 56,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders participated in this latest NIDA survey.

The declining numbers in alcohol abuse attest to the fact that parents and society can have a positive influence on curbing substance abuse among teens. Johnston urges parents to be proactive in communicating to kids the dangers of drug use. “Be sure that you indicate that you would be disappointed if they used drugs,” Johnston advises. “That’s a major deterrent to kids becoming involved with drugs.”  For parents that are concerned that their child might be susceptible to using either drugs or alcohol and then attempt to drive, they can install a Cleared2Drive system in their vehicle as Cleared2Drive does more than just prevent impaired driving, it also works as monitor for parents.  If their child can start their car one day but not the next – maybe after a night out with friends – then it could because they are under the influence.  Cleared2Drive’s Impairment Detection Technology also protects against a child getting a DUI or DWI arrest or into a car accident which can ruin their chances for college scholarships.

The Treatment Research Institute Opens New Center

December 20, 2010

policy makers Joint Meeting Alcohol Treatment Effectiveness JMATE Baltimore recovery treatment brief intervention Community Reinforcement and Family Training CRAFT Partnership at DrugFree.org  Impairment Detection Technology Cleared2Drive sobriety sober The Treatment Research Institute (TRI) in Philadelphia will officially launch a new research center for parents of substance-using adolescents at a national conference this week. TRI said the center would be the “first-of-its-kind” and would focus on translating evidence-based research into specific strategies and tools that will help parents better help their teen-aged children who are struggling with substance abuse problems.

Kimberly C. Kirby, Ph.D., the director of the new center said, “Our goal is to get practical help to parents without short-changing the need to base advice on a solid scientific foundation.”  Funded for five years by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the center’s work was presented to parents, substance abuse professionals, and policy makers at the Joint Meeting on Alcohol Treatment Effectiveness (JMATE) in Baltimore Dec. 14-16.

The new center will focus its work on three projects aimed at helping parents with adolescents all along the spectrum, from occasional users to those in recovery after treatment.

  • First, the center will study the efficacy of a brief intervention for non-dependent teens. Rather than being guided by a counselor, the intervention would be led by parents.
  • Second, researchers at the center will create a consumer guide to adolescent treatment to help parents identify evidence-based care for their children. The research will be conducted in Philadelphia and result in an evaluation protocol that can be disseminated in other cities.
  • Third, researchers plan to refine and test the Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) protocol for use by parents of treatment-resistant teens. Among their goals are to verify the protocol’s efficacy with teens and to create a manual for parents.

The Partnership at Drugfree.org will partner with TRI to disseminate the findings of the new center to parents.

We commend this good work and certainly hope that they expand their reach by offering to introduce Impairment Detection Technologies like Cleared2Drive’s as a means to ensure continued sobriety and success because we all know that get sober is not the most difficult aspect of sobriety, it the maintenance of a individual’s sobriety that is the hardest part.

Wyoming is Unfortunately Losing their Battle Against Drunk Driving

December 19, 2010

intoxicated MADD Cleared2Drive dangers drunk driving drugged driving impaired driving Good2Gofatalities involving alcoholWyoming’s crash data suggests that drinking and driving contributes to more deaths and injuries on the road in the Cowboy State than safety advocates or any of the rest of us would like.  Of the 116 fatal crashes that happened in Wyoming in 2009, 55 people died because alcohol was a factor.  Of 3,361 injury crashes, 697 people were hurt because of alcohol.

Between 2005 and 2007, alcohol contributed to an average of 33% of the state’s highway fatalities, according to Wyoming’s 2009 Report on Traffic Crashes, released earlier this month. In 2008, that went up to 50%, and in 2009 it was 41%. While an odd year can really skew the numbers in a sparsely populated state like Wyoming, the five-year average for percentage of fatalities involving alcohol is 38.  According to Dee West Peterson, State Coordinator for Highway Safety at the Wyoming Department of Transportation which puts out the above report, “We’re not winning this battle”.

Too often, people think they can make it home safely when they are intoxicated, said Debbie Taylor, a MADD volunteer in Casper.”I do believe it is a cultural change that needs to take place,” she said and all of us at Cleared2Drive couldn’t agree more.  As we have stated many times, we have been educating people of the dangers of drunk driving for close to 30 years now and unfortunately many have not gotten the message.  It is going to take much more than education and the possibility of some sort of punishment to eradicate drunk driving or drugged driving or  impaired driving or whatever you want to call it in Wyoming or any other state.

Google Lightens its Restrictions on Alcohol Advertising

December 18, 2010

Google Cleared2Drive alcohol beer champagne wine  liqueur Inside Adwords blog Dan Friedman minor consumption of alcohol youth teens young adults parent drive drunk or impaired Cleared2Drive.comCleared2Drive is so very sorry to hear that Google has lightened its restrictions on the search engine marketing of alcohol products, revising their AdWords advertising policy for the first time in nearly two years.

As reported by Web Pro News, in 2008 Google allowed PPC ads promoting beer, champagne and wine products to run in its sponsored search results for the first time. Several months later it updated the policy once more to allow the promotion of spirit and liqueur brands, though direct retail promotions were still restricted – effectively, hard alcohol advertisers were limited to promoting websites with information about their brand, their products or related goods.

Now Google has relaxed their policy even further. Writing on the Inside Adwords blog, Dan Friedman of Google has announced that advertisers will now be able to use AdWords to “promote websites that sell hard alcohol online, direct users to retailers where their products are sold, or feature sales promotion.” “We’re constantly evaluating our advertising policies to ensure that they continue to be effective, and we made the decision to change our policy on alcohol to help more advertisers use AdWords for the promotion of their products,” he said.

There are several criteria for hard alcohol advertising on AdWords, which advertisers must comply with or face censure from the company:

  • Adverts must not be targeted at minors; not imply that consumption of alcohol can improve sexual, social or professional standing;
  • Not imply that drinking alcohol is relaxing or therapeutic;
  • Not imply that excessive consumption of alcohol is a positive activity;
  • Not contain sexual content;
  • Not include endorsements from any icons/people appealing to minors, including cartoon characters and athletes;
  • Feature a landing page with both an age verification gate and statements about responsible drinking.

While all this criteria setting makes for a good attempt at restricting youth, we all know that anything like this on the internet is going to make alcohol more appealing to our teens and young adults.  Every parent needs to be aware of Google’s change in policy and take precautionary measures to make sure their child doesn’t drive drunk or impaired.  For more information about how to take a pro-active measure to protect your child against impaired driving got to Cleared2Drive.com.

Drug-related crashes up in Florida

December 17, 2010

National Highway Transportation Safety Administration NHTSA illegal drugs pharmaceuticals tested positive illicit drug criminal offense fatalities New Year's Day holiday drive impaired Cleared2Drive Good2GoIs anyone surprised that the number of drug-related traffic crashes is rising in Florida given that they are the nation’s prescription drug capital?  Yes, it is nice that as the holiday season gets under way the state is ratcheting up its efforts against drunk and drugged driving, but let’s be honest here folks, Florida’s impaired driving problem isn’t going to go away just because we ring in a new year.

Over the holidays the Florida Highway Patrol says it is launching a new crackdown on impaired drivers (glad to see they are now starting to focus on impaired driving as opposed to just drunk driving) as the numbers show there’s a real need for it.  The latest statistics show drug-related crashes and injuries are up more than 10% in Florida, according to Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp. “Drug-related crashes increased by nearly 11% and drug-related injuries by more than 19%. These are numbers that we cannot ignore.” When you include drunk driving, the problem is even worse. Alcohol and drugs were factors in 44% of the more than 2,500 fatal crashes last year.

According to Bruce Grant, Director of Florida’s Office of Drug Control, driving at night on weekends is even riskier.  He sights a national survey by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) showing that a lot of drivers are using illegal drugs or pharmaceuticals on weekend nights.  “One in eight nighttime weekend drivers tested positive for an illicit drug. That number rises to one out of every six when you include not only illicit drugs but also pharmaceuticals.”

Grant says 17 other states make it a criminal offense to drive while using an illegal drug and he is urging Florida lawmakers to adopt a similar law.  “I think it’s time for Florida to seriously consider adopting a version of this so that we stop the increase that we see in drugged driving and prevent these crashes from becoming fatalities.” In my humble opinion, Florida should have been leading the charge on this one!

Over the New Year’s Day holiday in 2009, Florida experienced a record high fatality rate.  Police say DUI/DWI crashes killed 34 people over the four-day period.  Now with another New Year’s holiday fast approaching, Kottkamp is urging Floridians not to drive impaired this holiday season. “I would encourage all Floridians to be responsible and make good decisions, decisions that can make all live a better life.”

Yes, it good to “encourage” people to be responsible and not drive impaired, but when they can’t do it on their own, take comfort knowing Cleared2Drive can do it for them.

Michigan Middle School Students Overdose at School

December 16, 2010

prescription medication hospital prescription drugs counseling medicine cabinets dangers Cleared2Drive system Good2Go impaired driving driven impaired accident

Two students from Derby Middle School in affluent Birmingham Michigan are OK after experiencing a bad reaction to some prescription drugs they took during the school day. The drugs were not prescribed to the students and “it wasn’t an accident,” according to Corporal Ron Halcrow, school liaison officer for Birmingham Public Schools and the Birmingham Police Department.

Halcrow said the Dec. 1 incident wasn’t considered an overdose, but a “medical reaction.” – oh really!  Is that now the politically correct term for overdosing on drugs that aren’t even yours? I would venture to say that he wouldn’t be claiming a “medical reaction” had the children died! He said the incident occurred during the lunch hour at Derby, when the two students were found by teachers to be very drowsy. After school officials investigated, they learned the children had taken an undisclosed amount of prescription medication one of them had brought from home.

Halcrow couldn’t say what the medication was or how much was taken, but both students were taken to the hospital as a precaution. The students were turned over to their parents and no police reports were filed, Halcrow said. Because prescription drugs were involved, though, Halcrow said he’ll be hosting counseling sessions with the students and their parents about the dangers of prescription medication.

Derby Principal Debbie Hubbell sent a letter to school parents Friday, warning about the dangers of giving students access to prescription medication. “By using these medications for purposes other than they are intended to help, students are putting their health at risk. We do know this has become an issue in many communities and we want parents to be aware of the implications,” the letter said.

Hubbell asked parents to consider what’s in their medicine cabinets and whether their children have access to it. “This would be a perfect time to talk with your child about the dangers of medications and possible side effects,” Hubbell said in the letter.

This would also be a good time for parents to start thinking about what could have happened if they had  just been a couple years older.  Had these students been just a couple of years older and went undetected, without a Cleared2Drive system installed in their vehicles that detects impairment from drugs or alcohol, they could have driven impaired and harmed themselves or others.  You can’t wait till an accident happens to protect your child.  It is always better to be safe than sorry.

NTSB wants to make Hard-Core Drunk Drivers a High PriorityT

December 15, 2010

Laura Dean-Mooney national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving MADD ignition interlocks impaired driving breathalyzer Sarah Longwell American Beverage Institute moderate social drinking DUI offenders sobriety checkpoints Cleared2Drive’s Impairment Detection Technology impaired drivingUSA Today reports The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) wants states to make drivers caught with high blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) or repeat drunk driving offenses a high priority.  Excuse me for asking, but why is the NTSB waiting until December 2009 to make this a priority?

NTSB reports that 70% of the drunk-driving accidents last year were caused by these  so-called “hard-core” drunk drivers. The term, “hard-core drunk drivers” is defined as individuals who have a second DUI offense within 10 years of their first, or who are found to have at least 0.15 percent alcohol content in their blood.

Jake Nelson, AAA’s Director of Traffic Safety says, “Hard-core drunk drivers are, in many ways, resistant to the countermeasures we’ve applied since the early ’80s”. Back in the early 1980s when Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was founded, drunk driving accounted for 50% of road fatalities, where in 2009 it accounted for 32%, when 10,839 people were killed.  In my estimation given the amount of education we have done in the US over the past 30 years, this number is still extremely high.

“You’re seeing harsher and harsher statutes being enacted in various states across the country,” said Joanne Michaels, who directs the National Traffic Law Center. She said that district attorneys are charging drunken drivers in fatal crashes as severely as possible which don’t you think they should have been doing all along?  Didn’t most of us Americans come to the conclusion years ago that drunk driving is no accident and is 100% preventable?

Laura Dean-Mooney, national president of MADD, said, “We believe that anyone who drives drunk is a potential threat to kill or injure people” and wants federal lawmakers to require that all first-time DUI offenders get ignition interlocks. Okay, this is good, but until we start approaching this with a pro-active solution, impaired driving is not going to stop.  MADD is also is asking that Congress allocate $60 million to create and test improved ignition interlock devices to be put in all vehicles which is only going to work if you develop the right technology.  Asking people to put a tricked out breathalyzer, or a breathalyzer called something else in a lame attempt to disguise it, in their vehicle is just not going to fly.  The breathalyzer has a stigma that is just NOT going to go away – see December 14th blog.

Sarah Longwell of The American Beverage Institute said that MADD’s plans go far beyond just hard-core drunk drivers. “Rather than focusing on the hard-core population, there has been this move to target moderate social drinking,” she said. She favored graduated sanctions for offenders and mobile patrols for DUI offenders instead of sobriety checkpoints.

Honestly, until we as a society utilize technology designed specifically to recognize impairment like Cleared2Drive’s Impairment Detection Technology, drunk or impaired driving is not going away and we will continue to bury our loved ones.