Archive for the ‘scientific study’ Category

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.

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.

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.

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.

Drug Prescriptions Double for Teens and Young Adults Compared to 15 Years Ago

December 13, 2010

Cleared2Drive Good2Go drunk driving impaired driving  Breathalyzers Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) ignition interlock device Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Drunk DrivingTwice as many teens and young adults are getting prescriptions for controlled substances than had been 15 years ago, Reuters reported Nov. 29.

Investigators led by Robert J. Fortuna, MD, of the University of Rochester’s Strong Children’s Research Center in New York, assessed U.S. prescription trends for 15- to 29-year-olds based on 2007 survey data from more than 8,000 physicians, clinics, and emergency departments. They then compared results with similar data from 1994. Analysis revealed that more than 11 percent of teenagers received prescriptions for controlled medications (including Oxycontin, Vicodin, Ritalin, and sedatives) in 2007, up from 6 percent in 1994. A similar trend was seen for young adults, where the prescription rate for such drugs rose from 8 to 16 percent over the same time period.

As noted by Fortuna, the rise does not necessarily mean the drugs are being diverted or abused. However, teenagers and college students are much more likely than adults to use prescription drugs recreationally and to pass them on to others. “Physicians need to have open discussions with patients about the risks and benefits of using controlled medications, including the potential for misuse and diversion,” he said. “The nonmedical use of prescription drugs by adolescents and young adults has surpassed all illicit drugs except marijuana,” concluded the authors. “This trend and its relationship to misuse of medications warrants further study.” The article was published online Nov. 29 in the journal Pediatrics.

Studies like this reinforces what we at Cleared2Drive have been saying, we need to stop focusing on ways to eradicate “drunk driving” and focus on what is truly happening in our society which means we need to focus our efforts on eradicating “impaired driving.”  Breathalyzers and all the effort that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety(IIHS) is putting into developing their Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) technology will do nothing to stop someone under the influence of illicit drugs or prescription drugs (better known as  drugged driving) from operating a vehicle but Cleared2Drive’s ignition interlock device (IID) that is based upon their internationally patented Impairment Detection Technology will. Even Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) now admits that we need to stop focusing solely on “Drunk Driving” and put our efforts behind stopping “Impaired Driving”.

Oregon’s Young Adults has Highest Rate Nationally in Painkiller Abuse

December 12, 2010

deaths injuries drugs motor vehicle accidents drugs marijuana epidemic Attorney General driving under the influence of prescription drugs Cleared2Drive Good2GoWhile Oregon ranks 5th nationally for prescription painkiller abuse according to federal officials, it has the highest rate in the country among 18 to 25-year-olds.  The national survey found it’s mostly dentists who are prescribing painkillers to the 15 to 19-year-olds, an age group that has not fully developed the part of their brain that regulates inhibitory control, said Tom Condon of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.  Those figures were among the numbers presented at a drug abuse prevention summit in Portland that brought together state and federal officials, physicians, pharmacists and law enforcement.

Data from 2007 showed that in 16 states and the District of Columbia, there are more deaths and injuries from drugs than motor vehicle accidents, which has for years been the leading cause of death for teenagers.  This is really scary stuff, people!

A 2009 national survey of drug abuse indicated prescription drugs outpaced marijuana in 2008 and 2009 as the first drug used by people 12 and older with a majority of those users obtained the prescription pills from somebody they knew.

“This says we sure are in the middle of an epidemic,” Condon said, speaking to a group that included Gov. Ted Kulongoski, Oregon Attorney General John Kroger and U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton, who organized the meeting.

But I don’t agree.  I don’t believe we are in the “middle” of the epidemic – and I base that on the conversations we have with our customers – I would say it more like we are still in in the “early stages.”  People still have their heads in the sand about prescription drug abuse and especially when it comes to driving under the influence of prescription drugs.  Most people are fully aware of the “notices’ on the pill bottle about NOT driving, but most just ignore them for whatever reason.  However, Cleared2Drive’s algorithms don’t ignore them.

How Family Dinners Can Curb Teen Substance Abuse

December 11, 2010

How Family Dinners Can Curb Teen Substance Abuse Cleared2DriveIf you want to keep your children away from alcohol, drugs and tobacco as long as possible, you might want to consider having frequent family dinners together. The more often you sit down together for a meal each week the less likely your children will become involved in substance abuse at a critical early age.

Research shows that teens who have infrequent family dinners are more than twice as likely to say they will do drugs in the future.

The latest edition of the study, “The Importance of Family Dinners VI,” from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, has once again shown that frequent – five to seven per week – family dinners can make a big difference in kids’ attitude about alcohol and other drugs.

This goes along with other research that shows that the better the relationship between parents and their children, the less likely the children will begin drinking and drugging early in life.

Talk to Your Children

In the latest CASA study, the researchers found that compared to teens who have frequent family dinners, those who have infrequent – less than three a week – family dinners are:

  • Twice as likely to have used tobacco
  • Almost twice as likely to have used alcohol
  • One and half times likelier to have used marijuana

The key for parents is not just eating together, but talking with their children about what is going on in their lives. The study found that teens who do not talk with their parents are twice as likely to have used tobacco and one and a half times likelier to have used marijuana.

Friends Who Use Drugs

The study also found that teens who have fewer than three family dinners per week are:

  • More than one and a half times likelier to have friends who drink regularly and use marijuana
  • One and half times likelier to have friends who abuse prescription drugs (to get high)
  • One and a quarter times more likely to have friends who use illegal drugs like acid, ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.

On the other hand, teens who have frequent family dinners are less likely to report having friends who use substances.

Ask About Their Lives and Listen

“The message for parents couldn’t be any clearer … it is more important than ever to sit down to dinner and engage your children in conversation about their lives, their friends, school – just talk. Ask questions and really listen to their answers,” said CASA’s Kathleen Ferrigno. “The magic that happens over family dinners isn’t the food on the table, but the communication and conversations around it. Of course there is no iron-clad guarantee that your kids will grow up drug free, but knowledge is power and the more you know the better the odds are that you will raise a healthy kid.”

The complete report, “The Importance of Family Dinners VI,” is available online.