HEALTH

Drug abuse among young people declines in United States

BY Michael Johnsen

ANN ARBOR, Mich. U.S. students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades are continuing to show a gradual decline in their use of certain drugs, including methamphetamine, according to the 34th annual national survey in the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Monitoring the Future series released last week.

“These certainly are positive developments and the longer term decline in the use of methamphetamine, which continued this year in grade 12, is particularly important,” stated Lloyd Johnston, the study’s principal investigator. “The use of this highly addictive drug is now down by about two thirds among teens since 1999, when its use was first measured.”

There was also a decline in the number of teens abusing dextromethorphan, a popular cough suppressant, the survey found. While the annual prevalence rate was the same for 10th graders as in 2006, abuse among 8th and high school seniors had declined. Eighth graders’ prevalence fell by 0.6 percentage points to 3.2 percent and reported abuse among high school seniors’ dropped 1.3 percentage points to 5.7 percent. “It thus appears that attempts to discourage misuse of dextromethorphan have proven somewhat successful,” Johnston said, though there’s more work yet to be done.

Overall, according to the survey, 3.6, 5.3 and 5.5 percent of 8th, 10th and 12th graders, respectively, reported abusing over-the-counter cough medicines to get high.

“We are encouraged by this progress but remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce the number of teens abusing these medicines to get high,” stated Linda Suydam, president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. CHPA has developed a number of programs in recent years in an effort to address teen abuse of OTC medicines.

“CHPA and the leading makers of OTC cough medicines, along with our partners and experts in the substance abuse field, are engaged in a multi-pronged public health education campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of medicine abuse,” Suydam said. “The association’s initiatives include educational programming for parents, schools, pharmacists and retailers , law enforcement, health professionals, community leaders and online.”

“It’s encouraging to see that fewer 8th and 12th graders are abusing over-the-counter cough medicines since NIDA began tracking this issue in 2006,” said Gen. Arthur Dean, chairman and chief executive officer of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. “Cough medicine abuse is an issue that CADCA has worked diligently on over the past few years in collaboration with [CHPA], which represents the makers of these products, and I have no doubt that these reductions are a sign that our efforts are working.”

The survey is conducted by scientists at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research.

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Mexican product released in U.S. may prevent erectile dysfunction

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN FRANCISCO Hispanic men between the ages of 20 and 50 are two and a half times as likely as men of other races and ethnicities to develop erectile dysfunction, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2005.

A product on the market in Mexico since 2004 and recently introduced in the United States might address the problem. CRB Ventures said the product, The Sensual Tea, has a rate of effectiveness of 87.3 percent in treating erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation and has no side effects.

“It is possible to prevent sexual problems from ever occurring,” CRB Ventures president Christian Beasley said in a statement. “The Sensual Tea overcomes low libido and sexual fatigue and enhances the pleasure and intensity of sex.”

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CRN announces second year of ‘Life … supplemented’ educational campaign

BY Jenna Duncan

WASHINGTON The Council for Responsible Nutrition today announced that its “Life … supplemented” nutritional supplement awareness campaign is continuing for the second year, will be supported by physicians as spokespeople, and that recent study results showed that more healthcare professionals recommend patients take supplements—and take supplements themselves.

Results of the 2008 Healthcare Professionals Impact Study, an overview of attitudes on supplement use by cardiologists, dermatologists and orthopedics, revealed that professionals in these healthcare fields recommend and also use dietary supplements for wellness and enhanced health. The study also said that practitioners in these fields believe supplement use has gone more mainstream than five years ago.

Of orthopedic specialists, 73 percent said that they take supplements and 91 percent said that they recommend supplements to their patients. Of the pool of cardiologists, 57 percent said that they regularly take supplements and 72 percent reported that they recommend them to their patients. And, 79 percent of the dermatologists surveyed said they take supplements, and 66 percent said that they recommend them.

The survey pool included 300 specialists from each field with a margin of error of 3.3 percent.

CRN has also named three healthcare professionals who will serve as spokespeople for the “Life … supplemented” campaign. Jeannette Graf, a dermatologist based in New York, cardiothoracic surgeon William Cooper of Emory University and UCLA orthopedic specialist Nick Shamie will speak on behalf of the benefits of supplements.

“We learned from the 2007 HCP Impact Study that physicians and nurses are taking supplements as part of a proactive wellness regimen that also includes healthy diet and regular exercise,” Judy Blatman, senior vice president of communications at CRN said. “With the second year of this study, we were able to dive into specific specialties and find similar trends, further demonstrating the important role for doctors in incorporating dietary supplements as an integral part of wellness.”

The 2008 study followed a similar 2007 HCP Impact study conducted by CRN which concluded about 72 percent of physicians and 89 percent of nurses use dietary supplements themselves. Of the physicians, 79 percent and 82 percent of the nurses involved in that survey said they recommend dietary supplements to patients. 

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