Study shows illicit drug use down, prescription drug use high among teens
WASHINGTON Results from the 2007 Monitoring the Future survey, announced Tuesday at a news conference held at the White House, determined that eighth graders have been less likely to smoke or use illicit drugs in the past year, mirroring a downward trend for all measured age groups in the last decade. However, prescription drug abuse remains high with virtually no significant drop in nonmedical use of most individual prescription drugs.
Vicodin remains one of the most commonly abused drugs among 12th graders—1 in 10 reported nonmedical use in the past year. The Monitoring the Future Survey traditionally measures misuse of a variety of different prescription drugs including opiates like Vicodin and oxyContin, amphetamines, including Ritalin, sedatives/barbiturates and tranquilizers, as well as over-the-counter drugs, such as cough syrup.
“This year’s survey has some good news for America’s parents, showing that the abuse of dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in cough medicine, among 8th, 10th and 12th graders has not grown,” offered Linda Suydam, president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “According to the survey, 4, 5.4 and 5.8 percent of 8th, 10th and 12th graders, respectively, reported abusing these OTC medicines to get high. While we are pleased that the cough medicine abuse did not increase among 8th and 10th graders, and actually decreased among 12th graders, our ultimate goal is that our efforts to raise awareness about the dangers of medicine abuse result in a decrease among all age groups,” she said.
“These results are evidence that the education efforts of many, including the leading makers of OTC cough medicines, are working at both the national and community levels, but there is still much work to be done,” Suydam added. “Substance abuse experts tell us, and we agree, that education is the most effective way to keep kids from abusing all types of substances, including over-the-counter medicines.”
For the first time this year, researchers pulled together data for all prescription drugs as a measurable group, and 15.4 percent of high school seniors reported nonmedical use of at least one of the aforementioned prescription medications within the past year.
The Monitoring the Future project—now in its 33rd year—is a series of independent surveys of 8th, 10th and 12th graders conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan under a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
Prilosec, Nexium analysis shows no heart disease link
ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Monday affirmed that long-term use of either of the proton-pump inhibitors Prilosec or Nexium was not linked to any increase in the risk of heart disease.
However, the FDA continues to explore a potential increased risk of hip fractures associated with the use of PPIs, FDA officials told reporters this afternoon during a press conference.
“FDA has completed a comprehensive, scientific review of known safety data for the drugs Prilosec and Nexium,” the agency stated. “FDA’s assessment of the information from the data gathered was further supported by an additional analysis of 14 comparative studies of Prilosec, four of which were placebo-controlled. Although these studies were not specifically conducted to assess the risk of heart problems, and patient follow-up was incomplete, they do not suggest an increased risk of heart problems with the use of Prilosec or its newer formulation Nexium.”
The concern over a potential increased risk of heart disease and the use of these PPIs was raised earlier this year when AstraZeneca, manufacturer of both of these PPIs, reported a difference in the frequency of heart attacks and other heart-related problems out of earlier analyses of two small, long-term studies. FDA commissioned a formal safety review of the two drugs in August.
“FDA continues to conclude that long-term use of these drugs is not likely to be associated with an increased risk of heart problems,” the agency stated. “FDA recommends that health care providers continue to prescribe, and patients continue to use, these products as described in the labeling for the two drugs.”
Zerosmoke launches in national retailers, military bases
JUPITER, Fla. Zerosmoke this month launched its drug-free smoking cessation device into several retailers, including Wal-mart, CVS, Rite-Aid and Duane Reade, and Zerosmoke will be available on more than 150 Army, Navy and Marine bases starting shortly after the New Year, the company stated recently.
The Zerosmoke method of quitting smoking is based upon the principle of auricular therapy, or the stimulation of acupressure/acupuncture points in the ear. The product features two small magnets that are placed opposite each other on a determined point of the left ear. This magnetic acupressure therapy slowly eradicates a person’s desire to smoke. The magnets are plated in 24k gold in order to ensure the highest conduction properties and to eliminate allergic reactions.
Zerosmoke is also launching an extensive consumer-advertising campaign, though the company did not quantify its consumer ad budget, that will include national radio and television spots just as many smokers pledge to quit smoking with the new year. “We’re doing in-store marketing with demonstrations for [retailers] like H-E-B,” Maury Winnick, Zerosmoke national sales manager, told Drug Store News. And because the device is drug-free, Zerosmoke is also test-marketing the product against smoking high-school students—students who shouldn’t be able to purchase either tobacco products or any smoking cessation products that contain nicotine. “We found a lot of these kids will pick up and use the product to get away from that [nicotine] addiction. … We’re just starting a marketing program right now to give [Zerosmoke samples] to kids who are smoking.”
And while Zerosmoke can be used as a stand-alone therapy, the company noted, it can also be used in conjunction with other over-the-counter or prescription-drug therapies. “It can be used by people as they are using pills, patches, gum, etc., as an adjunct to those therapies” commented Bryan Frank, Zerosmoke medical consultant. “There is no contra-indication to using [Zerosmoke] as a supplement … to one of the other common therapies.”