HEALTH

Study shows parents speak to teens about OTC abuse

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON A new Partnership/Metlife Parents Attitude Tracking Study indicates that 65% of parents are talking to their teens about the dangers of using over-the-counter cough and cold medicine to get high, up from 55% in 2007.

“We know that parents play a critical role in keeping their kids drug-free,” stated Linda Suydam, president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “It is great news that more and more parents are exercising that power and talking to their kids about cough medicine abuse just as they would about any substance abuse behavior.”

Nationwide statistics from the National Institutes of Health’s Monitoring the Future study show a slight overall decline in teen cough medicine abuse. ”That is one of the reasons the Partnership is so committed to helping parents have these important conversations with their teens.”

“The data are encouraging, since we know that kids who learn a lot from their parents about the risks of drugs are up to 50% less likely to ever use  drugs,” stated Steve Pasierb, president of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

CHPA works with the Partnership and other interested organizations on a number of initiatives targeting teen cough medicine abuse. All of the association’s efforts can be found on http://www.StopMedicineAbuse.org.

“Our member companies are steadfast in their commitment to prevent teen cough medicine abuse,” Suydam stated. “But we know that our work is far from over. With the help of such partners as the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, and D.A.R.E. America, we will continue our efforts to make sure all parents are aware of this substance abuse behavior and most importantly, talking with their children about it.”

The PATS-Parents 2008 is a nationally projectable survey of 1,004 parents of children in grades 4-12 and was conducted by the Partnership with major funding from MetLife Foundation.

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Study: Marines wounded in combat have increased risk of heterotopic ossification

BY Allison Cerra

ROSEMONT, Ill. Marines and other military personnel who are wounded in combat as the result of a high-energy trauma are likely to develop an abnormality known as heterotopic ossification. In this condition, bone forms within the soft tissues, such as muscle located near a fracture or other bone injury.

New research conducted at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., is helping to pave the way for a better understanding of the mechanisms of the condition, and better courses of prevention and treatment. A discussion of the study appears in the May 2009 issue of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

“The purposes of this study were to report our experiences with high-energy wartime extremity wounds, to define the prevalence of heterotopic ossification in these patients, and to determine the factors that might lead to development of the condition,” said lead author Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Agner Forsberg, MD.

Forsberg and his team compared data from 243 patients who were treated for orthopaedic injuries between March 1, 2003 and December 31, 2006 at the medical center, including patients that underwent amputation, external or internal fixation of one or more fractures, removal of damaged, dead or infected tissue, or “debridement.”

The researchers considered such variables as: age and gender of the patient, location and mechanism of injury, location of the heterotopic ossification, and presence and severity of brain injury.

The team also compared patients’ Injury Severity Scores, which are values assessed to individual patients based on the number and types of injuries they have sustained.

Heterotopic ossification is often associated with injuries to the brain or spinal cord, which can cause the entire body to react as though it is under attack. This type of response is known as a systemic inflammatory response. Dr. Forsberg believes this unique response to massive injury is the key to understanding why the abnormal bone growth occurs more often in military wounds than in those commonly treated in the civilian population.

“Systemic inflammation is detrimental to this patient population,” Forsberg noted. “We believe that this sort of response contributes significantly to the development of heterotopic ossification, and is the reason why the condition is more prevalent in the war-wounded population.”

Dr. Forsberg also said further study to be conducted at the medical center will focus heavily on treatment methods geared toward prevention of the condition.

“Once we develop a better understanding of the events that cause heterotopic ossification, one of our primary recommendations will be treatments to prevent the condition from occurring,” noted Forsberg.

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N.Y. drug stores, organizations band together to fight off swine flu

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK The swine flu story first broke Friday, April 24, and quickly grew in prominence on the evening news with each chilling update from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. On April 24, it was 20 cases in three states. By Friday, May 1, there were 141 cases across 19 states and counting.

 

The concerns are growing and real. The Food Marketing Institute announced the cancellation of an industry gathering in Dallas next week and a great number of schools have been closed across the country — even where there were no confirmed cases of swine flu — all out of those concerns.

 

 

The federal government quickly declared a state of emergency, and as part of that, the CDC began distributing some 11 million doses of Tamiflu to all 50 states from its Strategic National Stockpile. For all the good that does, because the common American doesn’t have access to the national stockpile of anything. At least not at this preliminary stage. But they do have access to their neighborhood drug store.

 

 

To date, the greatest cluster of swine flu exists in New York City, and each of the prominent drug store retailers in that city — CVS, Duane Reade, Rite Aid and Walgreens — reported an increase in demand for antivirals like Tamiflu and Relenza, hand sanitizers and facemasks. That demand included a nine-fold increase for antivirals nationwide on Monday, April 27 as compared to the 26 days prior, according to an initial analysis by SDI. Which is telling, because what it means is that in a time of crisis when consumers are looking for immediate solutions, they turn to their neighborhood pharmacists for both products and information — one supermarket pharmacist in upstate New York reported she was fielding between 10 and 15 questions per day around swine flu. That’s one shift, and that was early in the week.

 

 

And nurse practitioners are also more and more becoming a healthcare resource for consumers — the Convenient Care Association representing more than 1,200 member clinics in 30 states announced that its members are prepared to help consumers with any swine flu concerns — be it questions or a preliminary diagnosis.

 

 

All of this boils down to one simple truth — pharmacy, with its breadth and depth of healthcare products and services — is the de facto front line of healthcare delivery. Concerned consumers only need walk into their local pharmacy to get all that they require — a prescription from their doctor or nurse practitioner filled, hand sanitizers and facemasks for disease prevention or sound advice from a knowledgeable and practiced healthcare professional.

 

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