Rethink your Drinking

Want to lower your risk of cancer? Drink less alcohol.

As you toasted in the New Year, what was in your glass matters. When it comes to alcohol, the more a person drinks, the higher the risk of cancer. Drinking less can lower your risk of colorectal, breast and liver cancers as well as head and neck cancers. In 2010, Cancer Care Ontario estimated alcohol caused 3,000 cases of cancer in Ontario.

The link between alcohol and cancer is important as research shows that only one-third of Canadians are aware that they can lower their risk of cancer by reducing how much alcohol they drink. As the majority of Ontario adults drink alcohol, it’s important to know that there is no “safe” amount of alcohol in relation to a person’s risk for cancer. What we do know is that the less alcohol you drink, the more you reduce your risk.

“We want adults to rethink their drinking and gradually decrease the amount of alcohol that they drink to reduce their cancer risk and support healthy lifestyles,” said Jason Weppler, Health Promoter, with the Grey Bruce Health Unit in a Jan. 5 press release.

“This is especially important for those who have a strong family history of cancer.”

For those looking to reduce their cancer risk, the Canadian Cancer Society recommends limiting alcohol to less than one drink a day for women and less than two drinks a day for men. Women are more vulnerable to the health effects of alcohol even when drinking small amounts. For women, alcohol increases the production of estrogen leading to a higher chance of breast cell mutation and a higher risk of developing breast cancer.

Continue reading here.

Justice Department Reversal Won’t Change Marijuana Enforcement In Ohio

memo from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions gives federal attorneys more freedom in how they enforce marijuana regulations, but Ben Glassman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, says that won’t change his approach here.

On Thursday, Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidelines that de-prioritized the enforcement of marijuana regulations as more states legalized it. Sessions, a vocal opponent of marijuana, made way for individual U.S. attorneys to decide how aggressively to go after marijuana in their jurisdictions.

Ohio’s own medical marijuana program is set to be operational in September, and advocates are pushing for a ballot issue in the November election to legalize recreational marijuana as well.

But Glassman says the memo won’t change how he approaches marijuana law enforcement in the district, in large part because his main focus is on the opioid crisis.

“The opioid epidemic is the public health and safety crisis of our lifetime,” Glassman says. “I’ve also pointed out the disturbing increase in stimulant drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine, and the Attorney General’s made clear that he fully supports our efforts on these fronts.”

Glassman says he has to concentrate his prosecution efforts where he can “make the biggest impact in reducing harm and promoting public safety.”

Marijuana is federally illegal under the Controlled Substances Act. But Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and the state of Washington allow the sale of recreational marijuana, and California began recreational sales on January 1. Meanwhile, Ohio and 20 other states allow medical use of marijuana, and two states and D.C. legalized both recreational and medical use but not sales.

Continue reading here.

Letter: State can control marijuana’s strength

The Tuesday Dispatch article “Battelle among 9 offering to test pot” offered a ray of hope for the control of “medical marijuana ” in Ohio.

The plants of the marijuana sold illicitly today have been genetically modified to increase the THC content from decades or so ago. Today, Ohio can enforce a THC-content limit of the facilities authorized to grow and/or distribute medical marijuana with a lower THC content through reverse genetic modification or through older plant-stock seeds.

In the near future, authorized plant growers in Ohio would grow only plants with the regulated THC content, which means that all authorized distributors would have only the Ohio-regulated marijuana for sale. All other plants or other distributed marijuana products with a higher THC content, such as imports from other states, could be confiscated and destroyed.

Just as it regulated alcohol content, Ohio will then have a degree of control so that such plants will be within government-authorized limits of THC. All other marijuana would still be illegal.

Read the article here.

Recreational marijuana is legal in California but you still can’t smoke it at work or in your car

Legal sales of recreational marijuana may have begun Monday, but don’t expect big changes in the workplace or in public.

Michelle Lee Flores, partner at national law firm Cozen O’Connor who specializes in labor and employment law, said that while employees may think the new law could give them a pass, that’s not necessarily the case.

“I think there are a lot of employees that think that now it’s a get out of jail free card or ‘Now I have a right and therefore you cannot hinder that in any way’ and that’s just not true,” she said. “You have a right to buy alcohol, but we all understand we don’t come to work drunk.”

But can you bring marijuana on a plane? Or to sporting events? Read on to find out more about how the new law will affect workplaces and other spaces.

Working through workplace stigma: Coming back after an addiction

My first day returning to work after being treated for a severe opiate addiction was one of the most daunting moments of my life. Everyone in the office, from my manager to the administrative assistants, knew that forged prescriptions and criminal charges were the reason I had been let go from my previous job. My mind was spinning. What would my coworkers think of me? Who would want to work alongside an “addict”? Would they ever come to trust me? Did I even deserve to be here?

When my life was crashing and burning due to my addiction (detailed in my memoir Free Refills: A Doctor Confronts His Addiction), a return to work seemed like a distant prospect, barely visible on a horizon clouded by relapses, withdrawal, and blackouts. My finances, my professional reputation, and my family life were in terrible shape due to my drug-seeking behavior. Working was not a tenable option until I received treatment and established a solid track record of recovery, which a potential employer could rely on.

The fact that I was now in recovery was a great development, and it was further ratification of my progress that I had landed a job and was returning to work. So, why wasn’t I feeling overjoyed?

How stigma affects the return to work

As it turns out, the transition back to work after someone is treated for an addiction can be profoundly stressful. People recovering from addiction already tend to suffer disproportionately from guilt, shame, and embarrassment, and these feelings are often brought to the forefront during the unique challenges of returning to work.

Stigma is what differentiates addiction from other diseases, and is primarily what can make the return to work so difficult. If I had been out of work to receive chemotherapy or because of complications from diabetes, I certainly wouldn’t have felt self-conscious or self-doubting upon resuming my employment. With addiction, due to the prejudices that many people in our society hold, the return is psychologically complex and anxiety-producing. As I entered my new office, I was walking right into the fears, preconceptions, and potential disdain that my new officemates might share toward people suffering from a substance use disorder. For all I knew, I was the “dirty addict” that they now, against their wishes, had to work with.

Continue reading here.

Could Prescription Heroin And Safe Injection Sites Slow The Opioid Crisis?

This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug overdose epidemic in U.S. history. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. We’re going to talk about how the epidemic reached this point. We’ll also hear about some of the innovative harm reduction approaches to preventing people addicted to opioids from overdosing or getting sick through dirty needles and approaches to making quality addiction treatment more accessible.

My guest German Lopez is a senior reporter for Vox and has been covering drug policy since 2010. One of the cities hard hit by the opioid epidemic is Philadelphia. Later in the show, WHYY reporter Bobby Allyn will tell us about how and why some local officials and public health advocates are trying to make Philadelphia the first city in the U.S. to open a legally sanctioned safe injection site. As you can guess, it’s a controversial move.

German Lopez, welcome to FRESH AIR. Give us an overview of the scope of the opioid epidemic. The CDC recently released a report. What did you learn about the scope of the epidemic from that?

GERMAN LOPEZ: So the CDC report found that there were nearly 64,000 drug overdose deaths last year in the U.S., meaning in 2016. So to put that in context, that’s more than gun deaths. That’s more than car crashes. It’s more than HIV/AIDs during the peak of that epidemic. Another way of looking at it is it’s more deaths in the U.S. from drug overdoses than there were U.S. casualties during the entire Vietnam War. It’s now the biggest drug overdose epidemic in U.S. history. There seems to be a slight increase so far in 2017 as well. So it just – it seems to just keep getting worse.

Continue reading the interview here.

7 Things to Know About Using Marijuana During Pregnancy

As marijuana becomes legal and more accessible in a growing number of states, you may be wondering about the effects of pot on pregnancy and fetal development. Unfortunately, because scientists don’t want to expose human mothers and babies to risk of potential harm (and who can blame them?) and pregnant moms who do use marijuana tend to either underreport their habit or are likely to make other pregnancy-unfriendly choices (like smoking cigarettes and drinking), there’s not a lot of conclusive research.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly advises against using pot while pregnant (and tells practitioners to convey that message to their patients), as does the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), because there are some known risks to the baby and there’s still a lot that isn’t fully understood. Here are seven things we do know about pot use during pregnancy.

Marijuana crosses the placenta and enters your baby’s bloodstream

Marijuana’s primary mind-altering ingredient is called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, and it changes a whole array of processes in the adult body, including heart rate and brain function. Because pot and THC are known to cross the placenta and enter the fetus’ bloodstream, you’re essentially sharing the drug with your baby. Medical researchers have good reason to believe that pot can affect a growing baby’s heart, brain and other systems.

Continue reading here.

Reduce Legal Blood-Alcohol Limit to Cut Drunk Driving Deaths: Report

Lower legal blood alcohol levels for drivers are needed to eliminate drunk driving deaths in the United States, according to a new report.

All states should lower legal blood alcohol levels for drivers from 0.08 to 0.05 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine reported.

The report also calls for significantly higher alcohol taxes and tighter restrictions on alcohol sales.

While progress has been made in recent decades, more than 10,000 drunk driving deaths still occur each year in the United States. Since 1982, drunk driving has caused one-third of all traffic deaths on average, the report authors said.

Moreover, people other than the drinking driver account for nearly 40 percent of victims in drunk driving crash deaths, the authors noted.

“The plateauing fatality rates indicate that what has been done to decrease deaths from alcohol-impaired driving has been working but is no longer sufficient to reverse this growing public health problem,” report committee chair Steven Teutsch said in a news release from the National Academies.

“Our report offers a comprehensive blueprint to reinvigorate commitment and calls for systematic implementation of policies, programs, and systems changes to renew progress and save lives,” he added.

Teutsch is an adjunct professor at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health and a senior fellow at the nonprofit Public Health Institute.

The report, released Jan. 17, also calls for stronger measures to prevent illegal alcohol sales to people under 21 and to already-drunk adults.

Continue reading the rest of the article by clicking here.

OTI 2018 Applications Now Available

Staff Applications

OTI is filled with dedicated staff ensuring youth obtain the skills they need to become the best leaders they can be. Want to be a part of our incredible staff? Apply now! Applications are due March 30th.

Youth Staff Application

Intern Staff Application

Adult Staff Application

Participant Applications

Looking to build your skills to become an active member of your community? Wanting to make positive and healthy choices while also making a difference? Then join us for the best week of your life at OTI!

Youth Participant Application

Adult Participant Application

Application Submission

Please send all applications to:

Marion Crawford Prevention Programs
151 Campbell St.
Marion, OH 43302
Fax: (740) 914-6610

Questions? Call:  (740) 914-6444

#AlcoholFreeFor40 challenge: Give up booze for 40 days? Here’s why

The 2018 #AlcoholFreefor40 challenge begins on Feb. 14 and runs through April 1.

Do you think you could give up alcohol for 40 days? How about four weeks, or even four days? It can be a challenge no matter where you live, but here in New Orleans, it can feel nearly impossible.

So much of what we do is centered around alcohol, even outside of the obvious holiday and Carnival seasons.

Cocktails are a part of many of our everyday activities – even those that don’t seem like “drinking events” – from book clubs to running clubs, even baby showers and funerals. And even if we aren’t thinking about alcohol, it often finds us in the most unlikely places: coffee shops, fitness centers and the checkout line at the drug store.

For those who have no issues with moderation, this frequent exposure to alcohol isn’t an issue. They’ll have one drink – or no drinks – and think nothing of it.

For others, however, each day brings with it another event or reason to drink to, and before we know it, we’re drinking every single day.

Read the rest of the article here.