Featured News: Meth Use is Rising Among People Who Use Opioids

Over one-third of people using opioids in 2017 reported also using methamphetamine – more than double the rate in 2011, according to a new study.

The study included 13,251 participants in 47 states who entered a substance abuse treatment program for opioid use disorder. The researchers found past month concurrent opioid and methamphetamine use doubled from 16.7 percent in 2011 to 34.2 percent in 2017.

Concurrent meth and opioid use increased among both men and women, among whites and in those under age 45, the researchers found. Past-month meth use significantly increased among those using prescription opioids alone, heroin alone and both prescription opioids and heroin.

“We were surprised to see such an increase in meth use among people using opioids,” said lead researcher Theodore Cicero, Ph.D, John P. Feighner Professor of Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, who described the findings at the recent annual meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. “We knew that since there was a clamp-down on opioid abuse, people were switching to other drugs, but our main concern was heroin. We were surprised to not only see a rise in heroin use, but a sharp increase in the use of methamphetamine.”

Specifically, Dr. Cicero said, amphetamines, such as meth, produce the opposite effect of opioids. “They wake you up, while opioids are downers,” he said. “Apparently, more people use both drugs so one counteracts the effect of the other – they can balance each other out.” He emphasized that each drug alone carries dangers, and mixing them is especially hazardous.

Continue reading here.

More U.S. Teens Shunning Drugs, Alcohol

Over the last four decades, more American teenagers have decided to say no to drugs and alcohol, a new report shows.

“There has been a steady increase in the proportion of students graduating high school who report never having tried alcohol, marijuana, tobacco or any other drugs,” said study author Dr. Sharon Levy. She directs the adolescent substance use and addiction program at Boston Children’s Hospital.

For example, while about 5 percent of high school seniors had embraced abstinence in 1976, that figure had risen to 25 percent in 2014, according to the most recent poll of nearly 12,000 students.

Surveys conducted among 8th and 10th graders between 1991 and 2014 unearthed a similar trend, with abstinence jumping from roughly 25 percent to almost 60 percent among the former, and from 10 percent to more than 40 percent among the latter.

There was also a jump in total abstinence during the month leading up to each survey, rising from just over 20 percent among high school seniors in 1976 to more than 50 percent by 2014. Among 8th graders, that jump was from about 65 to about 85 percent, while among 10th graders month-long abstinence rose from about 50 to roughly 65 percent, the findings showed.

Levy said the downward trends didn’t catch her off-guard, even if “the findings may surprise people because we constantly hear bad news about drug use and the opioid epidemic.”

She explained that both drinking and smoking — the number one and number three most common substance use habits — have been sliding in popularity across the board for a while now, even though pot use has held steady.

Read the rest of the article here.

ADHD drugs do not improve cognition in healthy college students

Contrary to popular belief across college campuses, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications may fail to improve cognition in healthy students and actually can impair functioning.

Study co-investigators Lisa Weyandt, professor of psychology and a faculty member with URI’s George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience, and Tara White, assistant professor of research in behavioral and social sciences at Brown University, had anticipated different findings. “We hypothesized that Adderall would enhance cognition in the healthy students, but instead, the medication did not improve reading comprehension or fluency, and it impaired working memory,” she said. “Not only are they not benefiting from it academically, but it could be negatively affecting their performance.”

This first-ever multisite pilot study of the impact of so-called “study drugs” on college students who do not have ADHD comes at a time when use of prescription stimulants such as Adderall, Ritalin and Vyvanse is common among young adults who believe the drugs will improve their academic performance. Research by Weyandt and others has estimated that 5 to 35 percent of college students in the United States and European countries without ADHD illegally use these controlled substances, buying or receiving them from peers, friends, or family.

Read more here.

Pot smokers are setting aside their joints in favor of edibles, pills and extracts

Marijuana users across the country are setting down their bongs, putting away their joints and moving away from smoking pot.

It’s not that people are giving up on cannabis – far from it. But retailers across the country report that consumers are increasingly switching from smokable marijuana to other forms, including pot-infused foods known as edibles and vaporizer cartridges.

“The actual old-school smoking of cannabis is pretty much out the door,” said Jered DeCamp, co-owner of the Herbal Remedies marijuana store in Salem, Oregon. DeCamp said only about half of his sales are now traditional smoked marijuana.

Marijuana enthusiasts say the trend reflects a desire by consumers for stronger, healthier or more discreet ways to consume cannabis. It’s a pattern seen from Colorado to California to Oregon. Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana use.

Continue reading here.

Big Alcohol Prepares For The Green Wave

It’s no surprise that the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) have announced that they support cannabis legalization on the federal level. Why wouldn’t they? Consumer support for legal cannabis is at an all-time high, and there’s money to be made in this industry. It’s in alcohol’s best interest to assume a “if you can’t beat them, join them” mentality.

More and more alcohol manufacturers are starting to dedicate resources to capturing market share with cannabis-infused beverages. Constellation Brands Inc. (which makes Corona beer, Robert Mondavi wines and Svedka vodka) recently took a minority stake in Canada’s Canopy Growth. Heineken-owned Lagunitas Brewing Company is going to start infusing cannabis into a non-alcoholic IPA-inspired beverage. And a handful of wineries are getting the word out on weed wine.

But while the alcohol industry is learning from us, we can also learn from them.

Read more at this link.

Double Duty: Addressing Other Priority Substances in the Midst of the Opioid Crisis

Virtual Presentation

  • Thursday, September 6, 2018
    3:00pm to 4:30pm AST
    3:00pm to 4:30pm EDT
    2:00pm to 3:30pm CDT
    1:00pm to 2:30pm MDT
    12:00pm to 1:30pm PDT


Prevention practitioners across the country acknowledge the need to understand emerging substance problems, especially when the nation’s prevention workforce is focused so intently on addressing the opioid crisis. The multi-pronged approaches to addressing opioid misuse and overdose in our states, tribes, jurisdictions and communities have left fewer resources to survey and intervene in the possible next drug crises. Support is needed to better understand what these new drug trends are, and how to simultaneously monitor and address these problems while continuing to focus on opioid misuse prevention efforts.

This webinar will present emerging drug trends coinciding with the rise in opioid misuse at the national and regional levels and explore the role of prevention in addressing these substance misuses. We will also highlight best practices for monitoring and addressing new priority substance problems in various regions throughout the U.S.


SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) substance misuse prevention grantees, including National Prevention Network representatives, Single State Agency representatives, grant project directors, and other state-, tribe- and jurisdiction-level staff across grant cohorts.

Register here.

Certificates of Participation

Registered participants who attend events will be able to access a certificate of participation in PDF format for the duration of each event (click the “print certificate” link in your archived events listing once the event has concluded). We invite participants to submit these certificates to the substance abuse prevention credentialing board in their state, tribe, or jurisdiction. Please note that it is up to the individual credentialing board to determine if these hours are acceptable for professional credentialing or re-certification.

Contact Information

For questions about event content, please contact Rachel Pascale, Training and Technical Assistance Specialist at rpascale@edc.org. If you have technical difficulties, questions, or comments prior to or during the event, please contact our tech team at captconnect@edc.org. Please put the event date in the subject of your email so that we can better respond to your inquiry.

Cannabis Addiction Is Not Heroin Addiction. That Doesn’t Make It Any Less Real.

A large minority of people have trouble with cannabis, and for those people, it’s important to find help.

When I tell people that I am a clinical psychologist who treats people with cannabis addiction, the response that I receive can often be disbelief. “Marijuana is a natural and medicinal plant,” people tend to voice. Versions of this argument can also be found in almost every comment section of any cannabis-related news story. This is correct—cannabis is natural. Cannabis can also have medicinal benefits for problems such as certain kinds of pain and chemotherapy-induced side effects. There is even upcoming research on the use of cannabis and cannabis derivatives in the treatment of particular psychiatric disorders, such as those involving post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms (though this is both a complex and contentious area of research). Nevertheless, the fact that cannabis can have medical benefits does not preclude its propensity for addiction. Neither does the fact that cannabis is natural—so are opium, coca leaves, poison ivy, and dirt. Cannabis can be helpful, and it can also be addicting.

Continue reading here.