Drug Tests Show Marijuana Use at 14-Year High Among Workers

More American workers are testing positive for marijuana, a new report finds, as lawmakers in New Jersey and Illinois push to join nearly a dozen more states where recreational use of the drug is now legal.

The number of workers and job applicants who tested positive for marijuana climbed 10% last year to 2.3%, according to an analysis of 10 million urine, saliva and hair samples by Quest Diagnostics Inc., one the nation’s largest drug-testing laboratories.

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Herbal drug kratom linked to almost 100 overdose deaths, CDC says

An over-the-counter herbal drug has been linked to more deaths in recent years, federal health officials say.

Kratom – a plant grown naturally in Southeast Asia and often sold in powder capsules – was a cause of death in 91 overdoses in the United States from July 2016 to December 2017, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In seven of the overdoses, kratom was the only substance to test positive in a toxicology report, though the CDC says other substances couldn’t be ruled out.

Health officials looked at numbers from state overdose reporting databases and found that of the 27,338 overdose deaths in that time period, 152 of the deceased people tested positive for kratom, even if it was not a cause of death.

Read more here.

Senators’ scathing letter to Juul demands answers about tactics targeting youth, ties to Big Tobacco

Leading e-cigarette company Juul Labs is under the microscope again, with 11 senators demanding answers from the company at the center of the youth vaping “epidemic” whose business practices have been shrouded in “immense secrecy,” the senators said in a letter to Juul on Monday.

They are requesting data, plans and other information from Juul related to its popularity among youth and its relationship with tobacco giant Altria, which invested nearly $13 billion in the company late last year.

The Altria deal signaled that Juul is “more interested in padding its profit margins than protecting our nation’s children,” says the letter, signed by Democrats including Dick Durbin of Illinois, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Anti-vaping advocates push to raise minimum age for nicotine: “The addicted mind justifies some crazy things”

“The addicted mind justifies some crazy things,” said Matt Murphy. The 19-year-old got hooked on nicotine in high school, and what began as experimentation with vaping turned into an addiction.

“That snowballed into me having a neurochemical dependency on it without me even knowing,” he said.

His addiction followed him to college: “I would be studying in the library and I would have to bike back to the dorm, like, every 20 minutes.”

E-cigarette use among middle and high school students is rising sharply. In 2018 nearly five percent (or one in 20) middle school students reported trying e-cigarettes within the last 30 days. That’s up from less than 1 percent in 2011.

Among high schoolers, that number jumped from 1.5% in 2011 to more than 20% in 2018.

And that kind of jump has doctors and health officials concerned.

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Bipartisan Bill Would Give States Control Over Marijuana Laws

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has reintroduced a bill that would shield people complying with state marijuana laws from federal intervention, effectively leaving it up to states to decide their own marijuana laws and regulations.

Presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, and Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., reintroduced the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act, or STATES Act, in the Senate on Thursday. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and David Joyce, R-Ohio, put the measure forth in the House. A nearly identical bill was introduced in both chambers in 2018 but stalled.

Trump has previously expressed support for the bill. The Senate version of the measure has a bipartisan list of high-profile cosponsors, including Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski, from Alaska, and Rand Paul, from Kentucky, as well as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, from Minnesota. The House bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and Tom Graves, R-Ga., among others.

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Wendy Williams Says She’s ‘Living Proof’ That ‘There Is Hope’ for Addicts and Substance Abusers

Wendy Williams says she’s “living proof” that “there is hope” for those who battle addiction.

In a national public service announcement for The Hunter Foundation and T.R.U.S.T., Williams — who has long battled substance abuse — encouraged those who struggle with drug addiction or substance abuse, or know people that do, to seek help.

“Hi, I’m Wendy Williams Hunter,” she begins the PSA. “My organization, The Hunter Foundation, recently launched a nationwide hotline to offer treatment resources for you if you are a drug addict or substance abuser. 1-888-5HUNTER.”

“The calls are being answered by specially-trained, certified recovery coaches,” she continues. “They’re very smart. They conduct screenings to determine your needs. The substance abuse will be taken care of.”

See the PSA and the rest of the article here.

Pierce Brosnan’s Son Sean Recalls His Harrowing Struggle with Addiction and His Path to Sobriety

Pierce Brosnan‘s son Sean is opening up about his struggle with addiction, the devastating loss he’s experienced —  and his eventual path to sobriety.

Brosnan lost his mother,  Cassandra Harris, to ovarian cancer when he was only eight years old. “I remember the day my dad told me she passed, and it was a few days after Christmas,” Sean, 35, recently said on the Inner Space with Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen podcast. “He started to cry, but I didn’t cry. I was comforting him at eight.”

“It wasn’t until maybe six months later where I was in school and realized while I was walking to class, she is never coming back,” he recalled. “That is when it transitioned into anger.”

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CBD products are popping up in stores near you. Here’s what you need to know about them

Some say it treats anxiety. Others claim it’s the newest answer to Parkinson’s disease.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, though, cracked down on its marketing while also approving it for treatment of two forms of severe epilepsy.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is popping up on shelves across the country in oil, extract, vaporized liquid and capsule form, according to the Mayo Clinic. Interest in the product skyrocketed after Congress passed the Farm Bill last year, making some cannabis plants legal.

Here is USA TODAY’s breakdown of what you need to know about a substance that appears in products from lip balm to gummies.

Continue reading here.

Can Doctors Talk Teenagers Out of Risky Drinking?

I’m a pediatrician, and when I see adolescents in my clinic, I ask them if they are drinking alcohol (among other risky activities). Then I counsel them if they answer in the affirmative. I want young people to be safe.

But doctors lack the evidence base — we don’t have enough studies — to know how much of a difference this makes.

Here’s why we may want an answer. Excessive drinking is responsible for 88,000 deaths per year in the United States, about one in 10 deaths among working-age adults. The cost in 2010 was almost $250 billion.

And drinking is a serious problem among adolescents. More than 9 percent of those 12 to 17 years drink alcohol, and almost 5 percent engaged in binge drinking in the last month.

Read more of the article here.