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Welcome to The Buzz—The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse's online conversation about addiction and substance use.

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One of the major themes of the 2016 presidential election was employment. The issue of high unemployment in certain areas of the country rose to national prominence and President Trump promised to bring jobs to these communities. Various causes were cited for unemployment, including globalization, trade agreements, technology, and regulations. Yet there was one contributing factor that was not discussed: addiction.  

This week, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse published a new report, Beyond Cigarettes: The Risks of Non-Cigarette Nicotine Products and Implications for Tobacco Control, which provides the most current information available about the use of a range of non-cigarette nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, hookah, pipes, cigars, little cigars, and smokeless tobacco. 

Dr. Sarah Yip, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, spoke during our Addiction Speaker Series about her work on the neurobiological features of cocaine use disorder and gambling disorder. We interviewed her about this very interesting and complex area of research. 

A consequence in the worsening opioid epidemic is the rising number of infants born with opioid dependence, also known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). NAS is a health problem associated with fetal exposure to opioids which can cause excessive crying, rapid breathing, and slow weight gain. Seeking solutions for this issue, lawmakers have imposed reporting requirements for newborns that were exposed to opioids in the mother’s womb. Though NAS is a legitimate concern, these reporting requirements are not having their intended consequence. In fact, they are detrimental to the wellbeing of mothers with addiction and their infants.

Once known as a club drug, MDMA – commonly referred to as Ecstasy or Molly – is being studied as a potential treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that results from a traumatic experience, like experiencing or witnessing an especially life-threatening, horrifying, or dangerous event. In addition to combat veterans, there are several other groups (for example, rape victims and emergency responders) who are at higher risk for this condition. PTSD can be characterized by flashbacks to the traumatic event, frightening thoughts, angry outbursts, and exaggerated feelings of guilt or blame, among other symptoms. 

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