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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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Did you watch the ball drop with a glass of champagne? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. New Year’s Eve is the most popular drinking holiday of the year. But, festivities filled with friends and family may occasionally lead to overconsumption. For some, a few too many drinks can even cause alcohol-induced amnesia, better known as a blackout. In our December poll, we asked readers about another factor that affects the likelihood of blacking out from drinking: whether the person consuming alcohol is male or female.

pill bottles in medicine cabinet

In 2016, U.S. pharmacies dispensed more than 214 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers such as Vicodin and OxyContin – enough for every adult American to have a full bottle of these pills. However, most people receiving these prescriptions report using only some or none of the pills. As many as 92 percent of people recovering from surgery stop taking their medications before the pills run out. Yet, only about one-quarter properly store or dispose of their unused meds – leaving the highly addictive prescriptions vulnerable to fall into the wrong hands.

man driving at night

The holiday season is meant to be a time of celebration, but, for many, it can take a tragic turn. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that every year between Christmas and New Year’s, over 300 people are killed because of drunk driving. However, alcohol isn’t the only substance partygoers may choose to consume while feeling festive. That being said, all those who think they are being safer by swapping a martini for marijuana before hitting the road are sorely mistaken.

check box

While it wasn’t on the ballot during the most recent election cycle, we used our November poll to ask readers, “how many states have legalized marijuana for recreational use?

Doctor consulting teen patient

Today’s opioid crisis knows no boundaries, especially when it comes to age. The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that “prescription and over the counter drugs [including  prescription opioids] are among the most commonly abused drugs by 12th graders, after alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco.” Over the past 15 years, the number of children and teens hospitalized due to opioid poisoning has nearly doubled and it has been widely cited that most adults in treatment for opioid addiction started using illicit substances before the age of 18. These statistics make it clear that there is a need to effectively identify and treat addiction to opioids among young people in order to prevent the consequences of this disease from following them into adulthood, or worse — cutting their lives short.

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