It’s no secret that drinking is a major issue on college campuses. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that alcohol consumption on campuses is so embedded in college culture that it is often considered a rite of passage. Yet drinking and particularly binge drinking in college remains a serious public health concern.
As Americans continue to struggle with opioid addiction, many blame the pharmaceutical industry for driving the problem through the extensive marketing of pain medicine and promoting prescribing practices that many regard as reckless. A recent Los Angeles Times investigation focused on the pharmaceutical company Purdue and their opioid pain medication OxyContin. They found that Purdue pushed OxyContin on patients and physicians in ways many would find unethical, if not illegal. Additionally, the company helped convince Americans that opioid medications weren’t just for those in agony from cancer or major surgery – but that drugs like OxyContin could be used for much more manageable forms of short-term as well as chronic pain.
Have you ever come home from work and had a few glasses of wine to wind down only to wake up the next morning feeling like you didn’t get a good night’s sleep? There is a reason why people use alcohol to relax and help them fall asleep: alcohol does actually speed up this process, but the science shows that the consequences outweigh the benefits. The truth is, although alcohol makes you think you’re getting a better sleep, it’s actually more harmful than helpful for your rest.
Every two minutes a person is injured due to drinking and driving in America. This frightening statistic reveals that there’s still much work that needs to be done to prevent those who drink from getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. In fact, an old technology may very well help promote safer driving practices. Politicians are now calling for new laws that require those convicted of a driving under the influence (DUI) offense to equip their vehicles with devices that can detect alcohol on their breath.
For those diagnosed with both borderline personality disorder (BPD) and a substance use disorder, finding the right kind of treatment can be difficult. As a counselor at a rehabilitation center, a jail and a halfway house for the mentally ill, I experienced first-hand the gaps that exist in providing sufficient care to people with these two commonly co-occurring problems.
Injection drug use presents a special challenge for public health – those who inject drugs become severely addicted, often avoid the health care system, and are at high risk for multiple negative health outcomes, including infection, overdose and death. Some solutions fall under the umbrella of harm reduction, a set of strategies targeted at reducing the negative consequences associated with drug addiction. One harm-reduction approach being considered is called a supervised injection facility (SIF) – a legally sanctioned setting where individuals can inject previously obtained drugs (such as heroin and other opioids) under medical supervision.
Our recent poll asked the important question “What is the number one preventable cause of death in the U.S.?” The answer, not shockingly, is tobacco use.
Among parents, there is a debate about letting their underage children drink alcohol at home. Some think it’s safer for kids to drink at home in a secure environment. Others believe that offering sips makes alcohol appear less alluring, and teaches kids to drink responsibly. They often point to Europe as an example of how alcohol can be normalized at a young age, supposedly without any adverse consequences.
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