Prescription opiates rose to one-third of all treatment admissions in 2009, from 8% in 1999, reflecting the rising trends in prescription opiate abuse. There were nearly 2 million substance abuse treatment admissions in 2009 among people ages 12 and older were reported to the Treatment Episode Data Set, a reporting system involving treatment facilities from across the country.
Five substance groups accounted for 96% of admissions: alcohol (42%), opiates (21%), marijuana (18%), cocaine (9%), and methamphetamine/amphetamines (6%), reported the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The data came from 49 states and Puerto Rico. Georgia and the District of Columbia did not report admissions for 2009. One person can be reported as multiple admissions in a year. Read more »
Among fans who attend live sporting events, drinking alcohol is nearly as commonplace as root-root-rooting for the home team. And while virtually no one has a problem with a fan who pushes back a beer or two during the game, flat-out drunk fans can ruin the experience for those sitting nearby. Worse yet, these people frequently get behind the wheel of a car after the game is over.
Recently, Darin Erickson and colleagues at the University of Minnesota decided to find out just how many fans go overboard at games, and their findings are worrisome, indeed. Using standard blood alcohol testing on 362 adult volunteers who were leaving 13 professional baseball and three professional football games, the scientists found that 40 percent had measurable levels of alcohol in their blood and a stunning eight percent were legally drunk (as defined by a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater). The highest alcohol level recorded by the scientists was .22.
Erickson’s group also observed that Monday Night Football attendees were more likely than other fans to have been drinking. In addition, fans who were 35 years old or younger were eight times more likely to leave the game drunk, and those who attended tailgating parties before the game were 14 times more likely to leave the game drunk.
The latter finding is consistent with a study from the University of Toledo, in which scientists gave breathalyzer tests to tailgaters at a college football game. The scientists found that an astounding 90 percent of the participants consumed alcohol during tailgate festivities, and among them, the average blood alcohol concentration was 0.06, well on the way to being legally drunk.
Guest post submitted by MD Anderson Cancer Center*
When you raise your glass at this year’s holiday toast, choose your beverage wisely. Research shows that drinking even a small amount of alcohol increases your chances of developing cancer, including oral cancer, breast cancer and liver cancer.
I’ve discovered over the years that I really like economics. I never took an econ class in my entire life, since I was pretty focused on the life sciences, but I’ve picked up a fair amount informally over the years. Fortunately I have a strong background in statistics and math, and I’ve done a lot of reading on economics. I wouldn’t say that I have any special level of understanding or credibility on the topic. Perhaps it should be noted that my wife took away the checkbook for good reason. But I enjoy it as a topic, as something to read about and a powerful tool for understanding how the world works.
One consequence of being an ER doc is that you are pretty close to “the street,” and I don’t mean Wall Street. I mean the folks living and scrounging on the streets. As a matter of functioning in the job, you learn the street jargon, you learn what drugs people are using and why, and what the effects of those drugs look like.
The other day I saw a middle-aged guy brought in for acting really weird. Though everything in his social history argued against it, he just looked like he was on meth. I checked a tox, and sure enough, it came back positive. He strenuously denied any drugs, but eventually gave in and admitted the meth use.
I remember in residency walking through downtown Baltimore with a fellow resident and our spouses, and we amazed them by serially identifying the likely drug of choice of the various street people we passed, based on casual observation of their behavior. It’s just what we do. Baltimore was a heroin town. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*
In this video, you will see an interview I was asked to do on November 11th on local TV about alcoholic energy drinks like Four Loko that has been in the news recently. I talk about the potential harmful effects of the ingredients of a product like this. As of this posting there have been a number of states, colleges, and universities who have taken steps to ban these type of beverages.
At the end of the interview, I talk about how I don’t think banning a product like this is going to solve the problem. In the article “Banning Four Loko Doesn’t Solve Problems,” Alex Belz from The North Wind explains:
It seems these health officials are either unaware of or choosing to ignore the fact that combining a caffeinated beverage with an alcoholic one is a time-tested formula for a decent drink. So far, they’ve not proposed banning drinks like Jager Bombs and vodka and Red Bulls from being served in bars, but perhaps that’s just around the corner.
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