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NIDA Notes Articles: Public Health

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Study Questions Role for Marijuana in Teen Users’ IQ Decline

August 2016

In a recent study, teens who used marijuana lost IQ points relative to their nonusing peers. However, the drug appeared not to be the culprit.

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Study Links Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to Reduced Mortality From Opioid Overdose

May 2016

Legally protected marijuana dispensaries (LMDs) were associated with lower rates of dependence on prescription opioids, and deaths due to opioid overdose, than would have been expected based on prior trends. However, LMDs also were associated with higher rates of recreational marijuana use and increased potency of illegal marijuana.

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Sensation Seeking Promotes Initiation, Impulsivity Promotes Escalation of Substance Use

May 2016

Teens who avidly seek new and intense sensations are more likely to start using substances, but are not more likely to use them regularly within the next 3 years unless they also are prone to devalue distant consequences and act impulsively.

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Smoking Cessation Does Not Interfere With Recovery From Substance Use

October 2014

Despite common concerns that encouraging patients to quit smoking might endanger their success in treatment of substance use and mood or anxiety disorders, smoking cessation appears unlikely to hinder and may even help recovery.

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Self-Control Protects Urban Minority Youths From Drug Use and Depressive Mood

July 2014

Interventions that bolster self-control in childhood and early adolescence might shield ethnic and racial minority adolescents and young adults from the burden of both drug use and depressive mood.

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Among High School Seniors, Driving After Marijuana Use Surpasses Drunk Driving

July 2014

Within the 2 weeks prior to responding to a nationwide survey, 28 percent of high school seniors were in a vehicle whose driver had been using marijuana or another illicit drug, or had drunk 5 or more alcoholic drinks.

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Although Relatively Few, “Doctor Shoppers” Skew Opioid Prescribing

May 2014

One out of every 143 U.S. patients who received a prescription for an opioid painkiller in 2008 obtained prescriptions from multiple physicians in a pattern that suggests misuse or abuse of the drugs.

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In Nationwide Survey, More Students Use Marijuana, Fewer Use Other Drugs

April 2014

Almost one-third (32 percent) of the roughly 42,000 Monitoring the Future survey respondents reported having used marijuana during their lifetime. However, abuse of many other drugs—methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and some prescription medications—declined.

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Study Parses Comorbidity of Cannabis Use and Social Anxiety

October 2013

People with cannabis use disorder (CUD) are likely also to have social anxiety disorder (SAD), and comorbid SAD is associated with greater severity of cannabis-related problems. These findings highlight the importance of assessing CUD patients for SAD, as that disorder can be both a contributing cause and a consequence of CUD. Treating both disorders may be a key to helping patients recover from each.

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Problem Behaviors Can Signal Risk in Prescribing Opioids to Teens

July 2013

Researchers found that 1 in 8 high school seniors had used a prescription opioid nonmedically, and 70 percent of these teens had compounded the attendant risk by co-ingesting an opioid with one or more other drugs. Nonmedical opioid use was significantly more prevalent among whites than among African Americans or Hispanics.


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