Friday, October 28, 2011

New Resource from National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

New Resource from National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has just released a guide for health care professionals to help identify children and teenagers age 9 to 18 who are at risk for alcohol-related problems, provide brief counseling, and refer them to treatment resources if that is indicated.
The evidence-based guide, Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner's Guide, includes a two-question risk assessment as well as links to resources for motivational interviewing. NIAAA developed the guide and supporting pocket guide in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics, a team of underage drinking researchers and clinical specialists, and practicing health care professionals.  
In contrast to other screens that focus on established alcohol problems, this early detection tool aims to help prevent alcohol-related problems in patients before they start or address them at an early stage.
The screening questions and risk scale, developed through primary survey research, are powerful predictors of current and future negative consequences of alcohol use.
 The screen consists of just two questions, which can be incorporated easily into patient interviews or pre-visit screening tools across the care spectrum, from annual exams to urgent care.
It’s the first tool to include friends’ drinking. The “friends” question will help identify patients at earlier stages of alcohol involvement and target advice to include the important risk of friends’ drinking.

Monday, October 24, 2011

U.S. Bans Chemicals in "Bath Salts" Street Drug

U.S. Bans Chemicals in "Bath Salts" Street Drug
WASHINGTON | Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:22pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. authorities on Friday issued a temporary ban on chemicals used in a new type of street drug known as "bath salts" that is increasingly popular among teens.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) took emergency action that makes possessing and selling these chemicals or products that contain them illegal in the United States.
"This emergency action was necessary to prevent an imminent threat to public safety," the DEA said in a statement.
Under the federal order, the chemicals used to make bath salts -- mephedrone, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and methylone -- are banned for at least one year.
Studies will then determine if the chemicals should be permanently banned.
The action places the chemicals on the DEA's most restrictive list, reserved for substances with high potential for abuse and that do not have a currently accepted use for treatment.
Bath salts are marketed with catchy names like "Ivory Wave," "Purple Wave," "Vanilla Sky" and "Bliss" and are comprised of chemicals that mimic the effects of drugs like cocaine and LSD, authorities said.
Users have reported impaired perception, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia and violent episodes, with other unknown longer-term physical and psychological effects.
Bath salts, also sometimes sold as "plant food," are growing in popularity among young adults and teens. They are sold at tobacco shops, gas stations, convenience stores and online, according to the DEA.
The products are typically marked "not for human consumption" but are commonly snorted, swallowed or injected by users. They have not been approved by the federal regulators for human consumption or medical use.
Poison control centers, hospitals and police have been fielding an increasing number of calls about products containing the chemicals in bath salts, the DEA said.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Snoop Dogg Endorses Dangerous New “Blast” Drink.

The makers of Colt 45 malt liquor have stirred up a controversy with a new beverage that some fear will encourage kids to drink. 18 state attorneys general – both Republicans and Democrats and from a wide range of states sent a letter to Pabst asking it to take Blast off the market.
Blast is a fruity new blend boasting twice the alcohol as Pabst Brewing Co.'s original malt liquor. The drink in a colorful 23.5-ounce can resembles soda pop but has an alcohol content of 12%, more potent than a typical can of beer.
"Colt 45 makers are raising the alcohol level from the already high 6% to the even higher 12%, and enticing young people with hip hop themes and lollipop flavors," said Paul Porter of Industry Ears, a think tank that promotes justice in the media. Blast comes in such flavors as grape, strawberry watermelon and blueberry pomegranate. According to the state Attorney Generals, each can of the product, which comes as large as 23.5 ounces, is equal to drinking as much as five servings of alcohol.
It is being promoted on hip-hop radio stations, at concerts, and by popular hip-hop/rap artist Snoop Dogg. Snoop Dogg, a presenter at Nickleodeon’s Kids Choice Awards, has been asked to withdraw his endorsement of the controversial Blast beverage.
The fruit flavors, as well as the marketing, is oriented towards youthful drinkers, maintain the AGs, who have a history of getting such products removed from the market. Pabst, in a statement, denied it is marketing the product to underage drinkers.
In describing Blast, the chairman of Pabst, Dean Metropoulous, called it a “uniquely positioned product.” The company then described a marketing campaign that appears to be heavily aimed at the African-American community because of the campaign’s heavy use of hip-hop concerts and radio stations.
In order to cooperate with FDA regulations, Blast by Colt does not contain caffeine, taurine, or guarana. The drink’s slogan is “Works Every Time”.