How Heroin Came for Middle-Class Moms

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(Marie Claire)

By 2013, a new sort of woman was using heroin: Affluent women. Middle aged, middle-class women with carpools. Gen X moms recovering from knee surgeries. College girls with double majors. Women with incomes above $50,000 and private health insurance. Women who had been taking Oxycodone and Vicodin because they’re excellent pain-relievers. Superior to a vodka tonic. Better than smoking a joint.

The CDC declared opioid abuse an epidemic in back in 2011. In October, President Trump declared the epidemic a health emergency. According to the CDC, heroin and opioid use among women doubled between 2004 and 2013—a rate twice that of men. More women are dying from prescription pain pills than ever before. Since 1999, the number of fatal overdoses among women has increased 400 percent, among men, 265.

Kinda puts that whole pot is addictive post in perspective​.

America’s Invisible Pot Addicts

(The Atlantic)

Public-health experts worry about the increasingly potent options available, and the striking number of constant users. “Cannabis is potentially a real public-health problem,” said Mark A. R. Kleiman, a professor of public policy at New York University. “It wasn’t obvious to me 25 years ago, when 9 percent of self-reported cannabis users over the last month reported daily or near-daily use. I always was prepared to say, ‘No, it’s not a very abusable drug. Nine percent of anybody will do something stupid.’ But that number is now [something like] 40 percent.” They argue that state and local governments are setting up legal regimes without sufficient public-health protection, with some even warning that the country is replacing one form of reefer madness with another, careening from treating cannabis as if it were as dangerous as heroin to treating it as if it were as benign as kombucha.

But cannabis is not benign, even if it is relatively benign, compared with alcohol, opiates, and cigarettes, among other substances. Thousands of Americans are finding their own use problematic in a climate where pot products are getting more potent, more socially acceptable to use, and yet easier to come by, not that it was particularly hard before.

A lot​ of public policy yet to be worked out here. Lot’s of potential problems​.

DEA Wants More Marijuana Grown And Fewer Opioids Produced In 2019.

(Forbes)

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) isn’t exactly known as big fan of marijuana. But in a new Federal Register filing set to be published soon, the anti-drug agency is moving to more than quintuple the amount of cannabis that can legally be grown in the U.S. for research purposes—from roughly 1,000 pounds in 2018 to more than 5,400 pounds next year.

Could have told you that like a decade ago.

For Chronic Pain, A Change In Habits Can Beat Opioids For Relief

(NPR)

There’s a growing consensus among pain specialists that a low-tech approach focused on lifestyle changes can be more effective . . .

Roughly a third of Americans live with chronic pain, and many of them become dependent on opioids prescribed to treat it. But there’s a growing consensus among pain specialists that a low-tech approach focused on lifestyle changes can be more effective.

This kind of treatment can be more expensive — and less convenient — than a bottle of pills. But pain experts say it can save money over the long term by helping patients get off addictive medications and improving their quality of life.

Do Older Adults Make New Brain Cells After All?

(The Guardian)

Humans continue to produce new neurons in a part of their brain involved in learning, memory and emotion throughout adulthood, scientists have revealed, countering previous theories that production stopped after adolescence. The findings could help in developing treatments for neurological conditions such as dementia.

Many new neurons are produced in the hippocampus in babies, but it has been a matter of hot debate whether this continues into adulthood – and if so, whether this rate drops with age as seen in mice and nonhuman primates.

Although some research had found new neurons in the hippocampus of older humans, a recent study scotched the idea, claiming that new neurons in the hippocampus were at undetectable levels by our late teens.

Now another group of scientists have published research that pushes back, revealing the new neurons are produced in this brain region in human adults and does not drop off with age. The findings, they say, could help in the hunt for ways to treat conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s to psychiatric problems.