Entries in Drug Use (6)


Don’t Dish About Your Past Drug Use to Your Kids, Study Says

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When it comes to telling your kids about how you used drugs but they shouldn’t, honesty may not be the best policy.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign surveyed 561 middle school students on conversations they had with their parents about alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana.  They found that children were less likely to think drugs were bad if their parents opened up with them about past substance use to teach a lesson.  Children whose parents told them to avoid drugs were more likely to avoid them.

“Parents should really hit on what are the bad things that can happen, health-wise, from using drugs,” said communications researcher Jennifer Kam, one of the study's authors.  “They should really clearly tell kids that they disapprove of them using drugs.  Also, give them strategies to avoid use or decline use in a way that makes them look cool.”

Other factors that discouraged drug acceptance in the middle school students included having parents who set rules against drugs and shared cautionary tales about other people who have gotten into trouble because of drugs, Kam said.

Parents who have engaged in drugs and alcohol in the past walk a fine line between lying to their children and divulging information that makes substance use seem acceptable.

“I would caution against lying,” Kam said.  “I wouldn’t volunteer the information, but if a child asks, and a parent lies, it could impact the relationship later on.”

The research showed an association between parent conversations and children’s beliefs about drugs, but not that one necessarily caused the other.  The study was also limited to white and Hispanic students from rural Illinois schools, so it doesn’t capture possible regional and ethnic differences that would be present in other populations.

The Partnership for a Drug Free America agrees that parents should be honest and specific if a teen asks directly about past drug use, according to its Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain.

“You don’t have to tell her all the details,” the guide says.  “Find out why she’s asking about your history, and then tell her what she wants to know -- nothing more.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


200 Million People Use Illicit Drugs, Study Finds

Doug Menuez/Thinkstock(SYDNEY) -- Roughly 200 million people worldwide use illicit drugs such as marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine and opioids each year, according to a new study. The figure represents about one in 20 people between the ages of 15 and 64.

Using a review of published studies, Australian researchers estimated that as many as 203 million people use marijuana, 56 million people use amphetamines including meth, 21 million people use cocaine and 21 million people use opioids like heroin. The use of all four drug classes was highest in developed countries.

“Intelligent policy responses to drug problems need better data for the prevalence of different types of illicit drug use and the harms that their use causes globally,” reads the report, published Friday in The Lancet. “This need is especially urgent in high-income countries with substantial rates of illicit drug use and in low-income and middle-income countries close to illicit drug production areas.”

The 200 million number does not include people who use ecstasy, hallucinogenic drugs, inhalants, benzodiazepines or anabolic steroids -- just one reason it’s likely a vast underestimate of illicit drug use, according to lead author Louisa Degenhardt of the Sydney-based National Drug and Alcohol Research Center.

“Drug use is often hidden, particularly when people fear the consequences of being discovered for using drugs, such as being imprisoned,” Degenhardt said in a press conference.

Up to 39 million people are considered “problematic” or dependent drug users and up to 21 million people inject drugs, according to the report.

“It’s likely that injectable drug users have increased,” said Degenhardt, adding that the practice, “is a major direct cause of HIV, hepatitis C and to some extent hepatitis B transmission globally.”  Cocaine, amphetamine and heroin can be injected either alone or in combination.

Illicit drugs can have dangerous health effects, including overdosing, accidental injury caused by intoxication, dependence and long-term organ damage. While they may not cause immediate death, they’re thought to shave 13 million years off the life spans of users worldwide, according to the report.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Binge Drinking Seen as No Big Deal to Teens

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- According to a new study released Wednesday, many teens don't consider binge drinking a big deal.

The study, which appears on The Partnership at, found that close to half -- 45 percent -- of the over 2,500 teens who were surveyed did not see a "great risk" in drinking heavily on a daily basis.

Moreover, the survey found that the average age when kids had their first alcoholic drink was 14.

The study also noted a recent marked increase in teen use of marijuana and ecstasy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


CDC: New Hepatitis C Infections Remain Stable

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(GALVESTON, Texas) - New figures from the Centers for Disease Control suggest that new cases of the hepatitis C virus have remained stable since dropping dramatically in the early 1990s, reports WebMD.

Researchers attributed the dramatic drop in infections and the resulting stabilization to a decline in the use of needles by illicit drug users. Illicit IV drug use is now the most common cause of new HCV  infections.

“New IV drug users are still being infected in high numbers, but they represent a very small percentage of the pool of people who are infected,” researcher Miriam J. Alter, PhD, of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, told WebMD.

Among other findings, researchers found that there was little evidence that tattoos and similar practices were responsible for major contributions to the number of HCV infections. A sizable portion -- 14 percent of new HCV infections -- occurred in people who admitted to having sex with an infected partner or multiple partners.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study Links Drug Use to Traffic Deaths

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A new study shows an increased link between fatal car accidents and drug use, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The NHTSA study showed that drug use reported by states among fatally injured drivers rose from 13 percent in 2005 to 18 percent in 2008.

The study included drivers who were tested for illicit drugs, legally prescribed drugs and over-the-counter medicines after their death. NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, however, pointed out that drug testing of fatally injured drivers is often not conducted.

The study noted that a positive test for drug use did not mean that the driver crashed as a result of the drug use.
Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Teens Not Truthful About Drug Use, Says New Study

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DETROIT) -- A new study may confirm what many already suspect: teens don't always tell the truth about their use of illegal drugs.

Researchers from Wayne State University and the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that when asked about their use of cocaine and opiates, teens often fudged their answers -- even though they knew they were being subjected to hair analysis that would prove they did use those drugs.

"The basic finding is that when teens were asked about their use of cocaine and opiates, they gave socially acceptable answers rather than being completely forthright," said Dr. Virginia Delaney-Black, a study co-author and professor of pediatrics at Wayne State in Detroit.

While other studies have identified similar behavior in adults, few have looked at the phenomenon in teenagers. Adolescent health experts say it has implications for teaching health care providers how to better assess teen drug use. They also say the behavior of the teens in the study is consistent with that of most of their peers.

The researchers surveyed more than 400 teens and parents or caregivers and asked whether they used a variety of drugs, including cocaine, opiates and marijuana. They later did hair analyses on them and compared the results of those tests with their survey answers. Teens and parents did not generally answer questions honestly about teens' drug use, and parents also did not answer truthfully about their own drug use. They were unable to accurately analyze marijuana use because the hair tests were not sensitive enough.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio