Current Events

Correlation Between Foreclosures and Poor Mental Health

Economists expect the number of foreclosures to rise by the end of 2011. Already over 2.3 million have fallen into foreclosure since late 2007 when the recession began. According to a recent post on the website Third Age, people who are experiencing foreclosures or have already lost homes have worse mental health than those with fewer mortgage issues, say researchers. Full Story

Drinking and Driving Still Most Prevalent Among Men

Statistics show that the nation is experiencing fewer (though still far too many) traffic deaths connected to drinking and driving. Most often, men are directly responsible for those alcohol-related traffic fatalities. Full Story

Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Among Seniors Could Triple by 2020

The baby boom generation, those born in the tidal wave of U.S. childbirths which occurred between 1944-1964, is beginning to enter the golden years. Older boomers are hitting retirement age with large numbers following just behind them. Some predict that the baby boom generation could soon present health and mental health care providers with needs that stress the system. Rather than aging with the accrued wisdom of years to benefit the Gen Xers, addiction specialists worry that the boomers may rebel against aging by engaging in addictive behaviors. Full Story

Drug Free Communities Program Hopes to Bring Awareness to Community Leaders

Director Gil Kerlikowske with the National Drug Control Policy office recently announced a new program to offer support to 87 communities through 20 new Drug Free Community (DFC) grants throughout the country. The $12.3 million program is in addition to the already existing $76 million in grants from the DFC Mentoring Continuation Coalition, which provides needed support to stop substance abuse among youth. Full Story

Reduction in Drinking Acceptance Among UK Children

Peer pressure has long been considered a major component of alcohol use among underage drinkers. The need to be accepted by friends often encourages early initiation, even among kids who may not otherwise be interested in using alcohol. Early initiation is a serious problem, given that individuals who begin using alcohol at a young age are exposed longer to the risks that come with alcohol use, such as certain cancers and liver disease.

Positive Peer Pressure

A new study suggests attitudes among students in England may be pushing peer pressure in another direction. In a survey conducted by the NHS and published in late July, there is evidence that students are not impressed when their peers use alcohol, and in fact, may look down upon the behavior.

The survey’s results also indicate that fewer school-aged kids are using alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.

The NHS Information Centre report details information from a 2010 survey conducted among young people in England, asking them to answer questions about smoking, drinking and drug use. The results showed a decline in three major areas.

Among 11- to 15-year-olds, there was a decline from 46 percent to 32 percent of students who believed it was okay for a peer to drink alcohol once per week between 2003 and 2010. In addition, 11 percent of students surveyed in 2010 believed it was okay to get drunk once per week, compared with 20 percent in 2003.

Why Do Teens Drink?

In the 2010 survey, there were 7,300 participants who were surveyed between September and December of 2010. In the most recent survey, a new set of questions was introduced that assessed attitudes about the drinking behaviors of peers. Students were given multiple choice questions.

The most popular reasons provided for why peers drank were "to look cool in front of friends" (76 percent); "to be more sociable with friends" (65 percent); "peer pressure from friends" (62 percent); and "for the buzz" (60 percent).

The researchers noted a significant difference in responses between students who drank and those who did not. For those who drank alcohol within a week before the survey, their most popular reasons offered for why peers drank were "for the rush or buzz" and "to be more sociable." Those who did not drink were more likely to choose "to look cool in front of friends" or "pressure from their friends."

The number of students who had tried alcohol had declined significantly, from 51 percent in 2009 to 45 percent in 2010. This reflects a continuation of a steady decrease. In 2003, 61 percent of school-aged kids had tried alcohol.

Binge Drinking and Drug Use Soar in America

Binge drinking in the United States is a problem that continues to get grow. Not only does 23 percent of the population exceed the regular amount of daily drinks, but also many of the 23 percent are not even of legal age to consume. About 8 percent of underage drinkers illegally get drunk every week.

The Risks of Binge Drinking

In a recent study of states with the highest amount of binge drinkers, North Dakota took first place at 29.7 percent, while the District of Columbia followed in at 29.96 percent. Other states rounding out the top five are Wisconsin, Iowa, and Rhode Island. The state with the lowest percentage of binge drinkers is Utah with 14 percent. The average number across the United States is 23.4 percent.

Studies have shown that binge drinking can lead to many health problems. The risk of heart disease and diabetes are much higher, not to mention all the extra calories that are added to your body. If a woman finishes a bottle of wine in one sitting, that bottle can add up to four inches around the waist. The same habit for men can add up to two extra inches.

Drug Abuse Trends

While binge drinking is increasing at a high rate, another problem that is burdening the U.S. is the use of illicit drugs. In a recent report, it was found that in the past month, 6.4 percent of Americans and 10.8 percent in the past year have used marijuana.

When each individual state was looked at, it was discovered that Alaska had the highest rate of illicit drugs used in America at 13.5, and Rhode Island followed close behind with 12.6 percent. Vermont, Oregon, and Hawaii were also in the top five. The state with the lowest number of illicit drug users was Iowa with 5.29 percent. The average among all of the states is a staggering 8.3 percent.

In another report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it was shown that since the rates of drug use and binge drinking have risen, so has the rate of mental health disorders. Nearly 9 percent of all Americans have become dependent on illegal drugs or alcohol. In Americans over the age of 18, it was also reported that fewer than 5 percent have had a severe mental illness. Rhode Island is leading the count with 7.2 percent. Following are Hawaii and South Dakota, with the lowest reported numbers at 3.5 percent.

Illegal drugs are becoming such a big problem that tobacco is being seen as less risky. Smoking and tobacco use have fallen in the past two years, from 9.5 percent to now only 9 percent. Unfortunately more dangerous drugs, like cocaine and prescription drugs are becoming more of a problem and need greater attention and treatment.

Every Drop Matters When Drinking and Driving

A pair of sociologists from the University of California, San Diego has recently released a study in the journal publication Addiction which brings into serious question current standards for alcohol consumption and driving. The study researched linkages between blood alcohol levels and car accident severity and mortality. Study findings strongly suggest that our nation’s currently acceptable blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08% is far from protecting drivers, their passengers and fellow motorists. Full Story

Book Review of “The Interventionist” by Joani Gammill

Most of us only have a vague idea of what an interventionist does and what we do know is often full of contradictions and misinformation. Then again, most of us may never have need of an interventionist, let alone have cause to know who they are and what they do.

But for the millions of American families and individuals struggling with addiction of a loved one, friend or co-worker, it is sometimes only through the assistance of a professional interventionist that that loved one, friend or co-worker can be convinced to accept treatment.

Full Story

Alarming Levels of Illegal Drugs Bought and Sold Daily on Craigslist

The fight against illegal drug use has taken another turn with law enforcement agencies working together to help crack down on ads promoting illegal drug use on craigslist, a popular national Web based forum for buying and selling items.

Full Story

Costs for a DUI Offense Can Include Lifelong Employment Problems, Plus Shame, Depression

Fines. Jail time. Loss of employment. Loss of license. The penalties for having a DUI are severe and go much farther than marks on a driving record. The penalties for a DUI can last a lifetime in the occupational and emotional levels, beyond even the immediate tragic consequences including injuries or fatalities. Full Story