Could Your Kids Be at Risk for Substance Use or Misuse?

Parents are often concerned that their children will start (or are already) using drugs such as tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and others—including the misuse of prescription drugs. Research supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) shows the important role that parents play in preventing drug use in their children. […]

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The Importance of Prevention in Addressing the Opioid Crisis

As our communities, healthcare systems, and government agencies join in the effort to reverse the epidemic of opioid overdoses and solve the opioid crisis, it is not enough to focus all our resources on treating people who are already addicted to opioids. Keeping people who do not have an opioid use disorder from becoming addicted is an equally important task. […]

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If Taking Substances Makes People Feel Good or Better, What’s the Problem?

When they first use a substance, people may perceive what seem to be positive effects. They also may believe they can control their use. But substances can quickly take over a person’s life. Over time, if drug use continues, other pleasurable activities become less pleasurable, and the person has to take the substance just to feel “normal.” […]

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How Childhood Development Can Impact Substance Use in Adults

Child development is marked by important transitions between developmental periods and the achievement of successive developmental milestones. How successfully or unsuccessfully a child meets the demands and challenges arising from a given transition, and whether the child meets milestones on an appropriate schedule, can affect his or her future course of development, including risk for substance use or other mental, emotional, or behavioral problems during adolescence. […]

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Substance Use in College-age Young Adults

This section features the most recent Monitoring the Future (MTF) national survey results on substance use in college-age adults ages 19 to 22, including patterns of marijuana and alcohol use, nicotine use, and nonmedical use of prescription drugs. It also covers newer trends, such as use of e-vaporizers and hookahs. In 2018, the survey identified statistics related to e-vaporizer use of nicotine and marijuana separately from other smoking forms. […]

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What Happens to the Brain When a Person Uses Substances?

Most substances affect the brain’s “reward circuit,” causing euphoria as well as flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. A properly functioning reward system motivates a person to repeat behaviors needed to thrive, such as eating and spending time with loved ones. Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy behaviors like taking substances, leading people to repeat the behavior again and again. […]

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Genetics: The Blueprint of Health and Disease

Why do some people become addicted while others don’t? Family studies that include identical twins, fraternal twins, adoptees, and siblings suggest that as much as half of a person’s risk of becoming addicted to nicotine, alcohol, or other substances depends on his or her genetic makeup. Finding the biological basis for this risk is an important avenue of research for scientists trying to solve the problem of substance use. […]

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How Science Has Revolutionized the Understanding of Substance Addiction

For much of the past century, scientists studying drugs and drug use labored in the shadows of powerful myths and misconceptions about the nature of addiction. When scientists began to study addictive behavior in the 1930s, people with an addiction were thought to be morally flawed and lacking in willpower. […]

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Naloxone Training

Naloxone is a medication used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose. Specifically, naloxone allows an overdose victim to breathe normally. It is not addictive and cannot be abused. Training on recognizing and responding to opioid overdose is recommended and available for first responders and community members. Contact overdose.prevention@odmhsas.org for more information on training. […]

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What Factors Increase the Risk for Substance Use Disorders?

Although we know what happens to the brain when someone becomes addicted, we can’t predict how many times a person must use a substance before developing a Substance Use Disorder. A combination of factors related to your genes, environment, and your personal development increases the chance that taking substance will lead to addiction. […]

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How Common Are Substance Use Issues at the Same Time as Other Mental Illnesses?

Many people who have a substance use disorder also develop other mental illnesses, just as many people who are diagnosed with mental illness are often diagnosed with a substance use disorder. For example, about half of people who experience a mental illness will also experience a substance use disorder at some point in their lives and vice versa. […]

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Screening for Substance Use in the Pain Management Setting

While there are evidence based screening tools validated for internal medicine settings, more research is needed to determine best screening practices in patients needing pain management. Many demographic, physical, and psychosocial factors can predict opioid misuse in patients with chronic pain. […]

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MAT (Medical-Assisted Treatment) Medications

FDA has approved several different medications to treat alcohol and opioid use disorders MAT medications relieve the withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings that cause chemical imbalances in the body. Medications used for MAT are evidence-based treatment options and do not just substitute one drug for another. […]

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Principles of Substance Use Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations

Substance use is implicated in at least three types of drug-related offenses: (1) offenses defined by substance possession or sales, (2) offenses directly related to substance use (e.g., stealing to get money for substances), and (3) offenses related to a lifestyle that predisposes the individual to engage in illegal activity, for example, through association with other offenders or with illicit markets […]

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Lessons from Prevention Research

Prevention programs are generally designed for use in a particular setting, such as at home, at school, or within the community, but can be adapted for use in several settings. In addition, programs are also designed with the intended audience in mind: for everyone in the population, for those at greater risk, and for those already involved with substances or other problem behaviors. Some programs can be geared for more than one audience. […]

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