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Entries from January 2009

Darvon Prescription Danger

January 31st, 2009 · No Comments

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted to recommend withdrawing Darvon from the marketplace. The prescription drug has been used to treat pain for more than 50 years but has left a trail of problems such as addiction and suicide.

Darvon was first approved in 1957, when there were few alternatives for treating pain except aspirin and powerful narcotics. The drug remains one of the top 25 most commonly prescribed medications. More than 20 million prescriptions were written in 2007.

The consumer group Public Citizen had petitioned the FDA to withdraw Darvon because the drug offers relatively weak pain relief and poses an overdose risk, with the potential to be used in suicides.

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Tags: News - Addiction and Alternative Health

Tobacco Report Shows Failure of Government

January 23rd, 2009 · No Comments

For more than 100 years, the American Lung Association has been the lead organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health, including fighting illness and death caused by tobacco use.

The American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control 2008 report assigns letter grades to each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government for specific tobacco control policies.

Not one state earned all “A”s in the report.

California earned an A grade for its smoke-free air laws; a D for its cigarette tax rate; an F for tobacco prevention and control program funding; and a D for coverage of cessation treatments and services. Grades are calculated by comparing policies against standards that are based on the most current, recognized scientific criteria for effective tobacco control measures.

The American Lung Association of California also released local grades for 297 cities and 30 of the 58 counties in California. The local grades cover three key policy areas including: smoke-free outdoor air, smoke-free housing, and reducing sales of tobacco products. An overall tobacco control grade was awarded to each of these municipalities. While there are some excellent local grades, a majority of the grades reflect the need to do more to protect against secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing and outdoor environments. To see results for the 10 largest cities as well as a complete report of local grades, go to

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Tags: Smoking - Nicotine Addiction

Addiction and ADHD

January 17th, 2009 · No Comments

A counselor and a scientist collaborated on a book – “Overload” – to show that there is a vital connection between attention deficit disorder and addiction.

David Miller, a counselor, had struggled with his own ADHD and alcoholism.

Kenneth Blum, PhD, a renowned neuroscientist credited with the co-discovery (with Dr. Ernest Noble of UCLA and former director of The National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA)) of the first genetic association of the dopamine D2 receptor gene with severe alcoholism.

Some of the findings I learned include:

* Significantly more children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) develop problems with alcoholism or drug addiction than do children without ADHD.

* The D2 receptor gene is associated with a variety of impulsive, compulsive, addictive behaviors, including the use of crack cocaine, smoking, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Dr. Blum gave a name to this complex condition – reward deficiency syndrome (RDS). This relates to the deficiency in the reward part of the brain where dopamine works.

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Tags: Drugs and Brain Disorders

Lack of Dopamine Leads to Risk Taking

January 15th, 2009 · No Comments

Recent research by David Zald at Vanderbilt and published by the Journal of Neuroscience shows that people that have less of a particular type of dopamine receptor may lead them to taking more risks including the use of drugs.

Dopamine has long been known to play an important role in how we experience rewards from a variety of natural sources, including food and sex, as well as from drugs such as cocaine and amphetamine. Previous research has shown that individuals differ in both their number of dopamine receptors and the amount of dopamine they produce, and that these differences may play a critical role in addiction. Zald and his colleagues set out to explore the connection between dopamine receptors and the novelty-seeking personality trait.

“We’ve found that the density of these dopamine autoreceptors is inversely related to an individual’s interest in and desire for novel experiences,” stated David Zald. “The fewer available dopamine autoreceptors an individual has, the less they are able to regulate how much dopamine is released when these cells are engaged. Because of this, novelty and other potentially rewarding experiences that normally induce dopamine release will produce greater dopamine release in these individuals.”

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Tags: News - Addiction and Alternative Health

Third Hand Smoke Effects

January 1st, 2009 · No Comments

In the January issue of Pediatrics, researchers at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) describe how tobacco smoke contamination lingers even after a cigarette is extinguished – something defined as “third-hand” smoke.

“When you smoke – anyplace – toxic particulate matter from tobacco smoke gets into your hair and clothing,” says lead study author, Jonathan Winickoff, MD, MPH, assistant director of the MGHfC Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy. “When you come into contact with your baby, even if you’re not smoking at the time, she comes in contact with those toxins. And if you breastfeed, the toxins will transfer to your baby in your breastmilk.”

Particulate matter from tobacco smoke has been proven toxic. According to the National Toxicology Program, these 250 poisonous gases, chemicals, and metals include hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, butane, ammonia, toluene (found in paint thinners), arsenic, lead, chromium (used to make steel), cadmium (used to make batteries), and polonium-210 (highly radioactive carcinogen). Eleven of the compounds are classified as Group 1 carcinogens, the most dangerous.

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Tags: Smoking - Nicotine Addiction